For Immediate Release
Panama Papers Fallout: Overview, Iceland, Putin, Trade Deals
WASHINGTON - Information from the "Panama Papers" continues to be made public, fostering global reaction. The Reykjavík Grapevine reports that the prime minister of Iceland just resigned following protests.
CHUCK COLLINS, (617) 308-4433, firstname.lastname@example.org
Collins is a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies with their Inequality.org project. His books include 99 to 1: How Wealth Inequality Is Wrecking the World and What We Can Do about It. He just wrote the piece: "Panama Papers Expose the Hidden Wealth of the World’s Super-Rich." See from McClatchy -- the only U.S. newspaper company with access to the leaked database: "U.S. scolds others about offshores, but looks other way at home." USA Today reports: "Thousands call for Iceland PM to resign after Panama Papers leak."
PAUL FONTAINE, 011-354-540-3603, email@example.com, @rvkgrapevine
Fontaine is news editor of the Reykjavík Grapevine -- recent pieces include "Reykjavik City Council Members Also Implicated In Panama Papers."
Fontaine said today: "While the Prime Minister's particular role in the Panama Papers leak is huge, and I don't want to downplay it, I also don't want to downplay the involvement other Icelanders -- and the countless others around the world -- also had in this. This extends beyond the prime minister; it reaches parliament, it reaches Reykjavík City Hall, and it reportedly reaches hundreds of as yet unnamed Icelandic businesspeople. ...
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"The greater crime, which the Panama Papers illustrate comprehensively, is that we have a secret economy connected to and even supporting some of the worst aspects of the global capitalist system.
"Iceland's PM is not an isolated incident. We need to not only look at individual players, but the system itself. If we mean to make any changes that would prevent something like this from happening again, a whole new economic structure needs to be created."
Additional background: Robert Parry at ConsortiumNews.com writes in '"Corruption’ as a Propaganda Weapon," that "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."
Sarah Lazare of AlterNet quotes Lori Wallach of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch: "The top promise about the benefits of the U.S.-Panama FTA was that it would end Panama’s financial crime secrecy protections and tax haven and money laundering activities, but this leak shows that, if anything, Panama’s outrageous financial crime facilitation has intensified while the FTA’s investor protections and official U.S. stamp of approval has increased inflows of dirty money to Panama."
U.S. Uncut argues that this might significantly impact the U.S. elections, since in 2011, "Sen. Sanders took the Senate floor to denounce the Panama trade pact, shooting down the conventional arguments in favor of the deal." Said Sanders: “No one can legitimately claim that approving this free trade agreement will significantly increase American jobs. ... Panama is a world leader when it comes to allowing wealthy Americans and large corporations to evade U.S. taxes by stashing their cash in offshore tax havens. The Panama free trade agreement will make this bad situation much worse." The following day, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a statement: “These initiatives are the leading edge of a job-creating trade agenda..."
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