Wikileaks Global Intelligence Files, Israel Day 18: Google’s Covert Role in Arab Uprisings
by Lakkana Nanayakkara
Since February 27, 2012, WikiLeaks has continued releasing what it says will eventually be 5 million e-mails sent between July 2004 and late December 2011 from the private intelligence company Stratfor. The emails were obtained from a series of hacking attacks against Stratfor in December 2011, carried out by the online activist collective Anonymous.
According to an email dated December 19, 2004, the Syrian Ba’th party wanted to “Islamize the party to give the regime some Islamic and popular legitimacy” and “… to absorb the ascendence of the fundamentalist Islamism in Syria…” This is apparently similar to the steps taken by Saddam Hussein after the Gulf War.
The same email mentioned that severe restrictions placed on foreign media, “tardiness, bad timing and poor crisis mismanagement harm Syria’s image internationally”. An example provided was the Israeli Air Force bombing of the Ain es Saheb Palestinian militant training camp in October 2003. Israel released footage of militants training at this camp, although this email claims “…pictures probably dated from the early 1980’s.” Meanwhile, “the Syrian authorities from the outset prevented anyone from getting close to the site and only offered an official explanation about the attack after a considerable delay.”
An email dated December 24, 2004, mentioned that “The Born to Freedom Foundation” had “launched a 10 million dollar campaign to obtain information on missing Israeli Air Force navigator, Captain Ron Arad.”
An email dated February 10, 2011, describes Jared Cohen as “the Director of Google Ideas” and a “member of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff”.
An internal Stratfor email dated February 10, 2011, with the title “Google Shitstorm Moving to Gaza…” refers to Jared Cohen’s upcoming trip to Gaza. A Stratfor employee, Fred Burton, mentioned that Google has not made it clear if Cohen is operating with approval from the State Department/White House or if he is “a hippie activist.”
Fred Burton wrote the following comments:
“Cohen, a Jew, is bound to get himself whacked….”
“Cohen’s rabbi is Eric Schmidt and Obama lackey.”
“I’m thinking about having the Palestinians pick him up.”
Another internal Stratfor email dated February 11, 2011, mentioned that Cohen has been “spreading free speech and political organization through social media” and “…told twitter not to stop service during Iran 2009.”
The same email chain stated that the protests in Iran failed due to “overestimation of the protesters by themselves, underestimation of A-Dogg [Mahmoud Ahmadinajad] and his base, and no real foreign access into that base to manipulate loyalties.”
An email dated February 27, 2011, contained the following quote from an internal Google email sent by Jared Cohen to a senior Google Executive:
“… The purpose of this trip is to exclusively engage the Iranian community to better understand the challenges faced by Iranians as part of one of our Google Ideas groups on repressive societies… [We plan to] drive to Azerbaijan/Iranian border and engage the Iranian communities closer to the border (this is important because we need the Azeri Iranian perspective)”.
In the same email chain, Stratfor employee Scott Stewart, wrote: “Cohen might end up having an accident if he is not careful. This is not child’s play.” Another Stratfor employee, Fred Burton, added: “He’s going to get himself kidnapped or killed. Might be the best thing to happen to expose Google’s covert role in foaming up-risings, to be blunt. The US Govt can then disavow knowledge and Google is left holding the shit bag.”
A separate email dated March 10, 2011, with the title “Google Loose Canon Bound for Turkey & UAE” is allegedly based on a note from a senior Google Executive. The Google Executive said Jared Cohen’s trip to the Middle East creates “…potential risk to Google’s brand and each situation further perpetuates the image of Jared as a spy or agent of the U.S (or Israeli) Gov’t.” The Google executive expressed concern that “Jared could get detained by one of the governments who sees him as a threat to their power and stability” and that hostile regimes may detain Jared’s associates or their families.
An email dated February 9, 2011, contained the following statement: “Cohen had dinner in Cairo the night before the Google Exec was picked up by GOE State Security…..one-hour after the dinner, the Gypo exec was grabbed off the streets heading into a friends apt.”
An email dated June 5, 2010, refers to a source described as a “PKK [Kurdish militant group] close associate and advisor”. According to the source, Israel is trying to deflect attention from the Gaza flotilla incident by making “noises in Turkey via Kurdish channels to bring up Kurdish issue to the eyes of the international community…”
The source mentioned Israel had previously provided equipment and intelligence to the Turkish military, so the PKK expects to benefit from the deteriorating Israel-Turkey relations. He said the PKK broke a recent ceasefire to publicize the Kurdish issue and that there will be more “attacks and demonstrations” in Turkey. He added that the PKK leadership believes that this is the best time to publicize their cause after Erdogan [Turkish Prime Minister] said Hamas is not a terrorist organization.
An email dated May 21, 2009, refers to sources described as “a Lebanese government source” and a “Hezbollah media source”. The sources have a reliability rating of C and a credibility rating of 3 [average Stratfor ranking].
The first source claims that Israeli agents in Lebanon have been ordered to leave immediately due to Operation “migration of the swallows”. This source allegedly said “…most Israeli agents in Lebanon have already sought refuge in Cyprus, following the crackdown by Lebanese
internal security forces on Israeli informers.”
The second source denied the above claims. He said the current Lebanese government headed by Saad Hariri could loose the upcoming elections to a Hezbollah led coalition. He added that the current Lebanese government plans to obstruct the election by blaming Israeli espionage networks for alleged security breaches and that Hezbollah wants the elections to “take place as scheduled.”