'He's Got to Go'

'He's Got to Go'

The Panama Papers hack was a failed effort with a primary goal to expose Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping as corrupt. The Papers had an outcome that backfired and have hurt the British Prime Minister most of all. The main story focused on Putin and Xi, however the "revelations" about both leaders were superficial and, in all likelihood, insignificant considering they were only tied to the hack by a step-brother and friend. The interesting part of the hack is that both the BBC and the Guardian were involved in leaking the documents. Both of these media outlets are traditionally anti-Putin, and yet the Panama Papers backlash hurt David Cameron most.

The first important point is the sheer size of the hack. In technical terms, the hack includes 11.5 million documents, which makes it approximately 6.8 times larger than Snowden's NSA leak. Though the leak is this large, it wasn't available to the public in the same way the Snowden files were. When given the 11.5 million documents, German media outlet Süddeutsche Zeitung took them to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). The ICIJ consists mainly of large traditional corporate media outlets (no "new media companies"). It was this body that took responsibility for analyzing and editing the Panama Papers leak in its current form. There is a possibility for much more to come.

Protests took place amid news that Cameron was incriminated by the Panama Papers hack. These protests happened in Parliament Square near 10 Downing Street, the Prime Minister's residence. Protesters carried signs calling for Cameron's resignation, while #resigncameron trended on Instagram and Twitter. Protests were shut down as photos on Twitter showed London Police clashing with angry demonstrators. The ICIJ leaked information stating that Ian Cameron, the Prime Minster's father, used Mossack Fonseca, the hacked law firm, to avoid having his Blairmore Holdings Inc. pay UK taxes. Reports allege the Prime Minister and his wife benefited from these holdings. The backlash to these reports manifested itself in these anti-Cameron protests.

I own no shares, no offshore trusts, no offshore funds, nothing like that. And so that, I think, is a very clear description.
— David Cameron responded to accusations on April 4th

Despite his defense of the accusations, anger is still rampant among the British public.

The result of the Panama Papers as a whole is more interesting than it is surprising in that a forced story about Putin and Xi got out of hand so quickly and ended up being a call for David Cameron's resignation. Even more curious, or downright bizarre, is the lack of Americans in the Papers, maybe showing the ICIJ's biases upfront. But the unexpected consequence, or boomerang effect, is the "leak's" blowback against the British leader. Time will tell if Cameron becomes an even bigger victim than Iceland's Prime Minister, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson, who was forced to resign April 5th over revelations of his personal affiliation with Mossack Fonseca.

The New Old School

The New Old School