Wikileaks dumped another huge trove of data — specifically, five million emails from Statfor Global Intelligence, a global geopolitical analysis firm — on Sunday night. While Wikileaks did not give the source of the leak, Stratfor had said that its data servers had been hacked into by Anonymous back in December, at which time the names, e-mails and credit card numbers of thousands of Stratfor subscribers were posted online. Wikileaks has now made public the contents of thousands of emails and claims that Stratfor has kept files on both on the group and its founder, Julian Assange, who is currently under house arrest in Britain while appealing an extradition order on charges of raping two Swedish women.
A statement from Stratfor said that some of the emails may have been “forged or altered to include inaccuracies” but that “having had our property stolen, we will not be victimized twice by submitting to questioning about them.”
On Monday, Assange participated in a streamed news conference from the journalists’ Frontline Club in London and said that Stratfor’s response to the data dump was confirmation of what was said in one of its own now-leaked emails: ”admit nothing, deny everything, make counteraccusations.”
25 news organization around the world including Rolling Stone in the United States, L’Espresso in Italy and The Hindu in India have been assisting in analyzing the mass of emails. The New York Times, which had been given access to leaked documents when Wikileaks firs tstarted to release files, was not among them. As The Atlantic Monthly points out, the absence of the New York Times, the Guardian and Der Spiegel “reveals how much the WikiLeaks founder’s behavior over the last year has alienated onetime mainstream media collaborators.”
Some have referred to Stratfor as a “private CIA” and an “extra-governmental” intelligence firm. According to Wikileaks, Stratfor provides corporations and government agencies with intelligence data and analysis via “a network of paid informants, including government employees, diplomats, and journalists who are bribed (and occasionally threatened).” Stratfor then “re-packages” the information and sells it, paying informants through “Swiss banks accounts and pre-paid credit cards.” Whether or not these allegations are accurate remains to be determined.
Will the world take the interest in the Wikileaks project that it did when the massive online whistleblower project began? Bradley Manning, the U.S. soldier suspected of leaking thousands of U.S. diplomatic cables and classified military documents files who now faces a court martial, has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize — whether or not his nomination is taken seriously will be a sign of how relevant Wikileaks remains and of its longterm legacy.
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