What Is the WikiLeaks Ideology?

Recently by Robert Wenzel: How Bad Will the Muni Bond SituationGet?

This morning I listened to the WikiLeaks press conference with bank Julius Baer whistleblower Rudolph Elmer with interest. The first news releases I heard about the then-coming leak was that Rudolph Elmer had names, including those of "approximately 40 politicians". These releases also quoted Elmer as stating that he believed privacy in banking was a good thing and that all he was out to do was expose the crimes and the secrecy of the elites.

This sounded principled and anti-establishmentarian on its face. Modern banking, based upon the fractional-reserve system, is wholesale fraud. Beyond specific issues of Swiss banking law, privacy and bank secrecy, a person claiming to be able to expose some of the scandalous elements of a system whose rampant fraud is based on secret-keeping sounded good. Forty or so politicians as collateral damage sounded even better.

Listening to the conference, however, gave me pause. I’m not sure I am on the same page as these WikiLeaks people now. Furthermore, I am beginning to wonder if they are at cross-purposes to myself and everyone else who is an advocate of the private property society.

Here is a short list of stand-out themes conveyed in the press conference that raised red flags for me:

1. Swiss banking secrecy must end (this was a point-blank, unconditional statement made by one of the various handlers during the press conference)

2. Western government public welfare systems are threatened by tax evasion enabled by bank secrecy; people ask "where is the money?" for these programs and the answer is the wealth has moved offshore to bank secrecy havens (this is a decidedly pro-welfare, statist reason for attacking bank secrecy)

3. All wealth the State has arrogated to itself via tax laws rightfully belongs to the State; bank secrecy allows Swiss banks and other 3rd party regional jurisdictions to set Western government tax rates, an unacceptable circumstance (bank secrecy has no place in open, transparent and progressive democratic systems because it allows for concentrated wealth to be passed down through families by avoiding schemes like the inheritance tax)

4. Regulators and legal authorities in the past have not been accommodative when accusations of criminal wrong-doing have been brought to them in the past, but the specific information contained in these leaks – bank Julius Baer – will be delivered to "competent legal authorities" for them to decide how to handle it, rather than made public (an obvious and inexplicable contradiction)

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2011 Economic Policy Journal