Exclusive: Mainstream U.S. journalism and propaganda are getting hard to tell apart, as with the flurry of “corruption” stories aimed at Russia’s Putin and other demonized foreign leaders, writes Robert Parry.
By Robert Parry
Sadly, some important duties of journalism, such as applying evenhanded standards on human rights abuses and financial corruption, have been so corrupted by the demands of government propaganda – and the careerism of too many writers – that I now become suspicious whenever the mainstream media trumpets some sensational story aimed at some “designated villain.”
Far too often, this sort of “journalism” is just a forerunner to the next “regime change” scheme, dirtying up or delegitimizing a foreign leader before the inevitable advent of a “color revolution” organized by “democracy-promoting” NGOs often with money from the U.S. government’s National Endowment for Democracy or some neoliberal financier like George Soros.
We are now seeing what looks like a new preparatory phase for the next round of “regime changes” with corruption allegations aimed at former Brazilian President Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The new anti-Putin allegations – ballyhooed by the UK Guardian and other outlets – are particularly noteworthy because the so-called “Panama Papers” that supposedly implicate him in offshore financial dealings never mention his name.
Or as the Guardian writes: “Though the president’s name does not appear in any of the records, the data reveals a pattern – his friends have earned millions from deals that seemingly could not have been secured without his patronage. The documents suggest Putin’s family has benefited from this money – his friends’ fortunes appear his to spend.”
Note, if you will, the lack of specificity and the reliance on speculation: “a pattern”; “seemingly”; “suggest”; “appear.” Indeed, if Putin were not already a demonized figure in the Western media, such phrasing would never pass an editor’s computer screen. Indeed, the only point made in declarative phrasing is that “the president’s name does not appear in any of the records.”
A British media-watch publication, the Off-Guardian, which criticizes much of the work done at The Guardian, headlined its article on the Putin piece as “the Panama Papers cause Guardian to collapse into self-parody.”
But whatever the truth about Putin’s “corruption” or Lula’s, the journalistic point is that the notion of objectivity has long since been cast aside in favor of what’s useful as propaganda for Western interests.
Some of those Western interests now are worried about the growth of the BRICS economic system – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – as a competitor to the West’s G-7 and the International Monetary Fund. After all, control of the global financial system has been central to American power in the post-World War II world – and rivals to the West’s monopoly are not welcome.
What the built-in bias against these and other “unfriendly” governments means, in practical terms, is that one standard applies to a Russia or a Brazil, while a more forgiving measure is applied to the corruption of a U.S. or European leader.
Take, for instance, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s millions of dollars in payments in speaking fees from wealthy special interests that knew she was a good bet to become the next U.S. president. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Clinton Stalls on Goldman-Sachs Speeches.”]
Or, similarly, the millions upon millions of dollars invested in super-PACS for Clinton, Sen. Ted Cruz and other presidential hopefuls. That might look like corruption from an objective standard but is treated as just a distasteful aspect of the U.S. political process.
But imagine for a minute if Putin had been paid millions of dollars for brief speeches before powerful corporations, banks and interest groups doing business with the Kremlin. That would be held up as de facto proof of his illicit greed and corruption.
Also, when it’s a demonized foreign leader, any “corruption” will do, however minor. For example, in the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan’s denounced Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega for his choice of eyewear: “The dictator in designer glasses,” declared Reagan, even as Nancy Reagan was accepting free designer gowns and free renovations of the White House funded by oil and gas interests.
Or, the “corruption” for a demonized leader can be a modest luxury, such as Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s “sauna” in his personal residence, a topic that got front-page treatment in The New York Times and other Western publications seeking to justify the violent coup that drove Yanukovych from office in February 2014.
Incidentally, both Ortega and Yanukovych had been popularly elected but were still targeted by the U.S. government and its operatives with violent destabilization campaigns. In the 1980s, the CIA-organized Nicaraguan Contra war killed some 30,000 people, while the U.S.-orchestrated “regime change” in Ukraine sparked a civil war that has left some 10,000 people dead. Of course, in both cases, Official Washington blamed Moscow for all the trouble.
In both cases, too, the politicians and operatives who gained power as a result of the conflicts were arguably more corrupt than the Nicaraguan Sandinistas or Yanukovych’s government. The Nicaraguan Contras, whose violence helped pave the way for the 1990 election of U.S.-backed candidate Violeta Chamorro, were deeply implicated in cocaine trafficking. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The Sordid Contra-Cocaine Saga.”]
Today, the U.S.-supported Ukrainian government is wallowing in corruption so deep that it has provoked a new political crisis.[See Consortiumnews’com’s “Reality Peeks Through in Ukraine.”]
Ironically, one of the politicians actually named in the Panama Papers for having established a shadowy offshore account is the U.S.-backed Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, although he got decidedly second-billing to the unnamed Putin. (Poroshenko denied there was anything improper in his offshore financial arrangements.)
Mainstream Western journalism no longer even tries to apply common standards to questions about corruption. If you’re a favored government, there might be lamentations about the need for more “reform” – which often means slashing pensions for the elderly and cutting social programs for the poor – but if you’re a demonized leader, then the only permissible answer is criminal indictment and/or “regime change.”
One stark example of these double standards is the see-no-evil attitude toward the corruption of Ukraine’s Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko, who is touted endlessly in the Western media as the paragon of Ukrainian good governance and reform. The documented reality, however, is that Jaresko enriched herself through her control of a U.S.-taxpayer-financed investment fund that was supposed to help the people of Ukraine build their economy.
According to the terms of the $150 million investment fund created by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Jaresko’s compensation was supposed to be capped at $150,000 a year, a pay package that many Americans would envy. But it was not enough for Jaresko, who first simply exceeded the limit by hundreds of thousands of dollars and then moved her compensation off-books as she amassed total annual pay of $2 million or more.
The documentation of this scheming is clear. I have published multiple stories citing the evidence of both her excessive compensation and her legal strategies for covering up evidence of alleged wrongdoing. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “How Ukraine’s Finance Minister Got Rich” and “Carpetbagging Crony Capitalism in Ukraine.”]
Despite the evidence, not a single mainstream Western news outlet has followed up on this information even as Jaresko is hailed as a “reform” candidate for Ukrainian prime minister.
This disinterest is similar to the blinders that The New York Times and other major Western newspapers put on when they were assessing whether Ukrainian President Yanukovych was ousted in a coup in February 2014 or just wandered off and forgot to return.
In a major “investigative” piece, the Times concluded there was no coup in Ukraine while ignoring the evidence of a coup, such as the intercepted phone call between U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland and U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt discussing who they would put into power. “Yats is the guy,” said Nuland – and surprise, surprise, Arseniy Yatsenyuk ended up as prime minister.
The Times also ignored the observation of George Friedman, president of the global intelligence firm Stratfor, who noted that the Ukraine coup was “the most blatant coup in history.” [See Consortiumnews.com’s “NYT Still Pretends No Coup in Ukraine.”]
The Propaganda Weapon
The other advantage of “corruption” as a propaganda weapon to discredit certain leaders is that we all assume that there is plenty of corruption in governments as well as in the private sector all around the world. Alleging corruption is like shooting large fish crowded into a small barrel. Granted, some barrels might be more crowded than others but the real decision is whose barrel you choose.
That’s part of the reason why the U.S. government has spread around hundreds of millions of dollars to finance “journalism” organizations, train political activists and support “non-governmental organizations” that promote U.S. policy goals inside targeted countries. For instance, before the Feb. 22, 2014 coup in Ukraine, there were scores of such operations in the country financed by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), whose budget from Congress exceeds $100 million a year.
But NED, which has been run by neocon Carl Gershman since its founding in 1983, is only part of the picture. You have other propaganda fronts operating under the umbrella of the State Department and USAID. Last year, USAID issued a fact sheet summarizing its work financing friendly journalists around the globe, including “journalism education, media business development, capacity building for supportive institutions, and strengthening legal-regulatory environments for free media.”
USAID estimated its budget for “media strengthening programs in over 30 countries” at $40 million annually, including aiding “independent media organizations and bloggers in over a dozen countries,” In Ukraine before the coup, USAID offered training in “mobile phone and website security,” which sounds a bit like an operation to thwart the local government’s intelligence gathering, an ironic position for the U.S. with its surveillance obsession, including prosecuting whistleblowers based on evidence that they talked to journalists.
USAID, working with billionaire George Soros’s Open Society, also funds the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, which engages in “investigative journalism” that usually goes after governments that have fallen into disfavor with the United States and then are singled out for accusations of corruption. The USAID-funded OCCRP also collaborates with Bellingcat, an online investigative website founded by blogger Eliot Higgins.
Higgins has spread misinformation on the Internet, including discredited claims implicating the Syrian government in the sarin attack in 2013 and directing an Australian TV news crew to what looked to be the wrong location for a video of a BUK anti-aircraft battery as it supposedly made its getaway to Russia after the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in July 2014.
Despite his dubious record of accuracy, Higgins has gained mainstream acclaim, in part, because his “findings” always match up with the propaganda theme that the U.S. government and its Western allies are peddling. Though most genuinely independent bloggers are ignored by the mainstream media, Higgins has found his work touted by both The New York Times and The Washington Post.
In other words, the U.S. government has a robust strategy for deploying direct and indirect agents of influence. Indeed, during the first Cold War, the CIA and the old U.S. Information Agency refined the art of “information warfare,” including pioneering some of its current features like having ostensibly “independent” entities and cut-outs present U.S. propaganda to a cynical public that would reject much of what it hears from government but may trust “citizen journalists” and “bloggers.”
But the larger danger from this perversion of journalism is that it sets the stage for “regime changes” that destabilize whole countries, thwart real democracy (i.e., the will of the people), and engender civil warfare. Today’s neoconservative dream of mounting a “regime change” in Moscow is particularly dangerous to the future of both Russia and the world.
Regardless of what you think about President Putin, he is a rational political leader whose legendary sangfroid makes him someone who is not prone to emotional decisions. His leadership style also appeals to the Russian people who overwhelmingly favor him, according to public opinion polls.
While the American neocons may fantasize that they can generate enough economic pain and political dissension inside Russia to achieve Putin’s removal, their expectation that he will be followed by a pliable leader like the late President Boris Yeltsin, who will let U.S. operatives back in to resume plundering Russia’s riches, is almost certainly a fantasy.
The far more likely possibility is that – if a “regime change” could somehow be arranged – Putin would be replaced by a hard-line nationalist who might think seriously about unleashing Russia’s nuclear arsenal if the West again tries to defile Mother Russia. For me, it’s not Putin who’s the worry; it’s the guy after Putin.
So, while legitimate questions about Putin’s “corruption” – or that of any other political leader – should be pursued, the standards of evidence should not be lowered just because he or anyone else is a demonized figure in the West. There should be single not double standards.
Western media outrage about “corruption” should be expressed as loudly against political and business leaders in the U.S. or other G-7 countries as it is toward those in the BRICS.
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).
I am really surprised! I always thought I am a libertarian/conservative person myself, but OK, maybe this is the difference in the terms of reference )) I even enjoyed for a while the free republic web site, there are some really interesting individuals there! I am definitely not left wing, I respect the old adage, if you are not a leftie at 25 you have no heart, if you are not a conservative at 50 you have no brain. I am 50 and I think my brain is just fine)) Thanks for your support regardless!
Sure, maybe I mixed up your attitude to deposing Putin with Russian Communists. I am a bit older than you, but I also subscribe to the adage you quoted. I am not of Russian origin, but I just have to respect how you described what I and many of my friends have been saying – the West just does not understand other people and other countries, sometimes it lacks mental capacity to do so, often, as is the case for US, it just does not want to. Therefore, a Russian or Chinese leader has to be corrupt in the way of a Western leader, although he does not have to. It is truly all about unmatched frames of reference.
As the Russian elections approach, there will be more “revelations” and false-flags such as this blue ribbon propaganda effort. This situation reminds me of Castro and 200 attempts on his life by US.
This is why in 2013 Congress repealed the Smith-Mundt Act as part of the NDAA. As a result, Congress not only funds NGO propaganda targeting regime change of non-aligned states abroad, but actively funds domestic propaganda to brainwash Americans into supporting the terrorists and corrupt scumbags that the US Government uses to destabilize these non-aligned states.
I also would have swore that the US also had “Operation Mockingbird” at one time (Wikipedia):
“Operation Mockingbird was a secret campaign by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to influence media. Begun in the 1950s, it was initially organized by Cord Meyer and Allen W. Dulles, and was later led by Frank Wisner after Dulles became the head of the CIA. The organization recruited leading American journalists into a network to help present the CIA’s views, and funded some student and cultural organizations, and magazines as fronts. As it developed, it also worked to influence foreign media and political campaigns, in addition to activities by other operating units of the CIA.”
Do you have any specific infformation about Brazil?
Nonetheless, did you actually read the entry they wrote about Putin? If it is true, and it reads like a very well written investigative piece, then the guy and his very very close companions really are crooks.
After a little searching in the Panama docs I have found one for Ukraine’s Yulia Tymoshenko. This could be somewhat incriminating. https://cryptome.org/pp-mf/cpi/Lazarenko-Pavlodoc2-cpi-16-0329.pdf Here’s the grouping it came out of. It was under the name of the former Ukrainian Prime Minister Pavlo Lazerenko. https://cryptome.org/pp-mf/pp-mf-tally.htm
Here’s what the Ukrainian docs appear to be about: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Energy_Systems_of_Ukraine They were accused of predatory pricing (dumping) in 1997. These Mossack Fonseca docs are from 1998 and highlight the names of some of Ukraine’s biggest oligarchs. From Wikipedia: In April 2012, Tymoshenko faced five charges: organising and attempting to appropriate a large sum of public funds in 1997 and 1998 through receiving value added tax (VAT) (Part 3 of Article 27, Part 5 of Article 191 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine); tax evasion by the UESU Corporation (Part 3 of Article 27, Part 3 of Article 212 of the Criminal Code); the non-payment of income tax (Part 3 of Article 212 of the Criminal Code); and, committing a crime via official forgery (Part 3 of Article 27, Part 2 of Article 366 of the Criminal Code).
Now if someone could just tie these criminals into Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Pinchuk who is the Clinton Foundations largest foreign donor, then we may be getting somewhere good. They are all crooked as they come. This Fonseca docs point at a company called Metalsrussia LTD and billionaire Pinhcuk is involved in a steel pipe manufacturing. Could be something there.
Interesting, I just went to Wikileaks Twitter feed and some of the tweets are as follows:
1) US govt funded #PanamaPapers attack story on Putin via USAID. Some good journalists but no model for integrity.
2) #PanamaPapers Putin attack was produced by OCCRP which targets Russia & former USSR and was funded by USAID & Soros.
3) The US OCCRP can do good work, but for the US govt to directly fund the #PanamaPapers attack on Putin seriously undermines its integrity.
4) #PanamaPapers: WikiLeaks’ Kristinn Hrafnsson calls for data leak to be released in full http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/world-news/panama-papers-wikileaks-kristinn-hrafnsson-calls-for-data-leak-to-be-released-in-full-34601909.html …
Protocols 1:11 “Great national qualities, like frankness and honesty, are vices in politics, for they bring down rulers from their thrones more effectively and more certainly than the most powerful enemy. Such qualities must be the attributes of the kingdoms of the GOYIM, but we must in no wise be guided by them.”
Protocols 10:13 “. In order that our scheme may produce this result we shall arrange elections in favor of such presidents as have in their past some dark, undiscovered stain, some “Panama” or other—then they will be trustworthy agents for the accomplishment of our plans out of fear of revelations and from the natural desire of everyone who has attained power, namely, the retention of the privileges, advantages and honor connected with the office of president.”
Notice the Khazarian Soros’ involvement.
It’s not their fault. It’s their plan.
This is a phenomenal piece by Mr. Parry.
Mr. Parry makes a sensational analogy when he juxtaposes Hillary’s millions of dollars in Wall Street speaking fees as being labeled as blatant corruption if it were done by any foreign leader on Washington’s vilification list.
Always surprised by the word “corruption”. this word is replaced with the word “lobbying” in Western countries. In fact it is the same thing, just a different name. And somebody is struggling with lobbying?
The coverage of the Panama Papers has generally overlooked some interesting details:
Just thinking but could not these Panama Papers, which much of western media seem to be focusing on Putin even though his name is not on the list, be not yet another attack by western governments to try and get protests similar to what is happening in Brazil (similarly in Venezuela against Maduro)? One thing that seems glaring are the absence of western names like “Soros” etc. Maybe I am reading too much into it but I am sure that US, and western governments, will take every opportunity to destabilize BRICS countries which pose a threat to US, and western, hegemony over the rest of the world. Nothing surprises me at this point, I mean at one time was there not a plot by the CIA to destroy Castro’s beard – I kid you not!
I do not very often read the “zerohedge” website, but in their article I came across an answer to the question, presented by many, about the absence of the US names. It is at the very end of this lengthy article.
“Finally, for those curious why not a single prominent US name features in the list above, the reason may be found within the snapshot of the non-profit ICIJ’s “funding supporters”:
Recent ICIJ funders include: Adessium Foundation, Open Society Foundations, The Sigrid Rausing Trust, the Fritt Ord Foundation, the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, The Ford Foundation, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts and Waterloo Foundation.
And then, at the bottom of the Panama Papers disclosure site we again find Open Society which, as everyone knows, is another name for George Soros.
Finally, let’s recall that as Bloomberg reported earlier this year, the world’s biggest and “favorite” new tax haven as of this moment, is… the United States itself.”
And one more link on the same website:
Lisa… Yeah, I took a look at the Wikileaks Twitter feed and they have a few tweets that the Panama Papers attack story on Putin was funded by the US Government, the OCCRP, USAID and Soros. Why am I not surprised, it seems the usual culprits keep popping up everywhere OCCRP, USAID etc.
Did Bernie Sanders Predict the Panama Papers When He Opposed Clinton-Backed U.S.-Panama Trade Deal?
APRIL 05, 2016
Panama Papers’ Reporters Explain How the Biggest Leak in Data Journalism’s History Materialized
senior editor at the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which published the Panama Papers.
The Panama Papers leak, that reveals how the rich and powerful rely on a secretive law firm to hide their wealth in tax havens, has drawn attention to a 2011 speech by Senator Bernie Sanders against the Panama-United States Trade Promotion Agreement, which became law in 2012. He noted that Panama’s entire economic output at the time was so low that the pact seemed unlikely to benefit American workers. The real reason for the agreement, Sanders argued, is that “Panama is a world leader when it comes to allowing wealthy Americans and large corporations to evade taxes.” Sanders said the trade agreement “will make this bad situation much worse.” We get reaction from Michael Hudson, senior editor at the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which published the Panama Papers, and Frederik Obermaier, investigative reporter at Germany’s leading newspaper, the Munich-based Süddeutsche Zeitung. He is co-author of the book “Panama Papers: The Story of a Worldwide Revelation.”
AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking about “The biggest leak in the history of data journalism just went live, and it’s about corruption.” That’s what NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden tweeted about the Panama Papers. Released Sunday, the papers reveal how the rich and powerful in numerous countries use tax havens to hide their wealth. Some 11-and-a-half million files were leaked from one of the world’s most secretive offshore companies, Mossack Fonseca, a law firm based in Panama. The documents were obtained from an anonymous source by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. Snowden also tweeted about the Panama Papers, saying, “The story behind the #PanamaPapers? Courage is contagious.”
We’re joined by Frederik Obermaier, Süddeutsche Zeitung’s leader—reporter and one of the lead reporters on this story, and Michael Hudson of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
Thank you for the link, I watched it shortly after it was posted! One thing I am wondering though is where are all of the western names or maybe they hide their money in another tax haven that is not being disclosed.
Well, microbrain, the PM of Iceland was on the list and he has already been thrown out of power. But nothing will happen to Putin because there is no freedom of press or freedom of speech or freedom to protest in Russia.
As far as I know PUTIN IS NOT ON THE LIST, associates of his are – is any of that hard to understand? But let’s ignore that and make this whole story about evil Putin. I still stand by my statements, it is ridiculous to make this all about Putin when he is not directly implicated meanwhile we have leaders who are directly implicated such as the Saudis and Poreshenko etc. As for all of your rants about “evil Putin”, I have never seen any actual “evidence” to support Putin killing journalists, political opponents etc. just a lot of “speculation”. I am Canadian and even when CBC did the report on the findings of the British court about Litvenko, I think that was his name, it said that it points to Putin and that Putin “may be” responsible – again that is not proof, it’s speculation. Just as much of our reporting is! As much as people like you continually bark about how everything that comes out of Russia is “propaganda” it is glaringly obvious that when Putin himself is not named by things like the Panama Papers yet still has become the focus of western media – that most certainly IS PROPAGANDA. You obviously have much venom for Putin and I am sure that if you stub your toe it is somehow Putin’s fault meanwhile calling anyone that does not agree with your point of view Putin internet trolls. But hey, believe whatever you want and I will continue to come to read the articles from award winning “American” journalist Robert Parry and his contributors such as former CIA Official “American” Ray McGovern along with other award winning journalists such as “Australian/British” journalist John Pilger etc. and you can get as angry as you want and call me all the names you like…
One other thing, if we are all PAID RUSSIAN INTERNET TROLLS, then please tell me the logic of coming to Consortium News? If that was the case then it is “preaching to the converted” don’t you think since Consortium News is “inline” with our way of thinking which is largely reflected by the commenters in the threads associated with the articles – much like a Christian Missionary speaking the gospel to other Christians instead of trying to convert heathens to Christianity. Your logic just makes no sense at all but obviously you are a very angry person, there is no debating that.
Nonsense. The PM of Iceland resigned.
Iceland that is the country where bankers went to jail and and sayd F* you to goldman sachs.
On the one hand, as Parry indicates and another poster details, the managers of the Panama Papers are unsavoury, which makes me wonder about the original leaker. Snowden may have been too quick to commend him (or…) for his courage. On the other hand, Within over 11 million documents, there should be something about Western slime. Then again, Mossack Fonseca is only one of many such companies that help tax evaders and money launderers do their thing, as David Dayen (Salon – http://bit.ly/1UHSzMa) points out. Could it be that this was a black op that targetted the most harmful leak possible, the operatives accepting that there’d be a sacrifice of some on their side and some who are not seen as enemies? Lets remember that they (the US mainly, but their allies as well [Five Eyes]) have crazy surveillance tech and capabilities now. What can be kept secret from the state’s super prying eyes, at least for long? If so, They made Putin out to be a great guy. If they had the capability of doing such a black op, Why would they settle on a reveal that doesn’t even finger Putin, except only indirectly and only if you can be allowed to enter speculation as fact in order to clinch it? No. If they wanted to do a black op like this, and Putin was as evil as they say (and how they say), then they’d enable the reveal that fingered him definitively.
I do not have time to really follow it but some Russian news reported today that Wikileaks confirmed just that. Did not read it myself.
As for Putin, you should understand some simple things that really evade people in the West. Even if he wanted to engage in hiding money in offshore accounts, he himself has absolutely no ability, even technical ability, to do this. He is guarded all the time and live in highly secure locations with no uncontrolled access to any communication means. It is known that he does not use cell phones or computers with access to the Internet. In fact, as far as I remember, high state officials are forbidden by law to use computers with the internet access for anything that is related to their work. It has been like that for 15 years or so, I think. There have been violations, with people trying to use their private laptops, they even were reported in the press. But I am sure Putin himself would not do this. So he simply has no technical ability to engage in any offshore banking activity. Christ, he probably goes to the loo with somebody present. It is quite a special life, and everyday people just do not understand it.
Next. The Russian psyche places much less emphasis on saving money for retirement, compared to the West. The highest honour is not to become rich but to serve your country well. At least, among older generations, like Putin, and me, too. He is well provided for now. He knows he will be well provided for later too, not spectacularly, but enough for most reasonable needs. Retired high state officials are well provided for in Russia, exactly with the goal to remove incentives to engage in saving yourself a pile while in office. And Putin knows really well that if he does do anything illegal, he will be disgraced, and this will disgrace his country and destroy everything he worked for for the past 15 years. He knows the stakes and he simply will not do it. So this whole campaign is ridiculous. The West judges Putin according to Western standards. Which shows again how crooked a place the West has become.
By the way, exactly because of that, when I hear that Putin ordered the murder of Litvinenko, it makes me really lough. Who is Putin and who was Litvinenko? What kind of a leader Putin would be if he allowed his petty emotions, even if he had those, to risk damaging himself and the country he represents? To kill somebody like Litvinenko? And to kill with what – polonium! Which is easy to identify and to trace! As if, if one really wanted, he could not be killed in a car accident, or by falling from stairs, etc. It may be appealing for the yellow press to paint Putin as raging maniac and tyrant, but he is not. He is very smart and rational. And he does serve his country well. He is not qualified to really deal with the economy, and this is his major weakness, compounded by the fact that for whatever reason he keeps Medvedev, a glaring nobody, as his Prime Minister. But as for the rest – he is doing really well and that’s why he enjoys such high ratings. And he would not risk all that for money in offshore accounts he knows fully well he would never be able to use (imagine Putin going to Panama after retiring to retrieve a case of money. A junk movie.) So that is why it is all just propaganda, pure and simple.
“The highest honour is not to become rich but to serve your country well.”
Thank you! I wish it were so in the US, where enough is never enough.
Oleg, I am on the libertarian/conservative side of the political spectrum (hi Tilo troll, not everyone here is a left wing Putin troll, I am a right-wing Putin troll). I disagree with your left wing views but this post of yours is absolutely brilliant and especially these two sentences:
“The West judges Putin according to Western standards. Which shows again how crooked a place the West has become.”
Your post truly describes how the Western propaganda uses the Western reference points for describing Russia to the dumb Western audiences, whilst the Russian frame of reference is quite different. Some British propagandists at least try to understand how Russia is different, whilst their US equivalents do not care to understand anything – they just want to smash up Russia just like another Libya or Syria or Serbia and make them all as corrupt as US. Then no differences will matter any more, all same same.
Anyone can point out that US interests are probably at play here. For the long winded and hyped up highlighting of this obvious link I’m sure you’ve gotten plenty of pats on the back and probably a substantial bonus from the “Boss”.
I do have to ask however, why does it matter where the information came from? If Russian intelligence had “leaked” a trove of documentation that linked countless western officials and their families to indefensible money laundering schemes, would you jump up and cry about how it was all just propaganda?
The facts remain that the elite of world are playing by a different rule book. The use of power to prop up friends and family is sickening. The idea that a cello player could mass such a large fortune without a corrupt and well connected partner is ludicrous. This is a classic case of kill the messenger. You may not like, or trust the news services that report on a matter, but instead of trying to attack the information as false you’ve made a deflective article meant to draw attention off the real story. I hope the peoples of the world will look past where the information comes from and, for their own sake, use the information to better the lives of those who are taken advantage of by the wealthy elites who believe they are untouchable.
Tell me what is deflecting. The fact is that Putin himself is not one of the people named in the Panama paper meanwhile we have actual leaders, some our allies, that are directly indicated but instead the story has shifted into a “blame Putin” narrative. C’mon, the use of information implicating Putin as “possibly, maybe” etc. being associated with Panama is ridiculous. Instead there should be a slew of stories about Poreshenko or the Saudis or even David Cameron’s father – but instead we get smoke and mirrors pointing to a “possible” connection to Putin – ridiculous. The same was done when British courts declared that Litvinenko was poisoned by polonium-210 and then it was “eluded” that there “might” be a connection back to Putin – that’s not journalism. It has gotten so ridiculous that a story about Putin putting a blanket on the first lady of China became front page news. So Mr. Parry is very justified in pointing out the ridiculousness of our media.
The media can absolutely point out that people associated with Putin are incriminated but the media should have gone after actual leaders on the list or relatives, such as in David Cameron’s case, but instead the story became about Putin who is not even on the list – which is obvious, blatant propaganda. If some of Obama’s friends were on the Panama list should the whole story have become about Obama – even though he was not actually on the list? That would be ridiculous just as it is ridiculous to make this story all about Putin.
“Der Spiegel” has done the same thing, posting a picture of Putin in an article dealing with the Panama papers while clearly stating in the article that no direct links to Putin were established, while stating in the headline that there are direct links to Putin.
Commentators on that article are clearly outraged at this Western propaganda trying to smear Putin without any proof.
Fred… Now, at least as it pertains to Putin, I am starting to realize the hand of the US government, OCCRP, USAID and George Soros – as WikiLeaks has been pointing out on its’ Twitter feed. Always USAID and George Soros trying to stir things up the world over. I was actually just looking over some articles about USAID involvement in different countries such as AP reporting about USAID creating a Cuban Twitter to try to create regime change, Al Jazeera reporting on USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy funding opposition protesters along with politicians to oust Morsi, and let us not forget about their role in Haiti and Venezuela etc. as Mother Jones reported. This shows me how very careful we need to be when our media or leaders start to demonize other countries because likely the hand of the US Government is behind protests or supposed popular uprisings against governments that fail to bow to the US or US interests – such as what we are seeing in Brazil and a year or two ago in Venezuela.
Again, a couple of obvious points.
“The use of power to prop up friends and family is sickening. ”
Sure. Again, are you Russian? If not, why don’t you devote your noble efforts to minding your own backyard and let us take care of ours?
“The idea that a cello player could mass such a large fortune without a corrupt and well connected partner is ludicrous. ”
I totally disagree. Let us change the sentence a bit. The idea that a football player could mass such a large fortune without a corrupt and well connected partner is ludicrous. How does it sound?
I do not know the details about Roldugin’s accounts, but most likely, they were managed by his business associates (and yes, friends, and maybe they are even Putin’s friends too). He might have made some original investments back many years ago, or taken as associate in some of the businesses of his friends in 1980-early 1990-s. There were lots of irregularities in Russia then. Among my own high school classmates you can find lots of very different people. Which does not make me corrupt. Equally, having somebody as a friend does not make Putin corrupt. His friends including Roldugin are not public officials and occupy no government positions. So there can be no corruption case made against them. As private individuals they can do business and use whatever accounts they see fit. The only questions is whether they paid their taxes, but (1) this is none of your business, Roldugin is not a public figure, and this is between him and Russian tax authorities; (2) even if he did not pay his taxes, it does not in any way make Putin corrupt. OK? So please stop spinning the facts. There is no, none, zilch proof in these documents, or in any others for that matter, that President Putin himself is corrupt in any way. Yet he is all over the front pages in relation to this leak. That’s exactly what makes this all a pure propaganda.
Your rationalizations are completely absurd. No cello player in Russia, or anywhere, makes the kind of money of a U.S. athlete. Not even remotely close. And even the best paid athletes don’t make a billion. The idea that Roldugin somehow got lucky in a business investment is equally absurd. Somehow all of Putin’s friends seem to get lucky in their business investments. His girlfriend, who is a physical education major with no business or media experience ends up being chairman of the board of a media conglomerate. Just lucky right. You Putin paid trolls are as transparent as your criminal boss. Of course your objective is not to prove anything but to do what Putin always does with regard to his criminal enterprises, and that is to maintain a verneer of deniability no matter how thin and preposterous.
Tilo, perhaps you noticed that I was not talking to you, have you? Thanks. I have said all I wanted to say to you earlier. May I just draw your attention once again to the fact that there is no proof in the documents in question regarding Putin’s affairs and his name is not mentioned at all. I understand that you, as well as others like you, Kasparov, Gessen, vehemently hate Putin and spit your bile everywhere you can. But please spare us, reasonable people, from your spite. Unreasonable hate is a sure sign of a loser. As far as I understand, you are from the US, since you do not know who Lionel Messi is. Then why are you so hot and bothered about Russia? Go deal with Ms. Clinton first. There are plenty of problems to address in the US. You do not understand, do you, that demonizing Putin like that, making totally ridiculous insinuations, you in fact make sure that he stays in power forever. And it is not your problem, it is our problem as Russian citizens, and as I already said, you with your laughable accusations and Mr. Harding and the Guardian and Ms. Gessen and Mr. Kasparov, all the clowns of this mud show just make our task harder. So please could you shut up, really? Sorry for my French.
Let us celebrate the release of The Panama Papers
Great article. Of note is last summers article by Andrew Cockburn in Harpers titled” Undelivered Goods
How $1.8 billion in aid to Ukraine was funneled to the outposts of the international finance galaxy”. https://harpers.org/blog/2015/08/undelivered-goods/
The theft of $1.8 billion through the IMF was entirely ignored by the US, UK, EU, Australian and Canadian media. The story barely makes a blip in a Google search to this very day. Yet the article clearly lays out how a key US ally stole the money and his bank continues to receive US taxpayer money to this day. That is why the Panama Leaks which come directly from the following entities should be considered a propaganda tool.
Rockefeller Family Fund
W K Kellogg Foundation
Open Society Foundation (Soros)
Link to main page of the ‘Consortium of Journalists’ utilized for the Panama Leaks – https://www.occrp.org/en/about-us
This is who they are, Soros’s Color Revolution gang-The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) is a not-for-profit, joint program of a number of regional non-profit investigative centers and for profit independent media stretching from Eastern Europe to Central Asia.
The Center for Investigative Reporting in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Rise Project Romania
RISE Project Moldova
Bivol in Bulgaria
The Center for Investigative Reporting and Krik.rs in Serbia
Novaya Gazeta in Russia
The Kyiv Post and Slidstvo.Info in Ukraine
HETQ (Armenian Investigative Journalists) in Armenia
re:Baltica in Latvia
Atlatszo.hu in Hungary
MANS in Montenegro (research partner)
Liberali and Studio Monitor and the Journalistic Data Processing Center in Georgia
Ceske Centrum Pro Investigativni Zurnalistiku in the Czech Republic
A network of individual investigative journalists and media from Eastern Europe to Central Asia.
Partners in Latin America, Africa and the Middle East
Link to good thread at Jackpine Radicals that has quite a lot of info on the ‘leaks’-http://jackpineradicals.org/showthread.php?8080-Unprecedented-Leak-quot-Exposes-The-Criminal-Financial-Dealings-Of-World-s-Wealthy-Elite
Propaganda tool or not, the question is whether or not the information is real. As far as I can tell no one is refuting the information in the Panama Papers.
We all know the USA engages in information wars against governments they oppose. If I was on America’s shit list I’d make every effort to not involve myself in a crime, so that America couldn’t use my secrets against me. Then again I’m not an elite or powerful person so my problems don’t disappear.
“the question is whether or not the information is real”.
Selectively withdrawing some of the information (and I cannot believe there was not a single American name or affiliate in the whole heap of stolen terabytes) does compromise the integrity of information and make it highly suspicious. Even if the facts released are totally true.
Quite a load of bull you posted there Liam. Disposing of it is as simple as asking you to provide a shred of evidence for what you claim to be the sources of the Panama papers.
The Jack Pine link merely returns this article, which is an important one that I’m going to make prominent on my website.
AN APPRECIATION OF ROBERT PARRY’S ANALYSIS/RESONSE
Thanks (as usual) to Robert Parry’s analysis of the situation. As
indicated, such claims of corruption could be applied to
most political leaders and often are.
Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA
thank you, there are some real journalists out there
So this troll Robert Parry looks at Russia, where all free media has been shut down and where the government owns the majority of media companies – the rest being controlled by Putin’s girlfriend; and then decides to go after the free western media. He has seen the countless reporters that have been killed in Russia, making it the fourth most dangerous place in the world for reporters to work, and decides that it is the western media that must be attacked. And while every possible opinion, including his own insane rant, can be seen in the west, no opinion but Putin’s can be seen in the Russian media. But this back stabbing troll decides that he needs to go after the western media. And while every western leader is attacked and questioned by the western media, no such media opposition exists in Russia. But the demented Parry decides that the Western media is the one at fault. And while Putin’s closest friend is implicated for billions in the Panama papers, Parry seems to think that Putin’s friend acquired that money playing cello. Parry uses the word “regime change” as though it were a particularly vile concept. He seems to be of the opinion that the tyrannical filth of the world is entitled to rule without opposition forever. And after they die, their children can continue enslaving populations of millions without any western news sources even entitled to a voice of opposition. Honestly, where do the deluded people like Parry come from. If there is a tyrant, terrorist, or criminal to ally with they are always the first to jump up and the first to tear down the structure of western democracy.
Free Western media.
I nearly threw up in my mouth.
You mean the free media that is controlled by 7 companies all run by Zionists.
Your CFR/PNAC zionist trolling is pathetic
Yes, the criminal left seems to have become a bunch of completely anti- Semitic bigots; hiding it under the pretense of being anti Zionists. But their blather about control of the world media and banks and businesses shows the true filth they are. The only objective of the left is to destroy western civilization because they know that their socialist tyrannical ideas are just too sick for the world to accept on their own merits. So they spend their lives teaming up with criminals, tyrants, and terrorists in the hope that they can get enough support to tear down western culture and rebuild it into a socialist police state where they will be the “more equal pigs”.
Tilo, you forgot to mention that John Lennon was a wife beater.
It appears to me “anti-Semitism” as you so call it is only a response to over 100s or 1000s of years of anti-Gentilism and REAL anti-Semitic bigotry by Zionists.
It is no answer to this evidence of nationality to declare that the Jews are not an absolutely pure race. There has, of course, been some intermixture of foreign blood in the three thousand years which constitute out historic period. But, owing to persecution and prejudice, the intermarriages with non-Jews which have occurred have resulted merely in taking away many from the Jewish community. Intermarriage has brought few additions. Therefore the percentage of foreign blood in the Jews of today is very low. Probably no important Europeam race is as pure. But common race is only one of the elements that determine our nationality.
– Supreme Court Justice Louis Dembitz Brandeis, talking about keeping the race pure far before the Nazis
“…it is enough for us to know that the Jews have always felt themselves as a separate race, sharply marked off from the rest of mankind. Anyone who denies the racial conception of Judaism on the part of the Jews in the past is either ignorant of the facts of Jewish history, or intentionally misrepresents them.”
– Israel Friedlander
“It would be an excellent idea to call in respected, accredited anti-Semites as liquidators of property. To the people, they would vouch for the fact that we do not wish to bring about the impoverishment of the countries that we leave. At first, they must not be given large fees for this; otherwise we shall spoil our instruments and make them despicable as “stooges of the Jews.” Later their fees will increase, and in the end we shall have only Gentile officials in the countries from which we have emigrated. The anti-Semites will become our most dependable friends, the anti-Semitic countries our allies. We want to emigrate as a respected people.”
– The Complete Diaries of Theodor Herzl, Page 83, Late 1890s
“Let me tell you the following words as if I were showing you the rungs of a ladder leading upward and upward: Herzl; the Zionist Congress; the English Uganda proposition; the future world war; the peace conference where with the help of England a free and Jewish Palestine will be created.”
– Max Nordau, Co-Founder of Modern Zionism, 1903, 6th World Zionist Congress, Excerpt from “When Prophets Speak”, by Litman Rosenthal, American Jewish News, New York, Vol. 4, No. 2, September 19, 1919. p. 464
“A day will come on which Zionism will be needed by you, you proud Germans, as by those wretched Ostjuden (Eastern European Jews), who you fear and hate! A day will come on which you too will beg our help and be suppliants for asylum in that land (Palestine) which you now scorn!…I warn you of the future!”
– Max Nordau, early 1900s, attacking German Jews against Zionism
Tilo – you sound like a moron, whose brains were laundered by the Fox, CNBC and Co, we call such people trolls. Do you work for the State Department by any chance, on no, wait for a Democratic think tank! The one that buys opinions and power. HAHA, free Western Media, now that made my morning. Now go put your head back in the sand or another ‘safe’ place.
“Yes, the criminal left seems to have become a bunch of completely anti- Semitic bigots; hiding it under the pretense of being anti Zionists. ”
I think your vicious posts justify doing without the pretense.
In any case, microbrain, why don’t you go and talk to all the different news sources with all of their different opinions and ask them why their opinions are not the same, since they are all under “Zionist” control. Then show me a single news story out of Russia that is disparaging of Putin.
“… show me a single news story out of Russia that is disparaging of Putin …”
If you speak Russian, you could try many blogs on the Internet, or Novaja Gazeta, or Echo of Moscow, or the site of the Russian communist party, and I am sure, that you will find many stories disparaging of Putin.
But I am not sure, that you will like them.
You will find out, that generally all those corrupt Russian oligarchs find their refuge in the West, esp. in London, in Switzerland, in the USA, in Israel, where they are allowed to reside, to open bank accounts and to manage their off shore companies outside Russia and against Russia.
Yes, some Russian authorities and Russian tycoons are corrupt, but corruption is all that is necessary for the West to control Russian natural resources and economy. The West is not fighting against corruption, but promoting corruption, because corruption is necessary for expanding its influence and power, just like any other former empire did before, for example the Roman empire.
Paradoxically, using corruption as an argument for discrediting foreign leaders is also necessary, in order to justify a war or a regime change, for instance. But it leads to double standard, and that is what Mr. Parry is talking about.
You should not insult Mr. Parry who is a great journalist, and who deserves respect for his work and for his efforts toward true information.
You may also remember Paul Klebnikov, who was an American journalist, working for Forbes in Moscow. As far as I know, Forbes is not exactly a communist either a left-wing journal. But Paul was also seeking for truth, he was probably disgusted with what was happening in Russia, he wrote many articles about Russian oligarchs, their fraud and swindling during the Eltsin period. He wrote a book “Berezovski, the godfather of the Kremlin – the looting of Russia”. Paul had many enemies in Moscow and in the West. He was killed in 2004. At that time Berezovski was living in London, and after the killing of Paul Klebnikov, he just said, that Paul was “a dishonest journalist”.
You should also be interested by the Yukos case, where an arbitration tribunal sentenced Russia to pay about 50 billion dollars to Khodorkovski’s partners for the loss of the company as a result of a series of measures taken by the Russian government. You should read the decisions, where it is not even concealed, that there was absolutely no foreign investment for Yukos in Russia, but only a transfer of Khodorkovski’s shares into off shore companies based in fiscal havens (isle of Man, Cyprus). Usual tax and capital evasion. Juts on a very, very big scale.
Nonethelesse, morally corrupt American and western arbitrators and lawyers decided, that all those fraudulent operations should be treated as a foreign investment protected by an international agreement (the Energy treaty), and allocated to that bunch of crooks and murderers 50 billion dollars (without interest), which is a burden, that the Russian people cannot afford.
As for Mr. Khodorkovski, he is now living in Switzerland, he is very active against Putin, he created sort of a political movement named “Open Russia”, and according to the program of that movement, Khodorkosvski’s main goal will be “to fight corruption”. At least, he knows, what he is talking about.
But here, in the “free” western press you seem to read, did you find an article expressing some concern or some surprise in front of such facts? No. No, because, as is said in one of the comments on this blog, here, in the West, corruption is legal. Or legalized.
Corruption becomes bad, when it can be used for regime changes.
To name a few. Some have English versions. Enjoy. If reading disparaging stories about Putin is your favourite pastime, you can definitely find lots of highly satisfying stuff on those web sites. Add some popular bloggers like http://navalny.com/ and it will likely make your day. Good luck.
Tilo, if that is your name, your rage is excessive, Mr. Parry has merely correctly pointed out that The Gray Lady has engaged in defamation of President Putin, but thanks to a prissy snarkiness and lawyers advice, does not quite libel. Tilo, your foaming at the mouth and unsubtle threats of violence directed at Mr. Parry remind me of the trash talk found in the comments section of the aptly named “Yahoo News”, the domain of professional trolls, which you, Tilo, clearly are . Does your employer also pay for cyber attacks?
Have morons like you ever read a book about Putin? For example, “The Man Without A Face”, by Masha Gessen. Or any of a half dozen other books that detail the life of Putin? There is a virtual Mt. Everest of data pointing to his criminality. And not just stealing money, but murdering opponents, friends, and blowing up Russian apartment complexes, attacking and shutting down the Russian media, engineering fraudulent elections, etc. The idea that the western media is slandering Putin is beyond absurd. No story in the western media even get’s close to the level of depravity and criminality of the man.
Of course non of that makes the slightest bit of difference to socialists like Parry. Because their propaganda bears no relationship to reality at all. Socialists are ready to befriend, defend, and align with the lowest animals on the planet as long as they share a common enemy with them, that being western civilization. When Parry goes on his totally laughable “poor Putin” rant or when he comes out against “regime change” in order to save the worst human rights abusers on the planet, his objective is as clear as day. Any enemy of western civilization and democracy is his best friend. Parry and the socialists that prowl sites like this are fighting to destroy democracy and replace it with an authoritarian socialist police state where they believe that they themselves would be the intellectual elite. Of course they will object that a police state is not their objective, but any fool can see that their objectives are unnatural and therefore always, always require a complete police state to implement. Every previous attempt at implementing socialism has been a freedom robbing, poverty stricken failure for a very good reason. It’s not an issue of improper implementation. It’s because implementation cannot occur or be maintained without a state that is authoritarian enough to make socialism possible. But the world is catching on to the filth that makes up the ranks of the socialists, and their ever ready willingness to partner with the most destructive, anti human elements on the world stage is being noted.
Tilo – you know that VVP knows everything, he probably knows who you are and is sending his people after you right this minute. Be afraid, be very very afraid, oh wait, you are already. Takih ubogih kak ti mozhno tolko pozhalet. Ny a teprer idi zaimis’ chem nibut poleznim.
Thanks Robet, another great article!
If you think you are being funny you are an idiot. Putin has just had Mikhail Lesin murdered in the U.S. He has recently had Boris Nemtsov murdered; and if you look back there is a long wide trail of opponents of Putin or people inconvenient to Putin being murdered. The simple fact is that Putin is the lowest form of criminal filth imaginable and he is running a nuclear state like it is a mafia gang.
Of course Putin will fail in Russia. When you make success in Russia completely dependent on being inside of Putin’s extended circle of friends and thugs the country ceases to function as a meritocracy. Human potential does not develop, and the only thing remaining to pay the nations bills and power the economy is the exploitation of natural resources such as gas and oil and the sale of weapons. It looks like the world is in an oil glut and in 10 to 15 years there will be fission reactors to make oil even less valuable. So there is no future for the Russian economy and there is nothing to look forward to but poverty and slavery for the Russia people.
By the way, the Russian legislature is working on a law that makes criticism of Putin punishable by 6 years in prison. Every week there is a new law that tramples human rights and empowers Putin to express his criminal behavior with impunity.
you say “Putin,” as if it were something bad
“Russian dissident” Masha Gessen is as much a bought and paid for propaganda banshee as Eliot Higgins.
The most notorious “Russian dissident” is oil oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
Back in 2011, F. William Engdahl reported on the true reason why Putin arrested and imprisoned the former head of Russia’s largest private oil giant, Yukos:
“at the tender age of 40 had risen to become the richest man in Russia worth some $15 billion by fraudulent acquisition of state assets during the lawless Yeltsin era. In an auction run by his own bank, Khodorkovsky paid $309 million for Yukos. In 2003 the same company was assessed as worth $45 billion, and not owing to Khodorkovsky’s management genius.
“In 1998, Khodorkovsky had been let free in a US case where he was charged with helping launder $10 billion with his own bank and the Bank of New York. He had very influential friends in the US it appeared […]
“But there was more. Khodorkovsky built some impressive ties in the West. With his new billions in effect stolen from the Russian people, he made some powerful friends. He set up a foundation modeled on US billionaire George Soros’ Open Society, calling it the Open Russia Foundation. He invited two powerful Westerners to its board — Henry Kissinger and Jacob Lord Rothschild. Then he set about to develop ties with some of the most powerful circles in Washington where he was named to the Advisory Board of the secretive private equity firm, Carlyle Group where he attended board meetings with fellow advisors such as George H.W. Bush and James Baker III.
“However, the real crime that landed Khodorkovsky behind Russian bars was the fact that he was in the middle of making a US-backed coup d’etat to capture the Russian presidency in planned 2004 Russian Duma elections. Khodorkovsky was in the process of using his enormous wealth to buy enough seats in the coming Duma elections that he could change Russian laws regarding ownership of oil in the ground and of pipelines transporting same. In addition he planned to directly challenge Putin and become Russian President. As part of the horse trade that won Putin the tacit support of the wealthy so-called Russian Oligarchs, Putin had extracted agreement that they be allowed to hold on to their wealth provided they repatriate a share back into Russia and provided they not interfere in domestic Russian politics with their wealth. Most oligarchs agreed, as did Khodorkovsky at the time. They remain established Russian businessmen. Khodorkovsky did not.
“Moreover, at the time of his arrest Khodorkovsky was in the process of negotiating via his Carlyle friend George H.W. Bush, father of the then-President George W. Bush, the sale of 40% of Yukos to either Condi Rice’s former company, Chevron or ExxonMobil in a move that would have dealt a crippling blow to the one asset left Russia and Putin to use for the rebuilding of the wrecked Russian economy: oil and export via state-owned pipelines to the West for dollars. During the ensuing Russian state prosecution of Yukos, it came to light that Khodorkovsky had also secretly made a contract with London’s Lord Rothschild not merely to support Russian culture via the Open Russia Foundation of Khodorkovsky. In the event of his possible arrest (Khodorkovsky evidently knew he was playing a high-risk game trying to create a coup against Putin) the 40% share of his Yukos stocks would pass into the hands of Lord Rothschild.”
The Real Crime of M. Khodorkovsky
“Russian dissident” Masha Gessen is as much a bought and paid for propaganda banshee as Eliot Higgins.”
I do not think she is really bought. She probably really thinks so, or in the very least that is what makes her book sell. But I think she is sincere in her hatred of Putin and modern Russia. So what? She is entitled to her opinion. At the same time, her opinion is of little value if one wants to obtain information on Russia since she left Russia and now lives in the US, so she does not really know firsthand the things she writes about. Also, since she is Jewish, her views are quite different from the majority of Russians, and it affects her judgement too. This is a really interesting phenomenon that most of fervent opposition figures in Russia have Jewish origins. Kasparov is another good example. Khodorkovsky, too. I think myself this is because they really do not care about Russia, their loyalties are with another country, which they do not criticize. Russia is just an evil foster mother for them. By the way, I do not know about the Jews in the USA, but I think the situation should be pretty much the same. And it is OK, they have every right to do so, just it needs to be understood, so that the books or opinions of such people could be judged accordingly.
The problem with your analysis is that it is a simple ignorant, racist, character attack on Gessen. To begin with there are at least have a dozen books that document Putin’s criminality. You can find them easily on Amazon and they are not all Jews. The second problem with your analysis is that you never read Gessen’s book and you are simply repeating the propaganda that you are given about it without having a clue as to what is in it. If you knew what was in it you could actually point out failures and untruths if they existed, and you clearly cannot do this. Furthermore, your objection that Gessen has left Russia and therefore can know nothing about it also proves that you haven’t read the book. Gessen’s book only covers the period when she was there and when she saw Putin doing his dirty work first hand. Putin has been a thug, a criminal, and a murderer for his entire adult life. And even as a child he was constantly in fights with the other children. So one can read about Putin’s life to the point where the book and Gessen’s life in Russia end and see that Putin was criminal filth all along. Not only that, but the criminal behavior and methods he was using in the past are imprinted in the behavior of the Putin of today. By reading the book the things that have happened in the past two or three years all fall into place as being continuations of Putin’s peverted personality.
ROLF. Well, the first thing that is obvious is that this site is full of Putin’s paid internet propaganda trolls. But that is exactly what one would expect. The second thing that is obvious is that all of your conspiracy theories are an integral part of the invented propaganda that Putin creates every time he wants to steal the property of anyone in Russia that is successful so that he can then either give it to other agents of the FSB or to his personal friends in crime and corruption. The problem for Putin is that he has been so successful at creating fraudulent show trials as a means for robbing and imprisoning people is that he can no longer sell government property as a means to raise cash. So now that he wants to sell state owned property because he doesn’t have the budget to support his military increases and his expansionist imperialism there are no buyers. Who would want to give Putin their money when, at his whim, he will just steal the property back later.
Of course all of the claims that you make about Khodorkovsy are pulled straight out of the butts of the Putin thugs that were assigned to prosecute him, and none of them can be validated.
“Parry uses the word “regime change” as though it were a particularly vile concept. He seems to be of the opinion that the tyrannical filth of the world is entitled to rule without opposition forever. ”
Are you a Russian citizen? I am. Please let us Russians decide for ourselves what we want to do. This is called democracy. If you want a regime change please go and change it in whatever country you live. Thanks.
No, democracy requires a free press and real elections. Neither exist in Russia. Putin began raiding media offices within weeks of his first election. He has continued the process of attacking the media ever since, including murdering journalists when they were too stuborn. At this point all major news outlets are either owned by the government, by companies that are owned by the government, or by friends and girlfriends of Putin. For example, Putin’s girlfriend Alena Kabaeva is chairman of the board of directors of the National Media group. What qualifies her for that powerful position in journalism? She was a physical education major with no journalistic or business experience and she blows Putin. So you tell me, which got her the job.
So the idea that Russians can do what they want in their country doesn’t include brutalizing Ukraine and stealing their land. And Russians have no freedom to do what they want in any case since the “weaponized media” as the Russian MOD calls it, has completely lobotomied the Russian population to the point where they have no clue at all what is reality and what is not. All they know is what they are bombarded with every day by Putin’s mafia propaganda machine. Now run along and collect your paycheck from your master Putin and don’t bother people that know far too much to be succeptible to your lies.
Would you please stop telling me, a Russian, what exists in Russia and what doesn’t. I have only two things for you. If you are a Russian and care for the country, get there and vote. Contribute to the election campaign. Help build responsible opposition parties and get them to the Duma. if you are not, or won’t, shut up and mind you own business in your own country and get out of our way.
funny how that corrupt Putin is rebuilding the country after the disaster Boris Yeltsin made of it.
pays wages and pensions and other benefits on time.
not the case under Boris Yeltsin.
increased life expectancy.
restored health care.
tripled the standard of living for most russians.
Boris Yeltsin with US help dumped half of them in extreme poverty.
state department troll in a for profit prison working for 1.30$ a day cheapest place for state departments trolls. spewing lies/propaganda.
like no free pres in russia after somebody gave you links to a bunch of them.
Many of us do read comments. Keep on writing.
Comrade “Tilo” is a particularly inept example of Internet sockpuppetry.
US and Western-sponsored trolls, and pro-Israel hasbara trolls, attempt to trash the information space. They typically aim at confusing the audience, rather than convincing it.
OCCRP BFF Eliot Higgins and Bellingcat froth about the “troll army” at the drop of a hat.
The Kyiv Post and Slidstvo.Info in Ukraine, and Novaya Gazeta in Russia are positively apoplectic about the “troll army”.
The “troll army” meme has been heavily overplayed by US-sponsored organizations like Freedom House, a long-time agent of CIA “information activities” (see https://consortiumnews.com/2015/01/08/cias-hidden-hand-in-democracy-groups/)
Shout louder, comrade “Tilo”.
All posters should make a review of this thread to see the effect of responding to intentional trolls, as well-described above by Abe. In this case obvious from the first comment, a best practice is to ignore such a troll and continue with discussion pertinent to the original topic. Disrupting such discussion is one of the purposes of sending in the trolls. Grandma’s advice: Ignore trolls.
“Honestly, where do the deluded people like Parry come from. If there is a tyrant, terrorist, or criminal to ally with they are always the first to jump up and the first to tear down the structure of western democracy.”
What a grandiose statement, but the real question is ” Why do deluded and ignorant people like you want to post here?”
Please, do not lie! I am from Russia and know better how free speech is doing in my country. Russian Internet segment is full of radical anti-Putin opposition which openly advocate regime change. Putin does nothing to shut up army of anti-government trolls. He is a practical man and know well the he will be crucified by West for noticeable free speech repression. Vast majority of central media is indeed controlled by Putin, but there are some legal mass media openly opposite to Putin. He is widely criticized by people, internet trolls, homebrew radical revolutionaries and some minor mass media. And there is some legal political opposition. Alexei Navalny (pro-Western nationalist who was prosecuted by Putin for corruption but freed very quickly because of hard media pressure from West and domestic liberal opposition) openly criticize Putin and talk much about “widespread corruption in Russia”. He is not shut up. There is moderate oppositional Communist Party who regularly accuse government party United Russia for election fraud and corruption on each election. Communists at least does not connected to West and in fact much more radical haters of West, but they are known (and outright powerful with strong faction in parliament) opposition too and heavily criticized by pro-Western liberal opposition. In this very complex political and media situation mister Putin is very moderate and is not authoritarian dictator at all. He is just widely supported by people and have some well known military and police counter measures to prevent regime change. Anyone know that if such extremism will start – he will suppress it with iron fist as he was done with Chechnya separatists in past. Putin is not a dictator. He is much more like Charles de Gaulle from France. And his politics is much like de Gaulle politics of national sovereignty. Personally I am not a big fan of Putin because he is too conservative and too right-wing for my taste. But I can not tolerate lies about democracy in my country. Every day I read radical criticism of Putin on Russian Internet and I can say it’s much more democracy if compared to Erdogan or George W Bush.
And personally I do not vote for Putin and his party. I vote for Communist Party on every election and think there was no democratic revolution in USSR. Democratic elections and free speech in USSR was in truth granted by former CPSU Geberal Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, not by usurper Botis Eltzin. There was military regime change by Eltzin and general Alrxander Lebed covered by nationalistic liberal pro-Western protests in Moscow. Western media say no truth about fall of USSR. After all Eltzin and general Lebed used tanks and military troops against democratically elected soviet parliament (this time elected on democratic basis). And after tanks Eltzin banned CSPU party and used wild vote fraud and stealed victory from reformed CPRF communist party in 1996. Does western media said anything about it? No! They lie! They fraud! They said nothing about First and most Great Color Revolution in history, when USSR was destroyed in similar fashion as later Color Revolutions. And for CPSU communist party honor, communists choose to not start Civil War and permitted USSR to be broken and themselves to be banned (but later they reborn as new CPRF party). Just because “evil communists” wanted no civil war.
And after USSR was destroyed Russia suffered unspeakable horror and utter humiliation which left deep psychological scars in every mind here. Personally when I was teen I SUFFERED STARVATION, I had almost nothing to eat because my parents had no money to buy food and no social care was provided by state. It was horrible. Grandparents helped me and my parents to survive because they had small agricultural farm given by “evil communists”. And that suffering and unspeakable horrors was because of western crimes against USSR and puppet neo liberal Eltzin regime. Many people died. Died because of widespread crime, starvation, terrorist attacks, drug and alcohol abuse. When president Eltzin was in charge, alcohol was openly sold TO CHILDREN. DO WESTERN PEOPLE KNOW WHAT WE RUSSIANS HAVE SUFFERED BECAUSE OF USA CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY? Even Joseph Stalin rule was not so disastrous. And no one was put to trial because of such crimes. USA are worse than Nazis. Adolf Hitler was a good man when compared to USA government.
Don’t cry. Don’t be afraid. Don’t beg.
You are the deluded one mate!
Yes indeed. Would that it were so that all politicians were treated alike, because they are alike. I especially like the simile of the fish in different barrels. Very funny.
Thanks, Robert. Just goes to prove the old adage (by Balzac say some; no, say others): Behind every great fortune lies a crime. To my mind, the greatest corruption is when the corrupters rewrite the laws through the willing pens and votes of suborned politicians. Then the question becomes, not Is it legal?, but Is it just? – two very different things.
i suppose that everyone here knows that when castro threw out the mob and its congregant[cia], the heroin traffic center moved from habana to panama city.
and in the western hemisphere, panama city[the canal zone] was the center of u s a ops in latin america.
i think that panama city[the canal zone] was the locus of the deak-perrera drug money laundering operations. deak-perrera was a cia proprietary[much like nugan hand bank, investors overseas services].
when “la pina”[manny noriega] seemed to be getting out of control, knowing too much about cia ops being run in panama, “poppy” launched operation just cause. to remove him. and all the bush family banking records. all the cia/usaid banking records.’
officially, the operation was surgical. hardly any panamanians killed. the panamanians, however, tell another story. that the special forces murdered everyone that they could find associated with “manny” and the deak-perrera banking ops[approximately 10,000 panamanians].
this mossak-fonseca story is just another chapter in panama as a cover for u s a imperialism in latin america. and narcotics trafficking. and the murdering of trade unionists and all anti-imperialists.
Thanks so much for this piece, Robert Parry.
The idea that the “anti-corruption” agenda has been weaponized to attack political progress first crystallized for me during the Red Shirts/Yellow Shirts confrontation in Thailand.
It will be important to create some mental and rhetorical space in which we can acknowledge that leaders and their families taking personal advantage is less than ideal, without letting that delegitimize vital pro-equality change.
Russia has stalled the Zionists designs on the Middle East under the Yinon Plan, so you can expect them to be vilified indefinitely until they come into compliance. Real Russians (think Tsars and Romanovs, not the Bolsheviks or Soviets) became the eternal enemy of Zionism when they uncovered their “Yinon Plan for the World.” This was shortly followed by the February and October (Bolshevik) Revolutions which saw the whole Romanov family executed by Bolsheviks and what is now known as Red Russia. The Zionists are angry Putin is restoring Russia to its former glory, and there is much evidence behind this such as the vilification of Russia constantly, just like North Korea gets vilified for not recognizing Israel.
Also if one takes a look at all the negative Putin “biographies” out today, you will find that they are written by Zionists. The US and Russia are not natural enemies, as Henry Ford pointed out nearly 100 years ago, but the Zionist that control US Media would like you to think that Russia is all evil and corrupt when it is not under their control as it was when Boris Yeltson allowed Zionist oligarchs to run rampant and rob the country.
Excellent, Robert, but as this planned program, that is the control and manipulation of media, has been in train for decades, one shouldn’t be surprised in any way. It has after all created US apathy, alive and well across your nation. Just look at the US electoral circus, the policies, the press coverage, the pathetic corrupt candidates. Need I say more. Why, reading the New York Times, if you have nothing better to do, one could be excused for thinking that Hillary Clinton is a real alternative as a president instead of being the world’s most dangerous person. Such is the media. Such is corruption, Such is the foreign ownership of Democratic presidential candidates. Such is America, 2016.
Sadly, it is necessary to state up front that I am totally jaundiced. Anything that emanates from the US government is seen by any thinking person as an attempt to lie to the people. History proves it. Vietnam, Korea, Iraq (the pinnacle) al Qaeda, Syria, ISIS, South America for half a century, Cuba, sanctions, ad nauseum and on it goes. Such achievements must make the American people proud.
These practices are not quite as bad in places like Australia, for those uninformed, that large Pacific country that carries the US military bags like a little lapdog, from a war here, to a dalliance there, and has done since 1945, willingly, enthusiastically. The latest being the probable approval of US nuclear bombers being based in northern Australia so that the we can all go on yet another rampage.
This time into South East Asia. I mean, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan are all becoming a little passé, don’t you think? Yesterday’s news. Can’t be many potential refugees left, surely?
The scriptwriters have called it “the US pivot into Asia”, at the moment Asia being a peaceful geography, free of wars and conflicts but on the agenda for yet another burst of US military hegemony and no doubt a couple more US military bases, perhaps as many as10. But then, when you have 800 or 900 and who’s counting, what’s another 10, really.
But here is the real motivation.
As with the murderous Yemeni children killers, the Saudis and United Arab Emirates (advised by the way by an Australia ex-General), the Saudis have purchased US 33 billion dollars of armaments from the USA in just 11 months, so one can imagine the arms sales potential in S E Asia. A whole new marketplace. Lots of little countries there, most unknown to the Fox News listeners in the USA, for course. So let us see how the “US pivot into Asia” is reported in the corrupt mainstream media, worldwide. The government mouthpiece, Fox will turn the “pivot” program into another valiant effort by the “saviours of democracy” from the “home of he brave” to protect the world from the evil ‘this’ or hateful ‘ that’, names able to be conjured up in the flash of a keyboard.
Why once upon a time al Qaeda was the scourge of the Western World, now a well supplied ally supporting the grand plans of the terrorist USA, in the Middle East, that is. One has to remember the theatrical White House Theatre (amateur) production of “The Getting of bin Laden” in full colour. Yet another lie. With Osama’s serious diabetes, (yes, he was on kidney dialysis) he had probably been dead for 10 years. Hollywood on the Potomac. Book early for the next production, limited seating. Soon.
So when one has to read anything today, the only thing you can be sure of is this….cooking recipes are not yet seen as being corrupt, but that’s it. Everything else can be dismissed as propaganda, other than the blogs, publications like Consortium and the like.
We now have Jerry Hall’s husband, Rupert somebody-or-other, who runs the media out here, along with his Zionist backers head-officed at the Jerusalem Post. So we know how the game is played. But, here’s a positive breath of fresh air……it is the football season, so nothing of any pith and moment is ever seen on the few remaining front pages of a fast declining print media. Amen.
As for organisations like the National Endowment for Democracy, a glaring misnomer if ever there was one, nothing more or less than an arm of the Israeli media machine as are most of the other lobby / propaganda groups which have now infiltrated and polluted every segment of American life. The insult is that so many are funded by the US government and all warranting an investigation by any Committee with a name like “un-American activities”
Whoops! Have I reverted to another century when there was a fellow called Joseph McCarthy and his over-the-top activities. Over-the-top then perhaps. He was after communists then, babes-in-the-wood compared to Zionists now, holding America’s vitals…and squeezing hard, every day of every year. Eventually, in a sadistic way, the pain becomes acceptable, even pleasurable.
The USA has reached that point. Just read the papers.
Many of us do read comments. Keep on writing.
So right on! First Parry does a good job, succulently covering a number of salient issues, cloak ‘n dagger etc.
My brother lives in Melbourne, Haven’t spoken in several years ~ simply could not tolerate his blaming the Palestinians for their troubles…while i don’t think Israhell has the right to exist.
i’d like to see Soros battered severally / USAID sacked, etc
“Soros battered severely? Oh yes, I would dearly love that! (From a European)
This is just odd no American was named? I don’t know but just so fishy
It’s because of all those barrels.
Unbelievable and shocking. However, that will bounce back, just wait.
I am in the UK and The Panama Papers “leak” is coordinated by the usual suspect George Soros and USAID funded ICIJ. (According to info on ex ambassador now blogger Craig Murray website). Now that is interesting in itself
The guardian and the BBC have gone all in on targeting Putin being part of this Off Shore scheme. Though he is not on the list. Friends on the list is not a “slam dunk”. It takes the reader down the road of making assumptions which are subjective and depends on our own particular biases.
The most relevant (to the UK public) name on the list was Ian Cameron, late father of David Cameron UK PM. Whoops! As the day progressed the media had to adjust their narrative to reflect that the british public wanted to know about their leaders and representatives on the list!!
I’m not at all sure what’s happening with this new leak, but it does seem to be something very big indeed.
A common theme at two sites as diverse as Emptywheel and xymphora is this: The leak is highly selective and skips Americans and their buddies around the world almost entirely.
Perhaps the good stuff on Rich American Crooks will come out later. If it doesn’t, I’ve got to assume that the information is being held hostage to the Good Behavior of the RACs.
As Emptywheel and others have said, this information ought to have been as secure as money could buy any security, but the fences and firewalls failed. That means either 1) somebody cut corners or 2) some really serious talent with an unlimited budget broke into the Rich Crooks’ accounting details. That would mean somebody’s intelligence agency, and judging from who is getting targeted so far how many guesses do we need?
If Israel turns out to be involved, I’d expect a lot of folks (both flesh-type and corporate) will change their attitudes about the Boycott/Divest/Sanctions issue. And given the levels of corruption in the shitty little apartheid nation-state, some naked blackmail could be on the table too.
Time will tell.
As you note, corruption in the US is simply legalized. The corrupt equate money and virtue, so once stolen it must have been deserved, and then even more is deserved. US officials extensively use promotions, revolving-door employment without duties, contracts, and owe-you-one paybacks instead of traceable cashflows to buy influence. But indirect cashflows such as luxury purchases from the payee by payor associates also work. And there is a river of corruption concealed by simple prejudice influencing decisions in favor of the wealthy or powerful, whether or not favors are anticipated. Those who believe in corruption cannot be corrupt.
Thanks, Joseph, for summing up the situation so pithily and accurately. I couldn’t agree more.
It is the most corrupt who call the foreigners corrupt. I never read that Putin called anyone in the West corrupt although, if its political system was properly analysed, the US would easily come out as the most corrupt country in the World. On top, Putin’s “corruption” creates a useful diversion from the ubiquitous Western corruption.
Great article Mr. Parry and I am really glad that you mentioned the BRICS, as it seems to me that the US is using concerted effort to try and breakup this alliance. I believe that the BRICS Development Bank is set to make its first loan this month and as more of their institutions come online then it will really help diminish US, and western, hegemony in the world. One other thing that I find disturbing is that the US will cry about the level of democracy in this country or that but I think countries become less democratic as a result of outside tampering by the US through NGO’s who fund opposition government officials, opposition protesters, opposition media etc. I truly hope that the BRICS countries can weather this barrage by the US and expose the links to US NGO’s and prosecute people who interfere in the politics of “their” country. If the BRICS can make it then they will offer a “real” alternative for the world – an alternative to the IMF, an alternative to SWIFT, an alternative to US Credit etc. which could change this world for the better, I think. A more balanced world…
Also, as this article eludes to, the trench of dealings in Panama – I swear that I heard that David Cameron’s Dad was also implicated along with many of our allies, I believe some Saudis etc. People need to see through these double standards so thank you for this article.
Thanks for your article, Robert, I also noticed the article in the Guardian this morning and when checking a little bit further about those so called “Panama Papers” I also noticed the absurdity of highlighting the non-involved Putin. However, here in the Netherlands, there is an interesting development, something which might have been overlooked by western policy makers: We have a referendum here on Wednesday about the EU-Ukraine-Association contract and whatever they might have tried, they could not prevent the leak of Mr. Poroshenko’s direct involvment in the affaire coming out into the public. This is, of course, a major blow for those campaigning for “Yes” to the association contract. The “No” camps argumentation goes now like “If we can conclude an association contract with Poroshenko in the hope he will fight corruption, we might as well conclude one with Al Capone”. and there is very little the “Yes” camp can really argue against it now. The referendum is not binding so the Dutch government can simply ignore it and go on with business as usual (what they probably will) but still, if it will be a devastating “No” (what seems likely now) it will heat up the atmosphare here and I wonder if people will really forget it that easily, they might miscalculate.
Hypocrisy? I’m shocked, shocked.