Posts Tagged ‘Julian Assange’

Bank of America Sets Up War Room, Hires Army of Lawyers

In Financial Markets, High Frequency Trading, International Econnomic Politics, Law & Regulations, National Economic Politics, Technology on 22.01.11 at 01:18

Wikileaks, and its founder Julian Assange, has certainly stirred up some murky waters releasing confidential documents and emails on government activities. Recently Assange stated that he has a large batch of confidential documents that could lead to problems for a major bank, and in at least one interview he has identified that bank to be Bank of America. And the bank are taking the possible threat serious – deadly serious! So does the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

“The nation’s largest bank has set up a war room and assembled a S.W.A.T.  team of lawyers.”

FOX Business Network

According to FOX Business, the largest US bank has set up a war room and assembled a S.W.A.T.  team of lawyers and company officials to deal with the matter if anything should arise. And now the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is focusing in on the case too.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is keeping a close eye on Bank of America’s (BAC) Wikileaks dilemma to determine whether anything that the info-leaking website might release should have already been turned over to regulators who have conducted numerous investigations into the bank’s activities, FOX Business Network has learned.

The same goes for WikiLeaks.

It is, in fact, illegal to withhold information about criminal activities.

See also: Wikileaks Obstruction of Justice?

If and when the document dump occurs, the SEC – Wall Street’s top cop –  will be examining the material to determine if Bank of America has failed to include the emails and other documents in demands for information the commission has made as part of its many investigations into BofA activities.

Bank of America has been the subject of several high-profile probes by the commission, including issues surrounding its Countrywide Financial subsidiary, and its ill-fated purchase of Merrill Lynch during the dark days of the financial crisis in 2008.

Countrywide, which was the largest issuer of so-called subprime mortgages, has been accused of issuing mortgages to people with little if any documentation of work history or  means to repay the loans.

Neither SEC’s spokesman or BofA’s spokesman had no immediate comment, FOX reports.

If Bank of America purposely failed to turn over documents involving an investigation, the bank could face possible criminal charges of obstructing justice.

But so far, BofA has said that despite all the talk about it being a target, it has no evidence that Assange’s organization has documents involving the bank.

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Bank of America vs. WikiLeaks, the inside story
WikiLeaks should motivate information security managers
Bove: WikiLeaks bluffing about Bank of America
The Most Sued Companies in America

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Wikileaks About to Dump Its 5 Gigabyte Bank File?

In Financial Markets, Health and Environment, Law & Regulations, National Economic Politics, Technology, Views, commentaries and opinions on 10.01.11 at 20:18

Something curious is going on at WikiLeaks. The last release of diplomatic cables from WikiLeaks came out on January 4th. This three-day gap between Wikileaks releases is the longest ever to occur since Wikileaks began releasing the diplomatic cables, senior editor John Carney at CNBC points out.

“I suspect this means something big is about to come out of WikiLeaks.”

John Carney

We still don’t know for sure what bank the documents will allegedly indict. But all indications point to Bank of America. There have also been frenetic activity on the inside of the bank giant lately, with lawyers and spin doctors going through every little piece of stored information that might incriminate Bank of America as an “ecosystem of corruption” or expose the banks fraudulent practice in handling foreclosures. A court ruling on Friday sent ripples through the real estate industry yesterday ruling that banks and lenders must have proper documentation before foreclosing on a home.

Something curious is going on at WikiLeaks.

Or, rather, something is not going on. And that’s curious, according to CNBC senior editor John Carney.

John Carney

“I suspect this means something big is about to come out of WikiLeaks. Something they are taking their time to put together. And that is likely to be the much talked about release of the tens of thousands of documents WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange shows a culture of corruption inside an US bank,” he writes in a new blog post.

“I do not think its a stretch to expect something big to follow Wikileaks’ silence. They published new documents when Assange was arrested. There was a release on Christmas eve and Christmas day. They didn’t rest on New Year‘s eve or New Year’s day.”

And now we’ve had three days of silence.

“Something is coming,” Carney concludes.

Read also:

* Wiki-Founder Compare Upcoming Bank Leak To Enron

* WikiLeaks With 5GB File On Bank of America

Well, to me it seems like the snowball started to roll last Friday after the ruling in the Supreme Court of Massachusetts, stating that banks and lenders must have proper documentation before foreclosing on a home.

Bank of America have been at the center of the foreclosure scandal, together with Wells Fargo. JP Morgan Chase and US Bankcorp.

In second half of 2010 it became clear that the banks had automated the foreclosure process, leaving homeowners no or little possibility to negotiate new terms for their mortgage payments.

As a result thousands have wrongfully been forced out of their homes.

(Read more at;

This is just getting better by the minute….

Stay tuned!

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Julian Assange’s Letter of Defence

In Financial Markets, Health and Environment, International Econnomic Politics, Law & Regulations, National Economic Politics, Philosophy, Technology, Views, commentaries and opinions on 07.12.10 at 18:08

WikiLeaks founder Julain Assange was arrested in London Tuesday after Swedish police issued an international arrest order for Assange based on the rather loose sex-charges from earlier this year. Assange, who has been “Americas Most Wanted” for a week, in hiding when his family and children received death threats, has just released a letter in which he asks for protection – not prosecution.

“WikiLeaks has a four-year publishing history. During that time we have changed whole governments, but not a single person, as far as anyone is aware, has been harmed. But the US, with Australian government connivance, has killed thousands in the past few months alone.”

Julian Assange

“People have said I am anti-war: for the record, I am not. Sometimes nations need to go to war, and there are just wars. But there is nothing more wrong than a government lying to its people about those wars, then asking these same citizens to put their lives and their taxes on the line for those lies. If a war is justified, then tell the truth and the people will decide whether to support it.”

The letter from WikiLeaks is titled; “Don’t shoot messenger for revealing uncomfortable truths,” with the sub-title; “WIKILEAKS deserves protection, not threats and attacks.”

It’s just published at the website of the newspaper The Australian.

recommended read. Here it is:

IN 1958 a young Rupert Murdoch, then owner and editor of Adelaide’s The News, wrote: “In the race between secrecy and truth, it seems inevitable that truth will always win.”

His observation perhaps reflected his father Keith Murdoch’s expose that Australian troops were being needlessly sacrificed by incompetent British commanders on the shores of Gallipoli. The British tried to shut him up but Keith Murdoch would not be silenced and his efforts led to the termination of the disastrous Gallipoli campaign.

Nearly a century later, WikiLeaks is also fearlessly publishing facts that need to be made public.

I grew up in a Queensland country town where people spoke their minds bluntly. They distrusted big government as something that could be corrupted if not watched carefully. The dark days of corruption in the Queensland government before the Fitzgerald inquiry are testimony to what happens when the politicians gag the media from reporting the truth.

These things have stayed with me. WikiLeaks was created around these core values. The idea, conceived in Australia, was to use internet technologies in new ways to report the truth.

WikiLeaks coined a new type of journalism: scientific journalism. We work with other media outlets to bring people the news, but also to prove it is true. Scientific journalism allows you to read a news story, then to click online to see the original document it is based on. That way you can judge for yourself: Is the story true? Did the journalist report it accurately?

Democratic societies need a strong media and WikiLeaks is part of that media. The media helps keep government honest. WikiLeaks has revealed some hard truths about the Iraq and Afghan wars, and broken stories about corporate corruption.

People have said I am anti-war: for the record, I am not. Sometimes nations need to go to war, and there are just wars. But there is nothing more wrong than a government lying to its people about those wars, then asking these same citizens to put their lives and their taxes on the line for those lies. If a war is justified, then tell the truth and the people will decide whether to support it.

If you have read any of the Afghan or Iraq war logs, any of the US embassy cables or any of the stories about the things WikiLeaks has reported, consider how important it is for all media to be able to report these things freely.

WikiLeaks is not the only publisher of the US embassy cables. Other media outlets, including Britain’s The Guardian, The New York Times, El Pais in Spain and Der Spiegel in Germany have published the same redacted cables.

Yet it is WikiLeaks, as the co-ordinator of these other groups, that has copped the most vicious attacks and accusations from the US government and its acolytes. I have been accused of treason, even though I am an Australian, not a US, citizen. There have been dozens of serious calls in the US for me to be “taken out” by US special forces. Sarah Palin says I should be “hunted down like Osama bin Laden”, a Republican bill sits before the US Senate seeking to have me declared a “transnational threat” and disposed of accordingly. An adviser to the Canadian Prime Minister’s office has called on national television for me to be assassinated. An American blogger has called for my 20-year-old son, here in Australia, to be kidnapped and harmed for no other reason than to get at me.

And Australians should observe with no pride the disgraceful pandering to these sentiments by Julia Gillard and her government. The powers of the Australian government appear to be fully at the disposal of the US as to whether to cancel my Australian passport, or to spy on or harass WikiLeaks supporters. The Australian Attorney-General is doing everything he can to help a US investigation clearly directed at framing Australian citizens and shipping them to the US.

Prime Minister Gillard and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have not had a word of criticism for the other media organisations. That is because The Guardian, The New York Times and Der Spiegel are old and large, while WikiLeaks is as yet young and small.

We are the underdogs. The Gillard government is trying to shoot the messenger because it doesn’t want the truth revealed, including information about its own diplomatic and political dealings.

Has there been any response from the Australian government to the numerous public threats of violence against me and other WikiLeaks personnel? One might have thought an Australian prime minister would be defending her citizens against such things, but there have only been wholly unsubstantiated claims of illegality. The Prime Minister and especially the Attorney-General are meant to carry out their duties with dignity and above the fray. Rest assured, these two mean to save their own skins. They will not.

Every time WikiLeaks publishes the truth about abuses committed by US agencies, Australian politicians chant a provably false chorus with the State Department: “You’ll risk lives! National security! You’ll endanger troops!” Then they say there is nothing of importance in what WikiLeaks publishes. It can’t be both. Which is it?

It is neither. WikiLeaks has a four-year publishing history. During that time we have changed whole governments, but not a single person, as far as anyone is aware, has been harmed. But the US, with Australian government connivance, has killed thousands in the past few months alone.

US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates admitted in a letter to the US congress that no sensitive intelligence sources or methods had been compromised by the Afghan war logs disclosure. The Pentagon stated there was no evidence the WikiLeaks reports had led to anyone being harmed in Afghanistan. NATO in Kabul told CNN it couldn’t find a single person who needed protecting. The Australian Department of Defence said the same. No Australian troops or sources have been hurt by anything we have published.

But our publications have been far from unimportant. The US diplomatic cables reveal some startling facts:

► The US asked its diplomats to steal personal human material and information from UN officials and human rights groups, including DNA, fingerprints, iris scans, credit card numbers, internet passwords and ID photos, in violation of international treaties. Presumably Australian UN diplomats may be targeted, too.

► King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia asked the US to attack Iran.

► Officials in Jordan and Bahrain want Iran’s nuclear program stopped by any means available.

► Britain’s Iraq inquiry was fixed to protect “US interests”.

► Sweden is a covert member of NATO and US intelligence sharing is kept from parliament.

► The US is playing hardball to get other countries to take freed detainees from Guantanamo Bay. Barack Obama agreed to meet the Slovenian President only if Slovenia took a prisoner. Our Pacific neighbour Kiribati was offered millions of dollars to accept detainees.

In its landmark ruling in the Pentagon Papers case, the US Supreme Court said “only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government”. The swirling storm around WikiLeaks today reinforces the need to defend the right of all media to reveal the truth.

Julian Assange

Editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks

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WikiLeaks: The Diversion of A Decade?

In Financial Markets, Health and Environment, International Econnomic Politics, Law & Regulations, National Economic Politics, Natural science, Philosophy, Technology, Views, commentaries and opinions on 06.12.10 at 20:54

There’s a lot serious stuff going on in the world at the moment. But somehow the center of attention is a young man who has managed to piss of some politicians and generals by publishing documents that proves what most people already know – or at least suspected. The WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is now subject to the most intense manhunt by international authorities since Osama bin-Laden for having sex without a condom. The fact that a stack of reports have been issued, warning about further deterioration of the global economy, currency wars, political instability and exploding social unrest, seems to be mostly overlooked. Am I the only one to  think it’s a little peculiar?

“The WikiLeaks saga is trying its best to offer distraction, but the crisis in the euro zone remains impossible to ignore.”

Robin Bew

It’s been a strange, almost surreal, weekend. Personally I’ve been fighting off a couple of attempts to hack into my computer system, and never in the 15 years I’ve been online have I ran into so many error messages when trying to load pages on the internet. What makes it even more strange is that the WikiLeaks frenzy is happening at the same time as EU and NATO is conducting its first ever cyber war exercise, the US launch a massive operation to seize close to hundred file-sharing web sites and thousands of hackers all over the world gathered at an event organized by Google, Microsoft, NASA and the World Bank.

And all this have been planned long time ahead. The latest release of documents from WikiLeaks was also notified months in advance.

So was the scheduled release of several economic forecasts for 2011 last week. However, these have more or less been drowned in the avalanche of more or less (un)important Wiki-stories filling up both mainstream and alternative medias.

So, I think it’s time to get the focus back where it belongs; on the developments of our global economy, as the Eurogroup meet for another crisis meeting this Monday and Bloomberg reports that the euro’s worst is yet to come.

“The WikiLeaks saga is trying its best to offer distraction, but the crisis in the euro zone remains impossible to ignore. With fears of contagion increasing, our ViewsWire service examines scenarios under which countries might exit the single currency,” chief economist Robin Bew at The Economist Intelligence Unit writes in an email to subscribers. Adding: “We think the euro will ultimately survive, but significant political and economic hurdles will have to be overcome, with Portugal now likely to follow Ireland and Greece in requesting emergency EU/IMF funding.”

Last week EIU released a bunch of reports, based on separate analysis on each topic.

You have to look very hard to find something positive to hold on to. In fact, I can’t remember having read anything like this from The Economist in a very long time.

This is the headlines:

The EIU label the three first predictions with “High Probability,”  the next three as “Moderate Probability” and the two last are seen as “Low Probability”.

As I’ve been pointing out since the financial crisis became visible to most people, we are in fact dealing with a three-part crisis; the financial, the environmental and the social.

There three problems are connected, they interact with each other, feeds on each other, making each other stronger – and it’s impossible to solve one without solving the others.

Robin Bew writes:

“The UN climate summit under way in Cancún, Mexico is highly unlikely to produce a global accord on emissions cuts, though modest gains, such as on forest protection, remain possible.”

Well, the possibility of rescuing a few trees is not gonna make much difference.

As for the social (poverty) crisis, Economist Intelligence Unit concludes:

“The risk is that instability becomes systemic, with political crises in certain countries affecting others through contagion or through the actions of populist new regimes seeking to assert themselves. Potential widespread disruption poses a considerable downside risk to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s global economic forecasts.”

That’s right. Sovereign debt problems isn’t the only thing that is contagious.

The Economist Intelligence Unit‘s baseline global forecast assumes some increase in social and political unrest, but with serious fallout largely avoided. If economic circumstances were to worsen again, however, there is a danger though that incidents of unrest turn into far more intense and long-lasting events: armed rebellions, military coups, civil conflicts and perhaps even wars between states. In such circumstances, a repetition of the pressures that transformed global politics in the 1930s, though a far-removed worst-case scenario, could not be dismissed.”

In other words: If the economy gets worse, we may face a World War II scenario.

Now, take a look at the top three scenarios again…

First: Sovereign debt

“There are considerable concerns about the sustainability of public debt positions in a number of countries. Heavily indebted sovereigns – including developed economies, notably in the euro zone – could struggle to raise private financing even at higher interest rates, and some could default.”

“The US and the UK also face drastically increased fiscal deficits. They could moderate their debt burdens through inflation and devaluation but this risks undermining their bond markets, and the resultant spike in bond yields could force an acceleration of fiscal tightening, with highly negative implications for economic recovery.”

“Emerging-market defaults would create some ructions more widely, but as developed-country sovereign bonds have traditionally been considered risk-free, developed-country defaults in particular would wreak havoc on investor psychology. Banks would face write-downs on their government debt portfolios, and financial-sector guarantees by governments that default would be exposed as worthless.”

(Forecast: High probability, high impact, risk level 16)

Second: New Asset Bubble

“A flood of cheap money from stimulus measures, in particular carry trades drawing on record-low interest rates in the US, prompted a strong rally in a range of assets in the second half of 2009 and in 2010, particularly emerging-market stocks and bonds, but also in risky asset classes such as equities, high-yield bonds and commodities more broadly.”

“New bubbles could continue to grow for a considerable period of time, potentially several years, during which they will help to boost growth in the economies concerned. But they would burst suddenly, and still-fragile risk appetite could be a factor in this – a decline in risk tolerance could see investors pull their money out of emerging-market assets. Indeed, the rally in asset markets has been subject to periodic reversals in 2010 as concerns about the outlook for the global economy have re-emerged.”

“New asset bubbles may be vulnerable to painful corrections as central banks in emerging markets tighten monetary policy, fiscal stimulus is withdrawn, and the weak foundations of recovery become apparent. The resultant dislocations, including a shock to banks and a renewed rise in risk aversion, would reinforce and deepen a new economic slowdown.”

(Forecast: High probability, high impact, risk level 16)

Third: Currency Manipulation

“Tensions are rising over attempts by some countries to weaken their currencies, and the US and China remain at odds over the value of the renminbi. A global “currency war” would raise the danger of protectionist responses.”

“Tensions over exchange-rates have risen in recent months. The US Congress has been holding hearings on China’s exchange-rate policy, with a view to potential legislation to punish China for what the US regards as a mercantilist strategy of keeping the renminbi artificially low. A growing cohort of other countries are also worried about the strength of their currencies, including Brazil, Switzerland, Japan and South Korea. Market interventions by policymakers in some countries to weaken their currencies prompted Brazil’s finance minister, Guido Mantega, to warn of an “international currency war”.”

“Given the closely integrated nature of the global economy, governments will find it difficult to close off many aspects of trade, even if they want to. But trade disputes are likely to increase as populist policies clash with countries’ international obligations.”

(Forecast: High probability, high impact, risk level 16)

All eight summaries are uploaded on Scribd.

By the way – here’s the latest WikiLeaks stories:

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrested in UK (BBC)

Feds block workers from WikiLeaks (

MasterCard pulls plug on WikiLeaks payments (

Swiss Bank Closes WikiLeaks Founder’s Bank Accounts (RadioFreeEurope)

WikiLeaks‘ Swedish servers come under attack again (The Herald Tribue)

Barack Omama Is More Dangerous Than WikiLeaks (American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research)

WikiLeaks Releases List of “Vital” US Facilities (

Google refuses to disclose whether they’d allow users to repost Wikileaks‘ State Department cables (The Atlantic)

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The Guardian Site Crashed During Assange Chat, WikiLeaks Removed From The Internet

In Health and Environment, International Econnomic Politics, Law & Regulations, Philosophy, Views, commentaries and opinions on 03.12.10 at 16:57

The British newspaper experienced a heavy spam attack Friday when they set up a live chat with Wiki-leader Julian Assange. The attackers managed to crash the whole Guardian site, but it seems like the website now is up and running again. Internet Service Providers (ISP) all around the world have started to block all links to Wikileaks from their servers.

“Pressure appears to have been applied to close the WikiLeaks domain name.”

Mark Stephens

Friday morning in Europe, WikiLeaks’ domain name system (DNS) provider based in the United . pulled the virtual plug on the controversial site, meaning that it is no longer reachable at that Web address. Several other DNS providers are now doing the same, accordingly after pressure from US authorities.

DNS is a key part of the Web, which translates Internet Protocol (IP) addresses – strings of numbers – into an actual domain name, like

“ provided domain name system (DNS) services to the domain name until 10 PM EST, December 2, 2010, when such services were terminated,” EveryDNS says in a statement on its website.

“As with other users of the network, this service was provided for free. The termination of services was effected pursuant to, and in accordance with, the Acceptable Use Policy.”

US government pressure on the technological side of WikiLeaks has caused the organization to be driven further into the arms of European online service providers and web hosts. is now the third such US-based company that has pulled the virtual rug out from WikiLeaks in recent days after increased pressure from the American government.

Earlier in the week, the Seattle-based data visualization company, Tableau, which had previously provided graphs and other services to WikiLeaks, removed its data after a public request from US congressman Senator Joe Lieberman.

The US Witch Hunt

Most notably, on Wednesday, also removed WikiLeaks’ data from its online hosting services and said that Wikileaks’ presence violated its terms of service.

On Thursday, Senator Lieberman and two other US senators introduced a new bill, called the “Securing Human Intelligence and Enforcing Lawful Dissemination (SHIELD) Act.”

The bill supposed to be an amend ment to the American Espionage Act, which already forbids publishing classified information on wiretapping or American cryptography secrets.

The new law would extend this ban to human intelligence as well, “concerning the human intelligence activities of the United States or any foreign government.”

Americas Most Wanted

WikiLeaks are no being chased around the world with more intensity than the hunt for Osama bin-Laden ever had.

And the whistleblowers is finding it more and more difficult to find a sever that’s willing to host them.

The DNS companies are afraid of spam attacks, capable of shutting down their whole system, if they allow access to WikiLeaks.

“You know how they work, they move around a lot,” said Mikael Viborg, the CEO of PRQ, in an interview with Deutsche Welle. “They don’t want to get caught in one place.”

Viborg added that his company prides itself on providing hosting with “100 percent anonymity.”

“It means that I don’t want to know who you are and you might want to know who I am, but when the authorities comes to us, we have no way of knowing,” he says, adding that WikiLeaks told his company who it was and that the organization, through an intermediary in Sweden, recently paid $11,000 for three months of hosting service.

A second French host, Octopuce, based in Paris, was also a Wikileaks host for approximately the last six weeks up until this week, when the WikiLeaks site sustained a decent-sized cyber attack of 10 gigabits per second.

“We are no longer hosting as of Wednesday since they had a great number increasing distributed denial of service attacks, and the latest one was too much for our infrastructure and we were forced to ask them to find another safe haven for their machines,” Benjamin Sontag, the head of Octopuce, says in an interview with Deutsche Welle.


According to Benjamin Sontag,  WikiLeaks came to Octopuce, adding that his company currently hosts a number of high-profile French sites, including the highly respected journal, Le Monde Diplomatique.

“One of our current customers knew them and they asked us to give [WikiLeaks] some hosting and some infrastructure advice,” he says, decline to elaborate on how much WikiLeaks paid, nor what specific services they paid for.

Another one of WikiLeaks’ hosts, Jon Karlung, chairman of Bahnhof in Sweden, agree with Hoffman, saying that his company was treating WikiLeaks as any other customer. While he declined to say exactly what WikiLeaks paid for, he did say that its level of hosting and bandwidth would ordinarily cost 500 to 1,000 euros per month.

Assange Chat Scrambled

The British newspaper set up an online chat session with Julian Assange from an unknown location Friday, but just after a few minutes The Guardian’s website was bombarded with spam – enough to crash the whole site.

However, the newspapers technicians were able to get the site up and running again after not too long.

Here you’ll find the questions and answers from the chat session: (

Latest from The Guardian: (

(For some reason, the WordPress server won’t allow me to insert these links as ordinary hyperlinks).

Gaining Support

In spite of the US (or whoever) attempt to crush WikiLeaks, Julian Assange and the organisation is rapidly getting more and more support.

“We do not shut down clients unless there are solid legal claims to do so from the appropriate authorities and in Sweden that would be the Swedish authorities and not American authorities, and not an American senator,” Karlung says, adding that his company has had no contact with a law enforcement agency concerning Wikileaks thus far.

Karlung added that he has had no contact with Julian Assange, the elusive head of WikiLeaks, except for when they spoke on the phone initially to activate WikiLeaks’ service “a few months ago.”

In the end, even if American authorities are somehow able to shut down WikiLeaks on its European servers, the organization already has significant support amongst many tech-savvy people worldwide, which continues to be able to thwart the best efforts of all governments.

“I believe the public has a right to all information, in order to make the right decisions,” added Mikael Viborg, the chief executive of the Swedish host, PRQ.

“We do live in a democracy, in some sense. And I think that everyone needs to know everything before they can form an opinion. And I think that what WikiLeaks is showing us the underbelly, the worst that governments can do. I think that people need to know this even if this information is somehow dangerous to soldiers, dangerous to national security. I still think that people need to know this. And I think that doing this with WikiLeaks, yeah sure, I’m getting paid, but this is something I believe in.”

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US Governor, Canadian Official, Sarah Palin; Call For Assassination Of Julian Assange

In Health and Environment, International Econnomic Politics, Law & Regulations, Views, commentaries and opinions on 01.12.10 at 21:32

Following yesterday’s Interpol arrest warrant, also yesterday, Tom Flanagan, a senior advisor and strategist to the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, called for the assassination of Wikileaks director Julian Assange.

“It is believed to be the first ever televised “fatwa” since the edict by the Iranian leadership of the late Ayatollah Khomeini against British writer Salman Rushdie-“

CBS News

This is getting really ugly. I guess I’m not the only one recognizing the cold winds from the communist hunt in the 50’s and 60’s. Assassinations is a thing from the past, like the witch burning in the middle ages. There may be many people who have good reasons to be upset by the activities of WikiLeaks, but when politicians play on these emotions just to score some cheap points in the heat of a moment, it makes me sick.

On CBS News – on Live TV. – as the video notes, “it is believed to be the first ever televised “fatwa” since the edict by the Iranian leadership of the late Ayatollah Khomeini against British writer Salman Rushdie in February 1989.”

Although the CBS news anchor afforded Flanagan the opportunity to retract his statement, he balked at doing so and instead reiterated that US President should put out a “contract” on Assange or use “a drone” and that he would not be unhappy if Assange “disappeared.”

Flanagan, who is a trusted member of Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper’s inner circle of Tory strategists,  hereby joins republican Sarah Palin in the call for the death of the Wikileaks director Julian Assange as retribution for the website’s release of confidential diplomatic and intelligence “chatter” this week.

Now will this be the new political trend? To issue fatwas on national TV on anyone who dares to utter or publish something that they consider offensive?

Vodpod videos no longer available.


Former US vice president candidate, Sarah Palin, also want the WikiLeaks founder eliminated. But so does several others.

Mike Huckabee

The former US governor – now Fox TV host and writer – Mike Huckabee are also among those who think sending info to WikiLeaks is a criminal offense equal to murder.
“Whoever in our government leaked that information is guilty of treason, and I think anything less than execution is too kind a penalty.” Huckabee opined at a book signing yesterday, according to Politics Daily. “They’ve put American lives at risk. They have put relationships that will take decades to rebuild at risk, and they knew full well that they were handling sensitive documents,” he said.

And the well-known TV host, writer and political commentator Bill O’Reilly has made the exact same argument, while William Kristol and others have called, in veiled terms, for the assassination of Julian Assange.

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WikiLeaks With 5 GB File On Bank of America

In Financial Engeneering, Financial Markets, International Econnomic Politics, Law & Regulations, National Economic Politics, Technology, Views, commentaries and opinions on 01.12.10 at 15:22

According to an interview with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in October 2009, the whistleblowers are sitting on a huge file, containing documents originated from the hard drive of an executive at Bank of America. This has fueled the speculation about BoA being the target of the next megaleak by the controversial publisher, planning the uploaded early next year. The share price of Americas largest bank drop on the rumors.

“We want to get as much substantive information as possible into the historical record, keep it accessible and provide incentives for people to turn it into something that will achieve political reform.”

Julian Assange

Bank of America dismiss the speculation that it is the “big US bank” that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told Forbes magazine will be the website’s next target. However, the investors are not completely convinced. Bank of America tumbled more than 3% at New York Stock exchange yesterday, but at the moment share price is edging up slightly in the pre-market trading.


The current upward move of 0,6% could also be a sign of traders shorting the stock, taking positions before the US markets open later on today.

No Evidence

“More than a year ago WikiLeaks claimed to have the computer hard drive of a Bank of America executive,” BoA spokesman Scott Silvestri Silvestri says, according to

“Aside from the claims themselves, we have no evidence that supports this assertion. We are unaware of any new claims by WikiLeaks that pertain specifically to Bank of America.”

Here’s the quote from the article in ComputerWorld, October 9 2009:

“At the moment, for example, we are sitting on 5GB from Bank of America, one of the executive’s hard drives,” he said. “Now how do we present that? It’s a difficult problem. We could just dump it all into one giant Zip file, but we know for a fact that has limited impact. To have impact, it needs to be easy for people to dive in and search it and get something out of it.”

(Read the full story here.)

Assange says in an interview with Forbes published Monday, that the information he was preparing to release “could take down a bank or two.”

(See also: Wiki-Founder Compare Upcoming Bank Leak To Enron)

No Surprise, Anyway

Wall Street watchers, however, wondered just how damaging any material could be to one of the big banks, given that many are already plagued by scandal.

“We already know the banks are grossly incompetent, can’t manage risk and would be dead without taxpayer support,” Barry Ritholtz, a Wall Street money manager who rails on the bankers at his Big Picture blog, told Fortune magazine. “What are we going to find in these leaks — that free checking isn’t really free?”

“Anyone who follows the banking industry knows these guys are essentially insolvent,” said Ritholtz. “So we’re not going to get surprised there.”

Forbes reporter Andrew Greenberg, who conducted the interview with Assange, noted in his blog Tuesday that there likely isn’t much material about Bank of America that isn’t already known.

“As much as any bank on Wall Street, BoA has been scrutinized in recent years by everyone from plaintiffs’ attorneys in class-action investor suits to the New York Attorney General‘s office,” he writes, adding that Assange told him “he had unpublished, potentially damaging documents on multiple finance firms, beyond the bank ‘megaleak’ that we discussed.”

Here’s some of the reports uploaded on YouTube over the last 12 hours.


CNBC reports that Interpol has issued an international arrest order for Julian Assange – and (of course) advising investors to “buy aggressively” into BoA shares…


Julian Assange is probably more wanted by the international authorities than Osama Bin-Laden at the moment – it’s no joke messing with the big bankers:



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Wiki-Founder Compare Upcoming Bank Leak To Enron

In Financial Markets, International Econnomic Politics, Law & Regulations, National Economic Politics, Technology, Views, commentaries and opinions on 01.12.10 at 01:09

In an interview with Forbes, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says that his whistleblower site will release tens of thousands of documents from a major US financial firm in early 2011. Assange will not say exactly what date, what bank, or what documents, but he compare the coming release to the emails that emerged in the Enron trial – a comprehensive look at a corporation’s bad behavior.

“You could call it the ecosystem of corruption.”

Julian Assange

Julian Assange Talks To Forbes' Andy Greenberg

“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,” the Whistleblower in Chief. Julian Assange, says.“You could call it the ecosystem of corruption. But it’s also all the regular decision-making that turns a blind eye to and supports unethical practices: the oversight that’s not done, the priorities of executives, how they think they’re fulfilling their own self-interest.”

So, the big buzz on Wall Street at the moment is; who is that bank?


I won’t speculate, but I’m really looking forward to see what Assange & Co comes up with next time.

WikiLeaks have recently published hundreds of thousands of government documents: 76,000 classified documents from the war in Afghanistan, another 392,000 from Iraq, and on Sunday, the first piece of an ongoing exposure of millions of diplomatic messages sent between the US State Department and its embassies.

Assange says the site has received more documents than its able to publish. About half those unpublished submissions are related to the private sector.

He confirmed that WikiLeaks has damaging, unpublished material from the pharmaceutical industry, financial firms, and energy companies.

The Forbes interview with Julian Assange is quite an interesting read.

Here’s a little part of it:


JA: We’re totally source dependent. We get what we get. As our profile rises in a certain area, we get more in a particular area. People say, why don’t you release more leaks from the Taliban. So I say hey, help us, tell more Taliban dissidents about us.

F: These megaleaks, as you call them, we haven’t seen any of those from the private sector.

JA: No, not at the same scale as for the military.

F: Will we?

JA: Yes. We have one related to a bank coming up, that’s a megaleak. It’s not as big a scale as the Iraq material, but it’s either tens or hundreds of thousands of documents depending on how you define it.

F: Is it a US bank?

JA: Yes, it’s a US bank.

F: One that still exists?


JA: Yes, a big US bank.

F: The biggest US bank?

JA: No comment.

F: When will it happen?

JA: Early next year. I won’t say more.

F: What do you want to be the result of this release?

JA: [Pauses] I’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, it’s about one particular case or one particular violation. For this, there’s only one similar example. It’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 that’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 it’s also all the regular decision-making that turns a blind eye to and supports unethical practices: the oversight that’s not done, the priorities of executives, how they think they’re fulfilling their own self-interest. The way they talk about it.

F: How many dollars were at stake in this?

JA: We’re still investigating. All I can say is it’s clear there were unethical practices, but it’s too early to suggest there’s criminality. We have to be careful about applying criminal labels to people until we’re very sure.

F: Can you tell me anything about what kind of unethical behavior we’re talking about?


JA: No.

F: You once said to one of my colleagues that WikiLeaks has material on BP. What have you got?

JA: We’ve got lots now, but we haven’t determined how much is original. There’s been a lot of press on the BP issue, and lawyers, and people are pulling out a lot of stuff. So I suspect the material we have on BP may not be that original. We’ll have to see whether our stuff is especially unique.

F: The Russian press has reported that you plan to target Russian companies and politicians. I’ve heard from other WikiLeaks sources that this was blown out of proportion.

JA: It was blown out of proportion when the FSB reportedly said not to worry, that they could take us down. But yes, we have material on many business and governments, including in Russia. It’s not right to say there’s going to be a particular focus on Russia.

F: Let’s just walk through other industries. What about pharmaceutical companies?

JA: Yes. To be clear, we have so much unprocessed stuff, I’m not even sure about all of it. These are just things I’ve briefly looked at or that one of our people have told me about.


F: How much stuff do you have? How many gigs or terabytes?

JA: I’m not sure. I haven’t had time to calculate.

F: Continuing then: The tech industry?

JA: We have some material on spying by a major government on the tech industry. Industrial espionage.

F: US? China?

JA: The US is one of the victims.

F: What about the energy industry?

JA: Yes.

F: Aside from BP?

JA: Yes.

F: On environmental issues?

JA: A whole range of issues.

F: Can you give me some examples?

JA: One example: It began with something we released last year, quite an interesting case that wasn’t really picked up by anyone. There’s a Texas Canadian oil company whose name escapes me. And they had these wells in Albania that had been blowing. Quite serious. We got this report from a consultant engineer into what was happening, saying vans were turning up in the middle of the night doing something to them. They were being sabotaged. The Albanian government was involved with another company; There were two rival producers and one was government-owned and the other was privately owned.

So when we got this report; It didn’t have a header. It didn’t say the name of the firm, or even who the wells belonged to.

Read the whole interview with Julian Assange – and more about WikiLeaks – at

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