Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Where Wikileaks does good

While I continue to think the Julian Assange's latest document dump did more harm than good, exposing corporate corruption is a leak I can support:
The founder of whistle-blower website WikiLeaks plans to release tens of thousands of internal documents from a major U.S. bank early next year, Forbes Magazine reported on Monday. [...]

"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," Assange said in the interview posted on the Forbes website.

He declined to identify the bank, describing it only as a major U.S. bank that is still in existence.
[The referenced Forbes article on Assange at this link.]

This is a situation where the small intrigues could add up to a big scandal that actually changes something for the better. And to be fair, Anne Laurie reminds me that he's done this before:
Over the last four years he has been so busy embarrassing various governments, from Washington to the corrupt Kenyan regime of Daniel arap Moi, that many forget the corporate scandals already on WikiLeaks’ trophy wall. In January 2008 the site posted documents alleging that the Swiss bank Julius Baer hid clients’ profits from even the Swiss government, concealing them in what seemed to be shell companies in the Cayman Islands. The bank filed a lawsuit against WikiLeaks for publishing data stolen from its clients. Baer later dropped the suit—but managed to stir up embarrassing publicity for itself. The next year WikiLeaks published documents from a pharma trade group implying that its lobbyists were receiving confidential documents from and exerting influence over a World Health Organization project to fund drug research in the developing world. The resulting attention helped crater the WHO project…
I forgot about the Swiss bank thing and I barely heard about the WHO project. Don't think anyone went to jail over it though, did they? That would be my goal if I had Julian's resources.

Meanwhile, as I said in comments below, if Assange wants to hack the US government, I think it would be much more useful to expose the sausage making inside the Senate. We need a shakeup there most of all.

[More posts daily at the Detroit News.]

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