Panama Papers just the tip of the iceberg
The Editorial Board
Sunday, April 3 did not begin with the promise of anything out of the ordinary. The presidential race was as much of a train wreck as it had been for the last eight months, Villanova was gearing up to play No. 1 ranked North Carolina the following day and most people had no reason to suspect that the end of their weekend would bring about anything particularly exciting.
This was not the case for everyone, however.
After months of intensive investigation and research, in coordination with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, German newspaper “Süddeutsche Zeitung” released what is now being called the largest release of classified information in the history of data journalism.
The “Panama Papers” dwarfs any leak and successive broadcast of information that came before it, and will soon, if it has not already, become the mold of successful journalistic practice for this generation. Its magnitude cannot be accurately judged because it is unpredictable — to speculate on its eventual impact on multiple countries across the world this early in the game is ultimately fruitless. Only time will reveal how deep and wide the reaches of these revelations will take us.
The Panama Papers leak has enlightened the world to questionable activities of Mossack Fonseca, a law firm within the state the papers are named after. Since the inception of the firm in 1977, it has specialized in the creation of shell companies, allowing those who invest their money through the firm to stash their cash and successfully evade taxes or public scrutiny under the blanket of what appeared to be legitimate business.
What separates this exposé from its predecessors are those who have already been implicated as as having connection, whether direct or indirect, with Mossack Fonseca: Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping and Lionel Messi, to name a few. With the now-former Prime Minister of Iceland having stepped down in the days since the leak, and thus lending pockets of credibility to the cause of these journalists, it is not difficult to see how this might continue to unfold.
While no Americans have yet to be named as being involved in this conspiracy, which crosses international borders, it could be determined that this is due to the vast amount of information still to be disseminated. With over one terabyte, or 1,000 gigabytes, of information given to reporters by an anonymous whistleblower, it could almost objectively be stated that this is just the tip of the iceberg.
At the risk of seeming self-praising, the Editorial Board must commend the over 100 journalists involved in the exposure of this information — for both their willingness to put themselves at odds with those of enormous influence, wealth and power, and being committed to doing their jobs with integrity. We urge those still uninformed on the situation to follow the story as it progresses, as we feel comfortable in saying this is only the “tip of the iceberg,” so to speak.
In an age of globalization, it would seem that despite the curvature of the Earth, the world is, indeed, flat.
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