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1 Lord Baron Viscount Duke Earl Count Planckton  Mon, Feb 27, 2012 1:29:57pm

I suspect as much. I think a lot of bullshitting of clients was going on.

2 Obdicut  Tue, Feb 28, 2012 4:59:36am

re: #1 Sergey Romanov

This is the same bunch of goons that come up with bullshit like 'culture of life' and 'culture of death' and stuff, too, I think, and that's what passes for analysis.

3 Charleston Chew  Tue, Feb 28, 2012 5:06:17am

This is a nice illustration of how some of the core ideas behind conspiracy theories get purveyed into popular culture.

Both Stratfor and Wikileaks are ironically on the same side in this - they both want the world to think that Stratfor is a powerful and mysterious organization. Enemies with the same goal. It's good PR for both.

The truth is that the world is more mundane and less magical than our collective paranoia wants to believe.

4 Shiplord Kirel  Tue, Feb 28, 2012 8:15:44am

What a joke. PETA is a very public organization and in fact exists for no other purpose than to generate publicity and the resulting donations. I suspect that some clueless corporate drones at Coke hired Stratfor to impress their superiors with their diligence and seriousness.

If I were gathering intelligence on PETA (which I wouldn't because, frankly, nobody with an ounce of sense cares), I would look not at numbers but at their influential associations, especially politically connected media figures. From there, it would be possible to follow their various personal networks and make some predictions about where, and with what effect, the clowns at PETA will strike next.

5 wrenchwench  Tue, Feb 28, 2012 8:30:36am

Here's what Molly Molloy says about Stratfor:

I have been critical of Stratfor for several years, not because of
their corporate customers, supporters or "shadow CIA" reputation.
Rather, I have criticized Stratfor reports for being insipid and dull
at best and full of errors at worst. I remember the first time I read
a Stratfor intelligence report on the situation of extreme violence in
Mexico. It reminded me of the Weekly Readers we got back in junior
high school in the days before Channel 1 took over the lucrative
school media markets. I could honestly see nothing in a Stratfor
report that could not be gleaned from reading ordinary newspaper
stories and a few government think tank reports... These things have
now taken on the fancy name of "OPEN SOURCE INTELLIGENCE." Librarians
and historians and investigative journalists have always used
government documents as sources. The internet has made these resources
much more accessible than they used to be. It takes a lot of patience
to ferret out the good stuff in GAO and CRS reports, and even more to
search through miles of National Archives microfilm or microcard
versions of the US Congressional Serial Set and other congressional
committee reports and testimonies from thousands of hearings (open and
closed) often stored in the basements of university libraries. All
this stuff is online now and most of it "open source" that is, free of
charge to the reader (investigator, reporter, journalist, or any other
end-user). Basically, what it seemed to me that Stratfor was doing
was employing graduate students or offshore workers with language
skills to read a lot of news sources on the web and then digest them
into the "weekly reader" style reports that they then sold to
corporate clients who were too busy making lots of money to read and
think for themselves... Of course, I never bought any of the stuff
the corporate clients paid for. I wonder how different or better it
was/is?

Expensive corporate newsletters providing business intelligence have
been around forever, long before the internet. These are often priced
beyond the budget of public university libraries, or in some cases,
the publishers will sell one version to government and another pricier
version to corporate clients. Kind of like airline tickets. If
anybody buys their own airline ticket, they will most often look for
the best price. If a corporation or other organization with money buys
a plane ticket, they may default to first class (or business class)
and pay 6 times what the ordinary person pays. Even a ticket bought at
the last minute can often be had for a reasonable price, but the old
corporate travel office model helps keep airlines in business when
they buy a ticket from El Paso to Los Angeles (a real example I know
of) that costs $2,500. In this example, I bought a ticket for the same
route and schedule and paid less than $400.

It seems that Stratfor and other commercial firms claiming to sell
"intelligence" are in the same racket. I think Mr. Friedman is correct
in that the trove of emails will not yield much that is terribly
interesting or damaging to Stratfor or their clients. Actually, the
release of these private communications will probably do more to
reveal the "banality of intelligence" rather than anything
terrifically evil... I don't agree with hacking and stealing. That
seems to go beyond civil disobedience. But, if it helps people to
think more critically about the real value of what is being sold as
intelligence, well, maybe in the long run it will do some good...
Maybe people will think a little more carefully about what kind of
information they get for their money. Just my two cents... or two
thousand dollars. whatever I can get... molly molloy

That's from her 'Frontera List'.

6 TDG2112  Tue, Feb 28, 2012 11:04:07am

Okay, I'm going to descent from the trend here. I've been reading Stratfor since the '90s. I'm a Poly Sci major with an interest in in International Relations and Geopolitics.

Stratfor's most fascinating side has been it's military analysis. This is not surprising, a lot of the people working there have military backgrounds.

The story that really did it for me back then was when the F-117 got shot down. Or rather before it got shot down the guys at Stratfor detailed how the Russians had people in Serbia working with equipment they had sold them to make it happen. The conclusion: highly likely.

Then it happened. At which point Stratfor detailed exactly the next steps of what would happen to the crashed plane and the parts. 6 moths later, buried deep in the LA Times was a story what had happened to the shot down plane 3 months prior.

Their analysis during the Iraq war was absolutely spot on. As soon as troops arrived in Baghdad they were screaming "Insurgency." Rumsfeld and Cheney denied it and the whole adventure was so much worse off for it.

They've been screaming about Iran since the Getgo. All the analysis I hear on the MSM about Iran's influence and their strategic goals I've read first on Stratfor. Usually by weeks and months.

They've pointed out in Egypt that it wasn't the protesters getting rid of Mubarak, but the Military and the regime hadn't changed. Again, something the regular press never picked up on until almost a YEAR later.

During the Iranian protests they pointed out they would have zero effect on the government there, as the "middle class" made up such a small fraction of the population. The only reason everyone in the west believed otherwise was because the only people the western reporters talked to were English speakers, who all happened to live in the cities that make up less than a third of the population in Iran. MONTHS after things quieted down you finally found that kind of reporting in MSM. Reading those articles was like reading summaries of Stratfor analysis that had come out months prior.

If you are an absolute news junky and been through an IR 101 class that focused on Realist Theory, you don't need Stratfor to tell you a lot of these things. But by news junky, I mean someone who's JOB it is to read the news from a Realist Theory perspective every day for 8 hours a day.

99% of the stuff released by Wikileaks is stuff everyone who read Stratfor already knew. Did clients ask for some pretty stupid things? Yeah. If you've ever held a job, you've been asked by your customers to do some pretty stupid things too I'm sure. And your management has certainly had some pretty hairbrained ideas you had to implement as well. It's called business.

In the end, reading Stratfor for non-military or non-Geopolitical analysis has never been all that great. They've been screaming about China's looming economic disaster for more than a decade as if it was imminent. Now, some 10 years after they first started screaming about it, you can find economists and global investors starting to freak out that it is going to happen. Stratfor does admit their mistakes and every quarter lists them. So it's not all bad.

As for this being "good" PR for both, I don't think so. Wiki leaks is winning this one hands down. Much like Climate gate made perfectly legitimate science and scientists look stupid, so do the people at Stratfor who were doing their jobs well look.


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