Divide And Conquer: Unpacking Stratfor’s Rise To Power


line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>On Christmas Day 2011, the  line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>The firm: 
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line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>Working through an 
line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>In March 2012, 
line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>Stratfor’s precursor, Pagan International, built the corporate public relations playbook still utilized by the firm today.

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>The goal of a corporate PR plan “must be to separate the fanatic activist leaders … from the overwhelming majority of their followers: decent, concerned people who are willing to judge us on the basis of our openness and usefulness,” 
line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>Hammond — perhaps without knowing every detail of the history of the playbook itself — essentially cited it as the rationale behind his Stratfor hack and leak to WikiLeaks.

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>“I believe in the power of the truth. In keeping with that, I do not want to hide what I did or to shy away from my actions,” he 
line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>In this investigation, Mint Press examines Stratfor’s rise to power and its use of the “divide and conquer” philosophy to take on some of the largest boycott movements against multinational corporations.

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padding:0in”>‘Divide and conquer’ line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>The story of Stratfor begins with a short-lived but deeply influential firm called 
line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>If there’s a short description of the modus operandi of Stratfor’s predecessors, military-like “divide and conquer” perceptions management — or rough-and-tumble public relations — is it.

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>That’s not by accident. Two of Pagan’s co-founders started their careers doing covert work for the U.S. military. 
line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>Pagan International was named after Rafael D. Pagan Jr., who joined the U.S. Army in 1951 and spent two decades doing upper-level military intelligence work. He used it as a launching point into the corporate PR world.

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>“A former Army intelligence officer, the Potomac resident briefed Presidents Kennedy and Johnson on the Soviet bloc’s military and economic capabilities. He advised Presidents Nixon, Reagan and Bush on policies promoting Third World social and economic development,” 
line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>Upon leaving the Pentagon, Pagan got three public relations jobs for corporations seeking markets for their products in the developing world.

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>“Pagan began his international business career in 1970 as a senior executive in new business development with three major multinational companies, International Nickel of Canada (now Inco), Castle & Cooke (now Dole), and Nestle,” 
line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>Pagan followed in the footsteps of the father of modern public relations, 
line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>Pagan’s experiences working in the Honduran “banana republic” under the U.S.-installed right-wing, corporate-friendly military dictatorship would suit him well for his the next step of his career: doing the PR bidding of multinational corporate behemoth Nestle.

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padding:0in”>The playbook in action for Nestle line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>Speaking at the April 1982 Public Affairs Council conference to his colleagues in the PR industry, Pagan revealed the skeleton of the playbook that would last all the way through the Stratfor days.

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>Pagan International arose out of the ashes of a controversial Nestle public relations campaign named, in Orwellian fashion, the “
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"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>
line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>Nestle’s Coordination Center for Nutrition began in 1980 as a major public relations effort designed to fend off complaints and an eventual international boycott. Criticism of Nestle was spearheaded by the British group War on Want, which tracked the company’s marketing of powdered baby milk in the developing world in a 1974 investigation called 
line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>Nestle had decided the developing world would be a good place to sell its baby formula, despite the fact that the formula interrupted women’s lactation process and prevented their breasts from producing enough milk.

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>“Women who were induced to use [the] formula in place of breast milk often had no choice but to dilute the formula with contaminated water, leading to diarrhea, dehydration and death among … infants,” explain John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton in their book, “
line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>This behavior by Nestle created a global uproar and eventually planted the seeds of a boycott by more than 700 churches and activist groups.

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>Mongoven and Pagan — under the auspices of the Coordination Center for Nutrition, which 
line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>One of their first strategies was to peel off some of strongest supporters of the anti-Nestle campaign — educators.

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>“Some of the boycott’s strongest support came from teachers, represented by the National Teachers Association, so NCCN courted support from American Federation of Teachers, a smaller, more conservative rival union,” wrote Stauber and Rampton.

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>Nestle also won over an ally from the inside of another institutional opponent: churches.

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>“To counter the churches involved in the boycott, they needed to find a strong church that would take their side,” Stauber and Rampton further explained. “The United Methodists were supporting the boycott, but through negotiations and piecemeal concessions, Nestle gradually succeeded in winning them over.”

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>To make amends, Nestle worked with the 
line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>The problem: Nestle created the commission, funded it and called all the shots. Few equipped with this knowledge were surprised when the commission concluded “the company has not been improperly ‘dumping’ baby formula on Third World hospitals,” as 
line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>Muskie’s audit commission — or, better put, Nestle’s — is now seen as a “model” for corporations seeking to defuse sticky communication crises, as documented in a 
line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>For his successful efforts running what 
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padding:0in”>Pagan International is born line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>Hot off a major victory over advocacy groups nationwide and having learned much from the “war,” Pagan and Mongoven hopped off the Nestle gravy train and started their own firm in 1985: Pagan International.

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>“The strong influence public and social issues today have on commercial operations has created a need for companies to evaluate carefully national and international policies affecting business,” Pagan said in a 
line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>That 
line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>“Pagan said that this system enables [the firm] to advise clients on national and international trends and movements that can adversely affect corporations,” the press release further explains. “This gives the companies an opportunity to enter into public discussions and help define the parameters of the debate early on, rather than just react to agendas thrust upon them by activists and other groups.”

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"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>Enjoying a 
line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>Activists demanded Shell stop doing business with South Africa until it was no longer an apartheid state, threatening a boycott if it failed to comply. Shell chose to continue “business as usual.”

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>The resulting boycott served as a business opportunity for Pagan International, which stepped in and — as it did with Nestle — sought to divide and conquer the boycott movement. Shell hired Pagan and Mongoven to do so under a now-notorious 
line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>“Neptune Strategy” was 
line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>“Pagan … proposed that Shell ‘develop a task force’ of South Africans, church leaders, U.S. activists and executives that could issue a statement about the company’s role in helping South Africa’s blacks prepare for life after apartheid,” 
line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>In the “Neptune Strategy,” Pagan outlined a strategy that fit the familiar pattern: isolate and then conquer the “fanatic activist leaders.”

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>“[P]ost-apartheid planning should deflect anti-apartheid groups attention away from the boycott and divestment efforts and direct their vision and efforts into productive channels,” 
line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>“Productive,” according to Pagan, is anything that would ensure Shell continues to produce high profit margins. After taking a beating by churches during the Nestle boycott, Pagan realized its bottom line hinged upon churches supporting Shell as it conducted business with apartheid South Africa.

line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>“[M]obilized members of the religious communions provide a ‘critical mass’ of public opinion and economic leverage that should not be taken lightly,” 
line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>Pagan International’s reputation soured after “Project Neptune” was revealed to the public and the
line-height:150%;font-family:"Verdana","sans-serif";mso-fareast-font-family:
"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black”>In 1990, Pagan shut its doors for good and 
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"Times New Roman";mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";color:black;
border:none windowtext 1.0pt;mso-border-alt:none windowtext 0in;padding:0in”>This is part one of an exclusive Mint Press News investigation into the story of Stratfor; here’s the second part, 
“How To Win The Media War Against Grassroots Activists: Stratfor’s Strategies.”

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