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28 February 2012


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Paul Escobar

Wow! This is one epic take-down.

The Coca Cola anecdote is reassuring. A friend of mine works abroad to rectify their "oversights". Nice to see that while he faces a large opponent...he clearly does not face a very intelligent one.

Morocco Bama

Three thumbs up....I had to borrow one to give you better than the maximum two!!! Superb! Couldn't have said it better myself. Thanks.


"stratfor is a sleazy outfit."

Dr. Brenner,

Fool me once, fool me twice...

Godd*** it, & I subscribe to their dis-information.

This after being informed 2 years ago by one of your learn-ed compatriots. But what's even worse with the most detriment:

"As for the institutions that make use of their services? well let’s just say that there must be something deeply unsatisfying at home."

Neil Richardson

Dear Prof. Brenner:

"The most stunning feature of the operation is that they induce many large organizations to pay them hefty fees for ‘customized’ analyses which, at times, pass as the product of an intelligence investigation. "

This reminds me of a scene from Tinker Tailor:

"George Smiley: Ever bought a fake picture, Toby?

Toby Esterhase: I sold a couple once.

George Smiley: The more you pay for it, the less inclined you are to doubt its authenticity."


If I ever get to meet Mr. Assange I'm gonna buy him an entire crate of whatever brew he favors.

CHANGED the whole freaking geopolitical landscape he did.


Starfor served an incredibly useful function.

People who quoted it instantly revealed themselves as fools.

That alone is priceless. Saves you 5 minutes everytime you talk.

Babak Makkinejad

I can only state that I found Dr. Friedman's analysis impressive and insightful.

The beaver

So far this e-mail is very intriguing:


Non-Kosher payment from the Bahamas:
More on the other items later, as I am tied up until after 3:30 or so today, and then only free until 4:00, but I wanted to reply about NEWCO.
My strong advice would be to try to form a disregarded entity wholly owned by Stratfor to make the payments. We are doing that now with Philmont in the Bahamas for overseas payments. We could even use Philmont for that matter.

A bigger concern is to ensure that the recipients are in fact independent contractors and not employees, and also that we have a mechanism to ensure that we can show that these are not prohibited payments, for example, prohibited by the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.


This tends to confirm my prior suspicions.

William R. Cumming

Perhaps a more devasting contrast for analyis would be with an organization like INTELLIBRIDGE! Many pretenders out there as to security and INTEL. FEW have merit.


I consider it fitting that entities such as Coca Cola have been paying big bucks for BS. However, did Stratfor supplied BS lead clients to take actions that were less than legal or moral? And our tax dollars were being spent for access to said BS by Federal entities? Was George Freidman receiving "insider info" for profit and influence from the likes of Karl Rove and other "insider" connected minions? If so, the value of the info is not IMO the point nor is it the real story. Could it be that the flow of info was not.....one way.....when the interaction involved Federal/Military/Elected entities?
The U.S. MSM will most likely confine any coverage they deem suitable to bashing the source, as opposed to examining the content, or they will simply ignore. As in...
Who....? Lt. Col. Davis????...........what?


The normal sales patter for someone like Cocal Cola would involve the strong suggestion that their employees cannot be trusted to supply information, and even if they did, they would be alarmed at what they found.

Why wouldn't Cocal Cola have access to CIA reports? Ford and the motor industry does,

Pirate Laddie

There's the old central European aphorism: "Anyone who has an Hungarian for a friend doesn't need an enemy." A miminal exposure to Friedman's organization didn't disproved this, at least from my end of the swamp.
Coming out of 15 years of overseas service in places like Central America & the sub-continent and a stint at INR, I dropped my song&dance on the coven, only to be told that a two year unpaid internship was required to move beyond the foyer.
A "wannabe richboy frat" (to paraphrase Dr. Brenner), unfortunately typical of the for-hire intel community that's grown up as part of the "privatization" impulse that's hollowing out most of the USG.

Roy G.

Irony abounds: Anonymous was easily able to penetrate Stratfor's network due to unencrypted passwords and a lack of the most basic network security precautions.

In 2003, a warblogger was busted for plagiarizing material from Stratfor:

Also, George Friedman the CEO of Stratfor is the author of 'The Coming War With Japan,' published in 1991 - presumably before he fine-tuned his paranoia detector.

The beaver


This e-mail may give you an answer:

Please read from bottom to top to get its importance
On 09/04/11 19:30 , Karl Rove wrote:

will do -- he has a call into me as well
I will tell him you inquired and then make it happen both of us need to worry about what the public knowledge that we know Cammack could do to our respective reputations

The Twisted Genius

Thank you, Dr. Brenner, for this clear and direct analysis of Stratfor. As you surmise, they are not alone. Since I left government service and started dabbling in the corporate world, I've discovered a whole new class of grifters in fancy suits. Since buying into each others incompetence is the grease that keeps this machine running, I doubt if Stratfor will suffer anything more than a temporary embarrassment... if that.

Phil Giraldi

Those of us who are former intelligence professionals who have bothered to look at Stratfor have long since concluded that they are peddling snake oil - open source information combined with speculation and sheer invention all wrapped up in a neocon lite package. Baloney.

The beaver

Al-Akhbar (English version) has a good analysis of them:



"Code words, lots of expletives, a self-conscious secrecy about their doings, generally a ‘wow aren’t we clever’ "

Sounds just like Enron. What's not to like? Enron took good care of its executives, too.

FB Ali

Can you tell us what you asked Stratfor to analyse for you (which you found so "impressive and insightful")?

Morocco Bama

Twisted Genius, yes, I have seen it everywhere in my travels in the corporate world. Even if some of them add value, it's like shooting fish in a barrel...meaning it's a rigged game. If you are employed in a corporation at a level below executive, your hands are generally tied behind your back when you are given assignments that are cross-functional/departmental because of territorial turf protection. You don't get full cooperation and carte blanche treatment, but the consultants, who are always sanctioned by the executive offices do get all of that, and more, because the sycophants want the consultants to give a positive report of them to the executives. So, the consultants come in and pick off the low hanging fruit, they shine because they've proven on paper that the savings are there, they collect their fee and the sanctioning exec takes his kickback and gets his bonus and /or promotion. Five to eight years later the company falls into bankruptcy or is merged and/or bought out, and the executives take their golden parachutes and shotgun and head to the next barrel of fish.


Sir, I doubt you would agree with this gem: "the United States can afford a hundred Iraqs" - Dr. George Friedman


Thanks Beaver but that was the mail I was referring to. Should have been more specific. What I question is just what may have been involved past an introduction........Quid Pro Quo? I have a suspicion that the info gleaned by Stratfor from their clients, may have been worth much more than the collected fees for the advertised service.....and possibly may have been a secondary or primary objective of the interactions. Just a thought. Hastings at Rolling Stone has few interesting thoughts.



This looks like Straford's current intel list. An older list shows more clients with some crossed out.



Management consultants are the bane of big organizations. Top management knows the failings of even its most expert employees. But they only know of consultants by reputation. In order words, management often prefers the analysis of the devil they don't know to the one they have been underpaying for years.

Consultants are usually brought in to validate management's bias or to review a case where there is a difference of opinion or uncertainty. The consultant helps tip the balance in favor of one course, for right or for wrong.

When management consultants or called in it usually reveals a management too insecure or too incompetent to make its own decisions. It sounds like Stratfor feasted on those losers.

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