February 28, 2012

Coca Cola Enlisted Intelligence Firm’s Help To Investigate Animal Rights Group PETA

Coca Cola Enlisted Intelligence Firm’s Help To Investigate Animal Rights Group PETA
PETA, which frequently enlists celebrities for its causes, was being monitored by STRATFOR on behalf of Coca Cola.

On Sunday, the Wikileaks revealed a massive trove of e-mails from the intelligence firm STRATFOR. Republic Report covered yesterday how these files showed that Dow Chemical was monitoring Occupy Wall Street rallies out of the concern that activists trying to hold the corporation responsible for the Bhopal chemical disaster were joining the movement.

Interestingly, a batch of e-mails from 2009 also show that STRATFOR’s analysts went to work researching the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) on behalf of beverage giant Coca Cola. The correspondence between Coca Cola Senior Manager Van Wilberding — who previously was a Special Agent in the U.S. Army as well as a Foreign Service Officer at the State Department — and STRATFOR’s Anya  Alfano focused on the former’s concern that PETA would be protesting at the Vancouver Winter Olympics. Wilderberg wanted to know about how PETA operated and what the chances were that its activists would be taking part in actions in Canada:

Van C. Wilberding wrote:

Hi Anya,

Thanks again for your help with respect to the Korean Peninsula

We are now looking at PETA and the potential for protests at the
Vancouver Olympics and related events. (Please see the following
questions below.) We’d like to schedule a time for a conference call
with you and/or your analyst(s) on this topic.

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?

Please let us know what works in terms of timing of the conference call.

Thanks again,

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“The FBI has a classified investigation on PETA operatives. I’ll see what I can uncover,” wrote STRATFOR’s vice president for intelligence Fred Burton in a later e-mail. It’s interesting not only that Coca Cola went to an intelligence firm to learn more about PETA but also that the firm appeared to be positioning itself to seek classified information from the FBI to provide to Coca Cola.