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Where Will You Be Seated at the Banquet of Consequences?

The Banquet of Consequences is being laid out, and so the question is: where will you be seated? The answer depends on two dynamics I’ve mentioned many times: what types of capital you own and the asymmetries of our economy.

One set of asymmetries is the result of the system isn’t broken, it’s fixed, i.e. rigged to favor the few at the expense of the many. There are many manifestations of neofeudal asymmetry that divides neatly into two classes and two systems, the nobility and the serfs.

A rich kid caught with drugs gets a wrist-slap, a poor kid gets a tenner in the Drug Gulag.

Upper-middle class households are tax-donkeys, paying high taxes and getting few deductions, while mega-wealthy corporations and financiers enjoy offshore tax shelters of the kind exposed by the Panama Papers.

The stock market operators use high-frequency trading to front-run the market and generate profits that are inaccessible to serfs with retail trading accounts.

And so on. Given that the nobility control the machinery of governance (so-called democracy), there’s no way for commoners to influence the neofeudal cartel-state asymmetries short of shutting down the entire system.

Which leaves the asymmetries created by the dynamics of the 4th Industrial Revolution in which new technologies and business models are destabilizing every sector of the old economy.

The core dynamic here is value flows to what’s scarce and in demand. The asymmetric returns on capital and labor are the direct result of what’s scarce and what’s not scarce and what’s in demand and what’s not in demand.

Ordinary labor and college diplomas are not scarce and therefore command very little premium. Ordinary capital is also not scarce, and hence the low yield on ordinary capital.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Bean counters: Lost in Paradise

Long before the Paradise Papers, or the Panama Papers, the Enron scandal, Savings and Loan crisis, WorldCom, and the Global Financial Crisis, governments in the US, UK and Australia were colluding with the world’s biggest banks and their clients using aggressions dynamics not to defeat but to suborn the controls of the supposedly independent professionals: The accountants.

Illustration by Rachael Bolton

The great swathes of coverage being given to the Paradise Papers largely focuses attention on its beneficiaries and the specialised offshore marketers of the schemes, but scant attention has been directed towards The Big Four global accounting firms like Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PWC), Ernst & Young (EY), Deloitte and KPMG, that enabled tax dodging by aggressively marketing schemes in Luxembourg, Panama, Jersey, the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands to their clients using firms like Appleby as conduits.

Long before the Paradise Papers, or the Panama Papers, the Enron scandal, Savings and Loan crisis, WorldCom, and the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) governments in the United States, the UK and Australia were colluding with the world’s biggest banks and their clients using aggressions dynamics not to defeat but to suborn the controls of the supposedly independent professionals: The accountants.

They aren’t just designing new tax avoidance schemes the likes of which feature in the Paradise and Panama Papers. The Big Four accountancy firms are lobbying for and directly drafting the very regulations and loopholes that enable them.

How to run a control fraud

The best way to run a control fraud is to turn the independent professionals that provide internal and external controls – auditors, appraisers, and credit ratings agencies – into allies, and use their reputation, alleged professionalism and independence to assist you in convincing the victims of your fraud, to trust you.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Major BC Liberal Donor Named in Panama Papers

Major BC Liberal Donor Named in Panama Papers

Haywood Securities listed as a shareholder in firms registered in British Virgin Islands.

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Finance Minister Michael de Jong said he had ‘no knowledge’ of a BC Liberal donor being named in the Panama Papers. Photo: BC Gov’t Flickr.

The name of a major donor to the British Columbia Liberal Party appears in a database drawn from the Panama Papers leak.

Haywood Securities Inc., a Vancouver company that has giventhe BC Liberals $332,000 since 2005, is described in the database as a shareholder in companies registered in the British Virgin Islands, a researcher with the Dogwood Initiative environmental group in B.C. discovered.

According to the database, Haywood held shares in Kola Gold Ltd., a company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands in 2014. The investment firm held the shares both directly and in trust for a holding company.

The database also lists Haywood as holding shares in African Aura Resources Ltd., a mining company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, in trust for 22 investors. And it held shares in trust for an investor in Gem Diamond Mining Company of Africa, which is also registered in the British Virgin Islands.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists published the database on May 9. On its website, the ICIJ describes the Panama Papers as a “giant leak of more than 11.5 million financial and legal records exposes a system that enables crime, corruption and wrongdoing, hidden by secretive offshore companies.”

A disclaimer in the ICIJ website stresses that there are legitimate uses for offshore companies and trusts, and the organization does not intend to imply anyone appearing in the database has broken any laws or otherwise acted improperly.

Finance minister won’t ‘speculate’

The Tyee’s call to Haywood was put through to company president Rob Blanchard’s office. An assistant to Blanchard took the message, but the call was not returned by publication time.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Panama Papers Source Wants Whistleblower Immunity to Aid Law Enforcement

THE ANONYMOUS SOURCE responsible for leaking the vast document trove known as the Panama Papers said in a manifesto published on Friday that she or he “would be willing to cooperate with law enforcement” to ensure the prosecution of wrongdoing revealed by the paper trail — but only once “governments codify legal protections for whistleblowers into law.”

The source wrote that the leaked files on offshore business dealings and shell companies organized by Mossack Fonseca, a law firm based in Panama, revealed “the scandal of what is legal and allowed.”

But the source, who took the name “John Doe,” argued that since “the law firm, its founders, and employees actually did knowingly violate myriad laws worldwide, repeatedly,” the wrongdoers there should now be prosecuted.

Doe added that prosecutors require access to the original documents, noting that media outlets “have rightly stated that they will not provide them to law enforcement agencies. I, however, would be willing to cooperate with law enforcement to the extent that I am able.”

“That being said,” Doe continued, “I have watched as one after another, whistleblowers and activists in the United States and Europe have had their lives destroyed by the circumstances they find themselves in after shining a light on obvious wrongdoing.” Doe explained:

Edward Snowden is stranded in Moscow, exiled due to the Obama administration’s decision to prosecute him under the Espionage Act. For his revelations about the NSA, he deserves a hero’s welcome and a substantial prize, not banishment. Bradley Birkenfeld was awarded millions for his information concerning Swiss bank UBS — and was still given a prison sentence by the Justice Department. Antoine Deltour is presently on trial for providing journalists with information about how Luxembourg granted secret “sweetheart” tax deals to multi-national corporations, effectively stealing billions in tax revenues from its neighbour countries. And there are plenty more examples.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

150-Strong: A Pathway to a Different Future – Serialisation Part 3

150-Strong: A Pathway to a Different Future – Serialisation Part 3

“The more laws and commands there are,
the more thieves and robbers there will be.” Lao Tzu

150-STRONG

Information leaked in the Panama Papers about the use of tax havens certainly supports this statement! Under the cover of the law thieves and robbers have been maintaining their privilege and ultra-wealth by being tricky. Many of them are leaders – politicians, monarchs and business executives. “I have done nothing illegal,” they say as their souls disappear a little further into a fog. And from the germ of their example a cancer grows.

Rules work best when they are kept to a minimum.

This I have seen illustrated in the context of the business I am involved in. We are a construction company employing approximately 150 people, a mix from all walks of life – old friends, relatives of workers who needed a job, qualified recruits who fitted the mold, troubled youth recommended by the courts as worthy of a second chance, odd bods and colorful characters who fell into each others’ orbits. Some are very skilled and others developing.

We operate with very few rules. The main rule is that you must be accountable for your actions among your peers. Thanks to our systems of reporting, no information remains hidden for long, and no one is allowed to hide behind the manipulation of words, duplicity or attributing blame to others. There is little need for rules when regret and shame operate for those who fall short.

It is a system that requires that participants have a personal relationship with each other, where they know each other well enough to care and to understand, beyond a superficial level, what is going on. Moderation and maturity are required, because exposing the foibles of others can be exploited as an opportunity for persecution, blame and cavilling.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Panama Papers: Laundering Havens for War Budgets (Video)

The Panama Papers: Laundering Havens for War Budgets (Video)

In mid-April, economist Michael Hudson told The Real News Network that global oil and mining industries and the U.S. State Department created Panama and Liberia for the express purpose of tax evasion.

Read a full transcript of Hudson’s exchange with host Sharmini Peries below.

SHARMINI PERIES, TRNN: It’s the Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore.

Within a week the 11 million documents called the Panama papers, published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, has become a household name. The documents are connected to the Panama law firm Mossack Fonsesca that helped establish offshore accounts for some of the wealthiest and most powerful leaders to launder money and evade taxes.

On Tuesday the police in Panama raided the Mossack Fonseca law firm to search for more documents linked to illicit activities. But what are they expecting to find, since we have already known for some time now that offshore accounts are being used to evade taxes by the banking sector, essentially white-collar crooks, at institutions such as Credit Suisse and others? But who is really behind the creation of these mechanisms and loopholes for tax evasion?

Our next guest, Michael Hudson, says Panama was created as a tax haven by certain sectors of our economy for this purpose. Joining us now from New York is Michael Hudson. Michael is a distinguished research professor of economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and he’s a former balance of payments economist for Chase Manhattan bank. He is the author of many books, and the latest among them is Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy. And if you want to know more about that book, on our site you’ll find Chris Hedges interviewing Michael Hudson on this book. Thanks for joining us, Michael.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Panama and the Criminalization of the Global Finance System

Panama and the Criminalization of the Global Finance System

Sharmini Peries:  Within a week the 11 million documents called the Panama papers, published by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, has become a household name. The documents are connected to the Panama law firm Mossack Fonsesca that helped establish offshore accounts for some of the wealthiest and most powerful leaders to launder money and evade taxes.

On Tuesday the police in Panama raided the Mossack Fonseca law firm to search for more documents linked to illicit activities. But what are they expecting to find, since we have already known for some time now that offshore accounts are being used to evade taxes by the banking sector, essentially white-collar crooks, at institutions such as Credit Suisse and others? But who is really behind the creation of these mechanisms and loopholes for tax evasion?

Economist Michael Hudson says Panama was created as a tax haven by certain sectors of our economy for this purpose. Hudson is a distinguished research professor of economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and he’s a former balance of payments economist for Chase Manhattan bank. He is the author of many books, and the latest among them is Killing the Host: How Financial Parasites and Debt Bondage Destroy the Global Economy.

Michael, let’s begin with a short history of the creation of Panama and how it was bought from Colombia by the United States, and its relevance today vis-a-vis the Panama papers.

HUDSON: Well, Panama was basically carved off from Colombia in order to have a canal. It was created very much like Liberia. It’s not really a country in the sense that a country has its own currency and its own tax system. Panama uses U.S. dollars. So does Liberia.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Panama Papers: The Geopolitical Impact of Tax Evasion and Offshoring

Panama Papers: The Geopolitical Impact of Tax Evasion and Offshoring

Mossack Fonseca LogoThe recent revelations of the so–called Panama Papers– a massive 2.6 TB collection of data concerning the hidden shell companies of the world’s leaders and other famed personalities – have sent waves of astonishment through societies around the world. Since the release of the Panama Papers on April 3rd by the Munich-based daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, in conjunction with the Washington DC- based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), the fallout has continued to rattle various political regimes, as hurricanes of PR-aimed stunts, legal investigations, state-enacted Internet bans, and even the resignation of a prime minister have ensued. The fall-out of the event has been quite embarrassing and in many cases damaging for all parties involved.

As usual, fingers are being pointed at various individuals and organizations as the alleged culprits behind the leak that has been dubbed as the “greatest leak of the century” by some commentators. Although the leaker of the cache has been known simply as “John Doe” (arguably a rather dry pseudonym – why not something a bit more fierce-sounding like “FireFawkes”?), certain state intelligence agencies, such as the CIA have not been exempt from the accusation as well.  This hypothesis takes into consideration that many of the affected states and individuals are viewed as “enemies” or “rivals” of the United States by Washington, while the leak has left the United States relatively unscathed.  Major states revealed in the Panama Papers, such as the People’s Republic of China, Russia, North Korea, and Argentina, have had or continue to have some historic tension with the United States over ideology or over some global or regional designs. On the other hand, Moscow has been accused of being behind the leak due to the speculation that the hacker who leaked the archives to the German daily was suspected of having a Russian sponsorship.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Avoiding the Issue

In the wake of the so-called ‘Panama Papers’ furore, the push-button issue of the One Percent being found able – OH! THE HORROR! – to shield some of its wealth from the taxman, regardless of the jurisdiction in which its members have chosen to set up shop, has predictably called forth bad economics, dubious legal opinion, and strident political point-scoring in almost equal measure.

All of this has been carefully marshalled to serve the deeper purpose of exploiting our outrage and of suckering us into calling for the ever-eager Revenue Man to be given even more power over the livelihoods and liberties not just of the Music Hall villain ‘mega-rich’, but also of those of us hoi Polloi who have been inveigled into brandishing our torches and waving our pitchforks against the cast-iron railings surrounding the mansions of the moustachio-twirling plutocrats whom we have been so readily prompted to revile.

So, in an attempt to redress the balance a little, let’s go right back to first principles and start with the shocking premise that what you earn honestly in free exchange is a sign that your efforts have added some quantum to the sum total of human happiness (or at least marginally reduced its burden of woe) – a contention which is proven simply by the transaction having taken place at all.

Let’s move to another radical concept: that what you so earn and what you have come to own is, in the first instance, yours and yours alone to dispose of as you see fit.

Next, let us imagine that We, the People, have agreed between ourselves that there are certain desirable activities which we (perhaps unimaginatively and usually at the cost of much efficiency) do not trust to the market mechanism – matters such as dispute resolution, the provision of security at home and at our borders, the co-ordination of large-scale projects, a smattering of welfare functions, etc.

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Swiss Bank Whistleblower Claims Panama Papers Was a CIA Operation

Swiss Bank Whistleblower Claims Panama Papers Was a CIA Operation

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Bradley Birkenfeld is the most significant financial whistleblower of all time, so you might think he’d be cheering on the disclosures in the new Panama Papers leaks. But today, Birkenfeld is raising questions about the source of the information that is shaking political regimes around the world. 

“The CIA I’m sure is behind this, in my opinion,” Birkenfeld said. 

– From the CNBC article: Swiss Banker Whistleblower: CIA Behind Panama Papers

Last Friday, I published a post titled, Was the Panama Papers “Leak” a Russian Intelligence Operation? Here’s some of what I wrote:

Initially, this seemed to be a theory worth exploring, but in the following days I’ve come to a far different conclusion. The primary divergence between what I currently believe and what Mr. Murray proposed is that I do not think the leaker was a genuine whistleblower motived by the public interest. I think the leaker was working on behalf of a sophisticated intelligence agency.

The fact that we seem to know nothing about “John Doe” concerns me. Say what you will about Edward Snowden, but he came out publicly shortly after his whistleblowing and offered himself up for the world to judge. His life, career and personality have been put on full display, and each and every one of us has had the opportunity to decide for ourselves whether his motivations were noble and pure or not.

With the Panama Papers’ “John Doe” we are given no such opportunity, and in fact, the whole thing reads very much like a script concocted by some big budget intelligence agency. Once I started coming around to this conclusion, the obvious choice was U.S. intelligence; given the lack of implications to powerful Americans, the clownishly desperate attempts to smear Putin, and the appearance of Soros, USAID, Ford Foundation, etc, linked organizations to the reporting.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The War on Savings: The Panama Papers, Bail-Ins, and the Push to Go Cashless

The War on Savings: The Panama Papers, Bail-Ins, and the Push to Go Cashless

The bombshell publication of the “Panama Papers,” leaked from a Panama law firm specializing in shell companies, has triggered both outrage and skepticism. In an April 3 article titled “Corporate Media Gatekeepers Protect Western 1% From Panama Leak,” UK blogger Craig Murray writes that the whistleblower no doubt had good intentions; but he made the mistake of leaking his 11.5 million documents to the corporate-controlled Western media, which released only those few documents incriminating opponents of Western financial interests. Murray writes:

Do not expect a genuine expose of western capitalism. The dirty secrets of western corporations will remain unpublished.

Expect hits at Russia, Iran and Syria and some tiny “balancing” western country like Iceland.

Iceland, of course, was the only country to refuse to bail out its banks, instead throwing its offending bankers in jail.

Pepe Escobar calls the released Panama Papers a “limited hangout.” The leak dovetails with the attempt of Transparency International to create a Global Public Beneficial Ownership Registry, which can collect ownership information from governments around the world; and with UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s global anti-corruption summit next month. According to The Economist, “The Panama papers give him just the platform he needs to persuade other governments, and his own, to turn their tough talk of recent years into action.”

The Daily Bell suspects a coordinated global effort linked to the push to go cashless. It’s all about knowing where the money is and who owns it, in order to tax it, regulate it, “sanction” it, or confiscate it:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Call for Cameron to Resign over Panama Papers

Cameron

The revelation that David Cameron’s father had offshore accounts through Panama has continued to plague Cameron and could create a nudge toward the tipping point come the BREXIT vote in June. “I know that I should have handled this better, I could have handled this better. I know there are lessons to learn and I will learn them,” Cameron said in response to the building criticism. Yet many are starting to blame the Conservatives for protecting the rich while ratcheting up taxes on everyone else.

Cameron Demonstrations

The protests in Britain are growing with many asking why Cameron is still there after the resignation of the Prime Minister in Iceland. This may very well influence the BREXIT vote in June. Time will tell.

Panama is Small Change

Panama is Small Change

There is a conspiracy engaging in theft, counterfeiting, fraud, extortion, blackmail, bribery, influence peddling, drugs, terrorism, and war that makes the Panama Papers’ exposures look like a small-town police blotter account of juvenile shoplifting. This criminal enterprise launders trillions, not billions, of dollars; it involves major political, business, financial, academic, and media figures in the US and around the globe, and it has perpetrated its crimes far longer than Mossack Fonseca’s clients’ have hid their money and illicit activities.

The dark conspiracy is the US Government. It takes over $3 trillion a year in taxes. Anyone who refuses to pay is sent to jail. Stealing one dollar out of every six the US economy produces is insufficient for its purposes, so it borrows anywhere from $500 billion to over $1 trillion a year. Future interest payments and principle repayment add to the involuntary obligations imposed on the productive…and their children and grandchildren.

The law forces its populace to accept pieces of paper and computer entries—irredeemable for anything more valuable than identical pieces of paper and computer entries—as “legal tender.” The government creates said paper and entries at will. Their value, such as is, rests on compulsion and unenforceable promises by the government not to create too many of them. Such promises have invariably been broken, and a dollar has about 4 percent of the purchasing power it had in 1913 when the central bank was established. That 96 percent depreciation counts as more theft; the government is the primary beneficiary from currency depreciation.

Every conspiracy needs accomplices. With stolen and counterfeit funds, the government bribes millions. Their acquiescence makes them complicit: money for votes. Nothing is as nauseating as thieves demonstrating their “virtue” by using stolen funds to maintain themselves in power. Of course they keep a generous portion of what they steal; the Washington metropolitan area is the richest in the country.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Panama Papers – Who Instigated the Leak? USA or Russia?

Mossack Fonseca logo

The US think tank Brookings Institution is claiming that Russia had released the Panama Papers in order to destabilize the West. Wikileaks claimed the exact opposite that the publications have been launched by the United States. Our sources put the blame on neither. Indeed, it is starting to emerge that attempts to leak information to Germany before were ignored by the government. Several times a whistleblower attempted to provide information to the Minister of Finance. The whistleblower wanted to expose questionable dealings of the Bundesdruckerei which is a state owned company with one of the longest histories in the business, dating as far back as the 18th century. The German government took over Bundesdruckerei as a wholly state-owned company. In recent years, however, the company has been transformed into a leading international Full ID | Management supplier.

SchäubleSPIEGEL is now reporting that the German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and his Secretary of StateWerner Gatzer have refused contact with a whistleblower for years. The Ministry of Finance assumed Bundesdruckerei had used this company to do business in Venezuela.

It appears that the whistleblower is German. This appears to be really an internal breach rather than a state orchestrated event. There appears to be no real motive to expose the Panama Papers for this has been following the same path as to why Hitler did not invade Switzerland; he too needed access to secret measures. Switzerland’s secrecy began when Hitler made it illegal to have an account outside of Germany. He could have invaded Switzerland for defeating his laws, but he did not. There are some lines you do not cross. and this is one of them.

Consequently, the leak does appear to be internal for personal political reasons rather than instigated by USA or Russia.

The Panama Papers: Oozing Slime

The Panama Papers: Oozing Slime

The Panama Papers, a one-year investigation by over 100 reporters worldwide (The International Consortium of Investigative Journalism) of offshore money hiding/laundering/taxation avoidance, is a cause célèbre of underhandedness seldom, if ever, revealed to the world’s public. It is comparable to lifting a rotting log in the woods and finding an active nest of millipedes, red worms, and cockroaches scampering about to escape the bright sunlight. They can’t stand the sunlight because darkness is their life.

“It’s the biggest leak in history, dwarfing the data released by the Wikileaks organization in 2010. For context, if the amount of data released by Wikileaks was equivalent to the population of San Francisco, the amount of data released in the Panama Papers is the equivalent to that of India,” (BBC News, April 5th).

Remarkably, it may only be the tip of an iceberg, a big one, as the incident references the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca & Co. There are likely many more in the world of behind the scenes finance.

The Panama Papers, containing info on thousands of shell companies set up to avoid taxes and hide assets for over four decades from 1977 to 2015, are all about millionaires and billionaires and the politically connected “sticking it to” average citizens of the world by hiding money from fellow countrymen’s taxation policies and/or theft of state funds and laundering money. It is outrageously heinous and deserving of criminal incrimination and/or tarring and feathering whilst run out of town on a rail. It also begs the question of how many more rich pillagers are out there.

Already, major worldwide figureheads, like the PM of Iceland, have fallen. “As much as $21 trillion in global wealth is hidden behind largely-untraceable shell companies such as those exposed in the Panama Papers, according to watchdog group Financial Accountability and Corporate Transparency Coalition,” (NBC News, April 6, 2016.).

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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