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Issue #1726      April 13, 2016

Panama Papers

Where have all the Americans gone?

There are a few interesting aspects in the story of “Panama Papers” – the materials released to compromise a great deal of politicians and their offshore assets – that deserve special attention.

The materials were released by the International Consortium for Investigative Journalism. However, as it appears, this consortium is “not quite international.” There are many public figures and policy-makers in the papers indeed, including Putin’s acquaintances, Ukrainian President Poroshenko, British politicians and so on. The question is about those figures whose names do not appear in the papers.

The Panama papers do not include any names of US officials. Looks interesting, does it not? One shall assume that the United States of America is home to world’s most honest, incorruptible officials, who have absolutely no money anywhere and no offshore accounts either.

This idea may come to mind to many people especially when they think of recent scandals with Hillary Clinton and her efforts to protect a Swiss bank from the IRS.

The authors of the investigation were sponsored by USAID. Naturally, it is very uncomfortable to investigate the deeds of sponsors. This is the key to the “American silence.”

The results of the investigation conducted by the International Consortium for Investigative Journalism appear raw. The authenticity of the provided documents has not been established, plus the whole report makes references to “very anonymous and reliable” sources. It is hard to understand whose accounts appear in the papers. Oh, and the icing on the cake is “the secret friend of Putin, a cellist.”

Why not an accordion player or a toast master? Noteworthy, Drew Sullivan, one of the “authors” of all this “universal reveal” was a stand-up comedian in the past, who had received millions from the State Department.

“Sullivan is the founder of Journalism Development Network. It is not quite clear what this agency deals with exactly – it has no official website. However, it is known that this organisation not just regulates the OCCRP (Organised Crimea and Corruption Reporting Project), but also acts as a financial seal between the latter and the US government,” investigator Roman Golovanov wrote.

“In general, Journalism Development receives huge funds from both the USAID and the US State Department,” he continues while publishing reports about multimillion-dollar grants that the organisation had received.

“As we can see, this is a typical example of a grant-eater and its founder, who is firmly addicted to the financial needle of the State Department and USAID, and therefore acts as an instrument of US-led foreign policy. It is worthy of note that Sullivan’s organisation not only masters the funds of US taxpayers but also directs financial flows in Russia,” the expert wrote. Specifically, the money comes to the Novaya Gazeta newspaper, which the author recommends for inspection to at least six tax agencies.

“The widely publicised investigation about Putin has gone down the drain as a collection of charges that do not reveal anything. In fact, they have made news out of thin air to promote it through ‘loyal’ and simply Russia-unfriendly media,” he said.

“This is an information attack, rather than journalism. Key publications on the website of the primary source (ISIJ) and the international media (the UK Guardian, USA Today, etc) say a lot about the Russian president, but much more allegations against Poroshenko, Xi Jinping’s family members and other personas do not appear to raise any interest with anyone,” Golovanov adds.

“Why this attack has come at this particular moment is clear as well. There are large federal elections coming up, and this is a brainwashing attempt to discredit reputable individuals. Have you paid attention to the fact that there are no Americans in the report? Is it because the sponsors of this ‘investigative organisation’ are in Washington? This is a moth-eaten story of he who pays the piper calls the tune,” he suggests.

Russian bloggers continue. Stanislav Yakovlev, for example, wrote the obvious: “The concept of ‘confidential’ is now either just a word or a bad joke.”

“A ‘leak’ appears to be a legal and socially approved way of obtaining information. Starting from yesterday, working with ‘information leaks’ has officially become noble and even heroic work,” he wrote.

In general, we are witnessing not just a method of information warfare, but, a global and national standard of democratic politics. What is the most democratic state in the world today, the stronghold of democracy?

This is the USA, of course. In this country, an organisation of the US State Department uses this type of “investigation” as a method of work. This organisation showed everyone a bag and said that there was a cat inside – this is how this investigation can be described.

Many may now want to dig something up for American officials. Monica Lewinsky’s act in the Oval Office and Hillary Clinton’s financial scandals will seem to be baby talk in comparison.

The USAID has opened a Pandora’s Box without realising what consequences these actions may lead to.

Next article – Brazil – Workers say – “No to the coup”

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