“Diplomacy is the art of telling people to go to hell in such a way that they ask for directions.” ― Winston S. Churchill
The angels have brought us another Wikileaks document scandal to have fun slicing to pieces. This one advertised from the start that it was a lynch-mob deal, since the publishers had sat on the documents a year.
Their intentions seem to have been how best to exploit the material for their own benefit versus the public’s. Welcome to modern journalism.
If they were doing this for the altruistic reasons they claim, they would have broadened the team to include some experienced forensic accountants and even some law enforcement people with the specialized skills needed. But their goal seems to have been to promote themselves primarily by milking the document hoard for as much publicity as they could get.
Attorney Christopher Black did a sterling job in digging into the shorts of who funded the so-called independent journalists, plus their boards. They are all a who’s who of the well-connected rich and politically powerful, many who have used every trick in the book to amass their fortunes or positions, plus the minions they have working for them.
While reading Mr. Black’s article, I could just image him interrogating these people about their unbiased love of independent journalism, when they are hard-wired insiders to the core.
Gordon Duff’s article followed from an intelligence perspective. The list of starting points there included things such as, if it is too good to be true it probably is; and why now, who benefits, and who and what groups miraculously get a free pass in this big data dump.
Gordon compared the Panama Papers effort to Wikileaks, where Bibi Netanyahu told the Israeli people not to worry because Assange had been “in touch“ and there would be nothing in the Wikileaks dump to hurt Israel… how nice. This, of course, was never reported in Western corporate media.
The Panama Papers story is beginning to look like a traveling medicine show, with exaggerated claims being made to pull in the crowd. The initial British coverage, 75% of it focused on Putin’s friends‘ offshore holdings, was booed off the international stage for its obvious punch below the belt.
State powers historically have executed financial affairs in a wide variety of ways and reasons, often using trusted intermediaries. Intelligence agencies themselves are huge users of offshore entities.
The real motives of the publishers and their funders began to be widely questioned. They had to regroup and attack from another angle when the British media attack on Putin went down in flames.
They moved across the Atlantic to the US to launch their next attack, but made a mistake sticking with the “good old boy” network, the Washington DC think tank bullpen.
They used the Brookings Institute, where Mr. Erdogan recently got his public relations wings clipped with his thug security team beating up and trying to throw opposition journalists out of the event.
Whereas the British attack on Putin looked like an American football pile-on, a more delicate scalpel approach was used next, compliments of the Brookings Institution’s Clifford Gaddy, one of their deep bench Russian experts. Gaddy writes one of the slickest damage control responses I have seen in a while with his, “Are the Russians actually behind the Panama Papers”? His title completely gave his intentions away.
Gaddy starts with admitting the obvious, that the roll out on the Panama papers had a lot of hot air, small potatoes figures, the obvious ones like the Arab royalty, and the “friends” of public figures bottom scrapping.
He had read enough of the media on the story, including Gordon’s piece, to know that people were already focusing on who was NOT mentioned in the initial epose’. For such a huge document dump and a year to cherry pick through them all, much more was suspected.
There have been some hints that some bigger targets will be forthcoming, but Gaddy next reveals what I think he may have been tasked to do by Brookings — to give the public a scapegoat to be angry at, as to why there were no big Western financial operators being exposed. Gaddy was also aware of the growing suspicion that the document release was a setup by a major intelligence agency to settle some scores, and he is pretending to be Mr. Independent journalist.
And then Mr. Gaddy drops his hammer. It was Putin; he had done the leak as his own psyops, using his own Russian Financial Monitoring Service (RMF) that had all the skills to hack the documents. Gaddy tries to sell us that Putin’s real goal was to use all of the big corporate money launderers’ and politicians’ material to blackmail them, hence if we don’t see much released, that is why.
I have to say I found reading this in a Brookings Institute article a bit silly, but it was not done by a silly man working for a silly think tank. The Brookings Institution does not do “silly” unless it is part of a larger effort. And what that effort could be is that those folks already know there are not going to be any who’s who of American financial and corporate elite material exposed in the Panama Papers.
Gaddy was tasked with seeding a media campaign, sticking with the tried and true theme of, “We always blame Putin, because he is an easy mark”. But I thank Mr. Gaddy for his best effort, as he has given us a prime example of the underside of America’s famous think tanks, how their goal is not to inform but to manipulate public opinion.
There are a variety of long-established reasons why we may not see many big name Westerners brought down by this developing scandal. A lot of Mossack Fonseca’s clients were legal and accounting professionals ordering corporations for widely-used and acceptable reasons, like using them to hold real estate in countries where foreigners cannot buy property.
But when you get into your real mega-rich category, like the Rothschilds for instance, they don’t use outside law firms for such things, as they have their own. They keep everything in house with well-paid and trusted people.
And the same goes for all the intelligence organizations who are huge users of shell corporations for a myriad of reasons, too many to list here. They use front law firms which are under their complete control to defend against security penetrations and leaks.
The scale of the layering to hide their operations is almost beyond imagination. A trust in one location owns stock in another jurisdiction, which owns other corporation stock, and on and on. Investigations into who the end owner really is could involve legal action in half a dozen jurisdictions. And as law enforcement starts following the chain of entities, the alerts go out and the end owner closes down, sells assets off or converts to bearer bonds or whatever, leaving a dead end.
The payoffs that well-connected politicians get are often structured like this, shares in an offshore entity that they have had nothing to do with setting up.
Drug money also uses these structures to own everything from high-priced real estate in safe countries, to major stock positions in the big defense companies, or bonds that can be converted back to clean cash.
And the big corporations make sure there are always a few key loopholes open so they can move their profits offshore. Walmart has done this for ages, and while there is talk of closing the loopholes, Walmart has legally avoided huge amounts of taxes.
This is the world we live in, where the little offshore guys will be caught, so that the authorities can show they are “doing something”, and the uber-rich will sleep well at night, knowing they have nothing to worry about.
The Citizens United Supreme Court case allowed foreign corporate money to flow into US political campaigns, so drug money and other criminal activity funds can buy friends in high places, and it is all perfectly legal.