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What to make of the Panama Papers? 


Panama Papers

Contrary to what it seems, the “Panama Papers” will not diminish financial misappropriations nor favor freedoms. Rather the opposite will happen.

The system will shrink further around the UK, Holland, the United States and Israel, so that only those countries can control it.

By violating the principle of equality before the law and their own professional ethics, members of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists are at the service of the enemies of freedom and defenders of big capital and the fact that this organization revealed the names of some few cheaters absolutely does not change anything.

The US Economic Strategy

At the beginning of his term, President Barack Obama appointed historian Christina Romer to chair the Council of Economic Advisers. As a professor at the University of Berkeley, Christina Romer is a specialist in the study of the crisis of 1929. According to her, that which brought the United States out of recession was not Roosevelt’s New Deal and World War II but the influx -around 1936- of European capital fleeing the “increased danger”.

Romer’s explanation is what Barack Obama has based his economic policy on. First, he acted to close all tax havens that are not under the control of Washington and London. Then he organized the destabilization of Greece and Cyprus so European capital would take refuge in tax havens controlled by Anglos.

It all started in Greece in December 2008 with a series of demonstrations provoked by the death of a teenager by a police officer. The CIA brought from Kosovo busloads of individuals responsible for causing disorder during a demonstration and to establish a beginning of chaos [1]. The US Treasury Department could then see the Greek capital fleeing Greece.

The experiment was conclusive and the White House decided to engulf that fragile state in a financial and economic crisis that came to threaten the very existence of the eurozone. As expected, whenever questions arise about the possible expulsion of Greece from the euro or a disolution of the eurozone, European capital runs to the mainly British, American and Dutch tax havens that are available.

In 2012, there was another operation against the Cypriot tax haven. All accounts of more than 100,000 euros were confiscated. It was the first and only time that such kind of nationalization was observed in a capitalist economy [2].

Over the past 8 years, we have seen how numerous meetings of the G8 and G20 have imposed all kinds of international rules, supposedly in order to prevent tax evasion [3]. However, after the imposition of those supposedly valid-for-all-rules, the United States and, to a lesser extent, Israel, the Netherlands and the UK have the luxury of not respecting them.

Tax havens

Each tax haven has a generally absurd special legal status.

Currently, the major tax havens are the independent State of the City of London (member of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland North), the State of Delaware (part of the United States) and Israel. But there are still many more tax havens, especially British, starting with the islands of Jersey and Guernsey (member of the Duchy of Normandy and therefore subject to the authority of the Queen of England, although not a member of the United Kingdom or of the European Union), Gibraltar (Spanish territory illegally occupied by the United Kingdom) and the islands of Anguilla, Bermuda, the Caymans, Turks and Caicos, the Virgin islands and the island of Montserrat. There are also some who belong to the Netherlands, as the islands of Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten.

A tax haven is a “free zone” covering an entire country. But in the collective imagination, a free zone is indispensable for the economy, while a “tax haven” is a bad thing. Actually, both are exactly the same. Of course, some companies make improper use of free zones to avoid paying taxes while others make bad use of tax havens, which does not justify questioning the existence of these structures, as they are essential for international trade.

In their war against non-Anglo tax havens, the US railed against Switzerland [4]. This small country had developed a strict banking secrecy that allowed smaller operators to succeed in mounting and developing transactions behind the big operators. By forcing Switzerland to give up their bank secrecy, the United States extended its own mass surveillance in the field of economic transactions, which has allowed it to easily manipulate competition and sabotage the activity of small operators.

For more than 10 years, Forbes said Fidel Castro was the head of the wealthiest state in the world. It is now widely demonstrated that it was pure propaganda … but Forbes never apologized.

The “Panama Papers”

It is in the midst of all this context that Washington delivered to the Süddeutsche Zeitung 11.5 million pirated computer files from the firm ranked as the fourth largest in the world in terms of creating offshore companies. Theft of those files constitutes a crime and, for that reason, the alleged “whistleblowers” remain anonymous.

Of course, previous to the revelations being made public, Washington made a careful selection of documents and excluded, first, all the ones that incriminated American citizens and businesses and, secondly, probably also ruled out involving its good allies. The fact that some of its supposed allies, which currently have some sort of conflict with the Obama administration, such as Ukrainian President Petro Porochenko,  appear in the disclosed documents, confirms that his powerful protectors just abandon them.

Despite the fact that Panama is a country where Spanish is spoken and that the Süddeutsche Zeitung is published in Germany, the stolen files were named by spies as “Panama Papers” … in English.

Incidentally, the authors of this manipulation try to convince anyone who rises against Washington is a thief. Just remember, for example, campaigns against Fidel Castro, accused of being a drug dealer and cataloged by Forbes magazine Forbes as the holder of one of the largest fortunes in the world [5]. Having known the difficult living conditions of the Castro family in Cuba, I really wonder how someone could invent such a great idiocy. Now, the new secret magnates apparently are Vladimir Putin, Bashar al-Assad and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, even though it is legendary how frugal they all are.

This propaganda against political opponents is nothing else than the visible part of the iceberg. What is really important is the future of the international financial system.

Violation of journalistic ethics

The German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung is a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), an association specialized, contrary to what its name suggests, not on investigative journalism, but on denunciating financial crimes.

In republican societies, justice must be the same for everyone. But the ICIJ, which since its inception has brought to light more than 15 million computer files, has never questioned US interests. Therefore, this association can not claim that its interest is to fight for justice.

In addition, the republican principles of our society involve a number of obligations for journalists. These obligations are stipulated in the Charter of Munich, adopted in 1971 by all journalism unions in the Common Market and later extended to the rest of the world by the International Federation of Journalists.

I fully understand that this text imposes limitations that are sometimes difficult to bear. I myself was, some years ago, among those who believed that sometimes those limitations had to be broken. But experience shows that, breaking them opens the door to other violations affecting citizens.

Journalists at the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists did not establish any ethical question. They simply agreed to work with stolen documents previously selected, being themselves unable to verify their authenticity.

The Munich Charter stipulates that journalists must only publish information whose origin is known, not that with deleted essential information and with alterations of the texts and documents. It also specifies that journalists should not resort to unfair methods to obtain information, photographs or documents.

These three requirements were broken fully and in a conscious way, which should lead to those who incurred in such violations to be excluded from professional bodies and cause the dismissal of the directors of the BBC, France Télévisions, NRK and why not Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (which is a CIA radio, which is also a member of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists).

This is not the first scandal in which the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is involved. In 2013, it was this same association that made public 2.5 million computer files stolen from 120 000 offshore companies. It also revealed, in 2014, contracts between Luxembourg and several transnationals that were eager to enjoy a particularly favorable fiscal policy. ICIJ also revealed, in 2015, details about accounts from the British bank HSBC in Switzerland.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists receives funding, which readers can already imagine, many of which are linked to the CIA, such as the Ford [6] Foundation and George Soros foundations. This last example is the most interesting one: for members of ICIJ Mr. Soros’s money is not from the CIA but from financial speculation that Soros makes in detriment of the people, which makes this funding even more “acceptable”.

A fundamental principle of republican societies is that, to be legitimate, justice must apply to everyone equally (Article 6 of the Declaration of Rights of Man and Citizen of 1789). However, since its inception, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists systematically refrains from disclosing the crimes of the United States, thus contributing to increase injustice.

Without non-Anglo tax havens, zero resistance

Not surprisingly, Hezbollah has companies and secret accounts in Panama or in other countries. In a recent article, I mentioned the efforts of the Lebanese resistance to self-finance without having to rely on Iranian funds. Now, Hezbollah will have to completely redo the complex financial structure that it had previously implemented. Otherwise, Lebanon will be prey of their Israeli neighbors.

President Ahmadinejad has created offshore companies to sell Iranian oil circumventing the embargo against his country, which is not a crime. It does say a lot, however, about the efforts made to help his people.

The Makhluf family, cousins of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, have resorted to a financial arrangement to circumvent the illegal embargo that Western powers imposed on Syria and that allow the Syrians to feed themselves over 5 years of military aggression against his country. this is also perfectly legitimate.

What will remain of all this scandal? First, Panama will take years to restore its reputation, now destroyed. A few petty criminals who cheated the system will be sent to court while numerous honest traders will have to give a lot of explanations. But contrary to appearances, the organizers of this campaign will ensure that everything stays the same. The system will continue to exist but will be increasingly favorable to the UK, Holland, the United States and Israel. Believing that they defended their own liberties, those who participated in this campaign have actually reduced them.

Translation by Luis R. Miranda, Editor-in-Chief, The Real Agenda News.

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About the author: Thierry Meyssan

French intellectual, founder and chairman of Voltaire Network and the Axis for Peace Conference. His columns specializing in international relations feature in daily newspapers and weekly magazines in Arabic, Spanish and Russian. His last two books published in English : 9/11 the Big Lie and Pentagate.

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