The political landscape globally has been changed thanks to the Panama Papers. A consortium of independent journalists have releases a trove of hacked details from the database of Panama-based law firm, Mosack Fonseca (MF), implicating politicians, celebrities and the wealthy engaged in shadowy arrangements to hide their wealth.
Those Linked to Neocons
MF itself offers wealth management and company law services for off-shore jurisdictions like the British Virgin Islands. In short, it can help set up shell companies that disguise the beneficiaries – an ideal set up for gangsters, banksters, and impious politicians.
Reading through the list of individuals exposed in the leak, it is interesting to note that some of the individuals are linked to neocons in some way or another.
Ayad Allawi was put in place as “interim” Prime Minister of Iraq with the backing of the CIA soon after the toppling of the Ba’athist, Saddam regime in 2004. Allawi is notorious for making up false claims about weapons of mass destruction.
The President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, in the 2014 presidential campaign, vowed to sell most of his business assets. Embarrassingly, the leaks reveal that he merely transferred his assets to a holding company set up by MF. Pertinently, Ukraine’s US-friendly President was manoeuvred in by neocons. In particular, Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland implemented yet another neocon “regime-change” experiment designed to agitate and kick-start a second cold war with Russia. Nuland is the wife of Project for New American Century signatory and arch-neocon Robert Kagan.
Unsurprisingly, there are those linked to corrupt, autocratic regimes in the Middle East also amassing hidden wealth. Not so widely-reported is that some 600 Israeli companies and 850 Israeli shareholders are also listed in the Panama leaks. As Professor Juan Cole points out, among those mentioned is Dov Weisglass, former advisor to prime ministers Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert. Weisglass in 2007 commenting on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza joked “It’s like an appointment with a dietician. The Palestinians will get a lot thinner, but won’t die.”
The morally eviscerated will indeed mock the needy as they stash their wealth away in shell companies to avoid tax.
David Cameron’s Neocon Crisis Management
And mockery of the people has also been happening here closer to home.
With revelations exposing David Cameron’s father’s offshore scheme, Cameron’s strategy was typically neoconservative.
First, we saw the duality; exposition of the people to the state, opacity in the tax affairs of the few in power. The elite mind-set this fosters came to the fore when his spokesperson commenting on Cameron’s connections to the offshore business said it was a “private matter”. Edward Snowden brilliantly exposed the double standard:
For a PM under whom the most invasive laws have been passed and are indeed set to pass, to talk of privacy was utterly rich in hypocrisy.
Under pressure, Cameron proceeded to deceptively mislead the public by focussing on his current status, stating that he and his family “do not benefit from any offshore funds”. With a couple of days passing he admitted to having benefitted from shares in an offshore trust which had not paid any tax in thirty years, just before becoming prime minister.
The hypocrisy, or simply neoconservatism, could not have been more manifest. Cameron had benefited from a system which he had scolded others for using. As one comment piece acutely notes, whilst talking down to people about working hard and “coping with the necessary cuts”, Cameron in 2013 had written a letter to the President of the European Council warning him against transparency moves on offshore trusts.
Other neocons are also seemingly not free from this hypocrisy. Osborne recently announced further spending cuts stating, “we’ve got to live within our means to stay secure.” That’s quite the statement coming from a person who dodges questions about his own personal benefits from offshore funds.
Should we be at all surprised that neocons have their fingers in murky financial arrangements? After all, this is precisely what their neoconservative fiscal policies promote.
Supply-side economics (or trickle-down economics) and its constitutive deregulation are what neocons from the US to the UK advocate. Indeed, deregulation in the US, lobbied by neocons like Larry Summers, was a major contributory factor in the 2007-8 financial meltdown. It is also for this reason that among those listed in the Panama Papers, only a few are of American nationality – there is no need to go off-shore when secretive shell corporations can be established on US soil.
Here in Britain, the economic policy has failed, slowing the growth in the UK, in addition to increasing the wealth gap between the richest and the poorest. Since the banks crashing, Britain’s billionaires have seen their net worth more than double, with the richest 1,000 families now controlling a total of £547 billion. The inequality gap as such has increased with the richest 1,000 families having more money than the poorest 40% of British households combined.
According to a teacher union’s survey of over three thousand teachers reported last month, almost three-quarters of the teachers had seen pupils coming to school hungry, most had seen pupils unable to afford the schools uniform and most highlighted financial pressures at home was resulting in increased anxiety among pupils.
Days ago, two experts blamed government policies for more than 60,000 children in Merseyside living below the poverty.
This is Britain 2016. This is neocon Britain.
Will the child who comes into the classroom hungry wearing tattered clothes, really grow up to believe the neocon nonsense that “we are all in this together”? Can Cameron and his amoral clan of neocons genuinely serve the interests of the British people, when Cameron’s party is corporatocratically backed and funded by profiteering City corporations, and he himself is exposed to having benefited from shady set-ups that avoid tax?
Given the trending #ResignCameron hashtag, and the protest calling for his resignation outside Number 10 today, the people have certainly made up their minds.
Along with Cameron, neoconservatism in Government must also be removed.