Media / Whistleblowers

Corporate Media Gatekeepers Protect Western 1% From Panama Leak

Source: Craig Murray

panama_papersWhoever leaked the Mossack Fonseca papers appears motivated by a genuine desire to expose the system that enables the ultra wealthy to hide their massive stashes, often corruptly obtained and all involved in tax avoidance. These Panamanian lawyers hide the wealth of a significant proportion of the 1%, and the massive leak of their documents ought to be a wonderful thing.

Unfortunately the leaker has made the dreadful mistake of turning to the western corporate media to publicise the results. In consequence the first major story, published today by the Guardian, is all about Vladimir Putin and a cellist on the fiddle. As it happens I believe the story and have no doubt Putin is bent.

But why focus on Russia? Russian wealth is only a tiny minority of the money hidden away with the aid of Mossack Fonseca. In fact, it soon becomes obvious that the selective reporting is going to stink.

The Suddeutsche Zeitung, which received the leak, gives a detailed explanation of the methodology the corporate media used to search the files. The main search they have done is for names associated with breaking UN sanctions regimes. The Guardian reports this too and helpfully lists those countries as Zimbabwe, North Korea, Russia and Syria. The filtering of this Mossack Fonseca information by the corporate media follows a direct western governmental agenda. There is no mention at all of use of Mossack Fonseca by massive western corporations or western billionaires – the main customers. And the Guardian is quick to reassure that “much of the leaked material will remain private.”

What do you expect? The leak is being managed by the grandly but laughably named “International Consortium of Investigative Journalists”, which is funded and organised entirely by the USA’s Center for Public Integrity. Their funders include

Ford Foundation
Carnegie Endowment
Rockefeller Family Fund
W K Kellogg Foundation
Open Society Foundation (Soros)

among many others. Do not expect a genuine expose of western capitalism. The dirty secrets of western corporations will remain unpublished.

Expect hits at Russia, Iran and Syria and some tiny “balancing” western country like Iceland. A superannuated UK peer or two will be sacrificed – someone already with dementia.

The corporate media – the Guardian and BBC in the UK – have exclusive access to the database which you and I cannot see. They are protecting themselves from even seeing western corporations’ sensitive information by only looking at those documents which are brought up by specific searches such as UN sanctions busters. Never forget the Guardian smashed its copies of the Snowden files on the instruction of MI6.

What if they did Mossack Fonseca database searches on the owners of all the corporate media and their companies, and all the editors and senior corporate media journalists? What if they did Mossack Fonseca searches on all the most senior people at the BBC? What if they did Mossack Fonseca searches on every donor to the Center for Public Integrity and their companies?

What if they did Mossack Fonseca searches on every listed company in the western stock exchanges, and on every western millionaire they could trace?

That would be much more interesting. I know Russia and China are corrupt, you don’t have to tell me that. What if you look at things that we might, here in the west, be able to rise up and do something about?

And what if you corporate lapdogs let the people see the actual data?

UPDATE

Hundreds of thousands of people have read this post in the 11 hours since it was published – despite it being overnight here in the UK. There are 235,918 “impressions” on twitter (as twitter calls them) and over 3,700 people have “shared” so far on Facebook, bringing scores of new readers each.

I would remind you that this blog is produced free for the public good and you are welcome to republish or re-use this article or any other material freely anywhere without requesting further permission.

About the Author

Craig Murray is an author, broadcaster and human rights activist. He was British Ambassador to Uzbekistan from August 2002 to October 2004 and Rector of the University of Dundee from 2007 to 2010.

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Mossack Fonseca Has 441 U.S. Clients: Who Are They?

From: Zero Hedge

As the shock from the initial revelation of leaked Mossack Fonseca files fades away, one recurring question has emerged: why were there no American clients of the firm named (at least not yet)? After all, leaders in Iceland, Russia, Ukraine, Brazil, Australia and many other nations are already facing questions about their use of the Panamanian law firm, and yet nothing about the US?

The United States is pure and good and incorruptible. pic.twitter.com/Xo9LEuCavF

— Adam H. Johnson (@adamjohnsonNYC) April 3, 2016

One hint may have emerged when observing at the funding supporters of the project, among which we find George Soros’ heavily financially connected Open Society:

Recent ICIJ funders include: Adessium Foundation, Open Society Foundations, The Sigrid Rausing Trust, the Fritt Ord Foundation, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, The Ford Foundation, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts and Waterloo Foundation.

Clearly, this would imply editorial intervention by the funding sources due to a potential “conflict of interest”, although hopefully not as that would undermine the objective nature of this massive journalistic undertaking.

There may be a simpler explanation: as Eoin Higgins points out, the 2010 United States—Panama Trade Promotion Agreement included a taxation clause that effectively shut down any chance of the rich in the US using Panama as a shelter.

The Tax Information Exchange Agreement includes a clause, Article 5, that specifies the terms of information sharing between the two countries on tax related matters:

The competent authority of the requested Party shall provide upon request by the competent authority of the requesting Party information for the purposes referred to in Article 1 of this Agreement. Such information shall be exchanged without regard to whether the requested Party needs such information for its own tax purposes or the conduct being investigated would constitute a crime under the laws of the requested Party if it had occurred in the territory of the requested Party.

The Article goes on to make clear that Mossack Fonseca’s type of services would particularly be included in the information request.

According to Higgins, “if Panama had ever been an attractive destination for American offshore storage of funds, this agreement shut the door on that possibility.”

Perhaps. However that does not explain why according to an interactive map created by Brian Kilmartin which lays out shotgun data (no names) about the number of companies, clients, beneficiaries and shareholders of Mossack Fonseca, there are at least 441 clients, 3,072 companies, 211 beneficiaries and 3,467 U.S.-based shareholders of the Panamanian law firm.

It also does not explain why according to primary data compiled in Fusion’s interactive universe, one can find an abundance of US-based nodes in the client/company/shareholder and beneficiary map (highlighted in blue).

Indicatively with 441 clients, the US is among the countries with the most clients served by Mossack Fonseca.

So who are these 441 clients, and why has the ICIJ decided not to reveal any of them?

Or perhaps it will all be revealed in due course.

According to a tweet by a tech editor at Germany’s Suddeutsche Zeiting – the outlet that received the original leak – there will be more disclosures forthcoming.

Editor of Süddeutsche Zeitung responded to the lack of U.S. individuals in the documents, saying “Just wait for what is coming next”

— Mathew Ingram (@mathewi) April 3, 2016

Still, one can’t help but wonder: why not do a Wikileaks type data dump, one which reveals if not all the 2.6 terabytes of data due to security concerns, then at least the identities of these 441 US-based clients.

After all, with the rest of the world has already been extensively shamed, it’s only fair to open US books as well.


Panama Papers: Are Strategic Leaks A New Form Of Geopolitical Warfare?

By James Corbett

The Panama Papers are out and the Panama Papers propaganda is out right along with it. So why does this new mega-leak seemingly only expose those in the State Department crosshairs or expendable others and not a single prominent American politician or businessman? And what does this have to do with the OECD’s plan for a global taxation grid?

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