By now, most are familiar with Wikileaks, a web site that openly releases confidential documents and videos from businesses and foreign governments (namely the USA).
Next up for the international web site operator Julian Assange, who has been condemned by many as an Enemy of the State: Assange intends to bring down a major financial institution.
If that particular institution deserves it, then we can only hope that it’s true:
The following interview excerpt was conducted by Andy Greenberg of Forbes. The interviewee is Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks.
Youâ€™ve been focused on the U.S. military mostly in the last year. Does that mean you have private sector-focused leaks in the works?
Yes. If you think about it, we have a publishing pipeline thatâ€™s increasing linearly, and an exponential number of leaks, so weâ€™re in a position where we have to prioritize our resources so that the biggest impact stuff gets released first.
So do you have very high impact corporate stuff to release then?
Yes, but maybe not as high impactâ€¦I mean, it could take down a bank or two.
That sounds like high impact.
But not as big an impact as the history of a whole war. But it depends on how you measure these things.
These megaleaks, as you call them that, we havenâ€™t seen any of those from the private sector.
No, not at the same scale for the military.
Yes. We have one related to a bank coming up, thatâ€™s a megaleak. Itâ€™s not as big a scale as the Iraq material, but itâ€™s either tens or hundreds of thousands of documents depending on how you define it.
Is it a U.S. bank?
Yes, itâ€™s a U.S. bank.
One that still exists?
Yes, a big U.S. bank.
The biggest U.S. bank?
When will it happen?
Early next year. I wonâ€™t say more.
What do you want to be the result of this release?
[Pauses] Iâ€™m not sure.
It will give a true and representative insight into how banks behave at the executive level in a way that will stimulate investigations and reforms, I presume.
Usually when you get leaks at this level, itâ€™s about one particular case or one particular violation. For this, thereâ€™s only one similar example. Itâ€™s like the Enron emails. Why were these so valuable? When Enron collapsed, through court processes, thousands and thousands of emails came out that were internal, and it provided a window into how the whole company was managed. It was all the little decisions that supported the flagrant violations.
This will be like that. Yes, there will be some flagrant violations, unethical practices that will be revealed, but it will also be all the supporting decision-making structures and the internal executive ethos that cames out, and thatâ€™s tremendously valuable. Like the Iraq War Logs, yes there were mass casualty incidents that were very newsworthy, but the great value is seeing the full spectrum of the war.
You could call it the ecosystem of corruption. But itâ€™s also all the regular decision making that turns a blind eye to and supports unethical practices: the oversight thatâ€™s not done, the priorities of executives, how they think theyâ€™re fulfilling their own self-interest. The way they talk about it.
Love him or hate him, very few people in this world are willing to take the kind of risks Julian Assange takes by releasing confidential and secret documents from governments, military, and private industry.
Given that Assange has managed to carry through with the release of hundreds of thousands of pages of documents on more than one occasion, we suspect that there are several executives at financial institutions getting ready for the shit to seriously hit the fan come first quarter 2011.
Maybe, just maybe, some of those responsible for ripping off the American people will soon be held to account.