Julian Assange — founder of bomb-throwing whistleblower Wikileaks, posessor of silver hair and target of the U.S. attorney general’s office — has told Forbes he’s readying for deployment a massive data dump that will reveal the ugly side of one major U.S. financial firm:
When? Which bank? What documents? Cagey as always, Assange won’t say, so his claim is impossible to verify. But he has always followed through on his threats. Sitting for a rare interview in a London garden flat on a rainy November day, he compares what he is ready to unleash to the damning e-mails that poured out of the Enron trial: a comprehensive vivisection of corporate bad behavior. “You could call it the ecosystem of corruption,” he says, refusing to characterize the coming release in more detail. “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.”
Wikileaks recently gave multiple news outlets, including The New York Times access to some of the 250,000-odd State Department cables it has obtained and is set to publish. The move has provoked an uproar from the establishment. For example, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said “The United States strongly condemns the illegal disclosure of these classified documents.”
Wikileaks has never been squeamish about the documents it publishes. Past offerings include a video showing the U.S. military killing civilians in Iraq, for example. Having caused a fair amount of trouble in U.S. foreign policy circles, Assange appears eager to ruffle feathers in finance.
mtaylor [at] observer.com | @mbrookstaylor