This is part of a series called: The Propaganda Report, Your MSM Companion. Here’s what it’s about: I read the WSJ to keep up with the official narrative–if we know what they’re trying to feed us, we might be able to figure out why. I have concluded that nothing in The Wall Street Journal, which I consider to be the “conservative” newspaper of record, is put there simply to inform. It is to misinform in order to serve an agenda or to spin real information that cannot be ignored. With that said, I thought I would take an article or related articles from The Journal (and occasionally elsewhere) every day and try to start a conversation.
For some reason, today I read The Wall Street Journal backwards. The funny thing was, that let me see where they were headed with today’s theme before I got bogged down in the set-up. Here’s what I started with–an editorial on page A12:
The Panama Papers in Perspective
The news here are the incomes and bank accounts of politicians.
That subheading didn’t appear in the print edition, so I had to read the whole article to get the punchline:
[I]t’s hard to see how the big question in this story is whether everyone with a company in Panama paid the correct amount of tax. The far more important question is how so many public officials in so many governments managed to accumulate so much money.. . . .
The mistake now would be to narrow the focus prematurely, zeroing in on tax avoidance that is a hobbyhorse of the political class but in this case is a distraction. The real news here are the incomes and far-flung bank accounts of the political class.
But not just any political class…the body of the article set up exactly whom should be in the crosshairs…
It’s no surprise that the world’s undemocratic and nontransparent regimes figure prominently in the Panama Papers. . . .
“Long time friends and associates” of Russian President Vladimir Putin;
“A family member” of Chinese President Xi Jinping;
The Saudi King;
The son of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak (of course! but no mention of Egypt’s El Sisi);
Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson (remember, Iceland was naughty after the financial crisis); and
“The deceased father” of British Prime Minister David Cameron, for starters.
As I continued to read the paper backwards, I saw another article on the subject that tripped three of my propaganda red flags…
‘C’ Is for Corruption
The Clintons are the Brazilianization of American politics.
Red Flag #1
A leak of 11.5 million documents from Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca—instantly dubbed “the Panama Papers”—implicate relatives of President Xi Jinping along with other top officials of sheltering fortunes in offshore tax havens.
Whenever something is “instantly dubbed” these days, my antennae go up. Flash mobs with pre-printed signs seem to crop up before the ink is dry on the breaking news, and they are always ready with the catch-phrase that lasts. (Another flag could be the ridiculously large number of “leaked documents” – I’d like to know exactly how that happened and how journalists by-passed the government, lawyers, etc. to pipe it unfiltered through the media. This is hard to swallow.)
Red Flags ##2 & 3
[T]he story here isn’t about tax evaders and offshore accounts, deplorable as they may be. It’s about public policies and incentives that make a career in politics an expedient route to personal enrichment.
When I’m told explicitly “what the story here is,” that’s a red flag, and when I’m told the exact same thing in two articles in a row, that’s another. The story here, we are told twice in a row, is to target the politicians named. And for further clarity, as in the op-ed above, this author reminds us there’s nothing to see here at home:
So far the Panama Papers seem to have netted few Americans, which may say something about the fundamental probity of the U.S. system.
On to the main story.
Leaked Panama Files Spark Reactions Globally
Kremlin says reports based on leaks from Panama law firm reflect ‘Putinophobia’
A law firm in Panama, Mossack Fonseca &Co., which specializes in “setting up networks of shell companies,” got “massively hacked” resulting in the largest leak in journalistic history. (This one’s going to keep on giving, I can assure you!)
Who was behind it? The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, founded by the Center for Public Integrity, whose sponsors are, almost unbelievably, a who’s who list straight out of The Power Elite 101: George Soros‘ Open Society, The Ford Foundation, The Carnegie Endowment–even the known CIA front organization USAID! When people ask me who “they” are, these are “they”–a network of institutions, think-tanks, quasi-governmental and non-governmental organizations, media outlets, etc. who are all funded by a handful of endowments and foundations who themselves trace back to a tiny group of people whose names and organizations you know all too well.
So what’s the plan? It is not, in my opinion, to attack Putin. That’s a red herring. (For my views on Putin’s real role in the world these days, click here.) My money says the really big guys will not be hurt by this, whether Russian, Chinese or Saudi, but secondary players the West finds tiresome might fall one-by-one as their own populations (or their stand-ins) deliver engineered Pavlovian responses as swiftly demonstrated in Iceland today when the Prime Minister was forced to resign amid a hail of bananas, eggs and yogurt.
Two other side-benefits of this psyop are likely to be to bring Panama fully into the financial-fishbowl at last (how dare they hold out longer than Switzerland?!) and to increase “financial transparency” (read “surveillance”) across borders–a 2016 goal foreshadowed recently in news stories targeting “terrorist money trails.”
I offer, however, one word of caution. Maybe I’m already so far down the rabbit hole I’m coming out the other side, but the fact that the ICIJ is so obviously an elite front organization and its globalist sponsors are already splashed an inch thick all over the alternet, makes me wonder if there’s another purpose to this operation from which we’re being distracted. In any case, I’m confident that we will be getting from this trove dirt on all the wrong people for years to come–prn of course!
(Although the Journal told us over and over not to focus on the taxes, the tax issue is surely a main goal–it’s just such an obvious one, they don’t have to waste their propaganda on it: The One Sentence Summary of the Panama Papers.)
The meme goes on…
Bernie Sanders’s politics produced the Panama Papers.
Spare me the crocodile tears over the immorality of tax avoidance. Panama is an indictment of government greed.
The Journal lauds the “probity” of the US system…I guess they missed this:
Global Witness found that 12 out of 13 New York law firms it approached were receptive to clients looking to launder money…check out these meetings caught on hidden camera…
Undercover in New York
Our hidden camera investigation reveals how suspect money can enter the U.S.
- This article was from a week ago–before the big Panama Papers leak…by coincidence, the BBC was aiming to make Panama care about financial disclosures by impairing its reputation and its ability to keep client information secret…
Panama is attracting much media attention at the moment, and for good reason. Earlier this month we blogged on a BBC Hard Talk interview with Panama’s Vice President which referred to our comment that Panama gives “the middle finger” to the rest of the world when it comes to tackling financial crimes. The OECD’s Pascal Saint Amans has joined the fray, stating that “From the standpoint of reputation, Panama is still the only place where people still believe they can hide their money.” Until now Panama has been fairly indifferent to reputational issues, but the increased attention that Panama receives will inevitably raise concerns among the punters that Panama is no longer able to effectively protect the identity of the crooks and scammers attracted by its dodgy laws and equally dodgy law firms. So now is a good moment to draw attention to how Panama developed as a secrecy jurisdiction and how it continues to provide full service – wash, rinse and dry – to crooks and money launderers from around the world.
A Digital Gap Protects Kleptocrats
Authoritarian regimes can bar citizens from finding out what the Panama Papers reveal.
In case you missed every other WSJ article on the subject, they wrote another one to remind you:
The big story in the disclosures is not the use of offshore accounts to evade taxes or hide wealth, sometimes from abusive governments at home. The real scandal is that government officials in so many countries around the world are able to use their offices to amass so much wealth worth hiding.
But here’s what I think is even more to the point than the taxes or politicians: another step toward total financial surveillance…
EU to Propose Multinationals Disclose More Tax Details
The push to make tax records public comes amid the Panama Papers scandal involving offshore tax havens
The push to make the detailed reports public came after newspapers around the world uncovered thousands of offshore accounts allegedly held by officials, executives and celebrities. The trove of emails and data on the accounts were allegedly leaked from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.
“After the Panama papers, there must not be a single hesitation from anybody that we need a public country-by-country reporting,” said Pierre Moscovici, the EU’s taxation commissioner.