By James O’Neill*
The western mainstream media, including in Australia, have devoted pages of coverage to the so-called ‘Panama Papers’, a cache of some 11 million documents from the files of a Panama based law firm Mossack Fonesca.
We are told that the documents were leaked to the German newspaper Sudddeutsche Zeitung by an anonymous “no meeting ever” leaker. The documents were then analyzed by the hitherto unknown but grandly named ‘International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ (ICIJ).
Such was the fevered excitement with which the release of a tiny fraction of the 11 million documents were greeted, those much vaunted ‘investigative journalists promptly forgot some of the most basic journalist questions.
If they had paused for even a few minutes the following questions should have emerged. This does not claim to be an exhaustive list.
- Just who are the ICIJ? It transpires that this is an organization entirely organized by the Centre for Public Integrity, a United States based organization.
The Centre for Public Integrity’s funders in turn include the following:
- George Soros’ Open Society Foundation.
- The Rockefeller Family Fund
- The Carnegie Endowment, and
- The Ford Foundation, among others.
All of these ‘foundations’ are notorious for their backing of colour revolutions, insurgencies, regime change activists and others whose invariable goal is support for US hegemonic and imperialist ambitions.
The ICIJ is in turn affiliated with the Eastern European based Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP). The Soros Open Society Foundation and the USD Agency also fund this organisation for International Development.
The OCCRP “investigates” governments that all have the common denominator of having fallen out of favour with the US Government.
The OCCRP in turn is also linked with the blogger Eliot Higgins, an ‘open source’ blogger who operates out of his house in Coventry, England. He uses the online nom de plume of ‘Bellingcat’. This blog is a favoured outlet for the US to publish disinformation regarding the shooting down of MH17 over Eastern Ukraine in July 2014. The object of the disinformation is invariably to discredit the Russian government in general and President Putin in particular.
- Just how was this information from Mossack Fonesca obtained? All the msm will say is that it was leaked by an unknown, unnamed, and never to be interviewed individual to the NATO-friendly German newspaper Sudddeutsche Zeitung.
It ought to have been immediately obvious to the so-called investigative journalists that there are very few organisations in the world with the technical ability to infiltrate Mossack Fonesca’s security systems and extricate 11 million highly sensitive documents.
It is probably safe to exclude the Russian and Chinese intelligence agencies as citizens and leaders of both countries are clearly targets of the leaks. A great deal of negative publicity has been generated, which is surely one of its objectives.
That effectively leaves Mossad (Israel) and one of the numerous US intelligence agencies who have that sort of capability and motive.
Yet the msm breathe not a word of such questions, nor the obvious inferences that can then be drawn.
- The most obvious question is the universal one: cui bono?
A partial answer to that question is found in an analysis of the individuals the msm have chosen to target. The top of the list is Russian President Vladimir Putin, the current number one bête noir of the American administration and its deep state. (1)
Pictures of Mr Putin and claims that he has salted away $2 billion dollars in off-shore tax havens led the story in most western newspapers, including Australia.
This is despite the fact that Mr Putin’s name does not appear on any of the 11 million plus documents that have been leaked.
Not only is there a total absence of Mr Putin’s name on any document, there is also not a single dollar of the alleged $2 billion in the various tax havens around the world (of which Panama is only a bit player) that can be linked to Mr Putin.
The best these so-called ‘investigative journalists’ can come up with is a cellist who was a childhood friend of Mr Putin, and two of his “associates” who are named. This is a classic and deplorable example when even minimal standards of proof are subsumed in the interests of a propaganda point.
- Who is notably missing from the leaked documents, or at least from those released?
Here, one does not even have to nominate names. The entire US population, the country with the largest number of millionaires and billionaires by far is completely excluded.
It may come as a surprise to some that of the estimated $32 trillion stashed away from the prying eyes of the Tax Office Investigative Authorities, not a single dollar is attributed to a US citizen.
That is so inherently improbable that an incredulous laugh is the only reasonable response. Yet our singularly incurious mainstream media do not think that that fact alone should have raised any number of questions about the source and the bona fides of the leaker. Red flags should have been the dominant landscape feature.
- So what was the real motive behind this operation?
That it is a strategic psyop is abundantly clear. To quote an old KGB expression, the CIA’s “ears are clearly sticking out.” (2)
The broader goal was probably to increase US control of the world’s banking system. The control previously exercised through the IMF and the World Bank is being rapidly eroded by alternative financial systems being set up by China and Russia and the rapid de-dollarization in world trade.
It is not a coincidence that the BRICS nations and their leaders are among the prime targets of the leak operation.
A further motive, linked to this, is to strengthen the US’s role as a safe haven for hot money, as even the New York Times acknowledged. (3)
Further evidence leading to the inference that this is a US psyop is the cultural ignorance demonstrated in the msm’s suggestions that Mr Xi or Mr Putin would be so naïve or stupid to park their alleged ill-gotten gains in something as vulnerable to electronic interception and subsequent blackmail as Panamanian law offices or tax havens such as the British Virgin Islands or Vanuatu.
As has been pointed out, (4) there are much easier and safer methods for Mr Xi and Mr Putin to keep their alleged wealth safe.
It is also no coincidence that the msm outlets entrusted with access to the documents are those that are essentially mouthpieces for the deep state.
The Guardian, once a brave voice has now become one of the worst offenders in smearing the West’s political opponents, solemnly assuring the nervous unnamed that “much of the leaked material will remain private.”
Such assurances are unlikely to be offered by the alternative media (5), which despite being denied access to the documents have been at the forefront of exposing the Panama Papers for the fraud that they are.
According to Pepe Escobar’s sources, as much as 50% of global wealth may be currently parked, undisturbed, in off-shore tax havens. (6) If even a fraction of that were taxed, then governments would have the funds needed for paying off debt and investing in worthwhile infrastructure.
With our compliant msm however, these issues are unlikely to ever be aired. Instead, largely untouchable targets such as the Kwok brothers owned, Hong Kong based Wilson Security fingered by ABC’s Four Corners program this week provide a safe target toward which to direct public frustration.
The real issues in the meantime will remain unexamined. It is a safe bet that there will be no substantive change.
*Barrister at Law. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Peter Dale Scott The American Deep State Rowman and Littlefield (2015).
- The Saker Uncle Shmuel Points Fingers The Unz Review 6 April 2016.
- Panama Tax Haven Scandal: The Bigger Picture Washington’s Blog 6 April 2016
- Consortium News, Op Ed News, Off Guardian, Veterans Today, Open Democracy, Counterpunch and Dissident Voice are among the excellent alternative sites that have provided consistent criticism to great effect.
- Pepe Escobar Dance to the Panama Papers Limited Hangout Leak. OpEdNews 5 April 2016.
Photo: Portion of photo by Dmitry Kostyukov/AFP