Coca Cola Hired Spy Firm Stratfor to Investigate PETA

by Will Potter on February 27, 2012

in Surveillance

Wikileaks Coca Cola Stratfor spyingCoca Cola hired the “global intelligence” spy firm Stratfor to investigate People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, according to company emails released by Wikileaks.

In a reply email, Stratfor’s vice president for counterterrorism and corporate security said: “The FBI has a classified investigation on PETA operatives. I’ll see what I can uncover.”

The exchange is part of the 5 million Stratfor emails that Wikileaks promises to release in coming weeks. Stratfor, an intelligence firm that works closely with corporations and the government, has verified that company emails were stolen but refuses to say anything more.

In a June 2, 2009 email, Anya Alfano of Stratfor relays the intelligence request from Coca Cola (as background, Peta has protested Coca Cola for its involvement in animal testing):

From: Anya Alfano []
Sent: Tuesday, June 02, 2009 10:56 AM
To: Fred Burton; scott stewart
Subject: Public Policy Question for Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola just sent me a long list of questions regarding PETA/Animal
Activism and the upcoming Olympics in Vancouver–I’ve pasted the
questions below. I’m not entirely clear on how much we can task the
public policy group at this point–is there any guidance you can give me
on that front? Coke has asked for a short teleconference with one of
our analysts to discuss this issue–is that something I could ask Kathy,
Bart or Joe to do, or would that be off the table at this point? Stick,
are these questions something that you have a handle on, if we aren’t
able to get info from the policy folks?

Any thoughts or guidance would be helpful. Thanks, Anya

— How many PETA supporters are there in Canada?
— How many of these are inclined toward activism?
— To what extent will US-based PETA supporters travel to Canada to
support activism?
— What is PETA’s methodology for planning and executing activism?
(Understanding this better would certainly help us to recognize
indicators should they appear.)
— To what extent is PETA in Canada linked to PETA in the US or
— To what extent are the actions of PETA in one country controlled by
an oversight board/governing body?
— To what extent could non-PETA hangers-on (such as anarchists or ALF
supporters) get involved in any protest activity?

In response, Fred Burton, which Random House describes as “one of the world’s foremost experts on security, terrorists, and terrorist organizations,” said the FBI has a classified file on PETA.

These emails reflect an ongoing pattern of surveillance and misinformation by the FBI, Stratfor, and corporations against animal rights and environmental groups. In fact, the Justice Department warned the FBI against wasting resources investigating PETA and other activist groups (the FBI refused to alter its policies). Also, the USDA has classified PETA as a terrorist threat.

As I have reported here previously, Stratfor is one of many private intelligence firms that have profited signficantly from post-9/11 “terrorism” hysteria. Stratfor and others, such as the Inkerman Group, are paid by corporations to identify business “threats,” including special interest groups, key activists, and legislation. It is a niche industry built upon fear: the business of risk mitigation depends upon the identification of a constant stream of threats.

Let’s step back and look at how Orwellian this has become:

-Corporations created the term “eco-terrorism,” and manufactured it as a national security threat.

-The FBI and homeland security got on board, labeling animal rights and environmental groups the “number one domestic terrorism threat.”

-Corporations hire other corporations to investigate this “threat.”

-In turn, intelligence firms like Stratfor consult with the FBI about the bureau’s own classified files.

It’s a cycle of fear that flows between corporations, counter-terrorism firms, and the FBI. It’s self-replicating and self-fulfilling, and a reflection of the erasure of all lines separating corporations and the state.

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