The Empire Strikes Back 446

If you argue a case strongly on the internet you must expect to receive robust argument back. Plus the odd insult. There has been plenty of both in reaction to my posts about corporate media control of access to the data in the Panama Papers. But I believe it is fair to say that the overwhelming public feeling I have picked up through monitoring online discussion worldwide, is that the full data should be made available online in searchable form so that the public can look through it and form their own conclusions.

I wish to address in a little more depth the arguments which have been raised.

Several people have argued with my reference to “corporate media”, as the consortium includes state organisations such as the BBC. My response to that is that the BBC has become in the last few years a mouthpiece for state propaganda with no effective independence of government, and that the politicians are very much in the pocket of the corporations who fund them. The BBC therefore promotes corporate interests just as much as those outlets directly owned by corporate interests. It is simply a question of direct or indirect control.

The key point is that access to the Panama data has been restricted in accordance with a media order which is decades out of date. It ignores citizen journalism. The only online based platforms given access are the billionaire owned Huffington Post and Craigslist. Nowadays people prefer to find things for themselves.

This ostensibly sympathetic article from Richard Smith illustrates the problem rather well. It is one of trust. Do we trust the – let me use a neutral word – established media to filter the information and decide what we are permitted to see? My answer is no, I do not trust them. I know many mainstream journalists and the vast majority of them are interested in pleasing their paymasters and advancing their careers. Very few and vanishingly less are disinterested promoters of truth.

Nor do I accept that revealing a story about David Cameron’s dead father – a story which had been in the public domain for four years – or securing the resignation of the Prime Minister of Iceland, a tiny state which happens to have taken the most radical action of any against bankers, is sign of balance.

It is a sign of a pretence of balance.

But Richard Smith is entitled to his view and perhaps his naïve trust in corporate media indicates a pleasant and trusting nature. I am often called naïve myself for wanting the world to be a better place. Mr Smith evidently believes it already is.

The only thing I actively dislike in Smith’s article is the contention that I criticised the BBC for not pointing out that the British Virgin Islands were implicated in one document flashed on the screen, obscured, during the BBC Panorama. Actually there were three separate documents about separate transactions, all involving the British Virgin Islands. Those transactions were central to the entire first half of the programme, and for the BBC to hide that it was all happening in the British Virgin Islands was disgraceful.

The BBC of course do not like me and I have been banned from appearing for many years. One of the many thousand people who retweeted my original post on the Panama Papers, subsequently tweeted that he had done so by accident. This brought the magisterial rebuke from Jamie Angus, editor of the BBC Radio Today programme, that accident “is the only acceptable reason for retweeting Craig Murray.” I can understand that Mr Angus does not want people to hear opinions not sanctioned by his employers, but I would be interested to know why he feels it is not “acceptable” to read my pieces. He has since challenged me to mention that the British Virgin Islands were criticised on his radio programme. I am happy to do so, because unlike Mr Angus, I do not believe views other than my own should be suppressed.

I shall not trouble you with the large volume of simply abusive tweets I have received, co-ordinated by the usual two groups – British unionist and pro-Israel lobbyists who for some reason like to troll me. Let us just ignore them.

I should now come to the question of privacy. The Guardian newspaper, along with the BBC the main “owner” of the data in the UK, has made no bones about the fact that most of the data will not be published, and that there are “legitimate reasons” why people have offshore accounts and companies. As the Guardian’s owners operated from tax-dodging overseas accounts for years, they have to say that of course.

There has been surprisingly little discussion of this topic. I do not accept that there is any legitimate reason for owning offshore companies and offshore bank accounts, if you do not have a business genuinely located in and operating from the jurisdiction. Ordinary people do not have accounts in tax havens. The only reason people have accounts and fake companies in tax havens is to avoid tax and other legal jurisdiction. This is not morally acceptable, whether or not our rulers make sure it is legal. I therefore do not accept any privacy argument for keeping the vast bulk of the data from the public.

This argument s absolutely at the heart of the corporate media’s interest in hiding 99.9% of the information – which behind the obfuscation is precisely what they intend to do. This argument needs to be met head on.

The only subject of any interest now in the Panama Papers is whether the data will be fully released on the internet and available to everybody, and not hidden by the corporate media.

We must all campaign to release the data.

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446 thoughts on “The Empire Strikes Back

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  • bevin

    “For some reason larceny and corruption from certain favoured States doesn’t appear to be a concern of Mr Bevin – or perhaps I am wrong?” asks ‘well wisher’ from, one presumes, Cheltenham.

    It is certainly not my concern: it is the concern of the people of Russia and China. And my guess is that their primary concerns are related to the constant increase of military and economic pressures designed to de-stabiise their governments and weaken them to the point where, once more they are amenable to imperialist diktats and looting.
    It can hardly be argued that Putin introduced corruption to Russia or stole state assets from the people. The blame for that lies, as the Russian people are well aware, with the US government, Wall St, the City and their satellites. The looting of Russia in the 1990s was made possible solely by the support the west gave to the pirate/oligarchs and to the measures it took to assist them in fighting off the threat of democracy arising and socialist policies being pursued.

    Those weeping crocodile tears over Russian , or Chinese, corruption are actually angry that they aren’t collecting their share of the plunder. In the 1990s they did and in doing so drastically lowered Russian living standards and life expectancy. For ordinary Russians this was an era in which their country, its wealth and its infrastructure were being stolen and exported to tax havens, most notably the City of London, where the thieves responsible for so much suffering are still able to buy protection from justice. And, as your post shows, the clammy comforts offered by apologists for imperialism.

    • Habbabkuk (flush out fakes)

      So your opposition to larceny and corruption is selective and not a matter of principle.

      Now, you could justify that selective approach by saying “I can’t do anything practical and concrete against larceny and corruption in countries other than my own”.

      But that implies that you can do something practical and concrete against larceny and corruption in your own country – which I assume is the UK.

      Can you do anything practical and concrete?

      If the answer to that is “no”, and all you can do is to beef away on websites such as this one, then surely you should feel able to beef away about larceny and corruption wherever they rear their ugly heads?

      • Herbie

        You’re a fool, habby.

        These Globalists are coming for everyone’s dosh.

        It’s the middle class will suffer most, as this unfolds.

        The masses have nothing left to steal.

        • lysias (DON'T FEED THE TROLLS)

          I just started reading a new book which has a great deal to say about how they’re now coming for the middle class: Michael Betancourt’s The Critique of Digital Capitalism.

          • Ben Monad

            Eh? They’ve already cannibalized the Middle classes. Targeted for what, extinction?

          • Habbabkuk (flush out fakes)

            Here we go again.

            BTW – how’s setting up that Russian website going?

          • Herbie

            Well Ben, you don’t really need a middle class where the Globalists wish to take us.

            Had a look at education recently. Don’t produce much in the way of enquiring minds does it.

            John Gaylor Gatto and Charlotte Iserbyt are quite good on this:


            The Globalist vision is Pol Pot, the scenic route.

        • Habbabkuk (flush out fakes)

          In which case we are really all in it together, aren’t we, Herbie.

          • Herbie

            Everyone except those who’ve been squirreling away their national treasuries.

      • bevin

        “Can you do anything practical and concrete?”
        I note that you are now suggesting to your targets that they should not just talk about things but engage in action.
        This is the classic tactic of the agent provocateur.
        No doubt on application you would suggest something violent.
        I think that you will be disappointed, making the case against imperialism and for peace rather than war is not a waste of time. People are responding to the message. We will leave the violence and the lies to you.

    • Resident Dissident

      “The blame for that lies, as the Russian people are well aware, with the US government, Wall St, the City and their satellites.”

      And of course all the New Russians and oligarchs didn’t benefit from this in the slightest – and perhaps rather than thinking that the looting only took place in the 1990s you might wish to look at how capital flight from Russia since then has accelerated significantly since then under Putin – the figures are there for those that are not blinded by their ideology. These are all facts of which the Russian people are only too well aware and Bevin remains blind too in his ideological blindness. He perhaps also should remember that it was the corrupt Berezoksky who was the tsar maker for Putin – the subsequent disputes just demonstrating that internecine conflict between mafia groups is the norm.

    • brian

      ‘It can hardly be argued that Putin introduced corruption to Russia or stole state assets from the people.;

      Putin did not introduce corruption..nor has he stolen anything…ordo u have evidence otherwise?

  • lysias (DON'T FEED THE TROLLS)

    The names of some U.S. persons seem to have appeared in the latest reports on the Panama Papers, but surprise, surprise, nobody important. RT: ‘Panama Papers’ turn up names of rogue US execs :

    Documents dubbed the ‘Panama Papers’ have revealed the names of over 200 US residents who used the services of Panamanian firm Mossack Fonseca. Among them are several businessmen charged with financial crimes, or already convicted of wrongdoing.

    Some of the names on the list appear to be retired Americans seeking to buy real estate in Panama and Costa Rica, according to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), the US-based group that is publishing revelations from the documents obtained by an anonymous hacker in 2015.

  • lysias (DON'T FEED THE TROLLS)

    The names of some U.S. persons seem to have appeared in the latest reports on the Panama Papers, but surprise, surprise, nobody important. RT: ‘Panama Papers’ turn up names of rogue US execs :

    Documents dubbed the ‘Panama Papers’ have revealed the names of over 200 US residents who used the services of Panamanian firm Mossack Fonseca. Among them are several businessmen charged with financial crimes, or already convicted of wrongdoing.

    Some of the names on the list appear to be retired Americans seeking to buy real estate in Panama and Costa Rica, according to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), the US-based group that is publishing revelations from the documents obtained by an anonymous hacker in 2015.

    • Habbabkuk (flush out fakes)

      Were not some people on here frothing at the mouth about the mysterious absence of US names? Good to have the record set straight! 🙂

    • Ben Monad

      Ernst Wolff, a journalist and author of ‘Pillaging the World: The History and Politics of the IMF,’ says the US is using the scandal to cause upheaval around the world and redirect the flow of money into tax havens in America.

      “Of course, they have to put in some American individuals and some American companies in order to kind of camouflage the whole thing,” Wolff told RT. “But those are only minor people in there. The big people in there are non-American citizens: they are Europeans; they are people from different countries all over the world.”

      “This is this anti-Russian, anti-China, anti-Iran campaign that just keeps beating in America,” Gerald Celente, publisher of the Trends Journal, told RT. “I believe that this might be a push back from Soros for Russia last year banning a number of American NGOs. So, this could be payback.”

      Really? Soros is the Anti-christ?

      • Ba'al Zevul

        There’s something resembling sense in there, although it is unlikely that RT would accuse Putin of using Panama to put something by for a rainy day. (Note: Poroshenko also figures in the data dump: panic-call to Mossack as the dissidents moved in)
        Certainly it makes sense for the US to take down Panama’s alternative financial system, though planning the direction of collateral damage is not something the US does brilliantly. But this does support the idea:

        You know, there are lots of Americans who are going overseas trying to—trying to hide their money or move their money to avoid taxes or avoid criminal investigations. But on the other hand, you know, you can argue that the world’s biggest tax havens are islands, but they’re Great Britain and Manhattan. Both London and New York are places where lots of money, you know, is hidden, both in real estate and in banks. You know, if you’re trying to—you know, if you’re the brother-in-law of a dictator in a developing nation, you will have an entity—you will have a company based in the British Virgin Islands or Panama or somewhere like that, but your money’s not going to be there. The company that you own is going to be the front for you that will allow you to have your money in a bank, so that you and your family can do shopping trips, you know, in Manhattan.

        Cue Delaware and Nevada.

        Investigations into our own major financial players have been initiated. The bulk of tonight’s BBC radio news is about the British Board of Deputies having another pop at smearing Corbyn with ‘antisemitism’, so can’t elaborate much on that.

        • Ben Monad

          Feigning interest isn’t my motif but i don’t fault your segue as it was too subtle even for my jaded appetite for pseudo humanitarians (maybe a bit harsh even if good intentions are the cheapest of the virtues). I just wonder whose hand is up the ass of the Soros puppet. That is all. Carry on.

          • Ba'al Zevul

            Ben: The big financiers and fixers have their hands up the arses of the political puppets. And the political puppets have their hands up the arses of the financial ones. Or, if you prefer, it’s a politico-economic circle-jerk. No individual shyster, such as Soros, would have survived five minutes without the active collaboration of a quorum of the others.

            I do hope you’re not accusing me of being a pseudo-humanitarian, btw. Perhaps this is intended to imply that you are the genuine article? I certainly don’t claim to be. IMO there are far too many humans on the planet.

          • Ben Monad

            Heh. Sometimes I go pseudo Komo. Sorry I wasn’t clear you weren’t a target, and I even gave Soros some wriggle room. 🙂

  • Overnightwill

    Craig, as ever you hit the nail on the head, and your words deserve the widest possible audience. My only wish is that you would headline your posts with titles for the soundbite generation. The substance of the Panama leaks needs to be understood, but social media and its users need pithier headlines. May I respectfully suggest “Panama leaks selectively reported in the interests of the MSM?” or similar? Yours, on behalf of those with a 10-second attention span.

  • lysias (DON'T FEED THE TROLLS)

    I guess it’s no longer a private matter. Reports: UK’s David Cameron admits profiting from late dad’s offshore fund:

    British Prime Minister David Cameron admitted Thursday that he profited from his late father’s offshore investment revealed in the Panama Papers leak, according to U.K. newspapers.

    Four months before becoming prime minister, David Cameron sold his stake in the fund for $42,000, The Guardian reported.

    I just heard them say on RT that it’s the cover-up that will get Cameron.

    Corbyn seems to be getting closer and closer to Downing Street.

    • Habbabkuk (flush out fakes)

      Mr Corbyn (I like to give the people I write about their title) will get as close to Downing Street as Mr Sanders to the White House.

      100 shekels say so. 🙂

    • lysias (DON'T FEED THE TROLLS)

      Interesting comment to the FT article about Cameron’s admission, :

      Fairsfair 23 minutes ago

      Just took a look at tomorrow’s edition of the Telegraph. If they’re suggesting he’s got more to reveal / is hiding something he’s got a BIG problem. If, as appears the case, he didn’t declare any members interests related to these holdings in 2009/2010 he’s got a problem already. But there’ll be more to come no doubt.

      He has to resign now.

      • lysias (DON'T FEED THE TROLLS)

        Perhaps the reference is to this Telegraph piece:

        It ends as follows:

        And there are still more questions. Why, for example, does Cameron not declare his stake in Blairmore in the Register of Members’ Financial Interests for 2009-10? There may be a technical answer – their size and scale were below the level which required registration – but as the Parliament website says:

        “The main purpose of the Register is to provide information about any financial interest which a Member has, or any benefit which he or she receives, which others might reasonably consider to influence his or her actions or words as a Member of Parliament.”

        Ordinary voters may well have considered that owning a stake in a offshore company that minimised tax was something they might reasonably consider influenced the words and actions of the Leader of the Opposition and his party’s policies.

        This is not over yet.

        • Habbabkuk (flush out fakes)

          I sometimes wonder why an Irish-American (allegedly) gentleman who lives in the United States (allegedly) and works in Washington (allegedly) is so interested in Mr Cameron and the UK more generally that he spends much of his working day posting about them?

          I know he spent (allegedly) 4 years at an (still undisclosed) Oxford college reading Greats, but still…… 🙂

        • lysias (DON'T FEED THE TROLLS)

          The main Torygraph article on Cameron’s admission, by Deputy Political Editor Steven Swinford,, may also have been what the FT commenter had in mind . For the Torygraph, the article is remarkable, with things like the following:

          David Cameron has finally admitted that he had personally profited from his stake in an offshore investment fund, following a week of turmoil in Downing Street.

          Following one of his worst weeks since taking office which culminated in calls for his resignation, the Prime Minister was on Thursday forced to commit to publishing his tax returns going back at least two years following days of questions about his financial affairs.

          Mr Cameron’s disclosure about his tax affairs was his fifth position on the scandal since Monday, when he dismissed questions about his finances, saying it was a “private matter”.

          . . .

          Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, said that the Prime Minister’s admission was “extraordinary” and said that Mr Cameron still had questions to answer about whether he knew “that this fund was linked to tax avoidance”.

          John Mann, a Labour MP, insisted Mr Cameron should resign and labelled the Prime Minister a “hypocrite”.

          If the Torygraph can print stuff like this, there must be knives out to get Cameron in the Tory Party.

          • lysias (DON'T FEED THE TROLLS)

            Another comment to the FT article that is worth reading:

            SuperMario 1 hour ago
            too little too late David

            this has had to be dragged out of him this week since faisal Islam from Sky news put the question to him at that Town Hall type meeting in what looked like the Deloitte B’ham office (nice coincidence!) on Tuesday

            Quite apart from the subterfuge in the past few days , we still have not had a comprehensive answer about the past

            1) Was that £30k the ONLY way he / his family have benefitted from the Blairmore structure ? e.g. were there any cash appointments out of the structure to him / his family ?

            2) did any aspect of the structure whatsoever benefit tax wise from being offshore ?

            The easiest way to answer this one is to look at the structure’s tax bill had it effected the exact same business based in London and effect a broad comparison of the 2 tax calculations

            I find it very hard to believe that there was not some avoidance of UK tax here by either the Blairmore fund, the recipients including the PM’s Family or other entities

            3) Have all disclosures been made , not only to HMRC but also in the Members’ Interests register in the House of Commons ?

            Given the PM’s pontificating on perfectly legal Tax Avoidance these past few years I think this will be a big test …great timing for the tax avoidance conference he’s hosting in a few weeks !

            Also let’s not suffer tunnel vision here guys ….next up Mr George “Wealthy family” Osborne, if he is not / has not been a beneficiary of an offshore in his lifetime i’m adUTCH man and will eat my non-existent hat 🙂

            That last point about Osborne strikes me as particularly important.

            Maybe Corbyn really isn’t so far from Downing Street.

  • Anthony H

    Craig, you are on the right track.

    Having access to all the Panama data would be a good start. This is however the tip of the iceberg with secrecy and dodging the law rampant all across world involving rich folk from everywhere using many more firms and jurisdictions. Here the UK is deeply involved and could if enough people cared, open up records of banks and lawyers to fundamentally overhaul the whole thing.

    The media will not be interested in discussing this issue hence the connection with Cameron’s dad as a sideshow.

    The issue is a rotten establishment that tells the disabled that they have to face cuts while allowing the rich to use deliberately complex legal systems so they can avoid contributing the the societies they feed on.

    I’d be interested to hear how any of this can be fixed without leaving the EU first.

  • lysias (DON'T FEED THE TROLLS)

    RT: Putin on Panama Papers: ‘Info product’ aimed to destabilize Russia:

    The Russian part of the so-called Panama Papers leak that claims to reveal offshore financial activities of a number of public figures is not about corruption, but aims to destabilize Russia, says President Vladimir Putin.

    “So here we’ve got some friend of the Russian president, he has done something, probably there is an aspect of corruption to it… But what aspect [exactly]? Well, there is none,” Putin said on Thursday, addressing a media forum in St. Petersburg. He also pointed out that he himself had not been mentioned in the leaked documents.

    “You are all journalists here and you know what an informational product is… They’ve plowed through offshore [funds]. [Putin] is not there, there is nothing to talk about. But the task has been assigned! So what have they done? They’ve created an informational product by having found some acquaintances and friends,” the president told the media forum.

    WikiLeaks has already shown who’s behind all this scandal, he added.

    • Habbabkuk (flush out fakes)

      Only a seriously naive person will believe that Mr Putin’s oligarch friends do not have serious money stashed abroad in various occult locations.

      The £100 million houses in London, New York and elsewhere are only the visible tip of the iceberg.

    • Resident Dissident

      Putin is clearly not upholding Russian law – Russian citizens such as Roldulgin should be taxed on their world wide income and they need to get permission to hold foreign bank accounts and investments in foreign companies. The fact that this rule is ignored with impunity by Putin’s friends and not enforced by the Head of State who clearly lies regarding his own income speaks volumes.

      And guess how much of this is reported in Russia?????

      PS this website is blocked to ordinary Russians, but I daresay not to the creatures of Savuskina Street.

      • brian

        ‘Putin is clearly not upholding Russian law’

        You clearly hate Putin….beyond that: pure invention

  • K Crosby

    Quite agree, I hope you enjoyed the back-handed compliment by that cack-handed COMbbc stooge. Your stock must have risen for him to try to curry favour by dissing you.;O))

  • Sylvia Jardine

    For myself and I presume most of the public, it is all about fairness. Why should I pay taxes all of my working life and corporates and private individuals avoid paying tax but get all the benefits of our hard earned taxes – this includes the politicians with their expenses and house swapping. We want a fairer society.

    • Habbabkuk (flush out fakes)

      On one level you are right. But I doubt that many of the (UK) tax avoiders who might appear on the lists make much use of the benefits given by the UK state – eg, the NHS, state education, social security benefits, (subsidised) public transport and the friendly neighbourhood bobby.

      • bevin

        I don’t doubt that they make use of the more substantial benefits: from use of the armed forces and the legislature to de-criminalise their behaviours, to scooping up their shares of public property being auctioned off (cheap guv), and fat contracts of every kind, including the National Debt.
        You just don’t understand the way that government works do you? Maybe you should spend less time posting drivel on this site and catch up with the history of Great Britain. 1688 is a good starting point, if you must cheat.

    • Habbabkuk (flush out fakes)

      As for the politicians, you will know that their expenses and such like perks are there because UK govts were afraid to up their headline salaries.

      • Herbie

        That’s how it was spun, and plausibly so.

        But it also had the remarkably unforseen effect of keeping pliant those who enjoyed the perks.

    • fedup (Watch out there is a snitch about)

      Sylvia you have already noticed the zionist chief propagandist and a self confessed snitch in residence, has addressed your points with a series of homilies beginning with you; “you are right but ……..” format, excusing the fat cats because they don’t use this and that, so then they don’t pay for it! Which the answer to that is if they don’t want to pay for it, then they best hit the road and find elsewhere and stay closer to their ill gotten gains, conducting their rotten! Why are they hanging around our neck of the woods?

      The point you have raised about “fairness” is not correct, it is about responsibility, the responsibility towards a system that has afforded them to be stinking rick and yet these same fat cats are shrugging off their dues, and cheat in discharging their responsibility of looking after the system by contributing to the said system in full!! They can always become tax exiles and stay the hell out of our neck of the woods, but these cheats and thieves want their cake and eat it at the same time, and that is not on!

  • Herbie

    Looks as though those darn Ruskies gonna snitch on the Soviets little Western helpers.

    Those carefully crafted Western narratives of the pre and post war period about to be published for historians to marvel at.

    Will there be anything on Hitler’s little Western helpers:

    “The Russian President said that he has decided to declassify many archival documents, and that he will sign the decree today. And it was signed. Here:

    Bye bye, Angela.

    And he quietly added: “This, as far as I know, according to the information from archive agencies, concerns the period from 1930 to 1989. In these documents there are cases, excuse me, of snitches as well as the innocently repressed, with very interesting names, some documents will surprise society…””

    • lysias (DON'T FEED THE TROLLS)

      Some interesting things happened during that time frame that I would like to learn more about, like Pearl Harbor and the JFK assassination.

      • Habbabkuk (flush out fakes)

        I am sure you have a conspiracy theory for every one of those events, Lysias.

      • Habbabkuk (flush out fakes)

        and that you will, in the fullness of time, get round to telling us about every one of them, together with ample “source” material.

        • Herbie

          For source material, go to the trial and subsequent quiet rehabilitation of those two Admirals that Roosevelt hung out to dry.

          Pearl Harbor was encouraged, then let happen.

          Roosevelt had his pretext.

          You must be the only one on the planet, habby, still believing The Warren Commission account, as full of holes as their latest effort on 911.

    • Jim

      I’ve just clicked on your link, I’m afraid it’s gobbledygook! I couldn’t make any sense of any of it. Some sort of veiled threat?

      • Herbie

        I think the translators are doing it for free.

        But yeah. Putin is releasing archival documents from 1930 to 1989.

        He’s suggesting that they shall reveal collaborators with the Soviet regime and against humanity.

        He says that the names may surprise some.

        I’d imagine that he is threatening his enemies, yes.

        He reckons they’re threatening him.

        Can’t say I’ve noticed.

    • Resident Dissident

      “Will there be anything on Hitler’s little Western helpers:”

      Rather more than there will be on Hitler’s little Soviet helpers before 1941 is my guess.

    • Herbie

      I’d expect there’ll be something on good ole Uncle Open Society Soros as well.

      There’s something wonderful in history catching up with all these old Machievellians.

      Only happens in transitional times.

      “Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
      But to be young was very heaven!”

  • Tony_0pmoc

    The main problem with all this stuff, is that much of the wealth of the world has been stolen by the very richest, and effectively buried. This wealth isn’t actually doing anything useful, whilst the poor are being further impoverished, and essential services are being discontinued.

    If we had governments that represented the people, rather than the richest warmongering psychopaths, even a small percentage of this vast buried wealth, collected in much the same way as ordinary people are taxed, could actually be used to do something very useful indeed.

    This hoarding of money, is roughly the equivalent, to someone very rich hoarding all the fresh water behind an enormous dam in a gigantic reservoir, such that he and his rich pals can go fishing, and pay for an army to protect themselves from the 99% of the population who are starving to death, because they have cut off the water they have used for generations to irrigate their land to grow food.

    Has anyone got any solutions?


    • Jim

      An acceptance that kleptocrats exist not just in the ‘western sphere’ but everywhere might help! Nobody but an idiot doubts the magnitude of criminality from ‘our’ side, but it’s just ridiculous to try and paint Putin as some sort of moral paragon, which so many seem to do. He murders his enemies for Gods sake. The idea that these are all some sort of ‘false flags’ to discredit him is insane.

      • Habbabkuk (flush out fakes)

        insanity rules, I’m afraid, Jim.

        But some posters – and the majority of the sheeple and peeps – are still sane, thank God.

      • RobG

        Jim, you don’t appear to have any idea of what’s gone on in Syria just recently; because ‘they’ don’t tell you about it.

        It’s like talking to children.

        And then we get the likes of Habba, who are all going to be held to account and put on trial.

        Make no mistake about that, pal.

        • Jim

          What has Syria got to do with Putin’s personal enrichment programme? I’ve been reading my Chomsky for years, and tend to agree with most of his critiques, so none of the patronising lectures please. Syria is a tragedy and nobody comes out of that looking good except the poor innocent civilians caught up in it. Do you have anything constructive to say beyond empty threats?

          • RobG

            No ’empty threats’; just please try to look at all this bullshit objectively.

            You seem to buy into it.


          • Jim

            Sorry Rob but your questions are just too vague. I just don’t buy this idea that Putin is lily-white and he and his friends haven’t enriched themselves massively. As regards the Panama papers, well they are going to be released it seems, so that should (but won’t) keep everybody happy. I’m well aware of all the dirty ‘great game’ shenanigans, just tired of hearing the same old constant western-bashing narrative all the time. Especially the poisonous varieties from the likes of Thesaker which even well meaning friends of mine buy into without thinking it through. It’s vile anti-Semitic, homophobic stuff, ‘Uncle Shmuel’ ‘Anglo-Zionist cabals’, Rothschilds, you name the trope it’s there. I can’t see why people don’t see through it.

          • bevin

            Syria is much more than a tragedy. It is a crime. Those responsible are very well known, they financed, armed, trained and organised the various wahhabi militias.
            Today one of them used, and boasted of having used, poison gas in Aleppo:

            The US is still arming jaysh and al nusra with manpads and TOW anti-tank systems. Turkey is still trading with ISIS as is Israel. Britain is still supplying weapons and training through Jordan… there are no mysteries about this. This was no sudden spontaneous explosion but a carefully planned campaign against the government which has become a bloody war between foreign invaders (many British and from the EU) and the Syrian Army, bolstered by conscripted self defence forces and the Lebanese Resistance.

      • bevin

        “He murders his enemies for Gods sake. ‘
        He is accused of doing so but no real evidence of his doing so is ever put forward.
        The problem, however is not that Putin is a paragon who is unjustly accused. But that people like yourself make these assertions simply because they are assured that they might be true.
        In other words the problem is that people accept, uncritically charges from sources known to be unreliable, and very likely to be linked with the government and criminal oligarchs in exile because Putin is trying to get them to cough up their ill gotten gains, not for his consumption but in order to repair the finances of the state that they have ripped off.

        • Jim

          What evidence do you need apart from that his political enemies keep dying mysterious violent deaths? It could be coincidence, but do you really think that’s likely? Or that they are all ‘false flag’ operations by the evil west?

          • bevin

            “His political enemies keep on dying mysterious violent deaths”
            The same could be true of Obama or Cameron: every day political enemies of each of them die, mysterious violent deaths.
            All that is missing is someone like you to translate the passing of a life long socialist in Oldham or a dyed in the wool Republican from Omaha into probable assassinations.
            Can’t you see that all that you are doing is repeating malicious gossip, from sources which are obviously tainted? Do you believe everything that you read in the papers? Or just those of a slavophobic bent?
            Think about what “you know” and how you came to “know it”.

          • Jim

            Bevin, you really think Cameron and Obama are bumping off domestic political enemies? Can you name any mysterious violent deaths of well known ‘socialists from Oldham’ that Cameron has found such a thorn in his side that he’s resorted to hit men? I mean, you must know that’s patent rubbish. Cameron is an Eton educated toff with a dodgy dad and a history in the PR industry, not an ex KGB alumnus who has ended up in a position of decades-long power. The list of Putin’s domestic critics who’ve ended up dead in bizarre circumstances extends to over a hundred. Get real.

        • Jim

          There’s a good piece in today’s Guardian describing from an ordinary Syrians point of view how the Tunisian uprising and spread of the ‘Arab Spring’ eastwards did lead to a spontaneous Syrian revolt. This stuff is well documented from any number of Syrian sources. That this was destroyed by the infiltration you try and imply was the start of the uprising is not in doubt. A horrific mess, and criminal is a good way to describe it, but the timeline is important.

          • Laguerre

            Islamists were a major element from the beginning in Syria, Jim. I remember well the early videos on Youtube. Women all covered up, if they appeared. The Guardian only publishes pro-rebel articles, as it faithfully follows the govt line, indeed the subject of Craig’s post.

  • Jayne Venables

    Just watched Panorama Panama Papers programme. Clear explanations of financial and legal issues were helpful to lay viewer. Something unsettling about the door-stepping. Sensationalist. Dumbed down. Have lost trust in Panorama since its handling of VIPCSA.

    You are right Craig. Easy, convenient targets. Yet, who knows what corruption this data might reveal? What reasonable justification is there not to publish all the data?

    • Jim

      See the post above yours. Early May release date. Of course the eternal doubters will never be satisfied with that, there’ll be some aggrieved argument saying it’s all part of some western plot etc etc.

  • lysias (DON'T FEED THE TROLLS)

    If the CIA really is responsible for the leak, I wonder if they stopped to consider that they might bring a Conservative British government down.

    Tariq Ali said in an interview on Democracy Now! just a week or two ago that Corbyn might soon be going to Downing Street.

    • DomesticExtremist

      Maybe that’s what they want. After all, they were only too happy to throw thatcher under the bus once she got a bit too cosy with Euroscepticism.

    • bevin

      And the British and US governments insisted that Pol Pot was the legitimate government to be represented in the UN.
      Vietnam was blamed for its ‘aggression’ and subjected to sanctions for backing the forces which drove Pol Pot to the Thai border where the imperialists defended its enclaves.

    • Herbie

      I know, and fed by the UN.

      Went from 2000 to 200000 with Western support.

      All to destroy a traditional and different society.

      No exceptions to the Globalist order.

      It’s amazing what media has allowed these criminals get away with.

      They want everyone the same.

      No other way of being than the Corporate way.

      No nations, no tribes, no families.

      A world of atomistic anomie.

  • Shyaku

    You may be referred to as ‘naive’, but you would be justified in referring to Mr. Smith as “gullible”.

  • Paul Barbara

    @ lysias (DON’T FEED THE TROLLS) April 7, 2016 at 21:57
    ‘Some interesting things happened during that time frame that I would like to learn more about, like Pearl Harbor and the JFK assassination.’
    Presumably you know Pearl Harbor was deliberately brought about by FDR, as he, the Military Top Brass, Banks and Corporations wanted the US to enter WWII, but only 16% of the US public wanted to get involved in ‘another European war’. His National Security advisor came up with an 8-point plan that would so hurt Japan that it would believe the US was intent on war, and so would strike first. The Americans had all the Japanese naval codes broken (though they denied this), tracked the Task Force across the Pacific, but did not warn Pearl. About 2,400 US personnel died in the attack, but the ‘cunning plan’ worked: the following day after the attack, a million men signed up under arms. See ‘Day of Deceit’ by Robert B. Stinnett.
    Re JFK, RFK and many more assassinations, see ‘Evidence of Revision – Part 1 – The Assassination Of Kennedy And Oswald as Never Seen Before’: ; it is a brilliant 6-part video documentary, the first two parts dealing with JFK. The parts 2-5 are in the shown to the left of the video; part 6 must be searched for separately: ‘Evidence of Revision – part 6’: – The Assassination of MLK:

    • lysias

      I share your suspicions on both matters, but I would like to know what evidence lurks in Russian (formerly Soviet) archives. Harry Dexter White, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, seems to have played a big role in starting the embargo of oil and other strategic materials against Japan, and he was a Soviet agent.

  • tony kevin

    well said. Your first piece on how countries that were objects of “sanctions’ were used to filter the data, resulting in an automatic emphasis on countries like russia and Iran, is very important. I have copied it as much as I could.
    A word of advice from someone who has studied sanctions. It is vital to distinguish between UN imposed sanctions. – which if we believe in the authority of UNSC decisions as i do, are usually presumed to be ‘good’ , and sanctions imposed by US-led coalitions, which express US hegemonic power in world and are therefore likely to be suspect sanctions. There is a common public assumption fed by media that any country subject to any knd of sanctions – UN or US imposed – must be a guilty party. Very important to the Panama Papers case to be precise on what kind of sanctions we are talking about.

  • Alan

    The Guardian is so honest that Off Guardian has been going for months now, and the Beeb shuffled off all attempts at serious reporting when Blair crapped all over them. Who is Richard Smith anyway?

  • Hieroglyph

    I think those awaiting Cameron’s political demise will be disappointed. Cameron – to my mind, astonishingly – survived the hacking scandal, so I doubt his dodgy dad will bring him down. It is … interesting that Cameron also blocked EU legislation on tax-loopholes, but his party will support him on that. No, Cameron will resign, as planned, and let BoJo take over, but he won’t be pushed. Cameron is, shall we say, a protected species, and has served his masters well.

    Personally I am much more intrigued by what Putin has up his sleeves. Old Stalin himself has, on occasion, been linked to Western intelligence agencies, though perhaps that’s a little far-fetched. I have also read interesting internet gossip about Gorbachev’s allegiance, which may of course be nonsense. But hard evidence of Western conniving with the Soviet Regime would be fascinating indeed. Perhaps we’ll hear about Harold Wilson? Or even Netan-Yahoo?

    • Ba'al Zevul

      Good catch. Note that the scandal as it applies to Country X is more likely to be reported by Country Y in most cases. However, the Daily Express’s loathing of Cameron has inspired it to do some actual digging:

      Whether Cameron is being hypocritical or not in being left shares in an offshore hedge fund, is up for debate. Lobbying to preserve the nudge-nudge confidentiality of uncontrolled financiers in 2013, then (serious face) making noises about ending it in 2016, comes a little closer to the mark. And we still don’t know who the beneficial owner of Blairmore Holdings is. It still has an income, and it was set up to benefit the Eton sept of the Clan Cameron.

  • Bert.

    Dear Craig,

    I would argue that the bbc has always been a state mouthpiece – going all the way back to the 1920s.

    As I understand it, in 1926, Churchill wanted to commandeer the bbc to the government’s cause in the general strike. John Reith being not entirely stupid survived this near-miss by insisting that the bbc adopt a policy of NOT OPPOSING the government.

    The bbc does not promote directly the government or State-Corporate position. The bbc does allow State and Corporate mouthpieces to air their views often unchallenged. What the bbc does is not espouse the opposite; the bbc does not make a point of giving airtime to criticisms of the State-Corporate system, or presenting evidence that is plainly embarrassing.

    The bbc does not LIE – they just don’t tell the whole truth; and they do it in such a way as to leave the less wary viewer with the impression that the State-Corporate amalgam desires.

    Anything too unpleasant for the State-Corporate system is simply not addressed (this category is often classed as political) – the State-Corporate view is a stated as a given; that which is less unpleasant but can probably be managed by the State-Corporate propaganda machine is allowed but only so long as their is a spokes person for the other side present (this category is classed as controversial). genuine debate is allowed wherever the State-Corporate machine has no agenda; and outright criticism is forthcoming wherever the baddies are defined as such by the State-Corporate entity – in the latter case abuse may be heaped most liberally upon the baddies.

    You may see some of the most un-journalistic language used by Andrew Neil on ‘This Week’ frequently when referring to jihadis.


    • Tony_0pmoc

      I don’t watch the BBC or any TV, except when in an environment, where I cannot easily avoid it. Then the propaganda almost literally jumps out of the screen and hits me in the face like a wet fish. The BBC lies incessantly. It also does deliberate fabrication in support of Government (illegal) War policy. This results in Millions of innocent deaths and the almost total destruction of entire countries.

      I could quote numerous examples…but this was one of the first to appear on a simple google search. There are very much stronger examples of The BBC’s deliberate lies, where often the propaganda is a direct attempt to gain public support for yet another devastating war. In my view the media people involved in such fabrications, are even more guilty as war criminals, than the politicians, because most of the politicians simply believe the lies that they are fed by the media. They actually trust these liars.

      • RobG

        Don’t you just love a cliche.

        In recent years there’s been a big upsurge in strikes/protests in France. At the moment the railway workers and general workers are conducting strikes, for the same reason as the student protests: they’re against the government’s plans to relax employment laws (they don’t want zero hours contracts and all that other lovely capitalist crap).

        The air traffic controllers are also conducting strikes at the moment; similar reason: pay and conditions.

        Last year the port workers kept going on strike. The UK press blamed a lot of the resulting chaos in Calais on the migrants. In fact the UK press hardly ever report on strikes/protests in France, in case the plebs in Britain get any ideas.

        • Martinned

          Or, as they call that in France, Thursday.

          But seriously, it’s France. Someone is always on strike. As long as the government insists on giving in to blackmail, they’ll continue striking.

      • Node

        “Not all of them, Fred. Just the student union / Occupy types.”

        The educated and the politically aware, in other words.

  • philw

    To me, the questions of WHO released this data and why, is looking much more interesting than what it actually contains. So far nothing of great interest has been revealed. We all knew this stuff went on, nothing illegal has yet come to light, and what the media is pursuing, like the Cameron stuff, is old news. It looks like little more than a media circus.

    But was this a leak, or was it a hack? It could be a disaffected employee, but my money would be on a hack from outside. Few people would have had legitimate access to this data, and it would not be hard to trace the source if it was a leak.

  • Chris

    “I do not accept that there is any legitimate reason for owning offshore companies and offshore bank accounts, if you do not have a business genuinely located in and operating from the jurisdiction. Ordinary people do not have accounts in tax havens”

    That is an important point and it was raised, most usefully, in last night’s Newsnight in connection with Cameron’s father’s trust. Cameron’s argument seems to be that his father opened a Panamanian trust to enable would-be investors to engage in dollar-based operations when it was legal for such investment to be conducted from the UK but not possible in London at the time. A former tax inspector cast doubt on this idea but it was supported by the (balancing) Tory mouthpiece Toby Young. The BBC programme left this question dangling and, though I am not a classic Liberal, I’m personally happy for our national broadcaster not to set itself up as arbiter of fact in the matter. However, it is a simple factual question and I can’t imagine it won’t be resolved by someone or other in the next few days. If “citizen journalism” gets there before someone at the FT, then all well and good, but anyone who pronounces on this question will need some sort of financial/legal credentials.

    “The only subject of any interest now in the Panama Papers is whether the data will be fully released on the internet and available to everybody, and not hidden by the corporate media.”
    I can’t make any sense of this “maximalist” position, though it was ever the stance of the morally outraged public school Trotskyite. Surely there is a lot of material in the Panama Papers that is of interest. Much of it will come out in “mainstream” media across the globe or through alternative channels such as “Democracy Now” in the USA. The world’s media is not a monolithic bloc and neither is the Consortium of Investigative Journalists (one of the key players in this whole affair even appeared on “Democracy Now” yesterday). It is surely axiomatic that there are contradictory interests within the ruling strata of all societies and all sorts of useful information emerges through the cracks. It’s the politics of the kindergarten to stamp one’s feet and say you won’t play at all unless the ruling class reveals all its secrets to everybody all in one go. It’s even more irresponsible to join in a campaign against a national broadcaster that, for all its faults (and contradictions), probably stands between us and wall-to-wall Fox News.

    But, to end on a practical note, if mention of the British Virgin Islands by name is really so important to you, then why not watch Newsnight of 05/04/2016? For convenience, it would be OK to begin round about 3 minutes in. This is the BBC discussing whether British dependencies should be subjected to direct rule from Westminster – and therefore effectively closed down as tax havens. Now, in a “maximalist” world-view, this can probably be dismissed as a cunning ploy by the Establishment to blind us all with pseudo-radicalism, but I suspect it’s better than the alternative we’d be offered by Rupert Murdoch or his ilk if they were given a completely free hand. If practical politics rather than impotent outrage is the object, it might be worth putting aside personal animosity and evaluating all this calmly.

    • Tony_0pmoc

      All mainstream media is controlled, and a large percentage of alternative media such as Alternet and Democracy Now. The acid test of this is quite simple, but your cognitive dissonance cannot accept it, because the truth is so horrific, that if you have any conscience whatsoever, you would feel compelled to do something about it, which is extremely dangerous to your personal circumstances. You could for example get fired, merely for stating the truth about something, even when the evidence confirming your position is overwhelming.

      This video provides a good explanation

      • Chris

        I haven’t posted much on here before but I had some vague hope of a serious response. Are delusional ramblings of this kind the norm?

        • John Spencer-Davis

          Perhaps, if you’re looking for responses, you should consider eschewing abusive rubbish like “it was ever the stance of the morally outraged public school Trotskyite”. You’re lucky to get any responses at all. Craig Murray is neither a Trotskyite nor attended public school. Get stuffed.

          • Chris

            I didn’t say Craig Murray was either a Trotskyite or an ex-public school boy. Why on earth would I have said that? I was saying, if you’d taken the trouble to read it, that the kind of outraged “maximalist” position I was describing is characteristic of pubilc school Trotskyites.
            More generally, I was making the fairly obvious point that moral outrage alone doesn’t lead to very effectively targeted political action. The global media never were set up to be vehicles of pure, unadulterated truth, so why get so agitated over the fairly normal operation of ideology within one broadcasting organization – particularly when the charge against that organization doesn’t really survive the examination of another of its programmes later the same evening? And when the consequences of the suppression of that organization would almost certainly be catastrophically negative (though that is a question that could usefully be debated).
            Sadly, everyone seems to want to be offended these days. I suppose it’s a way of not engaging with those Rosa Luxemburg called “die Andersdenkenden”. It seems as though the “paranoid style” in politics, as diagnosed many years ago by Richard Hofstadter, is something we’ve imported along with the Internet. But I like “Get stuffed”: what a wonderful way of responding to someone you’re accusing of writing “abusive rubbish”.

          • John Spencer-Davis

            That’s okay, you’re welcome. I did trouble to read it, and carefully. You quoted Murray directly and then drew an exact parallel between his position and that of a morally outraged public school Trotskyite. My comment was therefore an entirely reasonable one: paranoid style my backside. Someone who doesn’t post on here often would do well to adopt a less arrogant and hectoring attitude, in my opinion. And if you don’t like my opinion, I really don’t care.

  • TJ

    What about a Freedom of Information request, would that get us the data?

    Also while offshore trusts and companies are used for nefarious purposes there are legitimate uses, for example under the new VAT MOSS rules anyone selling any digital good into the EU is now criminally liable in every EU country for the VAT payable in that country, so what happens when someone in the UK gets an order for say an ebook, and the buyer pretends they are in a low VAT jurisdiction when they are in a high VAT one? It’s the seller not the buyer who is liable, this can be easily overcome by using a non-EU offshore company to do the transaction, say Delaware rather than Panama. Unfortunately these sorts of situations, created by politicians and bureaucrats who are hostile to SMEs and beholden to transnational business in the UK and EU any in many instances make the case for being offshore a matter not only of economic but personal security.

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