This time the story has a twist, it has sides that some considered and many ignored. This all started when the Guardian started a new story this morning. The title ‘From Snowden to Panama, all hail the power of the press‘, written by Simon Jenkins (at http://www.theguardian.com/news/commentisfree/2016/apr/06/simon-jenkins-power-of-press-panama-papers-investigative-journalists). Even though it is ‘merely’ on the ‘comment is free’ part of the Guardian, this article deserves a separate bit of attention. You see, the start set me off, but it was the content that truly leaves food for thought and it should worry you all!
The title is the first part. You see, I always considered Snowden to be a joke, a scenario (explanation will follow), in addition, the Panama papers are showing a side that should worry a lot of players in this game of what I consider to be misinformation. The interesting part is that these two examples are both relying on data, one from the inside and one (Mossack Fonseca should hope so) from the outside.
Then the writer gives us the following: “Fifa corruption, Snowden and surveillance, Rotherham child abuse, drugged athletes, Stephen Lawrence, WikiLeaks, MPs’ expenses, phone hacking, HSBC, cash for questions, cricket fixing, extraordinary rendition, Olympic bribery, Slater Walker share fixing, DC-10 crashes, thalidomide, corruption at the Met: if power had had its way, none of these stories would have come to light“, now for some cold realities. If there is one voice that requires heralding, than it is the journalist Andrew Jennings. He was the one who truly looked into FIFA, with FIFA’s Dirty Secrets (first aired on 29th November 2010), this was basically one man. The press at large didn’t do that much. They ‘reported’ on certain matters, but the visibility it should have gotten was below minimum. The Guardian in May 2011 gave us in “Lord Triesman accuses Fifa executives of ‘unethical behaviour'” the mere quote “In retrospect that was not the right view to take and I accept that” seems to push for sympathy. The only part I see is that the press at large ignored seriously investigating FIFA. When it finally did happen, it was a decade too late. When we see the phone hacking reference, we must realise two elements “investigations conducted from 2005 to 2007 appeared to show that the paper’s phone hacking activities were limited to celebrities, politicians and members of the British Royal Family” is the first and the second “the phones of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, relatives of deceased British soldiers, and victims of the 7 July 2005 London bombings had also been hacked“. It was public outcry that led to the official investigations, not the press. The Leveson inquiry that started through the announcement of David Cameron on July 6th 2011 would show a few sides. One of them that the Press Complaints Commission was merely a joke and a bad one at that. It also started Hacked Off, a group investigating the misdeeds of the press. The Leveson inquiry resulted in an advice for a royal charter, something that was massively feared and objected to. We would see responses like “state restriction on press freedom“, yet freedom does not mean unaccountable, which is what the press, for reasons of ambiguity and circulation requires.
The royal charter was from the very first moment bitterly contested by the press, with many of the largest newspapers instead backing Ipso, which by many non-journalists is regarded as a mere joke.
There is little to say about the rest of the initial list, but it is not the last stated about the article. You see, now the light grows on the Panama Papers with “A cloud of stinking dust rises as another wall in the edifice of unaccountability crashes to the ground. No thanks are due to any government or police force, to any minister or regulator“, this statement might sound true, but is it? Let’s look at the list:
- Any government. So, what about Panama? That place has its own government!
- Police force, they were never part of anything, remember the initial part, Mossack Fonseca has not broken any laws, so how does the police fit here?
- Any minister, which is the first real name, hidden in a field of useless names. You see, how are laws made? (at http://www.parliament.uk/education/about-your-parliament/how-laws-are-made/), that has been the issue from day one for decades, there was a need to truly overhaul taxation laws in pretty much every Commonwealth nation, when was this done? When did the press at large keep a watchful eye on those making laws? Which members of government, which MP, which Lord has attempted to overhaul tax havens and taxation laws? Which bills were created for that? All answers not forthcoming, the press tends to sleep through those moments as they are often regarded as not sexy enough for circulation.
- Any regulator. They overlook that things are properly done according to law. As no law was broken, they tend to be useless here.
So the list we see leaves us with one group to blame (because no crime has been reported 3 become non-players), a group that gets blamed all the time, so people do not take heed. What is brilliant is what Simon Jenkins does next. He basically validates all I wrote here (and I have written it before). He writes “Sometimes it relies on a solitary reporter, such Andrew Jennings initially on Olympic and Fifa corruption“, he is correct, especially when he writes “If indeed “everyone in the know knew” that Fifa was corrupt, sportsmen took drugs and contests were fixed, why did it need American attorneys to make arrests, spurred to action by the British press?“, that is a question that has an easy answer as I see it. You see, it is money! In that same light the press has become extremely cautious to (pardon my French) ‘piss off the shareholders and advertisers‘. When it is a player like FIFA, a player with billions, the nervous cat (aka the editor) might not take a step until the transgressor confesses on national news from a public place (like that will ever happen).
So why do I have an issue?
You see, the title has the gem no one talks about.
I have written about Snowden many times, so you can Google that part, but the Panama Papers are new and here to we see a certain lack, one that was equally present with the Snowden claims.
For this we need to take a small step into Logic. You see Mossack Fonseca is not a simple place, I reckon that those working there are amongst the brightest on the planet. Even when Wall Street collapsed and whilst others were looking at Enron. This player with 300,000 companies was making its own waves. Namely waves of continued wealth. Consider those accounts and as these clients are all well above millionaires, consider a fictive amount that they’d pay $10,000 for the privilege of not paying more than 1% taxation. That means that we have a bare minimum of $3 billion in clean revenue and that is the smallest possible number. If they were paid 0.1% of the saved taxation, we get to a number of more than twenty times the amount, not bad for a company with 500 people over 42 nations. We all want a share of that pie and that is exactly what is happening right now (as I see it).
Do you think that you can just walk into systems that secure an annual revenue of billions? You think that hacking is a new invention? No, these people will pay top dollar for 24 hours a day monitoring of every byte they have. This is the puzzling part that every press agency seems to have overlooked (read: ignored). Those files and the massive size of it would have set above average alerts all over the place and this place is anything but absolute top tiered secure. You see, the second part in all this is that new progressive form of entertaining person. In America they refer to him as President of the United States. You see the title ‘Obama calls for international tax reform amid Panama Papers revelations‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/news/2016/apr/05/justice-department-panama-papers-mossack-fonseca-us-investigation) reads like a mere joke for the following reasons:
– As ‘lame duck’ president you Mr President are on the way out, the elections are already underway and in November a new person comes into the White House, whatever claims you make now, they will never become a reality!
– Let’s take a little gander back to July 2013, where your administration, perhaps even the head honcho of that oval office (read: you) REFUSED to back international taxation laws that would allow tougher calls on digital companies like Google, Amazon and Apple. The quote “Senior officials in Washington have made it known they will not stand for rule changes that narrowly target the activities of some of the nation’s fastest growing multinationals“, which amount to the US needs that money and taxation in other nations is not an option at present.
The last part is shown when we consider the congressional paper ‘Tax Havens: International Tax Avoidance and Evasion‘ called R40623, here we see on page 4 “These tax havens tend to be concentrated in certain areas, including the Caribbean and West Indies and Europe, locations close to large developed countries. There are 50 altogether“, which is wrong, for the simple reason that there are at least 51. America decided not to list the USA, which is shown by Bloomberg (at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-27/the-world-s-favorite-new-tax-haven-is-the-united-states), where we see “helping the world’s rich move accounts from places like the Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands to Nevada, Wyoming, and South Dakota“, did you see that one little reference, ‘from’, this is what Mossack Fonseca faces, a move from one place into the USA. Interesting that he who is on the way out seems to skip his own garden when it comes to tax havens. Could the USA be that bankrupt? Or is this another move to force any wealth away from supporting Brexit? You cannot deny the timing that this comes to light just when Greece will be unable to meet another payment, meaning that new arrangements are necessarily. And the Bloomberg article was published months ago!
What is a given is that hacking into Mossack Fonseca should have been nearly impossible, unless you have government assets to use, which we all know is not really an option. In the end I cannot prove how the data got out and Mossack Fonseca will never answer that with clarity, consider that even on a fast internet, it would take 326 hours to download the data that some claim they have from Mossack Fonseca. So either there was another medium, or there are other players in town. These simple elements were easily found, and how long until someone in the office realises that one data job is taking a really long time?
This is why the entire Panama Paper Trail smells and the press at large seems to be avoiding the questions, in this we will soon see the Guardian replace ‘According to Snowden’ replace with ‘According to the Panama Papers we have’ as a new false seal of reliability, so that more ‘dramatic’ revelations can find their way to a page one issue.
How Delusional is that?
That question is equally important, because even though I relied on quotes sources and logic, is my version so much better and so much more reliable? I am not willing to believe myself regarding some of the issues illuminated, so why would you? I personally believe that you can find these same facts easily enough. The levels of logic I employed can be equalled easily enough by an intelligent person, so why did the press not see them and why are they not asking the hard questions?
Is that fair enough?
I leave it with you to consider the facts I presented.