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8 Apr, 2016

Exposing the Exposers: Powerful force is behind Panama Papers

Beijing, 5 April 2016, (Global Times commentary) – A huge leak of confidential documents from Mossack Fonseca, a Panama-based law firm alleged to have been a facilitator of money laundering for its clients has shocked international public opinion.

Over 11 million documents were passed to German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung by an anonymous source. These documents have been reportedly investigated by some 300 global journalists for a year.

The Western media soon collected the most eye-catching information from the documents and leaders of non-Western countries have been scrutinized. Most media led with the allegations that a close friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin had laundered $1 billion. The Western media has opaquely described it as “Putin’s money laundering.”

Some high-profile Western public figures were named, for example Iceland’s prime minister was disclosed as having a huge offshore account. But this is just small potatoes compared with the alleged scandal against Putin.

In recent years, documents exposed by Wikileaks, Edward Snowden and this time, the Panama Papers, have all made headlines worldwide. Among them, Snowden’s leaks sounded the most credible since they were exposed by an admitted whistleblower. While the Wikileaks website has at least a figurehead, nobody is clearly behind these latest leaks. However the documents revealed do have basic political targets, which is food for thought.

The Western media has taken control of the interpretation each time there has been such a document dump, and Washington has demonstrated particular influence in it. Information that is negative to the US can always be minimized, while exposure of non-Western leaders, such as Putin, can get extra spin.

In the Internet era, disinformation poses no major risks to Western influential elites or the West. In the long-run, it will become a new means for the ideology-allied Western nations to strike a blow to non-Western political elites and key organizations.

The online disinformation makes public opinion precise strikes possible for the West, which always “digs out” materials from the so-called confidential information. Despite different interests, Western countries are close allies in ideology. This is perhaps the basis for the concept of the “West.” Public opinion of different Western countries is quite uniform.

It is risky to claim the leaked information is fabricated. It can be predicted that such disclosure will not survive if it embarrasses the West. But the West will be happy to see such leaks happen if their opponents are attacked.

Some are wondering why so many public figures handed over their secrets to the same law firm. But it is only a minor question. For ordinary people, it is useless to wrestle with the power behind the leak, which can wield such a huge amount of documents.