Rudolf Elmer, John Christensen, Jack Blum (and a delayed Wikileaks spokesperson) – Frontlineclub press conference on January 17th 2011
[wn030] If there is a basic need for the public in order to compare a view presented by mass media with their (the people’s) own focus and angle, in order to escape their expected role ase pure news consumers, then this basic need is access to original data. In fact, this is what once was most interesting about the platform Wikileaks. But this need of access does not apply only to secret or classified documents, it applies the same to public events that can easily be reported in a way typical for most media covering: focus on persons that news agencies develop a high interest in with exterme shortening if not misleading of the original message.
The media at the press conference in the London Frontlineclub seem to have been mostly busy with waiting plus afterwards shooting of a next series of Wikileaks spokesperson photographs, it seems the message of this press conference has reached only few of them. The other half of present media had an understandable focus on Elmer’s court case, a topic that heated up 2 days later (see Elmer-related links below).
So, what could be more crucial for an event than to care for being accessible for the public not only via mass media agendas. The Frontlineclub in London showed awereness of this need. The press conference on January 17th was streamed life, the recorded streams are available for everybody interested via the Fontlineclub webpage as well as on other pages re-publishing the stream.
Speaking at the Frontlineclub on 17.1.2011 were:
Jack Blum, described as: “one of the United States’ leading white-collar defense attorneys specialising in money laundering. He works for Baker Hostetler, a Washington, D.C. law firm. He focuses his practice in the areas of bank and securities firm compliance, congressional investigations, international financial crime, money laundering and offshore tax evasion.” (source)
John Christensen from the Tax Justice Network, described as “a development economist and former economic adviser to the UK and Jersey governments. John has researched tax havens and tax policy for many years. He has also played a leading role in campaigning for tighter regulation and control of tax havens and offshore finance centres. He is a fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce and is based at the New Economics Foundation, London. His work for the Tax Justice Network is funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust.” (source)
and Rudolf Elmer himself (in case you missed it, you’ll find published information about Elmer in media like: 20min.ch about the court case on Jan 19th, bazonline.ch, zeit.de, tagesanzeiger.ch about Elmer’s detention on the evening of Jan 19th, the news agency Reuters, BBC, gulli.com on Jan 21st “Elmer bis Montag in Gewahrsam” – as well as in other media in case you care to google a bit).
(plus the delayed Wikileaks spokesperson, covered by enough media so ignored on this page here)
In case you haven’t taken your chance yet to take a look at the event yourself other than the look a present journalist has taken, here are some quotes we feel worth underlining, to whet your appetite:
4:30ff. “we are here to discuss mr Elmer’s case, the issues it raises and its relations with wikileaks and vice versa”
Frontlineclub welcomes jack blum from wasington DC
5:14ff. Jack Blum:
“what we’re here to talk about is a system of offshore, which is really designed to prevent law enforcement and goverments from getting information in timely fashion to pursue all forms of illicit money:”
“Why do we allow some countries to make a living by hiding the tax money that has not been paid
by hiding money that has been stolen
by hiding money that has been derived from various several kinds of crimes?”
“Working in the Cayman islands i realised that something goes wrong
I tried to approach tax authorities during my fight
I want to let the society know how the system works because it’s damaging our society”
John Christensen (Tax Justice Network) (18:10ff)
“the jokes amongs tax lawyers goes: those who know don’t talk and those who talk don’t know.
In other words: people working inside the system earning a great deal of money have every reason for not talking about what they’re doing. it takes a great man or women to start to talk about what they’re doing”
tax evasion, tax avoidance – difference not clear but both working against public interests
the public don’t know about it,
we don’t know the exact scale
Estimates: at least 5 trillion us dollars is held offshore –
Our own estimate is at least 11,5 trillion US-dollars is held offshore, untaxed, tax evading
A more reasonable estimate: James Henry (US economist) – puts the amount of volume of private wealth held offshore now at close to 20. 20 trillion us-dollars tax evading money.
If you want to understand why there’s so much unrest… why we apparently can’t afford to keep our public services in the West, you might want to start to ask questions about what’s happened to the wealth, where does it sit – well, it sits largely offshore.
Some of Elmers answers to journalists’ questions made their way to the press. In case you want to find the quoted sentences, here they are:
“If you can’t destroy the evidence, beat the witness”
i wrote a letter to peer steinbrück, no response
(interested and looking for the link to the press conference? scroll up again, it’s in the 3rd paragraph.)