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Is Stratfor a "Joke"? 211

daveschroeder writes with an opinion piece that seems to differ from the usual thinking on the Wikileaks release of Stratfor emails: "Max Fisher writes in The Atlantic: 'The corporate research firm has branded itself as a CIA-like "global intelligence" firm, but only Julian Assange and some over-paying clients are fooled. [...] The group's reputation among foreign policy writers, analysts, and practitioners is poor; they are considered a punchline more often than a source of valuable information or insight. [...] So why do Wikileaks and their hacker source Anonymous seem to consider Stratfor, which appears to do little more than combine banal corporate research with media-style freelance researcher arrangements, to be a cross between CIA and Illuminati? The answer is probably a combination of naivete and desperation.'"
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Is Stratfor a "Joke"?

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  • by Miros ( 734652 ) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @05:04PM (#39214063)
    Couldn't one make the exact same specious point about Anonymous or Wikileaks?
  • Re:Yeah sure. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Desler ( 1608317 ) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @05:10PM (#39214135)

    Translation: I didn't read the article. He links to stories that were written years ago about Stratfor. So those were all written years in advance for this moment? Are you really that stupid?

  • by Hentes ( 2461350 ) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @05:19PM (#39214243)

    Wikileaks is a platform that hosts the leaks they are sent to. Posting them is in no way a political statement of them. From the site:

    On Monday February 27th, 2012, WikiLeaks began publishing The Global Intelligence Files, over five million e-mails from the Texas headquartered "global intelligence" company Stratfor. The e-mails date 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 Defence Intelligence Agency. The emails show Stratfor’s web of informers, pay-off structure, payment laundering techniques and psychological methods.

    They don't exaggerate anything, merely state the contents of the leak.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 01, 2012 @05:46PM (#39214567)

    > such as Alcoholic and durg abuses etc. But on th eup side of thise

    Kid, lay off the "durgs", they're messing you up badly.

  • by guanxi ( 216397 ) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @06:09PM (#39214871)

    From TFA:

    A friend who works in intelligence once joked that Stratfor is just The Economist a week later and several hundred times more expensive. As of 2001, a Stratfor subscription could cost up to $40,000 per year.

    I think it costs around $100-200 per year, about the same as the Economist. As a reader of both, and much more, Stratfor is an excellent source of original, well-written analysis that you can't find elsewhere. Certainly calling them a private CIA is an exaggeration (I imagine their budget is a little smaller too), and certainly they have flaws (their obsession with geopolitical analysis, for example), but they are worth reading.

    If you have a strong interest in international affairs, try them; currently their services are free:
    http://stratfor.com/analysis [stratfor.com]
    http://stratfor.com/situation-report [stratfor.com]

    For example, here is an excellent explanation (now slightly out of date) of the groups resisting Assad in Syria:
    http://stratfor.com/analysis/syria-opposition-struggles-gain-foreign-support [stratfor.com]

  • by mschuyler ( 197441 ) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @06:57PM (#39215331) Homepage Journal

    Total horse pucky. Srsly.

    1. Stratfor sells subscriptions. Buy one or don't. That's not "stealing."

    2. Stratfor does Not "allow" the government to do anything and has nothing whatsoever to do with the government obtaining data from google/facebook/amazon.

  • by Hartree ( 191324 ) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @07:21PM (#39215529)

    They're useful as one source when combined with others. They at least a have a pretty predictable methodology.

    The one area I saw that they seemed to be better than other sources was on the cartel wars and security situation in northern Mexico. That may have just been because they were more interested, being in Austin rather than say, NY.

    I don't read Spanish, so following Mexican papers would be a problem. Having Stratfor summarize was a pretty good deal. The rates aren't all that much for a general subscription.

When you make your mark in the world, watch out for guys with erasers. -- The Wall Street Journal