“John Doe’s Manifesto”: Panama Papers Source Blasts Lack of Media Interest, Calls for Prosecutions, Whistleblower Protection

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Martha r flagged a new story at Suddeusche Zeitung from “John Doe,” the source for the Mossack Fonseca revelations, on what he intended to accomplish and what he feels needs to be done. I’m posting on his manifesto to encourage you to read it in full and circulate it.

The whistleblower, John Doe, states his underlying objective was to tackle “massive, pervasive corruption” that promotes and perpetuates income inequality. He is encouraged by the debate so far but stresses that the underlying behavior was criminal and needs to be treated as such:

Shell companies are often associated with the crime of tax evasion, but the Panama Papers show beyond a shadow of a doubt that although shell companies are not illegal by definition, they are used to carry out a wide array of serious crimes that go beyond evading taxes. I decided to expose Mossack Fonseca because I thought its founders, employees and clients should have to answer for their roles in these crimes, only some of which have come to light thus far. It will take years, possibly decades, for the full extent of the firm’s sordid acts to become known.

And he throws down the gauntlet:

The prevailing media narrative thus far has focused on the scandal of what is legal and allowed in this system. What is allowed is indeed scandalous and must be changed. But we must not lose sight of another important fact: the law firm, its founders, and employees actually did knowingly violate myriad laws worldwide, repeatedly. Publicly they plead ignorance, but the documents show detailed knowledge and deliberate wrongdoing. At the very least we already know that Mossack personally perjured himself before a federal court in Nevada, and we also know that his information technology staff attempted to cover up the underlying lies. They should all be prosecuted accordingly with no special treatment.

In the end, thousands of prosecutions could stem from the Panama Papers, if only law enforcement could access and evaluate the actual documents. ICIJ and its partner publications 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.

However, he also points out how whistleblowers, such as Edward Snowden, Bradley Birkenfeld, and Antoine Deltour have all been prosecuted, and they are not alone.

He calls for company registers to be made public, an issue our Richard Smith has identified as key and has been pursuing in New Zealand and other countries. But he is not optimistic that this will change soon:

Prime Minister John Key of New Zealand has been curiously quiet about his country’s role in enabling the financial fraud Mecca that is the Cook Islands. In Britain, the Tories have been shameless about concealing their own practices involving offshore companies, while Jennifer Shasky Calvery, the director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network at the United States Treasury, just announced her resignation to work instead for HSBC, one of the most notorious banks on the planet (not coincidentally headquartered in London). And so the familiar swish of America’s revolving door echoes amidst deafening global silence from thousands of yet-to-be-discovered ultimate beneficial owners who are likely praying that her replacement is equally spineless.

It should come as no surprise that the official response to the Panama Papers scandal has been to leave this glaring loophole open. For instance, yesterday, the FACT Coalition made a new statement: Anti-Money Laundering Experts Deeply Concerned by Administration’s Flawed ‘Panama Papers’ Response. A key section (boldface original):

“The loopholes in the final Treasury rule allow banks to open accounts for companies without having any idea of the identity of the people who ultimately own or control that company. Without this critical information, banks can’t determine whether the people behind the company are on a sanctions list, a drug kingpin list, or are public officials who may be stealing from their countries treasury or trying to stash their bribe money in U.S. banks,” noted Heather Lowe, legal counsel and director of government affairs at Global Financial Integrity.

And in some ways, John Doe buried the lead (boldface ours):

The media has failed. Many news networks are cartoonish parodies of their former selves, individual billionaires appear to have taken up newspaper ownership as a hobby, limiting coverage of serious matters concerning the wealthy, and serious investigative journalists lack funding. The impact is real: in addition to Süddeutsche Zeitung and ICIJ, and despite explicit claims to the contrary, several major media outlets did have editors review documents from the Panama Papers. They chose not to cover them. The sad truth is that among the most prominent and capable media organizations in the world there was not a single one interested in reporting on the story. Even Wikileaks didn’t answer its tip line repeatedly.

So much for those who wonder why the papers weren’t given to Wikileaks.

And one has to assume that the media outlets that were approached about the Panama Papers and declined included the New York Times and/or the Washington Post. The irony here is that, as Richard Smith has pointed out, Panama isn’t a the tax haven of choice for Americans save for low-level types, such as drug lords. Panama law firms use mainly the British Virgin Islands; the bank that is most deeply implicated is HSBC. Yet the reflex of these unnamed media outlets was to decline to cover the story. Who were they trying to protect?

And he finally turns to a fundamental issue, the corruption of the bar:

But most of all, the legal profession has failed. Democratic governance depends upon responsible individuals throughout the entire system who understand and uphold the law, not who understand and exploit it. On average, lawyers have become so deeply corrupt that it is imperative for major changes in the profession to take place, far beyond the meek proposals already on the table…If the industry’s shattered economics were not already evidence enough, there is now no denying that lawyers can no longer be permitted to regulate one another. It simply doesn’t work. Those able to pay the most can always find a lawyer to serve their ends, whether that lawyer is at Mossack Fonseca or another firm of which we remain unaware. What about the rest of society?

We’ve documented the consequences of the breakdown of legal standards on multiple fronts: lawyers first allowing their clients to ignore the securitization procedures set forth in their own contracts, followed then by factory-style foreclosures, including fabrication of affidavits and title documents on a mass scale. And rather than use the massive abuses as leverage to force mortgage servicers to provide more loan modifications, which for borrowers who still had some income, would have been a better outcome not just for them but also for investors, the Federal government and all but one state validated this pervasive misconduct and gave the mortgage-industrial complex a massive bailout in the form of the National Mortgage Settlement of 2012. Servicers continue to engage in abusive practices and are seldom punished. In credit cards and for medical debts, debt collectors, again with the assistance, make a business of buying invalid debt and collecting from consumers who don’t know how to combat their fraud.

John Doe concludes:

The collective impact of these failures has been a complete erosion of ethical standards, ultimately leading to a novel system we still call Capitalism, but which is tantamount to economic slavery. In this system—our system—the slaves are unaware both of their status and of their masters, who exist in a world apart where the intangible shackles are carefully hidden amongst reams of unreachable legalese. The horrific magnitude of detriment to the world should shock us all awake. But when it takes a whistleblower to sound the alarm, it is cause for even greater concern. It signals that democracy’s checks and balances have all failed, that the breakdown is systemic, and that severe instability could be just around the corner. So now is the time for real action, and that starts with asking questions.

Historians can easily recount how issues involving taxation and imbalances of power have led to revolutions in ages past…It doesn’t take much to connect the dots: from start to finish, inception to global media distribution, the next revolution will be digitized.

Or perhaps it has already begun.

Spread the word.

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47 comments

  1. Skippy

    Bit of of an allegory followed by….

    The Liberty Reserve case sat at the rare intersection of investment fraud, money laundering and cybercrime. On Friday, Judge Cote highlighted the ease with which criminals in the digital age can hide from law enforcement, another factor that led her to give a 20-year sentence.

    “This is such a difficult crime to investigate and bring to justice,” she said, citing the fact that “countless victims” lost money in investment scams that laundered funds through Liberty Reserve.

    In 2006, Mr. Budovsky was arrested and pleaded guilty in New York state court to illegally operating a very similar business called Gold Age Inc., which also involved a digital currency. He got probation in that case.

    Prosecutors also alleged that he engaged in a variety of schemes over the past two decades, including a fake charity to help people evade taxes.

    “Instead of turning away from a life of crime, he decided he needed to get better at it,” said Christian Everdell, a federal prosecutor in the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office. “He took every step he could…so that he wouldn’t be caught again.”

    A significant number of users on Liberty Reserve were laundering funds for “high-yield investment programs,” which were essentially online Ponzi schemes that offered unrealistic rates of return, according to prosecutors. In court papers, the government pointed to victims who thought Liberty Reserve was a legitimate bank and invested their life’s savings into such fraudulent schemes.

    Mr. Budovsky’s lawyer, John Kaley, had asked for leniency, citing Mr. Budovsky’s age and deteriorating health. Mr. Budovsky was arrested in Spain in 2013 and extradited to the U.S. a year later.

    “He’s not an animal,” Mr. Kaley said. “He’s not evil.”

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/liberty-reserve-head-sentenced-to-20-years-in-prison-1462578957

    Read the John Doe manifesto after Keys comments…

    ” But most of all, the legal profession has failed. Democratic governance depends upon responsible individuals throughout the entire system who understand and uphold the law, not who understand and exploit it. On average, lawyers have become so deeply corrupt that it is imperative for major changes in the profession to take place, far beyond the meek proposals already on the table. To start, the term “legal ethics,” upon which codes of conduct and licensure are nominally based, has become an oxymoron. Mossack Fonseca did not work in a vacuum-despite repeated fines and documented regulatory violations, it found allies and clients at major law firms in virtually every nation. If the industry’s shattered economics were not already evidence enough, there is now no denying that lawyers can no longer be permitted to regulate one another. It simply doesn’t work. Those able to pay the most can always find a lawyer to serve their ends, whether that lawyer is at Mossack Fonseca or another firm of which we remain unaware. What about the rest of society?

    The collective impact of these failures has been a complete erosion of ethical standards, ultimately leading to a novel system we still call Capitalism, but which is tantamount to economic slavery. In this system-our system-the slaves are unaware both of their status and of their masters, who exist in a world apart where the intangible shackles are carefully hidden amongst reams of unreachable legalese. The horrific magnitude of detriment to the world should shock us all awake. But when it takes a whistleblower to sound the alarm, it is cause for even greater concern. It signals that democracy’s checks and balances have all failed, that the breakdown is systemic, and that severe instability could be just around the corner. So now is the time for real action, and that starts with asking questions.

    Historians can easily recount how issues involving taxation and imbalances of power have led to revolutions in ages past. Then, military might was necessary to subjugate peoples, whereas now, curtailing information access is just as effective or more so, since the act is often invisible. Yet we live in a time of inexpensive, limitless digital storage and fast internet connections that transcend national boundaries. It doesn’t take much to connect the dots: from start to finish, inception to global media distribution, the next revolution will be digitized.”

    http://m.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11635183

    Ref – “Mr. Budovsky’s lawyer, John Kaley, had asked for leniency, citing Mr. Budovsky’s age and deteriorating health. Mr. Budovsky was arrested in Spain in 2013 and extradited to the U.S. a year later.

    “He’s not an animal,” Mr. Kaley said. “He’s not evil.”

    Disheveled Marsupial… yeah and most animals don’t feast upon their own….

    1. Skippy

      Some irony in the NC way….

      “The irony being that ‘we’ were on to this years ago, but it was closed down by the Government of the day. I guess smarter heads than mine got swirled back then as well. (The Wine Box Enquiry, so named because of the amount of documentation that it produced, went after Cook Island tax structures, and ended in a stalemate between the prosecuting minor party politician, Winston Peters, and the Tax Deaprtment/Government) – H/T Janet… a NZ’er

      http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/cartoon/33433/the-winebox-inquiry
      http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/peters-winebox-features-accounts-25-million-offshore-banking-files-leaked-ck-138281

  2. James Levy

    The point about the lawyers is crucial. Back when I was a kid (say 1975) everyone used to contemptuously scoff at the “krauts” and their presumed “I vas just following OR-ders” mentality. Now, it seems to be standard operating procedure in American law, government, and the military. And a pathetic kind of schoolyard conformity (“he did it first!) has gripped people who should know better. I attribute this to multiple factors, but a special degree of scorn has to be directed at academics, who abandoned right and wrong as categories in favor of economic instrumentalism or post-structural indeterminacy.

    1. Skippy

      James your anguish is misdirected…

      Firstly people don’t know better, too assume such, is to fall pray to the rational agent model or worse some variance of the religious purview as well as your scorn for academia…. your extenuating everything from the free will perspective…

      Disheveled Marsupial… file under when wealth dictates knowlage or Science Mart….

    2. Rhondda

      I get very tired of academics being repeatedly tarred with such a broad brush by much of the NC commentariat.
      My husband is an academic and he is the most ethical person I have ever met. It’s one of the reasons I married him.
      He’s taught at the same liberal arts institution for nearly 15 years, so I’ve met many of the faculty over time. They, too, are some of the most talented and ethical people I’ve ever known. The administrators are often ambitious infected by a sick MBA, neo-liberal worldview but the faculty are not. And they push back.

      1. James Levy

        Ma’am, I was a professor for 19 years. It’s not about me, and it’s not about your husband. The prevailing attitude in elite institutions of higher learning is that issues of right and wrong are personal and outside the purview of academics. I literally argued with people in grad school who insisted that condemning the cutting out of young girls’ clitorises in Africa and Arabia was completely wrong because “it’s their culture” and I had no right to have any opinion on the subject (and some of the people I argued with were women!). Whenever you brought up right and wrong you got “social construct” and “oppressive Western ideology from the totalizing Enlightenment” and that ended the discussion.

        Please show me a Business or Law school that says, categorically and repeatedly, that some behaviors are just plain wrong and you have a personal moral responsibility to do the right thing whether it is technically legal or not.

        1. PQS

          I had the exact same same arguments in one of my education classes. It’s probably why I didn’t get an A in the class – either because I challenged the professor’s authority or the orthodoxy. But it was a good lesson for me nonetheless.

          1. Skippy

            And here we are – authority and orthodoxy – how about we start with vested interests bastardizing everything to cram down a social template on everyone because it suits – their – agenda e.g. everyone has a fat about institutions but fails to square the agency which is responsible.

            Disheveled Marsupial…. so at the end of the day the disconnected end up doing the dirty work for the vested interests….

        2. Bubba_Gump

          The Jesuits have a very strong focus on morality, or at least, they used to. I’ve no idea at this point if the teachings have been diluted by lay professors, or de-toothed by the Catholic hypocrisy. One can hope that some traditions endure.

          1. Knute Rife

            Yes, but there is a strong streak of “If the Church does it, it’s moral” pretzel logic involved.

    3. Foppe

      You’re missing the forest for the trees. The mentality is the one favored in bureaucracy; and bureaucracy is what we have gotten, both in the private and “public” sectors, ever since — at least — WW1. Abrogation of responsibility, and punishment/reward externalization between your actions and your reasons for taking them, are taught starting in primary school (because children supposedly cannot be motivated otherwise); a process that continues until — at least — post-graduate education, by which time you are assumed to have internalized this disconnect. (In this sense, the expansion of education has been an active participant in the creation and maintenance of hierarchical reasoning/logics — which is not to say that education does this necessarily.) What it gets you is a population inured to the notion that there is no need for any kind of substantive agreement with the work you do, because all you’re doing it for, is for ‘the money’. (Obviously this doesn’t hold true in all people, nor is it a mentality that any given person will have all the time, but it’s the trend that matters.) And thus, work becomes a sphere ‘outside morality’, because what you do at work is thought/perceived/experienced/argued to have nothing to do with your personal values.

  3. Carla

    And what about Glenn Greenwald’s shell company(ies)? From yesterday’s Links:

    “IRS First Look Media Works 2015 Cryptome. See p. 37 of the PDF. Greenwald gets $490,000 a year through a shell company. A source says, “Insiders have told me other schemes are used to boost his pay to well over a million….The big missing story that has yet to be written is the super-high-security setup holding the Snowden secrets here in NYC, in the First Look Media building one floor above the editorial floor. It’s a kind of private super-hi-tech secured NSA vault with all kinds of security and hi-tech shit. No one talks about it publicly, but it’s about the worst kept secret.”

    I never trusted Greenwald…

    It appears that anybody who makes more than $100,000 a year could be corrupt. As Charles Hugh Smith says “The problem is that limiting financialization will implode the system.” — from this, linked at The Automated Earth yesterday:

    http://www.oftwominds.com/blogmay16/wages-GDP5-16.html

    Guess I’ll have to get his new book, “Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform”.

    1. Norb

      Greenwald has been speaking out- challenging the privileged elite for years. For me, he epitomizes the type of intellectual and moral champion that common people need to support their interests in the face of elite aggression. In many ways, he demonstrates a fearlessness only possessed by a few.

      What is it that gets people riled up about how much money someone makes? It’s the same argument used to destroy union benefits. Throwing arbitrary numbers around as a means to strengthen an argument is something pioneered by neoliberals. The social context is the only thing that gives those numbers any meaning . The dilemma we face is one of institutionalized injustice-corruption- and extreme inequality. We all must survive within the existing system, so to some degree we are all corrupt or compromised. The difference is between those who enjoy the current arrangements and do everything in their power to maintain it and those honestly seeking change. To fall victim to smear campaigns intended at limiting Greenwald’s message or impact is just another example of elite divide and conquer techniques. A tried and true methodology. The same as using a small truth to justify a larger untruth or fraud.

      Building coalitions for a better society and world is underway. Keeping those movements from being subverted by greedy self-interest will take effort and belief in a different ideology than the current one. Requiring Greenwald to be a Saint in order to have a voice or legitimate argument is another tactic used by our corrupt elite to discredit dissent.

      Its time we worried more about the forest than the trees. I for one think an imploding system is what we need.

      1. Carla

        I hardly think that expecting those who blow the whistle on corruption to eschew the type of corruption they expose is requiring them to be saints.

        I agree, we need an entirely new system.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        The issue is that, quite frankly, as soon as Greenwald went to First Look, the stories coming out of the Snowden docs dropped from 2-3 a week to zero. The documents are kept in a what a contact I trust calls a “NSA secure room” at First Look. Omidyar has security state connections. So this does not look like a journalist getting rich. This smells an awful lot like a payoff, particularly since there are also rumors that other arrangements bring Greenwald’s total pay to more like $1 million a year.

        Plus if he was going to sell out, he should have gotten a much higher price.

        1. bob

          What does booz allen bill gov for “security” a year? Billions.

          The CIA got all the “security”, which turned out better than booz allen at keeping them stuff out of the news, for a few million.

      3. Waldenpond

        I always thought Greenwald a thin skinned opportunist. His and Snowden’s claim to fame may more accurately be monetizing/privatizing leaking. Handed the data over to an oligarch and it’s doled out in the tiniest draps, if at all, so as to serve as a venting opportunity for the riff raff but never enough to upset the status quo.

        1. Norb

          With support like yours, those profiting from the status quo have little to worry about.

          I have no idea as to Greenwald’s ultimate motive for his actions, but It is also possible that he is leveraging his journalistic resources as best he can. Not to make money, but to get stories out to a wider public. Any story. Oligarchs run all major media outlets so what is your point. Who would be best suited to have the information? The last time I looked, the general consensus was that people just don’t care about being spied upon. For that matter, radiation is still leaking into the Pacific form the Fukushima disaster and no one cares. Julian Assange is still holed up in the Ecuador’s London Embassy and no one cares. Whistle blowers of various stripes are in prison and no one cares.

          Is this apathy the result of not having enough information or facts. The lack of stories. I think not.

          Greenwald might be an arrogant SOB, I’ve never met the man, but questioning his journalistic integrity seems to be stretching it.

          As a thought experiment, what event can you envision that would bring about the change of the status quo?

          1. JTFaraday

            I always thought GG was a true believing civil libertarian, but now he’s bitten off more than he can chew and finds himself happy to be paid for his relative silence. As you point out, others haven’t been so lucky.

        2. Carla

          Greenwald and Snowden are not the same person. Why conflate a bona fide whistleblower and a journalist like this? Greenwald struck me as an opportunist and not trust-worthy a long time ago, while Snowden so far has revealed himself as worthy of trust. BIG difference.

          1. Norb

            You are aware that Snowden specifically asked for Greenwald as the vehicle to handle the documents and do the reporting aren’t you? He based that decision on trust and respect for Greenwald’s journalistic integrity- Snowden’s view not mine.

            Have you followed Greenwald’s commentary for any length of time? What specifically makes him an opportunist and not trust-worthy?

            Maybe the simple answer is that there are no more stories to be had from the documents and Greenwald is bluffing and continuing to bluff as to their significance. I don’t view this stance as an effrontery to me personally as a citizen. Its more of a critique of NSA and them not knowing what was taken, so why make the governments job easier by revealing exactly what is there. Petulant maybe, but why care. Much good reporting was done, so why not acknowledge that and move on. Its a battle with the powers of government, not a personal issue with citizens.

            I do agree that seeing the awards ceremonies and all the patting on the back makes me uneasy. Not as a critique of Greenwald- or Poitras for that matter, but as the power of the system to subvert and poison the efforts of individuals to make change. It really is easier to be evil. Burning down a house is much easier that building one.

            How do you change a system while forced to live in it? Is Greenwald a sellout? By spending energy and time even discussing these matters the elite have succeeded in diverting the message. Is Snowden more worthy of respect that Greenwald? The question is irrelevant to important matters at hand.

            Evil forces can survive in this world because they remain hidden in the shadows, directing their minions to carry out destructive deeds. Their reward system is very straightforward and clear. They will control all. To do good, and be concerned about the general welfare requires that you operate in the open- in the light. This is a very vulnerable position to take. Any action you take can potentially be used against you. The goal should be to prepare environments for more people to feel secure in coming out into the light.

            If Greenwald and Omidyar have formed some form of unholy alliance so be it. It is the work that comes out of that alliance that matters. If we are arguing that that volume is less that it should be- we are back to the misdirection and obfuscation tactics.

            More people and organizations need to follow where Snowden- and yes Greenwald- have lead. Bill Black is a case in point. There are many individuals and organizations doing great work.

            I only belabor the point because people who should know who Snowden and Greenwald are have no clue about the risks they have taken. They are more likely to pick up and focus on the negative images instead of the positive ones- which require work and effort to understand and appreciate. The propagandists know how to feed the evil part of our nature so why give the view credence- if ever so small.

      4. James McFadden

        I agree with Norb.

        Carla is attempting to smear one of our champions of truth because she “never trusted the guy”. Why bash him on such limited information? How does she know his costs of operations – his travel costs, security costs, staff. I think she should take a good look in the mirror at her own prejudices and resentments. Greenwald was around long before Snowden’s whistleblowing. Greenwald was publishing great journalism – which is why Snowden selected him. Did Greenwald take this gift and run with it – risking his life by publishing secrets that could get him whacked – damn right he did. Did it give him fame – deservedly so. And that fame is probably keeping him from being killed – at least for now. Greenwald was and continues to be courageous – unafraid to speak truth to power. Carla is playing into the hands of the neoliberal divide-and-conquer strategy by attempting to paint him as one of the elites. What is the source of this nonsense?

        Greenwald continues to put out terrific stories that reveal corruption in both the US and Brazil, the extent of international security state, war crimes and war mongering in the middle east, class warfare, international elite connections, political corruption, media corruption, etc. I personally am amazed at the quantity and quality of reporting from Greenwald. The Intercept is one of the few useful news sights around. Carla’s petty criticism is undeserved.

  4. Sam Adams

    I remember my first corporate law class in the 1980s. We had a long discussion about charitable contributions and corporate responsibility. The consensus was unless the contribution or act brought profit back to the corporation the act of charity or the responsible decision considering wider societal consequences was a breach of fiduciary responsibility. We’ve come a long way baby!

  5. Norb

    What is the strategy to combat this corruption? Relying on reforming a captured legal system seems ineffectual although necessary. How do you reform a system that under close examination reveals rot in every fundamental structure supporting it. It seems that some fundamental change must occur in the hearts and mind of the people before any change can occur. Its just another story about the slow, relentless progression to ultimate collapse.

    How many millions of dollars have been spent and collected for the Sanders campaign? If the final message is not a radical renunciation of the current system, and the beginnings of a clear and simple declaration of a vision for the future, that effort will have been wasted. Compromise with corruption leads to slow death or slavery.

    I live in the Chicago area, and on my way to work every morning, I avoid the morning rush hour traffic by passing thru poor west side neighborhoods. A trend I am seeing is the demolition of many vacant buildings. Older brick structures, seemingly structurally sound are being demolished. The poor in these neighborhoods have no leadership. These buildings could, and should have been occupied by people needing housing. On my way home I see growing crowds of homeless poor waiting to gain admittance at a mission church providing beds for the night. In the morning, the demolition progresses. As a secondary note, none of the sites appear to be recycling any materials from the demolished buildings- they are pulverized to rubble. The waste is appalling.

    Straight talk about the need for a new ethics and enforcement of these principles is the only hope. “He’s not an animal,” Mr. Kaley said. “He’s not evil.”- These excuses need to stop.

    1. JTMcPhee

      It’s called “urban renewal,” and it is a very old process in the corrupt world of Chicago
      political economy. I’m 70, and watched a lot of it happen in that “city of broad shoulders and plain brown envelopes stuffed with cash…”

      As an attorney prosecuting consumer fraud cases for the IL Atty General’s office right out of law school in 1976, I got to watch Adam “The Miracle Worker” Bourgeois, famous fixer attorney, retire to chambers with Judge Wosik (Greylord convict, https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Greylord) in a pure ex party delivery of “Mr. Green” from his client, a guy named Jerry Thompson, who had been arrested and confined on my motion for criminal contempt for violating an injunction against ripping off older Chicago residents. Wosik ordered the court reporter to remove all of the transcript that included his response to the bald invitation from Bourgeois and my rather strenuous objections to that ex party secret communication back in his chambers. Thompson was released and went on to even bigger rip offs. The filth is of Augean proportions, and there ain’t no Herakles to divert the cleansing flow of a river to wash it away. It comes back, over and over, building deeper and deeper, added to by more and more of us, lawyers, judges, politicians, small businessmen, police, even firemen burgle homes and steal stuff.. The real trick is to keep the inevitable “slack” to a tolerable, non-fatal level…

  6. Stephen J.

    Funny, when “the underground economy” is understood as, mostly, cash transactions and barter between plain old ordinary folks — wait staff, plumbers, house cleaners, carpenters, handymen(women), sex workers, and the like — we’re willing to entertain radical measures like phasing out cash altogether, but when what’s moving through underground channels (or perhaps “ether-channels” might capture the electronic roadways for digital dark money better) even more opaque than “cash” could ever be, well . . . “move along please, nothing to see here” . . .

  7. perpetualWAR

    How about in my case….where three former judges on the case said in oral arguments there were “issues in dispute” and right before MSJ, a new judge was substituted and this judge decides within 1 hour of oral argument, no dispute exists. And then proceeds to hinder 2000+ pages of my legal record from going in front of the appellate review. This judge should be suspended, but more likely the presiding judge gave this judge directions to cripple my lawsuit.

    Guillotines will be popping up because the populace refused to use pitchforks in this last crash. Did we believe ourselves to be above violence? How did we allow 44% of middle class wealth to be transferred? Why did we just turn the tv channel and say “it’s someone else’s responsibility”????

    I just don’t understand our complacency.

    1. so

      Want to fight back? Refuse jury duty (but show up). Stay out of debt. Stop voting in a corrupt system.
      Do what you can to stop participating in the system. Be patient.

      1. perpetualWAR

        Sorry, I believe your way is complacency. Exactly what I am complaining of. No participation. No shining the light.

        Other than stay out of debt, I disagree wholeheartedly.

        1. Norb

          Just had a Jehovah’s Witnesses group knocking at my door, wishing to spread the good word and evangelize me to the cause. I normally don’t engage people in these situations, but today I decided to enter into a conversation. When I asked the gentleman what the JW’s position was on how to fight evil and corruption, he said all depends on bringing the kingdom of heaven to this world through the wisdom of the Bible. Once all follow the word, we will have heaven on earth.

          I asked the JW’s position on fighting political corruption and he responded that as an organization they refrain from politics. However, their members vote and participate in society at large. I asked him how he reconciled the desire the combat evil by adherence to the teachings found in the bible while simultaiounsly offering support to a corrupt political system by only voting and not taking an active role in formulating policy or using organizational power to demand results. He responded that spreading the word is all that is needed.

          I expressed to him my view that religious organizations need to help the poor rise out of their condition of poverty not thru acts of charity alone but by providing means of subsistence and work. His initial response focused on the abuses of “welfare queens” needing a work ethic and the Bible would provide the guidance. I asked him why he would choose to direct his energy at correcting the actions of the lowest and weakest in our society- the poor- instead of wealthy business owners driving people to poverty. In his mind, their actions were equivalent. The poor were poor due to their own actions just as the wealthy business owner acted in an evil manner because of personal weakness.

          All, good, well intended people, but no notion that to remove evil form the world requires that some social structure will have to provide for the creation and distribution of the necessities of life.
          They see evil and corruption but have no idea of how end it or get it under control. They are hands-off as to politics and controlling production and distribution. Thus powerless.

          The participation needed is spreading the word of fairness and justice. Not Gods justice but social justice as in alleviating human suffering through care and providing meaningful work for all.

        2. so

          Violence then? Getting beaten up at a protest?
          For me it has to be about non violence. Or am I just going to continue the same old crap. An eye for an eye. Tired of that. That’s the thing about believing in reincarnation, at some point you have to move on. Create the world with the gifts you have.

    2. Norb

      The other day I tried to share the story about the Iraqi protests in the Green Zone with a coworker. His response was that he stopped following the news because it was to depressing. The concept of informed fellow citizens just does not resonate. Individualism has triumphed. Everyone is in their own individual security bubble.

      I fear only a great calamity will pop these bubbles, but the majority will be too bewildered to offer an effective response or be prepared to deal with the fallout. The level of selfishness cultivated by the capitalist worldview is what must be challenged. It makes me understand why loyalty is rewarded foremost in the elite ranks. Difference of opinion leads to weakness. The narrative must play on or the system will collapse.

      The question then becomes will humanity be able to break away form its tribal nature to form some better organizational structure. It really centers around evolving beyond the trait of aggression- which seems to be the dominant trait of our species. I seriously doubt that when the guillotines begin to roll out, a consensus could be reached as to who’s head need to be chopped off. A true irony, needing to end the destructive nature of aggression by rolling out the guillotines.

      Great atrocities perpetrated during a breakdown of social structures seems the result.

      Complacency is the result of a media culture. It literally saps your drive for action. We live in a bubble environment. We travel in our individual cars, live in our individual homes, and rely for support from our individual families. Almost all of our personal energy is expended at work providing for our livelihood and maintaining this bubble existence, which we are told 24/7/365 is the best of all possible worlds.

      Keep that vision rolling along while successfully hiding your misdeeds spells the triumph of the oligarchy.

    3. Nathanael

      I am totally OK with guillotines. Very humane.

      The elite yammering about “no violence! how dare you suggest violence!” is basically a scam, since in recent years they hire “police” to engage in brutal, illegal, unprovoked violence at all times. It’s totally legit to kill a cop (or anyone else) who’s trying to kill you; that’s been common-law for thousands of years. But the elite don’t want to enforce the actual law, they want to enforce their power as feudal lords.

  8. Sluggeaux

    Do follow the link to Suddeutsche Zeitung and read the full Manifesto. If the human race survives, it will become an important part of our history.

    I do however have a differing view of revolution. Before revolutionary governments might arise, we must live through anarchy, and we are most certainly descending into anarchy today. The utter collapse of ethical behavior by the leadership of the legal, journalistic, financial, and military professions is a very bad sign. Bombs and bullets do a very poor job of sorting out those with good intentions.

    The fish rots from the head.

  9. McWatt

    “The loopholes in the final Treasury rule allow banks to open accounts for companies without having any idea of the identity of the people who ultimately own or control that company.”

    Ha. This is funny. At my bank I can’t even open a savings account for my existing checking account without presenting again all the corporate charter papers. I can’t even deposit cash, meaning US dollar greenbacks, into my commercial accounts without a Driver’s License, that is recorded every single time, at the time of the deposit.

    1. Carla

      Obviously, the constitutional rights of some corporate persons count more than the constitutional rights of other corporate persons.

      As long as discrimination gallops along, distinguishing categories of humans possessing constitutional rights from each other, why wouldn’t this apply to corporate “persons” as well? Hhmm?

  10. allan

    If the Attorney General does it, it’s not illegal.
    Eric Holder: No Apologies for Return to Big Law

    “I am not ashamed that I work at a corporate law firm,” Holder stated. “I’m a trained lawyer and a pretty good one.” …

    Big banks came up earlier in the conversation when NPR’s Michel Martin asked Holder about the criticism he has gotten for not indicting Wall Street executives for the role they played in the economic crisis that began nearly a decade ago.

    “This is one that pisses me off,” Holder said. “It’s nonsense.” Holder said his office and that of the U.S. attorney in New York were willing to bring criminal cases against banks if the evidence had met the standard of proof needed.

    The standard of proof being that the bank would never be interested in Holder’s services in the future.

    1. Knute Rife

      Holder is pissed off because people have called him on doing nothing but pissing on.

  11. perpetualWAR

    The more I digest this manifesto, the more I believe that as a protester, I need to learn more about the digital world. I need to learn how to hack into law firms, court system, elected officials private databases, etc.

  12. DJG

    Interesting: John Doe writes in U.S. English, using American metaphors like “checks and balances.” I didn’t expect the leaker of Mossack Fonseca papers to be American. I’m not sure why. So the manifesto is enlightening because John Doe may still be in the U S of A. And we saw what happened to Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning.

  13. JSM

    The New York Times had a year to determine whether there was a story worth publishing from the Panama Papers and gee golly whiz were just a bit late to the game. C’mon folks, this just is not the paper of record anymore.

    http://publiceditor.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/04/04/why-no-big-splash-for-panama-papers/?_r=0

    In the most likely scenario the executive branch of the government is (always) well aware of forthcoming leaks and leans heavily on executives to suppress editorial interest in the pre-publication stage.

    http://lawnewz.com/high-profile/why-did-nbc-sit-on-explosive-story-about-clintons-alleged-hacked-email-server-for-weeks/

    1. Massinissa

      It IS the ‘paper of record’ still. Where else would the capitalist elites ‘record’ all the propaganda they want to shove down our throats?

      Its just not the same kind of ‘paper of record’ that it was a few decades ago is all.

  14. Russell

    Speaking out about it all as an expert and then being ignored and beaten is depressing.
    I am grateful to those who risk their livelihoods to warn us that something unsustainable is happening.
    I think Michael Hudson got at the change in the banking system when he talked about “Industrial” banking. That being different from the Financial Banking System.
    It is not a small thing that Sanders proved he didn’t have to have Wall St. money. If it had been proven to Obama before he gave the go ahead to Wall St. insiders who took care of their own on his watch, maybe he could have done better by us.

  15. Knute Rife

    Whistleblower protection? Hasn’t he bothered to read Our Kind of Traitor or A Delicate Truth?

  16. Lord Koos

    Billionaires owning the media is the death knell… domestic news is censored, and most of the networks and papers no longer keep foreign bureaus or stringers, so they simply print or report whatever the government tells them is going on.

    The elites are almost in total control, (although I don’t think the elimination of cash is going to fly to easily here in the USA). But all bets are off at this point — we have a turn-key authoritarian state just waiting to be unleashed, and it’s hard to see a way out without things becoming deadly.

    1. Nathanael

      The elites are getting closer and closer to having no control at all.

      Have you read any of the work of Nicholas Nassim Taleb? One of his main points is that a rigid, top-down, full-control organization is *extremely fragile*. The more rigidly they try to control everything, the *less* control they actually have, odd though it may sound.

      Emperor Augustus controlled the entire Roman Empire…. very loosely. By not micromanaging. By letting other people have power. This is *not* what our elites are doing.

      Leia’s line from Star Wars is quite good: ” The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers. ”

      I don’t look forward to the chaos which will be unleashed by our idiot overlords. But I do know that it will happen. They are utterly incompetent and quite incapable of running an authoritarian state which *works*. An authoritarian state which doesn’t work collapses quite spectacularly and very quickly with very little warning.

  17. Nathanael

    He’s right that the revolution, worldwide, has already started. It’s a very interesting time to live in. Last time which was this interesting was the 1910s, arguably.

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