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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/9/16

Hybrid War, From Palmyra to Panama

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Message Pepe Escobar
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Reprinted from Sputnik

Panama Papers scandal
Panama Papers scandal
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The Panama Papers, stripped to the bone, may reveal themselves, as I have argued, essentially as an infowar operation initiated by the NSA -- which would conveniently target mostly Global South "enemies" (as in the BRICS nations) and selected, disposable, Western pawns.

In its current stage, the Panama Papers have morphed into a weaponized psyops posing as an "activist leak," straight from the Hybrid War playbook.

The relentless, expert mainstream media exposure has been at pains to portray the massive leak as "responsible journalism," yet without addressing eyebrow-raising questions on how the leak really came about; how 2.6 terabytes of data, including 5 million emails, have been selective edited; how it was obtained without encryption; how there was not a single leak while the whole hoard was being sorted out by 400 or so reporters for over a year; and how the information is being selectively released.

"Responsible journalism" gatekeepers are spinning this came from a digital musketeer; a whistleblower. Not necessarily. The leak has already sparked a credibility war between WikiLeaks and the new mainstream leakers, the heavily compromised, Washington-based, US foundations-funded ICIJ.

The NSA thesis is sustained by the fact the NSA specializes in breaking into virtually any database and/or archive anywhere, stealing "secrets" and then selectively destroying/blackmailing/protecting assets and "enemies" according to US government interests. Add to it that Ramon Fonseca, founding partner of Mossack Fonseca, is stressing, "We rule out an inside job. This is not a leak. This is a hack."

Countering "strategic threats"

The Panama Papers function as much as a precision strike as a "message" for an array of players to toe the line -- or else; after all, the leak/hack unveils a web of connections to several dozen companies, individuals and politicians across the Global South who are kind of superstars -- or aspiring superstars -- in US sanctions blacklists.

The obsessive mainstream media focus on the enemies and/or "strategic threats" to Exceptionalistan also raise eyebrows; here's how the Beijing leadership is expertly dissecting it.

The Panama Papers also happen to perfectly fit into a massive US trade deal offensive. You can read it as a reminder of the TPP-TTIP corporate power grab; if you don't join our play for US-controlled One World trade, we've got dirt on you.

It's naturally healthy to be offered at least a glimpse of the nasty undercurrents of turbocharged casino capitalism, a.k.a. "global financial system," where major banks and an army of financial sharks allow "secret" companies to park illicit and/or corrupt funds.

In parallel, it's enlightening to observe how all electronic money transactions are now totally traceable. The Panama Papers happen to come to light only a few months before an obscure global information-sharing treaty will be implemented. Whether global financial sharks will be able to circumvent it is an open question. Crucially; Panama is not part of the signatories.

On the crucial financial shark angle, over half of the companies listed in the massive leak/hack are registered in the UK -- or "Crown dependencies." Savor the sweet smell of revenge by US corporate media denouncing what it practically amounts to the British Tax Evasion Empire.

Everyone knows the City of London largely operates as a world-class money laundering racket. Yet forget about British "responsible journalism" gatekeepers getting into the heart of it. It's much more popular to blame Putin as guilty by association than to examine how David Cameron's father, Ian, chose to keep the family money (and the future Prime Minister's inheritance) away from the tax man.

Or how the President of that NATO-friendly failed entity, Petro Poroshenko, stashes his wealth not in unruly Ukraine but "protected" in the Virgin Islands. And forget about investigating the former bureau chief of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Dov Weisglass, who, like Cameron's father and Poroshenko, is actually named in the Panama Papers.

Moreover, don't except a Cayman Papers or a Virgin Island Papers -- the real deal -- anytime soon. The real elite would never let it happen.

Panama Redacted

And then there's the ultimate Exceptionalistan angle. Even Bloomberg, three months ago, had formally announced to global public opinion that the top tax haven in the world is now the US -- complete with notorious tax haven service provider Rothschild-in-Reno. Unlike Panama, whatever happens in Reno stays in Reno -- and we're not talking wild lap-dancing nights deep in the Nevada desert.

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Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst. He writes for RT, Sputnik and TomDispatch, and is a frequent contributor to websites and radio and TV shows ranging from the US to East Asia. He is the former roving correspondent for Asia (more...)

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