Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Anonymous Strikes Deep

If only we didn't have the attention span of house flies.

Some 50-groups are now wading through over 5-million e-mails obtained from the self-proclaimed 'shadow CIA' intelligence company, Stratfor.   The documents were distributed by WikiLeaks on behalf of Anonymous.

One recipient was the Yes Men, a loose collaboration of some 300 imposters who infiltrate corporations, often with hilarious results.  They're only just starting to wade through this mountain of documents but they're already coming up with gold.

Just as Wall Street has at times let slip their fear of the Occupy Wall Street movement, these leaks seem to show that corporate power is most afraid of whatever reveals "the larger whole" and "broader issues," i.e. whatever brings systemic criminal behavior to light. 

"Systemic critique could lead to policy changes that would challenge corporate power and profits in a really major way," noted Joseph Huff-Hannon, recently-promoted Director of Policy Analysis for the Yes Lab.

Among the millions of other leaked Stratfor emails are some that reveal dubious financial practices, including an apparent insider trading scheme with Goldman Sachs Managing Director Shea Morenz, who joined Stratfor's board of directors and invested "substantially" more than $4 million in the scheme, called StratCap. "What StratCap will do is use our Stratfor's intelligence and analysis to trade in a range of geopolitical instruments," wrote Stratfor CEO George Friedman in September 2011. StratCap was designed through a complex offshore share structure to appear legally independent, but Friedman assured Stratfor staff otherwise: "Do not think of StratCap as an outside organisation. It will be integral... It will be useful to you... We are already working on mock portfolios and trades." (StratCap has been due to launch in 2012, though that could now change.)

Other emails show Stratfor techniques of a truly creepy Spy vs. Spy sort: "[Y]ou have to take control of him. Control means financial, sexual or psychological control," wrote CEO Friedman recently to an employee, Reva Bhalla, on how to exploit an Israeli intelligence informant providing information on Chavez's cancer. (Stratfor's "confidential intelligence services" clients include, besides Dow and Union Carbide, the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Marines, the US Defense Intelligence Agency, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon.)

Perhaps most entertainingly of all, the email trove reveals that Stratfor's "Confederation Partners"—an unethical alliance between Stratfor and a number of mainstream journalists—are referred to informally within Stratfor as its "Confed Fuck House." (Another discovery: Coca Cola was spying on PETA. More such gems are sure to surface as operatives sift through the 5.5 million emails.)

I understand WikiLeaks distributing the documents on such a wide basis to make suppression more difficult, perhaps even impossible.  But this time the dissemination appears chaotic, disjointed.  It's going to be harder for outsiders to monitor the revelations over the considerable time required to process this volume of information.

And yet these documents may offer us an extremely valuable window into the spread and influence of corporatism today and how they operate.

2 comments:

Culture Vulture said...

Granted it's a large amount of information, and it's going to take a long time to sift through it. It's great that there are entities willing to take the time to wade through it all

As bad and as long as that may take ... consider how long this has been going on for ...

The Mound of Sound said...

I hear that, CV. It's a bit disappointing but also heartening that as political opposition falters there are guerrilla grass-roots movements willing to step up and fight back. For most of my life this sort of thing would have been completely contrary to my nature but now I find myself in strong support. We can't afford to lose any more ground and it's been too long coming for us to begin taking some of it back.