Stratfor’s Middle East Leaks

Published April 10th, 2012 - 14:33 GMT

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CIA and the world of spy-games
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Image 1 of 12: The leaked stash of 5 million emails from the US-based intelligence firm Stratfor, casts the Stratfor team in an awkward naked light. The leaked cache includes sensitive material pertaining to the ME. The Strategic Forecasting Inc., known as Stratfor, is a private firm dealing in the lucrative business of intelligence gathering and analysis.

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Image 1 of 12: Saudi's secret weapon against Iran is Israel's most famous 'export'- espionage par excellence, agency Mossad. While nothing is surprising in the ME's unstable playing field, KSA's plotting with Mossad has raised intrigued brows. Saudi has apparently received security equipment, intelligence & consultation on Iran via this commercial agreement.

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Image 1 of 12: "48 hours" attack on Iran: This Israeli-planned much-hyped attack, one emailer claimed, “will last only 48 hours” and “will be so destructive that Iran will be unable to retaliate or recover and the government will fall.” The agent surmised an attack launched by Israel would stem from “political and oil reasons and not nuclear”.

Stratfor's VP Fred Burton
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Image 1 of 12: Embarrassing intrigue: VP of Stratfor, Fred Burton, exposes his own dossier of racist slurs. Memorable lines as “sleezy arsehole ragheads” in the GI Files depict a Burton, lacking in both judgement and 'intelligence'. This US top counter-terrorism expert deploys unapologetic racist tags for Arabs as “towel heads” or “camel jockies”.

Hassan Nasrallah in good health
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Image 1 of 12: Plots, Arabs, poison, Persians? Hezbollah chief poisoned; Iranian docs saved his life? Not quite, say the GI Files, on the claim that a poisoned Nasrallah was treated in Iran. "There is no doubt he needs to die,” says one analyst but, too 'moderate', he is not “high on the target list” and has “fallen out of favor with Iran”.

SCAF's Field Marshall Mohamed Tantawi
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Image 1 of 12: SCAF rejects Mubarak's heir: General Tantawi explicitly told Mubarak that he preferred someone with a military background as successor. Omar Suliman (now in the presidential running) was SCAF-endorsed. Mubarak accepted the army’s plea-bargain to remove Jamal from the draw, placing himself & his military credentials forward again.

Israel's spy-arm Mossad
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Image 1 of 12: Spy-drama: Mossad's blunders & less than smooth operations. Mossad’s reputation as the A-team in super-'intelligent' feats, according to hacked emails, are little more than the exaggerated stuff of urban legend. Leaks undermine 'target killings' as either mistaken identities or the result of natural causes, rather than successful assassinations.

Israeli soldiers in the Golan face Syria
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Image 1 of 12: Assad comes off as a popular man: He is exposed as "the Western agent in the Iranian and Russian back yard." He is guarded by both Mossad and MI6. He and his father have kept stability along the Syrian and Israeli border since the last war in 1973, and for keeping up peaceful appearances, he is cast under suspicion.

Gaza under fire
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Image 1 of 12: Gaza to burn again? Other tidbits from the leaks suggest that Gaza is more likely to be attacked than Iran: A source predicts "massive attacks on Gaza and strikes on Hezbollah in both Lebanon and Syria.”

Euro
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Image 1 of 12: Europe is desperate to divert eyes from its economic crisis to a Mid-eastern political hell-fire, according to the picture painted by Stratfor's intelligence. Says one wise-cracking Stratfor snoop: The current “let’s bomb Iran” campaign was ordered by the EU leaders to divert the public attention from their at home financial problems.”

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
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Image 1 of 12: New global alliances drawn, at least in Stratfor inboxes: There are 2 sides to everything, and war on Syria too. The Stratfor spy network cites "the axis India-Russia-Turkey-Saudi Arabia” as behind an Israeli attack on Syria, while the "axis US-Germany-France-China” opposes. India is Israel’s largest client according to the source.

Libya rebels fight
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Image 1 of 12: Stratfor revolution meddlers: Stratfor client US private security firm that allegedly “took part” in the killing of former dictator Muammar Gaddafi, offers its services once more. The US government suggests SCG, who assisted Libyan rebels take down Gaddafi, contact Syrian opposition in Turkey to see “how they can help in regime change.”

In case you haven't heard of the latest buzz in the Wikileaks saga that spawned a whole trend of exposing high-level hacked documents, we bring you Stratfor, the Global Intelligence (GI) files. This email trove of 5 million gathered from the Stratfor database has caused the latest spy drama to leak out of our security conscious world.

Stratfor, is a private intelligence firm based in Austin, Texas with both domestic and foreign ties to intelligence in the military, corporate, and government sectors. It is precisely because of its connection to these groups, that this Stratfor stash makes such a valuable finding.  

In the scope of these indicting email inbox documents that reveal dramatic news-worthy Middle East nuggetes, there is a curious lack of professionality about those behind the emails-- specifically those that conduct this intelligence business.  More embarrassment than serious security crisis. A security breach for a professional institution that trades in secure information of a critically sensitive nature, or by definition, intelligence, presents us with quite a tautological state of affairs.

While later published by Wikileaks, it was the hacking arm, Anonymous, who syphoned these emails between July 24 December 2/ 2011. Most disclosures were email discussion restricted to the realm of global gossip and surmising, and touched on matters already suspected or somewhat known. Turkey Prime Minister Erdogan was exposed as suffering from cancer - something that his people unofficially knew. The emails went further and gave him 2 years to live. 

“The GI Files” while not revealing anything all that global-shattering reveal more about the human ineptitude of intelligence agents, in a way that the  clumsy Dubai Mossad incident did. Or shedding an excrutiating beam of day-light on the very human nature of our banter-filled email inboxes - from the dictator inbox to the average personal or 'professional' account.

Stratfor's peeping staff 

Stratfor was founded over a decade ago in Austin, Texas by George Friedman, a former political science professor. Friedman is the company’s chief intelligence officer, financial overseer, and CEO.

Friedman has a trail of security projects under his belt, including working with Defense branch of the US government, as well as other institutions like the notorious RAND Corporation.  He is a self-proclaimed disciple of Neo-Conservative icons as Leo Strauss.

Fred Burton, Stratfor's vice-president for counter-terrorism and corporate security, completes the unsavory (as exhibited in a slide) leadership of the think tank. He was a special agent with the US Diplomatic Security Service and was appointed by Washington to investigate the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the assassination of Rabbi Meir Kahane, and a number of bomb plots by al-Qaeda prior to 9/11.

We have highlighted some of the more salient features from the copious discussions regarding the Middle East, in our Stratfor on the Middle East gallery. 

Over to you:

Do you think the world spy-game has changed in this day and 'information' age? Is peeping work less slick and movie-worthy than espionage of a bygone era?

 

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