Confirmed (?) Wikileaks' next target is Bank of America (UPDATE)

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69 Responses to “Confirmed (?) Wikileaks' next target is Bank of America (UPDATE)”

  1. Cowicide says:

    Assange compared WikiLeaks’ “persecution” to that endured by Jews in the US in the 1950s.

    I wonder how that went within context? BTW, what happened to the Jews in the US in the 50′s?

  2. Zederbaum says:

    ncinerate: “It’s not the US I’d worry about though. I mean, yeah, they might trump up a honepot scheme to eventually get key players onto US soil and arrested forever, or shut down your finances, or cook up some goofy plot to make your beard fall out, but they’ll -usually- leave you alive.”

    If your profile is high enough, then that’s probably true, not unlike Khodorkovsky’s case in Russia as it happens; after all Litvinenko didn’t have such a profile and the same restrictions didn’t apply.

    Being left alive sure has its advantages, but let’s not get a warm fuzzy feeling regarding the US treatment of its enemies (spare a thought for Bradley Mananing for instance).

    And without that high profile, the situation is likely to be very different indeed, particularly for those who had the cheek to be, say, a Vietnamese or El Salvadoran peasant. Or these days maybe a Reuters journalist or a guest at an Afghani wedding.

  3. semiotix says:

    Jews in the US in the 1950s?!

    Is that code for “not by any means perfect, but extremely good considering recent events?”

    I’ll buy that.

    • mdh says:

      We have a black president, but have still never had a Jewish president. Both minorities faced significantly more open discrimination from the public and private sectors at that time. The civil rights movement benefited both minorities over generations to the point that some among us assume it was always the way it is today. It wasn’t.

  4. Jack says:

    Persecution? There really were no “pogroms” or truly hateful acts of persecution in the U.S. towards Jews. Quite the opposite actually. Could he have vaguely been referring to Julius and Ethel Rosenberg?

  5. Rob Beschizza says:

    Maybe he meant McCarthyism in general? Communist sympathisers? That’s just such a weird way to put it.

  6. Church says:

    Maybe a Rosenbergs reference? Not really helping himself there, if so. Rather different circumstances.

  7. jere7my says:

    Well, Milton Berle’s show was cancelled in 1956….

    • Jack says:

      But Car 54 was on in the early 1960s and documented the horrors of Jewish life in America. Like the time an elderly Jewish widower was going to be evicted from her home but nobody could kick here out because she made such delicious food for them everytime somebody came by. And the time some kid was going to have no guests at a Bar Mitzvah until Toody & Muldoon took a paddy wagon filled with prisoners to the Synagogue and saved the day!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Where does it confirm that it is bank of America?

  9. Ted8305 says:

    Jews in the 50′s in the US? Well I guess that’s nowhere near as bad as Germany in the 30′s, but still. Maybe they misquoted him.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I agree with what “yearofplentycard” said:

    “I was assuming the “Jews in the 50′s” comment referred to the refusal of banks to process payments to Wikileaks. While Jews were not the target of official discrimination/violence by the federal government, they were unofficially shut out of a lot of aspects of American business and professions like law (and the schools that groomed people for them, which had very strict quotas for Jews), and in many country clubs and other powerbroker-type institutions. Think the antisemitism some of the characters on Mad Men display. In that industry, there are actually major agencies started by Jewish partners, like Grey Advertising, who had to use an anglo sounding name just to get a foot in the door.

    Assange’s comparisons to each persecuted group in world history are getting old, but I think that’s what he was referring to: unofficial societal pressure not to do business with him.”

  11. theawesomerobot says:

    “Shares in Bank of America have fallen amid speculation that it was a WikiLeaks target.”

    :D

    • Lucifer says:

      … Julian Assange and other Wikileak backers including BofA insiders short sell BofA stock the day before he announces the wikileak. American public 0. Elite class gazillions+1.

      • insert says:

        What? [citation needed]! Where did Assange short-sell BAC?

        And do you really think that Wikileaks is *not* being persecuted in America? The CIA has a Wikileaks Task Force (see the next Boingboing post)

        • Lucifer says:

          it’s not a factual report, just a supposition of my own. I find Wikileaks ridiculous. They simply release these wholesale batches of data which ultimately dilutes the impact of scandals. If I were the government or a large corp, I would *want* my dirty laundry to get released by Wikileaks as part of a batch of 250 million random documents than as one damaging focused news story.

          I don’t think Wikileaks is being “persecuted”. Julian Assange and Wikileaks as an “organization” of backers and facilitators are simply in the process of being PROSECUTED. It’s a little different. It’s one thing to blow the whistle but another thing to endanger and expose the lives of informants and agents. Journalists take some care in editing some info when it comes to revealing secrets that might hurt the safety of those who shouldn’t be.

          You can’t have it both ways – either it was WRONG to oust Valerie Plame as a CIA agent and it is therefore wrong of Wikileaks to act rather recklessly in some of its releases, or it’s fine in both cases.

          Also, the threats of releasing damning information as a CONDITION of Julian Assange’s safety is a really smarmy move. If there is malfeasance that deserves revelation, then reveal it. Manipulating its revelation as a shield to Julian Assange is the least respectable misuse of information. It’s blackmail.

          • Church says:

            “They simply release these wholesale batches of data which ultimately dilutes the impact of scandals.”

            You really should pay attention if you’re going to comment. They’ve released a tiny fraction of the cables so far, and it’s not only been vetted by journalists but it’s been offered to the US government for vetting (which has refused. Because lives are at stake.)

          • Cowicide says:

            [cow sticks shaky hoof out from under bed and points it at Church]

            He’s right!

          • Anonymous says:

            No problem, as soon as the person who ousted Valerie Plame is given the same treatment that is now happening to Julian Assange over the leaks *cough* Dick Cheney *cough*, I’ll be happy.

          • insert says:

            Sure I can have it “both ways” — individuals should have privacy from government (Cheney/Rove oughtn’t have outed Valerie Plame) but governments should have very little secrecy from the citizenry (Wikileaks is doing a Good Thing).

            After all, the government has all sorts of powers that individuals don’t (execution, imprisonment, taxation), and, you know, with great power…

  12. Ivan R. says:

    If I my say this:
    “I’d love to see bank suffer”.

    That’s it. Thanks.

    • Mister44 says:

      Assuming you meant “my bank” – I am with you. (Very Machiavelli of me, I know.)

      Julian doesn’t lack class – he is an egotistical narcissist. Its all about him. Everyone is (or should be) into him. Reading his ‘love emails’, I know exactly who this guy is. He is the guy who made up a list of who he WOULDN’T kill when he takes over the world or blows it up. Someone gave him one too many swirrlies and broke his fragile little mind.

      And I will say it again – while I guess I can understand issuing data at intervals to allow its absorption, the threats what what and when smack of either an agenda, or a child exerting his independence.

  13. surreality says:

    Why does everyone think they can compare themselves to the past sufferings of the Jews? Haven’t the Jews had to deal with enough crap already without people thinking they can empathize with their suffering despite the fact they are in a completely different situation? Hey guys, stop making analogies out of Jewish peoples’ suffering, it pisses us off. (Well, I know it pisses *me* off, at least.)

    • Lucifer says:

      I think a more apt analogy than “Wikileaks is persecuted today as the Jews were persecuted in WW2″ is “Wikileaks is persecuted today as white christian fundamentalists in America *think* they are being persecuted for their beliefs in the US today”

    • Cowicide says:

      Sincere question… do you know what Assange is allegedly talking about? I’m still trying to figure out what 1950′s persecution was going on in the US against the Jews.

    • insert says:

      Speaking as a Jew (like that gives me special authority…?), I totally support good-faith Holocaust analogies.

      As the people most affected (not the only ones!), we have a duty to remember/never forget what happened. (So does everyone else who’s not an asshole or a Nazi.) But part of that duty entails working to prevent anything like the Holocaust from happening again. That means speaking up when a government’s policies start looking like the beginning of the Holocaust (e.g. SB 1070).

      I’d much rather be wrong about something being as bad as the Holocaust than to have had that tool — the emotionally weighty comparison — and have not used it.

      Even if an atrocity isn’t as bad as Holocaust (35 pico-hitlers?), it is still OK to compare them (in a scalar fashion, e.g. 1/35th of a Holocaust). If we can’t, then the Holocaust becomes sui generis and we would not be able to catch an “another Holocaust” until its too late.

      So, keep on with the (good-faith) Holocaust comparisons!

      • surreality says:

        I do think we agree… it’s just exasperating when so many people seem to abuse the analogy. There are definitely times to use it, but I just get frustrated by the tossing-about of it in everyday political discourse. As a later commenter pointed out, it seems to dull the power/importance of it when people pull it out for everything.

      • querent says:

        I dig this. I have a Jewish lesbian friend who says Berlin is the chillest city she’s ever lived in, and I think a lot of that is Germany’s full on embrace of the history of what happened. I know of no comparable examples among the other nations that committed similar atrocities (i.e. the fate of the natives here in the U.S.)

        The “good-faith” thing is subjective and nebulous and completely necessary, but I dig this break with what we might call the “strict Godwinists.”

        If yearofplentycard is right, then it makes sense. But who cares?

        Good news that the banks are getting hit! Chaloo Caley! Frabulous day! (sp?)

        • Antinous / Moderator says:

          Given that fascism, nationalism and xenophobia are on the rise worldwide, it’s hard to have an intelligent discussion of international politics without referring to the rise of the Third Reich. We could use the Balkans or Rwanda or the rise of Imperial Rome as examples, but people just know a lot more about Germany in the 20s and 30s.

          Citing Godwin’s Law can be a bit like saying, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.” And you know who would say that? Hitler.

          • Cowicide says:

            you know who would say that? Hitler.

            [cow sticks shaky hoof out from under bed and points it at Antinous]

            Godwin’s Law!!! Godwin’s Law!!!!

        • insert says:

          Right on, querent and Antinous.

        • hettie says:

          “o frabjous day! calloo! callay!”

          • hettie says:

            I realize my post above sounds as though I’m rejoicing about b of a being the next focus of wikileaks. I am not unhappy about this and believe corporate malfeasance to be a serious–and seriously unaddressed–issue in contemporary global culture. but I meant only to respond to querent.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Assange rocks. Agitators and instigators are just what we need to WAKE UP!

  15. yearofplentycard says:

    I was assuming the “Jews in the 50′s” comment referred to the refusal of banks to process payments to Wikileaks. While Jews were not the target of official discrimination/violence by the federal government, they were unofficially shut out of a lot of aspects of American business and professions like law (and the schools that groomed people for them, which had very strict quotas for Jews), and in many country clubs and other powerbroker-type institutions. Think the antisemitism some of the characters on Mad Men display. In that industry, there are actually major agencies started by Jewish partners, like Grey Advertising, who had to use an anglo sounding name just to get a foot in the door.

    Assange’s comparisons to each persecuted group in world history are getting old, but I think that’s what he was referring to: unofficial societal pressure not to do business with him.

    • Cowicide says:

      I think that’s what he was referring to: unofficial societal pressure not to do business with him.

      Ah, now it makes sense. Do you have some sources for this info?

      • yearofplentycard says:

        I don’t, sorry, and tried to google around to find a good single source. The discrimination against Jews in things like college/grad admissions is pretty well known/discussed (elite schools had tight quotas on the # who could get in, despite many more being qualified), the other stuff is harder to get good info on. This wikipedia article says that “Following the Second World War and the American Civil Rights Movement, anti-Jewish sentiment waned.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Jews_in_the_United_States

        But that still fits with the view that there was discrimination against Jews into the 50′s/early 60′s. And, sorry for lack of a source, but I have heard of examples of country clubs where it was widely known that they did not let in Jews, and this went on into the 70′s or even 80′s.

        Maybe that’s what he’s talking about.

  16. Bulone says:

    I don’t think Russian would eliminate him. They are getting more benefit from JA exposing american’s dirt and losing face. Killing him off would go against their own interest. Besides, they wanted to nominate JA for Nobel prize.

  17. Dave Faris says:

    I’d much rather be wrong about something being as bad as the Holocaust than to have had that tool — the emotionally weighty comparison — and have not used it.

    On the other hand, if you use a knife for everything from cleaning your boots to scraping paint off your house, it becomes dull and useless when you really need to use it for something the knife was meant for.

  18. floraldeoderant says:

    “Wikileaks next target is Bank of America”
    Fscking GOOD.

  19. Anonymous says:

    How is this not blackmail? He’s asking board members of BoA to step down and then threatening to make their internal documents public if they don’t.

    I am 100% in favor of persecuting any BoA board members who committed crimes during the financial meltdown, but I think Mr. Assange’s ego is growing a bit too rapidly and this latest release is starting to look more like a personal vendetta than an impartial quest for “justice.”

  20. Ceronomus says:

    If Wikileaks can make me hate B of A any more than I already do…I’ll be both impressed and surprised.

  21. Lt DirtyFreq says:

    You know I love wikileaks but Assange is starting to say some silly things. He just needs to keep doing his job & stop talking so much. I want the light to be on wikileaks & not Assange.

  22. Lt DirtyFreq says:

    It’s just my opinion.. sorry.

  23. Floyd R Turbo says:

    Stay classy Julian!

  24. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Bank of America was founded by a very decent guy and run as a very decent company for many years. It was bought by a bunch of assholes who fired the women in top-tier management and tried to shove Christianity down the throats of the employees (which was a big hit in San Francisco.) Then there’s all the financial malfeasance of the last decade and a half. Unless the wikileaks cables show proof that the CEO eats babies and the President is a pigfucker, I don’t see how BofA’s reputation could be much worse.

  25. technogeek says:

    I really wish he wouldn’t confirm my worst beliefs about him. Unfortunately, he’s coming across as a petulant brat.

    • Cowicide says:

      Never in human history have there ever been more examples of more people more jealous of another human being than any other time in human history.

      You’re making history!

  26. Ted8305 says:

    1950′s Jewish culture… you know my immigrant great-grandmother used to love watching the Ed Solomon show back then.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Guys — I think he’s referring to the McCarthyism – the Communist witch hunts, and black lists — when he talks about persecution of the Jews in the 1950s. Although people of all races and religions were blacklisted during McCarthyism, a disproportionate number were Jewish. And the effect spread beyond just the blacklists. Robert Oppenheimer, who was in charge of the Manhattan Project, lost his security clearance — effectively ending his career — because his wife Kitty had been a communist in the 1930s – just one example.

    McCarthyism was an attempt to silence free speech in the USA — the campaign against Wikileaks is the same thing.

  28. floraldeoderant says:

    @Anon #23 (I really wanna believe you’re a troll, you’re totes a troll, but I… I gotta feed ya).

    He’s not saying he’ll release the documents *unless* people resign. He’s saying he’ll release the documents no matter what, and the responsible thing for certain people to do, when that happens, is resign.

    Huge difference.

  29. imag says:

    I swear, if the Internet had been around in the 1770′s, there would have been some serious sniping about Jefferson and Franklin and Adams.

    Do you people not realize that no matter what Assange says, if he says anything at all, one of you will complain about it?

    How about you complain about the fact that Shell is responsible for the suffering and deaths of thousands every year in the Niger Delta, and has infiltrated the government to prevent incrimination? There’s more outrage about how this guy phrases his interview response than that whole story.

    I realize it’s a human blind spot. Stalin had it nailed with his tragedy vs. statistic comment. But, knowing this, can’t you at least try to overcome it?

    • Cowicide says:

      How about you complain about the fact that Shell is responsible for the suffering and deaths of thousands every year in the Niger Delta, and has infiltrated the government to prevent incrimination? There’s more outrage about how this guy phrases his interview response than that whole story.

      Watch it. You’re setting yourself up to be attacked by a brigade who’ll call you “self-important” among other trifling insults instead of addressing your points.

      I honestly think some people’s brains have a certain bandwidth threshold. And that threshold maxes out somewhere along the lines of America doing evil things and having to cope and properly react to such an awful, disturbing fact about their home country. Attacking the messenger is the only recourse that will alleviate the pain of reaching said threshold.

      I’m not sure anyone or anything can reach them. Throwing more disturbing facts at them certainly won’t help, it only solidifies the mental paralysis and forces them to devolve further into even more vicious attacks upon the messenger.

      I think the only hope is to continue to reach out to the others that can see.

      [I'm not kidding]

      • imag says:

        lol (seriously)

        I swear – the thing that the internet teaches me daily is that no matter how intentioned one tries to be, someone will find a reason why they are secretly being offensive. There literally is nothing one can say that will not put someone on the attack.

        I keep watching this big human reality distortion field wondering how we compensate. We’ll go ballistic over a woman who throws a cat in the dumpster and not say a peep about a Gulf spill’s worth of oil *every year* in Nigeria which kills millions of animals. We should just admit that we are not actually fit to deal with global issues. We’re just not designed for it. We’re making horrible decisions. Then we watch more celebrity footage because we can’t stand the results of those decisions.

        I’m not even judging, I’m just saying: we need a better way. We need some kind of “human distortion compensator”. Oh, well we did invent science. Too bad most people don’t believe in that.

        *sigh*

  30. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Do you people not realize that no matter what Assange says, if he says anything at all, one of you will complain about it?

    I’ve been in a political organization that was being actively persecuted by the US government. Circa 1980, our leadership put all of the members on a very tight leash in regards to personal and social behavior. They believed that, if we were going to be arrested, it should be for sedition, not public intoxication or marijuana possession.

    If the government is out to get you, they will twist everything that you say and do to make you look like a monster or a lunatic. You can’t speak off the cuff. You can’t drive if you’ve had a beer. You can’t have sex with someone whom you haven’t carefully vetted ahead of time. We knew this 30 years ago. People were talking about it 2,000 years ago. If you’re going to be in this business, you must emulate Cæsar’s wife.

    • imag says:

      True that. But the very people who are revolutionaries are not perfectly rational. None of them have been. None of them are likely to be. The kind of person who stares down the banking system and the US government is not going to be polite and quiet and careful. Sorry – that’s just the way it is.

      And none of the folks who founded this country were perfect. Not a one. They did great things *in spite* of their flaws. That’s human. We need to start accepting flaws again instead of hen-pecking every damned thing a public figure does.

      If there’s one thing Facebook and the whole lack of privacy thing might accomplish, it’s that. People will just realize that everyone can be hen-pecked, that anyone who’s worth a damn has issues, and that those trivialities shouldn’t be deemed more important than the actual important crap.

      Or I can accept that we’re social animals and that gossip, noise, idle chatter, hot air, are what we often care about over the issues. I just have a tough time accepting it sometimes.

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        This isn’t some generic public forum. People here overwhelmingly support WL, which is why I think that it’s fine for us to critique Mr. Assange for cheapening his own brand. I imagine that many of the other hard-working people at WL cringe at some of his actions.

        • sally599 says:

          Umm, “People here overwhelmingly support WL”—are you implying the boing boing staff or its readers. Because I’m kinda bored with the whole WL thing and want to see some more two-headed snakes and such.

      • happyez says:

        Or I can accept that we’re social animals and that gossip, noise, idle chatter, hot air, are what we often care about over the issues. I just have a tough time accepting it sometimes.

        Or….and this is something a lot of people on BoingBoing and other forums miss when they complain about normal people not paying attention to important issues…

        Is that when you (that is, I, but just to be lazy, ‘you’) have kids and have to hold down a job where you get up at 6am and you then spend hours building your own business, while being the best father you/I can be, I have so little time to read all the WL leaks, or read large investigative articles on Shell in Nigeria.

        But more importantly, there is no brain bandwidth to do this – as the responsible lifestyle that I didn’t have before, takes over.

        I WANT to read the Cables, but it may take a year to really get into it, and only on the weekend.

        If ‘normal’ people are like me (and I am not generally normal), then this is probably the reason why crap TV is popular. There.is.no.extra.bandwidth.in.the.head.

        Which is, non-coincidently of course, *not* the situation for kidless people who, may have two jobs themselves, can chill at their own whim and time, and thus *have* time to read up on stuff. Coz there is no responsibility other than to themselves.

        Which I really didn’t know about til now. Which is probably normal, and which is the same for all I suspect. For the next million generations.

        Or most don’t care anyway, but this is, I suspect, the situation that links all of us who work and care about kids. Now, helicopter parents are another story.

    • imag says:

      You do have to admit, the rest of the crew at WL is working admirably according to your principals.

      Assange is doing pretty well as the lightning rod while they keep quietly working…

    • imag says:

      FYI – neither of those comments was meant to be snarky. Rereading them, a couple words seemed like they might have implied that. It wasn’t meant.

      The one I couldn’t understand was John Edwards. I mean, that was some colossal clumsiness right there.

  31. Jonathan says:

    Where can we see evidence of a drop in share price for Bank of America, that coincides with speculation of it being a Wikileaks target?

  32. hbl says:

    I know I’ve only been wading in lately to put my Captain Pedant underpants on the outside of my tights and be all persnickety, but goshdarnit, it’s called The Times. Not the Times of London. Just like The New York Times is not called the Times of New York. I appreciate it’s not the only newspaper called The Times in the world, but it’s not like London is some hick backwater full of toothless simpletons, it’s one of the biggest and most influential cities in the world and it’s been The Times since 1788. No one should rightly be confusing it with The Times of Shreveport, Louisiana.

  33. ncinerate says:

    Well, regardless of what past transgression the current wikileaks situation is potentially similar to, it’s clear that they are in some hot water.

    It’s not the US I’d worry about though. I mean, yeah, they might trump up a honepot scheme to eventually get key players onto US soil and arrested forever, or shut down your finances, or cook up some goofy plot to make your beard fall out, but they’ll -usually- leave you alive.

    The Russians on the other hand have no such policy. For example:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poisoning_of_Alexander_Litvinenko

    • Anonymous says:

      ncinerate: “It’s not the US I’d worry about though. I mean, yeah, they might trump up a honepot scheme to eventually get key players onto US soil and arrested forever, or shut down your finances, or cook up some goofy plot to make your beard fall out, but they’ll -usually- leave you alive.

      The Russians on the other hand have no such policy…”

      Article for you: http://dissidentvoice.org/Jan05/Whitney0121.htm

      Homeland Security hires former Stasi chief Marcus Wolfe and former head of the KGB Yevgeni Primakov.

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