The first blow came in December, when private analysis firm Stratfor - which gathers open-source and paid-source information on global issues for subscription-based clients - had its company e-mail hacked. It was reportedly the work of the loose-knit, yet well-feared group of hackers known as Anonymous.
This week, the second blow was delivered as the website WikiLeaks began posting what it says is a body of internal Stratfor e-mails numbering in the millions and reportedly laying out just how the sausage is made at a modern-day private intelligence firm. FULL POST
By Adam Levine
China's refurbished Russian aircraft carrier was snapped at sea in this exclusive image taken by DigitalGlobe's satellite. The Varyag aircraft carrier image was grabbed while the carrier was on its second sea trial in the Yellow Sea on December 8, 2011, according to DigitalGlobe Analysis Center. The location is approximately 100 kilometers south-southeast of the port of Dalian.
The carrier had previously been seen in dry dock.
The aircraft carrier is a partially refurbished version of the old Soviet Admiral Kuznetsov Class and was left over from the Cold War. A Macao-based casino group initially arranged for the purchase but ulimately it was taken over by the Chinese military, according to a Stratfor analysis which posits they were likely the original buyer. (WATCH A VIDEO OF THE STRATFOR/DIGITAL GLOBE ANALYSIS HERE)
While its appearance has gotten a lot of attention, Stratfor notes "its actions seem threatening long before there is a capability to match" because it will be years before China can add additional carriers to keep one active at all times. The carrier also appears to lack surface-to-surface missiles and other air defense systems, according to Strafor, and the intention seems to be to use the Varyag as a training vehicle.
"The focus on naval development, which goes far beyond the work on the Varyag, reflects less a desire to be considered one of the “big” players than a response to a fundamental threat to its economic system, and thus to social and political stability," Stratfor observes.
China's rapid growth has led to a heavy dependence on resources that must be shipped in via the sea. FULL POST