Jeremy Hammond: FBI directed my attacks on foreign government sites

Anonymous hacktivist told court FBI informant and fellow hacker Sabu supplied him with list of countries vulnerable to cyber-attack

Hammond said: ‘I took responsibility by pleading guilty, but when will the government be made to answer for its crimes?’ Photograph: Michael Gottschalk/AFP

The Anonymous hacktivist sentenced on Friday to 10 years in federal prison for his role in releasing thousands of emails from the private intelligence firm Stratfor has told a Manhattan court that he was directed by an FBI informant to break into the official websites of several governments around the world.

Jeremy Hammond, 28, told a federal court for the southern district of New York that a fellow hacker who went under the internet pseudonym “Sabu” had supplied him with lists of websites that were vulnerable to attack, including those of many foreign countries. The defendant mentioned specifically Brazil, Iran and Turkey before being stopped by judge Loretta Preska, who had ruled previously that the names of all the countries involved should be redacted to retain their secrecy.

Within a couple of hours of the hearing, the three countries had been identified publicly by Forbes, the Huffington Post and Twitter feeds serving more than a million followers. “I broke into numerous sites and handed over passwords and backdoors that enabled Sabu – and by extension his FBI handlers – to control these targets,” Hammond told the court.

The 28-year-old hacker has floated the theory in the past that he was used as part of an effective private army by the FBI to target vulnerable foreign government websites, using the informant Sabu – real name Hector Xavier Monsegur – as a go-between. Sabu, who was a leading figure in the Anonymous-affiliated hacking group LulzSec, was turned by the FBI into one of its primary informants on the hacker world after he was arrested in 2011, about six months before the Stratfor website was breached.

Referring to the hacking of foreign government websites, Hammond said that in one instance, he and Sabu provided details on how to crack into the websites of one particular unidentified country to other hackers who then went on to deface and destroy those websites. “I don’t know how other information I provided to [Sabu] may have been used, but I think the government’s collection and use of this data needs to be investigated,” he told the court

He added: “The government celebrates my conviction and imprisonment, hoping that it will close the door on the full story. I took responsibility for my actions, by pleading guilty, but when will the government be made to answer for its crimes?”

Hammond’s 10-year federal prison service makes it one of the longest punishments dished out for criminal hacking offences in US history. It joins a lengthening line of long jail terms imposed on hackers and whistleblowers as part of the US authorities’ attempt to contain data security of government agencies and corporations in the digital age.

Preska also imposed a three-year period of probationary supervision once Hammond is released from jail that included extraordinary measures designed to prevent him ever hacking again. The terms of the supervision state that when he is out of prison he must: have no contact with “electronic civil disobedience websites or organisations”; have all his internet activity monitored; subject himself to searches of his body, house, car or any other possessions at any time without warrant; and never do anything to hide his identity on the internet.

Hammond’s 10-year sentence was the maximum available to the judge after he pleaded guilty to one count of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) relating to his December 2011 breach of the website of the Austin, Texas-based private intelligence company Strategic Forecasting, Inc. Delivering the sentence, Preska dismissed the defendant’s explanation of his motivation as one of concern for social justice, saying that he had in fact intended to create “maximum mayhem”. “There is nothing high-minded and public-spirited about causing mayhem,” the judge said.

She quoted from comments made by Hammond under various internet handles at the time of the Stratfor hack in which he had talked about his goal of “destroying the heart, hoping for bankruptcy, collapse”. She criticised what she called his “unrepentant recidivism – he has an almost unbroken record of offences that demonstrate an almost total disrespect for the law.”

Before the sentence came down, Hammond read out an outspoken statement to court in which he said he had been motivated to join the hacker group Anonymous because of a desire to “continue the work of exposing and confronting corruption”. He said he had been “particularly moved by the heroic actions of Chelsea Manning, who had exposed the atrocities committed by US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. She took an enormous personal risk to leak this information – believing that the public had a right to know and hoping that her disclosures would be a positive step to end these abuses.”

In his own case, he said that as a result of the Stratfor hack, “some of the dangers of the unregulated private intelligence industry are now known. It has been revealed through Wikileaks and other journalists around the world that Stratfor maintained a worldwide network of informants that they used to engage in intrusive and possibly illegal surveillance activities on behalf of large multinational corporations.”

Margaret Kunstler, a prominent member of the Hammond’s defence team, told the Guardian after the sentencing that the maximum punishment was “not a great surprise”. She said that Preska had turned Hammond’s own comments in web chats against him, “but I think she doesn’t understand the language that’s used in chat rooms and the internet – for her to have used such language against him and not understand what his comments meant seemed piggy to say the least.”

• This article was amended on 17 November 2013. An earlier version incorrectly described Margaret Kunstler as Hammond’s lead defence lawyer.

Ed Pilkington in New York
theguardian.com, Friday 15 November 2013 20.22 GMT

Find this story at 15 November 2013

© 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

Jeremy Hammond: Stung or entrapped? The case of the Stratfor hacker raises troubling questions about FBI’s involvement in catching or creating crime

On the day he learned he was to spend 10 years in federal prison for his involvement in an Anonymous hack, 28-year-old Jeremy Hammond read a statement to the Manhattan court. As well as framing his hacktivism as a public service, aimed at revealing the shadier operations of corporate intelligence firms, Hammond told the court that the FBI had played a significant role in cyberattacks in which he had participated, using infamous Anonymous snitch Sabu to provide information to hackers.

Hammond specifically noted that the FBI informant had provided him with information on vulnerabilities within the official websites of various governments around the world, including Brazil, Syria, Iran and Turkey. (The names of the nations were redacted from the court statement, but soon emerged online.)

Hammond stated: “I broke into numerous sites and handed over passwords and back doors that enabled Sabu — and by extension his FBI handlers — to control these targets … The government celebrates my conviction and imprisonment, hoping that it will close the door on the full story. I took responsibility for my actions, by pleading guilty, but when will the government be made to answer for its crimes?”

The hackivist’s contention here is that the U.S. government used hackers to garner information on, and cyber-advantage over, foreign governments. The hackers were then condemned as criminal, having unwittingly performed services for the U.S. government through illegal hacks. Whether or not the targets provided by Sabu were actually of interest to U.S. national intelligence, or whether they were simply valueless sting bate for hackers is unclear. What is evident, however, is that without government assistance, a number of illegal hacks would not have been carried out as they were. The decades-old question thus arises of when a government sting crosses the boundary into entrapment. In the years since 9/11, little more than a faint line in the sand seems to distinguish (legal) stings and (illegal) entrapment operations by the FBI.
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The criterion purportedly dividing sting and entrapment operations is weak. An operation counts as a sting (as opposed to entrapment) if it can be shown that a suspect would have carried out the crime, given the chance. It’s a perverse logic of hypotheticals when the government provides all the conditions for a crime to take place (e.g., providing talented hackers with government targets) — conditions that would not have been in place otherwise. A number of recent FBI cases relating to political activism have reeked of entrapment, but have been framed as stings. Recall, for example, the group of young Cleveland anarchists, strung along by an FBI agent into agreeing on a plan to blow up a bridge. The young men were, at every turn, prompted and offered materials by an FBI informant. “The alleged terrorist masterminds end up seeming, when the full story comes out, unable to terrorize their way out of a paper bag without law enforcement tutelage,” noted Rick Perlstein on the case in Rolling Stone last year.

Hammond’s case is different. The 28-year-old is a smart, articulate and experienced activist and hacker. As his guilty plea made clear, he knew what he was doing and he acted in what he felt was the public interest, to expose and hold accountable the private intelligence industry. However, Hammond also engaged in wholly government-prompted hacks and is now being ferociously punished. If it can be shown that the U.S. government used information gathered by hackers on Sabu’s tips, crucial questions arise about why the hackers and not the government agencies that used their skills are being persecuted. If, however, Sabu’s information about foreign government sites’ vulnerabilities were no more than a lure, questions of entrapment should be raised. Either way, as Hammond begins his lengthy federal prison sentence for a nonviolent crime, through which he received no personal enrichment, the FBI’s role in catching the hacktivist deserves greater scrutiny.

monday, Nov 18, 2013 05:51 PM +0100
Natasha Lennard

Find this story at 18 November 2013

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Jailed Anonymous hacker Jeremy Hammond: ‘My days of hacking are done’

Hammond calls his 10-year sentence a ‘vengeful, spiteful act’ by US authorities eager to put a chill on political hacking

‘I knew when I started out with Anonymous that being put in jail and having a lengthy sentence was a possibility,’ Hammond said. Photo: AP

Jeremy Hammond, the Anonymous hacktivist who released millions of emails relating to the private intelligence firm Stratfor, has denounced his prosecution and lengthy prison sentence as a “vengeful, spiteful act” designed to put a chill on politically-motivated hacking.

Hammond was sentenced on Friday at federal court in Manhattan to the maximum 10 years in jail, plus three years supervised release. He had pleaded guilty to one count under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) flowing from his 2011 hack of Strategic Forecasting, Inc, known as Stratfor. In an interview with the Guardian in the Metropolitan Correction Center in New York, conducted on Thursday, he said he was resigned to a long prison term which he sees as a conscious attempt by the US authorities to put a chill on political hacking.

He had no doubt that his sentence would be long, describing it as a “vengeful, spiteful act”. He said of his prosecutors: “They have made it clear they are trying to send a message to others who come after me. A lot of it is because they got slapped around, they were embarrassed by Anonymous and they feel that they need to save face.”

Most pointedly, Hammond suggested that the FBI may have manipulated him to carry out hacking attacks on “dozens” of foreign government websites. During his time with Anonymous, the loose collective of hackers working alongside WikiLeaks and other anti-secrecy groups, he was often directed by a individual known pseudonomously on the web as “Sabu”, the leader of the Anonymous-affiliated group Lulzsec, who turned out to be an FBI informant.

Hammond, who is under court orders restricting what he says in public, told the Guardian that Sabu presented him with a list of targets, including many foreign government sites, and encouraged him to break into their computer systems. He said he was not sure whether Sabu was in turn acting on behalf of the FBI or other US government agency, but it was even possible that the FBI was using Sabu’s internet handle directly as contact between the two hackers was always made through cyberspace, never face-to-face.

“It is kind of funny that here they are sentencing me for hacking Stratfor, but at the same time as I was doing that an FBI informant was suggesting to me foreign targets to hit. So you have to wonder how much they really care about protecting the security of websites.”

In the interview, conducted in a secure prison meeting room hours before the 28-year-old Chicagoan was sentenced, he was sanguine about his prospects. “I knew when I started out with Anonymous that being put in jail and having a lengthy sentence was a possibility. Given the nature of the targets I was going after I knew I would upset a lot of powerful people.”

Dressed in a brown prison jump suit, and with a long wispy goatee and moustache (he planned to shave both off before the sentencing hearing), Hammond was scathing about the way the CFAA was being twisted in his view for political ends. “They are widening the definition of what is covered by the Act and using it to target specifically political activists,” he said.

He invoked the memory of Aaron Swartz, the open-data crusader who killed himself in January while awaiting trial under the CFAA for releasing documents from behind the subscription-only paywall of an online research group. “The same beast bit us both,” Hammond said. “They went after Aaron because of his involvement in legitimate political causes – they railroaded charges against him, and look what happened.”

Hammond has been in custody since March 2012 having been arrested in Chicago on suspicion of the Stratfor leak of millions of emails that were eventually released by WikiLeaks as the Global Intelligence Files. His sentence is an indication of the aggression with which prosecutors have been pursuing political hackers in the US – other Anonymous members in Britain involved in the breach of Stratfor were sentenced to much shorter jail terms.

Hammond stressed that he had not benefitted personally in any way from the Stratfor email release, that exposed surveillance by private security firms on activists including Anonymous members themselves, Occupy protesters and campaigners in Bhopal, India involved in the push for compensation for victims of the 1984 industrial catastrophe. “Our main purpose in carrying out the Stratfor hack was to find out what private security and intelligence companies were doing, though none of us had any idea of the scale of it.”

Paradoxically, Hammond insists that he would never have carried out the breach of Stratfor’s computer system had he not been led into doing it by Sabu – real name Hector Xavier Monsegur – the fellow hacker who is himself awaiting sentencing having pleaded guilty to 12 hacking-related criminal charges. “I had never heard of Stratfor until Sabu brought in another hacker who told me about it. Practically, I would never have done the Stratfor hack without Sabu’s involvement.”

Hammond discovered that Monsegur was an FBI informant the day after his own arrest. As he was reading the criminal complaint against him, he saw quotes marked CW for “co-operating witness” that contained details that could only have come from Sabu.

“I felt betrayed, obviously. Though I knew these things happen. What surprised me was that Sabu was involved in so much strategic targeting, in actually identifying targets. He gave me the information on targets.”

Part of Sabu’s interest in him, he now believes, was that Hammond had access to advanced tools including one known as PLESK that allowed him to break into web systems used by large numbers of foreign governments. “The FBI and NSA are clearly able to do their own hacking of other countries. But when a new vulnerability emerges in internet security, sometimes hackers have access to tools that are ahead of them that can be very valuable,” he said.

Looking back on his involvement with anonymous, the Chicagoan said that he had been drawn to work with Anonymous, because he saw it as “a model of resistance – it was decentralised, leaderless.” He grew increasingly political in his hacking focus, partly under the influence of the Occupy movement that began in Wall Street in September 2011 and spread across the country.

Chelsea Manning, the US soldier formerly known as Bradley who leaked a massive trove of state secrets to WikiLeaks now serving a 35-year sentence in military jail, was a major influence on him. Manning showed him that “powerful institutions – whether military or private security firms – are involved in unaccountable activities that the public is totally unaware of that can only be exposed by whistleblowers and hackers”.

Hammond has often described himself as an anarchist. He has a tattoo on his left shoulder of the anarchy symbol with the words: “Freedom, equality, anarchy”. Another tattoo on his left forearm shows the Chinese representation of “leader” or “army”, and a third tattoo on his right forearm is a glider signifying the hacking open-source movement that is drawn from the computer simulation Game of Life .

He says he plans to use his time in prison “reading, writing, working out and playing sports – training myself to become more disciplined so I can be more effective on my release”. As to that release, he says he cannot predict how he will be thinking when he emerges from jail, but doubts that he would go back to hacking. “I think my days of hacking are done. That’s a role for somebody else now,” he said.

Ed Pilkington in New York
theguardian.com, Friday 15 November 2013 17.12 GMT

Find this story at 15 November 2013

© 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

A Conversation With Jeremy Hammond, American Political Prisoner Sentenced to 10 Years

Jeremy Hammond, the Chicago activist and hacktivist (an activist who uses computer networks for political
protests and other actions), was sentenced last week to 10 years in prison and three years of supervised release for hacking into the intelligence contractor Strategic Forcasting (or Stratfor) and other government, law enforcement and military suppliers’ websites.

The Stratfor hack resulted in a cache of 5.2 million leaked emails and account information for approximately 860,000 Stratfor subscribers and clients, including information from 60,000 credit cards. To list a few of the many revelations, the emails revealed domestic spying on activists, including Occupy Wall Street; surveillance through persona management programs or fake online personas (“sock puppets”); and attempts to link American activist and journalist Alexa O’Brien to al-Qaeda. The Stratfor hack pullled back the curtain on the ofttimes illegal goings-on in the shadowy world of intelligence contractors.

Mr. Hammond’s supervised release includes limited computer access and prohibits him using encryption and from associating with civil disobedience groups. The ban on encryption shows a fundamental misunderstanding of how the Internet works. Encryption is used in nearly every online transaction, such as email, social networking and online banking. The broad ban on freedom of association raises potential Constitutional issues. At the time of his arrest, Mr. Hammond was working under the banner of AntiSec, an offshoot of the hacktivist collective Anonymous.

Jeremy Hammond, American Political Prisoner, courtesy of @FreeAnons.

The packed courtroom looked more like a church wedding than a sentencing, with dozens of Westpoint cadets on a field trip sitting on the left and Mr. Hammond’s parents, friends and supporters — who caravanned from all over the U.S. to show solidarity for their fallen comrade — sitting on the right. Mr. Hammond, his attorneys, Sarah, Emily and Margaret Kunstler and Susan Kellman faced the stoic Judge Loretta Preska presiding over the solemn ceremony.

On September 10th I visited Jeremy Hammond at Manhattan Correctional Center where he had been incarcerated for 18 months. Mr. Hammond, who was denied bail, was also disallowed all visitors, including family members. I am the first journalist with whom Mr. Hammond met since his arrest in March 2012. This interview was held months before sentencing. At the request of Mr. Hammond’s attorneys, who feared his words would be used at sentencing against him, I delayed publishing.
____________________________

Vivien Lesnik Weisman: You are both a boots on the ground activist and a hacktivist. Can you explain hacktivisim, hacking for political purposes and off line activism?

Jeremy Hammond: Hackers are by nature critical of systems, hacking is activism. The very act of hacking is inherently activist and political.

VLW: How effective is activism without the added thread of technology, or hacktivism, in the modern world? Which is more effective?

JH: Hacking is never going to take the place of grassroots community organizing. They complement each other.

There is more to it of course than hacking. Hacktivism involves online social networking, sharing ideas. Protest is predictable; they know how to contain it. The government knows how to ignore it. Both direct action and civil disobedience are unpredictable. I’m all for it.

I see hacktivism as a direct action tool. Offensive hacking with political intent is really nothing more than one more direct action tool. What you do when you get the information is what determines its efficacy as a direct action tool.

And now because of the state of the world — foreclosures, the wars — hackers are becoming politicized. We break into systems and then movements like Occupy deliver the message. It all works together. There is street protest. There is direct action, and hacking is one more tool.

Subverzo, hacktivist, at post-sentencing rally, Foley Square. Photo credit: Still from The Reality Wars, A.J. Abucay DP

VLW: How did the decision to target the intelligence contractor, Stratfor, come about and what was your involvement?

JH: Another hacker, who has not been indicted and therefore I will not name, brought the vulnerability. He had the credit cards already, before I ever got involved, on the Dec 5th. He chose Stratfor and brought it to us. There were 12 of us in the IRC (chat room) at that time.

Stratfor was chosen by that hacker because Stratfor had targeted Anonymous and specifically #OpCartel (Anonymous action against Mexican drug cartels).

Then the 12 of us in a private IRC channel approved it on the merits, as a meritocracy, the Anon way.

None of the 12 in that chat room that included me and Sabu [hacker leader turned FBI informant] have ever been caught.

Amongst the 12 were not only hackers. Some were social media types who brought attention to the actions.

I did the Stratfor hack all by myself except for the original vulnerability. I was the main hacker in Anti-Sec.

Sabu refers to Hetcor Xavier Monsegur, hacker and leader of LulzSec, an offshoot of Anonymous. LulzSec was an elite hacker collective that obtained notoriety as much for their high profile targets as for their clever self-promotion. Sabu was arrested by the FBI and began working for them that day. The following day he announced the formation of AntiSec, “the biggest unified collective of hackers in history.” Both in private IRC and through his various public Twitter accounts he encouraged hackers to join AntiSec and commit hacking crimes. Many hacktivists and rights organizations see these — including the Statfor hack — as government created crimes given that Sabu was working for his FBI handlers at the time he was inciting hackers to join AntiSec. After Sabu was turned, all of his actions can be seen as government actions. In essence, the name Sabu and the government can be used interchangeably in this context.

He is responsible for the arrests of many Anons including Jeremy Hammond.

Hector Xavier Monsegur Jr, hacker known by his nom de guerre Sabu, FBI informant.

VLW: Did you ever suspect that Sabu was a Fed (FBI informant) before that became public?

JH: I was in a chat room with 12 hackers. Chances are someone in there was a Fed. I don’t work with anyone who has not taken risks alongside me. Sabu had taken risks and hacked himself. Still, I could have done this all on my own. I was the main hacker in Anti-Sec.

VLW: And that hacker who provided the exploits also came with the credit cards? And were the credit cards live?

JH: Yes. The credit cards were live. We all spoke on Dec 6th and planned a coordinated day of action when we would choose charities and use the credit cards to make donations for Christmas to these charities, Christmas donations.

VLW: LulzXmas?

JH: Yes.

Jeremy Hammond is often referred to as a digital Robin Hood for his participation in LulzXmas. Margaret Ratner Kunstler, Hammond’s attorney, clarified that her client did not himself make any donations or use the credit cards. He also did not personally profit from the hacked credit cards.

JH: But our main focus was the emails, to reveal the spying. Stratfor was spying on the world. We revealed the anti-WikiLeaks actions by Stratfor. Stratfor was spying on Occupy Wall Street, WikiLeaks, and Anonymous.

We didn’t even know about the Venezuelan coup discussions proving U.S. involvement in the attempted coup until we saw that in the Strafor emails later.

It was all revealed on WikLeaks but I had moved on. I’d rather be hacking.

[He smiles.]

VLW: There is speculation that the Stratfor hack was designed by the government and carried out by their informant Sabu as an attempt to entrap Julian Assange by getting him to solicit information or even sell him information. Were you aware of such a plan and if so did you make a conscious decision to foil that plan by dumping on the Pirate Bay before the transaction could be completed?

JH: No, that did not happen. Julian Assange and WikiLeaks was not a factor.

In fact, many hacktivists make the claim that the Stratfor hack was designed to entrap Julian Assange. Hammond is not necessarily in a position to know whether that was the case or not.

VLW: Stratfor was notified by the government that they had been penetrated and told to do nothing. Why did they allow Stratfor to be sacrificed?

JH: We do not know to what degree they notified Stratfor. Interesting question, but we don’t know.

VLW: Why did the Stratfor hack take so long to complete? And why destroy the servers?

JH: I had to get to the mail servers. It takes time. We always destroy the servers.

First you deface, then you take the information, then you destroy the server, for the Lulz [for fun], and so they can’t rebuild the system. We don’t want them to rebuild. And to destroy forensic information that could be used to find out who did it and how it was done.

VLW: What are your preferred targets?

JH: My preferred targets are military contractors, military suppliers and law enforcement.

VLW: Intelligence contractors like Stratfor?

JH: Tech intelligence firms are a preferred target. Tech firms — where white hat hackers are paid to target the 99% for their corporate overlord clients.

Chris Hedges, journalist, TruthDig columnist, speaks at Hammond Rally. Photo credit: Still from The Reality Wars, A.J. Abucay DP

Those firms also contain the keys to their corporate clients so there is a big payoff — Endgame Systems and Palantir, for example.

Endgame Systems is the subject of much discussion. Engame Systems is self-described as providing offensive and defensive vulnerability research, mitigation of cyber-threats and cyber operations platforms. It is in the business of selling “zero day exploits.” That is, the vulnerabilities that have not yet been detected. According to a Business Week article, these zero day exploits are militarized and include entire blueprints of the computer systems of airports and other critical infrastructure including that of our western allies for example Paris’s Charles De Gaulle Airport. It is difficult to see how the sale of these exploits makes us more secure.

A package of these zero day exploits can be purchased for 2.5 million dollars a year. The price list was revealed in a cache of emails in the HBGary hack, an earlier Anonymous operation. Endgame weaponry is sold by region — China, the Middle East, Russia, Latin America, and Europe. There are even target packs for European and other allies. That raises the question of whether these exploits are being sold to foreign actors. Even if not sold directly to enemies of the U.S., cyber munitions like conventional arms have a way of showing up in unintended places. Once these exploits are out there they are vulnerable to rouge hackers and rogue states.

JH: White hat hackers are being paid to do supposedly defensive actions but they are offensive. White hat hackers are supposed to identify a vulnerability and then announce. But instead they sell the vulnerability, the exploits. So if you hack for the thrill it’s not ok. But for money, like Endgames, then somehow it is. And instead of going to jail for hacking you get awarded a government contract.

At least, the NSA is supposed to — and that is a big “supposed to” — have some kind of government oversight and again that’s overstated; these government contractors, intel firms and tech firms like Stratfor have no oversight whatsoever. They are not bound by any laws. They are above the law. No FOIA (request for classified or other non-public information from the government under the Freedom Of Information Act) can compel them to reveal what they do. Rogue hackers have better access to vulnerabilities than government hackers.

VLW: That reminds me of The Conscience of a Hacker by the Mentor. Did you read that?

Known as the Hacker Manifesto, it could just be Jeremy Hammond’s ethos.

It reads:
You build atomic bombs, you wage wars, you murder, cheat, and lie to us and try to make us believe it’s for our own good, yet we’re the criminals.

Yes, I am a criminal. My crime is that of curiosity. My crime is that of judging people by what they say and think, not what they look like.

My crime is that of outsmarting you, something that you will never forgive me for. I am a hacker, and this is my manifesto. You may stop this individual, but you can’t stop us all… after all, we’re all alike.

JH: From the 90’s? You hate me because I’m better than you are. Yeah, yeah.

[He smiles.]

Citizen journalist/activist and Hammond supporter Tara Jill Livestreams outside the court house. Photo credit: Still from The Reality Wars, A.J. Abucay DP

VLW: What do you think about the new battlefield, or cyberwarfare?

JH: The government calls it cybersecurity, but it’s really offensive hacking not just defensive.

The Department of Defense deals in war and aggression but it is not called Department of War is it? The government calls what they do mitigation of the threat of a cyber offensive. But these are offensive acts. They are acts of war. This is the new terrain. The new battlefield.

The war is on and it’s for the Internet. They spy on us, they spy on others, intellectual property rights wars, censorship….

For example, when encryption first came out PGP (Pretty Good Privacy, the first publicly available encryption software) it was called a munition and they immediately tried to ban it.

Encryption is part of our arsenal. It trumps the surveillance state.

As Mr. Hammond was waiting to be handcuffed in order for me to be escorted out of the small room at Manhattan Correctional Center where Mr. Hammond and I had conversed for over 4 hours, I asked him one last question.

VLW: You want to challenge the political system in the US and the world with technology. Is technology your weapon in the same way rifles were weapons in the past? Are you willing to die for your cause?

Handcuffed and standing before me with the guard awaiting my exit he pondered the question. As the guard ushered me out he responded.

JH: Die for my cause? Yes.
Go to prison, die for my cause… or choose to live a life of submission.
____________________________

Mr. Hammond’s bold and principled stand is sure to inspire others to make a similar choice.

This is part one of a two part article.

I am currently working on The Reality Wars, a feature length documentary about the targeting of activists, hacktivists and journalists by the US government and the nexus between intelligence contractors and the surveillance state. Jeremy Hammond and the Stratfor hack are covered in my film.

Posted: 11/19/2013 10:18 am

Find this story at 19 November 2013

© 2013 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.

Cyber-Activist Jeremy Hammond Sentenced to 10 Years In Prison; The hacker, who pleaded guilty in May, is given the maximum sentence by a federal judge

Cyber-activist Jeremy Hammond was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison this morning by Judge Loretta A. Preska in a federal courtroom in lower Manhattan for hacking the private intelligence firm Stratfor. When released, Hammond will be placed under supervised control, the terms of which include a prohibition on encryption or attempting to anonymize his identity online.

Hammond has shown a “total lack of respect for the law,” Judge Preska said in her ruling, citing Hammond’s criminal record – which includes a felony conviction for hacking from when he was 19 – and what she called “unrepentant recidivism.” There is a “desperate need to promote respect for the law,” she said, as well as a “need for adequate public deterrence.”

Read ‘Enemy of the State,’ Our 2012 Feature on Jeremy Hammond’s Rise and Fall

As Hammond was led into the courtroom, he looked over the roughly 100 supporters who had shown up, smiled, and said, “What’s up, everybody?” Prior to the verdict, he read from a prepared statement and said it was time for him to step away from hacking as a form of activism, but recognized that tactic’s continuing importance. “Those in power do not want the truth exposed,” Hammond said from the podium, wearing black prison garb. He later stated that the injustices he has fought against “cannot be cured by reform, but by civil disobedience and direct action.” He spoke out against capitalism and a wide range of other social ills, including mass incarceration and crackdowns on protest movements.

The Stratfor hack exposed previously unknown corporate spying on activists and organizers, including PETA and the Yes Men, and was largely constructed by the FBI using an informant named Hector Monsegur, better known by his online alias Sabu. Co-defendants in the U.K. were previously sentenced to relatively lighter terms. Citing Hammond’s record, Judge Preska said “there will not be any unwarranted sentencing disparity” between her ruling and the U.K. court’s decision.

Hammond’s supporters and attorneys had previously called on Judge Preska to recuse herself following the discovery that her husband was a victim of the hack she was charged with ruling on. That motion was denied. (Full disclosure: This reporter previously spoke at a rally calling on Judge Preska to recuse herself.)

Hammond’s defense team repeatedly stressed that their client was motivated by charitable intentions, a fact they said was reflected in his off-line life as well. Hammond has previously volunteered at Chicago soup kitchens, and has tutored fellow inmates in GED training during his incarceration.

Rosemary Nidiry, speaking for the prosecution, painted a picture of a malicious criminal motivated by a desire to create “maximum mayhem,” a phrase Hammond used in a chat log to describe what he hoped would come from the Stratfor hack. Thousands of private credit card numbers were released as a result of the Stratfor hack, which the government argued served no public good.

Sarah Kunstler, a defense attorney for Hammond, takes issue with both the prosecution and judge’s emphasis on the phrase “maximum mayhem” to the exclusion of Hammond’s broader philosophy shows an incomplete picture. “Political change can be disruptive and destructive,” Kunstler says. “That those words exclude political action is inaccurate.”

Many supporters see Hammond’s case as part of a broader trend of the government seeking what they say are disproportionately long sentences for acts that are better understood as civil disobedience than rampant criminality. Aaron Swartz, who faced prosecution under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act – the same statute used to prosecute Hammond – took his own life last year, after facing possible decades in prison for downloading academic journals from an MIT server. “The tech industry promised open access and democratization,” says Roy Singham, Swartz’s old boss and executive chairman of ThoughtWorks, a software company that advocates for social justice. “What we’ve given the world is surveillance and spying.” Singham says it’s “shameful” that “titans of the tech world” have not supported Hammond.

Following his first conviction for hacking, Hammond said, he struggled with returning to that life, but felt it was his responsibility. That decision ultimately lead to the Stratfor hack. “I had to ask myself, if Chelsea Manning fell into the abysmal nightmare of prison fighting for the truth, could I in good conscience do any less, if I was able?” he said, addressing the court. “I thought the best way to demonstrate solidarity was to continue the work of exposing and confronting corruption.”

by John Knefel
NOVEMBER 15, 2013

Find this story at 15 November 2013

©2013 Rolling Stone

105 Years in Jail for Posting a Link? That’s what Barrett Brown is facing.

A few months ago [1] I passed along the story of Barrett Brown, a young journalist/activist who relentlessly followed up on documents leaked by Anonymous, was targeted for this by the FBI, and who was eventually harassed enough that he cracked—which took the unfortunate form of recording a YouTube rant promising to “destroy” one of his tormentors.

Brown was indicted for posting the YouTube threats, and there’s no question that it was an ill-advised rant regardless of the FBI instigation. But David Carr follows up with more today. It turns out that only three of the charges against Brown are related to the video. Twelve more are related to a link he posted in a chat room: [2]

In December 2011, approximately five million e-mails from Stratfor Global Intelligence, an intelligence contractor, were hacked by Anonymous and posted on WikiLeaks. The files contained revelations about close and perhaps inappropriate ties between government security agencies and private contractors. In a chat room for Project PM, Mr. Brown posted a link to it.

Among the millions of Stratfor files were data containing credit cards and security codes, part of the vast trove of internal company documents….According to one of the indictments, by linking to the files, Mr. Brown “provided access to data stolen from company Stratfor Global Intelligence to include in excess of 5,000 credit card account numbers, the card holders’ identification information, and the authentication features for the credit cards.”

….But keep in mind that no one has accused Mr. Brown of playing a role in the actual stealing of the data, only of posting a link to the trove of documents….“The YouTube video was a mistake, a big one,” said Gregg Housh, a friend of Mr. Brown’s who first introduced him to the activities of Anonymous. “But it is important to remember that the majority of the 105 years he faces are the result of linking to a file. He did not and has not hacked anything, and the link he posted has been posted by many, many other news organizations.”

This is almost a textbook case of prosecutorial overreach. As Carr points out, the guy who actually stole the Stratfor information is facing a sentence of only ten years. So why is Brown facing 105 years? Certainly not for a video posted while he was in withdrawal from heroin addiction. More likely, it’s because the government considers him a thorn in their side and wants to send a message to anyone else planning to follow in Brown’s footsteps. That just ain’t right. As Carr says, “Punishment needs to fit the crime and in this instance, much of what has Mr. Brown staring at a century behind bars seems on the right side of the law, beginning with the First Amendment of the Constitution.”

Links:
[1] http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2013/03/barrett-brown-and-fbi
[2] http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/09/business/media/a-journalist-agitator-facing-prison-over-a-link.html?ref=business&pagewanted=all

By Kevin Drum | Mon Sep. 9, 2013 8:47 AM PDT
Social Title:
105 years in jail for posting a link?

Find this story at 9 September 2013

Copyright ©2013 Mother Jones and the Foundation for National Progress.

Barrett Brown’s Mother Will Be Sentenced Today

The mother of Anonymous-affiliated activist Barrett Brown, Karen Lancaster McCutchin, will be sentenced today, November 8, the Associated Press reports.

Back in May, she admitted to helping her son hide two laptops from federal agents that were investigating the activist. The laptops were hidden in a kitchen cabinet just as FBI agents were executing a search warrant.

As per the plea agreement, McCutchin faces up to 12 months in prison and a fine of up to $100,000 (€75,000).

In the meantime, the case of Barrett Brown continues. He is accused, among other things, of threatening a federal agent in a video published on YouTube, and posting links to information stolen by Anonymous hackers from the think tank Stratfor.

He faces up to 105 years in prison and substantial fines.

November 8th, 2013, 13:49 GMT · By Eduard Kovacs, November 8, 2013 [AP]

Find this story at 8 November 2013

© 2001 – 2013 Softpedia. All rights reserved.

The Global Intelligence Files – Stratfor Files (2012)

LONDON—Today, Monday 27 February, WikiLeaks began publishing The Global Intelligence Files – more than five million emails from the Texas-headquartered “global intelligence” company Stratfor. The emails date from 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 Defense Intelligence Agency. The emails show Stratfor’s web of informers, pay-off structure, payment-laundering techniques and psychological methods, for example :

“[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” – CEO George Friedman to Stratfor analyst Reva Bhalla on 6 December 2011, on how to exploit an Israeli intelligence informant providing information on the medical condition of the President of Venezuala, Hugo Chavez.

The material contains privileged information about the US government’s attacks against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks and Stratfor’s own attempts to subvert WikiLeaks. There are more than 4,000 emails mentioning WikiLeaks or Julian Assange. The emails also expose the revolving door that operates in private intelligence companies in the United States. Government and diplomatic sources from around the world give Stratfor advance knowledge of global politics and events in exchange for money. The Global Intelligence Files exposes how Stratfor has recruited a global network of informants who are paid via Swiss banks accounts and pre-paid credit cards. Stratfor has a mix of covert and overt informants, which includes government employees, embassy staff and journalists around the world.

The material shows how a private intelligence agency works, and how they target individuals for their corporate and government clients. For example, Stratfor monitored and analysed the online activities of Bhopal activists, including the “Yes Men”, for the US chemical giant Dow Chemical. The activists seek redress for the 1984 Dow Chemical/Union Carbide gas disaster in Bhopal, India. The disaster led to thousands of deaths, injuries in more than half a million people, and lasting environmental damage.

Stratfor has realised that its routine use of secret cash bribes to get information from insiders is risky. In August 2011, Stratfor CEO George Friedman confidentially told his employees : “We are retaining a law firm to create a policy for Stratfor on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. I don’t plan to do the perp walk and I don’t want anyone here doing it either.”

Stratfor’s use of insiders for intelligence soon turned into a money-making scheme of questionable legality. The emails show that in 2009 then-Goldman Sachs Managing Director Shea Morenz and Stratfor CEO George Friedman hatched an idea to “utilise the intelligence” it was pulling in from its insider network to start up a captive strategic investment fund. CEO George Friedman explained in a confidential August 2011 document, marked DO NOT SHARE OR DISCUSS : “What StratCap will do is use our Stratfor’s intelligence and analysis to trade in a range of geopolitical instruments, particularly government bonds, currencies and the like”. The emails show that in 2011 Goldman Sach’s Morenz invested “substantially” more than $4million and joined Stratfor’s board of directors. Throughout 2011, a complex offshore share structure extending as far as South Africa was erected, designed to make StratCap appear to be legally independent. But, confidentially, Friedman told StratFor staff : “Do not think of StratCap as an outside organisation. It will be integral… It will be useful to you if, for the sake of convenience, you think of it as another aspect of Stratfor and Shea as another executive in Stratfor… we are already working on mock portfolios and trades”. StratCap is due to launch in 2012.

The Stratfor emails reveal a company that cultivates close ties with US government agencies and employs former US government staff. It is preparing the 3-year Forecast for the Commandant of the US Marine Corps, and it trains US marines and “other government intelligence agencies” in “becoming government Stratfors”. Stratfor’s Vice-President for Intelligence, Fred Burton, was formerly a special agent with the US State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service and was their Deputy Chief of the counterterrorism division. Despite the governmental ties, Stratfor and similar companies operate in complete secrecy with no political oversight or accountability. Stratfor claims that it operates “without ideology, agenda or national bias”, yet the emails reveal private intelligence staff who align themselves closely with US 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 US diplomatic cables to Israel.

Ironically, considering the present circumstances, Stratfor was trying to get into what it called the leak-focused “gravy train” that sprung up after WikiLeaks’ Afghanistan disclosures :

“[Is it] possible for us to get some of that ’leak-focused’ gravy train ? This is an obvious fear sale, so that’s a good thing. And we have something to offer that the IT security companies don’t, mainly our focus on counter-intelligence and surveillance that Fred and Stick know better than anyone on the planet… Could we develop some ideas and procedures on the idea of ´leak-focused’ network security that focuses on preventing one’s own employees from leaking sensitive information… In fact, I’m not so sure this is an IT problem that requires an IT solution.”

Like WikiLeaks’ diplomatic cables, much of the significance of the emails will be revealed over the coming weeks, as our coalition and the public search through them and discover connections. Readers will find that whereas large numbers of Stratfor’s subscribers and clients work in the US military and intelligence agencies, Stratfor gave a complimentary membership to the controversial Pakistan general Hamid Gul, former head of Pakistan’s ISI intelligence service, who, according to US diplomatic cables, planned an IED attack on international forces in Afghanistan in 2006. Readers will discover Stratfor’s internal email classification system that codes correspondence according to categories such as ’alpha’, ’tactical’ and ’secure’. The correspondence also contains code names for people of particular interest such as ’Hizzies’ (members of Hezbollah), or ’Adogg’ (Mahmoud Ahmedinejad).

Stratfor did secret deals with dozens of media organisations and journalists – from Reuters to the Kiev Post. The list of Stratfor’s “Confederation Partners”, whom Stratfor internally referred to as its “Confed Fuck House” are included in the release. While it is acceptable for journalists to swap information or be paid by other media organisations, because Stratfor is a private intelligence organisation that services governments and private clients these relationships are corrupt or corrupting.

WikiLeaks has also obtained Stratfor’s list of informants and, in many cases, records of its payoffs, including $1,200 a month paid to the informant “Geronimo” , handled by Stratfor’s Former State Department agent Fred Burton.

WikiLeaks has built an investigative partnership with more than 25 media organisations and activists to inform the public about this huge body of documents. The organisations were provided access to a sophisticated investigative database developed by WikiLeaks and together with WikiLeaks are conducting journalistic evaluations of these emails. Important revelations discovered using this system will appear in the media in the coming weeks, together with the gradual release of the source documents.

END

Public partners in the investigation
Comment
Current WikiLeaks status
How to read the data
Public partners in the investigation:

More than 25 media partners (others will be disclosed after their first publication) :

Al Akhbar – Lebanon – http://english.al-akhbar.com
Al Masry Al Youm – Egypt – http://www.almasry-alyoum.com
Bivol – Bulgaria – http://bivol.bg
CIPER – Chile – http://ciperchile.cl
Dawn Media – Pakistan – http://www.dawn.com
L’Espresso – Italy – http://espresso.repubblica.it
La Repubblica – Italy – http://www.repubblica.it
La Jornada – Mexico – www.jornada.unam.mx/
La Nacion – Costa Rica – http://www.nacion.com
Malaysia Today – Malaysia – www.malaysia-today.net
McClatchy – United States – http://www.mcclatchydc.com
Nawaat – Tunisia – http://nawaat.org
NDR/ARD – Germany – http://www.ndr.de
Owni – France – http://owni.fr
Pagina 12 – Argentina – www.pagina12.com.ar
Plaza Publica – Guatemala – http://plazapublica.com.gt
Publico.es – Spain – www.publico.es
Rolling Stone – United States – http://www.rollingstone.com
Russian Reporter – Russia – http://rusrep.ru
Sunday Star-Times – New Zealand – www.star-times.co.nz
Ta Nea – Greece –- http://www.tanea.gr
Taraf – Turkey – http://www.taraf.com.tr
The Hindu – India – www.thehindu.com
The Yes Men – Bhopal Activists – Global http://theyesmen.org
Comment:

WikiLeaks – Kristinn Hrafnsson, Official WikiLeaks representative, +35 4821 7121

Other comment :
Bhopal Medical Appeal (in UK) – Colin Toogood : colintoogood@bhopal.org / +44 (0) 1273 603278/ +44 (0) 7798 845074
International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal (in India) – Rachna Dhingra : rachnya@gmail.com, +91 98 261 67369
Yes Men – mike@theyesmen.org / +44 (0) 7578 682321 – andy@theyesmen.org, +1-718-208-0684
Privacy International – +44 (0) 20 7242 2836

Twitter tag : #gifiles
CURRENT WIKILEAKS STATUS:

An extrajudicial blockade imposed by VISA, MasterCard, PayPal, Bank of America, and Western Union that is designed to destroy WikiLeaks has been in place since December 2010. The EU Commission is considering whether it will open a formal investigation, but two lawsuits have been filed (http://wikileaks.org/Banking-Blocka…). There are also other ways to donate (https://shop.wikileaks.org/donate). It is legal to donate, including in the United States. The US Treasury has publicly stated that that there are no grounds to place WikiLeaks on a US government blacklist.

WikiLeaks Founder and Publisher Julian Assange has not been charged with any crime in any country. Four prosecutors are currently trying to charge him under the Espionage Act of 1917 before a closed Grand Jury in Virginia, in the United States. Julian Assange has been detained for 447 days (10,728 hours) since Dec 7, 2010, without charge, and he is currently awaiting a decision from the UK Supreme Court on extradition to Sweden (http://www.justiceforassange.com/Su…). The decision is expected in March. The decision on whether he will be onwardly extradited to the US lies in the hands of the Swedish Executive, but Sweden’s Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has refused to state whether he will protect Assange from a politically motivated extradition to the United States (http://justice4assange.com/US-Extra… ).

The Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has repeatedly attacked WikiLeaks this week in a bizarre manner (http://ferrada-noli.blogspot.com/20… ).

An alleged WikiLeaks US military source, Bradley Manning, has been in pre-trial detention for 639 days (http://bradleymanning.org/ ). His arraignment took place on 24 February 2012. In December 2011, Manning’s attorney revealed in the preliminary hearing that the US government is attempting to enter a plea deal with Manning in order to “go after” Assange. Manning has 22 charges against him, including violating the Espionage Act of 1917 and aiding the enemy. Manning has deferred entering a plea. Julian Assange and WikiLeaks are legally represented in the Manning hearings by the US Centre for Constitutional Rights (http://ccrjustice.org/ ). WikiLeaks was denied full access to Manning’s hearing after appeal (http://ccrjustice.org/newsroom/pres… ). WikiLeaks put out a statement relating to Manning’s trial ahead of the Article 32 Hearing : (http://www.wikileaks.org/Statement-… ).

The alleged WikiLeaks-supporting hacktivists known as the “PayPal 14” were arrested in 2011 following co-ordinated online demonstrations against the financial services companies that are carrying out the unlawful financial blockade on WikiLeaks (VISA, MasterCard, Paypal, Western Union, Bank of America). They are represented by attorney Stanley Cohen and will go before court in May 2012 (http://www.cyberguerrilla.org/?p=4644 ).

WikiLeaks is about to launch a distributed, encrypted “Facebook for revolutionaries” (https://wlfriends.org/ ).

Julian Assange is currently directing interviews, from house arrest, for a programme on the future of the world that is syndicated to various broadcasters. The first show will be broadcast in March (http://www.wikileaks.org/New-Assang… )
HOW TO READ THE DATA

This is a glossary and information on how to understand the internal terms and codes used by Stratfor in their emails. It is not a complete list. We call on the public to add to this list by tweeting #gifind

To see a list of the terms George Friedman considers useful for his staff to know please download this PDF : The Stratfor Glossary of Useful, Baffling and Strange Intelligence Terms.

OPEN SOURCE VS. “COVERT”

As you browse through the content, you will notice that a large set of it is what is classified as “open source” (subject lines which include [OS]). These are basically email threads that start with someone posting a published and accessible source, such as news sites, and follow with commentary by the staff. In one of the emails, Joseph Nye is referenced saying :

“Open source intelligence is the outer pieces of the jigsaw puzzle, without which one can neither begin nor complete the puzzle”

CODES IN SUBJECT LINES

Many of the emails have codes in the subject lines as well as in the body, to make it easier for the staff to “quickly identify when we need to go back and have a look-see.” [*] :

Examples : INSIGHT – COUNTRY – Subject – SOURCE CODE INSIGHT – CHINA – Trains and planes – CN1000

Please refer to the glossary for the code names of subject and country tags, as well as mailing list names.

SOURCE CODES

A lot of interesting stuff comes from “sources”. Sources are either informal contacts or people they have a formal relationship with. The IDs for sources have the format of CN120 or ME001. In terms of the character part, it refers to a region or a country :

A) Regions ME – Middle East region EU – European Union EE – Eastern Europe LA- South America SA- South Asia

B) Countries or Orgs CN – China PK – Pakistan IN- India ML – Malaysia VN – Vietnam NP- Nepal

US – United States VZ – Venezuela CO- Colombia BR-Brazil NC- Nicaragua MX- Mexico CL/CH- Chile AR- Argentina PY- Paraguay BOL- Bolivia

RU – Russia UA – Ukraine GE – Georgia TJ – Tajikstan MD – Moldova BG -Bulgaria CR/CZ- Czech Republic PT- Portugal

ZA – South Africa AO – Angola SO – Somalia NG- Nigeria CD- DR Congo CI- Cote D’Ivoire ZW- Zimbabwe ZM- Zambia RW- Rwanda KE- Kenya ET- Ethiopia SD -Sudan MA- Morocco SN- Senegal GN- Guinea SL- Sierra Leone

IR – Iran IQ- Iraq IL or IS- Israel SA- Saudi Arabia SY- Syria KU- Kuwait Y or YN – Yemen HZ – Hizbollah TK – Turkey LN- Lebanon LY- Libya UAE- UAE EG- Egypt (etc.)

C) Odd codes OCH – Old China hand, a finance insider. Stick – Scott Stewart, high level employee Z’s – Zetas, Mexican drug gang

INSIGHTS FORMAT

When “insights” are sent, they usually have the following header information :

SOURCE : The ID of the source, say CN123. Sometimes this is left “no source ID” when it’s a new source.

ATTRIBUTION : How the source is to be attributed, i.e. “Source in the pharma distribution industry in China”, Stratfor source, etc.

SOURCE DESCRIPTION : Describes the source, for example : “Source works with Mercator Pharmaceutical Solutions, distributing pharma to developing countries.” These include concrete details on the source for internal consumption so that there’s a better understanding on the source’s background and ability to make assessments on the ground.

PUBLICATION : Yes or No. If the option is yes it doesn’t mean that it would be published, but rather that it _can_ be published.

SOURCE RELIABILITY : A/B

SOURCE RELIABILITY : A-F, A being the best and F being the worst. This grades the turnaround time of this source in responding to requests.

ITEM CREDIBILITY : 1-10, 1 being the best and 10 being the worst (we may change the range here in the future). this changes a lot based on the info provided. 1 is “you can take this to the bank” and 10 would be an example of maybe – “this is a totally ridiculous rumor but something that is spreading on the ground”

SPECIAL HANDLING : often this is “none” but it may be something like, “if you use this we need to be sure not to mention the part about XXX in the publication” or any other special notes

SOURCE HANDLER : the person who can take follow-up questions and communicate with the source.

MAILING LISTS

alpha@stratfor.com Discussions circulated exclusively among analysts, writers and higher-ups, including ’insights’ and discussions about sources and source meetings. secure@stratfor.com Discussions circulated exclusively among analysts and higher-ups, and only for use within continental US (analysts traveling ’overseas’ are removed from the list for the duration of their journey). analysts@stratfor.com – Discussion among analysts only, who manage sources, gather and analyze intelligence. ct@stratfor.com Ongoing discussions to collect and analyze counterterrorism intelligence, circulated among select group of analysts. tactical@statfor.com Non-time sensitive discussions for internal training on technical and tactical matters within field of counterterrorism. intelligence@stratfor.com gvalerts@stratfor.com – Related to Gas ventures clients military@stratfor.com Military list for pre-approved staff africa@stratfor.com eastasia@stratfor.com mesa@stratfor.com Middle East/South Asia list for pre-approved staff. eurasia@stratfor.com os@stratfor.com List with information from the public domain circulated and discussed among all employees. adp@stratfor.com List for ADPs. See Glossary. translations@stratfor.com alerts@stratfor.com responses@stratfor.com dialog-list@stratfor.com

GLOSSARY

a) Industry and other misc. tags :

HUMINT – Human intelligence OSINT- Open source intelligence DATA FLU BIRDFLU ECON TECH ENERGY MINING GV – Gas Venture CT – Counterterrorism G1-G4 B2-B4 S1-S4 MILITARY or MIL PENTAGON AQ- Al Qaeda AQAP – Al Qaeda in the Arabia Peninsula SF- Special Forces CONUS- Continental US

b) Special internal codewords :

Hizzies or HZ – Hizbollah Izzies or IZ – Israel A-dogg – Mahmoud Ahmadinajad, Iranian President Baby bashar – Bashar Al-Assad, Syrian President Uncle Mo – Moammar Gaddhafi ADP- Analyst Development Program. Four-month program at STRATFOR from which candidates— mostly recent college graduates— are selected for hire. Strictly protect and protect – Often mentioned in the ’subject’, means that the source is protected. Played- A term used for procuring sensitive information from sources. E.g. from one of the secure list messages circulating the ’complete scenario for the Israeli team in Centcom’s war game,’ the analyst who procured the data wrote : “I played the head of the Mossad which was great fun.” Excomm- Appears to be ’executive committee’ of STRATFOR.

c) Regions and Orgs

AFRICOM – African countries LATAM – Latin American MERCOSUR NATFA ASEAN APEC FSU – Former Soviet Union countries MESA or MIDDLEEAST – Middle East EASTASIA OPEC EURASIA SA – South Asia FSB- Federal Security Service (Russia)

ATTACHED DOCUMENTS

Attached documents can be searched by Filename or part of the file name. Preliminary searches for filenames using the terms ’lists’, ’source lists’ or ’insight lists’, coupled with the names of source handlers (e.g. Reva for Turkey, Brazil or Venezuela) produced Excel lists of the source names, contact info and source descriptions which correspond to the source codes (e.g. ME1315).

Sourcing Criteria

The following are the proposed criteria for analyzing both sources and insight.

1. Source Timeliness 2. Source Accessibility/Position 3. Source Availability 4. Insight Credibility 5. Insight Uniqueness

Source Timeliness : This is the average grade on how long this particular source turns around tasks and replies to inquiries. It may change but is more of a static indicator.

Source Accessibility : Accessibility weighs the source’s position to have certain knowledge in a particular field. So, for example, if we are looking for energy insight and the source is an official in an energy agency, his or her Accessibility would be ranked higher than if s/he was a banker giving insight on energy. While we would welcome a banker giving his/her insight, a good source may not have a high accessibility ranking if they aren’t in a position to offer reliable insight on a certain topic. The source’s access to decision makers, specific training or education in the desired topic area, specific knowledge of events/situations/incidents can also be considered.

Source Availability : How often can we go to this source ? Are they someone we can tap daily, weekly, monthly, yearly ?

Insight Credibility : This is our assessment of the veracity of the insight offered. Here we need to consider whether or not this is disinformation, speculation, correct data or knowledgeable interpretation. Any bias that the source is displaying or any specific viewpoints or personal background the source is using in the assessment provided should also be considered.

Insight Uniqueness : Is this insight something that could be found in OS ? If it is but the analysis of the information is unique, it would still have a high uniqueness ranking. Or, if it is concrete data, but is something that is only offered to industry insiders, i.e. stats that aren’t published but that aren’t secret, it would still have a high uniqueness score.

Scoring

All of the above factors will be scored on an A-F scale, with A being exemplary and F being useless.

Source Timeliness : A = turnaround within 24 hours B = turnaround within 48 hours C = turnaround within a week D = turnaround within a month F = lucky to receive a reply at all

Source Accessibility : A = Someone with intimate knowledge of the particular insight B = Someone within the industry but whose knowledge of the topic is not exact (e.g. if we were asking someone in the oil industry about natural gas) C = Someone working close to the industry who doesn’t have intimate knowledge of a particular topic but can speak to it intelligently (e.g. a financial consultant asked to gauge the movement of the stock market) D = Someone who may know a country but doesn’t have any concrete insight into a particular topic but can offer rumors and discussions heard on the topic F = Someone who has no knowledge of a particular industry at all

Source Availability : A = Available pretty much whenever B = Can tap around once a week C = Can tap about once a month D = Can tap only several times a year F = Very limited availability

Insight Credibility : A = We can take this information to the bank B = Good insight but maybe not entirely precise C = Insight is only partially true D = There may be some interest in the insight, but it is mostly false or just pure speculation. F = Likely to be disinformation

Insight Uniqueness : A = Can’t be found anywhere else B = Can only be found in limited circles C = Insight can be found in OS, but the source has an interesting take/analysis D = Insight can be found in OS, but still may not be common knowledge F = Insight is accessible in numerous locations

Daily Insight Scoring

SOURCE : code ATTRIBUTION : this is what we should say if we use this info in a publication, e.g. STRATFOR source/source in the medical industry/source on the ground, etc SOURCE DESCRIPTION : this is where we put the more concrete details of the source for our internal consumption so we can better understand the source’s background and ability to make the assessments in the insight. PUBLICATION : Yes or no. If you put yes it doesn’t mean that we will publish it, but only that we can publish it. SOURCE RELIABILITY : A-F. A being the best and F being the worst. This grades the source overall – access to information, timeliness, availability, etc. In short, how good is this source ? ITEM CREDIBILITY : A-F. A = we can take this info to the bank ; B = Good insight but maybe not entirely precise ; C = Insight is only partially true ; D = There may be some interest in the insight, but it is mostly false or just pure speculation ; F = Likely to be disinformation. SPECIAL HANDLING : often this is “none” but it may be something like, “if you use this we need to be sure not to mention the part about XXX in thepublication” or any other special notes SOURCE HANDLER : the person who can take follow-up questions and communicate with the source.

Lead journalist: Sarah Harrison

Find this story at 27 February 2012

US stops jailed activist Barrett Brown from discussing leaks prosecution

Federal court order prohibits Brown from talking to the media in what critics say is latest in crackdown on investigative journalism

Brown’s lawyer says the gagging order is a breach of Brown’s first amendment rights. Photograph: Nikki Loehr

A federal court in Dallas, Texas has imposed a gag order on the jailed activist-journalist Barrett Brown and his legal team that prevents them from talking to the media about his prosecution in which he faces up to 100 years in prison for alleged offences relating to his work exposing online surveillance.

The court order, imposed by the district court for the northern district of Texas at the request of the US government, prohibits the defendant and his defence team, as well as prosecutors, from making “any statement to members of any television, radio, newspaper, magazine, internet (including, but not limited to, bloggers), or other media organization about this case, other than matters of public interest.”

It goes on to warn Brown and his lawyers that “no person covered by this order shall circumvent its effect by actions that indirectly, but deliberately, bring about a violation of this order”.

According to Dell Cameron of Vice magazine, who attended the hearing, the government argued that the gag order was needed in order to protect Brown from prejudicing his right to a fair trial by making comments to reporters.

But media observers seen the hearing in the opposite light: as the latest in a succession of prosecutorial moves under the Obama administration to crack-down on investigative journalism, official leaking, hacking and online activism.

Brown’s lead defence attorney, Ahmed Ghappour, has countered in court filings, the most recent of which was lodged with the court Wednesday, that the government’s request for a gag order is unfounded as it is based on false accusations and misrepresentations.

The lawyer says the gagging order is a breach of Brown’s first amendment rights as an author who continues to write from his prison cell on issues unconnected to his own case for the Guardian and other media outlets.

In his memo to the court for today’s hearing, Ghappour writes that Brown’s July article for the Guardian “contains no statements whatsoever about this trial, the charges underlying the indictment, the alleged acts underlying the three indictments against Mr Brown, or even facts arguably related to this prosecution.”

The gag order does give Brown some room to carry on his journalistic work from prison. It says that he will be allowed to continue publishing articles on topics “not related to the counts on which he stands indicted”.

Following the imposition of the order, Ghappour told the Guardian: “The defense’s overriding concern is that Mr Brown continue to be able to exercise his first amendment right as a journalist. The order preserves that ability.”

The lawyer adds that since the current defence team took over in May, Brown has made only three statements to the media, two of which where articles that did not concern his trial while the third ran no risk of tainting the jury pool. “Defendant believes that a gag order is unwarranted because there is no substantial, or even reasonable, likelihood of prejudice to a fair trial based on statements made by defendant or his counsel since May 1, 2013.”

Brown, 32, was arrested in Dallas on 12 September last year and has been in prison ever since, charged with 17 counts that include threatening a federal agent, concealing evidence and disseminating stolen information. He faces a possible maximum sentence of 100 years in custody.

Before his arrest, Brown became known as a specialist writer on the US government’s use of private military contractors and cybersecurity firms to conduct online snooping on the public. He was regularly quoted by the media as an expert on Anonymous, the loose affiliation of hackers that caused headaches for the US government and several corporate giants, and was frequently referred to as the group’s spokesperson, though he says the connection was overblown.

In 2011, through the research site he set up called Project PM, he investigated thousands of emails that had been hacked by Anonymous from the computer system of a private security firm, HB Gary Federal. His work helped to reveal that the firm had proposed a dark arts effort to besmirch the reputations of WikiLeaks supporters and prominent liberal journalists and activists including the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald.

In 2012, Brown similarly pored over millions of emails hacked by Anonymous from the private intelligence company Stratfor. It was during his work on the Stratfor hack that Brown committed his most serious offence, according to US prosecutors – he posted a link in a chat room that connected users to Stratfor documents that had been released online.

The released documents included a list of email addresses and credit card numbers belonging to Stratfor subscribers. For posting that link, Brown is accused of disseminating stolen information – a charge with media commentators have warned criminalises the very act of linking.

As Geoffrey King, Internet Advocacy Coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, has put it, the Barrett Brown case “could criminalize the routine journalistic practice of linking to documents publicly available on the internet, which would seem to be protected by the first amendment to the US constitution under current doctrine”.

In its motion to the Dallas district court, US prosecutors accuse Brown and his associates of having “solicited the services of the media or media-types to discuss his case” and of continuing to “manipulate the public through press and social media comments”.

It further accuses Ghappour of “co-ordinating” and “approving” the use of the media, and alleges that between them they have spread “gross fabrications and substantially false recitations of facts and law which may harm both the government and the defence during jury selection”.

But Ghappour in his legal response has pointed out that several of the specific accusations raised by the government are inaccurate. Prosecutors refer to an article in the Guardian by Greenwald published on 21 March 2013 based partly on an interview between the journalist and Brown, yet as Ghappour points out that piece was posted on the Guardian website before the accused’s current legal team had been appointed.

Under his legal advice, Ghappour writes, Brown has maintained “radio silence” over his case and has given no further interviews, thus negating the government’s case for a gagging order.

Ed Pilkington in New York
theguardian.com, Wednesday 4 September 2013 22.50 BST

Find this story at 4 September 2013

© 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies.

Barrett Brown Faces 105 Years in Jail; But no one can figure out what law he broke. Introducing America’s least likely political prisoner

The mid-June sun is setting on the Mansfield jail near Dallas when Barrett Brown, the former public face of Anonymous, shuffles into the visitors hall wearing a jumpsuit of blazing orange. Once the nattiest anarchist around, Brown now looks like every other inmate in the overcrowded North Texas facility, down to his state-issued faux-Crocs, the color of candy corn.

Who Are America’s New Political Prisoners?

Brown sits down across from his co-counsel, a young civil-liberties lawyer named Ahmed Ghappour, and raises a triumphant fist holding several sheets of notebook paper. “Penned it out,” he says. “After 10 months, I’m finally getting the hang of these archaic tools.” He hands the article, titled “The Cyber-Intelligence Complex and Its Useful Idiots,” to his lawyer with instructions to send it to his editor at The Guardian. Brown used to write for the British daily, but since he’s been in prison, it’s written about him and his strange legal ordeal that has had him locked up for nearly a year while he awaits trial next month. Should he be found guilty of all the charges the federal government is bringing against him – 17 counts, ranging from obstruction of justice to threatening a federal officer to identity fraud – he’ll face more than 100 years in prison.

Given the serious nature of his predicament, Brown, 32, seems shockingly relaxed. “I’m not worried or panicked,” he says. “It’s not even clear to me that I’ve committed a crime.” He describes his time here as a break from the drug-fueled mania of his prior life, a sort of digital and chemical fast in which he’s kicked opiates and indulged his pre-cyber whims – hours spent on the role-playing game GURPS and tearing through the prison’s collection of what he calls “English manor-house literature.”

Brown has been called many things during his brief public career – satirist, journalist, author, Anonymous spokesman, atheist, “moral fag,” “fame whore,” scourge of the national surveillance state. His commitment to investigating the murky networks that make up America’s post-9/11 intelligence establishment set in motion the chain of events that culminated in a guns-drawn raid of his Dallas apartment last September. “For a long time, the one thing I was happy not to see in here was a computer,” says Brown. “It appears as though the Internet has gotten me into some trouble.”

Encountering Barrett Brown’s story in passing, it is tempting to group him with other Anonymous associates who have popped up in the news for cutting pleas and changing sides. Brown’s case, however, is a thing apart. Although he knew some of those involved in high-profile “hacktivism,” he is no hacker. His situation is closer to the runaway prosecution that destroyed Aaron Swartz, the programmer-activist who committed suicide in the face of criminal charges similar to those now being leveled at Brown. But unlike Swartz, who illegally downloaded a large cache of academic articles, Brown never broke into a server; he never even leaked a document. His primary laptop, sought in two armed FBI raids, was a miniature Sony netbook that he used for legal communication, research and an obscene amount of video-game playing. The most serious charges against him relate not to hacking or theft, but to copying and pasting a link to data that had been hacked and released by others.

“What is most concerning about Barrett’s case is the disconnect between his conduct and the charged crime,” says Ghappour. “He copy-pasted a publicly available link containing publicly available data that he was researching in his capacity as a journalist. The charges require twisting the relevant statutes beyond recognition and have serious implications for journalists as well as academics. Who’s allowed to look at document dumps?”

Brown’s case is a bellwether for press freedoms in the new century, where hacks and leaks provide some of our only glimpses into the technologies and policies of an increasingly privatized national security-and-surveillance state. What Brown did through his organization Project PM was attempt to expand these peepholes. He did this by leading group investigations into the world of private intelligence and cybersecurity contracting, a $56 billion industry that consumes 70 percent of the U.S. intelligence budget.

Meet Jacob Applelaum, the American Wikileaks Hacker

“Barrett was an investigative journalist who was merely doing his professional duty,” says Christophe Deloire of Reporters Without Borders. “The sentence that he is facing is absurd and dangerous.”

B
rown grew up in the affluent North Dallas neighborhood of Preston Hollow, where, following his parents’ divorce, he lived with his New Age mother. Karen Lancaster always believed her only son was special – he once wrote that she called him “an indigo child with an alien soul.” Among her house rules was that mother and son meditate together daily. She instructed him in the predictions of Nostradamus and made sure he kept a dream journal for the purpose, as Brown described it, “of helping him divine the future by way of my external connection to the collective unconscious.” (For her part, Brown’s mother says she was progressive, but not “New Age”, and that her son’s comments were made in jest.)

The Rise and Fall of Jeremy Hammond, Enemy of the State

A precocious pre-adolescent reader and writer, Brown produced a newspaper on his family’s desktop computer while in elementary school. When he started writing for the student paper at his private high school in the mid-Nineties, he quickly clashed with the paper’s censors over his right to criticize the administration. “Barrett always challenged authority, even as a kid, and anytime you go up against authority, you’re going to get in trouble,” says Brown’s father, Robert. “You could sort of always see this coming.”

By the time he reached high school, Brown had discovered Ayn Rand and declared himself an atheist. He founded an Objectivist Society at school and distinguished himself from other Randians by placing second out of 5,000 entrants in a national Ayn Rand essay contest. (Brown now expresses regret over this.) By all accounts, Brown hated everything about organized education, preferring to follow his own curricula and chat up girls on the bulletin-board systems of a still-embryonic Internet.

After his sophomore year, Brown told his parents he wasn’t going back. He signed up for online courses and spent his junior year in Tanzania with his father, a Maserati-driving conservative, safari hunter and serial entrepreneur who was trying to launch a hardwood-harvesting business. “Barrett loved living in Africa,” says his father. “He preferred adventure to being in school with his peers. We weren’t far from the embassy that was bombed that year.”

Brown returned to the U.S. and in 2000 joined some of his childhood friends in Austin, where he spent two semesters taking writing classes at the University of Texas. After dropping out, he spent a summer doing what one friend calls a “heroic” amount of Ecstasy and acid before settling into the charmed life of a pre-crisis Austin slacker – working part-time, smoking pot and paying cheap rent in a series of group houses with enormous porches. Brown’s roommates remember his rooms as being strewn with leaning towers of books and magazines – he especially liked Gore Vidal, P.J. O’Rourke and Hunter S. Thompson – but say he was not especially political. “After 9/11 and Iraq, there were a lot of protests in Austin,” says Ian Holmes, a childhood friend of Brown’s. “I don’t remember him participating in it or being extra vocal, but he was against it all like everyone else.”

As Brown built up his clip book and matured as a writer, his ambitions began to outgrow Austin. In 2007, Brown moved to Brooklyn with a group of old friends that called itself “the Texadus.” Their Bushwick apartment emerged as a hub for Lone Star State refugees who liked to get high, crush beers and play video games. “People were always hanging out and coming and going,” says Caleb Pritchard, a childhood friend of Brown’s who lived with him in Austin and Brooklyn. Among the apartment’s large cast of characters were a crew of weed-delivery guys from Puerto Rico and Honduras who used the apartment as a daytime base of business operations. “They brought over an Xbox, bought us beer and food and played strategy games with us,” Pritchard says. “It was a good cultural exchange for a bunch of skinny white kids from Dallas.”

As virtual-world games grew increasingly sophisticated, Brown spent more time in front of his computer. But he didn’t play the games like most people. In Second Life, he linked up with a group of people known as “griefers,” the term for hackers who in the mid-00s became known for generating chaos inside video-game worlds. Socializing on the bulletin board 4chan.org, they formed the first cells of what would later become Anonymous. In the documentary We Are Legion, about the hacktivist group, Brown waxes nostalgic over his griefer period, when he’d spend entire nights “on Second Life riding around in a virtual spaceship with the words ‘faggery daggery doo’ written on it, wearing Afros, dropping virtual bombs on little villages while waving giant penises around. That was the most fun time I ever had in my life.”

When everyone else went out to the bars, Brown stayed in. Aside from video games and the odd afternoon of pick-up basketball, he also pounded out columns, diaries and blog posts for Vanity Fair, Daily Kos and McSweeney’s, as well as restaurant reviews and essays for weeklies like New York Press and The Onion’s A.V. Club. Though he had some paying gigs, he published most heavily in unpaid, self-edited community forums like Daily Kos and The Huffington Post. “Barrett wasn’t really working in New York so much as getting by with the help of friends and family,” says Pritchard. Among his unpaid gigs was his work as the spokesman for the Godless Americans PAC, which led to Brown’s first TV appearance, on the Fox News morning show Fox & Friends.

In Brooklyn, Brown resumed shooting heroin, which he’d dabbled in off and on since he was 19. Over the years, doctors have diagnosed him with ADHD and depression. Accurate or not, the diagnoses suggest Brown was drawn to opiates for more than just the high. “When I joined him in Brooklyn in ’08, Barrett was already basically a functional junkie,” says Pritchard.

Heroin did not mellow Brown when it came to America’s pundit class. Brown’s critique made clear he didn’t want to join the journalistic establishment so much as lash it without mercy. Then, in March 2010, he announced in a blog post the goal of replacing it, of making its institutions irrelevant and rebuilding them in the image of an overly self-confident 28-year-old junkie named Barrett Brown. It was perhaps his first public manifestation of extreme self-assurance that could come off as imperious self-importance. Brown himself did not deny it, once saying, “I don’t think arrogance is something I’m in a position to attack anyone on.”

The project envisioned by Brown was a new kind of crowdsourced think tank to be “established with a handful of contributors who have been selected by virtue of intellectual honesty, proven expertise in certain topics and journalistic competence in general.” He named it Project PM, after a gang in William Gibson’s Neuromancer called the Panther Moderns.

Brown conceived his new network partly as a response to what he saw as the sad state of affairs at the two main homes for his work, Daily Kos and HuffPo. After years of vibrancy, both now suffered from “the watering-down of contributor quality,” he said. At Project PM, he assured that “below-average participants will have only very limited means by which to clutter the network.”

How Anonymous Took Down the Music Industry’s Websites

With typical cigarette-waving flourish, Brown declared, “Never has there existed such opportunity for revolution in human affairs.”

Had Project PM developed along the lines of Brown’s original vision – as a kind of exclusive, experts-only, friends-of-Barrett blogger network – it is extremely unlikely that Brown would now be in jail. Or that the FBI would have subpoenaed the company hired to secure its server, as it did in March. But Project PM ended up taking a different route.

Julian Assange: The Rolling Stone Interview

T
he event that locked Brown’s path into a collision course with the federal government came on February 11th, 2010, when he posted an essay on Huffington Post that he grandiloquently titled “Anonymous, Australia and the Inevitable Fall of the NationState.”

At the time, Anonymous was in the news after some of its hackers, in an action they called Operation Titstorm, brought down Australian government servers in retaliation for the government’s attempt to block certain kinds of niche pornography. For Brown, Titstorm was a world-historic game-changer, a portent of an age in which citizens could successfully challenge state power on their laptops and neutralize government propaganda and censorship.

In the comically aggrandizing tone that had become his trademark, Brown concluded, “I am now certain that this phenomenon is among the most important and underreported social developments to have occurred in decades.”

Among those taken by Brown’s interpretation of Titstorm was Gregg Housh, a Boston Web designer and early Anonymous associate, who had emerged as a sort of quasi-spokesman for the group. Through Housh, Brown gained entrance to the online inner sanctums of the hackers he thought were turning history on its head. Housh, who was starting to feel burned out from fielding the barrage of international media requests, saw Brown as someone who could step in and talk to reporters for Anonymous.

“Barrett ‘got it’ in a way few journalists did,” says Housh. “Soon, he was one of us, and that pretty much set the course for everything that happened next.”

Brown always denied holding any official capacity as the spokesman of Anonymous, maintaining such a thing was not even possible given the amorphous nature of the group. Yet he embraced the media role with relish, sometimes using the royal “we” during interviews. In March 2011, Brown described himself to a visiting NBC News crew as a “senior strategist” for Anonymous. He also, along with Housh, began writing a book about the group, detailing the transformation of Anonymous from a community of amoral videogame-playing punks into an ethical crusade, assisting street protests across the globe during the Arab Spring.

From the beginning, Brown’s public role was a subject of internal controversy. A minority dismissed and attacked him as a preening “name fag” – Anonymous slang for people who use their real names and speak to the press. Others were more bothered that Brown was a “moral fag,” the term used by unrepentant griefers to describe the new generation of hacktivists who began flocking to the Anonymous banner in 2008. In We Are Legion, Brown makes his allegiance clear, hailing the hacktivists for turning a “nihilist, ridiculous group” into a “force for good.”

Yet something of the old griefer remained in Brown even after his and the group’s politicization process had converged to take on the world of intelligence outsourcing. “He was just trolling the hell out of these corporate-surveillance guys,” says Joe Fionda, a New York activist who assisted Brown in his investigations. “Not just doing the serious research work no one else was doing – getting tax files and all that – but calling them at their homes to introduce himself, sometimes straight up pranking them. He’s legit funny and sees the humor and the absurd in everything.”

Another former colleague, a Boston Web developer and activist named Lauren Pespisa, shared Brown’s love of prank calls: “Sometimes we’d drink and prank-call lobbyists for fun. We went after this one group, Qorvis, because they were helping the kingdom of Bahrain handle its image when they were shooting people. So we’d call them up and ‘dragon shout’ at them,” she says, referring to a sound effect in one of Brown’s favorite video games, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

By combining the two ethos of Anonymous, Brown won over more people than he alienated. Part of his appeal was the act of his drily affected pseudo-aristocratic-asshole persona, which he exaggerated during media appearances. He preferred a corduroy sports jacket to the Guy Fawkes mask that Anonymous members favor. A typical portrait showed Brown’s arm slung over a chair, a Marlboro dangling off his bottom lip and a stuffed bobcat on the wall behind him. He was oth loved and hated for being one of the more colorful characters found in the Internet Relay Chat rooms where hackers gathered. He famously once conducted a strategy session while drinking red wine in a bubble bath.

“Barrett became a bit like the court jester of Anonymous,” says Gabriella Coleman, a professor at McGill University who has written about the network. “His behavior was legendary because he was the ethical foil. Anonymous isn’t just for hackers. People like Barrett Brown can thrive: the organizer, the media-maker, the spectacle-maker.”

W
hen Brown met Housh, he was nearing the end of his three-year stint in Brooklyn. In the spring of 2010, Brown called his parents and told them he had a heroin problem. At their urging, he returned to Dallas and began an outpatient treatment that included the heroin replacement Suboxone. It was from a tiny Dallas apartment that Brown deepened his involvement with Anonymous. Since most of his friends lived in Austin, his new social life consisted of the IRC rooms populated by hacktivists. It was a world of nonstop, petty cyberintrigue, which to outsiders can appear like a hellish fusion of The Hollywood Squares, WarGames and Degrassi Junior High.

Bradley Manning Explains His Motives

Pritchard remembers the first time Brown crashed on his couch in Austin after his return to Dallas. “I’d wake up, and he’d be online having conversations with these kids on Skype or something,” he says. “Barrett would say, ‘I know what you’re doing!’ The other guy would be stroking his chin like he’s Dr. Claw, saying, ‘No, I know what you’re doing.’ It was nonstop cyberwar, with these dorks just dorking it out with each other. It seemed like a bunch of kids trolling each other.”

Still, Pritchard appreciated that beneath the dorkery, Brown was involved in serious business. This was Brown’s first year as an unofficial spokesman for Anonymous, and it was eventful. The hackers were aiding the uprisings of the Arab Spring, and assaulted PayPal and credit-card companies in retaliation for their refusal to process donations to WikiLeaks. This latter action, called Operation PayBack, earned the attention of the Justice Department. In the summer of 2011, the FBI issued 35 search warrants and arrested 14 suspected hackers.

The Trials of Bradley Manning

By the time of the arrests, Brown’s focus had settled squarely on the nexus between government agencies, private intelligence firms and the information-security industry – known as InfoSec – contracted to build programs and technologies of surveillance, disruption and control that Brown suspected were in many cases unconstitutional. What’s more, he was as bratty as ever about it. He phoned CEOs and flacks at their homes and called them liars. He boasted about bringing the whole system down. As the first raids and arrests took place following Operation PayBack, some observers of Brown’s antics began to suspect that the court jester of Anonymous was not a very safe thing to be.

“You could just tell it was going to end badly,” says an Anonymous member and veteran hacker. “When he really started making noise about going after these intel-contracting companies, I was like, ‘You’re going to get locked up, kid.'”

A
fter Operation Payback, Anonymous was on the radar of every private security firm looking to build a quick reputation. In the office of Aaron Barr, CEO of a struggling digital-security contractor called HBGary Federal, it was the biggest thing on the radar. Barr was convinced that taking down Anonymous before it struck again was a fast track to industry juice and massive contracts. In February 2011, he bragged to The Financial Times about the supersecret sleuthing techniques he had developed to get the goods on Anonymous. He claimed to know the identities of the group’s leaders. Implicit in Barr’s comments was the possibility of federal raids on those identified.

Partly to avoid that outcome, and partly out of curiosity, an Anonymous cell hacked HBGary’s servers. They discovered that Barr’s techniques involved hanging out on major social-media sites and compiling lists of mostly innocent people. It wasn’t the only example of his staggering miscalculation: Within minutes, the hackers easily got around the firm’s security defenses, ransacking company servers, wiping Barr’s personal tablet and absconding with 70,000 internal e-mails. Stephen Colbert devoted a segment to the fiasco, based around the image of Barr sticking his penis in a hornets’ nest.

Once the hackers who broke into HBGary’s servers discovered that Barr was basically a clown, they abandoned pursuit. “There were tens of thousands of e-mails and no one wanted to go through them,” says an Anonymous associate who observed the HBGary hack. “Everyone was like, ‘We’re not even going to dump these, because there’s no point.'”

Brown disagreed. When the hackers posted the e-mails on a BitTorrent site, he used Project PM to organize the painstaking work of collating and connecting the dots to see what picture emerged.

“Nobody was reading more than a couple of the e-mails before getting bored,” says the Anonymous associate. “But Barrett has this strangely addictive and journalistic kind of mind, so he could stare at those e-mails for 10 hours. He’d be sitting alone in the HBGary channel, yelling at everyone, ‘You’ve got to pay attention! Look at the crap I found!'” Brown quickly drew in some 100 volunteers to help him trawl through and make sense of the e-mails.

The HBGary cache offered one of the fullest looks ever at how corporate-state partnerships were targeting groups they considered subversive or inimical to the interests of corporate America. The projects under consideration at HBGary ranged from cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns targeting civic groups and journalists to Weird Science-supermodel avatars built to infiltrate and disrupt left-wing and anarchist networks.

Project PM volunteer investigator Joe Fionda remembers the disturbing thrill of uncovering HBGary’s use of a Maxim pinup to create online personas designed to spy for corporate and government clients. “I couldn’t believe how much crazy shit they were up to,” Fionda says. “My brain still feels like it’s going to explode.”

The biggest fish flopping in Brown’s net was the story of a cluster of contractors known as Team Themis. The origins of Team Themis dated to Bank of America’s alarm over Julian Assange’s 2010 claim to possess documents that “could take down a bank or two.” The Department of Justice recommended Bank of America retain the services of the white-shoe D.C. law firm Hunton & Williams and the high-­powered intelligence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. On behalf of Bank of America, Hunton & Williams turned to the large and growing world of InfoSec subcontractors to come up with a plan, settling on HBGary and two dataintelligence shops, Berico Technologies and Palantir Technologies.

The Themis three were also preparing a proposal for Hunton & Williams on behalf of another client, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The leaked HBGary documents revealed that Themis was exploring ways of discrediting and disrupting the activities of organized labor and its allies for the Chamber. The potential money at stake in these contracts was considerable. According to Wired, the trio proposed that the Chamber create a $2-milliona-month sort of cyber special-forces team “of the kind developed and utilized by the Joint Special Operations Command.” They also suggested targeting a range of left-of-center organizations, including the SEIU, watchdog groups like U.S. Chamber Watch, and the Center for American Progress. (The Chamber of Commerce and Bank of America have denied ever hiring Team Themis or having any knowledge of the proposals.)

In pursuit of the Chamber and Bank of America contracts, the Themis three devised multipronged campaigns amounting to a private-sector information-age COINTELPRO, the FBI’s program to infiltrate and undermine “subversive” groups between 1956 and 1971. Among the The mis ideas presented to Hunton & Williams: “Feed the fuel between the feuding groups. Disinformation. Create messages around actions to sabotage or discredit the opposing organization. Submit fake documents and then call out the error.”

The revelations represented a triumph for Brown and his wiki. A group of Democratic congressmen asked four Republican committee chairs to hold hearings on the “deeply troubling” question of whether “tactics developed for use against terrorists may have been unleashed illegally against American citizens.” But the calls for investigation went nowhere. The lack of outrage in Washington or on influential editorial pages didn’t shock Brown, who had long ago lost hope in the politicians and pundits who are “clearly intent on killing off even this belated scrutiny into the invisible empire that so thoroughly scrutinizes us – at our own expense and to unknown ends.”

It was Brown’s finest moment, but his relationship with Anonymous was rapidly deteriorating. By May 2011, Brown had begun turning on the network. “There’s little quality control in a movement like [Anonymous],” Brown told an interviewer. “You attract a lot of people whose interest is in fucking with video-game companies.”

Brown’s haughty dismissal of the new crop of hacktivists was not a feeling shared by the FBI. The government continued to see Anonymous as a major and growing threat. And in the summer of 2011, it acquired a key piece in its operation to destroy the network. On the night of June 7th, four months after the HBGary hack, two federal agents visited the Jacob Riis publichousing project on Manhattan’s Lower East Side and introduced themselves to a 27-year-old unemployed hacker named Hector Monsegur, known inside Anonymous as “Sabu.” As a leader of an Anonymous offshoot called Lulzsec, he had hacked a number of state and corporate servers. In early 2011, he made some rookie errors that led the FBI to his door: Facing the prospect of being indicted on 12 counts of criminal conspiracy, Sabu rolled over on his old hacker associates. He signed a cooperation agreement and began feeding the FBI information on Anonymous plots. The biggest of these involved a private global intelligence contractor located in Barrett Brown’s backyard, the Austin-based Stratfor.

I
n early December 2011, a young Chicago Anon named Jeremy Hammond cracked Stratfor’s server and downloaded some 5 million internal documents. With the apparent blessing and supervision of the FBI, Sabu provided the server for Hammond to store the docs. Hammond then proceeded to release them to the public. Sifting through the data dump would require a massive coordinated effort of exactly the kind Project PM had been training for. Brown and his dedicated volunteers attacked the mountains of e-mails. “We had between 30 and 50 people involved, usually 15 at a time,” says Lauren Pespisa, the Boston Project PM volunteer who now helps organize Brown’s legaldefense fund.

Did the Mainstream Media Fail Bradley Manning?

After six months of work, Brown would discover what he considered the fattest spider amid the miles of Stratfor web: a San Diego-based cybersecurity firm called Cubic. As Brown followed the strings, he discovered links between Cubic and a data-mining contractor known as TrapWire, which had ties to CIA vets. Brown thought that he had stumbled on a major find illuminating new technologies for spying and surveillance, but the media pickup was not what Brown had hoped. Major dailies shrugged off the story, and Gawker and Slate poured cold water on his alarm, calling it “outlandish.” Brown responded to the criticism with a rambling, connect-the-conspiracy-dots YouTube video.

It wasn’t just gossip sites that viewed Brown’s reading of the Stratfor docs with a skeptical eye. Even sympathetic students of intelligence contracting urged caution about interpreting the TrapWire materials. “I applaud anyone digging into this stuff, but you can’t really draw conclusions from what these contractors say in these e-mails because they’re bragging and they’re trying to land business,” says Tim Shorrock, whose 2008 book Spies for Hire first exposed the scope of the intelligence-contracting industry. “Some of the quote-unquote intelligence that Stratfor was reporting on was ludicrous. Why would an intelligence agency buy this stuff?”

WikiLeaks Stratfor Emails: A Secret Indictment Against Julian Assange?

Meanwhile, deeply buried in the TrapWire debate was the fact that included in the Stratfor docs were the credit-card numbers of 5,000 Stratfor clients. Brown likely did not give the numbers a second thought. But it’s these numbers that form the most serious charges against Brown. The government alleges that when Brown pasted a link in a chat room to the alreadyleaked documents, he was intentionally “transferring” data for the purpose of credit-card and identity fraud.

“If the Pentagon Papers included creditcard info, then would The New York Times have been barred from researching them?” says Brown’s co-counsel Ghappour. “There is nothing to indicate Barrett wanted to profit from this information, or that he ever had the information in his possession. He was openly critical of such motives and disapproved of hacking for the sake of it. This was a big part of his rift with Anonymous – why he was considered a ‘moral fag’ by some.”

The FBI raided Brown’s Dallas apartment on the morning of March 6th, 2012, three months after the Stratfor hack, and one day after Jeremy Hammond was arrested in Chicago. More than a dozen feds led by agent Robert Smith knocked down the door with warrants for Brown’s computers and seized his Xbox. Brown was staying at his mother’s house nearby. Later that morning, the agents appeared at the home of Brown’s mother with a second warrant. They found his laptop in a kitchen cabinet, and she was later charged with obstruction. Brown, who was in the shower preparing for a TV interview when the agents arrived, was not arrested. The agents left with his laptop.

Among hacktivists, theories differ on the motive behind the FBI action. As one of the few public figures associated with Anonymous, Brown made a soft target with a potentially very valuable hard drive or two. Some say it was meant as a warning; others say Brown had simply pissed off too many powerful people, or was getting too close to something big.

Then there is the theory, advanced by Gregg Housh, that Brown and Hammond were targeted out of frustration with a blown sting against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. After looking into the Stratfor hack, Housh believes that the FBI allowed the hack to proceed not in order to arrest Hammond but Assange. “The idea was to have Sabu sell the stolen Stratfor material to Assange,” says Housh. “This would give them a concrete charge that he had knowingly bought stolen material to distribute on WikiLeaks.”

Housh believes Hammond got wind of Sabu’s plan to sell the documents to Assange and dumped them before the transaction could take place. While there is no proof of contact between Sabu and Assange, Sabu reportedly communicated with Sigurdur Thordarson, a teenage Icelandic WikiLeaks volunteer and an FBI informant.

“Hammond had no idea what he’d done,” says Housh. “The FBI were a day away from having evidence against Assange, and Hammond screwed it up for them. That’s why they went after him so hard.”

Yet Hammond, who led the Stratfor hack, faced only 30 years before cutting a plea deal for 10. Why is Brown facing 105?

F
ollowing the March raid, Brown continued his investigations and planned for the future of Project PM. 2012 was going to be a big year. He had a new nucleus of friends and colleagues in Boston, where he was going to move and live in an activist group house. His investigations increasingly took place outside the Anonymous network. Brown had new allies in groups like Telecomix, a collective that operated its own crowdsourcing investigations into the cybersurveillance industry. That summer, he visited New York for the Hackers on Planet Earth conference, an annual gathering of hackers and activists, where he met a few of his Project PM colleagues offline for the first time. “I remember he was wearing a full suit in this crazy heat, sweating profusely in the lobby of the Hotel Pennsylvania,” says Fionda. “He was still struggling with kicking heroin, he had tremors and looked like he was in a lot of pain. But he was full of energy. He was telling everyone, ‘We’re going to the center of the Earth with this story!'”

But Brown’s mental state seemed to deteriorate during the summer of 2012. Having battled depression throughout his life, he had gone off his meds and was simultaneously struggling with cold-turkey breaks from Suboxone for heroin withdrawal. His YouTube channel documents the effects. In August, Brown posted a clip that showed him skeet-shooting over the words of Caligula’s lament: “If only all of Rome had just one neck.” In early September, as Brown planned his move to Boston, he struggled to contain his rage at the local FBI agent Robert Smith, who had raided his mother’s home and taken his beloved Xbox.

In September, Brown uploaded a discombobulated three-part video series, the last one titled “Why I’m Going to Destroy FBI Agent Robert Smith.” In the videos, Brown struggles to maintain focus. He demands the return of his Xbox and warns that he comes from a military family that has trained him with weapons – weapons he says he’ll use to defend his home. He calls Smith a “fucking chickenshit little faggot cocksucker” before uttering the words he has since admitted were ill-considered, as well as the result of a chemically combustive mental state.

Why Shouldn’t Freedom of the Press Apply to WikiLeaks?

“Robert Smith’s life is over,” says Brown. “And when I say his life is over, I don’t say I’m going to go kill him, but I’m going to ruin his life and look into his fucking kids. How do you like them apples?”

It takes a suspension of disbelief to hear a credible physical threat as defined by law. The rail-thin Brown appears a desperate, pathetic character in need of psychiatric help. A more humane FBI office might have sent a doctor rather than a car of armed agents. But the FBI didn’t send a shrink. That evening a team of armed agents stormed Brown’s apartment, threw him violently to the ground and arrested him for threatening a federal officer.

WikiLeaks Releases ‘Beat the Blockade’ Benefit CD

Over the next four months, federal grand juries issued three multicount indictments for obstruction and “access devicefraud” related to the Stratfor link. It is the last of these that concern civil-liberties activists and that could have a possible chilling effect. “One can’t apply the transfer provision of the statute to someone conducting research,” says Ghappour. “If cutting and pasting a link is the same as the transfer of the underlying data, then anyone on the Internet is prone to violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.”

The FBI has shown interest in expanding that theoretical “anyone” to include Brown’s circle of volunteers. In March, the bureau went hunting for the digital fingerprints of Project PM administrators with a subpoena. The action has shaken the group’s inner circle, as it was surely intended. “It was a pretext to sow discord and fear in Barrett’s project,” says Alan Ross, a U.K. investigator for Project PM. “They were desperate to bolster their case. After the subpoena, people began to worry about being monitored. I worry about my personal safety even though I acted within the confines of the law. I worry about travel.”

Travel is one thing Brown does not have to worry about at the moment. Nor, if the government gets its way, will he have to worry about handling the media, his former specialty. In August, the prosecution requested a gag be placed on Brown and his lawyers, a move that suggests they understand the dangers of public scrutiny of the legal peculiarities of United States vs. Barrett Lancaster Brown.

Meanwhile, Brown has not joined the prison tradition of mastering the law behind bars. Rather than study up on cyberfraud statutes, he has resumed his writing on intel contractors and the pundits who defend them. “Nobody talks to me here,” Brown says of his year in jail, “but I was pretty unsociable on the outside too.” One of the hardest things about incarceration for the atheist has been contending with his cellmates’ singing of hymns. “Prison is great for reading and for thought, until they start in with their Pentecostal nonsense,” says Brown. “It ruins everything.”

His friends keep him supplied with articles and printouts, which lately have included material related to the Edward Snowden leak. Snowden gained access to information about secret NSA spying on private citizens while working for the intelligence subcontractor Booz Allen Hamilton, a company that had been on Brown’s radar long before most Americans learned of it in the wake of Snowden’s bombshells.

“This is all much bigger than me,” Brown says in the visiting room. “What matters is this.” He leans over to tap his handwritten manuscript. The pages of the essay are messy on the table, and sticking out from under the pile is the last sentence on the last page. “This is the world that we accept if we continue to avert our eyes,” it says. “And it promises to get much worse.”

This story is from the August 29th, 2013 issue of Rolling Stone.
http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/barrett-brown-faces-105-years-in-jail-20130905

by Alexander Zaitchik
SEPTEMBER 05, 2013

Find this story at 5 September 2013

Copyright ©2013 Rolling Stone

The Strange Case of Barrett Brown

In early 2010, journalist and satirist Barrett Brown was working on a book on political pundits, when the hacktivist collective Anonymous caught his attention. He soon began writing about its activities and potential. In a defense [2] of the group’s anti-censorship operations in Australia published on February 10, Brown declared, “I am now certain that this phenomenon is among the most important and under-reported social developments to have occurred in decades, and that the development in question promises to threaten the institution of the nation-state and perhaps even someday replace it as the world’s most fundamental and relevant method of human organization.”

By then, Brown was already considered by his fans to be the Hunter S. Thompson of his generation. In point of fact he wasn’t like Hunter S. Thompson, but was more of a throwback—a sharp-witted, irreverent journalist and satirist in the mold of Ambrose Bierce or Dorothy Parker. His acid tongue was on display in his co-authored 2007 book, Flock of Dodos: Behind Modern Creationism, Intelligent Design and the Easter Bunny, in which he declared: “This will not be a polite book. Politeness is wasted on the dishonest, who will always take advantage of any well-intended concession.”

But it wasn’t Brown’s acid tongue so much as his love of minutia (and ability to organize and explain minutia) that would ultimately land him in trouble. Abandoning his book on pundits in favor of a book on Anonymous, he could not have known that delving into the territory of hackers and leaks would ultimately lead to his facing the prospect of spending the rest of his life in prison. In light of the bombshell revelations published by Glenn Greenwald and Barton Gellman about government and corporate spying, Brown’s case is a good—and underreported—reminder of the considerable risk faced by reporters who report on leaks.

In February 2011, a year after Brown penned his defense of Anonymous, and against the background of its actions during the Arab Spring, Aaron Barr, CEO of the private intelligence company HBGary, claimed to have identified the leadership of the hacktivist colletive. (In fact he only had screen names of a few members). Barr’s boasting provoked a brutal hack of HBGary by a related group called Internet Feds (it would soon change its name to “LulzSec”). Splashy enough to attract the attention of The Colbert Report [3], the hack defaced and destroyed servers and websites belonging to HBGary. Some 70,000 company emails were downloaded and posted online. As a final insult to injury, even the contents of Aaron Barr’s iPad were remotely wiped.

The HBGary hack may have been designed to humiliate the company, but it had the collateral effect of dropping a gold mine of information into Brown’s lap. One of the first things he discovered was a plan to neutralize Glenn Greenwald’s defense of Wikileaks by undermining them both. (“Without the support of people like Glenn, wikileaks would fold,” read one slide.) The plan called for “disinformation,” exploiting strife within the organization and fomenting external rivalries—“creating messages around actions to sabotage or discredit the opposing organization,” as well as a plan to submit fake documents and then call out the error.” Greenwald, it was argued, “if pushed,” would “choose professional preservation over cause.”

Other plans targeted social organizations and advocacy groups. Separate from the plan to target Greenwald and WikiLeaks, HBGary was part of a consortia that submitted a proposal to develop a “persona management [4]” system for the United States Air Force, that would allow one user to control multiple online identities for commenting in social media spaces, thus giving the appearance of grassroots support or opposition to certain policies.

The data dump from the HBGary hack was so vast that no one person could sort through it alone. So Brown decided to crowdsource the effort. He created a wiki page, called it ProjectPM [5], and invited other investigative journalists to join in. Under Brown’s leadership, the initiative began to slowly untangle a web of connections between the US government, corporations, lobbyists, and a shadowy group of private military and information security consultants.

One connection was between Bank of America and the Chamber of Commerce. WikiLeaks had claimed to possess a large cache of documents belonging to Bank of America. Concerned about this, Bank of America approached the United States Department of Justice. The DOJ directed it to the law and lobbying firm Hunton and Williams [6], which does legal work for Wells Fargo and General Dynamics and also lobbies for Koch Industries, Americans for Affordable Climate Policy, Gas Processors Association, Entergy among many other firms. The DoJ recommended that Bank of America hire Hunton and Williams, explicitly suggesting Richard Wyatt [7] as the person to work with. Wyatt, famously, was the lead attorney in the Chamber of Commerce’s lawsuit against the Yes Men.

In November 2010, Hunton and Williams organized a number of private intelligence, technology development and security contractors—HBGary, plus Palantir Technologies, Berico Technologies, and, according to Brown, a secretive corporation with the ominous name Endgame Systems—to form “Team Themis” —‘themis’ being a Greek word meaning “divine law.” Its main objective was to discredit critics of the Chamber of Commerce, like Chamber Watch [8] using such tactics as creating a “false document, perhaps highlighting periodical financial information,” giving it to a progressive group opposing the Chamber, and then subsequently exposing the document as a fake to “prove that US Chamber Watch cannot be trusted with information and/or tell the truth.” In addition, the group proposed creating a “fake insider persona” to infiltrate Chamber Watch. They would “create two fake insider personas, using one as leverage to discredit the other while confirming the legitimacy of the second.” The leaked emails showed that similar disinformation campaigns were being planned against WikiLeaks and Glenn Greenwald.

It was clear to Brown that these were actions of questionable legality, but beyond that, government contractors were attempting to undermine Americans’ free speech—with the apparent blessing of the DOJ. A group of Democratic Congressmen asked for an investigation [9] into this arrangement, to no avail.

By June 2011, the plot had thickened further. The FBI had the goods on the leader of LulzSec, one Hector Xavier Monsegur, who went under the nom de guerre Sabu. The FBI arrested him on June 7, 2011 and (according to court documents) turned him into an informant the following day. Just three days before his arrest, Sabu had been central to the formation of a new group called AntiSec, which comprised his former LulzSec crew members, as well as members as Anonymous. In early December AntiSec hacked the website of a private security company called Stratfor Global Intelligence. On Christmas Eve, it released a trove of some five million internal compnay emails. AntiSec member and Chicago activist Jeremy Hammond [10], has pled guilty to the attack and is currently facing ten years in prison for it.

The contents of the Stratfor leak were even more outrageous than those of the HBGary hack. They included discussion of opportunities for renditions and assassinations. For example, in one video, Statfor’s Vice President of Intelligence, Fred Burton, suggested taking advantage of the chaos in Libya to render Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who had been released from prison on compassionate grounds due to his terminal illness. Burton said that the case “was personal.” When someone pointed out in an email that such a move would almost certainly be illegal—“This man has already been tried, found guilty, sentenced…and served time”—another Stratfor employee responded that this was just an argument for a more efficient solution: “One more reason to just bugzap him with a hellfire. :-)”

(Stratfor employees also seemed to take a keen interest in Jeremy Scahill’s writings about Blackwater in The Nation, copying and circulating entire articles, with comments suggesting a principle interest was in the question of whether Blackwater was setting up a competing intelligence operation. Emails also showed grudging respect for Scahill: “Like or dislike Scahill’s position (or what comes of his work), he does an amazing job outing [Blackwater].”)

When the contents of the Stratfor leak became available, Brown decided to put ProjectPM on it. A link to the Stratfor dump appeared in an Anonymous chat channel; Brown copied it and pasted it into the private chat channel for ProjectPM, bringing the dump to the attention of the editors.

Brown began looking into Endgame Systems [11], an information security firm that seemed particularly concerned about staying in the shadows. “Please let HBGary know we don’t ever want to see our name in a press release,” one leaked email read. One of its products, available for a $2.5 million annual subscription, gave customers access to “zero-day exploits”—security vulnerabilities unknown to software companies—for computer systems all over the world. Business Week [12] published a story on Endgame in 2011, reporting that “Endgame executives will bring up maps of airports, parliament buildings, and corporate offices. The executives then create a list of the computers running inside the facilities, including what software the computers run, and a menu of attacks that could work against those particular systems.” For Brown, this raised the question of whether Endgame was selling these exploits to foreign actors and whether they would be used against computer systems in the United States. Shortly thereafter, the hammer came down.

The FBI acquired a warrant [13] for Brown’s laptop, gaining the authority to seize any information related to HBGary, Endgame Systems, Anonymous, and, most ominously, “email, email contacts, ‘chat’, instant messaging logs, photographs, and correspondence.” In other words, the FBI wanted his sources.

When the FBI went to serve Brown he was at his mother’s house. Agents returned with a warrant to search his mother’s house, retrieving his laptop. To turn up the heat on Brown, the FBI initiated charges against his mother for obstruction of justice for concealing his laptop computer in her house. (Facing criminal charges, on March 22, 2013, his mother, Karen McCutchin, pled guilty to one count of obstructing the execution of a search warrant. She faces up to twelve months in jail. Brown maintains that she did not know the laptop was in her home.)

By his own admission, the FBI’s targeting of his mother made Brown snap. In September 2012, he uploaded an incoherent YouTube video [14], in which he explained that he had been in treatment for an addiction to heroin, taking the medication Suboxone, but had gone off his meds and now was in withdrawal. He threatened the FBI agent that was harassing his mother, by name, warming:

“I know what’s legal, I know what’s been done to me… And if it’s legal when it’s done to me, it’s going to be legal when it’s done to FBI Agent Robert Smith—who is a criminal.”

“That’s why [FBI special agent] Robert Smith’s life is over. And when I say his life is over, I’m not saying I’m going to kill him, but I am going to ruin his life and look into his fucking kids… How do you like them apples?”

Please support our journalism. Get a digital subscription for just $9.50! [15]

The media narrative was immediately derailed. No longer would this be a story about the secretive information-military-industrial complex; now it was the sordid tale of a crazy drug addict threatening an FBI agent and his (grown) children. Actual death threats against agents are often punishable by a few years in jail. But Brown’s actions made it easier for the FBI to sell some other pretext to put him away for life.

The Stratfor data included a number of unencrypted credit card numbers and validation codes. On this basis, the DOJ accused Brown of credit card fraud for having shared that link with the editorial board of ProjectPM. Specifically, the FBI charged him with Traffic in Stolen Authentication Features, Access Device Fraud, Aggravated Identity Theft, as well as an Obstruction of Justice charge (for being at his mother’s when the initial warrant was served) and charges stemming from his threats against the FBI agent. All told, Brown is looking at century of jail time: 105 years in federal prison if served sequentially. He has been denied bail.

Considering that the person who carried out the actual Stratfor hack had several priors and is facing a maximum of ten years, the inescapable conclusion is that the problem is not with the hack itself, but with Brown’s journalism. As Glenn Greenwald remarked in the Guardian: “it is virtually impossible to conclude that the obscenely excessive prosecution he now faces is unrelated to that journalism and his related activism.”

Today, Brown is in prison and ProjectPM is under increased scrutiny by the DOJ, even as its work has ground to a halt. In March, the DOJ served the domain hosting service CloudFlare with a subpoena [16] for all records on the ProjectPM website, and in particular asked for the IP addresses of everyone who had accessed and contributed to ProjectPM, describing it as a “forum” through which Brown and others would “engage in, encourage, or facilitate the commission of criminal conduct online.” The message was clear: Anyone else who looks into this matter does so at their grave peril.

Some journalists are now understandably afraid to go near the Stratfor files. The broader implications of this go beyond Brown; one might think that what we are looking at is Cointelpro 2.0—an outsourced surveillance state—but in fact it’s worse. One can’t help but infer that the US Department of Justice has become just another security contractor, working alongside the HBGarys and Stratfors on behalf of corporate bidders, with no sense at all for the justness of their actions; they are working to protect corporations and private security contractors and give them license to engage in disinformation campaigns against ordinary citizens and their advocacy groups. The mere fact that the FBI’s senior cybersecurity advisor has recently moved to Hunton and Williams shows just how incestuous this relationship has become. Meanwhile the Department of Justice is also using its power and force to trample on the rights of citizens like Barrett Brown who are trying to shed light on these nefarious relationships. In order to neutralize those who question or investigate the system, laws are being reinterpreted or extended or otherwise misappropriated in ways that are laughable—or would be if the consequences weren’t so dire.

While the media and much of the world have been understandably outraged by the revelation of the NSA’s spying programs, Barrett Brown’s work was pointing to a much deeper problem. It isn’t the sort of problem that can be fixed by trying to tweak a few laws or by removing a few prosecutors. The problem is not with bad laws or bad prosecutors. What the case of Barrett Brown has exposed is that we confronting a different problem altogether. It is a systemic problem. It is the failure of the rule of law.

Links:
[1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOW7GOrXNZI
[2] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/barrett-brown/anonymous-australia-and-t_b_457776.html
[3] http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/426198/may-09-2013/colbert-s-book-club—learning–the-great-gatsby-
[4] http://boingboing.net/2011/02/18/hbgarys-high-volume.html
[5] http://wiki.echelon2.org/wiki/Main_Page
[6] http://www.hunton.com/
[7] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/19/chamber-of-commerce-still_n_768076.html
[8] http://images2.americanprogress.org/ThinkProgress/ProposalForTheChamber.pdf
[9] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/28/AR2011022805810.html
[10] http://www.dailydot.com/news/lulzsec-jeremy-hammond-bail-denied-hacker/
[11] http://wiki.echelon2.org/wiki/Endgame_Systems
[12] http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/cyber-weapons-the-new-arms-race-07212011.html
[13] http://www.buzzfeed.com/mhastings/exclusive-fbi-escalates-war-on-anonymous
[14] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOW7GOrXNZI
[15] https://subscribe.thenation.com/servlet/OrdersGateway?cds_mag_code=NAN&cds_page_id=122425&cds_response_key=I12SART1
[16] http://leaksource.wordpress.com/2013/04/05/doj-issues-subpoena-for-info-on-barrett-browns-project-pm-site/

Peter Ludlow | June 18, 2013

Find this story at 18 June 2013

© 2012 The Nation

Jeremy Hammond Pleads Guilty to Stratfor Hack Cyber-activist faces up to 10 years in federal prison

Jeremy Hammond pleaded guilty today to the infamous Stratfor hack, as well as taking responsibility for eight additional hacks of law enforcement and defense contractor websites in 2011 and 2012. As a condition of the plea, the radical hacker will face a maximum of 10 years in federal prison, and restitution costs of up to $2.5 million. After Hammond entered his plea, his legal team framed his prosecution as part of the government’s larger attempt to control the flow of information and punish those who seek to distribute it to journalists and the public.

“There’s a war going on about corporate spying and access to information,” said defense attorney Sarah Kunstler at a press conference immediately following the hearing. “Jeremy is someone who worked toward making information public.”

In a statement posted online after the plea deal, Hammond echoed this point. “I did this because I believe people have a right to know what governments and corporations are doing behind closed doors,” Hammond wrote. “I did what I believe is right.”

The Rise and Fall of Jeremy Hammond: Enemy of the State

Hammond entered his plea – admitting to one count of conspiracy to engage in computer hacking – in a federal courtroom in lower Manhattan, surrounded by observers and supporters. One of those in attendance was his twin brother, Jason, who had just flown in from Chicago. When Hammond initially addressed the judge, he raised his right hand to be sworn in, and clenched his fist in a symbol of defiance.

The hack Hammond pleaded guilty to involved accessing information from the servers of Stratfor, a private intelligence company, and providing it to Wikileaks, who then published some of the information. Hammond was charged under the controversial 1984 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the same law used to charge the late Aaron Swartz and other cyber-activists. “Included among the leaked internal documents were millions of emails that exposed Stratfor’s wide-ranging spying activities, including surveillance of Bhopal activists at the behest of Dow Chemical, of PETA on behalf of Coca-Cola, and of Occupy Wall Street under contract to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security,” supporters said in a statement.

Beyond Stratfor, Hammond took responsibility for eight other hacks, all of which involved either law enforcement, intelligence firms or defense contractor websites. From June 2011 to February 2012, Hammond obtained unauthorized information from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the FBI virtual academy, a marketing firm that builds websites for law enforcement called Brooks Jeffreys, Special Forces Gear, Vanguard Defense Industries, the Jefferson County sheriffs department, the Boston Police Patrolman’s Institute and a Pennsylvania firm called Combined Systems that makes tear gas. Hammond was granted immunity from federal prosecution for any of those hacks in exchange for taking responsibility for them. Kunstler said he could potentially face charges at the state level, though she said there may be some double jeopardy protection.

The New Political Prisoners: Leakers, Hackers and Whistleblowers

Michael Ratner, president emeritus of the Center For Constitutional Rights and lawyer for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, said that journalists should stand up for Hammond. “He should be looked at as a source, as a whistle-blower,” Ratner said after the plea deal. “He, like other whistle-blowers in this country, ought to be protected, because they’re the only thing that let us know what our government and our private security companies are doing and they’re the only things that can keep this government even close to honest.”

Earlier in the case, Hammond’s legal team made a motion for Judge Loretta Preska to recuse herself because her husband was a victim of the Stratfor leak. That motion was denied. (Full disclosure: This reporter previously spoke at a rally that called for Preska to recuse herself.)

Other hackers in the Anonymous-affiliated group called Lulzsec who were charged in similar leaks – but were tried in the U.K. – have received much lighter sentences, from 20 to 32 months. Jason Hammond has asked supporters to sign a Change.org petition on his brother’s behalf calling for Judge Preska to sentence Hammond to time served. Jeremy Hammond’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for September 6th.

by John Knefel
MAY 28, 2013

Find this story at 28 May 2013

©2013 Rolling Stone

The Global Intelligence Files

LONDON—Today, Monday 27 February, WikiLeaks began publishing The Global Intelligence Files – more than five million emails from the Texas-headquartered “global intelligence” company Stratfor. The emails date from 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 Defense Intelligence Agency. The emails show Stratfor’s web of informers, pay-off structure, payment-laundering techniques and psychological methods, for example :

“[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” – CEO George Friedman to Stratfor analyst Reva Bhalla on 6 December 2011, on how to exploit an Israeli intelligence informant providing information on the medical condition of the President of Venezuala, Hugo Chavez.

The material contains privileged information about the US government’s attacks against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks and Stratfor’s own attempts to subvert WikiLeaks. There are more than 4,000 emails mentioning WikiLeaks or Julian Assange. The emails also expose the revolving door that operates in private intelligence companies in the United States. Government and diplomatic sources from around the world give Stratfor advance knowledge of global politics and events in exchange for money. The Global Intelligence Files exposes how Stratfor has recruited a global network of informants who are paid via Swiss banks accounts and pre-paid credit cards. Stratfor has a mix of covert and overt informants, which includes government employees, embassy staff and journalists around the world.

The material shows how a private intelligence agency works, and how they target individuals for their corporate and government clients. For example, Stratfor monitored and analysed the online activities of Bhopal activists, including the “Yes Men”, for the US chemical giant Dow Chemical. The activists seek redress for the 1984 Dow Chemical/Union Carbide gas disaster in Bhopal, India. The disaster led to thousands of deaths, injuries in more than half a million people, and lasting environmental damage.

Stratfor has realised that its routine use of secret cash bribes to get information from insiders is risky. In August 2011, Stratfor CEO George Friedman confidentially told his employees : “We are retaining a law firm to create a policy for Stratfor on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. I don’t plan to do the perp walk and I don’t want anyone here doing it either.”

Stratfor’s use of insiders for intelligence soon turned into a money-making scheme of questionable legality. The emails show that in 2009 then-Goldman Sachs Managing Director Shea Morenz and Stratfor CEO George Friedman hatched an idea to “utilise the intelligence” it was pulling in from its insider network to start up a captive strategic investment fund. CEO George Friedman explained in a confidential August 2011 document, marked DO NOT SHARE OR DISCUSS : “What StratCap will do is use our Stratfor’s intelligence and analysis to trade in a range of geopolitical instruments, particularly government bonds, currencies and the like”. The emails show that in 2011 Goldman Sach’s Morenz invested “substantially” more than $4million and joined Stratfor’s board of directors. Throughout 2011, a complex offshore share structure extending as far as South Africa was erected, designed to make StratCap appear to be legally independent. But, confidentially, Friedman told StratFor staff : “Do not think of StratCap as an outside organisation. It will be integral… It will be useful to you if, for the sake of convenience, you think of it as another aspect of Stratfor and Shea as another executive in Stratfor… we are already working on mock portfolios and trades”. StratCap is due to launch in 2012.

The Stratfor emails reveal a company that cultivates close ties with US government agencies and employs former US government staff. It is preparing the 3-year Forecast for the Commandant of the US Marine Corps, and it trains US marines and “other government intelligence agencies” in “becoming government Stratfors”. Stratfor’s Vice-President for Intelligence, Fred Burton, was formerly a special agent with the US State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service and was their Deputy Chief of the counterterrorism division. Despite the governmental ties, Stratfor and similar companies operate in complete secrecy with no political oversight or accountability. Stratfor claims that it operates “without ideology, agenda or national bias”, yet the emails reveal private intelligence staff who align themselves closely with US 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 US diplomatic cables to Israel.

Ironically, considering the present circumstances, Stratfor was trying to get into what it called the leak-focused “gravy train” that sprung up after WikiLeaks’ Afghanistan disclosures :

“[Is it] possible for us to get some of that ’leak-focused’ gravy train ? This is an obvious fear sale, so that’s a good thing. And we have something to offer that the IT security companies don’t, mainly our focus on counter-intelligence and surveillance that Fred and Stick know better than anyone on the planet… Could we develop some ideas and procedures on the idea of ´leak-focused’ network security that focuses on preventing one’s own employees from leaking sensitive information… In fact, I’m not so sure this is an IT problem that requires an IT solution.”

Like WikiLeaks’ diplomatic cables, much of the significance of the emails will be revealed over the coming weeks, as our coalition and the public search through them and discover connections. Readers will find that whereas large numbers of Stratfor’s subscribers and clients work in the US military and intelligence agencies, Stratfor gave a complimentary membership to the controversial Pakistan general Hamid Gul, former head of Pakistan’s ISI intelligence service, who, according to US diplomatic cables, planned an IED attack on international forces in Afghanistan in 2006. Readers will discover Stratfor’s internal email classification system that codes correspondence according to categories such as ’alpha’, ’tactical’ and ’secure’. The correspondence also contains code names for people of particular interest such as ’Hizzies’ (members of Hezbollah), or ’Adogg’ (Mahmoud Ahmedinejad).

Stratfor did secret deals with dozens of media organisations and journalists – from Reuters to the Kiev Post. The list of Stratfor’s “Confederation Partners”, whom Stratfor internally referred to as its “Confed Fuck House” are included in the release. While it is acceptable for journalists to swap information or be paid by other media organisations, because Stratfor is a private intelligence organisation that services governments and private clients these relationships are corrupt or corrupting.

WikiLeaks has also obtained Stratfor’s list of informants and, in many cases, records of its payoffs, including $1,200 a month paid to the informant “Geronimo” , handled by Stratfor’s Former State Department agent Fred Burton.

WikiLeaks has built an investigative partnership with more than 25 media organisations and activists to inform the public about this huge body of documents. The organisations were provided access to a sophisticated investigative database developed by WikiLeaks and together with WikiLeaks are conducting journalistic evaluations of these emails. Important revelations discovered using this system will appear in the media in the coming weeks, together with the gradual release of the source documents.

END

Public partners in the investigation
Comment
Current WikiLeaks status
How to read the data
Public partners in the investigation:

More than 25 media partners (others will be disclosed after their first publication) :

Al Akhbar – Lebanon – http://english.al-akhbar.com
Al Masry Al Youm – Egypt – http://www.almasry-alyoum.com
Bivol – Bulgaria – http://bivol.bg
CIPER – Chile – http://ciperchile.cl
Dawn Media – Pakistan – http://www.dawn.com
L’Espresso – Italy – http://espresso.repubblica.it
La Repubblica – Italy – http://www.repubblica.it
La Jornada – Mexico – www.jornada.unam.mx/
La Nacion – Costa Rica – http://www.nacion.com
Malaysia Today – Malaysia – www.malaysia-today.net
McClatchy – United States – http://www.mcclatchydc.com
Nawaat – Tunisia – http://nawaat.org
NDR/ARD – Germany – http://www.ndr.de
Owni – France – http://owni.fr
Pagina 12 – Argentina – www.pagina12.com.ar
Plaza Publica – Guatemala – http://plazapublica.com.gt
Publico.es – Spain – www.publico.es
Rolling Stone – United States – http://www.rollingstone.com
Russian Reporter – Russia – http://rusrep.ru
Sunday Star-Times – New Zealand – www.star-times.co.nz
Ta Nea – Greece –- http://www.tanea.gr
Taraf – Turkey – http://www.taraf.com.tr
The Hindu – India – www.thehindu.com
The Yes Men – Bhopal Activists – Global http://theyesmen.org
Comment:

WikiLeaks – Kristinn Hrafnsson, Official WikiLeaks representative, +35 4821 7121

Other comment :
Bhopal Medical Appeal (in UK) – Colin Toogood : colintoogood@bhopal.org / +44 (0) 1273 603278/ +44 (0) 7798 845074
International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal (in India) – Rachna Dhingra : rachnya@gmail.com, +91 98 261 67369
Yes Men – mike@theyesmen.org / +44 (0) 7578 682321 – andy@theyesmen.org, +1-718-208-0684
Privacy International – +44 (0) 20 7242 2836

Twitter tag : #gifiles
CURRENT WIKILEAKS STATUS:

An extrajudicial blockade imposed by VISA, MasterCard, PayPal, Bank of America, and Western Union that is designed to destroy WikiLeaks has been in place since December 2010. The EU Commission is considering whether it will open a formal investigation, but two lawsuits have been filed (http://wikileaks.org/Banking-Blocka…). There are also other ways to donate (https://shop.wikileaks.org/donate). It is legal to donate, including in the United States. The US Treasury has publicly stated that that there are no grounds to place WikiLeaks on a US government blacklist.

WikiLeaks Founder and Publisher Julian Assange has not been charged with any crime in any country. Four prosecutors are currently trying to charge him under the Espionage Act of 1917 before a closed Grand Jury in Virginia, in the United States. Julian Assange has been detained for 447 days (10,728 hours) since Dec 7, 2010, without charge, and he is currently awaiting a decision from the UK Supreme Court on extradition to Sweden (http://www.justiceforassange.com/Su…). The decision is expected in March. The decision on whether he will be onwardly extradited to the US lies in the hands of the Swedish Executive, but Sweden’s Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has refused to state whether he will protect Assange from a politically motivated extradition to the United States (http://justice4assange.com/US-Extra… ).

The Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt has repeatedly attacked WikiLeaks this week in a bizarre manner (http://ferrada-noli.blogspot.com/20… ).

An alleged WikiLeaks US military source, Bradley Manning, has been in pre-trial detention for 639 days (http://bradleymanning.org/ ). His arraignment took place on 24 February 2012. In December 2011, Manning’s attorney revealed in the preliminary hearing that the US government is attempting to enter a plea deal with Manning in order to “go after” Assange. Manning has 22 charges against him, including violating the Espionage Act of 1917 and aiding the enemy. Manning has deferred entering a plea. Julian Assange and WikiLeaks are legally represented in the Manning hearings by the US Centre for Constitutional Rights (http://ccrjustice.org/ ). WikiLeaks was denied full access to Manning’s hearing after appeal (http://ccrjustice.org/newsroom/pres… ). WikiLeaks put out a statement relating to Manning’s trial ahead of the Article 32 Hearing : (http://www.wikileaks.org/Statement-… ).

The alleged WikiLeaks-supporting hacktivists known as the “PayPal 14” were arrested in 2011 following co-ordinated online demonstrations against the financial services companies that are carrying out the unlawful financial blockade on WikiLeaks (VISA, MasterCard, Paypal, Western Union, Bank of America). They are represented by attorney Stanley Cohen and will go before court in May 2012 (http://www.cyberguerrilla.org/?p=4644 ).

WikiLeaks is about to launch a distributed, encrypted “Facebook for revolutionaries” (https://wlfriends.org/ ).

Julian Assange is currently directing interviews, from house arrest, for a programme on the future of the world that is syndicated to various broadcasters. The first show will be broadcast in March (http://www.wikileaks.org/New-Assang… )
HOW TO READ THE DATA

This is a glossary and information on how to understand the internal terms and codes used by Stratfor in their emails. It is not a complete list. We call on the public to add to this list by tweeting #gifind

To see a list of the terms George Friedman considers useful for his staff to know please download this PDF : The Stratfor Glossary of Useful, Baffling and Strange Intelligence Terms.

OPEN SOURCE VS. “COVERT”

As you browse through the content, you will notice that a large set of it is what is classified as “open source” (subject lines which include [OS]). These are basically email threads that start with someone posting a published and accessible source, such as news sites, and follow with commentary by the staff. In one of the emails, Joseph Nye is referenced saying :

“Open source intelligence is the outer pieces of the jigsaw puzzle, without which one can neither begin nor complete the puzzle”

CODES IN SUBJECT LINES

Many of the emails have codes in the subject lines as well as in the body, to make it easier for the staff to “quickly identify when we need to go back and have a look-see.” [*] :

Examples : INSIGHT – COUNTRY – Subject – SOURCE CODE INSIGHT – CHINA – Trains and planes – CN1000

Please refer to the glossary for the code names of subject and country tags, as well as mailing list names.

SOURCE CODES

A lot of interesting stuff comes from “sources”. Sources are either informal contacts or people they have a formal relationship with. The IDs for sources have the format of CN120 or ME001. In terms of the character part, it refers to a region or a country :

A) Regions ME – Middle East region EU – European Union EE – Eastern Europe LA- South America SA- South Asia

B) Countries or Orgs CN – China PK – Pakistan IN- India ML – Malaysia VN – Vietnam NP- Nepal

US – United States VZ – Venezuela CO- Colombia BR-Brazil NC- Nicaragua MX- Mexico CL/CH- Chile AR- Argentina PY- Paraguay BOL- Bolivia

RU – Russia UA – Ukraine GE – Georgia TJ – Tajikstan MD – Moldova BG -Bulgaria CR/CZ- Czech Republic PT- Portugal

ZA – South Africa AO – Angola SO – Somalia NG- Nigeria CD- DR Congo CI- Cote D’Ivoire ZW- Zimbabwe ZM- Zambia RW- Rwanda KE- Kenya ET- Ethiopia SD -Sudan MA- Morocco SN- Senegal GN- Guinea SL- Sierra Leone

IR – Iran IQ- Iraq IL or IS- Israel SA- Saudi Arabia SY- Syria KU- Kuwait Y or YN – Yemen HZ – Hizbollah TK – Turkey LN- Lebanon LY- Libya UAE- UAE EG- Egypt (etc.)

C) Odd codes OCH – Old China hand, a finance insider. Stick – Scott Stewart, high level employee Z’s – Zetas, Mexican drug gang

INSIGHTS FORMAT

When “insights” are sent, they usually have the following header information :

SOURCE : The ID of the source, say CN123. Sometimes this is left “no source ID” when it’s a new source.

ATTRIBUTION : How the source is to be attributed, i.e. “Source in the pharma distribution industry in China”, Stratfor source, etc.

SOURCE DESCRIPTION : Describes the source, for example : “Source works with Mercator Pharmaceutical Solutions, distributing pharma to developing countries.” These include concrete details on the source for internal consumption so that there’s a better understanding on the source’s background and ability to make assessments on the ground.

PUBLICATION : Yes or No. If the option is yes it doesn’t mean that it would be published, but rather that it _can_ be published.

SOURCE RELIABILITY : A/B

SOURCE RELIABILITY : A-F, A being the best and F being the worst. This grades the turnaround time of this source in responding to requests.

ITEM CREDIBILITY : 1-10, 1 being the best and 10 being the worst (we may change the range here in the future). this changes a lot based on the info provided. 1 is “you can take this to the bank” and 10 would be an example of maybe – “this is a totally ridiculous rumor but something that is spreading on the ground”

SPECIAL HANDLING : often this is “none” but it may be something like, “if you use this we need to be sure not to mention the part about XXX in the publication” or any other special notes

SOURCE HANDLER : the person who can take follow-up questions and communicate with the source.

MAILING LISTS

alpha@stratfor.com Discussions circulated exclusively among analysts, writers and higher-ups, including ’insights’ and discussions about sources and source meetings. secure@stratfor.com Discussions circulated exclusively among analysts and higher-ups, and only for use within continental US (analysts traveling ’overseas’ are removed from the list for the duration of their journey). analysts@stratfor.com – Discussion among analysts only, who manage sources, gather and analyze intelligence. ct@stratfor.com Ongoing discussions to collect and analyze counterterrorism intelligence, circulated among select group of analysts. tactical@statfor.com Non-time sensitive discussions for internal training on technical and tactical matters within field of counterterrorism. intelligence@stratfor.com gvalerts@stratfor.com – Related to Gas ventures clients military@stratfor.com Military list for pre-approved staff africa@stratfor.com eastasia@stratfor.com mesa@stratfor.com Middle East/South Asia list for pre-approved staff. eurasia@stratfor.com os@stratfor.com List with information from the public domain circulated and discussed among all employees. adp@stratfor.com List for ADPs. See Glossary. translations@stratfor.com alerts@stratfor.com responses@stratfor.com dialog-list@stratfor.com

GLOSSARY

a) Industry and other misc. tags :

HUMINT – Human intelligence OSINT- Open source intelligence DATA FLU BIRDFLU ECON TECH ENERGY MINING GV – Gas Venture CT – Counterterrorism G1-G4 B2-B4 S1-S4 MILITARY or MIL PENTAGON AQ- Al Qaeda AQAP – Al Qaeda in the Arabia Peninsula SF- Special Forces CONUS- Continental US

b) Special internal codewords :

Hizzies or HZ – Hizbollah Izzies or IZ – Israel A-dogg – Mahmoud Ahmadinajad, Iranian President Baby bashar – Bashar Al-Assad, Syrian President Uncle Mo – Moammar Gaddhafi ADP- Analyst Development Program. Four-month program at STRATFOR from which candidates— mostly recent college graduates— are selected for hire. Strictly protect and protect – Often mentioned in the ’subject’, means that the source is protected. Played- A term used for procuring sensitive information from sources. E.g. from one of the secure list messages circulating the ’complete scenario for the Israeli team in Centcom’s war game,’ the analyst who procured the data wrote : “I played the head of the Mossad which was great fun.” Excomm- Appears to be ’executive committee’ of STRATFOR.

c) Regions and Orgs

AFRICOM – African countries LATAM – Latin American MERCOSUR NATFA ASEAN APEC FSU – Former Soviet Union countries MESA or MIDDLEEAST – Middle East EASTASIA OPEC EURASIA SA – South Asia FSB- Federal Security Service (Russia)

ATTACHED DOCUMENTS

Attached documents can be searched by Filename or part of the file name. Preliminary searches for filenames using the terms ’lists’, ’source lists’ or ’insight lists’, coupled with the names of source handlers (e.g. Reva for Turkey, Brazil or Venezuela) produced Excel lists of the source names, contact info and source descriptions which correspond to the source codes (e.g. ME1315).

Sourcing Criteria

The following are the proposed criteria for analyzing both sources and insight.

1. Source Timeliness 2. Source Accessibility/Position 3. Source Availability 4. Insight Credibility 5. Insight Uniqueness

Source Timeliness : This is the average grade on how long this particular source turns around tasks and replies to inquiries. It may change but is more of a static indicator.

Source Accessibility : Accessibility weighs the source’s position to have certain knowledge in a particular field. So, for example, if we are looking for energy insight and the source is an official in an energy agency, his or her Accessibility would be ranked higher than if s/he was a banker giving insight on energy. While we would welcome a banker giving his/her insight, a good source may not have a high accessibility ranking if they aren’t in a position to offer reliable insight on a certain topic. The source’s access to decision makers, specific training or education in the desired topic area, specific knowledge of events/situations/incidents can also be considered.

Source Availability : How often can we go to this source ? Are they someone we can tap daily, weekly, monthly, yearly ?

Insight Credibility : This is our assessment of the veracity of the insight offered. Here we need to consider whether or not this is disinformation, speculation, correct data or knowledgeable interpretation. Any bias that the source is displaying or any specific viewpoints or personal background the source is using in the assessment provided should also be considered.

Insight Uniqueness : Is this insight something that could be found in OS ? If it is but the analysis of the information is unique, it would still have a high uniqueness ranking. Or, if it is concrete data, but is something that is only offered to industry insiders, i.e. stats that aren’t published but that aren’t secret, it would still have a high uniqueness score.

Scoring

All of the above factors will be scored on an A-F scale, with A being exemplary and F being useless.

Source Timeliness : A = turnaround within 24 hours B = turnaround within 48 hours C = turnaround within a week D = turnaround within a month F = lucky to receive a reply at all

Source Accessibility : A = Someone with intimate knowledge of the particular insight B = Someone within the industry but whose knowledge of the topic is not exact (e.g. if we were asking someone in the oil industry about natural gas) C = Someone working close to the industry who doesn’t have intimate knowledge of a particular topic but can speak to it intelligently (e.g. a financial consultant asked to gauge the movement of the stock market) D = Someone who may know a country but doesn’t have any concrete insight into a particular topic but can offer rumors and discussions heard on the topic F = Someone who has no knowledge of a particular industry at all

Source Availability : A = Available pretty much whenever B = Can tap around once a week C = Can tap about once a month D = Can tap only several times a year F = Very limited availability

Insight Credibility : A = We can take this information to the bank B = Good insight but maybe not entirely precise C = Insight is only partially true D = There may be some interest in the insight, but it is mostly false or just pure speculation. F = Likely to be disinformation

Insight Uniqueness : A = Can’t be found anywhere else B = Can only be found in limited circles C = Insight can be found in OS, but the source has an interesting take/analysis D = Insight can be found in OS, but still may not be common knowledge F = Insight is accessible in numerous locations

Daily Insight Scoring

SOURCE : code ATTRIBUTION : this is what we should say if we use this info in a publication, e.g. STRATFOR source/source in the medical industry/source on the ground, etc SOURCE DESCRIPTION : this is where we put the more concrete details of the source for our internal consumption so we can better understand the source’s background and ability to make the assessments in the insight. PUBLICATION : Yes or no. If you put yes it doesn’t mean that we will publish it, but only that we can publish it. SOURCE RELIABILITY : A-F. A being the best and F being the worst. This grades the source overall – access to information, timeliness, availability, etc. In short, how good is this source ? ITEM CREDIBILITY : A-F. A = we can take this info to the bank ; B = Good insight but maybe not entirely precise ; C = Insight is only partially true ; D = There may be some interest in the insight, but it is mostly false or just pure speculation ; F = Likely to be disinformation. SPECIAL HANDLING : often this is “none” but it may be something like, “if you use this we need to be sure not to mention the part about XXX in thepublication” or any other special notes SOURCE HANDLER : the person who can take follow-up questions and communicate with the source.

Find this story at 27 February 2012