9th April 2016 – Following the bombshell announcement by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) on April 3rd that they and a select group of 400 journalists scattered around the globe had, for the past year, been secretly working to sift and analyse 11.5 million company documents leaked from Panamanian “Wealth Management” company Mossack Fonseca by an anonymous whistleblower which laid bare the sheer scale of global tax avoidance networks used by the rich and the corrupt and which also (in the first very, very small tranche of released information) included British Prime Minister David Cameron’s late father’s “Blairmore Holdings” tax avoidance vehicle, from which tax haven arrangement it very soon became clear (after four days of pompous denials, red-faced half-truths and arrogant attempts to deflect, then finally to fully confess) that the Prime Minister had personally profited from Blairmore, thousands of outraged protesters descended on Downing Street dressed in Hawaiian shirts, Panama hats, sunglasses and tropical colours to noisily demand that David Cameron resign.
After a couple of hours of beach-ball throwing, speeches from activists and plenty of sloganeering the protesters dashed up the road to protest outside the nearby Grand Connaught Rooms where David Cameron was addressing the Conservative Party Spring Conference, and it was on the steps of the hotel where Kaya was photographed, brandishing his satirical painting of David Cameron as a monkey brandishing a paintbrush loaded by Conservative-Blue paint and artist’s palette as he paints a picture of the Three Wise Monkeys – symbolising the Mafia-like code of silence and willful blindness to wrong-doing by the rich, the powerful and the corrupt.
In 2012 David Cameron had made public press statements criticising British comedian Jimmy Carr for using a “tax-efficient” tax haven scheme, calling the comedian’s behaviour “Morally repugnant“, and it was this apparently massive hypocrisy which offended people so badly, but which also dramatically put the political spotlight on the absolutely outrageous amount of wealth which is taken out of the global economy and hoarded by greedy rich people, corporations avoiding contributing correct tax revenues to the countries they operate in, criminals laundering drug money, arms dealers, corrupt leaders, politicians and more, estimated in 2012 to be somewhere between £21 – £32 trillion.
It was very rapidly pointed out that though Mossack Fonseca had created over 250,000 shell companies for clients with the sole intention of hiding money from tax collectors on behalf of their national governments, they were just one single company operating out of just one of more than 90 tax havens scattered around the World – the majority of them Crown Dependencies administered by Her Majesty’s Obedient Government on behalf of the City of London! The scale of the corruption is truly vast and almost beyond comprehension, and because of strict codes of secrecy it is impossible to see where all the money has gone and who has taken it.
The task ahead feels almost too big to engage, but the dialogue has begun now that people have a better idea of the scale of the problem, and the ICIJ have promised to release the entire database of so-called “Panama Papers” to the public as an online, searchable resource in the hope that this will eventually force tax havens to maintain registers of personal ownership of shell companies, and by so doing make it easier for governments to track down money siphoned out of their economies.
Meanwhile, in the real world, children with no hope and no future die by the thousand every day because they have no clean water or medicines to treat easily-treatable diseases…