Corporate Spying: Wikileaks threatened to expose big banks

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Salon.com’s Glenn Greenwald talks about the alleged plan to discredit journalists who report on Wikileaks to keep big banks alive.

>>> here’s what the people in power have no interest in — all of you finding out what they’re up to. so they hate anytime there’s a journalist or a whistleblower who reports on them. yesterday we told you about ” rolling stone” revealing a program by lieutenant general caldwell to brainwash u.s. congressmen and senators who were visiting afghanistan. today general david petraeus says the military will investigate the allegations. but today’s papers were already chalked full of anonymous pentagon sources questioning the whistleblower, lieutenant colonel holmes. to which i say of course, that’s what they always do. but this isn’t just about the pentagon. t this was a push by the.

>> bobama administration in punishing whistleblowers who it’s not just our governments. it’s powerful corporations as well. in november, it was leaked that wikileaks might have information on bank of america. this month we learned that the bank’s law firm solicited proposals from private security firms to sabotage and discredit critics. now, those proposals were leaked to the web by a group of hackers. one idea was submit false information to wikileaks in hopes of damaging the site’s credibility. another important idea was threaten the careers of wikileaks supporters or important journalist s covering the story. one was “salon’s” glenn greenwald. if he could be intimidated, the gresz wou rest of the press would go along. without the support of people like glenn, wikileaks will fold. they get it. if you can discredit those covering them, then you can suppress damaging evidence and go on doing what illicit activity you’re engaged in. you’re not intimidated are you?

>> well, no, but they should be taken seriously given those involved. they do millions of sdldollars of work for the pentagon, intelligence agencies, large corporations. and you have a large law firm, one of the most connected in washington, d.c. that was recommended to bank of america by the justice department. and then these proposals are being developed on behalf of two of the most powerful entities in the country, the bank and the chamber of commerce. when you put all those forces together, it would be foolish not to take it seriously, especially since this seems to be a common sort of thing that happens in this world.

>> glenn, what was their plan? how were they going to go after you? how were they going to go after other journalists?

>> a lot do work for large media ? outlets and incorporations that can be threatened and bullied and intimidated in all sorts of ways. people who have tried to be more independent such as myself, i think it would be a lot more difficult. but when you’re talking about using government agencies an using people whop investigate on the internet and they’re talking about things like finding out what people’s family members do on the internet, where they go, what they do. gathering information about people is something that a lot of resourceful firms and certainly the government is able to do in order to intimidate or threaten or deter people from engaging in advocacy.

>> how common is this? obviously you see it in a case of corporate america. bank of america says they’re not involved, right? it’s their law firm. the law firm it hired these security people. but abundance it gets to the press it’s like what? it’s the law firm. it’s not just the banks and the corporations. it’s also the government. you say that obama has been tougher on whistleblowers than bush. really? is that true?

>> it’s actually “the new york times” in a news article, not even an op-ed, that documented, as aggressive as the bush administration was, the obama administration has been infinitely more aggressive in punishing whistleblowers. what makes it so remarkable is that candidate obama when he was running for office lavished praise on whistleblowers saying we need to encourage rather than silence whistleblowers. but president obama seems like the enemy of canada because the justice department has been unleashed to punish and prosecute a whole slew of whistle blowers in ways we ought to be grateful for.

>> don rumsfeld said we got him to do all the things they wanted to do in the war on terror. what do you think happened between canada obama and president obam that?

>> this consortium of corporate and governor power. ? there’s a permanent power faction that has nothing to do with elections. dwight eisenhower warned 55 years ago of the military industrial complex. last year, “the washington post” talked about top secret america, these corporate factions so unaccountable that nobody even knows what nay ear doing. this is really the powerful faction that runs washington. even if he wanted to, it would be difficult to come in and challenge that. what they care most about is being able to operate behind a wall of secrecy. that’s who the president is protecting.

>> we see it everywhere and you see it in the pentagon, too. how do we get beyond such institutional power?

>> you do have instances like michael hastings who reported on what general mcchrystal really was, what the military is doing in afghanistan. and that’s why you see this group of government officials anonymously and media figures attacking him and trying to smear his reputation. the for few entities trying to bring transparency to what’s going on, end up being assaulted. that’s what these plans were in the plans that just got released.

>> that’s a cue for people. the minute something damaging comes out about people in power, oh, they attack the source. they must have done something wrong. whether it’s a sex crime in assange’s case that happens to come out at

About William Brighenti

William Brighenti is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and Certified Business Valuation Analyst. Bill began his career in public accounting in 1979. Since then he has worked at various public accounting firms throughout Connecticut. Bill received a Master of Science in Professional Accounting degree from the University of Hartford, after attending the University of Connecticut and Central Connecticut State University for his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees. He subsequently attended Purdue University for doctoral studies in Accounting and Quantitative Methods in Business. Bill has instructed graduate and undergraduate courses in Accounting, Auditing, and other subjects at the University of Hartford, Central Connecticut State University, Hartford State Technical College, and Purdue University. He also taught GMAT and CPA Exam Review Classes at the Stanley H. Kaplan Educational Center and at Person-Wolinsky, and is certified to teach trade-related subjects at Connecticut Vocational Technical Schools. His articles on tax and accounting have been published in several professional journals throughout the country as well as on several accounting websites. William was born and raised in New Britain, Connecticut, and served on the City's Board of Finance and Taxation as well as its City Plan Commission. In addition to the blog, Accounting and Taxes Simplified, Bill writes a blog, "The Barefoot Accountant", for the Accounting Web, a Sift Media publication.
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