Censorship, fake news, perception management

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Tue Sep 28, 2021 1:51 pm

Missing Voices in Broadcast Coverage of Afghan Withdrawal


As the US after 20 years finally began its withdrawal from Afghanistan, the story dominated TV news. Just as they did when the war began (Extra!, 11–12/01), corporate journalists overwhelmingly leaned on government and military sources, while offering no clear antiwar voices and vanishingly few perspectives from civil society leaders in either Afghanistan or the United States.

FAIR studied a week of Afghanistan coverage (8/15–21/21), starting with the day the Taliban took back Kabul. We looked at the three primetime broadcast news shows, ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News, identifying 74 sources across the three shows.

Who got to speak?
Afghan women made up just 5% of sources in nightly news stories on the Afghanistan withdrawal (ABC, 8/16/21).
Of these sources, 23 sources were Afghans (20) or identified as Afghan Americans (3)—31% of all sources. Only 11 of these 23—fewer than half—were identified by at least a first name, and only four were women. (Afghans often have only one name.) While three Afghan sources were identified as professionals who might have offered informed commentary on the broader political or historical situation—a journalist, a member of parliament and a nonprofit director—the vast majority of questions to all Afghan and Afghan American sources were about their personal risk and situation, essentially providing “color” rather than expert opinion to the story.

Americans who were not Afghans comprised the remaining 51 sources, with no other nationalities represented. Of these US sources, 31 were non-Pentagon government officials, and 16 were current or former military, from the secretary of Defense to enlisted soldiers. The remainder were three parents of Americans killed in the war, and a non-Afghan US citizen evacuating from Afghanistan.

The partisan breakdown of US officials was 29 Democrats to eight Republicans, with President Joe Biden accounting for 14 of the Democratic sources, and other members of his administration accounting for 12.

No scholars or antiwar activists from either the US or Afghanistan were featured. Only two civil society leaders made appearances: the director of a nonprofit women’s organization in Afghanistan (8/16/21) and the president of a New York City veterans’ organization (8/16/21).

Despite the media’s emphasis on the plight of women in Afghanistan as a result of US withdrawal (FAIR.org, 8/23/21), women were rarely considered experts, or even voices worth hearing on this story: Only eight sources were female (11% of the total), two of whom were unnamed.

No independent defense of withdrawal
Sen. Mitch McConnell (NBC, 8/16/21): The Afghan situation is “a stain on the reputation of the United States of America.”
Biden, who played a key role in leading the country into the Iraq War (FAIR.org, 1/9/20), was essentially the strongest “antiwar” voice in the conversation. While he and his administration frequently defended their decision to uphold the withdrawal agreement, there were no other sources who did so.

Of the three non-administration Democratic sources, two encouraged an extension of the withdrawal deadline. All of the Republican sources criticized either the commitment to or the process of withdrawal. Most of the remaining sources were also critical of the process.

The final days of the occupation were without question chaotic. But by only featuring sources who emphasized the “stain” on the US’s “reputation” (Sen. Mitch McConnell, NBC, 8/16/21), or the idea that “the Americans left us behind, and left us to those people who are not human and cut our heads off in front of our families” (Abdul, ABC, 8/20/21), a discussion of the tragedy of the 20-year occupation itself was completely foreclosed.

Journalists’ continued jingoism

And corporate journalists themselves, who have often been the loudest cheerleaders for the Afghanistan War (e.g., FAIR.org, 9/17/01, 8/25/09, 1/31/19), continued their jingoism in the face of the withdrawal.

NBC‘s chief foreign correspondent, Richard Engel (8/16/21), for instance, offered an echo of—rather than a counterpoint to—McConnell and Abdul: “A 20-year war, the longest in US history, today ended a disgrace. The US leaving behind a country its citizens are too terrified to live in.”

Similarly, CBS‘s Norah O’Donnell (8/16/21) declared: “When America leaves, for many, so does the hope—the hope of freedom, the hope for human rights. And in its place comes the sheer terror of what’s next.” O’Donnell went on to detail the number of Americans killed and wounded, plus the unspecified “cost to America’s national security.”
Anand Gopal (New Yorker, 9/13/21): “To locals, life under the coalition forces and their Afghan allies was pure hazard; even drinking tea in a sunlit field, or driving to your sister’s wedding, was a potentially deadly gamble.”
Given that the withdrawal was an acknowledgement that after 20 years of occupation, the US had little control over what kind of country it would be “leaving behind,” it’s hard to imagine a withdrawal that Engel would not have considered a disgrace. But while he and O’Donnell highlighted the plight of “many” Afghans, neither made any mention of the number of Afghans killed and wounded in the 20-year war, which was at least 27 times higher than US casualties, according to the Costs of War project (9/1/21) at Brown University. That project estimated at least 46,000 Afghan civilians were killed, including more than 500 humanitarian workers and journalists, along with over 69,000 national military and police and more than 52,000 opposition fighters.

But these tallies—which do not even include the wounded, or excess (indirect) deaths—are almost certainly undercounts. New Yorker reporter Anand Gopal, who has spent years covering the war, including time in rural Afghanistan, believes that the available death tolls have “grossly undercounted” civilian casualties, as much of the ongoing conflict has taken place in outlying areas where deaths frequently go unrecorded (Democracy Now!, 9/16/21).

Gopal’s recent article (New Yorker, 9/13/21) on rural Afghan women recounted his investigation in the largely rural Helmand province, where he interviewed a random selection of 12 households, finding that each had lost, on average, 10 to 12 civilians to the war. While Taliban rule was not popular among those he interviewed, it was clearly preferred to US occupation, which had empowered even more ruthless warlords and ensured unending conflict, airstrikes and terror in the region.

This perspective was not to be found on US TV news coverage of the withdrawal, with its correspondents reporting from the airbase in Kabul, an Afghanistan a world apart from that known by the majority of the country’s population.

Rosy picture of occupation
Lester Holt (NBC, 8/16/21): “Traveling across Afghanistan a decade into the war, it was hard not to feel some optimism, as if we were witness to a country emerging from darkness.”
NBC‘s Lester Holt (8/16/21), who visited Afghanistan in 2010 and 2012, offered a typical assessment, painting the occupation as a sensitive operation bringing Afghanistan out of darkness into a brighter future:

Traveling across Afghanistan a decade into the war [2012], it was hard not to feel some optimism, as if we were witness to a country emerging from darkness…. Through the war, epic American-led battles reclaim cities and villages from the Taliban. US commanders nurture trust among village elders believing in Afghanistan’s future. And now, in the chaos, we’re left to wonder how that future has been so rapidly rewritten with chapters from Afghanistan’s past.

Two weeks later, on the eve of the official withdrawal, CBS‘s O’Donnell (8/30/21) asked longtime Pentagon correspondent David Martin, “What does this moment mean?” Martin responded:

To me, it’s on all of us. All of us as American citizens. We as a country could not summon the will to outlast the Taliban. We sent more than 800,000 troops to fight in the war. The vast majority of them did everything we asked of them. They would have gone back for another 20 years if we had asked them. But the country grew tired of the war, and they elected political leaders, both Democratic and Republican, who wanted to end it. History will decide whether that was right or wrong. But either way, Norah, it’s on us.
Norah O’Donnell (CBS, 8/26/21): “The American military is the greatest in the world, not only because of its superior force, but because of its humanity.”
O’Donnell herself (CBS, 8/26/21) painted a rosy picture of the occupation a few days prior :

This is what American troops were doing before terrorists struck today: feeding children, playing with kids, lending an arm to the elderly. The American military is the greatest in the world, not only because of its superior force, but because of its humanity—soldiers providing a helping hand, pulling Afghan infants to safety. This child kept warm by the uniform of a US soldier during her evacuation. This mother delivered her baby in the cargo bay of a C-17, naming the newborn Reach, after the call sign of the aircraft that rescued her.

For the last two decades, our mission has been about keeping us safe at home and improving the lives of Afghans. The 13 US service members who made the ultimate sacrifice today did not die in vain. One hundred thousand people have been evacuated because of their heroic actions. They answered the call and did what they were trained to do. A reminder of the high price of freedom. And God bless our US troops.

Obviously, the families of the thousands of Afghan civilians killed in US airstrikes—many of them children—or those victimized by rogue soldiers, might have a different perspective on the US military. Those voices, too, might have helped explain to journalists like Holt, and his viewers, why Afghanistan’s future looks the way it does, rather than the rosy, peaceful outcome those journalists seem to have expected the US to have supplied.

Veteran voices

The perspectives of US troops were occasionally presented, but segments featuring veterans’ voices seemed largely intended to reassure viewers that the 20-year war was worth it. “Some veterans are thinking, was it worth it? Were our sacrifices worth it?” O’Donnell (CBS, 8/18/21) said, followed immediately by a soundbite from a veteran: “It was worth it…. We gave Afghanistan two decades of freedom. It made the world a better place.”

Notably, post–9/11 veterans had soured on the war over the past decade. While a 2011 Pew poll found that 50% believed the Afghanistan War had been worth fighting, the outfit’s 2019 poll found that number had dropped to 38%—roughly on par with the general public. Afghanistan veterans were more likely than the general public to support the withdrawal—58% vs. 52%—even after it was well underway and the subject of widespread one-sidedly hostile media coverage (Morning Consult, 9/9/21).

Research assistance: James Baratta, Elias Khoury, Dorothy Poucher, Jasmine Watson

Featured image: NBC Nightly News (8/16/21)

https://fair.org/home/missing-voices-in ... ithdrawal/
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Fri Oct 01, 2021 1:32 pm

NYT Runs Interference for Billionaires Who Don’t Want Their Wealth Taxed
NYT: Total Tax Rate (Federal, State and Local)
The New York Times (9/23/21) criticizes the White House for taking into account the main way billionaires make money.
According to a White House analysis (9/23/21), the country’s 400 wealthiest families have an effective tax rate of just over 8%. At the New York Times (9/23/21), reporter Jim Tankersley was quick to cast doubt on the figure.

According to Tankersley’s framing, the analysis “seeks to show a gap between the tax rate that everyday Americans face and what the richest owe on their vast holdings,” and is “an attempt to bolster Mr. Biden’s claims that billionaires are not paying what they actually should owe in federal taxes, and that the tax code rewards wealth, not work” (emphasis added). In other words, it’s an analysis with a political agenda.

Dubious data point
This is in contrast to “most measures of tax rates,” which “do not use the White House method of counting asset gains as annual income.” The piece emphasizes how “unconventional” the White House analysis is, and that it’s “well below what other analyses have found.” (Note that these analyses don’t “seek to show,” but simply “find,” thus enhancing their social science credibility.)

Tankersley points to one data point here:

The independent Tax Policy Center in Washington estimated this year that in 2015, the highest-earning 1,400 households in the country paid an average effective tax rate of about 24%, compared with an average rate of about 14% for all taxpayers.

First, that “most” measures don’t count asset gains says more about how thoroughly the rich have rigged the tax code to exclude most of their income than it does about how one ought to measure income—or tax rates. The Tax Policy Center figure, for instance, only considers federal income tax, which ignores state and local income tax, as well as payroll, consumption and excise taxes.

Second, the “independent” Tax Policy Center should hardly be assumed to be agenda-free; according to its most recent annual report (2017) available online, the group’s “Leadership Committee” includes representatives of major financial firms like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and the Carlyle Group, entities that have a direct stake in keeping gains in financial assets from being counted as income.

And third, it’s crucial that the data from the Tax Policy Center comes from 2015, since that was before the 2017 Trump tax cuts slashed taxes even further for the ultra-rich. As New York Times columnist David Leonhardt (10/6/19) pointed out in 2019, the tax cuts “helped push the tax rate on the 400 wealthiest households below the rates for almost everyone else” in 2018, to 23% for the wealthiest versus 28% for the average taxpayer.
Top tax rates have been pushed so far down over the last 70 years that the richest households now pay a lower percentage than any other income group (New York Times, 10/6/19).
Victory for the richest

It’s a remarkable victory for the rich over the rest of us: The richest Americans had an effective tax rate of 70% in 1950 and 47% in 1980. Meanwhile, the average taxpayer has seen relatively little change in their effective tax rate over the same period.

That’s all according to University of California/Berkeley economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman (Triumph of Justice, 2019), who were not using the “unconventional” White House method of dividing taxes paid by total asset gains. They were, however, using the White House method of looking at the top 400 as measured by wealth, rather than the top 1,400 as measured by adjusted gross income. They were also considering all taxes, including payroll tax (Social Security and Medicare), state income tax, and consumption and excise taxes.
ProPublica (6/8/21) “compared how much in taxes the 25 richest Americans paid each year to how much Forbes estimated their wealth grew in that same time period”—an obvious precedent for the White House analysis that was overlooked by the New York Times.
If you want to look at what the very richest Americans pay in taxes, then the way Saez/Zucman and the White House do it is more accurate than the way the Tax Policy Center does it, because those 400 billionaires—worth a combined $3.2 trillion last year, up $240 billion from the year prior, as calculated annually by Forbes—are very often not those with the highest taxable income.

For instance, Warren Buffett, a perennial Forbes 400 member who currently ranks No. 4, voluntarily released his tax returns in 2015. His reported income ($11.6 million) didn’t even put him in the top 14,000 earners. That year, Buffett paid about 16% of his reported income in taxes.

Buffett released his returns in response to Trump’s attempt to deflect attention from his own refusal to release his returns; Buffett had nothing to hide, since his methods of avoiding taxes were perfectly legal.

As ProPublica (6/8/21) found in its recent bombshell report on leaked tax returns of the ultra-rich—yet another analysis using similar methods to the White House that went unacknowledged by Tankersley—Buffett is particularly good at tax avoidance: From 2014–18, while his wealth grew by over $24 billion, he managed to pay less than $24 million in taxes. It’s an effective tax rate of 19% on reported income measured the “conventional” way, but a tax rate of just 0.1% on his actual gains. That’s the lowest of any of the country’s billionaires.

Mind-boggling methods
The ultra-rich have myriad mind-boggling ways of getting away with not paying taxes that the rest of us have to. Two that the Biden administration is pushing to eliminate relate to asset gains.

If someone sells a stock, any gains from the purchase price are taxed at a significantly lower rate than other income; the White House is seeking to end that preferential treatment for those earning above $1 million.

Further, if someone instead holds that stock until they die, and leaves it to an heir, those gains are not taxed. So billionaires like Buffett and Jeff Bezos can vastly increase their wealth, never pay taxes on most of it as long as they don’t sell it, pass those assets to their children upon their death and—poof!—those billions are never subject to income tax. This dodge is called the stepped-up basis, and it’s a major driver of the racial wealth gap.

Lawmakers impacted
As Open Secrets (4/23/20) points out, many lawmakers have a direct interest in avoiding taxes on wealth.
Most people don’t think the wealthy—or corporations—pay their fair share of taxes (Pew, 4/30/21). But their representatives aren’t eager to fix the system. Tankersley mentioned at the end of his piece that congressional Democrats have “pushed back” on Biden’s efforts to change both capital gains taxes and the stepped-up basis. He didn’t mention how many Democrats would be directly negatively impacted by those fixes.

Given that the majority of members of the last Congress were millionaires (Open Secrets, 4/23/20), any children they have will greatly benefit from the stepped-up basis. And any member of Congress who holds stock and ever plans to sell any of it is impacted by increases in the capital gains tax. Not to mention all the wealthy donors funneling money into super PACs for most Congress members.

Fortunately for them, they’ve got the New York Times running interference.

https://fair.org/home/nyt-runs-interfer ... lth-taxed/

Even the half bright know that billionaires have and make too much money. But is your millionaire any better, more deserving of his boodle relative to people that really work? Perhaps a couple on the lower end of the scale, I dunno. But what I do know is that by concentrating our ire upon those at the very top the rest of the very wealthy are left off the hook. And so is the capitalist economy and social order. That is intentional, I think.

Pity the scapegoated billionaires....
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Sat Oct 02, 2021 1:15 pm

How AP, Reuters And SCMP Propagandize Their Readers Against China

A typical 'western' anti-China propaganda claim is that China is using its military aggressively. 'Western' news agencies do this on a regular base when they report of Chinese air maneuvers around Taiwan.

This report by the South China Morning Post, based on AP and Reuters items, is a perfect example for that:

25 Chinese warplanes enter Taiwan’s air defence zone

Taiwan’s air force scrambled again on Friday to warn away 25 Chinese aircraft that entered its air defence zone, according to the defence ministry in Taipei.
Taiwan has complained for a year or more of repeated missions by China’s air force, often in the southwestern part of its air defence zone close to the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands.

The latest PLA air force mission involved 18 J-16 and four Su-30 fighters plus two nuclear-capable H-6 bombers and an anti-submarine aircraft, the Taiwan ministry said.

It said Taiwan sent combat aircraft to warn away the PLA aircraft, while missile systems were deployed to monitor them.

The Chinese aircraft all flew in an area close to the Pratas, with the two bombers flying closest to the atoll, according to a map that the ministry issued.

I do not believe that China would fly its bombers and jets into Taiwan's "air defense zone" because that is the geographic area where Taiwan would actually shoot to take them down.

So I checked with the news agency reports the SCMP story is based on. AP headlines:

China sends 25 fighter planes toward Taiwan on National Day

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — China sent 25 fighter jets toward self-ruled Taiwan in a large display of force on China’s National Day Friday.
The People’s Liberation Army flew 18 J-16 fighter jets as well as two H-6 bombers, among other planes. Taiwan deployed air patrol forces in response and tracked the Chinese aircraft on its air defense systems, the island’s Defense Ministry said in a statement.

China has sent planes toward the island it claims as part of its territory on a near daily basis in the last couple of years, stepping up military harassment with drills.

No "air defense zone" there but one extra point for "military harassment". Reuters is less subtle:

China marks national day with mass air incursion near Taiwan

TAIPEI, Oct 1 (Reuters) - Taiwan's air force scrambled again on Friday to warn away 25 Chinese aircraft that entered its air defence zone, the defence ministry in Taipei said, the same day as China marked its national day, the founding of the People's Republic of China.
Chinese-claimed Taiwan has complained for a year or more of repeated missions by China's air force near the democratically governed island, often in the southwestern part of its air defence zone close to the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands.

The latest Chinese mission involved 18 J-16 and four Su-30 fighters plus two nuclear-capable H-6 bombers and an anti-submarine aircraft, the Taiwan ministry said.

So the "air defense zone" claims comes from Reuters. It is however 100% fake news. Neither did the Chinese airforce fly into the "air defense zone" of Taiwan nor did Taiwan claim that it did.

Here is the original news item from the Ministry of Defense of Taiwan. The headline and first line say it all:

Air activities in the southwestern ADIZ of R.O.C.

Air activities in the southwestern ADIZ of R.O.C.
There is no "air defense zone" (ADZ) in there. Instead there is Taiwan's ADIZ, or "Air Defense Identification Zone", into which Chinese planes 'intruded'.

What is an ADIZ one might ask:

An air defense identification zone (ADIZ) is airspace over land or water in which the identification, location, and control of civil aircraft is performed in the interest of national security. They may extend beyond a country's territory to give the country more time to respond to possibly hostile aircraft. The concept of an ADIZ is not defined in any international treaty and is not regulated by any international body.
Some countries unilateral declare an ADIZ around this or that territory. They ask any plane entering it to identify itself. As ADIZ are unilateral 'pretty please' requests with no binding power they are regularly ignored.

Taiwan's ADIZ is quite rediculous as it covers parts of mainland China:

Taiwan has an ADIZ that covers most of the Taiwan Strait, part of the Chinese province of Fujian, Zhejiang, and Jiangxi and part of the East China Sea and adjacent airspace. Most of the ADIZ of Taiwan is built on its exclusive economic zone. Taiwan's ADIZ was designed and created by the United States Armed Forces (USAF) after World War II.

The Taiwanese Defense Ministry Military News Updates claim that Chinese 'violations' of its ADIZ happen each and every day.

The Reuters fake news piece also says that the Chinese planes flew near to Pratas Island (Dongsha) which China as well as Taiwan both claim as their territory.

In fact mainland China is nearer to Pratas than Taiwan is.

The Twitter account of Taiwan's Defense Ministry just posted this map of the alleged 'violations' which perfectly shows how ridiculous such claims are:

The AP report is misleading as it implies a special meaning to something that happens regularly. The Reuters piece is obviously fake news as it claims that Taiwan's defense ministry said something which it did not say. The SCMP deserves to be criticized too as any reporter and editor covering such news should know the difference between an ADZ and an ADIZ and should have recognized that the "air defense zone" claim in the Reuters piece is obviously bollocks.

That said all three fulfill their intended purpose. They propagandize those who read them against China by depicting normal military training of China's armed forces as aggression against its neighbors.

Posted by b on October 1, 2021 at 16:52 UTC | Permalink

https://www.moonofalabama.org/2021/10/h ... .html#more
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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Wed Oct 06, 2021 1:40 pm


5 Oct 2021 , 8:11 am .

The new media disclosure puts tax havens in the center of world attention (Photo: BBC Mundo)

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), the same ones that released the so-called Panama Papers in 2016, have revealed a new series of "leaks" on financial information that they have called Pandora Papers .

This document leak is referred to as the largest, dealing with financial secrets to date. In the Pandora Papers, the ICIJ worked with 11.9 million documents (2.94 terabytes), which makes this the largest data leak of offshore companies , surpassing the Panama Papers, which were a leak of 11 , 5 million confidential documents.

The publication of the first findings has highlighted the names of more than 300 high-level politicians, including 14 serving world leaders and 21 other leaders who have already left power and hid billions of dollars worth of property and income for do not pay taxes in tax havens.

There are also businessmen and sports and entertainment figures among those who have been part of these opaque operations.

However, as in the Panama Papers, the new "leak", suspiciously, reported little or rather no information on US politicians and European Union countries involved in these practices.


The news site Actualidad RT refers that one of the main conclusions of the ICIJ's work is that "the offshore money machine operates in every corner of the planet, including the largest democracies in the world."

"Among the main players in the system are elite institutions - multinational banks, law firms and accounting firms - based in the United States and Europe," but operating in these modalities in peripheral countries, indicates the ICIJ.

According to one of the Pandora Papers documents, banks around the world helped their clients create at least 3,926 companies in tax havens with the help of a Panamanian law firm called Alemán, Cordero, Galindo & Lee, led by a former ambassador to the United States.

"The firm, also known as Alcogal, created at least 312 companies in the British Virgin Islands for clients of US financial services giant Morgan Stanley," reporters note.

Panama is once again in the spotlight as a preferential destination for hidden capital from tax evasion and corruption (Photo: El País)

The leaked files expose the financial secrets and offshore procedures of 35 current and former presidents, more than 100 billionaires and more than 300 high-ranking public officials, such as ministers, judges, mayors and military leaders from more than 90 countries.

The sophisticated modalities of offshore accounts have facilitated money concealment and tax evasion on a global basis.

In the past, these methods involved taking physical money, usually to Switzerland or a Caribbean country, to deposit it in accounts where it was kept under bank secrecy.

However, now many banks in the world offer the service of offshore accounts acting as registered branches outside the countries. Through a bank transfer, many rich people simply manage to "disappear" their money from their records, understanding that they only have to have paper records of companies artificially created outside the country where they are located to enjoy confidentiality benefits to hide their money.

Among the political figures that are referred to in the documents are:

King Abdullah II of Jordan
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta
Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Andrej Babis
The President of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso
E l President of Ukraine, Vladimir Zelenski
The President of the Dominican Republic, Luis Abinader
The President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera
The current Minister of Economy of Brazil, Paulo Guedes
The President of Montenegro, Milo Djukanovic
The Colombian Vice President, Marta Lucía Ramírez
The current vice president of Honduras, Ricardo Álvarez
The mayor of Tegucigalpa and candidate from the right of Honduras, Tito Asfura
Former Presidents of Colombia, César Gaviria and Andrés Pastrana
Former President of Honduras, Porfirio Lobo
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair
The former presidents of El Salvador, Alfredo Cristiani and Francisco Flores
The former president of Paraguay, Horacio Cartes
Former President of Peru, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski
The former presidents of Panama, Juan Carlos Varela, Ricardo Martinelli and Ernesto Pérez Balladares
Former Prime Minister of Haiti, Laurent Lamothe
Argentine footballers Ángel Di María and Javier Mascherano, Colombian singer Shakira, British musician Elton John and the former head of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, have also appeared in the documents.

Many of the top rich on the Forbes list , curiously, are not on the paper.


As happened in 2016 with the Panama Papers, no relevant names of United States citizens appeared on the published lists. It should be emphasized that the information disclosed by the ICIJ to various media is part of "leaks" that have come into their hands. Or at least that is how they refer to protect their sources and possible discretionary and selective elements for the delivery and publication of data.

However, the United States as a country did appear as a place where the problem of offshore accounts itches and spreads.

Reno, in the state of Nevada (USA), is one of the new and stealthy international capitals of tax evasion (Photo: AFP)

According to The Independent , "while prominent Americans largely escaped the gaze of the investigation (of the Pandora Papers), the United States itself did not, as investigators discovered that this country now serves as a tax haven in the foreigner for many ".

In 2016, after the shock generated by the Panama Papers, a Bloomberg publication warned that a large movement of capital was taking place from the usual tax havens, towards the United States.

"After years of lashing out at other countries for helping wealthier Americans hide their money, the United States is emerging as a first-rate tax haven for wealthy foreigners. Thanks to its resistance to new international disclosure regulations, the United States United has become the focus of great fortunes to deposit their money. Everyone, from London lawyers to Swiss trusts, have seen the opportunity and have offered to help the wealthiest to move their checking accounts from the Bahamas or the British Virgin Islands to states such as Nevada, Wyoming or South Dakota ", reports El País on the Bloomberg publication.

The century-old European financial institution Rothschild, in 2016, opened an office in Reno (Nevada), just a few blocks away from the legendary Harrah and Eldorado casinos. According to Bloomberg, they dedicated themselves to taking the fortunes of their foreign clients from countries such as the Bermuda Islands, where they are subject to the new information disclosure regulations, and introducing them into their Nevada trusts where they are exempt, the publication refers.

The firm of the wealthiest Jewish bankers in the world indicated at the time that their landing in Reno responds to the interest of families around the world for the stability of the United States since their clients must demonstrate that they comply with the tax regulations of their countries originally. His trust, adds a Rothschild spokeswoman, "has not been launched with the intention of exploiting the fact that the United States has not endorsed the new international standards" in terms of control of tax evasion, the spokesperson said.

Now, according to the ICIJ publication, state governments in the United States, particularly those of Nevada and South Dakota, were criticized for allowing their states to become tax havens in which foreign nationals used companies based in the United States. Been to move money without notice.

South Dakota and Nevada "have adopted financial secrecy laws that rival those of offshore jurisdictions," the researchers wrote, noting the "explosive" growth of these schemes in the United States.

The apparent "leak" of the Pandora Papers, once again puts Panama in the eye of the hurricane as it is a traditional tax haven.

But the absence of the world's great rich and politicians, especially those from the US and Western Europe from the charts, implies the exposure of intermediate factors of world capitalism and not its sacred cows.

This generates new suspicions about the origin and purpose of the information disseminated by the ICIJ, which is to say, it has its main broadcasting epicenter from large media corporations in the world.

Faced with the undeniable reality of the rearrangement of the offshore structure that places the United States as a new epicenter, it is worth asking whether this matter is actually a great propaganda operation to promote a massive migration of capital to be hidden in the new center. of American gravity, to the detriment of Switzerland as a traditional center and other factors of peripheral capitalism, such as Panama, Bermuda, Bahamas or Cayman Islands, among others.

The previous data, and in view of the organic composition of that country-continent, which is increasingly cornering itself towards speculative financial neoliberalism, thus seem to elucidate it.

https://misionverdad.com/globalistan/re ... ora-papers

Google Translator

It is hardly surprising that the US is becoming a major tax haven despite being late to that game. Marx saw the financialization of capitalism beginning in his time as the logic of capitalism has become ever more extended into investment that provides zero use value for humans.

Edit: I did not catch "The firm of the wealthiest Jewish bankers in the world " first go round. Use of the phrase was unnecessary and unacceptable.


Why "no money"? Everything was swallowed up by the "Pandora's Archive"
How many such "archives" have been and will be?
Last weekend, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) published the so-called "Pandora's Archive" , revealing the business of the owners of nearly 30,000 offshore companies. 600 journalists from 120 countries of the world worked on the array of documents . The investigation names 30 heads of state, more than 300 officials and more than 100 of the richest and most famous people. Most of all in the archive of Russian citizens - 52 people - Russia is ahead by a huge margin. In second place is Brazil, 15 people; in third place - Great Britain with 13 representatives.


There are many famous personalities among Russians, most of whom are from the president's inner circle. The probable mother of Vladimir Putin 's daughter Svetlana Krivonogikh is the former co-owner of the Rossiya bank, Putin's student friend Viktor Khmarin , and Roman Putin's cousin .

Each of the names present in the archive has luxury offshore companies in different countries of the world. The Crooked Legs, for example, have an apartment in Monaco for 3.6 million euros.

The offshore assets of Anastasia Ignatova, the stepdaughter of the head of Rostec, Sergei Chemezov, exceeded 22 billion rubles, including the superyacht Valerie for 10 billion rubles and a villa in Spain.
But the heads of state corporations are appointed by the president. Is it possible that the appeal to return capital to their homeland does not apply to them?
Offshore real estate, often through dummies, can be boasted of by Channel One CEO Konstantin Ernst and Sberbank President German Gref .

The archives turned out to be the presidents: the family of the head of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, owned real estate in London for almost $ 700 million; President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky , as sources suggest, still receives income from a stake in offshores through his wife's business.

Representative European rulers were also “smeared”: it turned out that in 2009 Czech Prime Minister Andrei Babis bought the Chateau Bigaud castle near Cannes in France for $ 22 million through offshore transactions. King Abdullah II of Jordan similarly secretly acquired about 15 houses in the United States and Great Britain for a little more than $ 100 million.

Elections in the Czech Republic - Babiš has already announced that he has paid taxes on his real estate. However, will the Czech voter choose the person who bought the castle? The question is rhetorical.
The Pandora Archive turned out to be larger than all the previous files, both Panama and Paradise. One thing is clear - capital is not able to "work honestly", is not able to share and systematically perform a socially useful function.
“Where are our hospitals? New vacancies for teachers, firefighters, social workers? They are all here. Every time a politician or businessman says there is no money ... they need to know where to look for it, ”said Oxfam, a consortium of charities.

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Fri Oct 08, 2021 1:42 pm

How The 'China is a Threat' Fake News Cycle Works
Here is a nice example how the U.S. keeps certain issues in the news and thereby propagandizes its people against its perceived enemies.

On Friday several news agencies and outlets falsely claimed that Chinese airplanes had 'intruded Taiwan's airspace'. In fact the planes had crossed into an imaginative air 'identification zone' hundreds of miles from Taiwan.

As the fake news died down someone in the White House, Pentagon or Congress thought about how to revive the theme to strengthen anti-Chinese sentiment.

"A: Is there something that is not secret and that we can hand to some scribe that allows for another 'China threat' news cycle?"

"B: Hmm. How about our troops in Taiwan?"

"A: Good idea. That will do."

So A, B and maybe also C called up a Wall Street Journal scribe and proceeded. Here is the result:

WSJ News Exclusive - U.S. Troops Have Been Deployed in Taiwan for at Least a Year
Small presence of Americans secretly training local forces marks concern over China’s yearslong military buildup and recent moves
https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-troops ... re_twitter

WASHINGTON—A U.S. special-operations unit and a contingent of Marines have been secretly operating in Taiwan to train military forces there, U.S. officials said, part of efforts to shore up the island’s defenses as concern regarding potential Chinese aggression mounts.
About two dozen members of U.S. special-operations and support troops are conducting training for small units of Taiwan’s ground forces, the officials said. The U.S. Marines are working with local maritime forces on small-boat training. The American forces have been operating in Taiwan for at least a year, the officials said.

The U.S. special-operations deployment is a sign of concern within the Pentagon over Taiwan’s tactical capabilities in light of Beijing’s yearslong military buildup and recent threatening moves against the island.

Taiwan and U.S. officials have expressed alarm over nearly 150 flights near Taiwan in the past week by Chinese military aircraft. The Chinese aircraft have included ...

There follow in total 1200 words of general 'China is a threat' sentiment.

There is one problem though. The deployment of some troops, including special forces, in Taiwan is neither a secret nor new nor newsworthy.

Taiwan regularly buys U.S. weapon systems. These typically come with training. The U.S. has therefore had for years some dozens of troops in Taiwan. These are usually trainers for the specific weapon systems Taiwan purchases from the U.S. There are also a number of Department of Defense civil personnel in Taiwan also related to weapon sales.

Since 2017 the Pentagon's Department Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) provides quarterly spreadsheets which list all countries where DOD personnel, active, reserve or civilian, are permanently on duty.


As of June 30 2021 there were 30 active troops in Taiwan on permanent duty: 0 Army, 2 Navy, 23 Marines and 5 Airforce. There were also 15 civilian DoD employees in Taiwan.

The numbers and composition of the permanently deployed troops fluctuate over time. At the end of last year there were 20 active duty troops and 15 civilians there, one more than half a year earlier. In mid 2019 there were 8 troops and 16 civilians. Numbers going back to 2008 are available. Each file I checked lists a few U.S. troops in Taiwan. Sometimes more, sometimes less.

A number of U.S. Marines are also guarding the American Institute in Taiwan which is the de facto U.S. Embassy on the island. The Marines also guard other U.S. embassies. But in Taiwan they are not 'active' troops listed in the DMDC database:

The American Institute is a nonprofit organization composed of former U.S. government officials who “retire” or take leave to work there — processing visas and handling other consular services — so as not to upset relations.
The special forces are on a temporary deployment in Taiwan and are thus also not listed in the DMDC database. But their current deployment is no secret either. It was announced in June by Taiwan's defense minister:

Taiwan News reported that the Taiwanese defense minister said “multiple U.S. special forces units” will arrive in the country to train with their Taiwanese counterparts following the Han Kuang 37 military exercise.
Han Kuang 37 is Taiwan’s largest annual military exercise that simulates a full-scale enemy invasion in a worst-case scenario lasting eight days, Newsweek reported. The goal is to repel a Chinese invasion for a full week, the report said.

The Taiwanese defense ministry also said Taiwan-U.S. military training and exchanges have been “frequent,” due to China’s military threat against Taiwan.

This years Han Kuang exercise was delayed but took place last month. The U.S. special force deployment was announced to come after that exercise which would be about now.

When Taiwan's defense minister says that Taiwan-U.S. military training and exchanges have been "frequent" and not secret one wonders why the WSJ claims that their current deployment "is a sign of concern within the Pentagon".

The WSJ also writes:

Asian media reports last year suggesting a possible U.S. Marine deployment in Taiwan were never confirmed by U.S. officials. The presence of U.S. special operations forces hasn’t been previously reported.

While the 'presence' of U.S. special force many not have been 'previously reported' their upcoming deployment was loudly announced months ago. To claim that these are 'secret' deployments as the WSJ piece does is simply nonsense.

But that will not matter. Within the next 24 hours the WSJ 'exclusive' piece will have been picked up by dozens of other outlets and agencies all of which will use it to rehash the previous anti-China claims.

Some 'officials' make some (false) claims. Some scribe writes those down in a dramatic tone. Other scribes then copy and rewrite the 'exclusive' without ever checking its validity.

It is how the news cycle works.

Posted by b on October 7, 2021 at 16:51 UTC | Permalink

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Re: Censorship, fake news, perception management

Post by blindpig » Thu Oct 21, 2021 1:25 pm


Refreshingly Honest Billionaire Says Media Purchase Will be Used for Propaganda
October 20, 2021
By Caitlin Johnstone – Oct 18, 2021

The billionaire CEO of the multibillion-dollar corporation that recently purchased the news media outlet Politico has said that its newly acquired employees will be required to support Israel and the capitalist world order.

In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Mathias Döpfner, CEO of the German publisher Axel Springer, said that Politico staffers will be required to adhere to a set of principles which include “support for a united Europe, Israel’s right to exist and a free-market economy, among others.”

“These values are like a constitution, they apply to every employee of our company,” Mr. Döpfner told WSJ. People with a fundamental problem with any of these principles “should not work for Axel Springer, very clearly,” he said.

I mean, how refreshing is that? How often does a billionaire corporation buy up a media property and just straightforwardly tell you they’re going to be using it to push propaganda? They even say what the propaganda will be. It makes you feel like your intelligence is being respected.

Supporting global capitalism and defending the Israeli apartheid regime are both very standard positions promoted by all billionaire media outlets in the western world; they just aren’t normally honest enough to tell you that. Normally they pretend to be an objective free press reporting truthfully about what’s going on in the world; their executives do not customarily come forward to explain the specific establishment biases its reporters will need to promote if they don’t want to be fired. That sort of thing normally happens a lot more subtly.

Can you imagine if Jeff Bezos had purchased the Washington Post in 2013 and been open about the fact that billionaires need to buy up narrative control to protect the status quo upon which their sprawling kingdoms are built? If he’d just come right out and announced ahead of time all the ugly plutocratic propaganda his outlet would be promoting on his behalf? I think that would have been far better than the feigned objectivity we normally get from these people.

Döpfner is reportedly worth over a billion dollars, and Axel Springer is worth an estimated $6.8 billion. He is married to the daughter of a former management board member of Deutsche Bank. So propagandizing the public in favor of “a free-market economy” as opposed to a centrally planned economy or an economy built to benefit the needful and the environment is a no brainer.

Döpfner has called himself a non-Jewish Zionist, and has long called support for Israel “a German duty.” While I am sure there are better ways for Germany to atone for its past than to back a racist apartheid ethnostate which imprisons a persecuted ethnic and religious demographic in an open air concentration camp to the geostrategic advantage of today’s genocidal imperialist western powerbased in Washington DC, the transparency is refreshing to hear from someone who will be manipulating public thought on such matters going forward.

And I just think that’s wonderful. If the Germans can spread some of their world-renowned frankness throughout the operation of mass-scale plutocratic propaganda, we’ll all be better off for it.

As soon as someone rises to a certain level of wealth, they very often begin buying up narrative control in the form of media outlets, conveniently placed advertising in news media, PR firms, online platforms, funding for think tanks and NGOs, “philanthropy“, and other ways of manipulating how people think at mass scale. This is because if people weren’t trained how to think about things, they would never consent to allowing so much of the world’s wealth and power to go toward so very few people who are so consistently ill-suited to rule the world for the benefit of everyone.

Plutocrats who fail to manufacture the consent of their subjects have historically wound up with their heads in baskets. That’s why they work so hard to manipulate the way the public thinks, acts and votes, and that’s why our society is as messed up as it is.

Featured image: Mathias Döpfner.


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