The worldwide furore generated by Panama-leaks is a good thing but, unless we ask some crucial questions, this rightly felt fit of public anger against the financial corruption of the rich and powerful is unlikely to dent the system that makes such things possible. If we are unmindful of the orchestrated spins of the mainstream media, we could actually make the problem much worse by unwittingly strengthening the hands of those running the scam involving trillions of dollars.

Is it enough to rally against the small fries who have been pushed to the tiny tip of a very huge iceberg and selected to be exposed? Is it not our right to know about everyone else on the list, the big fish and all? The so-called International Consortium of Investigative Journalists says that it doesn’t intend to release the complete information available with it. And we are only talking about the corrupt clients of one law firm based in Panama.

Is it not our right to know about every shady company registered in not only Panama but also every other stinking tax haven plaguing the globe? Why are these legally sanctioned laundries of ill-gotten wealth and vaults of stolen tax-money protected by those who rule the financial world? Why can’t these micro-territories be blockaded and forced to spill out their carefully guarded trillion-dollar secrets and their criminal beneficiaries?

Perhaps this is too much to ask of a world order that thrives on thievery of the super-rich and ultra-powerful, a so-called order that is actually designed to protect corruption. After all, these safe-havens with their stringent privacy laws and zero, or almost zero, taxes have been consciously created to serve as a completely unaccountable arm of the international financial system.

No questions are asked when dubious companies move millions of dollars across continents. It doesn’t matter if the company is little more than an empty shell, registered without much ado for that very purpose and nothing else. Whether it is for evading taxes or laundering bribes, everything is kosher. Drug cartels are welcome as well. Everyone knows but everything goes.

It is important to take those who have been exposed to task but, obviously, it is not enough. We must question why such a system is allowed to exist in the first place? We must look more closely at the ICIJ and its criteria for selecting individuals it has chosen to expose?

Why is it not telling us the whole story? Fortunately, we don’t need a consortium of investigative journalists to find answers to these questions.

The ICIJ is a project of the US-based Center for Public Integrity and, though billed as non-partisan non-profit organisations committed to high-flying objectives, they are funded by entities known for their close association with the US establishment like the Ford Foundation, Carnegie Endowment, Rockefeller Family Fund, W. K. Kellog Foundation and Open Society Foundation, among others. ICIJ works with the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project which is directly financed by the US government through USAID.

Even a cursory look at the way the Panama-leaks have been covered by the leading lights of western journalism working with the ICIJ is enough to understand what this investigative journalism boils down to. Though he is not mentioned once in the entire 11.5 million files, it was President Putin who was the focus of the leaks with his photographs splashed all over the place accompanied by unprofessional propagandistic stories and screaming headlines. The British media treated the corruption of their prime minister’s dad as a footnote.

So, at the end of the day, President Putin has been accused of stashing away billions of dollars because he is friends with a musician who figured in the leaked files, and because his daughter got married at a ski resort owned by a businessman who is also exposed. There were references to Putin’s aides as well, but nothing that establishes the kind of association which would merit the coverage he got.

This is not to suggest that the information revealed by the Panama-leaks is fabricated. But clearly, it has been selectively leaked and manipulated for propaganda. Is it just a coincidence that the information released does not mention any western leader of note except for the prime minister of Iceland, a country that decided to punish the bankers for their role in the 2008 crash instead of bailing them out? Why is there not a single mega-buck corporation in the list, though quite a few have been caught evading taxes using these tax havens?

Isn’t it a bit odd that the western media is getting all scandalised about the corrupt leaders of non-western countries but do not think it important to question their governments and financial institutions that nurture the mega-scam involving trillions of dollars under their wings? After all, the micro-territories designated as safe-havens couldn’t exist without the active cooperation of the ‘civilised’ western governments and their financial institutions.

If you connect the dots, it is not hard to see the larger picture. Making corruption kosher through tax havens is a well-considered policy through which western governments, their financial institutions and unethical corporations carry out their shady deals and control the world by compromising leaders. Those running the scam have all the information they need. The sporadic leaks are managed to punish those getting out of line. If there’s nothing concrete on them, as in the case of President Putin, the technique of association is employed.

In the present instance, dispensable leaders like the dying Saudi King, or those unable to deliver like our prime minister, have been similarly exposed. To add credibility to the leak, weak collaborators like Latin American leaders are included in the list as well. If nothing else, the information could unleash chaos in their countries and make them ripe for manipulation.

Getting scandalised by selective leaks about corruption without questioning the system and those who run it only strengthens their ability to blackmail the compromised collaborators.