Citizens' Issues
Stratfor denies CEO’s resignation after WikiLeaks release

The mail which Anonymous had leaked, that allegedly contained Mr Friedman’s resignation, showed that the writer was concerned about Stratfor’s data security mechanism and had urged the organisation to fortify itself against such breaches

Shortly after the hackers group Anonymous released an email containing the resignation of intelligence company Stratfor’s CEO George Friedman, the company issued a statement denying the incident and saying that the leaked email (among possible others) was forged.

“Some of the emails may be forged or altered to include inaccuracies; some may be authentic. We will not validate either. Under the continued leadership of founder and chief executive officer George Friedman, Stratfor will not be silenced and will continue to publish the geopolitical analysis our friends and subscribers have come to rely upon,” said the statement. The company has also gone on Twitter, denouncing rumours of the resignation of Mr Friedman.

It has said that the emails were “private and casually written”, and must be viewed in that spirit. The press release said, “Stratfor is not a government organisation, nor is it affiliated with any government. The emails are private property. Like all private emails, they were written casually, with no expectation anyone other than the sender and recipient would ever see them. They should be read as such.”

Stratfor acknowledged that the hackers had orchestrated a successful attack in December, but claims that their data security measures have been beefed up. “For subscribers and friends of Stratfor, we stress that the disclosure of these emails does not mean that there has been another hack of Stratfor’s computer and data systems. Stratfor’s data systems, which we have worked hard to rebuild since the December hack, remain secure and protected,” declared the firm.

Terming the WikiLeaks release as “a deplorable breach of privacy”, Stratfor has interpreted the expose as a “direct attack”. The mail which Anonymous had leaked, that allegedly contained Mr Friedman’s resignation, showed that the writer was concerned about Stratfor’s data security mechanism and had urged the organisation to fortify itself against such breaches. You can read about it here: http://moneylife.in/article/anonymously-yours-wikileaks-latest-expose-is-the-next-step-in-cyber-war/23930.html#comment_link

On the other hand, news website The Atlantic has shrugged off the latest WikiLeaks’ release by saying that “Stratfor is a joke, and so is WikiLeaks for taking it seriously.”

The article has been panned across the Internet, being dubbed as an ‘anti-WikiLeaks’ tirade that is trivialising both Assange and the importance of the information that has been linked.

 Anonymous admitted in their email that they went after Stratfor after a hack into security firm HB Gary revealed that several government agencies were teaming up with corporate entities to take down Julian Assange.

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Nation-wide strike evokes mixed response

The 24-hour country-wide strike called by major trade unions today to protest the government’s “anti-labour” policies of the government and rising prices evoked a mixed response with the banking and transport sector hit in some parts

New Delhi: The 24-hour country-wide strike called by major trade unions today to protest the government’s “anti-labour” policies of the government and rising prices evoked a mixed response with the banking and transport sector hit in some parts.

In West Bengal, there were fewer vehicles on the road but several schools and government offices remained open following the warning given by chief minister Mamata Banerjee that absence from duty will be treated as a break in service.

Director General of Police Naparajit Mukherjee said in Kolkata that the situation was normal in the districts. Some arrests have been made in certain places including Hasnabad and Madhyamgram for obstructing traffic, he said.

In the country’s commercial capital, Mumbai, the strike had a partial impact with financial institutions getting affected.

Barring banking and insurance sector, which have a large presence of trade unions, normal life was largely unaffected in the metropolis with all essential services especially public transport functioning as usual.

“The shutdown in the banking and financial sector has been complete. The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) clearing houses are shut. So the private and foreign banks where we do not a have a presence also get affected,” general secretary of All India Bank Employees Association, Vishwas Utagi claimed.

Services at Delhi and Mumbai airports were smooth in spite of the strike call by 11 trade unions.

In Delhi, the strike had little impact though normal functioning of PSU banks were affected and a number of autos and taxi drivers kept their vehicles off the roads to take part in the protest.

Commuters complained that the frequency of the state-run buses were low. Several passengers were stranded in the morning at railway stations and bus terminals.

Normal life was hit in Kerala due to the strike with buses keeping off the roads and shops remaining shut. The strike also affected functioning of banks and offices as pro-Left unions in the state sector also joined the protest against the “neo-liberal economic and labour policies” pursued by the UPA government at the Centre.

The Congress-led UDF government in Kerala has enforced ‘dies non’ (no work-no pay) order against the strike in government offices.

Reports from across the state said in most places, the mobility of people was hit as the impact of the strike was near total in the transport sector with buses, taxis and auto rickshaws keeping off the road.

Transport and banking services were hit in Punjab, Chandigarh and Haryana in the wake of the strike.

Reports pouring from various places in the region said buses on several routes remained off the road in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh even as officials were persuading employees not to join the strike.

With major bank unions observing the strike, financial transactions came to a halt in all branches of public sector banks in the two states. However, banking services in private sector banks were not affected.

Labour leaders have claimed that the strike is going to be a historic event and a stern warning against “anti-labour policies” of the UPA government.

The key demands of the unions include guarantee of labour rights, end to the contract labour system, bringing workers in the unorganised sector under the social security net and pension benefit for all workers.

Besides the Left unions like CITU and AITUC and HMS, the pro-Congress INTUC and pro-BJP BMS are also supporting the strike.

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