When journalists announced that Osama Bin Laden was buried at sea before outsiders could examine the body, I nodded in recognition. The Obama administration had
to dump the corpse prematurely, in order to comply with the Conspiracy Theorist Full Employment Act of 2002.
Now we learn that Stratfor (the private intelligence firm recently subjected to a whole buncha Wikileakin') had reason to believe that Bin Laden was not buried at sea
, despite the story we were told.
Fred Burton, Stratfor's vice president for intelligence, followed that up at 5:51 a.m. with an email titled "[alpha] Body bound for Dover, DE on CIA plane" that said:
Than [sic] onward to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Bethesda.
At 1:36 p.m. Burton replied to a thread named "Re: OBL's corpse" with the message:
Body is Dover bound, should be here by now.
That contradicts the official story that bin Laden's body was handled in accordance with Islamic tradition and released into the sea from a U.S. Navy vessel.
Was Burton correctly informed?
And would there be any point to a congressional investigation of this matter? Burton and his sources could be called in for questioning. You'd think that the Republican-controlled House might seek an opportunity to cause the Obama administration some embarrassment. Alas, both parties seem united in their determination not to look under certain rocks.
Many cynics dismiss the importance of Stratfor. I don't.
Yes, I'm sure that Friedman often charged his corporate clients highly for "intel" derived from open sources. But it is also clear that Stratfor had good relations with elements of Mossad and American intelligence. Stratfor offered the CIA a method of sidestepping its charter, which (on paper, at least) prevents the Agency from conducting covert ops in the United States.
Stratfor scooped up intelligence that had been bought and paid for by American taxpayers, then sold the data on the open market to the highest bidder
A CIA officer who "serves the world" from his platform is typically put on trial for being a mole. But in the world of private intelligence, national allegiance isn't as important as the almighty dollar. This means that if a report is commissioned by an American client, whether a company or state entity, the same report could also be peddled to a Russian oligarch or Chinese businessman to benefit either those governments or their state-owned companies.
The leak to Assange constitutes a lovely bit of irony. A "liberated" email reveals that Fred Burton had also caught wind of Obama administration plans to silence the Wikileaks founder
Fred Burton, Stratfor’s vice president of intelligence, and a former head of counterintelligence at the U.S. State Department’s diplomatic corps, wrote in an email, “Not for Pub — We have a sealed indictment on Assange. Pls protect.” Burton and others at Stratfor showed intense interest in WikiLeaks starting in 2010, showing intense dislike for Assange personally. Burton wrote: “Assange is going to make a nice bride in prison. Screw the terrorist. He’ll be eating cat food forever.” Another Stratfor employee wanted Assange waterboarded.
Michael Ratner, legal adviser to Assange and WikiLeaks, told me, “The Obama administration has gone after six people under the Espionage Act. That’s more cases than happened since the Espionage Act was actually begun in 1917. ... What this is about is the United States wanting to suppress the truth.”
I would love to know more about this sealed indictment -- if it is real. I believe that it is; you may disagree.
Nobody has ever been prosecuted under the Espionage Act simply for publishing information. Assange is a foreign national operating outside of American jurisdiction; prosecuting him makes as much sense as prosecuting the head of a foreign intelligence service.