News & Analysis
WikiLeaks to Take on Private Sector?
WikiLeaks plans to release thousands of internal documents from a major U.S. bank in early 2011, Forbes magazine reported on Monday. Julian Assange, the founder of the self-proclaimed whistleblower website, told Forbes: "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." He compared the planned release to emails unveiled after the collapse of energy giant Enron Corp. ... "You could call it the ecosystem of corruption," Assange told Forbes during an interview in London, but refused to provide details about the bank. "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." Forbes, which described Assange as a moral ideologue, a champion of openness and a control freak, said he pondered on a "cute name" for these "big-package releases," finally settling for "megaleaks." "These megaleaks ... they're an important phenomenon. And they're only going to increase," he claimed. – TheHindu.Com
Dominant Social Theme: The banks are the problem. Re-regulate private industry and do it fast.
Free-Market Analysis: We really want to give Julian Assange the benefit of the doubt. We want him to be heroic, someone who is singlehandedly turning around the authoritarian trend that is sweeping the world. We believe he could be the courageous man he seems to be. But here at the Bell, we are professional meme watchers, and we can't help but be contrarian.
So ... as much as we want to believe that Julian Assange is a freedom's avenger, we continue to be nagged by alternative scenarios. Now we read (see excerpt above) that Assange will soon release documents from a major US bank. We think we know what this could mean. The private sector (what's left of it) in the US could come in for the "WikiLeaks treatment."
Could it be the Federal Reserve itself? (That would be preferable.) But strictly speaking the Fed is not a bank, but a central bank, and thus not entirely part of the "private sector." That leaves a very large bank like Citibank or Bank of America. Here's one scenario that was recently suggested to us. It's very far-fetched, and we pass it on in part as an illustration of the kind of paranoia that Assange is now inspiring even amongst the constituency that should provide the bulk of his support.
Do we believe it is at all a possibility? Well, let's just say we continue to have doubts about Assange. We hope we're wrong; yes, again, we would like to admire Julian Assange without reserve; we hope he is what he seems to be. Anyway, here's the (admittedly fanciful and simplified) scenario. It's been exaggerated (and the timeline condensed) to make a point ...
WikiLeaks releases documents from a bank (a very big commercial bank) showing that many abuses have taken place on purpose; mortgage-holders, for instance, have been abused purposefully. The documents are quite clear. Any one of a number of laws has been broken and people, hundreds of thousands, have lost their homes illegally. From an unknown location, Assange gives interviews explaining the immorality of the banking sector generally – and explaining how the banking sector cooperated with Wall Street to ruin Americans' hopes and dreams. When asked about his thoughts regarding a solution, he blurts out: "Oversight. These people simply cannot be trusted to monitor themselves. The whole financial sector – it's all about self-interest and greed. These people are pigs."
Now the ball is rolling. The US Congress, whipped up by the media, is soon in full cry; Assange's damaging military and diplomatic leaks are seemingly forgotten. He is no longer seen by the political establishment as an enemy now that he is attacking the (quasi) private sector. Barack Obama himself mentions Assange's perspective and calls for renewed hearings on financial reform. "This young man, Julian Assange," he says in his measured way, "has the courage of his convictions. He was a formidable adversary when he was leaking the nation's secrets, but we're glad to have him on our side now. It was fortunate we didn't find him, or arrest him. Welcome home, Julian."
Even though Congress is actively hostile to more regulation, House Speaker John Boehner gets behind the idea. Wiping his eyes, his voice hoarse, he speaks to the media movingly of the free-market system that has made America great, but also of the many displaced families that have been damaged by banks and banking. He quotes Assange, saying, "We thought we finished financial regulation last year. But as Julian has shown us, it's an ecosystem of corruption. The American people want us to cooperate here in Congress. They want us to solve problems, not make them."
Hearings begin and bank executives, large and small, are called in from all over the country. Some bankers weep in public. Meanwhile, the WikiLeaks megaleak continues to receive coverage nearly 24/7. The cable TV programs cover it and the newspapers as well – for weeks. (Drip, drip, drip.) Several top bankers try to commit suicide. A whistleblower steps forward to confirm much of what Assange has released. "It's worse than you can imagine," she says. "The banking sector is nothing but a culture of corruption, especially the smaller banks."
Gradually, a new American consensus emerges. (The mainstream media reports this firmly.) "Look Barney Frank did a pretty good job in 2010," Boehner admits, with Nancy Pelosi (pictured above left) standing at his side in a power red suit. The two are holding hands in a show of solidarity. Boehner adds, "What we've seen and heard in the past two months – and what has been revealed by WikiLeaks – makes it clear that more regulation of the private sector is needed."
Nancy Pelosi steps forward and makes a brief statement as well. "What we've done now, thanks especially to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, is agree to the most expansive set of regulations ever drawn up by Congress. The US is leading the way into the future for the entire Western world." She will not say much more. She turns to walk away and then adds, "No, we can't tell you what's in the bill. We'll have to wait until it's passed, and then you'll know."
See what the ramifications might be – if WikiLeaks turns on what is left of America's private sector? Assange is one of the most famous people in the world right now; despite backlash, he likely has enormous credibility because he is seen as standing up to the powers-that-be. (He is becoming a phenomenon, in fact, like the Beatles or Lady Gaga.)
Certainly, America does not need more regulation in our view. Regulation centralizes marketplaces. The last thing the US needs is more centralization. Wall Street's biggest scam is not "banks" or "short-selling" or "front-running" or "insider trading." Wall Street's biggest (secret) scam is order flow. The aggregation of securities in one place.
The aggregation of securities actually began after the Civil War when the NYSE went on a buying binge and consolidated most New York stock exchanges under one roof. In fact, pre-Civil war, there were dozens and dozens of stock exchanges around the country. This made sense because most industry was local or regional and so were the (often illiquid) private securities (there was no such thing as a public security then, which is a made-up, regulatory status.)
Stock trading in the 1800s was a way of buying and selling shares. It was a simple, auction style system (developed in France, long ago), maybe once or twice a day (or even once or twice a week). But with the aggregation of order flow in the late 1800s, due to the NYSE's hyperactive consolidation of trading marts, what was a way of disposing shares became, more and more, a kind of casino. Once share-trading was centralized, (and trading became continuous) all sorts of market manipulation sprang up because the rewards were monumental. The phrase "robber barons" was born and great swathes of railroad stock were turned into speculative fodder. In fact, it was said that railroads were being built for the paper rather than any industrial need. It was the dawn of the Age of Order Flow; a systemic manipulation based on America's new post-Civil War authoritarianism. Centralization, deliberately introduced, created the corruption.
In 1929, due to Federal Reserve manipulation of currency and the massively leveraged and consolidated trading mart, the NYSE/Dow crashed. In the 1930s, under Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Congress created the SEC, the NASD and the concept of public shares. The public was assured these moves would protect the stock market from further manipulation. They did not. Regulation further centralized order flow, making the NYSE, especially, a tempting target for yet more manipulation. When stock trading bounced back in the 1950s and 1960s, centralized order flow turned small Wall Street houses into the most dominant aggregate industry in the country.
The Anglosphere – the Western power elite – likely expected that the crash of 2008 would allow for yet more hyper-regulation and more aggregation of order flow, leading to a single centralized world market. But the truth-telling of the Internet has made it difficult for power elite plans to proceed with the same efficacy as in the 1930s. People don't believe in regulation, in our view, with quite the same feverishness.
This is a problem for money power that depends on regulation to increase the opportunities for mercantilism. Hypothetically, someone like Assange is the answer. Let Assange begin to attack the private sector (or what passes for the private sector, especially in the US) with vigor, and more regulation may soon be justified. He is growing in power as he is growing in notoriety. Assange has characterized himself in interviews as "neither left nor right" and suggested that "what matters first and foremost is getting the information out." Here he is in an interview with the website IRC:
"First the facts, ma'am," is how he summarises his philosophy to me. "Then we'll get down to what we want to do about it. You can't do anything sensible until you know what the situation is that you're in." But while he rejects political labels, he says WikiLeaks does have its own ethical code. "We have values. I am an information activist. You get the information out to the people. We believe a richer intellectual and historical record that is fuller and more accurate is in itself intrinsically good, and gives people the tools to make intelligent decisions."
Let us return to our forecasting ... Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner have become the odd couple of Washington DC, forging a "tremendous partnership" (in the words of the Washington Post) that has led to truly monumental legislation. Facing the photographers snapping away, Minority Leader Pelosi says quietly but with a big smile, "This is truly a historic occasion. People have been so outraged by the documents that Julian Assange leaked that we have been able to negotiate a bill to establish a Department of Underwriting and Securities Trading (DUST). Henceforth, I'm pleased to announce, all trading of securities will be run through Washington DC. Barney Frank and myself will run the Mutual Fund subsidiary.
"The SEC will provide integrated policing, as well, under John Boehner's direction. For the first time, regulation is actually integrated into the active trading process. Hedge funds that want to participate in American markets will also have to send their orders through DUST. This has all been done with the active input and approval of Wall Street itself, which will now function as the financial arm of the SEC. We have no doubt that once these changes are implemented, the greed and corruption that has characterized so much of Wall Street will be a thing of the past."
Shouting. Confusion. "What about the Federal Reserve, Madame Minority Leader?" one media maven cries out. Pelosi looks puzzled. "What about the Fed? As Julian has shown us, the problems lie with the greed and corruption of the private sector. These banks have simply grown too large. They are predators. The Fed is a quasi-governmental body and almost by definition it cannot be corrupt, given the oversight that Congress provides. But if you must know, our bill does authorize the Fed to have more extensive oversight over US banking ...
Conclusion: "In fact, we are with the Chinese here. The Fed is basically taking the banking industry under its wing and henceforth all commercial banking decisions will have to be approved from the top down. Ben Bernanke himself, through a complex software facility will be able to review virtually all the nation's private loans and mortgages on a day-to-day basis. This kind of public-private partnership will surely stamp out corruption, and just as importantly, it is what the American people want. And you know ... we couldn't have done it without Julian Assange and WikiLeaks!"
Edited on date of publication
Posted by Peacenik on 12/01/10 09:01 PM
Another thought ... Hillary Clinton has been attacked and even asked to resign , because she suposedly authorized gathering credit card info and fequent flier info and etc. on foreign diplomats . Now , Who would be Obama's major challenger for the 2012 nomination ??! But , Barack needs to realize that the Clintons play for keeps , in the biblical sense .
Posted by Peacenik on 12/01/10 08:48 PM
Well , I saw a top brass on Fox T.V. who wrote , I believe , a book called " Endless War " or something like that , say ... Obama could stop Assange and Wikileaks if he wanted to .
SOooo , one has to ask why doesn't he ?? Watching the Fox T.V. talking heads , the info leaked isn't anything that anybody didn't already know . Does it hurt the U.S.? Yeah well , not so much . But , alot of Iran bashing was done , and alot of sabre rattling regarding a war against Iran . Interestingly , the lame stream media today are playing up " the damage done to diplomatic efforts " by Wikileaks .
Maybe they realize they have to get us to believe that it wasn't another inside job . Personally , I think the " mystery Bank " to be named will be BOA . It is a bloated corpse anyway , bound to fail . So , offer it up on a platter to the public and use it to bring about more regulation !! Your analysis is brilliant Dail Bell !!
Reply from The Daily Bell
Posted by Adrian W. on 12/01/10 07:04 PM
... "This has been a message of the gov. propaganda emergency message center. We now return you to your TV program, which is in progress. Enjoy, the New Jersey Girls Reality Who's Got Talent Program."... Are we off the air?... Good, well that oughtta hold the little bastards."...
Posted by Lila Rajiva on 12/01/10 01:35 PM
Ah. Now, you're getting it.
It's all about cannibalism...big guys eating little guys, via exposure, regulation, transparency...all of which the little guys and the masses will ASK for. No doubt "end the Fed" is/will become that kind of con game too...
No more proof is needed. This is the MO..
Posted by Andrew on 12/01/10 12:34 PM
Just announced this morning that Interpol has issued an arrest warrant for the head of Wiki Leak alleging a rape accusation. Maybe true and maybe false. Timing is funny.
Perhaps they are going to arrest him and then let him go because they could not prosecute him to create a sense that he is not a secret agent of the elites? If he does go away then maybe Wiki won't run the leaks on the big bank and the globalist can't use it as a reason for more regulation.
Not everything is a conspiracy.
Posted by AmanfromMars on 12/01/10 11:44 AM
Regarding emails ...... is there a better instant global postal service than the Daily Bell.
Delivered in a Flash with Sight Receipt for Everyone to See, Read and Further Deliver. Then can No One Plead Ignorance of Information and Intelligence Shared and MetaDataBase Stored for Prime Production Processing and Streaming.
If you have something Hot to Say, Say it to the World and immediately the right channels kick into action with great communications....... and the most awesome of temptations to guarantee phenomenal success.
Reply from The Daily Bell
Posted by Radek on 12/01/10 11:41 AM
It is me again. I am still giving Wikileaks a lot of benefit of the doubt and faith, but there will be one thing that will make me suspicious. I repeat, even if they have a hidden agenda telling truth is never wrong.
If WikiLeaks releases information about Bank of America (BoA) and as the result this bank goes bust then it would seem like a hit piece by Wikileaks.
BoA and its CEO was/is? in legal battles with FED, some sparks/issues with Goldman Sachs. When I saw those big fishes fighting against each other it looked like BoA is next Lehman Brothers. Is BoA a next shark which is destined to be executed and WikiLeaks shoots the first salvo so other big guys can make money from its execution/death?
If Wikileaks attacks BoA then it will be very convient for the remaining banksters/elite.
Posted by Finn on 12/01/10 11:39 AM
"American citizens mostly have no idea what they are doing"
That's not true. Americans know what they're doing and EXACTLY what they want...
Proof.... Click to view link
Posted by Huh on 12/01/10 09:33 AM
Hey DB, I think I found out where the intergenerational PE reside ...
Click to view link
It kind of gives away the game by drawing a line between the government and the state.
Reply from The Daily Bell
Yes, sophisticated analysis ...
"To get at the value of WikiLeaks, I think it's important to distinguish between the government-the temporary, elected authors of national policy-and the state-the permanent bureaucratic and military apparatus superficially but not fully controlled by the reigning government. The careerists scattered about the world in America's intelligence agencies, military, and consular offices largely operate behind a veil of secrecy executing policy which is itself largely secret. American citizens mostly have no idea what they are doing, or whether what they are doing is working out well. The actually-existing structure and strategy of the American empire remains a near-total mystery to those who foot the bill and whose children fight its wars. And that is the way the elite of America's unelected permanent state, perhaps the most powerful class of people on Earth, like it. [. . .]"
Posted by RF on 12/01/10 09:03 AM
Judging by the last 30 or so feedbacks on Wikileaks ,perhaps DB should inquire about hiring Howard Stern,it might add a little sensibility to the revelations.
Posted by Giustino on 12/01/10 08:08 AM
"Propaganda is 5% of what you want to convey camouflaged by 95% verifiable truth."
(Timur the Lame on previous thread)
The 5% of disinformation contained in the "leaks" seem to be reaching its target.
At each information "release", term used by PressTV to indicate that information is not really "leaked", Iran is forced to react. Iran, this time, said that this information was meant to "damaging Tehran's ties with neighboring states".
The previous WikiLeaks revelations, in its 5% of disinformation, cleverly distilled together with a spectacular helicopter civilian-killing spree video from Iraq, also forced the Iranian government to react against its alleged anti-American activities in Afghanistan.
The timing is also interesting: one day after Adm. Mike Mullen issued a statement about considering military options against Iran's nuclear weapons program, and the day an Iranian nuclear scientist is assassinated in Tehran. WikiLeaks now comes to confirm that Arab neighbours feel threatened by Iran's nuclear weapons program and want US intervention.
The subliminal message is flashing neat and clear: Iran nuclear weapons program is really dangerous, killing it nuclear scientists is devoutly to be wished and a US military strike is therefore necessary and most welcome.
As many already mentioned before, these WikiLeaks curiously contain nothing Israel has really to bother about. If you take a look at the front page of Haaretz, you feel right away the intense jubilation:
"Haaretz Editorial: WikiLeaks revelations are neither shocking nor terrible "
"WikiLeaks cables: You can't blame Israel for mistrusting Arabs, says Qatari ruler"
"WikiLeaks expose makes it clear: Everybody hates Iran"
On the other hand, if you check the front page of Harriyet, you'll see the turmoil created.
"Turkish PM's missile defense pierced by WikiLeaks"
"Turkish opposition wants full explanation of leaks' content"
"Turkish president questions WikiLeaks' motivation"
Erdogan also had to come up with a statement against WikiLeaks.
A qui profite le crime?
Obviously to a country most obsessed with Iran's nuclear program and annoyed with Turkey.
Is therefore WikiLeaks a PE promotion? Se non vero, ben trovato.
Posted by John Blenkins on 12/01/10 04:13 AM
Don't know why link not working. This is from the Daily telegraph. Cancun climate change summit: Scientist call for rationing in developed world. Type this into the Telegraph and all will become murky.
Posted by Luis on 12/01/10 03:51 AM
believe me it was worse
DB was alert at this time of night
a comforting thought
I want to both thank them and congratulate them
and ask them to write to me, privately
Posted by John Blenkins on 12/01/10 03:50 AM
DB totally off topic but i know the elves will love this.
Click to view link
Posted by Zenbillionaire on 12/01/10 03:37 AM
"Please send me an email and explain it to me. "
Now here comes the ironic part. You did post a link to your email address and I did see the link, but I reloaded this page before reading your reply, and between those two times, the elves made you email address disappear, giving lie to my facetious claim that *anyone* who wanted your address already had it, since I don't!
Perhaps I might have said anyone of import who wanted your address already has it; I clearly don't qualify.
In general I always assume my address is available to those of means whether I like it or not. For that reason I do my best to behave as if everyone knew where to find me if they wanted. My feeling is that if you live a good life you have nothing to fear from publicity.
However I do hate SPAM, so I won't be publishing my address here :) Good luck on the SPAM.
Posted by Vauung on 12/01/10 03:30 AM
"The history of the world in the past 100 years in the history of the Anglosphere. To try to deny it is foolish. ..."
It would be fascinating to find out what the elves think of Walter Russell Mead's work, especially his epic God and Gold
Click to view link
This book seems highly relevant to their thinking, since its topic is the rise and maintenance of Anglo-American power, as well as the resistance it engenders. It discusses the intersection between economic and religious ideas, through the attribution of a principal "Golden meme" -- that of spontaneous order. Last, but perhaps not least, Mead is Henry A. Kissinger senior fellow for US foreign policy at the Council on Foreign
Relations, which places him squarely in the belly of the beast as far as anti-Illuminism and associated conspiracy theory is concerned.
There's a good concise summary here:
Click to view link
and in the surrounding posts.
Posted by John Blenkins on 12/01/10 03:26 AM
Yesterday i posted a view from Iran today Pakistan.
Click to view link
Posted by Luis on 12/01/10 03:16 AM
dear friend, thanks for your kind words:
"Calm down my friend. Anyone who wanted your email address already has it."
I am totally naive or something, I did not know that was the case. Please send me an email and explain it to me. I know it's really late. I can wait.
Posted by Lila Rajiva on 12/01/10 03:01 AM
Taibbi is not an "equal opportunity offender" " that is the spin.
Catch him saying what he said about Judaism or a rabbi, synagogue or a male in those terms? Would he talk about a gay guy in the terms he talked about Malkin?
No. That's very obviously just buttering up the powers that be and proving he's a trusty worthy hitman for them and will stick to the story line.
They trot guys like that out for some of the dirty work.
Posted by Zenbillionaire on 12/01/10 03:00 AM
" I just say no need to apologize for stating what is clearly true."
And I, for one, thank you for doing so.