WikiLeaks' latest leak, which is calls 'The Global Intelligence Files' is not as yet particularly interesting because of the content of the files, but because of the fact that WikiLeaks is back, and because of the partnerships that the episode reveals.
WikiLeaks claims to have created an online database of more than five million emails from Stratfor, a global intelligence company based in Austin, Texas, sent between July 2004 and December 2011. Stratfor provides its subscribers with geopolitical analysis via emails and explains on its site how it differentiates itself from news organisations.
A WikiLeaks press release claims that the emails show "Stratfor's web of informers, pay-off structure, payment-laundering techniques and psychological methods" and that the company "cultivates close ties with US government agencies and employs former US government staff."
No major stories have come out as yet. WikiLeaks has released 244 files so far, and says that the rest will be gradually released following journalistic evaluations of the emails by WikiLeaks and its media partners. The Atlantic's Max Fisher doesn't believe that Stratfor is particularly interesting, as he explains in an article entitled "Stratfor Is a Joke and So Is Wikileaks for Taking It Seriously."
The whistleblower lists 24 media partners on its site so far, none of whom were among WikiLeak's original partner publications. As Charlie Beckett said, "None of these are on a par with the big names that collaborated on the 2010 releases, but after the painful conclusion to that process it is impressive that WikiLeaks have managed to put together such a coalition at all." The media outlets listed include Egypt's Al Masry Al Youm, Italy's La Repubblica, India's The Hindu, Costa Rica's La Nacion, the US' Rolling Stone, and France's OWNI.
The documents appear to have been obtained in December by the well-known hacking cooperative Anonymous. Wired quotes an 'anon' as saying that WikiLeaks is an ideal partner for such a leak, as it has "great means to publish and disclose," and "they work together with media in a way we don't." Anonymous and WikiLeaks have helped each other before, but as Forbes points out, this step represents a "new level of collaboration" between the two.
Stratfor has released a statement from founder and CEO George Friedman, in which he condemns the attack as a "deplorable, unfortunate -- and illegal -- breach of privacy." He continues, "Some of the emails may be forged or altered to include inaccuracies. Some may be authentic. We will not validate either, nor will we explain the thinking that went into them."
Anonymous has set itself an unusual schedule: to launch a new attack on government or corporate websites every Friday. Will it share more of these with WikiLeaks?