The Yes Men, an anti-corporate group best known for impersonating official spokespersons, was one of the groups monitored by Stratfor, a private intelligence firm now at the centre of global attention due to the massive release of private emails by WikiLeaks.
A series of emails, obtained by WikiLeaks and released on Sunday night, shows that Dow and Union Carbide hired Stratfor to monitor the Yes Men and other activists working on raising awareness of India's Bhopal tragedy. The 1984 toxic gas leak killed thousands and is widely considered one of the worst industrial accidents ever.
Stratfor analyzed whether the 25th anniversary of the Bhopal disaster would lead to an increase in anti-corporate activism.
"With less than a month to go [until the 25th anniversary], you'd think that the major players -- especially Amnesty -- would have branched out from Bhopal to make a broader set of issues. I don't see any evidence of it," wrote Bart Mongoven, Stratfor's Vice President, in November 2004. "If they can't manage to use the 25th anniversary to broaden the issue, they probably won't be able to."
The Yes Men cited the e-mails, which continued well into 2011, as evidence that anti-corporate activists and movements such as Occupy Wall Street are having an effect.
"Just as Wall Street has at times let slip their fear of the Occupy Wall Street movement, these leaks seem to show that corporate power is most afraid of whatever reveals "the larger whole" and "broader issues," i.e. whatever brings systemic criminal behavior to light," the group said in a release.
The Yes Men are one of 25 groups working with WikiLeaks on its latest mass release of information. The partners include papers from around the world. In the U.S., WikiLeaks has partnered with Rolling Stone magazine and the McClatchy chain. WikiLeaks has said that it will be releasing millions of e-mails it obtained from Stratfor in the coming weeks.