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Monday, April 04, 2016

The leak

Ain't it always the way? Turn your back on the internet for just a couple of days, and look what happens.

I'm still catching up with this scandal. Once I've done so, I, as is my blowhard wont, will have more to say. Preliminarily, I would say that if we apply the principle of cui bono, then the leak has two obvious purposes:

1. Helping Bernie Sanders attain the Democratic nomination by making him look like a prophet and giving him a burning new financial scandal to denounce, and

2. Besmirching Vladimir Putin. As a matter of fact, Putin remains untouched by all this -- so far. Our man in Ukraine, Willy Wonka, has been directly named, but our media won't talk about him. The King of Saudi Arabia is also directly named; he too is unmentionable. It's gonna be Putin, Putin, Putin.

(Update: The media is also using this scandal to go after the leaders of Iceland. Why? Punishment: Iceland refused to play by the neoliberal rules, and thereby quickly sped past the 2008 financial disaster, which was projected to cripple that nation for generations. We can't tolerate a good example.)

Of course, most of you consider it Thoughtcrime Most Foul to posit that the right-wing Powers That Be want Sanders to win the nomination, even though that assertion is provably true. Watch and see how the spinners will spin this one. Remember how certain writers twisted themselves into knots trying to use the Epstein scandal against Bill Clinton but not Alan Dershowitz? Expect similar behavior here. The Clintons have not been mentioned yet, but rest assured: You will see articles written in such a way as to suggest that they are arch-fiends who have masterminded all off-shore money schemes. That's my prediction. Watch it happen.

(Update: It's already happening on Reddit, the epicenter for CDS.) 

At this stage of the game, the most interesting commentary comes from Craig Murray, who has allowed his words to be reproduced by anyone, anywhere. Thank you very much, Mr. Murray: I'll take you up on that offer.

The words below the asterisks are Murray's.

*  *  *

Corporate Media Gatekeepers Protect Western 1% From Panama Leak

Whoever 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?


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.
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I don't know what CDS is. Makes me think Campaign for Democratic Socialism.

As for Iceland, the Social Democrat government elected in 2009 was voted out for the Independence party, who regained power in 2013. The Social Democrats actually went down into third place in 2013. The Pirate Party, currently with one parliamentarian in Iceland, are well ahead in the polls and look set to win the next election.

Also, Clinton has already won.
What makes you think there will be information in the files that besmirch Hillary or Bill or the Clinton Foundation? Kind of jumping the gun, aren't you?
I fear you're looking at this from too America-centric a perspective. There are 108 reporting partners working with the data dump, most of which are non-U.S. media organizations. Somehow I doubt the shadow government would be able to pressure all of them into pulling their punches. We're already seeing a much wider range of world leaders implicated than you and Murray appear to assume would emerge -- including our buddy in the Ukraine.

Will the revelations receive much better coverage outside the U.S. than within? Undoubtedly. But that won't be a failure of the ICIJ or the reporters working the story. Fortunately, in this digital age, no one is dependent entirely on his or her hometown -- or even home-country -- media outlets any more.

And while the U.S. and U.K. governments are all too eager to bash Putin, that doesn't mean he doesn't deserve it. While he may not be the demon of Obama's dreams, he's still an asshole with demonic aspirations. As long as he and his cronies are bashed failure and for cause, then bash away, I say....
Over 100 news organizations/reporters have been working on this expose` "in a yearlong investigation" and you immediately suggest that "the leak has two obvious purposes":
And the first 'purpose' listed is helping Bernie Sanders win the Democratic nomination?! He hadn't even announced a year ago. I would assume you mean "outcome", rather than purpose, unless Bernie has more international journalistic backing than any candidate in history. If he does we REALLY need him in the White House.
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