Something Fishy About Offshore Hacking Scandal


Something Fishy About Offshore Hacking Scandal

Too Good to be True?

F. William Engdahl*  

The project sounds mighty serious and impressive. A select organization with the name, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), based in Washington DC, has announced to the World they possess leaked confidential data on offshore banking customers in 170 nations which they claim is “bigger than Wikileaks.”  
Their website claims among others that “Government officials and their families and associates in Azerbaijan, Russia, Canada, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, Mongolia and other countries have embraced the use of covert companies and bank accounts. Many of the world’s top’s banks – including UBS, Clariden and Deutsche Bank – have aggressively worked to provide their customers with secrecy-cloaked companies in the British Virgin Islands and other offshore hideaways.”[1]
Making the story even more tantalizing, they state that they will not turn over the files to government agencies. Among the tid bits they have chosen to release so far are items such as

Who is really behind the big document snag – if it is true?
“Deutsche Bank Helped Customers Maintain Hundreds of Offshore Entities” and “Post-Soviet Billionaires Invade UK … Via British Virgin Islands.”
They describe a process in which they claim that dozens of selected journalists have gone through “millions of leaked records and thousands of names to produce ICIJ’s investigation into offshore secrecy.
A cache of 2.5 million files has cracked open the secrets of more than 120,000 offshore companies and trusts, exposing hidden dealings of politicians, con men and the mega-rich the world over.
The secret records obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists lay bare the names behind covert companies and private trusts in the British Virgin Islands, the Cook Islands and other offshore hideaways.” [2] They omit any mention how ICIJ “obtained” such a cache.

Notable also is the fact that the select release of scandals so far has hit Deutsche Bank or French President Hollande, Greek billionaires or Russian oligarchs. No major scandal has hit the US White House or Washington in any serious way. ICIJ’s SüddeutscheZeitung partner writes what they will expose:

“130.000 Personen aus mehr als 170 Ländern werden in den Unterlagen aufgelistet.Darunter sind Oligarchen, Waffenhändler und Finanzjongleure. Auch Hunderte deutsche Treffer finden sich in den Daten; einen Überblick wird die SZ in den kommenden Tagen geben.“ 

Arms dealers, oligarchs, financial fraudsters and „hundreds of Germans….“ The journalism is crass guilt by association.
The ICIJ group claims further that “The hoard of documents represents the biggest stockpile of inside information about the offshore system ever obtained by a media organization. The total size of the files, measured in gigabytes, is more than 160 times larger than the leak of U.S. State Department documents by Wikileaks in 2010.” [3]
But then it gets rather interesting. For anyone who has even superficial knowledge of how tightly controlled mainstream corporate global media is, the names of the newspapers the ICIJ chose to analyze the documents include The Guardian and the BBC in the U.K., Le Monde in France, Süddeutsche Zeitung and Norddeutscher Rundfunk in Germany, The Washington Post, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and 31 other media partners around the world.

One early result of the leaks is that UK Prime Minister David Cameron has vowed to use his leadership of the G8 to help crack down on tax evasion and money laundering.


Investigating the investigators…

Selling whose secrets and maybe not selling others

While the mainstream world press is focusing on the leaks, at this point it becomes highly relevant to ask who precisely is the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists?
According to their website, the ICIJ was founded in 1997 as a project of the Center for Public Integrity “to extend the Center’s style of watchdog journalism.” Among the listed financial donors to ICIJ are Open Society Foundations.
Open Society foundations have been involved in many countries targeted by the US State Department for regime change or “color revolutions” including Georgia, Ukraine, Burma (Myanmar), Libya.
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation of Hewlett Packard founder and former Assistant Defense Secretary David Packard. The very traditional Pew Charitable Trusts among others.
But the more interesting organization is the one which created ICIJ, namely the Center for Public Integrity. When we look here we find this to be a creation of the most powerful families of Wall Street and US political elites.
Again according to their website, Center for Public Integrity was created in 1989 to “enhance democracy by revealing abuses of power, corruption and betrayal of trust by powerful public and private institutions, using the tools of investigative journalism.” [4]

However the listed funders in 2012 of the Center, also based in Washington, include the Ford Foundation which was documented in the postwar period to work intimately with the CIA in various countries; Soros’ Open Society Foundations; John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; billionaire Wall Street banker Sandy Bernstein’s Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC; GE Foundation; Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Rockefeller Family Fund.

Now what do America’s crème de la crème of powerful families and bankers find so compelling about financing the organization of journalists who now hold documents allegedly containing material that could be used to blackmail governments and politicians and businessmen around the globe?
Are their offshore holdings to be exposed along with those of Germans? Another relevant question is what agency would have the capacity to hack international computer data banks and secret encrypted banking offshore records numbering in the millions without official detection?


Control the money, control the World…

Rupees today – Yen tomorrow
Behind the noble sounding words of the investigative journalists of ICIJ, is an alarming new element in a game of global financial warfare between the dollar imperium and the Euro and potentially the Chinese Renminbi.
The bizarre methodology of the ICIJ suggests that another agenda is at play here. A ground for a global witch-hunt against private fortunes—legal or illegal—has begun.
No longer is it a former employee of UBS or another Swiss bank who steals data files of secret clients from Germany to give German tax authorities. Now it is all offshore accounts in the world that can be exposed.
The sums are huge. A study by James S. Henry, former chief economist at McKinsey & Company, estimates that wealthy individuals have $21 trillion to $32 trillion in private financial wealth tucked away in offshore havens — roughly equivalent to the size of the US and Japanese economies combined.

Henry shows, for example, that assets managed by the world’s 50 largest “private banks” — which often use offshore havens to serve their “high net worth” customers — grew from $5.4 trillion in 2005 to more than $12 trillion in 2010.

The other question is what agency or agencies of which governments have the espionage facilities to pull off such a massive global hacking of all offshore bank accounts worldwide to “anonymously” give to the hand-picked journalists of the Washington-based ICIJ? Perhaps we ought to ask the US Government’s massive spy agency, the National Security Administration.
William A. Hamilton was involved in the Reagan years with a project that the NSA initiated to interdict the sale of embargoed technology to the Soviet Union that was essential for its continued projection of military power during the 1980s.

In a recent exchange with the author regarding the “source” for the enormous secret data files on global offshore accounts, Hamilton noted, “NSA is one and perhaps the only obvious candidate,” for the leak of the latest embarrassing offshore bank information. 

He further added that already back then, the NSA “obtained a copy of [Hamilton’s software] PROMIS from the US Department of Justice and arranged for copies to be installed on computers in the banking sector wire transfer clearinghouses, international financial institutions such as the World Bank and the Bank of International Settlements, and major commercial and investment banks worldwide to facilitate NSA’s real-time electronic surveillance.” [5]
One of many smoking guns
Clearly in the intervening three decades the NSA international banking covert espionage capabilities have been upgraded.
If the EU and ECB and IMF foolishly set the precedent with Cyprus banks of seizing private bank deposits in a style that Stalin in the 1930s would likely have admired, it needs no great imagination to project that Washington, struggling with an out-of-control Federal debt, might demand possession of the ICIJ files and proceed to seize assets of people around the without trial or proof of wrongdoing.
There is a role for genuine honest investigative journalism, but the  Secrecy for Sale project of the ICIJ smells like a massive US Government-sponsored blackmail or worse against the rest of the world’s wealth. As Rockefeller family protégé Henry Kissinger was reported to have said during the 1970’s, “If you control the money, you control the entire World…”

* F. William Engdahl can be reached through his website at or at

Endnotes:                                                Editing:  Jim W. Dean

[1] Gerard Ryle et al, Secrecy for Sale: Inside the Global Offshore Money Maze, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, April 3, 2013, accessed in
&[2] Ibid.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Center for Public Integrity, About the Center, accessed in
[5] William A. Hamilton in private email exchange with the author.



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Frederick William Engdahl (born August 9, 1944) is an American writer, economics researcher, historian, and freelance journalist. He is the author of the best-selling book on oil and geopolitics, A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order. It has been published as well in French, German, Chinese, Russian, Czech, Korean, Turkish, Croatian, Slovenian, and Arabic. In 2010 he published Gods of Money: Wall Street and the Death of the American Century, completing his trilogy on the power of oil, food, and money control. Mr. Engdahl is one of the more widely discussed analysts of current political and economic developments, and his provocative articles and analyses have appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines and well-known international websites. In addition to discussing oil geopolitics and energy issues, he has written on issues of agriculture, GATT, WTO, IMF, energy, politics, and economics for more than 30 years, beginning the first oil shock and world grain crisis in the early 1970s. His book, ‘Seeds of Destruction: The Hidden Agenda of Genetic Manipulation has been translated into eight languages. A new book, Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order describes the American military power projection in terms of geopolitical strategy. He won a ‘Project Censored Award’ for Top Censored Stories for 2007-08. Mr. Engdahl has lectured in economics at the Rhein-Main University in Germany and is a Visiting Professor in Economics at Beijing University of Chemical Technology. After a degree in politics from Princeton University (USA), and graduate study in comparative economics at the University of Stockholm, he worked as an independent economist and research journalist in New York and later in Europe, covering subjects including the politics of energy policy in the USA and worldwide; GATT Uruguay Round trade talks, EU food policies, the grain trade monopoly, IMF policy, Third World debt issues, hedge funds, and the Asia crisis. Engdahl contributes regularly to a number of international publications on economics and political affairs including Asia Times,,, The Real News, Russia Today TV, Asia Inc.,, Japan’s Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Foresight magazine. He has been a frequent contributor to the New York Grant’, European Banker and Business Banker International and Freitag and ZeitFragen in Germany, Globus in Croatia. He has been interviewed on various geopolitical topics on numerous international TV and radio programs including Al Jazeera, CCTV and (China), CCTV (China) Korea Broadcasting System (KBS), and RT Russian TV. He is a Research Associate of Michel Chossudovsky’s well-respected Centre for Research on Globalization in Montreal, Canada, and a member of the editorial board of Eurasia magazine. Mr. Engdahl has been a featured speaker at numerous international conferences on geopolitical, GMO, economic, and energy subjects. Among them is the Ministry of Science and Technology Conference on Alternative Energy, Beijing; London Centre for Energy Policy Studies of Hon. Sheikh Zaki Yamani; Turkish-Eurasian Business Council of Istanbul, Global Investors’ Forum (GIF) Montreaux Switzerland; Bank Negara Indonesia; the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies; the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), Croatian Chamber of Commerce and Economics. He currently lives in Germany and, in addition to teaching and writing regularly on issues of international political economy and geopolitics, food security, economics, energy, and international affairs, is active as a consulting political risk economist for major European banks and private investors.  A sample of his writings is available at Oil