November 30, 2010

US Bank Revealed As Next Wikileaks Target

The controversial founder of Wikileaks has announced that his website's next target will be a major U.S. bank, while government officials in Ecuador have offered him a safe haven in the face of ongoing and possible future legal issues.

In an interview with Forbes magazine published on Monday, Julian Assange said that he would leak documents that could "take down a bank or two" and would focus on an existing "big US bank" sometime in early 2011. He called the information "a megaleak"¦ 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."

According to AFP reports, the interview was conducted earlier this month, prior to Assange's release of some 250,000-plus leaked American embassy cables, many of them marked secret or confidential. Among those cables were documents linking the Chinese government to an attempted hacking of Google and a request from the king of Saudi Arabia to bomb Iran in order to shut down the latter are nuclear weapons experiments.

The bank leak would "give a true and representative insight into how banks behave at the executive level in a way that will stimulate investigations and reforms," Assange said. The AFP is speculating that the bank in question could be Goldman Sachs, as they were mentioned by name during the interview, though not specifically as the target of the forthcoming leaks.

The 39-year-old Australian, who according to AFP currently faces an international arrest warrant in connection to rape and molestation charges he faced in Sweden, now also faced a criminal investigation in the U.S. following the release of the State Department cables, though no charges have yet been filed.

In the face of Assange's legal issues, Ecuador's Deputy Foreign Minister Kintto Lucas has publically invited the Wikileaks owner to come to his nation.

"We are ready to give him residence in Ecuador, with no problems and no conditions," Lucas told the website Ecuadorinmediato, according to the AFP. "We are going to invite him to come to Ecuador so he can freely present the information he possesses and all the documentation, not just over the Internet but in a variety of public forums."


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