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In an interview with CBS's "60 Minutes", Wikileaks founder Julian Assange said he loved watching banks "squirm" about rumors of his latest upcoming leak.  (Source: CBS)

Questions about Mr. Assange's motives (he has called himself an anarchist in the past) went unasked, as did the question of whether Wikileaks might be profiting off the stock shifts its leaks cause.  (Source: CBS)
Assange claims U.S. is utterly incapable of removing his site from the web

In an interview [video] with the CBS show 60 Minutes, the founder-and-chief of the controversial secrets site Wikileaks discusses the recent backlash against his site, following the release of U.S. Military and State Department secrets.  He states, "The U.S. does not have the technology to take the site down . ... Just the way our technology is constructed, the way the Internet is constructed."

He adds, "We've had attacks on particular domain names. Little pieces of infrastructure knocked out. But we now have some 2,000 fully independent in every way websites, where we're publishing around the world. It is -- I mean, it's not possible to do."

Assange is referring to the fact that his site lost its central domain name, most of its official hosting, and its donations accounts.  Volunteers, who host mirrors of the webpage, now sustain the site.  Attempting to access Wikileaks or searching for it in Google results in visitors being redirected to one of these mirrored sites.

While the issue of what Wikileaks has done is hot in the minds of many, much of the 60 Minutes interview focuses on the site's threats that it will release damning information implicating a major U.S. bank in wrongdoing.

In an October 2009 interview with the International Data Group's publication ComputerWorld, Mr. Assange claimed to possess a hard drive with a wealth of information from the Bank of America.  

In an interview with top business periodical Forbes, which took place in late November, Wikileaks' Assange claimed to be preparing a "megaleak", which would likely lead to a major U.S. financial institution (presumably Bank of America) being investigated and potentially charged by international authorities.

During the 60 Minutes special, interest was high on the topic, but the interviewer's attempt to extract more info from Mr. Assange was largely rebuffed.  He states, "I won't make any comment in relation to that upcoming publication."

But he did express that he gains pleasure from the ill effects on the financial world his news is causing.  He states, "I think it's great. We have all these banks squirming, thinking maybe it's them."

The interview did not touch on a significant point in that regard -- the question of whether any Wikileaks members -- including Mr. Assange -- had profited off the stock shifts triggered by the organization's new releases.

Some have suggested that Mr. Assange and Wikileaks may be using its new releases to profit on the stock market.  Using certain mechanisms the site could selectively release news, dropping a commercial entity's stock price, making money off the drop.  Indeed, the Bank of America's share price dropped 3 percent in late 2010 on speculation that it was in Wikileaks crosshairs.  The actual release could drop stock further.  It would be relatively easy for someone affiliated with the site or its members to exploit the financial repercussions of the site's actions.

Wikileaks is a relatively loosely organized and regulated operation, with less than a dozen full time staff members, by almost all accounts.  The site publishes no details of its operating procedures or finances.

Unfortunately, that question, like many others (Mr. Assange's self-labeling as an "anarchist" in the 1990s) went unasked in the 60 Minutes interview.

Update: Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011:

Some seemed to imply that we were making up allegations that Wikileaks was manipulating the stock market to profit itself or its financiers.  This is absolutely not the case.  Those capable of a quick Google search should be able to find a number of stories on this topic, such as:
"Wikileaks is harmful now, but could become even more destructive" -- Kansas City Star

Which writes:

Shares in Bank of America dropped 3 percent Tuesday. Although they recovered Wednesday, banking analyst Dick Bove said on CNBC that this may represent a new means of stock-market manipulation, by which the unknown funders of Wikileaks could profit by cratering shares in targeted companies.

Also some challenged whether Assange was ever really an anarchist.  Well he said he was, at least at one time, back in the 90s.  In the book Underground: Tales of Hacking, Madness and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier by Suelette Dreyfus, which Mr. Assange edited, researched, and contributed text to, an autobiographical passage by Assange describes:

As he quietly backed out of the system, wiping away his footprints as he tip-toed away, Mendax [Assange] thought about what he had seen. He was deeply disturbed that any hacker would work for the US military.

Hackers, he thought, should be anarchists, not hawks. 

He may well have changed his views since his teenage years in Australia in the 1980s, but it is well documented that at least at one time he expressed anarchistic views.


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RE: Anyone else notice something odd...
By JasonMick (blog) on 2/1/2011 9:35:22 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
It's not the case anymore, after you deleted the comments. I guess you're "pro censorship" eh?


I'm sorry you are offended.

Most news websites would moderate comments, in which people call someone a pedophile or use other offensive language.

The comment was removed due to the offensive language.

This is a private business, so that was within our rights.

And yes, any major news site will "censor" comments with offensive language. Otherwise, good luck getting advertisers or a large readership. Most people don't appreciate reading a load of offensive garbage.

That said, the comment's arguments are now a moot point given that I saved the op the time of doing a Google search and they now at least have (one) source of this info. My point in the article was that accusations of Wikileaks manipulating stocks have been made on major news networks. And I was right.

Now if you want to start a thread questioning the validity of these claims made by other news outlets, feel free.


RE: Anyone else notice something odd...
By SSDMaster on 2/1/2011 10:32:19 AM , Rating: 1
I don't think you can apologize to someone and then try justify your actions. Your not sorry, and I'm not offended.

You criticize every word from Julian Assange, but in this "open" forum you destroy the negative comments regarding your own critic. Justify it away, but it is what it is.


RE: Anyone else notice something odd...
By JasonMick (blog) on 2/1/2011 1:00:01 PM , Rating: 3
I removed a single comment making offensive remarks about me.

As for what you consider its "criticism", the comment also claimed that I invented the accusation that Wikileaks might be engaging in stock manipulation.

That claim was shown to be patently false (see update).

The comment I removed was NOT criticism, it was misinformation and an obscene personal attack, plain and simple.

I'm not criticizing Assange at all, I'm just laying out the facts for readers to make up their own opinions.

I'm sorry if you don't like the facts, but I can't help you in that department.


By ClownPuncher on 2/1/2011 2:51:28 PM , Rating: 2
You have to admit, even if it was ridiculous, it WAS funny.


By SSDMaster on 2/1/2011 4:58:56 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The comment I removed was NOT criticism, it was misinformation and an obscene personal attack, plain and simple.


If you say so, I can't really reference it at this point, and I don't have a photographic memory.

quote:
I'm not criticizing Assange at all, I'm just laying out the facts for readers to make up their own opinions.


You honestly believe you do not hold a bias opinion towards Julian? You've even stated that you believe some information needs to be kept from the public. Obviously that conflicts with Julian's whole "mission". This is your blog and I recognize your going to voice your own opinions, but to state that your simply voicing facts and "it seems" you believe to be doing so without bias. That's just silly.. I'm not sure anyone who reads these articles about Julian could say they honestly agree with you.


By michael67 on 2/2/2011 10:57:15 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
I'm not criticizing Assange at all, I'm just laying out the facts for readers to make up their own opinions.

Are you really saying you are not criticizing Assange? 0_o

Every article you posted here on DT had at least a mild negative undertone, up to some of them ware you almost could rub shoulders whit some of the necon nuts of FOXnews.

I am not going to say here that Assange deserves the Nobel peace prize, and I do have problems whit the way he do some of the tings he dose, as i am not a big fan of full disclosure to the public the way he done it, but overall I think till now, most consequentses have bin more positive then negative.

quote:
But he did express that he gains pleasure from the ill effects on the financial world his news is causing. He states, "I think it's great. We have all these banks squirming, thinking maybe it's them."

You always accuse the creationist of cherry picking and quote digging, but apparently your not bad at it your self to :-(

As you did not put that sentence in to context of the rest what he was saying!
quote:
When you see abusive organizations suffer the consequences of there abuse, and you see victims elevated, then yes that is a very pleasure activity to be involved in

Sound suddenly totally different dose it not?

quote:
had profited off the stock shifts triggered by the organization's new releases.

Man if this is not a classic case of FUD i don't know what is, and you just copied it. (that's just sad)

quote:
Mr. Assange's self-labeling as an "anarchist" in the 1990s

Seriously A 18 year old boy said it would be better to be a anarchist then a hawk.
Keep repeating that in every article as maybe some people have missed it on FOX ore even don't watch FOX, tho I have to give you credit by saying that he sad it in the 90s.
That would mean if some one dose drugs when he/she is 18 he/she is still a junky 20 years later.


By YashBudini on 2/5/2011 12:51:06 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
I removed a single comment making offensive remarks about me.


Gag, cough, spit. OMG, now that's irony.

I suppose there's a first for everything.


RE: Anyone else notice something odd...
By Parhel on 2/1/2011 10:44:01 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Most news websites would moderate comments, in which people call someone a pedophile or use other offensive language.


It wasn't that long ago that you guys allowed this site to be used by a pedophile. Christopher1 or something like that? I forget, but every comment he made was either a justification of pedophilia or a thinly veiled attempt to troll for children. He was called out by the community on many occassions, but never moderated.


By SSDMaster on 2/1/2011 11:05:18 AM , Rating: 1
He must not have disagreed with the viewpoints of the article.


By JasonMick (blog) on 2/1/2011 1:07:45 PM , Rating: 2
I do recall that and I believe his comments were very borderline. I wasn't an editor at the time, I believe, but I believed our editorial staff WAS monitoring that situation to make sure it didn't escalate. We do reserve the right to remove obscene comments and or obscenities.

Now, this was a bit of a different situation, because it was not someone expressing their OWN personal inappropriate views, it was someone attacking one of our DT community (myself) with obscenities and accusations of illegality. That is utterly inappropriate. If someone typed something like that about you or SSDMaster and I saw it, I would most certainly moderate that comment as well. That kind of talk has no place on this site.

From our site's FAQ:
quote:
How do I get banned from DailyTech?
Occasionally we will completely ban a user or IP block from DailyTech. You can assure yourself a ban by:
* Harassing other users or employees
* Excessive use of derogatory language


I could have banned the user involved, but I'd prefer to think that they were just struck by a juvenile outburst, so I simply moderated a comment.

If you walk into a restaurant and start loudly swearing and disrupting the customers or harassing the employees you may be asked to leave. This is no different.


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