World media is now alight with reports surrounding the largest data leak in the history of journalism known as the Panama Papers. The 2.6 terabytes worth of information has apparently revealed dirty deals, money laundering operations, and tax avoidance schemes by some of the world’s most powerful people including celebrities, athletes, world leaders, politicians, and their relatives. In addition, over 200,000 companies, trusts, and foundations are mentioned and exposed in the leak coming from Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian “law firm” that contains files with information such as “holdings of drug dealers, Mafia members, corrupt politicians and tax evaders – and wrongdoing galore.”
Mossack Fonseca is considered one of the world’s biggest creators of “shell companies,” corporate formations that can be used to hide the true owners of various assets. The data that was released by Mossack Fonseca includes contracts, emails, bank records, property deeds, passport copies and a host of other collections of sensitive information going as far back as 1977 to as recent as December, 2015.
As media outlet Zero Hedge describes the leak, “It allows a never-before-seen view inside the offshore world — providing a day-to-day, decade-by-decade look at how dark money flows through the global financial system, breeding crime and stripping national treasuries of tax revenues.”
As Sueddeutsche Zeitung, the outlet that received the leaks, summarized the new revelations:
Over a year ago, an anonymous source contacted the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) and submitted encrypted internal documents from Mossack Fonseca, a Panamanian law firm that sells anonymous offshore companies around the world. These shell firms enable their owners to cover up their business dealings, no matter how shady. In the months that followed, the number of documents continued to grow far beyond the original leak. Ultimately, SZ acquired about 2.6 terabytes of data, making the leak the biggest that journalists had ever worked with. The source wanted neither financial compensation nor anything else in return, apart from a few security measures. The data provides rare insights into a world that can only exist in the shadows. It proves how a global industry led by major banks, legal firms, and asset management companies secretly manages the estates of the world’s rich and famous: from politicians, Fifa officials, fraudsters and drug smugglers, to celebrities and professional athletes.
Zero Hedge also described a number of high-profile revelations coming from the leaks. The website writes:
Mossack Fonseca’s fingers are in Africa’s diamond trade, the international art market and other businesses that thrive on secrecy. The firm has serviced enough Middle East royalty to fill a palace. It’s helped two kings, Mohammed VI of Morocco and King Salman of Saudi Arabia, take to the sea on luxury yachts.
In Iceland, the leaked files show how Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson and his wife secretly owned an offshore firm that held millions of dollars in Icelandic bank bonds during that country’s financial crisis. In the video clip below, PM Gunnlaugsson walks out of an interview with Swedish television company SVT. Gunnlaugsson is asked about a company called Wintris, which he says has been fully declared to the Icelandic tax authority. Gunnlaugsson says he is not prepared to answer such questions and decides to discontinue the interview, saying: ‘What are you trying to make up here? This is totally inappropriate’
The ICIJ records show Sergey Roldugin, a long-time friend of Vladimir Putin, as a behind-the-scenes player in a clandestine network operated by Putin associates that has shuffled at least $2 billion through banks and offshore companies, German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung and other media partners has found. In the documents, Roldugin is listed as the owner of offshore companies that have obtained payments from other companies worth tens of millions of dollars.
The files include a convicted money launderer who claimed he’d arranged a $50,000 illegal campaign contribution used to pay the Watergate burglars, 29 billionaires featured in Forbes Magazine’s list of the world’s 500 richest people and movie star Jackie Chan, who has at least six companies managed through the law firm. The files contain new details about major scandals ranging from England’s most infamous gold heist to the bribery allegations convulsing FIFA, the body that rules international soccer.
In the “Operation Car Wash” case in Brazil, prosecutors allege that Mossack Fonseca employees destroyed and hid documents to mask the law firm’s involvement in money laundering. A police document says that, in one instance, an employee of the firm’s Brazil branch sent an email instructing co-workers to hide records involving a client who may have been the target of a police investigation: “Do not leave anything. I will save them in my car or at my house.”
In Nevada, the leaked files show, Mossack Fonseca employees worked in late 2014 to obscure the links between the law firm’s Las Vegas branch and its headquarters in Panama in anticipation of a U.S. court order requiring it to turn over information on 123 companies incorporated by the law firm. Argentine prosecutors had linked those Nevada-based companies to a corruption scandal involving an associate of former presidents Néstor Kirchner and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.
Today, Mossack Fonseca is considered one of the world’s five biggest wholesalers of offshore secrecy. It has more than more than 500 employees and collaborators in more than 40 offices around the world, including three in Switzerland and eight in China, and in 2013 had billings of more than $42 million.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists also took part in the “investigation” of the leaked data and revealed a summary of its findings. ICIJ suggests the leaks expose:
Offshore companies linked to the family of China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, as well as Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who has
positioned himself as a reformer in a country shaken by corruption scandals
29 billionaires featured in Forbes Magazine’s list of the world’s 500 richest people
Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson and his wife secretly owned an offshore firm that held millions of dollars in Icelandic bank bonds during the country’s financial crisis
Associates of Russian President Vladimir Putin secretly shuffled as much as $2 billion through banks and shadow companies
New details of offshore dealings by the late father of British Prime Minister David Cameron, a leader in the push for tax-haven reform
Offshore companies controlled by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, the King of Saudi Arabia and the children of the President of Azerbaijan
33 people and companies blacklisted by the US Government because of evidence that they have done business with Mexican drug lords, terrorist organisations like Hezbollah or rogue nations like North Korea
Customers including Ponzi schemers, drug kingpins, tax evaders and at least one jailed sex offender
Movie star Jackie Chan, who had at least six companies managed through the law firm
The Targets of the Release
Out of all this data, however, there are several curious aspects that no mainstream media outlet has yet to adequately explain – the apparent absence of any relevant American or Israeli names as well as any high-profile and realistically relevant European names, particularly those of the active NATO countries.
In fact, despite the fact that the Russians, Syrians, Chinese, and Icelandics have been revealed for the offshore dealers that they are – we are being led to believe that the oligarchs in the United States, England, Israel, and Germany are squeaky clean.
Three points must be made in this regard.
First, many of the targets of the Panama Papers leaks are being “exposed” only by means of guilt by association. For instance, a full on public relations assault has been launched against Russian President Vladmir Putin, suggesting that Putin himself is responsible for using offshore accounts for personal gain. However, Putin’s guilt is simply being associated with an individual who is holding money in offshore accounts. Putin himself has not been revealed as one of the individuals laundering money.
The Guardian video entitled “How To Hide A Billion Dollars: The Panama Papers,” is perhaps one of the most obvious examples of how “guilt by association” is used to implicate Putin himself in offshore accounts and tax evasion. Yet there is no evidence of Putin himself doing anything of the sort, only evidence of a “close friend” of Putin who has maintained offshore accounts. The reports out of Western mainstream media even go so far as to associate Putin with the accounts because the leaks revealed that his “childhood friends” were also engaged in offshore accounting.
Similarly, a character assassination attempt has been launched against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad despite no evidence that Assad has been maintaining offshore accounts. The only evidence provided that comes anywhere close to pointing at Assad is that which exposes his cousins who are maintaining the accounts.
Likewise, reports are pointing toward Chinese President Xi Jinping as a tax evader, despite the fact that only his brother-in-law was fingered in the leak.
Other heads of state targeted by the leaks (but not necessarily directly point to) are former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak (overthrown by the Western-backed Arab Spring), Petro Poroshenko (President of Ukraine), and the current Prime Minister of Iceland. Palestinian leaders or, rather, a “confidant” to the Palestinian Authority President were also mentioned.
While there are many more individuals and countries listed in the leaks, the lists themselves are a curious representation of countries and world leaders whom the United States and the NATO powers view as targets and/or enemies. Putin, Assad, Mubarak, and Orban as well as their host countries of Hungary, Venezuela, Russia, Syria, Palestine, and China are all listed as violators of tax evasion, money laundering, and more but without sufficient evidence to prove most of the claims made against them.
The second point that must be made is the curious lack of high-profile American names as well as the lack of NATO leaders, leaders of major European countries, and Israelis. Being the most massive leak in journalistic history, to be sure, citizens of one of the largest economies on the face of the earth would turn up in an investigation of offshore accounts. Certainly, Western European oligarchs are as corrupt as any other nationality of oligarch. After all, American oligarchs often have a much higher tax rate (at least publicly) so it would stand to reason that they would be taking part in offshore accounting as much if not more than any other oligarch. Likewise, with the Israelis. Are we truly to believe that no Israelis are using offshore accounts?
Thus, it is curious indeed that such massive leaks seem directed at target nations and target individuals of the Anglo-American/NATO powers with little or no mention of nations or individuals belonging to the Anglo-American/NATO powers themselves.
For these reasons, the Panama Papers release has all the hallmarks of what might be considered a “limited hangout” operation. In other words, these leaks may very well be nothing more than an Anglo-American attack on geopolitical rivals and an exercise in a massive propaganda blitz against target nations and individuals.
Lastly, while some revelations do contain NATO allies like the Ukrainian President, the Saudis, United Arab Emirates, and Qataris, one must keep in mind the necessity of the “hangout” aspect of the “limited hangout,” i.e., the necessity to reveal something negative about the institution or nations actually releasing the “leaks” in order to provide authenticity of the documents and claims made therein but, at the same time, never revealing anything that would actually be practically damaging to the entity that originally provided the leak. A limited hangout is thus a type of data leak false flag, requiring a certain amount of incriminating data aimed back at the perpetrator so as to provide credibility but never enough to bring the heat back to the one who created and committed the leak to begin with.
There is also the possibility that the leaks implicating individuals and countries allied with the NATO powers are centered around a desire to weaken these allies who may have either outlived their usefulness or are, for whatever reason, refusing to comply fully with the NATO agenda.
Who Supports The Leaks?
With a leak of this magnitude containing such massive amounts of information, particularly when signs point to the possibility of the leak having been the product of a “limited hangout” operation, it is important to investigate those who produced, investigated, and reported the leak to begin with.
In addition to over 100 mainstream news organizations (themselves a questionable lot), an investigation into the leaks was undertaken by the International Consortium Of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). In regards to the Panama Papers, this may be all one really needs to know to understand the nature and purpose of the leak.
The ICIJ is a non-profit organization that describes itself by stating that it is a“global network of more than 190 investigative journalists in more than 65 countries who collaborate on in-depth investigative stories.”
Yet the ICIJ is anything but independent. One need only take a look at the ICIJ’s sponsors and “funding supporters” to see a list of a number of powerful Foundations and color revolution organizations that have worked closely with the U.S. State Department in the past (and continue to do so today) for the purposes of overthrowing and destabilizing foreign governments for the geopolitical benefits of the United States government and those of the NATO bloc.
The ICIJ website itself lists the following organizations as “funding supporters:”
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.
Even more telling, at the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) website, the Panama Papers disclosure site, the OCCRP proudly displays “Who Supports Our Work” at the bottom of the page. Among the organizations supporting OCCRP are George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, a color revolution apparatus that works closely with the U.S. State Department as well as USAID, a wholly functioning arm of the U.S. State Department that has been involved in color revolutions across the world.
Thus, we have at least one direct connection between the Panama Papers leak and the U.S. State Department which is as strong as virtually any link made between the individuals exposed in the leaks and Putin or Assad. With this in mind, it is much easier to see what the true purpose of the leaks might be.
While many may have, at first, believed the Panama Papers leaks to be an instance of guerrilla hacking or some other form of grassroots activism against world oligarchs, all indications are that they are nothing more than an exercise in mass propaganda designed to paint certain “enemies” of the Western powers as corrupt and greedy, further demonizing them in the Western press and undermining their credibility and legitimacy in their own countries.
While this type of corruption may indeed be rampant in the overwhelming majority of cases across the world (including the United States, Israel, and the West), the Panama Papers appear to be nothing more than other propaganda assault conducted by the U.S. State Department and its host of interconnected color revolution agencies like the Ford Foundation, OSI, and USAID. Before activists rejoice, they should take a deeper look into the leaks and the source that produced them.