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WikiLeaks’ next target is a “major American bank”

Julian Assange plans to release trove of secret bank documents


 

In an interview with Forbes, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange says his site is in possession of a trove of secret bank documents that will likely “stimulate investigations and reforms.” “For this, there’s only one similar example. It’s like the Enron emails,” he said. When asked how high impact these documents are, he responded, “I mean, it could take down a bank or two.” Over the last year, Wikileaks has released 76,000 secret Afghan war documents and 392,000 files from the Iraq war, constituting the largest classified military security breaches in history. On Sunday, it released the first of 250,000 classified U.S. State Department cables, which has exposed sensitive conversations between America’s top diplomats.

Forbes


 
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WikiLeaks’ next target is a “major American bank”

  1. Excellent news!

  2. Considering how a near-total financial collapse failed to bring down some very-deserving banks, all thanks to the US federal government bailing them out, I have little faith that a few embarrassing emails will "bring does a bank or two."

  3. Does this guy have a god complex…or what?

    • If you want to take on the powers that be without using violence, you have to have a very "strong" personality and a very thick skin to figuratively and literally survive the smear campaign from all over the world. He is taking on the "matrix" all alone, but I'm afraid he doesn't have Neo's powers to survive it.

  4. I read the Big Short. Not sure if Assange could have anything more damning than that.

  5. This guy is the epitome of an attention-whore.

    Doing the right things for all the wrong reasons.

  6. Olivier,

    Could you explain more clearly why Assange would choose this path to drawing attention to himself? Also, why does this concern you?

    • I don't mean that Assange's only motivation is to bring attention to himself. I have no doubts that he believes that public accountability is a good thing, but that just goes a long way to show how little he cares about the people involved in the dealings he chooses to expose.

      I just get the feeling that he loves having all the world talking about him and his organization's power to annoy the Americans. The leaks contain very little actual information and he knows it.

  7. Wikileaks has the hard drive from an executive's computer at Bank of America.

    January should be very interesting.

  8. I wonder if this guy has a proper sense of responsibility like it was said earlier he's doing the right things for the wrong reasons, and what's more in the wrong way!!

    To bring down a bank or two sounds very grand, but what happens to all the people who invest in those institutions, have they got no rights too?

    These issues need to be taken up in the right forums, and not just splashed in public for immature sensationalism.
    Even some of the other recent releases seems to be having the wrong outcomes in world politics. Lives are at stake and this tinpot godman feels justified in his actions.

    True political leaders and captains of industries should be held accountable, maybe the right thing would be to find an consultative body from among the online community that would be able to prosecute the people/persons concerned in the right manner and forums, in a responsible way.

    What WikiLeaks seems to currently be doing is making profit by exposing the wrongs of others while recklessly endangering the lives of many innocents.

    • Thank you for saying what I meant to say much more eloquently.

    • Wait a minute. If Assange is being accurate about the nature of the bank leaks, in comparing the impact to the Enron scandal, then there are some banks that are knowingly operating fraudulently. If Wikileaks exposes fraudulent behavior by the banks, any losses incurred by investors upon the collapse of those banks will be the fault of the criminals who perpetrated the fraud. The bank executives will be the ones to blame, not the people who expose them.

      Let me ask a question: Did you blame Bethany McLean of Fortune Magazine for all the losses and grief caused by Enron's collapse after her article drew concern over Enron's fraudulent accounting practices? Or did you blame Kenny Lay and Jeffry Skilling?

  9. Find this guy and stop him — for good. There's no argument that can convince me what he is doing is a useful public service. I do not need to know what some random diplomat thinks of the Italian PM or the German chancellor's state of mind.

    What do we have the right to know? Certainly not this.

    • I agree with you on the diplomatic leaks, and a great deal of the military leaks–but not all. If only wikileaks would go through this stuff and leak the whistle-blowing type stuff without the rest of the crap.

      That said, I gather the idea is to have those in power conscious that what they say and do can come back to haunt them–thereby leading them to say and do things they wouldn't mind out in the open. It has to be embarrassing and hurt powerful people for there to be a stop to it all. Just hurting the average joe won't change a thing.

      • Jenn_: I am a little surprised that you passed over Esteban's call for assination of Mr. J. A. without a peep. I hope that you do not agree with such vile sentiments.

  10. If only Iran, Pakistan, North Korea, Syria, China, Palistine, Lebanon, would offer Assange assylum, so he could do his work there and expose their secret government communique too. If that happens, I would truly believe that his agenda of trasparency is very real and not just hypocrisy or a cover.

  11. There is an old question of who polices the police. If Assange is now our self-appointed regulatory watchdog, who polices him (or the people that leak to him)? What, exactly, is stopping him from falsifying the documents he does release? With banks, this could be very dangerous. Banks never have enough money in reserve to pay back all depositors in the event that everybody (or even a substantial minority) tried to take their money out at the same time. False reports, or even contextually misleading ones could spark a banking panic. Wikileaks (or somebody else with a similar set of ideas) could even profit from doing so by selling short on the bank's stock beforehand.

    And of course lets not forget that confidential bank data includes our credit card numbers, PINs, etc.

    • Wikileaks is vetting the release of information with media partners at some of the world's most respected news organizations (The Guardian, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, The New York Times). They aren't just willy-nilly releasing everything leaked to them.

      • Sorry, that wasn't included in the rightwinger talking points.

    • Does it not seem a travisty that banks are allowed to lend out money that they do not actually have? How did they obtain that power? Is it realistically in the public interest that they have it? Does the leak contain evidence that the the bank in question has committed unlawful acts? Is there any sign of the financial class suffering in the least for the absolute cock-up of the economy that they perpetrated?

      If a sufficient number of people thought through the implication of how little money is in reserve at the majority of banks, silencing JA would do very little to stop the bank run. Even if Wikileaks causes a bank collapse, it would hardly by JA's fault for reveiling the incompetence of the exectutives of that bank, who would rightly be considered as the authors of that bank's collapse.

  12. And I think the sentiments of one of the posters on the Forbes article are worth repeating:

    "Transparency? Really? That's what you want? Be careful what you wish for…. It is naive at the highest level to think that if Wikileaks' disclosures go unchecked, and are not stopped, that these disclosures will be limited to governments and big business. At some point personal disclosures will begin and the precedent will have been set. Want your social security number shared openly? How about your tax returns? Medical history? Got any STDs you want the world to know about for the sake of transparency? Cell phone records? Maybe your wife won't notice that one number you call 27 times a day. Be careful what you wish for……"

    • Forbes eh? Another media outlet advocating for less freedom of the press. They've always known what side of the toast the butter is on. Where was Forbes when America invaded Iraq over a lie? Where was Forbes or any other outlet for that matter when it turned out the entire western economy was/is a ponzi scheme? Nature abhors a vacuum, if it wasn't wikileaks it would be someone else. And yes, if my behaviour was anything like what we've seen from our corperate and govt "leaders" in recent years I'd expect to exposed.

      • The Forbes/Iraq argument is a bit of a strawman. You're arguing from hindsight, because the truth is, we didn't know it was a lie until it was exposed that, in fact, it was a lie.

        • Perhaps if we had a media a little less concerned with selling mutuals we'd have found out sooner. Which kind of brings us full circle.

        • Anyone who was pzying attention knew that the Bush government was lying about weapons of mass destruction before they started their stupid murderous war.

          Don't rely on rightwing websites for your information, they lie too much.

  13. I suspect WikiLeaks is at the front edge of a rather disturbing trend. Information is becoming harder and harder to keep bottled up and even dinosaurs like myself are being forced to put more and more online.

    True whistleblowers deserve both respect and protection. These are people who make a decision to come forward to the public after carefully weighing the public good versus their own private costs. WikiLeakers on the other hand might get caught (if they are an babbling idiot) but generally are likely to intend remaining anonymous forever. They might want the information out there for noble reasons, however they may just be pissed or bored.

    The military & banks are popular targets (look for a McWikiattack on a famous fast food place soon.), but what is to stop the same approaches being used against individuals. I guess those among us with nothing to hide have nothing to worry about, but I worry quite a bit.

  14. Stewart_Smith:
    "…but I worry quite a bit." because you have something to hide? Or you are just generally worried?

    Why not just come clean? Why not have a "Come Clean Day" (Month, year, how ever long it takes)?

    Arn't we all just sitting on a great stinking mountain of lies that really just needs fessing up to?

    Is the definition of a subordinate someone you can lie to and they have to accept it as true?

    Are lies the way we punish those people that we feel are not paying enough attention to us?

    • I very seldom lie… it takes far too much effort to keep them all straight once you start.
      Put I certainly do not tell everyone I meet, everything there is to tell.
      If we all need a come clean day, how come so few use their real names on the internet even in these friendly pages, Mr. Standing?

      btw I also think decent people pull their curtains at night, there is far too much too much information out there.

      • My real name IS briguyhfx. Tragic really, especially if I ever move.

      • "(B)ut I certainly do not tell everyone I meet, everything there is to tell." + "how come so few use their real names?"= ColdStanding. Really, I would have thought such an experienced poster as your self would have gotten over the nom de plume issue. It is a small piccadillo, I suppose.

        I was hoping you or anyone else reading my comment would see the transition in my riffing on your comment to me riffing on the general state of our soceity. A re-read confirms I was too obscure and structured my comment in such a way that was bound to activate a personal defence on your part. I thought the use of paragraph breaks would suggest that each of my questions would be considered with some degree of interrelated independence.

        Nor was I suggesting that you spill the beans to absolutely everyone you meet. No, only to those that it matters most to you. But, dear S_S, there is a great deal mis-information, half-thruths, and lies floating around in the public sphere, that, by definition, can only be dealt with in a public way.

        • I appreciate your sentiment, however I find it misplaced as a response to a comment re wikileaks. To reveal deep secrets and perhaps even truths about oneself can be extraordinarily uplifting as you note, having an outsider decide to make the same revelations is a violation.

          • "…is a violation", to be sure. And while I would prefer that the parties involved own up to their wrong doing and voluntary cease their illegal behaviour, I see little sign of that happening. Should leaking evidence of wrong doing to the press, alternative or MSM, be the vehicle that finally shames unilateralist-minded governments into changing their behaviour to the better, then, so be it. Two wrongs might not make a right, but neighter does breaking the law & then complaining your rights have been violated when you get caught.

            Do you not also see the WikiLeaks phenomenon in relation to the recent revelations of truth-deficits? Ie: banking/finance collapse, justifications for war, voting irregularities, lack of accountability amongst elected officials, celebrity philandering? Your comment got me thinking about the role of lies in humanity's social economy, and it was to that I was raising questions. Implications social/personal & political/public.

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