Assange Tells 60 Minutes He Likes Watching Banks Squirm As They Prep For His Next Leak

assange60minutes

(CBS)

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange played coy in his 60 Minutes interview last night as reporter Steve Kroft tried to press him about the identity of the big bank he supposedly has a 5GB hard drive of secrets on.

KROFT: Do you have a 5 GB hard drive?
ASSANGE: I won’t make any comment in relation to that upcoming publication.
KROFT: You’re certainly not denying it.
ASSANGE: You know there would be a process of elimination if we denied some and admitted some and denied others.
KROFT: So it it might not be Bank of America BofA and you’re just going to let them squirm until you get ready too –
ASSANGE: – I think it’s great to have all these banks squirming thinking maybe it’s them.
KROFT: You seem to enjoy stirring things up.
ASSANGE: Well, when you see abusive organizations suffer the consequences as a result of their abuse and you see victims elevated, yes that’s a very pleasurable activity to be involved in.

Guess we’ll find out when he wants us to find out. In the meantime he’s having fun watching the financial organizations expend resources trying to prepare to deal with the card he’s holding — a classic underdog spoiler move.

WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange, Pt. 2 [60 Minutes]

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  1. iParadox{InLove} says:

    My eyes went wonky while reading that headline and I saw, “Assange Tells 60 Minutes He Likes Watching Sperm Banks”

    and was like…. say whaaaaaaat?

  2. Tim says:

    He’s got a good point. If you say you’re blowing the lid open on BofA, every other bank will breathe a collective sigh of relief.

    But this way, every major bank is thinking about every horrible thing they did and trying to mitigate the consequences of said actions.

    • IphtashuFitz says:

      Or they’ve all just decided to continue with business as usual since the chances of him having dirt on their particular bank is small. If anything they’re just prepping their PR teams to handle whatever Assange may have on them.

      • Buckus says:

        If anything, it’s led to more sleepless nights shredding documents/burning documents than they normally have.

  3. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    It’s too bad he didn’t work on the bank’s secrets before the U.S. military and foreign dignitaries’ secrets. If he had, the general public might view him in a more favorable light. But he started with the organizations that are the biggest threat against him – not smart.

    • Red Cat Linux says:

      I certainly wish he’d started with the banks. My security clearance prohibits me going there to read the site and see what the fuss is about :P

    • aweirdguy says:

      You think they started with US military secrets? Or is it that you never heard of wikileaks in mainstream media until they released the military data? They were releasing files about Cayman Island bank activity in 2008….

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WikiLeaks
      Don’t let your personal experiences equate to scientific research….

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        First, I didn’t know about the 2008 release. So my bad.

        But please explain how this has anything to do with scientific research. Please, because otherwise you look like a pompous asshole.

        • nbs2 says:

          I don’t remember the Cayman Island stuff, but when they first uploaded their Scientology material was the first I had heard of them.

          I totally recommend checking it out – some of the goofiest stuff I have ever read.

        • YokoOhNo says:

          Hypothesis: Assange leaked US political secrets before the banking secrets.
          Test One: Just make something up and type it in the comment section…PASS!!
          Test Two: Research your statement at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WikiLeaks before posting your uninformed opinion…FAIL!!

          Your statement fails the most elementary scientific testing through basic, entry-level research.

          The Cayman Bank (story was huge because the Corporation got the US government to shut down the ISP of wikileaks…most people know this.

          Hypothesis: A person that refers to himself in the third person is thinking of how you perceive him. He’s looking at himself, while you’re looking at him, so that he can modify how he appears to you to get the best result he wants from you.

          A hypothesis that withstands many tests becomes a theory.
          An extremely well tested theory becomes a law.

          • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

            You’re theory-law scientific process is wrong. Theory is the highest level of certainty, and typically incorporates a number of laws. Laws are statements that describe a behavior in a concise, often mathematical manner.

            F=ma is a law.
            Newton’s laws are explained in turn by Einstein’s theories and QED theory.

            /scientist

            • YokoOhNo says:

              you sure?

              i’m just saying that laws are more certain than theories….but I defer to your expertise

              /rocket surgeon

              • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

                Laws aren’t more or less valid than theories. Laws are descriptions on phenomena that don’t in themselves, carry an explanation. A theory explains why the law works. So we can have a law that shows the relationship between the temperature and reaction rate of ai> system, called the Arrenhius equation. In and of itself, it doesn’t explain anything, it’s a reliable model of a specific phenomena. Kinetic theory explains Arrenhius’s law.

                Both of these can be equally valid, but before a law is proven, it’s a hypothesis. Before a theory is proven, it’s a conjecture. At least in the common nomenclature. Sometimes though laws are simply called equations, especially if they describe truly trivial things. The misconception over laws is in large part due to a desire to systemize, for rhetorical reasons, something that worked fine without being systemized.

      • Kitten Mittens says:

        Hipster, much?

    • denros says:

      It doesn’t seem like he has a whole lot of concern for the american public’s perception of him. Probably for good reason. As far as I can gather, most people just think he’s weird (which, true or not, isn’t really a valid criticism) and wingnuts want to kill him because that’s their knee-jerk reaction to anyone that disagrees with them.

    • Razor512 says:

      Banks also have a lot of power over the media and other news distribution sources, if he went after the banks first the banks would have kept it from getting out to the general public.

      but by going after the criminal acts of the government, he has pretty much world wide attention so if he releases he bank info, the banks wont be able to keep this out of the public.

  4. RyGuy1152 says:

    I’m with Assange on this one. Mega banks enjoy dangling more and more fees above the heads of their customers, so why not play their own game against them?

  5. fsnuffer says:

    This guy gives me the creeps.

    • denros says:

      completely irrelevant criticism, though not necessarily untrue.

      • varro says:

        He’s the opposite of Ralph Nader in the ’60s – Nader was uncorruptible to the extreme; Assange turns himself into such a sh*t magnet that any character assassination is just thrown onto the pile. (As opposed to real assassination, which probably would trigger a deadman release of information.)

  6. Mold says:

    What secrets? Everyone knows bush is a putz, Obama is a slight-right R, and that the US supports jerkhole governments.
    Well, those who can read, anyway.

    • IphtashuFitz says:

      And what does any of that have to do with banks?

    • john says:

      slight-right R? As in Republican? Do I not understand your comment?

      • Mike says:

        The only people dumb enough to confuse Obama as a liberal are right wingers.

        -Health care reform: Essentially Romney care and the 1994 Republican proposal for health care reform

        -Tax policy: Obama gave MORE tax cuts, including many breaks in the stimulus bill and extending the Bush cuts

        -Afghanistan: Obama escalated the troop levels.

        From any objective perspective Obama’s presidency can be described as moderately right of center.

  7. JohnnyP says:

    Wow If its on a 5gb hard drive I would wonder how old this data is. I would also make a backup just in case that thing dies.

    And yes I know its just non tech savvy person asking a question that he doesn’t understand.

    • Tim says:

      He said that 100,000 people have the data, but it’s encrypted. It’s a bit of a poison pill, in that he (or other Wikileaks people) could quickly release the password to it if something were to happen. he dodged the question of what would prompt the announcement of said password.

  8. TooManyHobbies says:

    If a bank had always behaved ethically and legally, they shouldn’t have anything to worry about, RITE?

  9. dolemite says:

    Too bad he is doing the government’s job for them.

    Our government it supposed to provide oversight on our financial system, yet they seem pretty much powerless to do anything, besides bail them out with taxpayer dollars.

    I’m glad he leaked government info too. Obviously with big business and our government is in cahoots, there needs to be a 3rd party to keep them both straight. American’s have a right to know what atrocities are being committed in our name, in other countries. How else do you keep the government straight if you have no clue what they are doing, outside of what they want you to know?

  10. Clyde Barrow says:

    I have no problem with Assange doing this to banks, but the debacle that he caused with our government data is another matter. That could cost our military service men and women their lives. Very stupid on his part and I think he lost credibility because of it.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      If all the information is accurate, I’m not sure you can say he loses credibility. He’s still quite credible.

      Loses support, perhaps, but it is a debatable topic to say the information will cost American lives.

      Of course, it’s also debatable to say that American are in the right to begin with, but that is a different topic entirely. I am making no claims to either viewpoint.

    • jason in boston says:

      How many lives have been lost directly from the leaks? 0.

      • Clyde Barrow says:

        Until it’s reported, who knows but where the possibility exists, it can and will happen. It’s irrelevant if it hasn’t happened; that is just luck.

        I was in Iraq and I know first hand the damage that can be made by this. Even the slightest bit of data can be used against our troops. Over there you have to be 110% on your toes and aware of your surroundings or else it can cost you your life. It’s easy to play arm-chair quarterback in your comfy home in America but in the Middle-East, there is no such thing as complacency. Had Assange done this in WWII, he’d be hanged by now. The entire world has gotten soft too soft on chumps like this guy.

        • damicatz says:

          Assange isn’t costing the lives of anyone.

          The deaths of our military servicemen are on the hands of a criminal government with a propensity for meddling in foreign affairs to support the interests of corporations.

          For example, the current situation in Iran is a direct result of the CIA illegally overthrowing the sovereign, democratically elected secular government of Iran back in the 50s. The US CIA overthrew Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator simply because BP wanted to rape and pillage Iran’s oil supplies and Mohammad Mosaddegh wanted to nationalize them instead. After 20+ years of brutal oppression, Islamic revolutionaries along with the people, overthrew the shah and established the government in Iran that we know today.

          This is a common theme with the criminal intelligence agency. In the last 50 years, they have overthrown over a dozen governments. See : http://www.serendipity.li/cia/cia_time.htm

          The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are both illegal according to both US and International Law. Congress has not declared war as is required in the constitution. 9/11 happened because we meddle in affairs that do not concern us. I do not condone attacks on civilians but at the same time, we brought it upon ourselves. Don’t stick your hand in a hornet’s nest if you don’t want to be stung.

          • incident_man says:

            +1 million.

            The biggest problem with our government is their insistence on meddling in everyone else’s affairs. What right do we have to tell others how to live or conduct their business?

        • Powerlurker says:

          Meh, if the US hadn’t sent troops to Iraq in the first place, they wouldn’t have had to worry about people divulging secrets about their activities there.

    • Griking says:

      IMO doing/saying nothing can cost more US military men and women their lives.

    • TooManyHobbies says:

      To date there’s no evidence that it has harmed people at all. And the information that he released shows that we have cost many hundreds or thousands of INNOCENT people their lives. Who’s the bad guy?

  11. Judah says:

    I saw the 60 minutes segment on TV. Assange made it a point to state Wikileaks doesn’t solicit information, only offer an outlet for people in organizations with no internal way to address abuses a potential tool of change. ‘Blowing the whistle’ is a last resort of change, and as a publisher he wishes to make sure abuses receive publicity in the hope of fixing them.

    Wikileaks doesn’t ‘investigate’. They just publish what people give them after a vetting process to minimize harm to innocent parties and verify facts.

  12. Nick says:

    This is Time’s Man of the Year for 2011.

  13. MerlynNY says:

    Kudos to Assange! If our own government can’t oversee our financial system, then this is the only way Americans can hold our banks accountable.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      He’s like Iron Man, privitizing world peace… or at least transparency.

  14. Consumeristing says:

    After three years of banking shenanigans, whatever “leak” that’s gonna come out is gonna surprise no one.

  15. The Twilight Clone says:

    a 5GB hard drive. what is this, 1998?

  16. AllanG54 says:

    If they did nothing wrong, they’d have nothing to worry about. End of story.

  17. Nevada Scribbler says:

    Anything that makes the banks — and bankers — squirm is fine by me. I’d like to see them do more than squirm.

  18. rmorin says:

    Not to be overly cynical, but what could these documents show that would really make the large banks credibility any less? In the past year we have seen the major banks do A LOT of stupid/unethical/illegal things. Unless this documents show that they were killing puppies, bunnies, and baby seals with their bare hands, how damning can this really be?

  19. kataisa says:

    Assange Says He Likes Watching Banks Squirm As They Prep For His Next Leak

    Hell, so do I. Thank you, Assange! Bring it on, BofA.

    And if you’re still doing business with Big Banks, go here to help fix the problem:

    moveyourmoneyproject.org

  20. jrobie says:

    In the words of Alfred Pennyworth: “Some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn”

  21. caoimhinnn says:

    I appreciate disclosure of this type of information, but he’s acting like a bit of a child about it. This isn’t about his personal vindication.

    No doubt, if banks are employing unfair and illegal practices, I’d like to see those practices changed and the banks held accountable. However, I believe it should be done in a clinical way, without the influence of the unruly mob mentality Assange promotes with his “damn the man” attitude.

  22. agpc says:

    Pretty terrible interview by Steve Kroft. He spends way too much time referencing the talking points of Assange’s critics. Oh, people think Assange is creepy as fuck? NO WAI!!! He only mentions the effects these document releases have had upon he real world in passing. Oh Tunisians were partly motivated by Assange’s wires when they overthrew heir government Moving on… Waitwhat???? How, when, where, why?

    That’s kind of relevant to current events in Egypt, but gets no mention or follow up from Steve.

    • jimmyhl says:

      Sixty Minutes. Our motto: Parade Magazine for illiterates. I’m surprised Croft didn’t ask him about leaks from Dancing with the Stars.

    • YokoOhNo says:

      If they don’t suck the ass if their subject they won’t be able to continue the “hard hitting” pieces that have made me laugh so hard for so long!

  23. YokoOhNo says:

    He is only hurting us by forcing the banks to cover their asses…now the $59 welcome fee will be instituted for walking in the door (the 7 of you who NEVER go to a bank will be charged “accidentally” but you can get your money back by simply calling and being out on hold for 25 minutes).

    I also think of the shareholders and their value!! Won’t anyone think of the SHAREHOLDERS and their diminished value!??!?!?!

    • agpc says:

      The thing about the banks and their fees is this: we are actually depositing our money into their institutions so they can invest and give us a return. Except, savings and CD rates are pathetically low. They act like they are doing us a favor, but in reality, they could not exist without our money.

      • YokoOhNo says:

        yes! and they are able to lend 30x’s what we deposit…

        pay depositers .25% apr
        charge debtors 15% 30 times.

  24. tetsuo says:

    I watched this and I kept trying to figure out if he uses Botox. His forehead doesn’t seem to move that much. The smoothness of his forehead doesn’t seem to match his lower face.

    He seemed more normal than I expected him to be. That said, I really don’t agree with what he did and I hope they’re able to find a way to prosecute him without making real journalist vulnerable. I don’t think he’s really just a publisher…

  25. vizsladog says:

    I think this guy is a sociopath. He shows no emotion whatsoever; he rarely blinks, his voice is a monotone, and he never changes the expression on his face, and he does not move any part of his body when he speaks. He shows no remorse and offers no apology for the mistakes that put dozens of brave individuals at risk for their lives.

  26. yessongs says:

    Go for it!!!

  27. Press1forDialTone says:

    Well the bottom line is,
    We may get a vicarious thrill at his making governments squirm and
    banks squirm and religions squirm, but I think after the US government
    finishes preparing their case for his committing multiple acts of treason
    against multiple governments, he may be one squirmming.

  28. Bladerunner says:

    I’m tired of people finding fault with this guy….Secrets don’t save lives. If he’d SOLD these secrets, well that’s different, the government doesn’t know it’s out, and it remains a secret, but a dangerous one. But he didn’t do that. He said: “here’s the info I’ve got. Look at the douchebag things the government’s doing!” Anything that might have been endangered by the leak could have been protected as soon as the leak was discovered. So i would really like people to stop throwing that stupid juvenile crap around. He hasn’t killed anyone. He hasn’t committed treason, any more than the guy who let out the Pentagon Papers committed treason. The government just is pissy that they didn’t get away with 1% of their dirty secrets.

    And now he’s got something else on more banks. He did a public service. He may have botoxed and he may be a sociopath, and I don’t care either way. So long as he isn’t doing anything unethical (and if I recollect, they were trying to go after him for something awhile back that was pretty sketchy), and so long as he’s doing these public services, I say we should give him kudos.

  29. Razor512 says:

    what he should do is release the info as soon as he gets it, don’t give them time to think up ways to defend their criminal acts.

  30. Razor512 says:

    He is one of the few doing real journalism.

    also for those who say that he put people lives in danger, he did not release a lot of dangerous info.

    also if you are doing something where having word getting out about it will put your life in danger than you should not be doing it, or you may be doing something wrong.

    saying that him release information is putting lives in danger is just like having a organized crime leader saying that by arresting his subordinates, the law enforcement is putting their lives in danger as prison is a dangerous environment.

    If the banks or the government were doing things that were good for the people, wikileaks would not even have a chance to sneak a peak at the info because the government and the banks will be doing a all out shouting match of spreading the work the nanosecond after they did something good.