By Craig Murray, former British ambassador to Uzbekistan and Rector (i.e. president) of the University of Dundee. Craigmurray.org.uk.
When I posted my scepticism that we would be given the full truth about the content of the Panama Papers by the mainstream media outlets who were controlling them, it went viral and became the first individual article to be read by half a million people on this blog alone, and a multiple of that as it was posted all round the web, translated into several languages.
I also attracted some derision from establishment propagandists. I had contented that the fact the papers themselves were not made available, but we were rather fed selected information by the western and corporate state media, would limit and slant what the public was told. The initial concentration on Russia, Iran, Syria etc seemed to confirm this. But it was urged that more was to come, and I should wait, and it was suggested I would look foolish when they finished publishing. “Wait and see” tweeted the editor of the lead newspaper, the Suddeutsche Zeitung, in response to my post.
Well I waited, and what happened? The story fizzled out.
Take the UK. We got the stuff about Putin, Iran and various “baddies”. We got a story about Cameron’s dad that had been public knowledge already for four years. And we got the BBC chasing one bloke who had sold one house in Islington. And that was it.
We learnt that the majority of dodgy companies were registered in British overseas territories. We learnt that the largest number of dodgy lawyers and accountants working with Mossack Fonseca were in the UK. Yet in these millions of documents, not one major British company or individual not already known was implicated. Do we really believe that? And do we really believe the near complete absence of people implicated from the United States?
I have a clue what is going on. A young lady contacted me from Le Monde newspaper. She was one of the journalists working on the Panama Papers. She had been allocated the task of researching a Russian oligarch, and not knowing I had made any comment on the Panama Papers, she contacted me as I had background information on the man. Her email made plain that what the “International Consortium of Investigative Journalists” in Washington was closely controlling the process, and that what she wrote would have to go back to them for “checking” before publication. The ICIJ is funded, as I pointed out, by corporate America. Their donors include:
Rockefeller Family Fund
W K Kellogg Foundation
Open Society Foundation (Soros)
So, in one stroke, the argument that the data was not being controlled because it was “shared with hundreds of journalists around the world” falls. That argument was repeatedly thrown at me but it appears not to be true; hundreds of journalists did not have unfettered access to the entire database or free publication of their findings. It was very much a controlled leak.
Of course I am not claiming there is absolute control. It is a matter of degree. As I pointed out, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation made a documentary which directly implicated and challenged Australia’s biggest company, BHP Billiton, and Australia’s biggest foreign investor. But that only emphasises the problem.
Are we really supposed to believe that in Australia the biggest economic players were involved, but in the UK – where far more lawyers and accountants were implicated – it was just Cameron’s dad and a slightly dodgy geezer in Islington?
The corporate media still claim there are legitimate reasons, apart from avoiding tax and jurisdiction, for using companies like Mossack Fonseca. They will therefore – again contrary to a widespread claim – only be publishing a small minority of the actual documents for the public to search. “The application will not be a ‘data dump’ of the original documents — it will be a careful release of basic corporate information” says the ICIJ. Their words, not mine.
So the fundamental question is, do you trust the corporate media to give you a true picture? By passing the data to the corporate media the leaker has put us back to a pre-WikiLeaks world. My instinct is not to trust them, and the promised revelations that would prove me wrong are yet to appear.