The Panama Papers – It’s a Family Affair!
One of the amazing (sic) revelations coming out of the continuous release of more information from the so-called “Panama Papers” is just how many rich and powerful people have family members who own multiple shell companies registered via Mossack – Fonseca. We have wives, fathers and mothers, cousins, in-laws, and so on. It’s amazing how many close relations of these public figures are business people themselves… Often the wife of a huge multi national CEO might actually “own” more companies than her husband does. Isn’t that amazing! Business skills clearly run in families.
It is particularly heartening to see how the leaders of current and former “Communist” powers are now investing in the future of Capitalism by parking their “investments” in companies in the West.
Speaking of the West, it has been noted that a dearth of major Western leaders has been revealed so far. Could it be that our business and political leadership is more honest, less hypocritical, more willing to pay their fair share than the leaders of other countries? Or, more likely, could it be that since our elites own virtually all of the major media, including the publications whose journalists have been working through the leaked documents, they might actually be filtering the information in such a way that these very elites are sheltered from public censure? Could it be?
The Chinese leadership has had it the easiest. They have simply shut down any and all mention of the Panama Papers, criticism of officials or their families, etc. Since Putin has control over most Russian media, he has turned his spin doctors loose using a tried and true strategy, it’s all a plot by the West and the CIA to discredit him and weaken the “Rodina”.
But, it’s harder for the elites in the West. They have to try to at least pretend that we are democracies, that we have freedom of the press, free access to information, etc. It’s not quite in their power to completely shut down the revelations. So it’s all about being selective… filtering out what would be damaging or embarrassing for our prominent elites while leaking enough information about totalitarian leaders, leaders of developing countries (where we simply expect such things), sprinkled with a few leaders from the West (Iceland of all places) to make things seem even handed.
If, like me, you are old enough to remember the leaking of the Pentagon Papers back in 1971, you will remember that it took some time for people to work through the massive stack of volumes that comprised the secret history of our involvement in Vietnam (much of which put the lie to the conventional wisdom of the time). The damage the leak did caused Nixon to set up the “plumbers” (to stop leaks). They attempted to discredit Daniel Ellsberg, the analyst who leaked the papers, and eventually the same folks were caught burgling the Democratic Headquarters at the Watergate complex. So, in a sense, the Pentagon Papers changed the world.
The Panama Papers have the potential to blow the lid off the way in which the moneyed elites hide their wealth from the tax man and from the citizens that they have ripped off. The critical point to understand is that these documents came from just one small company in Panama, one of many that do this sort of shady work. What else is out there to be discovered? Clearly what we have seen is the tip of the iceberg. It’s going to be interesting to see what’s next.