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UPDATE: News remains sparse from the newest Wikileaks release, but the BBC is pointing to one email that seems to indicate that mid-level Pakistani officials knew about Osama Bin Laden's "safe house" in the country. The email thread, initiated after the news of Osama Bin Laden's death, is here.
Like the diplomatic cable releases, the big insight (if there is one) so far from the leaked emails seems to be a peek into the quotidian workings of international intelligence rather than revealing groundbreaking secrets.
Some of the more interesting ones include:
- A handful of emails from around the 2008 elections indicating John McCain's campaign weighed a possible voter fraud case against the Obama campaign in two states.
- Coca Cola requesting information on PETA in the lead-up to the Vancouver Olympics.
- Emails advocating for "gender discrimination" in the intelligence field, and one in which (while discussing a report of Hugo Chavez's health), Stratfor founder George Friedman gives the following advice: "If this is a source you suspect may have value, you have to take control
od him. Control means financial, sexual or psychological control to the
point where he would reveal his sourcing and be tasked."
The releases from Tuesday detail Russian President Dimitry Medvedev's deal with Putin to end support of Yulia Tymoshenko, former Ukrainian premier, as the International Business Times reports. A significant portion of the new releases are email threads of Stratfor employees gossiping about Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.
Monday, Feb. 27, 1:45 p.m.: Wikileaks on Monday published a small sampling from what it says is a massive trove of 5 million emails from geopolitical analysis firm Stratfor, a Texas-based think tank that the anti-secrecy website says is the equivilent of a "private intelligence Enron."
The whistle-blowing group is working with two dozen or so media outlets around the world to publish the information, but a number of the big-name publications that Wikileaks had partnered with on previous releases were noticeably absent from the collaboration.
Speaking at the Frontline Club in London on Monday, Wikileaks chief Julian Assange told reporters that the emails prove that the intel firm has been monitoring activist groups on behalf of multinational corporations, and accused Stratfor of insider training based on their intelligence information.
The latest batch of documents were obtained by Anonymous in December of last year, and presumably given to Wikileaks for public release by the hacking collective. So far, the site has published about 150 emails, including ones cited in Assange's press conference. Those emails are available here. According to Wikileaks, the emails range from July 2004 to late December 2011.
Previous Wikileaks releases have benefited from the coordinated publication of stories about the leaks from major partners like the New York Times, the Guardian and Der Spiegel. But the relationship between those high-profile media outlets and the whistle-blowing group has since largely soured, leaving Wikileaks struggling this time around to attract the type of media coverage that followed previous releases of a trove of diplomatic cables.
According to Wikileaks, its current media partnerships include Rolling Stone magazine and McClatchy newspapers in the U.S., L’Espresso in Italy, and Al Akhbar in Lebanon.
As part of Monday's release, Wikileaks has highlighted excerpts of what they say are more than 4,000 emails pertaining to the online group itself, and have also partnered with The Yes Men, an activist group that is likewise mentioned in the Stratfor exchanges. The Yes Men apparently were monitored by Stratfor on behalf of Dow Chemical after impersonating the company to draw attention to the 1984 Dow Chemical/Union Carbide gas leak in Bhopal, otherwise known as the Bhopal Disaster.
Stratfor has released a broad statement in its own defense, claiming the firm has "worked to build good sources in many countries around the world" and that it is "committed to meeting the highest standards of professional conduct." The company, however, has declined to address the contents of any of the emails, or confirm their authenticity, CBS News reports.