Corporate Media Gatekeepers Protect Western 1% From Panama Leak 797

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 The dirty secrets of western corporations will remain unpublished.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.

I would remind you that this blog is produced free for the public good and you are welcome to republish or re-use this article or any other material freely anywhere without requesting further permission.

797 thoughts on “Corporate Media Gatekeepers Protect Western 1% From Panama Leak

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  • Chris Darroch

    Wikileaks is tweeting a poll, asking whether folk want them to release all 11 million documents.

    • Lars Forsberg

      Unfortunately, it probably is not the vast majority….it should be, but most in the States are probably more concerned with the final four.

      • David

        Most people in the US have no idea this happened; we had to go through Reddit and Twitter to get the scoop. Our Media is horrible.

  • Marisa

    Can Wikileaks make the data searchable by anyone? Couldn’t independent media publish the information then or use it for some actions?

  • John O'Korn

    Carnegie Corporation of New York, not Carnegie Endowment. These are different organizations.

  • bevin

    ” 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?”

    The Guardian’s attempt to turn this into another anti-Putin rampage is a joke. The point is what do our politicians, our ruling class, do? What do these papers tell us about the people we are asked to vote for, and the people who own the corporations that dominate our societies?
    Never mind Mugabe or Mubarak, or the Premier of Iceland, (or Bork for that matter) what do we know about Murdoch and the Cameron clan? What about The Guardian itself?

    • Freeflight

      Because the Cameron story is old news, that stuff has already been out in the open for 4 years:

      Why try hiding something that’s already been out in the open for years? Instead give it some spotlight and pretend that you are “properly cleaning out”, when in all actuality it’s just left-overs and old news that can`t do much more damage at this point.

      Why are you trying to spin this so hard? Who says “the establishment” is an single, strictly organized, entity? That’s idiotic, nobody in their right mind ever claimed it works anything like that, you are the only one to do so and probably do so to ridicule the mere notion of powerful and wealthy people having way too much influence.

  • 1984

    Also you’re ignoring the fact that over 800 Australian’s have been found in the files and already been given to the Australian Taxation Agency.

    • Freeflight

      The spinning knows no boundaries with you, does it?
      Let’s take a look at those 800 Australians, shall we?

      Source number 1:

      “Currently we have identified over 800 individual taxpayers and we have now linked over 120 of them to an associate offshore service provider located in Hong Kong,”

      What does an offshore service provider in Hong Kong have to do with leaked Panama Papers?

      “The 800 individuals under investigation include some taxpayers who had previously been investigated and others who had reported themselves to the tax office under its so-called Project DO IT – Disclose Offshore Income Today. ”

      So they didn’t get those 800 just from the Panama Files..

      Source 2:

      This is a great article, already setting the mood from the very beginning:

      “While most investors and corporations who use tax havens have legitimate reasons to use these structures, the leaked records also show some companies domiciled in tax havens were being used for suspected money laundering, arms and drug deals, and tax avoidance.”

      Wait.. most investors and corporations have “legitimate reasons” to use tax havens? Reasons which do NOT include “tax avoidance”? Wow, that’s rich!

      So before you celebrate those 800 Australians getting busted, I’d rather wait and see what kind of Australians got busted there. I doubt there will be too many among them with very high net-worth, a “celebrity status” or ties into the government. Of course they gonna bust THOSE people, not doing so would mean missing out on a lot of free money.

  • MerkinScot

    Spot on, Mr Murray.
    Putin is the name in the frame as being the reason for the existence of the Cayman Islands.

  • Marcos Pantelis

    If not released in full these Papers will quickly become the Panama House of Cards.

  • Susan Galea

    This is shocking. It makes the idea of any scoop so skewed that it’s virtually worthless. Surely this won’t be allowed to stand?

  • Steven

    Craig, please stop referring to what international bankers and corporations do through the State as “western capitalism”.

    • Habbabkuk (telling it like it is)


      The impression given is that this is all that (western) capitalism is about.

      Interesting and insightful posts are sometimes/often spoilt by little squibs like that.

      I’m sure Craig doesn’t really believe it but like everyone putting forward a message he has to throw his constituents (here known as the Eminences ans their hangers-on) a bone or two from time to time.

  • Philip Branton

    Hmm……yes and if corporate gatekeepers continue to show their colors; a door will open that will make a digital stampede very noticeable. Occupy Wallstreet, Arab Spring, and Maiden will have very different “press”.

  • John Allan Donaldson

    Evaluation of this information should not be restricted to ‘think tanks’ beholden to western corporations and billionaires; access must be granted to independent investigative reporters.

  • B. Chatwin

    Ian Cameron, Michael Ashcroft, Michael Mates, and Pamela Sharples are named in the Panama Papers.

    • John Goss

      And you’ll not be surprised to see the darling of the west’s most recent failed state, Petro Poroshenko, on the list.

      • Habbabkuk (telling it like it is)

        and of course President Putin and the members pf his intimate circle.

        Perhaps President Putin’ former wife – you know, the one he ditched recently for a much newer model – is on it as well?

    • David

      In a world of the government corruption and corporate tax evasion cited in the Panama Leaks, The U.S. needs Bernie more than ever.

  • JF

    Wouldnt it be foolish to withold those? If the whistleblower really wants to make a difference and will see that the targeted one percent is protected, all he needs to do is upload the stuff someplace and give access to ‘non-western’ outlets or the public to fill the gap.

    • Gentoo

      One point for you Craig, they could have shared the documents with the world : hiding telephone numbers & personal address is really easy to do. And, it would have made the work so easier : people around the world could have helped classifying the documents according to key words, and patterns would have emerged.

  • Brian Mahany

    What an opportunity for whistleblowers in the United States! The IRS operates a whistleblower award program – we pay folks that have inside information about U.S. taxpayers hiding money from the government. The IRS program is also available for information about banks, offshore service companies and others that help facilitate those transactions.

    The program pays a percentage of what the government collects. Billions are lost each year because of unreported offshore accounts and money laundering. The media is focused on Putin and other world leaders but there is plenty of other gold in the ICIJ’s data base.

    If you are a banker, journalist or other person with information about tax evasion, your information has never been more valuable. [Our whistleblower clients have earned tens of millions of dollars (USD)]. Best of all, the program is anonymous. Stopping tax cheats is the right thing to do. If you and I have to pay taxes, shouldn’t the ultra wealthy 1% and corrupt politicians?
    Brian Mahany, Esq.

    • John Goss

      Thank you for that link from Zero Hedge which ends:

      Yes, Mossack Fonseca may now be history, and its countless uberwealthy clients exposed, but none other than Rothschild is now delighted to be able to fill its rather large shoes. In fact, someone with a conspiratorial bent may decide that today’s dramatic takedown of the Panama “offshoring” industry was nothing more than a hit designed to crush the competition of domestic “tax haven” providers… such as Rothschild.”

      This is the bigger problem. The Mossack Fonsenca ‘scoop’ seems to be a deliberate ploy to wake up the off-shore stashers of stolen wealth to move their ill-gotten gains out of Panama. That’s the big story here – the US attempt to get the wealth of all these mega-thieves in its own domain.

      • Habbabkuk (for fact-based, polite, rational and obsession-free posting)

        Mr Goss will take any opportunity to cram one of his favorite obsessions – the Rothschilds (the ones who “control all the Central Banks”) – into the conversation.

        Even as speculatively as this.

  • J

    Actually one of the Süddeutsche Zeitung journalist involved talked about the reason to get international media involved in the first place. The reason he gave was, that they looked specifically for German names (when they didn’t have the full amount of documents yet) and didn’t find any. But they found lots of stories about people in other countries. Since the abount of data was too much for them alone anyway and they didn’t want a good story go to waste only because the German public wouldn’t be interested in it, they contacted this investigative consortium.
    And: don’t worry, in the end they found dirt on western companies etc, it’s just not what they choose to run with in the beginning.
    Have you ever talked with western journalists? They love to find stuff on their own public figures.

    • Andy

      ”Have you ever talked with western journalists? They love to find stuff on their own public figures.”

      I’m sure they do but publishing is a different matter. Their jobs depend on NOT upsetting the establishment. Now and again they are permitted to throw an establishment figure under the bus of course, to keep up the appearance that our media is free.

    • The other J

      Absolutely, the majority of western journalists loves to find stuf about their own public figures. However, this is not how the media works. Think of nine out of ten journalists are critical, they’re working investigative, asking difficult questions in press conferences etc. Soon, the elites (politicians, CEOs, …) will refuse to answer their questions, stop inviting them for interviews(or acepting invitations), and even more important, stop helping them with providing insider information. You can imagine that investigative work becomes more difficult for these journalists. Now take the one journalist who is not critical with the views of the elites (maybe he or she just shares the same values as them). If he or she writes friendly articles about them, he or she receives more insider information, which leads in writing more articles with less work than working investigatively. Furthermore, this journalist gets picked more often in press conferences to ask his or her question, and he or she eventually gets a long exlusive interview with the minister for xyz.
      Now, who do you think gets eventually promoted to a leading position? Then to the editorial board?

      If you don’t agree that this is part of how the media works (see also, tell me the name of just one journalist in a leading position or on the editorial board of a western media outlet who had an outstanding carer as an investigative journalist . Just one.

  • Naimanka74

    It’s quite amusing, one might almost say funny, how the timing of the release comes just after this where extremely large, US/UK multinationals are clearly demonstrated to be involved in bribery on an industrial scale and yet so little exposure of the story in US/UK media.

    So I suspect no searchable database for Joe Blow to see what his “leaders” and their donors are up to, next will be some sacrificial lambs from Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan…what a surprise.

    PE firms and the other darlings of the financial press…no trace seemingly.

  • Ron Chandler

    Mr Murray, every word resonates with me. The face of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is on my ABC-TV Australia as the scandal is twisted to demonise the usual targets. Guardo is full of ”seemed”, ”linked to”, ”presumably benefits” and similar loose associated slurs. 600 Australians are in the lists, but the Sydney Morning Herald has phortos of Putin, Xi and their habitual enemies.
    If anything, this psy-op is proof that Western journalism is rotten to the core, and cannot hope to inform. Zero Hedge —
    — has told the story of Rothschilds’ Reno, Nevada bank where money fled from the now-transparent Swiss banks hides in America.
    Perhaps Soros and Rockefeller are just trashing their competition?

    • Itsy

      I had put this on the previous thread (not realising this one was here)

      This story in USAToday: featured almost entirely Putin and his friends (with a small bit about Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson) when I read it last night, (although they did say that Putin’s name didn’t appear anywhere in the 11.5 million records,) but it seems to have been quite substantially re-written by this morning.

      The Guardian is at it this morning: “Revealed: the $2bn offshore trail that leads to Vladimir Putin”

      I am sick of (and bored by) this Putin-bashing, frankly.

  • Anton le grandier

    BBC right off the blocks today with “Putin/cellist” story backed up with “Putin expert” comment etc etc.So transparent.HSBC anyone?Would the intrepid BBC care to cast a glance at the Corporation of the City of London?Well,auntie can always be relied on to serve their best interests.

    • Habbabkuk (for fact-based, polite, rational and obsession-free posting)

      Is that in honour of the late Rosa Luksemburg?

  • Luke

    typical bolshevik response, now in 3D: Denigrate the source, Deny the facts and Deflect from the main story…

    • James lake

      Do you mean that insult or are you trolling?
      I am not a Bolshevik I actually voted new labour, and was sickened by the lies that led to the iraq war.

      That was my wake up call and I try to look at the source of all information that the media put out since the big WMD lie was parroted by them all!!!! And they continue to promote the neo conservative / liberal interventionist agenda
      The messenger is key to understanding what the message will be about.
      In this case anti- Putin and Assad though not on the list!!!!

  • Biff Vernon

    I’m troubled by the line, “Never forget the Guardian smashed its copies of the Snowden files on the instruction of MI6.”

    They smashed a copy. Surely there can be nobody who believes that all copies were smashed?

    • craig Post author

      There existed other copies of the books the Nazis burnt. Didn’t make the book burners good people.

    • Freeflight

      Who cares about Australians? Btw you should check your sources, not all of these 800 are from the Panama Papers, quite a few of them have already been known prior to that leak, involving some HK company.

  • Jivan Rees

    A very interesting insight into the release. To be objective, I wonder why wikileaks has not made the database public but instead offered it to media outlets? I have seen BBC reporting on themselves before as well as other issues relating to companies/scandals in the West. Indeed, other media outfits in the West also report on these issues. I’m not entirely convinced that the media in the West makes such a distinction between scandals in Western and non-Western countries. Indeed, the term Western is often used as a repost by some seeking to undermine efforts to report the news.

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