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Is Stratfor a "Joke"?

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the wikileaks-releases-back-issues-of-the-economist dept.

Your Rights Online 211

daveschroeder writes with an opinion piece that seems to differ from the usual thinking on the Wikileaks release of Stratfor emails: "Max Fisher writes in The Atlantic: 'The corporate research firm has branded itself as a CIA-like "global intelligence" firm, but only Julian Assange and some over-paying clients are fooled. [...] The group's reputation among foreign policy writers, analysts, and practitioners is poor; they are considered a punchline more often than a source of valuable information or insight. [...] So why do Wikileaks and their hacker source Anonymous seem to consider Stratfor, which appears to do little more than combine banal corporate research with media-style freelance researcher arrangements, to be a cross between CIA and Illuminati? The answer is probably a combination of naivete and desperation.'"

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wikileaks is for tards (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39213905)

[Chris Crocker mode

Leave Julian Assange alone!

[/Chris Crocker mode

Is Slashdot a "Joke" ? (5, Insightful)

billcopc (196330) | more than 2 years ago | (#39213925)

That's a pretty wafer thin opinion piece. Sure, Stratfor seems like a mess, but I think the most telling aspect of this whole fiasco is that we actually believe an intelligence company could be so moronic. That says a lot about the public's perception of government intelligence, or lack thereof, if imbeciles like Stratfor are actually being paid to provide services.

Re:Is Slashdot a "Joke" ? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39213979)

Stratfor has two purposes.

1. Steal money from the US people for 'intelligence services'.

2. Allows the government to obtain massive amounts of your data from google/facebook/amazon and other places without having to explain themselves.

Re:Is Slashdot a "Joke" ? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39214005)

True, this post is just meant to demean wikileaks and anonymous. It is called "Perception Management", "Information Warfare", or "Psychological Warfare" (depending on your conclusions about context and motivation). It just simply shows it is hard to make wasted tax dollars and government oversight look good, except by suppressing the information. If we maintain 17% (current) or higher government employment, when considering the whole workforce, it is much easier to keep inefficiencies an accepted part of government business. It is similar to a workers union that has always been corrupt, people have known it is corrupt, and it has never cared about the workers, but it still persists as a source of stability.

Is "The Atlantic" a Joke? (4, Insightful)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214173)

Of course, some of us regard Stratfor as a joke with no tangible wit or discernible punchline. This does not impede idiots with more money than sense of humor from buying its output. Much the same can be said for The Atlantic, unfortunately...

Re:Is Slashdot a "Joke" ? (2)

camperslo (704715) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214185)

Perhaps the incompetence is a carefully engineered image to make people think there's nothing insidious to be concerned about?

they are considered a punchline more often than a source of valuable information or insight.

Doesn't the public largely have that perception of government already? That would seem to make them fit right in.

Re:Is Slashdot a "Joke" ? (3, Interesting)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214415)

Perhaps the incompetence is a carefully engineered image to make people think there's nothing insidious to be concerned about?

they are considered a punchline more often than a source of valuable information or insight.

Doesn't the public largely have that perception of government already? That would seem to make them fit right in.

unlikely, the insidious thing is just their incompetence on multiple levels.

Stratfors main business was implying to people that they're in the know and that they sell information to cia/others- that was their main advertisement point, that the other clients are People Who Matter(tm). yet the information they could provide was always known to be the same quality a normal journalist could whip up. their one on one counsel was probably just pure bullshit too, my bet is that the head honcho acted like he knew more than he was saying all the time like a fucking cult leader he was trying to be - easier that way, no need to be precise. "oh great counter intelligence god will there be turmoil in middle-east?" "yes, we have information that the area is going to be under lots of political movement in the near future, that much is certain"(from even watching the fox news for past 10 years).

that's not to say that much of their intelligence shouldn't be taken seriously, I'm just implying that paying for it and a mouth that is there just to please you as a client is fucking stupid.

that business is crushed. that's the point of the leaks in this case, destroying a bullshit business selling snakeoil "intelligence". previously the way to know that they were a joke were to subscribe to them and read al jazeera and public forums - and who would fess up publicly that they paid for crap level intelligence? perhaps there were some people who thought stratfor would have had some inside information about obama being secretly part of KKK along with osama, but that's just stupid, as stupid as looking for proof of ET's in their material(which no doubt many people have done..).

Re:Is Slashdot a "Joke" ? (5, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214193)

That's a pretty wafer thin opinion piece. Sure, Stratfor seems like a mess, but I think the most telling aspect of this whole fiasco is that we actually believe an intelligence company could be so moronic. That says a lot about the public's perception of government intelligence, or lack thereof, if imbeciles like Stratfor are actually being paid to provide services.

What more effective cover for the deadly efficient than the guise of a disorganised clod?

Re:Is Slashdot a "Joke" ? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39214247)

"What more effective cover for the deadly efficient than the guise of a disorganised clod?"

Good encryption, for one.

Re:Is Slashdot a "Joke" ? (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214949)

"What more effective cover for the deadly efficient than the guise of a disorganised clod?"

Good encryption, for one.

Well, yea.


... but not on the honeypot ;)

Re:Is Slashdot a "Joke" ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39214289)

Aha, the secret of Inspector Clouseau!

Re:Is Slashdot a "Joke" ? (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214549)

Don't forget Agent 88

Re:Is Slashdot a "Joke" ? (1)

boristdog (133725) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214901)

Was that Hymie?

Re:Is Slashdot a "Joke" ? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214891)

That's a pretty wafer thin opinion piece. Sure, Stratfor seems like a mess, but I think the most telling aspect of this whole fiasco is that we actually believe an intelligence company could be so moronic. That says a lot about the public's perception of government intelligence, or lack thereof, if imbeciles like Stratfor are actually being paid to provide services.

What more effective cover for the deadly efficient than the guise of a disorganised clod?

Pretty much what I was thinking...

Security through Obscurity

Was Aaron Barr a joke? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214327)

It's over a year now, dust settled... so was Aaron Barr/HBGary a joke? (from the PoV of services, of course it was... but how come powerful institutions came to use or attempt to use them?)

Re:Was Aaron Barr a joke? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214477)

It's over a year now, dust settled... so was Aaron Barr/HBGary a joke? (from the PoV of services, of course it was... but how come powerful institutions came to use or attempt to use them?)

Welcome to Griftopia.

Re:Was Aaron Barr a joke? (1)

durrr (1316311) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214643)

Becuse like Aron Barr, the idiots in charge of powerful institutions are more often than not idiots themself. I mean, a person that spends all their time backstabbing and sucking ass to climb the corporate/political ladder will often have painfully little spare time to actually be useful for anything else.

All you need is a nice suite and some confidence and you too can be the president of the united states(after finding some coprate sponsors and people handlers to put you there), i can assure you that you would be hard pressed to do a worse job than the latest bunch of morons that have had the job(not to mention the one currently having it) does.

Re:Was Aaron Barr a joke? (4, Insightful)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214651)

Salesmen often have no special skills or knowledge other than the ability to get people to buy their products. The identify people with a need, or those people come to them. Those are leads. Those leads are qualified and then a sales attempt is made. People then buy those products. The fact that Stratfor is useless is nothing weird or strange. The customers (government or private) were sold a product that they thought suited a need they had. The sales people probably built a convincing case for a subscription to be bought and the everyone proceeded to think it was doing something for them. Like many sales pitches, it probably hit more on the potential of a service that was described in the way they described Stratfor, as opposed to the reality of just what they could provide.

Stratfor does sound like a joke. I'm still trying to figure out what the conspiracy is. Like the author in TFA said, their super-secret bribed sources are equivalent to freelance writers. Even before this piece, I was thinking to myself, "exactly what is being provided here that is in any way strange or illegal?"

The only story here is that there are a lot of people paying a lot of money for a crappy product.

Re:Is Slashdot a "Joke" ? (1)

saskboy (600063) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214391)

It's a joke, that Coke, Convergys, Dow, and the Marines pay to get each day/week. That's a pretty solid joke. Who is the joke on, though?

CIA Damage Control 101 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39213929)

CIA Damage control 101 -- try to make it look as if the leak wasn't so bad.

Re:CIA Damage Control 101 (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39213999)

If only Stratfor had anything to do with the CIA.

Re:CIA Damage Control 101 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39214755)

Sounds like you might be in on it... Better start assuming that Stratfor is with the CIA.

Of course... (0)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#39213931)

Well... with the evidence given FOR the opinion of this writer, yes... Stratfor is a joke.
I mean, I certainly would not write an opinion article where I introduce evidence contrary to my actual opinion. That would mean my opinion is wrong and thus I should change my opinion accordingly.
What do I look like... Religion?

Re:Of course... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39214143)

Based on the rambling incoherence of your post, if you're a religion, you make Scientology look valid and reasonable.

Re:Of course... (0)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214713)

Thanks for trolling, it means you care.

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39213945)

Anonymous is a lose canon with no real insight into global politics? Wow. I'm flabbergasted by such news!
 
Aside from their victims, I can't think of any party that should take them as more than just a bunch of goofs who're doing it for teh LuLz.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39214183)

Anonymous is a lose canon

You're doing it wrong.

Re:What? (1)

P-niiice (1703362) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214325)

and he actually supported his own position in doing so

'lose cannon' should be some kind of catchphrase

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39214895)

Lose cannon. Is that fired upon acknowledging you're wrong?

Re:What? (1)

WillDraven (760005) | more than 2 years ago | (#39215075)

Or Anonymous's next project. Hack the MSC and have the DoD "lose cannon".

Counter-counter-counter spin (5, Insightful)

tpotus (1856224) | more than 2 years ago | (#39213965)

... is what this article is.

Re:Counter-counter-counter spin (5, Insightful)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214009)

How is it spin? The guy quotes articles and facts that are easily verified to show that Stratfor is not what it has been claimed to be by a well-known media whore. The only spin is coming from people who can't stand that Wikileaks could be blowing this out of proportion.

Re:Counter-counter-counter spin (3, Insightful)

tbannist (230135) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214157)

Strangely enough either way this goes it's an issue. Either the taxpayer money is being wasted or it's being spent on a private corporation to spy on American citizens. Maybe the real issue is that giving money to these guys is both wasteful and unethical.

Re:Counter-counter-counter spin (1)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214691)

And we needed Anonymous and Wikileaks to expose that? You could have probably just "leaked" the US Federal budget and made your point. There's nothing secret about that.

Re:Counter-counter-counter spin (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39214235)

How is it spin? The guy quotes articles and facts that are easily verified to show that Stratfor is not what it has been claimed to be by a well-known media whore. The only spin is coming from people who can't stand that Wikileaks could be blowing this out of proportion.

By "blowing this out of proportion" do you mean providing access to documents? That's all Wikileaks has done. The media, however, was blowing it out of proportion when Anon announced they had the documents. This was long before Wikileaks announced they had them too.

Hate on, hater.

Re:Counter-counter-counter spin (2)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214859)

use of the word "hater" immediately loses the argument.

it shall be known as Mug's law, if that isn't already taken.

Re:Counter-counter-counter spin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39214583)

Stratfor is not what it has been claimed to be

"has been claimed to be" is the wrong verb, it implies that it is the subject of other people's claims. I think you meant "STRATFOR is not what it has claimed to be", since it's STRATFOR (note the all-caps government-agency-appearing name) that claims it is a hotshot intelligence service.

The only spin is coming from people who can't stand that Wikileaks could be blowing this out of proportion.

And from people who can't stand that Anonymous took down another hotshot-wannabe government contractor with delusions of grandeur (much like HB Gary).

"Oh, no! Anonymous infiltrated this completely useless company! What silly people!" Perhaps that was the point.

Re:Counter-counter-counter spin (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39214521)

So what you're saying is, I should really be wearing FIVE foil hats? Dammit, I thought I was well prepared with three.

What is exposed is not content of emails but.... (3, Insightful)

3seas (184403) | more than 2 years ago | (#39213973)

... the mindset of the intelligence industry. It shows there is an element of self supported dependencies involved. This is not unlike addicts, such as Alcoholic and durg abuses etc. But on th eup side of thise there are help groups such as AA, OA, MA, SPA etc.. (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_twelve-step_groups [wikipedia.org] ) where they have buddy systems because once you are so caught up in an addiction it is difficult to stay objective about getting yourself out of the addiction, hence the buddy system comes into play... better objectivity.

So, perhaps we need such a group for the Intelligence Industry, lets call it IA or better yet lets stay silent about the intelligence part and simply call the help group Anonymous.

Yeah... thats the ticket...
 

Re:What is exposed is not content of emails but... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39214567)

> such as Alcoholic and durg abuses etc. But on th eup side of thise

Kid, lay off the "durgs", they're messing you up badly.

Its manipulation of the simple Anon followers (2)

bwall (2455524) | more than 2 years ago | (#39213977)

Of course they are going to make a target they can hit seem like the most secure thing ever, with all the information in the world. Its just another case of Anonymous propaganda pushing the idea that what they are doing is actually accomplishing something more than stripping us of our rights. If they didn't have their followers tricked so hard, the people would realize that Anonymous is nothing more than a sophomoric group lashing out like a fat kid at the play ground.

If it's a joke... (5, Insightful)

micheas (231635) | more than 2 years ago | (#39213985)

Can we stop writing checks to them with tax payer money?

Re:If it's a joke... (2)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214429)

has someone gone through the leaks to find out how much of that was actually happening? it seems a lot of the hype around their government connections was just so that they would appear credible and to get people to pay for their so called service.

Ha ha only serious. (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39213987)

Stratfor's a joke, but the powers that be take them seriously. That makes them a serious threat. Wikileaks, exposing this joke, helps to diffuse that threat. This is not complicated.

Re:Ha ha only serious. (3, Informative)

Miros (734652) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214063)

Couldn't one make the exact same specious point about Anonymous or Wikileaks?

Re:Ha ha only serious. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39214279)

I'm fairly certain the 'powers that be' in this case, i.e. international intelligence services, don't see themselves as a joke.

Whether Anon or Wikileaks is a joke, is debatable.

With Anon, the mission seems to be disruption and/or attention to entities that, in some percievable way, do harm to free speech, physical rights, or
the Internet in general. No one is off the list as a target. Not even itself.

With Wikileaks, in this particular case as well as past episodes, exposing the intelligence services, the military, and Government personnel writ large for the farcical world they live in, would constitute a public service in my book.

Again, YMMV.

Re:Ha ha only serious. (0)

gadzook33 (740455) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214447)

You must be new here. Slashdot really only supports the extreme left view.

Re:Ha ha only serious. (3, Insightful)

bug1 (96678) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214615)

Only someone from the extreme right would make that claim ;)

Re:Ha ha only serious. (4, Insightful)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214907)

perspective foreshortening - from where you're sitting, everything is far to the left.

Re:Ha ha only serious. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39214093)

Stratfor's a joke, but the powers that be take them seriously. That makes them a serious threat. Wikileaks, exposing this joke, helps to diffuse that threat. This is not complicated.

It's news to me that any "powers that be" take Stratfor seriously. The editorial is not wrong when it says that Stratfor is something of a punchline. I'm embarassed for Julian for trying to make more of this than there is, to put it mildly.

Re:Ha ha only serious. (1)

tbannist (230135) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214167)

Maybe I misunderstood, but I thought the American Government was paying them for their services?

Re:Ha ha only serious. (5, Interesting)

medv4380 (1604309) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214441)

Way back the kind of service Stratfor provides was valuable. Having someone in a foreign country pickup a local paper compile the relevant information then send them out to clients was valuable. The Internet has made this service worthless, but they are probably still used just because ripping them out of the burocracy is difficult. The CIA also got slapped around a bit when it was found out that they had ditched a large portion of "human" intelligence gathering in favor of electronic gathering after 9/11. So, they are probably a bit against just stripping out something worthless that allows them to claim "human" intelligence gathering. WikiLeaks and Anonymous just got tricked by Stratfor's internal Koolaid and Marketing trying to convince their clients that they are valuable. The value Stratfor really has is when a country shuts-down the internet internally, but at that point you really need a real spy since they probably stop the newspapers and other service that Stratfor uses too.

Re:Ha ha only serious. (2)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214339)

If Stratfor isn't taken seriously, how do they charge so much?

Re:Ha ha only serious. (1)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214739)

I don't take Oracle very seriously either. The only reason I pay them is because some doofus before me paid them, and now I can't get rid of their shit because there's code and peoples jobs based on it.

Re:Ha ha only serious. (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214133)

Uh... what again is the background of those who started up Stratfor and have worked their?

Re:Ha ha only serious. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39214201)

I'd rather they defused the threat than diffuse it.

Re:Ha ha only serious. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39214229)

Don't most politicians need some "research" to backup up what they are going to do anyways? Maybe Stratfor is the place where they can get what they need.

Re:Ha ha only serious. (1)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214717)

People probably take their spouses' opinion seriously in decisions too. Not all of them are very bright. Is bad advice news?

Did these guys justify the Iraq war or something? Did they pretend to find WMDs?

What does one do when intel data is compromised? (1)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214011)

Say the data was worthless / false / dated / phony / a decoy from the start.

Of course, that doesn't mean that it isn't any and/or all of those things anyway, but still - it does seem that there's a number of folks in power who do take them seriously.

Re:What does one do when intel data is compromised (0)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214105)

So that's how he was able to link to stories that are years old to dispute the claims? You're attempts to spin this are pathetic. Wikileaks and Anonymous are wrong about these people so just learn to face the facts.

I agree: nothing here in the Wikileaks Stratfor. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39214045)

Wikileaks is exaggerating the importance of Stratfor. It isn't some spy operation, it is just news gathering and analysis. Stratfor is not a private CIA.
The Atlantic article has two links to stories claiming Stratfor is a joke but they are both written by Daniel Drezner. I guess Daniel isn't impressed by Stratfor.
Wikileaks may have some use, but by exposing emails from a bunch of guys who gather and report news for a living I don't think they have saved the world..
Try again Julian.

Re:I agree: nothing here in the Wikileaks Stratfor (3, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214195)

Wikileaks is exaggerating the importance of Stratfor. It isn't some spy operation, it is just news gathering and analysis.

That's what spy operations are, though.

Re:I agree: nothing here in the Wikileaks Stratfor (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214321)

Wikileaks is exaggerating the importance of Stratfor. It isn't some spy operation, it is just news gathering and analysis.

That's what spy operations are, though.

A spy operation would imply that a certain amount of deception (or at least extreme covertness) was used to secure information that is considered proprietary to an organization (i.e. they don't publish it on the internet or give it to any one who calls and asks). Was either of these things true about Stratfor?

Re:I agree: nothing here in the Wikileaks Stratfor (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39214841)

Wikileaks is exaggerating the importance of Stratfor. It isn't some spy operation, it is just news gathering and analysis.

That's what spy operations are, though.

There is some truth to that, but it does not explain the emotional attitudes surrounding the story. If this is what news agencies do, why was Stratfor singled out as uniquely evil for doing it? Why was Stratfor declared to be evil when Anonymous first attacked them, before the hackers had the chance to read any of the emails? If there is little of interest in the copied emails, why are they supposed to be proof that Stratfor is evil? If hacking into companies to copy their private emails is good, why isn't Anonymous rallying to the defense of Rupert Murdoch's news organizations? If some of Stratfor's news-gathering methods are evil, why isn't Anonymous condemning investigative journalists like Greg Palast who have enough confidential data appear in their laps that they probably do some of the same things?

If Wikileaks and Anonymous are worldwide organizations operating for ideological reasons, why are their attacks (electronic and rhetorical) directed at the United States and organizations they see as pro-American? Why does Wikileaks consistently come to judgements that their evidence does not support, like the "COLLATERAL MURDER" of a journalist in a small group of "unarmed" combatants that had at least one AK-47 and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher? Why don't Anonymous and Wikileaks target Russia, Iran, OPEC, the Arab League, Jamaat e-Islami, or the Muslim Brotherhood? There are surely plenty of scandals there to be found and information that the public ought to know.

I originally had "the members of Plan Hermandad Revolucionaria" in that list, but the first link for that on DDG turns out to be Wikileaks Bolivia. Credit is due there, and maybe Wikileaks is investing more than just the US, but why are all the major PR campaigns against the US?

Re:I agree: nothing here in the Wikileaks Stratfor (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214363)

Would you please rephrase the above with HBGary and Aaron Barr instead?

Yeah sure. (2)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214047)

This reeks of the sort of thing written to undermine the leaked material.

Re:Yeah sure. (2, Informative)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214135)

Translation: I didn't read the article. He links to stories that were written years ago about Stratfor. So those were all written years in advance for this moment? Are you really that stupid?

Re:Yeah sure. (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214785)

I'm stupid enough to still visit this site, so yeah, I guess I am.

Re:Yeah sure. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39214399)

It doesn't look like PBS was all that impressed either [pbs.org]

Re:Yeah sure. (1)

tnk1 (899206) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214779)

As far as I can tell, it didn't need much help being undermined. Even the announcement of this from the leakers themselves confused me on why I should give a shit.

It isn't like these are embassy cables or something. It's like this is "Spy Stuff". Oooooooo, spooky.... Wake me up when they release something good again.

How Government Contractors Are Hired (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39214075)

Some contractors are hired because they do a job effectively and economically.

Some contractors are hired because they just happen to be the only ones doing that thing in that area.

And others are hired because bribes are very effective, or someone in government stands to make a lot of money back from that contractor being used.

If someone wants a company in place to steal taxpayers money, chances are they're going to get it if the money ends up getting spread around.

PR tactic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39214077)

Perhaps this is just a Stratfor tactic to reduce perception of them as threat (i.e. float the masses articles that make them seem ineffectual/harmless)....

From my research: (3, Interesting)

sixtyeight (844265) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214099)

I was going through the Stratfor leak to assist in crowdsourcing research on the material. I found predominantly old news, employees sending each other e-mail links of dated internet articles, and dingbattily off-base novice assessments of geopolitical maneuverings and trends. The rest was industry-specific minutae ("How does [situation] affect the [goods] market in [country]?") and a few Excel spreadsheets of personally-identifiable employee and contact data. Stratfor appears to be what happens when someone with more money than brains gets an inflated sense of self-importance and decides it would be cool to run a corporate cloak-and-dagger firm.

Yes Stratfor is a joke. But like most jokes, the problem was that people were willing to take it seriously. Worse, Stratfor's intelligence and comprehension of geopolitics was still light-years ahead of the average U.S. citizen's.

A much better source of intel - though hardly ideal - for the curious would be at Benjamin Fulford's leak site [benjaminfulford.net] . Each Monday morning new updates arrive that are behind a paywall. They are then repeated for free on various blogs within hours.

Re:From my research: (4, Insightful)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214197)

The way I read the article - the author is claiming that Anonymous are idiots for overinflating the importance of Stratfor because Stratfor is a joke.

The thing is - companies that are jokes but try to pass themselves off to be important are JUST the kind of companies Anonymous loves to go for.

The Stratfor leaks aren't about "Hey look at this juicy intel!", they are about "Hey, this company says they're hot shit. Check these emails out - these guys are actually morons!"

Re:From my research: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39214635)

No they aren't. It is extremely obvious to anyone who has read a single statement from Wikileaks about Stratfor that they aren't.

But feel free to retcon the purpose to one that isn't retarded now that the original one makes beloved ones feel bad.

Re:From my research: (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214983)

anonymous and wikileaks are quite different.

anon is chaotic neutral, to use a card-based analogy (close to a car analogy).

anon could well be exposing wikileaks as Assange's personal paranoid fapfest, and also exposing stratfor for being a piece of shit incompetent govt fraud agency. they could get double-lulz...

Re:From my research: (5, Interesting)

sixtyeight (844265) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214737)

I've noticed a similar tendency. It's true of Anonymous, of Wikileaks, and of the American People in general.

If any or all of these groups were better-informed, so would their results be. That they're not has been the result of consolidated media and a systematized effort to make uninformed peasants and dullards of them. That effort is coming to a close.

Getting people more aware - and aware of what's actually meaningful and how to discern the difference - would appear to be the next part of the process. Fortunately the information technology is already present, and mechanisms like Slashdot's moderation system will serve the People well. Valid stuff gets promoted into public awareness better, and that's just what we need. The combination of unemployed bloggers, information technology, social networking and an increasingly motivated public will enable us to form solutions and information distribution channels and get them noticed. It's less about diagnosing the problem, and getting to the business of forming solutions. Together. Not to mention getting onto the process of exposure and accountability for wrongdoers.

A lot of the stumbling blocks for people at the moment seem to be that they're predominantly unknowledgeable, they don't yet have sufficient discernment to know what to toss out let alone solutions to contribute or even participate in, and as a result they're pretty reactive to what passes before them, complaining about it or offering uneducated opinions and interpretations. Forming solutions, rather than complaining about the silliness we encounter, is The Next Thing. To stay ahead of the trends, work out what The Next Thing is, and then implement it.

For instance, how about a hybrid Wiki / Kickstarter specifically for corruption? Crowds can compile research - with citations - on the wrongdoings of corporations, politicians, CEOs and public notables. Each entry could have a fund, with people throwing in $50 or $100 to hire an attorney. When the fund fills up, you take them to court. You then return any damages awarded back to the users who invested in that specific fund, in whatever percentage they invested. Result: Crowd-based accountability to law. A new way to glean money for taking care of the rampant corruption. So instead of complaining about politicians, the public can finally do something about it. It wouldn't matter so much who got into office, provided they were accountable to the law and their sworn duties. And we could stop approaching elections like they were some giant slot machine, not to ineffectually telling each other to "Impeach [politician]" to no avail. With Drupal and BitCoin, it wouldn't take that much for a bunch of geeks to get started.

Anyone interested? Message me.

Coast to Coast AM & Alex Jones (0)

thesandbender (911391) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214111)

Stratfor guys pop up occasionally on Coast to Coast AM and Alex Jones. At one point Alex Jones was accused of being part of Stratfor. Feel free to draw your own conclusions based on that.

Re:Coast to Coast AM & Alex Jones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39214437)

Alex Jones has nothing to do with Stratfor other than being located in the same town (Austin).
Stratfor is a open source research company which also uses some paid informants and sells their analysis of global events to others. Nothing crazy is going on. Plenty of companies pay them for analysis reports, nothing more.

Re:Coast to Coast AM & Alex Jones (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214975)

Aw, man, I loved Art Bell! Listening to his program used to be my favorite part of Sunday nights...

No offense meant to George Noory, of course.

*sniff* *sniff* (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39214139)

Smells like a continuation of the smear campaign against Wikileaks and Anonymous.

"HAY EVERYONE, WIKILEAKS AND ANONYMOM IS STUPID AN WORTHLESS, LOOK HOW NAIVE AND DESPERATE THEY ARE LOLOLOL! NOBODY PAY ATTENTION TO THEM BECAUSE ALL THEIR STUFFS IS POINTLESS GRASPING AT STRAWS!!!11!1one!!"

Seriously, nobody with a brain believes any of the smear campaign against Julian Assange, just like us same people don't believe the ridiculous lies told by government when they try to cover shit up.

Unfortunately, the vast, vast majority of the population is as dumb as a bag of hammers, and eat this shit up like it's the only thing they know (which in many cases is probably true).

Smear campaign continues, move along, nothing to see here, us proles can't change anything.

Re:*sniff* *sniff* (2)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214171)

You would have a point if not for the fact that he has stories about them saying the same thing that predate the existence of Wikileaks. The only people sniffling are the nerds who are butthurt that Assange and Anonymous were wrong.

Re:*sniff* *sniff* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39214933)

Be that as it may, why is this news to begin with? I'm sure both Wikileaks and Anonymous have attacked things completely irrelevant to their causes, or come up just plain empty when going after information. WAs attacking Stratfor a stupid move? Sure, maybe, maybe not. All of that is irrelevant. Is this piece an attack on the intelligence or abilities of either Wikileaks or Anonymous? That last sentence in the summary certainly is.

Wikileaks and/or Anonymous are a threat to the current way things are done. Any ammunition they have is going to be hurled in their direction. To go back to quoting a fictional idiot: "HEY EVERYONE, ANONYMOUS ATTACKED A USELESS COMPANY AND WASTED THEIR TIME AND EFFORT. IGNORE EVERYTHING THAT THEY DO BECAUSE SURELY IT WILL ALSO BE STUPID AND IRRELEVANT AND HAVE NO REASON TO BE LOOKED AT CLOSELY!"

A few bad decisions shouldn't eliminate the vast amount of actual GOOD information that they've uncovered. But pieces like this article are trying to make everyone focus on their failures, and take attention away from and undermine their successes.

A smear campaign is a smear campaign. If you don't want to see it as such, that's your perogative.

Stratfor maybe a joke but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39214169)

the CIA doesn't see it that way. They take them seriously, nothing funny about that. They get intel from these clowns. Thats a story, rather than that thinly veiled hit piece on Assange and Wikileaks

It's things like this (2)

koan (80826) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214177)

From the email Georgy sent out after the release of emails.
"The release of these emails is, however, a direct attack on Stratfor. This is another attempt to silence and intimidate the company, and one we reject. As you can see, emails sent to many people about my resignation were clearly forged.
We do not know what else has been manufactured. Stratfor will not be silenced, and we will continue to publish the geopolitical analysis our friends and subscribers have come to rely on. "

Well possibly they were forged or maybe not.

If you go to their web page allegedly they are giving out all their "information" for free for a limited time, however what I see is nothing new or interesting and quite a bit of poorly written analysis (yes I know my writing sucks as well) after going through several of the articles I started wondering "what's the big deal about Stratfor?"
Decide for yourself:
Top 5 Stratfor Wikileaks Revelations (So Far)
http://www.policymic.com/articles/4833/top-5-stratfor-wikileaks-revelations-so-far [policymic.com]

http://www.benzinga.com/news/12/02/2381070/wikileaks-stratfor-e-mails-reveal-an-investment-plot-worthy-of-a-spy-novel [benzinga.com]

All sources are suspect but you can always get the torrent file with their emails (alleged emails)
http://wikileaks.org/the-gifiles.html [wikileaks.org]

My advice is download them from a wireless cafe not your home IP, not sure what the legality is here and I am staying away from it.

Wkileaks hasn't considered anything (4, Informative)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214243)

Wikileaks is a platform that hosts the leaks they are sent to. Posting them is in no way a political statement of them. From the site:

On Monday February 27th, 2012, WikiLeaks began publishing The Global Intelligence Files, over five million e-mails from the Texas headquartered "global intelligence" company Stratfor. The e-mails date 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 Defence Intelligence Agency. The emails show Stratfor’s web of informers, pay-off structure, payment laundering techniques and psychological methods.

They don't exaggerate anything, merely state the contents of the leak.

Lost Opportunity (1)

Grindalf (1089511) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214299)

If only they had known in advance, they could have planted tracer data, skitsing data and subvert data in the feed! Better luck next time ...

Is there really a CIA connection? (3, Insightful)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214341)

I see Stratfor calling itself the "Shadow CIA". But is there really any connection to the CIA? From what I've seen they mostly market themselves to private industry, perhaps they have some subscribers in Washington but the connection seems casual at best.

Re:Is there really a CIA connection? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214561)

that would be interesting to know, because pre-leak and post-leak it seems the cia connections were touted primarily for marketing purposes.

Well, since they don't encrypt their email.. (1)

synthesizerpatel (1210598) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214345)

I think the answer is basically just 'yes', regardless of the veracity of any of the claims in the article, regardless of what you may think of their practices or the quality of their product.

If you work in intelligence and you don't encrypt your email, you are a joke.

Joke or not ... (4, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214461)

... people pay money for their analysis.

If my CEO believes in astrology or that the earth is only 6000 years old, I may think he's crazy. But I still need to know who has his ear.

Re:Joke or not ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39214723)

If my CEO believes in astrology or that the earth is only 6000 years old, I may think he's crazy.

That was last year. Now it's 6,001 years old.

Another promotion for Anonymous? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39214497)

How come every time a story comes out about them, they seem to get a promotion. Now they are a "transparency group".
NOT!

The Atlantic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39214557)

Why does Slashdot keep linking to these reactionary troll articles from The Atlantic? God this site blows.

As a former subscriber (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39214747)

and one who had their information released I feel I can make some credible comments on the quality of Stratfor.

The primary use of Stratfor was background, especially in regions I was not familar or required too much attention to stay on top of. Second was the channelling of event and other information from various open source media, including local/domestic. Third was their analysis. Whether done by themself, others, or some combination, they usually got the broad picture correct and were good at breaking down economic data. However, Stratfor was poor when it came to near and medium term predictions on both economic and political events. Marginally better on military stuff.

I was a general subscriber, nothing 'special' ever requested. For the price, they were worth it. If you timed things properly you could have it annually for less than a sub to the WSJ and again, from an informational gathering standpoint they did a decent job. Perhaps a lot was open source and/or available if you really wanted to look, etc but that is exactly why you are paying a firm like stratfor - to do the searching and collating for you and give some kind of summary. They save time and effort.

posted anonymously for obvious reasons

The Atlantic (article) is a joke (4, Informative)

guanxi (216397) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214871)

From TFA:

A friend who works in intelligence once joked that Stratfor is just The Economist a week later and several hundred times more expensive. As of 2001, a Stratfor subscription could cost up to $40,000 per year.

I think it costs around $100-200 per year, about the same as the Economist. As a reader of both, and much more, Stratfor is an excellent source of original, well-written analysis that you can't find elsewhere. Certainly calling them a private CIA is an exaggeration (I imagine their budget is a little smaller too), and certainly they have flaws (their obsession with geopolitical analysis, for example), but they are worth reading.

If you have a strong interest in international affairs, try them; currently their services are free:
http://stratfor.com/analysis [stratfor.com]
http://stratfor.com/situation-report [stratfor.com]

For example, here is an excellent explanation (now slightly out of date) of the groups resisting Assad in Syria:
http://stratfor.com/analysis/syria-opposition-struggles-gain-foreign-support [stratfor.com]

Conspiracy!! (1)

NiceGeek (126629) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214913)

There you have it. The comments on here are indicative of how conspiracy theorists think. No evidence will ever be sufficient to dissuade them from what they *believe* to be true.

Ever hear of a 'honeypot?' (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39214961)

Maybe the info that got "hacked" was meant to be.
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