Dow pays "strategic intelligence" firm to spy on Yes Men

Paul Mobbs mobbsey at
Mon Feb 27 08:33:07 GMT 2012

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Dow pays "strategic intelligence" firm to spy on Yes Men and grassroots 
activists. Takeaway: movement is on the right track! 

(see also Wikipeaks page )

WikiLeaks begins to publish today over five million e-mails obtained by 
Anonymous from "global intelligence" company Stratfor. The emails, which 
reveal everything from sinister spy tactics to an insider trading scheme 
with Goldman Sachs (see below), also include several discussions of the Yes 
Men and Bhopal activists. (Bhopal activists seek redress for the 1984 Dow 
Chemical/Union Carbide gas disaster in Bhopal, India, that led to thousands 
of deaths, injuries in more than half a million people, and lasting 
environmental damage.) 

Many of the Bhopal-related emails, addressed from Stratfor to Dow and Union 
Carbide public relations directors, reveal concern that, in the lead-up to 
the 25th anniversary of the Bhopal disaster, the Bhopal issue might be 
expanded into an effective systemic critique of corporate rule, and 
speculate at length about why this hasn't yet happened—providing a 
fascinating window onto what at least some corporate types fear most from 

"[Bhopal activists] have made a slight nod toward expanded activity, but 
never followed through on it—the idea of 'other Bhopals' that were the 
fault of Dow or others," mused Joseph de Feo, who is listed in one online 
source as a "Briefer" for Stratfor. 

"Maybe the Yes Men were the pinnacle. They made an argument in their way on 
their terms—that this is a corporate problem and a part of the a [sic] 
larger whole," wrote Kathleen Morson, Stratfor's Director of Policy 

"With less than a month to go [until the 25th anniversary], you'd think 
that the major players—especially Amnesty—would have branched out from 
Bhopal to make a broader set of issues. I don't see any evidence of it," 
wrote Bart Mongoven, Stratfor's Vice President, in November 2004. "If they 
can't manage to use the 25th anniversary to broaden the issue, they 
probably won't be able to." 

Mongoven even speculates on coordination between various activist campaigns 
that had nothing to do with each other. "The Chevron campaign [in Ecuador] 
is remarkably similar [to the Dow campaign] in its unrealistic demand. Is 
it a follow up or an admission that the first thrust failed? Am I missing a 
node of activity or a major campaign that is to come? Has the Dow campaign 
been more successful than I think?" It's almost as if Mongoven assumes the 
two campaigns were directed from the same central activist headquarters. 

Just as Wall Street has at times let slip their fear of the Occupy Wall 
Street movement, these leaks seem to show that corporate power is most 
afraid of whatever reveals "the larger whole" and "broader issues," i.e. 
whatever brings systemic criminal behavior to light. "Systemic critique 
could lead to policy changes that would challenge corporate power and 
profits in a really major way," noted Joseph Huff-Hannon, recently-promoted 
Director of Policy Analysis for the Yes Lab. 

Among the millions of other leaked Stratfor emails are some that reveal 
dubious financial practices, including an apparent insider trading scheme 
with Goldman Sachs Managing Director Shea Morenz, who joined Stratfor's 
board of directors and invested "substantially" more than $4 million in the 
scheme, called StratCap. "What StratCap will do is use our Stratfor's 
intelligence and analysis to trade in a range of geopolitical instruments," 
wrote Stratfor CEO George Friedman in September 2011. StratCap was designed 
through a complex offshore share structure to appear legally independent, 
but Friedman assured Stratfor staff otherwise: "Do not think of StratCap as 
an outside organisation. It will be integral... It will be useful to you... 
We are already working on mock portfolios and trades." (StratCap has been 
due to launch in 2012, though that could now change.) 

Other emails show Stratfor techniques of a truly creepy Spy vs. Spy sort: 
"[Y]ou have to take control of him. Control means financial, sexual or 
psychological control," wrote CEO Friedman recently to an employee, Reva 
Bhalla, on how to exploit an Israeli intelligence informant providing 
information on Chavez's cancer. (Stratfor's "confidential intelligence 
services" clients include, besides Dow and Union Carbide, the US Department 
of Homeland Security, the US Marines, the US Defense Intelligence Agency, 
Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Raytheon.) 

Perhaps most entertainingly of all, the email trove reveals that Stratfor's 
"Confederation Partners"—an unethical alliance between Stratfor and a 
number of mainstream journalists—are referred to informally within Stratfor 
as its "Confed Fuck House." (Another discovery: Coca Cola was spying on 
PETA. More such gems are sure to surface as operatives sift through the 5.5 
million emails.) 

A number of the remaining Yes Men-related emails take the form of reports 
on public appearances by the Yes Men, such as one that describes one 
audience comprised of "art students on class assignments and free 
entertainment." Another notes that "The Yes Men tweeted about the US 
Chamber of Commerce 'plotting forged emails, documents to trick (AND smear) 
opponents,'" a reference to an apparent plot to discredit Chamber opponents 
using forged documents, as revealed when thousands of emails were recently 
leaked by Anonymous from cyber-security firm HB Gary. Yet another discusses 
Alessio Rastani, the Wall Street trader widely mistaken for Yes Man Andy 
Bichlbaum, who proclaimed, live on the BBC, that "governments don't rule 
the world, Goldman Sachs rules the world." 

"Rastani was right," said the real Andy Bichlbaum five months later. "But 
it's now very clear that it doesn't have to be that way anymore." 

The Yes Men and representatives from the Bhopal Medical Appeal will join 
Julian Assange of Wikileaks at a press conference at noon today, Feb. 27, 
at the Frontline Club in London.

- -- 


"We are not for names, nor men, nor titles of Government,
nor are we for this party nor against the other but we are
for justice and mercy and truth and peace and true freedom,
that these may be exalted in our nation, and that goodness,
righteousness, meekness, temperance, peace and unity with
God, and with one another, that these things may abound."
(Edward Burrough, 1659 - from 'Quaker Faith and Practice')

Paul's book, "Energy Beyond Oil", is out now!
For details see

Read my 'essay' weblog, "Ecolonomics", at:

Paul Mobbs, Mobbs' Environmental Investigations
3 Grosvenor Road, Banbury OX16 5HN, England
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