Grandma Millie Returns
According to this interview with Assange in Forbes magazine, Wikileaks will soon be releasing a trove of documents relating to a major US bank:
Assange: 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.
Is it a U.S. bank?
Yes, it’s a U.S. bank.
One that still exists?
Yes, a big U.S. bank.
The biggest U.S. bank?
When will it happen?
Early next year. I won’t say more.
What do you want to be the result of this release?
[Pauses] I’m not sure.
It will give a true and representative insight into how banks behave at the executive level in a way that will stimulate investigations and reforms, I presume.
Usually when you get leaks at this level, it’s about one particular case or one particular violation. For this, there’s only one similar example. It’s like the Enron emails. Why were these so valuable? When Enron collapsed, through court processes, thousands and thousands of emails came out that were internal, and it provided a window into how the whole company was managed. It was all the little decisions that supported the flagrant violations.
This will be like that. Yes, there will be some flagrant violations, unethical practices that will be revealed, but it will also be all the supporting decision-making structures and the internal executive ethos that cames out, and that’s tremendously valuable. Like the Iraq War Logs, yes there were mass casualty incidents that were very newsworthy, but the great value is seeing the full spectrum of the war.
You could call it the ecosystem of corruption. 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. The way they talk about it.
Well, if it's anything like Enron, it will sound something like this:
This is Bob Badeer (a trader at Enron's West Power desk in Portland, CA, where all these tapes were recorded) and Kevin McGowan (in Enron's central office in Houston, TX, as he mentions in the transcript):
KEVIN: So the rumor’s true? They’re fuckin’ takin’ all the money back from you guys? All those money you guys stole from those poor grandmothers in California?
BOB: Yeah, grandma Millie, man. But she’s the one who couldn’t figure out how to fuckin’ vote on the butterfly ballot.
KEVIN: Yeah, now she wants her fuckin’ money back for all the power you’ve charged right up – jammed right up her ass for fuckin’ 250 dollars a megawatt hour.
BOB: You know – you know – you know, grandma Millie, she’s the one that Al Gore’s fightin’ for, you know? You’re not going to –
KEVIN: They’re so fucked and they’re so, like totally ...
BOB: They are so fucked.
Remember, they arrested Enron's big shots Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling, but it didn't mean a thing to the Big Money Boyz. They carried on without losing a step. Its something to think about.