Will The Panama Papers Be Leaked In Full? WikiLeaks' Latest Tweet Teases Full Disclosure
The Panama Papers are living up to their place in history as the biggest offshore information leak the world has witnessed. Like Edward Snowden's NSA surveillance leak, Chelsea Manning's leak of military documents from the War in Afghanistan, and WikiLeak's release of U.S. embassy cables, this new plethora of sensitive information reveals rampant corruption among the global powers. As journalists publish more information about the offshore stashing of funds and evasion of taxes, Wikileaks turned to the public and asked them to vote on whether the Panama Papers should be released in full.
The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists has not listed WikiLeaks as having any involvement in the release or possession of the papers. WikiLeaks' most recent tweet posed on Sunday evening, however, suggests otherwise. As of early Monday morning, it received over 35,000 votes, over 4,600 retweets, and thousands of likes. Twitter users have until the following Sunday to cast their "vote."
Either WikiLeaks has obtained the classified information or it's trying to pressure those in possession of the documents to release them in their entirety to the public. The organization points out that the documents it has released are completely disclosed and searchable. Others would argue that the information should be released cautiously and selectively in case certain portions are sensitive to national security.
Many comments advocated for the release of the papers, which would help expose the ways the rich evade taxation through the establishment of offshore companies. Alec Muffet, a high-profile software engineer who founded the original password cracker and advocates for full disclosure, intuitively predicted that WikiLeaks would have already made the documents available if they had them.
For others, Wikileaks' request came too late, because the original source leaked the information to journalists a year ago. Though ample time was surely required to sort through the millions of documents, the gradual release of findings had to have been strategic.
The Panama Papers leak is significantly larger than WikiLeaks' claim to fame from 2010, when it released over 250,000 state department cables sent to or from U.S. embassies from around the world. The most recent leak consists of an astonishing 11.5 million files pulled from the database of Mossack Fonseca, the fourth-largest offshore law firm in the world. Some of the papers date back up to 40 years, but others are more relevant and involve a handful of current state leaders. According to The Guardian, the records were collected by a source for the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and brought to the ICIJ, which shared the documents with trusted outlets like The Guardian and the BBC. After sorting through the influx of papers, journalists have come across several monumental revelations.
On its website, the ICIJ listed some of its key findings, including a $2 billion trail of secret transactions that's been traced to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The leak's trajectory is remarkably expansive in its coverage of over 214,000 offshore holdings that are linked to over 200 countries. In total, 140 politicians and public officials have been identified as participants in the offshore transactions. So far, leaders from Russia, Iceland, Pakistan, Ukraine, and Saudi Arabia have been identified. In addition, over 500 banks have created more than 15,000 offshore companies, which could be used to hide large sums of money, through Mossack Fonseca. It's unlikely that the entire pool of documents will be fully disclosed, but more information on the findings will undoubtedly be released in the days to come.