In exchange released by website, worker at Stratfor intelligence firm doubts validity of a source claiming an Israeli ground force had already wiped out Iran’s nuclear infrastructure.
The mega-leaks website, WikiLeaks, has partnered with the hackers cooperative Anonymous, to publish internal emails of the American strategic intelligence company Stratfor. In one of the hacked emails, Stratfor officials discuss information obtained from one of their sources who reports that Israeli commandos, in cooperation with Kurdish fighters, have destroyed Iranian nuclear installations.
WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, will hold a press conference today in London where he plans to reveal new details from the Stratfor emails, including details on the company’s dealings with the American government and major corporations, and its network of paid sources.
In a WikiLeaks press release last night, the group said that it had obtained over five million emails generated by the Stratfor headquarters in Texas, from 2004 until the end of 2011. Though the organization does not specify the source of the emails, it has already been published that Stratfor was a target of the Anonymous hackers.
According to the emails, among Stratfor’s clients are American government agencies including the Department of Homeland Security, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Marine Corps, the Dow Chemical company, for whom Stratfor is alleged to have kept tabs on activists fighting the company for compensation over the Indian Bhopal chemical plant disaster in 1984, and defense giants Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon.
In addition, the WikiLeaks statement said Stratfor also “monitored” activists supporting the blight of the 1984 Bhopal chemical disaster on behalf of the US chemical giant Dow Chemical.
In one of the emails from November 2011, Startfor officials discuss the explosion at an Iranian missile base near Tehran and quote a source who “was asked what he thought of reports that the Israelis were preparing a military offensive against Iran. Response: I think this is a diversion. The Israelis already destroyed all the Iranian nuclear infrastructure on the ground weeks ago.”
One company analyst responded dismissively to the possibility of an Israeli attack having already taken place, asking: “How and when did the Israelis destroy the infra on the ground?”
“Would anyone actually accept that this could let the Europeans forget about the Euro crisis, something they have been experiencing every day for over a year?!” the analyst added, asking: “Do we attribute any credibility to this item at all? I don’t even see what possible disinfo purposes this could serve.”
Some of the Stratfor analysts expressed the opinion that Israel had sent commandos into Iran, perhaps with the assistance of Kurdish fighters or Iranian Jews who had immigrated to Israel, to carry out these operations.
The emails also mention a plan to coerce an Israeli source into updating the firm on the medical condition of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
“[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,” Stratfor CEO George Friedman is quoted of instructing one of the firm’s analysts.
According to the emails, many Stratfor operatives are former employees of the U.S. government and they routinely pay sources for information in cash.
The WikiLeaks press statement also mentions “private intelligence staff who align themselves closely with U.S. 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 U.S. diplomatic cables to Israel.”
Mr Melman who until recently covered intelligence affairs for Haaretz said in response that at the time “I worked for Haaretz and with the approval of my editors I obtained the WikiLeaks documents.”
“Harretz published some of them. I am proud of my journalistic achievements which was praised by my editors and the readers. Julian Assang of Wikileaks tried to prevent the publication arguing that the documents belonged to him,” he added, saying, “I and my editors rejected his claim and went head with the publication.”
“Now [Assange] tries to take revenge on me by hinting that I was a channel to the Israeli intelligence community. This is a complete lie. He also by way of innuendo tries to create the impression that I was a source for Stratfor. This is another lie. I do not have any control whatsoever about what Stratfor personnel wrote about me in their private in house correspondence,” Melman added.
In Novmber 2010, WikiLeaks published, along with a number of major media organizations, including the Guardian, Der Spiegel and the New York Times, a cache of U.S. State Department diplomatic cables. American intelligence analyst, Bradley Manning, is being court-martialed for allegedly leaking the cables to WikiLeaks.