48 hours ago Wikileaks made a mammoth announcement (below), without doubt it is the greatest leak since cablegate. Since Wikileaks’ relationships with their former news partners have been severed Wikileaks have handed the analysis of documents to a new list of much less known news groups:
The mainstream news corporations have responded with what appears to be a near complete black out. I have been tracking key words using infomous, the live news wire monitor which tracks the BBC, Guardian, Reuters, Al Jazeera, Nature, CNN, CBC, New Scientist, The Economist, Wall Street Journal, Fincancial Times, Associated Press and the New York Times amongst others:
Online news trends live stream powered by infomous
The term “wikileaks” has still not broken back in in to mainstream coverage, all of the words above were more widely reported than the word “wikileaks” at time of press. As the graphic demonstrates, over the past 24 hours a few news outlets have covered the mass arrests of Anonymous members, yet most of these articles completely ignore the anonymous-wikileaks collaborative leak 48 hours ago that the arrests are related to (BBC, Guardian CBC). Former Wikileaks partner the Guardian briefly covered the GIF story with a bland recital buried deep on it’s site but at time of press it’s only been tweeted 165 times, presumably because people are instead tweeting more detailed underground accounts.
Seeing as the information in the original Wikileaks press release hasn’t been properly reported in the mainstream I’ve pasted the full thing for you here and emboldened the key points:
WIKILEAKS PRESS RELEASE Via BNO News Wire Service: www.bnonews.com
EMBARGOED EMBARGOED EMBARGOED
DO NOT DISCLOSE THE EXISTANCE OF THIS RELEASE
OR ANY INFORMATION DERIVED FROM IT BEFORE
Monday 27 February 00:01 GMT 2012
The Global Intelligence Files
Twitter tag: #gifiles
OFFICAL PRESS CONFERENCE 12 hours after EMBARGO ENDS:
Monday 27 Feburary, noon, Frontline Club, 13 Norfolk Place, Paddington,
London, W2 1QJ.
LONDON–Today WikiLeaks began publishing The Global Intelligence Files – more than five million emails from the Texas-headquartered “global intelligence” company Stratfor. The emails date from between July 2004 and late December 2011. They reveal the inner workings of a company that fronts as an intelligence publisher, but provides confidential intelligence services to large corporations, such as Bhopal’s Dow Chemical Co., Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and government agencies, including the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Marines and the US Defense Intelligence Agency. The emails show Stratfor’s web of informers, pay-off structure, payment-laundering techniques and psychological methods, for example:
“[Y]ou have to take control of him. Control means financial, sexual or psychological control… This is intended to start our conversation on your next phase” – CEO George Friedman to Stratfor analyst Reva Bhalla on 6 December 2011, on how to exploit an Israeli intelligence informant providing information on the medical condition of the President of Venezuala, Hugo Chavez.
The material contains privileged information about the US government’s attacks against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks and Stratfor’s own attempts to subvert WikiLeaks. There are more than 4,000 emails mentioning WikiLeaks or Julian Assange. The emails also expose the revolving door that operates in private intelligence companies in the United States. Government and diplomatic sources from around the world give Stratfor advance knowledge of global politics and events in exchange for money. The Global Intelligence Files exposes how Stratfor has recruited a global network of informants who are paid via Swiss banks accounts and pre-paid credit cards. Stratfor has a mix of covert and overt informants, which includes government employees, embassy staff and journalists around the world.
The material shows how a private intelligence agency works, and how they target individuals for their corporate and government clients. For example, Stratfor monitored and analysed the online activities of Bhopal activists, including the “Yes Men“, for the US chemical giant Dow Chemical. The activists seek redress for the 1984 Dow Chemical/Union Carbide gas disaster in Bhopal, India. The disaster led to thousands of deaths, injuries in more than half a million people, and lasting environmental damage.
Stratfor has realised that its routine use of secret cash bribes to get information from insiders is risky. In August 2011, Stratfor CEO George Friedman confidentially told his employees: “We are retaining a law firm to create a policy for Stratfor on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. I don’t plan to do the perp walk and I don’t want anyone here doing it either.”
Stratfor’s use of insiders for intelligence soon turned into a money-making scheme of questionable legality. The emails show that in 2009 then-Goldman Sachs Managing Director Shea Morenz and Stratfor CEO George Friedman hatched an idea to “utilise the intelligence” it was pulling in from its insider network to start up a captive strategic investment fund. CEO George Friedman explained in a confidential August 2011 document, marked DO NOT SHARE OR DISCUSS: “What StratCap will do is use our Stratfor’s intelligence and analysis to trade in a range of geopolitical instruments, particularly government bonds, currencies and the like“. The emails show that in 2011 Goldman Sach’s Morenz invested “substantially” more than $4million and joined Stratfor’s board of directors. Throughout 2011, a complex offshore share structure extending as far as South Africa was erected, designed to make StratCap appear to be legally independent. But, confidentially, Friedman told StratFor staff: “Do not think of StratCap as an outside organisation. It will be integral… It will be useful to you if, for the sake of convenience, you think of it as another aspect of Stratfor and Shea as another executive in Stratfor… we are already working on mock portfolios and trades”. StratCap is due to launch in 2012.
The Stratfor emails reveal a company that cultivates close ties with US government agencies and employs former US government staff. It is preparing the 3-year Forecast for the Commandant of the US Marine Corps, and it trains US marines and “other government intelligence agencies” in “becoming government Stratfors”. Stratfor’s Vice-President for Intelligence, Fred Burton, was formerly a special agent with the US State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service and was their Deputy Chief of the counterterrorism division. Despite the governmental ties, Stratfor and similar companies operate in complete secrecy with no political oversight or accountability. Stratfor claims that it operates “without ideology, agenda or national bias”, yet the emails reveal private intelligence staff who align themselves closely with US government policies and channel tips to the Mossad – including through an information mule in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Yossi Melman, who conspired with Guardian journalist David Leigh to secretly, and in violation of WikiLeaks’ contract with the Guardian, move WikiLeaks US diplomatic cables to Israel.
Ironically, considering the present circumstances, Stratfor was trying to get into what it called the leak-focused “gravy train” that sprung up after WikiLeaks’ Afghanistan disclosures:
“[Is it] possible for us to get some of that ‘leak-focused’ gravy train? This is an obvious fear sale, so that’s a good thing. And we have something to offer that the IT security companies don’t, mainly our focus on counter-intelligence and surveillance that Fred and Stick know better than anyone on the planet… Could we develop some ideas and procedures on the idea of ´leak-focused’ network security that focuses on preventing one’s own employees from leaking sensitive information… In fact, I’m not so sure this is an IT problem that requires an IT solution.”
Like WikiLeaks’ diplomatic cables, much of the significance of the emails will be revealed over the coming weeks, as our coalition and the public search through them and discover connections. Readers will find that whereas large numbers of Stratfor’s subscribers and clients work in the US military and intelligence agencies, Stratfor gave a complimentary membership to the controversial Pakistan general Hamid Gul, former head of Pakistan’s ISI intelligence service, who, according to US diplomatic cables, planned an IED attack on international forces in Afghanistan in 2006. Readers will discover Stratfor’s internal email classification system that codes correspondence according to categories such as ‘alpha’, ‘tactical’ and ‘secure’. The correspondence also contains code names for people of particular interest such as ‘Izzies’ (members of Hezbollah), or ‘Adogg’ (Mahmoud Ahmedinejad).
Stratfor did secret deals with dozens of media organisations and journalists – from Reuters to the Kiev Post. The list of Stratfor’s “Confederation Partners”, whom Stratfor internally referred to as its “Confed Fuck House” are included in the release. While it is acceptable for journalists to swap information or be paid by other media organisations, because Stratfor is a private intelligence organisation that services governments and private clients these relationships are corrupt or corrupting.
WikiLeaks has also obtained Stratfor’s list of informants and, in many cases, records of its payoffs, including $1,200 a month paid to the informant “Geronimo” , handled by Stratfor’s Former State Department agent Fred Burton.
WikiLeaks has built an investigative partnership with more than 25 media organisations and activists to inform the public about this huge body of documents. The organisations were provided access to a sophisticated investigative database developed by WikiLeaks and together with WikiLeaks are conducting journalistic evaluations of these emails. Important revelations discovered using this system will appear in the media in the coming weeks, together with the gradual release of the source documents.
Public partners in the investigation:
More than 25 media partners (others will be disclosed after their first publication):
Al Akhbar – Lebanon – http://english.al-akhbar.com
Al Masry Al Youm – Egypt – http://www.almasry-alyoum.com
Bivol – Bulgaria – http://bivol.bg
CIPER – Chile – http://ciperchile.cl
Dawn Media – Pakistan – http://www.dawn.com
L’Espresso – Italy – http://espresso.repubblica.it
La Repubblica – Italy – http://www.repubblica.it
La Jornada – Mexico – www.jornada.unam.mx/
La Nacion – Costa Rica – http://www.nacion.com
Malaysia Today – Malaysia – www.malaysia-today.net
McClatchy – United States – http://www.mcclatchydc.com
Nawaat – Tunisia – http://nawaat.org
NDR/ARD – Germany – http://www.ndr.de
Owni – France – http://owni.fr
Pagina 12 – Argentina – www.pagina12.com.ar
Plaza Publica – Guatemala – http://plazapublica.com.gt
Publico.es – Spain – www.publico.es
Rolling Stone – United States – http://www.rollingstone.com
Russia Reporter – Russia – http://rusrep.ru
Sunday Star-Times – New Zealand - www.star-times.co.nz
Ta Nea – Greece –- http://www.tanea.gr
Taraf – Turkey – http://www.taraf.com.tr
The Hindu – India – www.thehindu.com
The Yes Men – Bhopal Activists – Global http://theyesmen.org
To get you started, here’s the spectacular leaked Statfor code word glossary which includes such gems as:
“WOG Wise Old Gentleman: Had a great success 30 years ago. Hasn’t done shit since then except for reminiscing about his one success. Too smart to go into the field so he can’t be killed. Hope for a heart attack”
“BYM: Bright Young Man. Doesn’t know shit. Doesn’t know that they doesn’t know. Likely to burn you the first time out.Try to get him killed as quickly as possible.”
“Barium Meal: When there is a leak, feed bits of radioactive (traceable,false) information to suspects. See which bit leaks. Youwill know who leaked it. The leaker will know you know.Livens up a dull day like nothing else we’ve ever seen.Bring the kids”
“Alcohol Tobacco and Fire Arms: Rednecks with a license to kill. Never, ever, ever ask for their help on anything.”
“CIA: Central Intelligence Agency. Also called “Langley”or “up river.” Owns human intelligence (directorateof operations) and analysis (directorate of intelligence). Director, CIA is supposed to overseeall of the intelligence community. Isn’t that a joke? Imagine the Post Office with a foreign policy”
“Coerced source: Someone who is a source because you have him by the balls. The most rare and prized variety of source. The key here is to make sure that the source thinks that working for you makes more sense than shooting you. Keep an extremely close eye on changing moods”
“Deniability: Some ops are too ugly to be owned. They need deniability. The craft teaches the means of deniability. Not having deniability is like tightrope walking without a net. It can be done—for a while. Then they scrape you up with a spatula!
“Deniability–Single: Need to shield identity of customer’s organization. Stratfor’s interest in the operation can be known.”
“Deniability—Double: Can allow target to know that someone is watching butmust hide that it is the customer or Stratfor.”
“Deniability–Complete: Target must not know that anyone is looking at all. Pray for a stupid target.”
“Denial Plan: Specific plan for managing security breaches. In some intelligence organizations, multi-volume regulations. In others, the plan consists of running around circles, waving your arms and blaming everyone else. Which one are we” (Ed- I think that’s the last one)
“Sold the Op: What you say when you’ve come back form the customer announcing that you’ve convinced the clown to fund your latest demented idea”
What charming people.
Statistics are often used by newspapers as the basis for a story. People are far more likely to agree with you if you tell them that they are on the side of the majority. This is why bogus statistics are so effective in moralising comment pieces. It’s a lot easier to say, “hey, most people agree with us” than convince someone with facts. By bogus, I don’t mean data fabrication (though that happens too), I mean rigging the questions to get the answers you want. Here’s how:
Divide and Rule
A poll that just went up on the Telegraph’s website has the following responses:
Options one, two and four all appear sensible. Option three sounds outrageous. Unfortunately, you can only pick one answer, this splits the rational vote. Those of a right wing disposition will most likely shun treatment, legalisation and equality (which are apparently all mutually exclusive) and therefore gain an unfair advantage on option three.
The Leading Question
In psychology and law we have a phenomenon called “leading questions“. Evidence is inadmissible if the witness is given a hint of the answer in the question. I don’t know about you but I’d call a headline titled “Drug gangs controlling parts of British cities” a leading question. Placing the survey within an article also restricts your sample to people choosing to read that article.
The Nullified Answer & The Catch 22
If you look closely at option one in the Telegraph’s poll it actually includes two answers which are normally considered divisive. The US have lobbied internationally to stop treatment efforts in the hope that making drug use more dangerous will prevent it. A number of presidential candidates actually believe blocking treatment is a good form of prevention. Likewise, very few that support treatment will choose this option because the poll is rigged so supporting treatment means also signing up to prevention. In short, next to nobody is going to click this option but this stat will come in handy when lobbying against treatment.
The PR firm
Yesterday I highlighted a bogus poll in the Daily Mail, that purportedly found that “a quarter of young British women are dating at least three men at once“. After a couple of emails I’ve managed to get them to give me a press release. The research was done by a PR firm hired on behalf of a high street restaurant. Sound Fishy? The press release they sent me has lots of information about the restaurant’s “rich food and beverage heritage”, their “juicy burgers”, “tender ribs” and “hearty steaks” but none of the information normally associated with a study (such as the sample information, methods or the actual questions that were asked) is present. Apparently the research is ongoing so I can’t get access to the data, though they’ve assured me I can have it when it’s finished, I’m not holding my breath. PR firms are great for hiding information and deflecting bad publicity, in fact that’s what they are for.
Now you’ve got your bogus results you can make up your shock-horror headlines as you see fit, here are some examples we could use:
- 92% OF BRITS OPPOSED TO TREATMENT OF DRUG ADDICTS
- ONLY 8% OF BRITS WANT TAXPAYERS’ MONEY SPENT ON TREATING DRUG ADDICTS
- 56% OF BRITS OPPOSED TO LEGALISATION
- 39% WANT TOUGHER SENTENCES FOR DRUG USERS
The greatest part of the plan is that you never have to worry about getting caught because you don’t have to explain how you got your dodgy data! Welcome to the PR industry.
Tajfel, H., & Turner, J. C. (1986). The social identity theory of intergroup behaviour. Psychology of intergroup relations , 7-24
Over in the US it has apparently become so difficult to get hold of pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), that a pair of eloquently named researchers have published a satirical paper explaining how to manufacture it out of crystal meth (PDF). The paper describes how “in the past most stores were able to sell pseudoephedrine”, the US’s most popular decongestant but new laws require only pharmacies, often with restricted opening hours to sell the medicine only to those carrying government issued ID. The paper argues that “it would be of great interest to have a simple synthesis of pseudoephedrine from reagents which can be more readily procured”. The study is published in the splendidly titled Journal of Apocryphal Chemistry.
Hai, O. Hakkenshit, I.B. (2012). A Simple and Convenient Synthesis of Pseudoephedrine From N-Methylamphetamine Journal of Apocryphal Chemistry
Update 27/02/2012: The Daily Mail article has now been updated to include a source. The research was apparently done by TGI Fridays, yes the restaurant chain (I asked for a source not a sauce). I managed to get a press release with lots of information about the restaurant’s “rich food and beverage heritage”, their “juicy burgers”, “tender ribs” and “hearty steaks” but no methods or data, their PR firm say I can have a copy of the research when they’ve finished it. Hmmm
Update: After numerous emails and delaying tactics I am still awaiting a response.
I was just beginning to think that I might get through a day without seeing a horrendous Daily Mail Article when someone sends me this. Don’t bother reading that. This time the Daily Mail have excelled themselves. The normal formula [study finds shock-horror-finding to support misogynistic, bigoted viewpoint] is adhered to. Normally we can expect at least a vague hint at the source, the nationality of the lead researchers or perhaps the country their conference was held in. This time, not even a clue, just “according to a study”.
Seeing as last time I reviewed a Daily Mail science article, the study was completely misreported (no really, the highlighted areas are all false), I’d like to know where the aforementioned study came from.
Without a source article… I give up.
Everything is a remix is one of those few productions that hits the nail dead on the head, an absolute must-watch. The now complete four part series of ten minute, content crammed films produced over two years explains why there is no such thing as an original masterpiece. The films demonstrate in exquisite detail how everything from Led Zeppelin to Star Wars and from art to technology, not to mention science is based upon hundreds if not hundreds of thousands of uses of other people’s creations.
The films powerfully demonstrate how the purpose of copyright and patent law was to allow a brief period of exclusivity to allow development costs to be recouped yet the most litigious companies of or our era, who have all based their work on the work of others, proceed to slam their descendants with crippling intellectual property litigation. Even Disney who’s titles are littered with content built out of public domain content lobbied for the extension of the term of copyright.
Anyway, enough small talk. Sit back, turn up the volume and enjoy!
The creater of the series is currently over half way to funding a new production on Kickstarter. The final (also completely free) product is due for broadcast in the run up to the 2012 US predidential election. If Everything is a remix is anything to go by then This is Not a Conspiracy Theory looks like it could be a noble cause indeed.
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