Umberto Eco in his last book, Numero Zero, in describing the reality of the manipulating and manipulated western media, has a newspaper editor say, “let’s just stick to spreading suspicion. Someone is involved in fishy business, and though we don’t know who it is, we can give him a scare. That’s enough for our purposes. Then we’ll cash in, our proprietor can cash in, when the time is right.”
And that is exactly what is happening with the appearance simultaneously in all the western media, on Sunday, April 3 of a story about what are called the Panama Papers. The story attributed to a shadowy organisation called the International Coalition of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) has all the hallmarks of an operation by western secret services to attempt to subvert targeted governments. The primary target is of course President Putin in order to influence the coming elections and to further attempt to portray him in the eyes of the peoples of the west as a criminal.
But the targets also include FIFA directors, continuing the harassment of FIFA by the United States government, in order to keep Russia out of the next world cup football games, Lionel Messi one of the world’s best football players, perhaps because he refused a request by President Obama’s daughters to meet him when Obama visited Argentina, Jackie Chan, no doubt punishment for supporting the Communist Party of China, and various people blacklisted by the United States for dealing with North Korea, Iran, Hezbollah, Syria and other American designated enemies.
They include President Poroshenko of Ukraine, perhaps signalling they are tired of him, the prime minister of Iceland, since forced to resign, no doubt for jailing bankers, seizing their banks and giving the people some compensation for their losses in the financial crisis of 2008, Hosni Mubarak who has accused the United States of trying to overthrow him, the murdered Gadhafi, and Xi Jinping, president of China. No Americans or NATO leaders are named though David Cameron’s father is named, perhaps a slap at Cameron for allowing a referendum to take place on whether Britain should leave the European Union, which would reduce US influence in Europe.
Essentially these people are all considered by the United States government to be enemies or critics of the United States in one way or another, or no longer reliable partners.
The immediate positioning of President Putin as the principal target of this story, despite the fact he is not mentioned in the documents, coupled with the timing of the story make a reasonable observer conclude that this information was not released just to inform the public but to subvert and discredit chosen governments, that is, it is a propaganda operation, using information that will get the attention of the masses. The rich hiding their money is always a good way to generate anger among the people and to provoke unrest in order to destabilise governments, as we saw just happened in Iceland. It does not matter whether the information in the story is true or not. Some of the information may be but the law firm from which the information was stolen says much of what the story says is untrue. But it doesn’t really matter because the story is what is important and that’s all that people see.
This conclusion is the more inescapable when the true nature of the ICIJ is revealed. For to understand what this story is about it is important to know who put it out, with whom they are connected and who provides the money.
The key is found in the list of the members of the Advisory Board, the Board of Directors and the funders of its parent organisation, the Centre For Public Integrity (CFPI). The ICIJ states on its website that is a non-profit organisation. That technically may be true but they failed to add that they act for the profit of the people who fund them and who control their operations. Funders of the CFPI include the Democracy Fund, the Carnegie Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Open Society Foundations of George Soros, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Rockefeller Family Fund and many others of the same pedigree. Individual donors include such people as Paul Volcker, former chairman of the US Federal Reserve and many others of the powerful US corporate and financial elite.
Its Advisory Board includes Geoffrey Cowan, who was appointed Director of Voice of America by President Clinton in 1994 and was in 1994-96 associate director of the United States Information Agency. He is now president of the Annenberg Foundation which has hosted US presidents at its retreat in California, dubbed Camp David West, including President Obama. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations which is the American think tank whose membership includes several former heads of the CIA, several US Secretaries of State, and connected media figures and which has the role of promoting globalisation, free trade and other economic and foreign policies for the benefit of the rich and powerful in America.
The Advisory Board also includes Hodding Carter III, former assistant secretary of state under President Carter and later a journalist for major western media such as BBC, ABC, CBC, CNN, NBC, PBS Wall Street Journal, and now President of the Knight Foundation. There is Edith Everett, President of Gruntal and Company, one of the oldest and biggest investment banks in New York City, Hebert Hafif, connected establishment lawyer, Kathleen Hill Jamieson, Dean of the Annenberg School for Communication, an expert on the use of the media for political purposes including how to influence political campaigns and elections, and Sonia Jarvis, a lawyer who once worked with President Clinton,
It includes Harold Hongji Koh who was a legal adviser at the US Department of State from 2009 to 2013, nominated by President Obama, who in March 2010 gave a speech supporting the legality of drone assassinations. There is Charles Ogletree, Harvard law professor and a close friend of President Obama, Allen Pusey, publisher and editor of the American Bar Association Journal, Ben Sherwood, co-chair of Disney Media, former president of ABC News and also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Paul Volcker not only is an individual financial supporter but is also on the Board. Aside from his position as a former chairman of the Federal Reserve (1979-1987) he was also chair of the US Economic Advisory Board, appointed by President Obama (2009-2011) a former chair of the Trilateral Commission, worked for the Chase Manhattan Bank and is very close to the Rockefeller family.
It includes Harold Williams, former Chair of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (1977-1981) and member of board of directors of dozens of companies, William Julius Wilson, professor of sociology at Harvard and, last but not least, Christiane Amanpour, chief war propagandist for CNN, who just a few days ago appeared on CNN acting out a charade in which she interviewed a staffer from the ICIJ about the Panama Papers while pretending not to know anything about them. She was in fact interviewing a member of her own organisation but she never informed her viewers of this. For some reason her name does not appear on the CFPI website but her name does appear in the organisation’s latest annual report for 2014-15.
The Board of Directors includes Peter Beale a former head of CNN.com, a former Reuters agent, editor at the London Times, and Microsoft editorial director, as well as Arianna Huffington, president of Post Media, and Bill Kovach, journalist for the New York Times, to name just a few of the establishment figures listed.
The point is made. This is not some independent, muckraking group dedicated to truth and democracy. This is a group of propagandists who, under the cloak of journalism, carry out the art of deception on behalf of the American government and secret services. Indeed in the annual report, they even quote President Obama approving their work. In January this same group launched an attack on the government of China with another story of “leaked” financial documents implicating the Chinese leadership and have done it again in this new story, now doubt part of the “pivot to China.”
So there you have it, the information you need to know but which CNN, The Guardian, the BBC, CBC, the New York Times and all the rest of the media refuse to provide you so that you can properly assess the story they have propagated through the world media. The role of the western media is not to inform the public but, as Umberto Eco says, “to teach people how to think,” to manipulate opinion and action. Their suppression of that information is a lie and as that other great writer, Jose Saramago, wrote, they use “the lie as a weapon, the lie as the advance guard of tanks and cannons, the lie told over the ruins, over the corpses, over humanity’s wretched and perpetually frustrated hopes.” It is time for these people to be exposed for what they are and called to account for their deception of the people they claim to serve, for what greater crime can their be than to deceive the people?
Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto, he is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada and he is known for a number of high-profile cases involving human rights and war crimes, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.