Cayman Islands Surrender: Progress on the real war
on terrorism? Of course not!
December 14, 2002
By Susan Sigandres
Before he was booted, Paul O’Neill signed an agreement with
the Cayman Islands about full cooperation with IRS investigations
into money laundering and tax evasion. The Bush regime is
making the world safe for money launderers, tax cheats and
terrorists – as long as they’re his friends.
One of the keys to shutting down terrorist organizations
like al Qaida is to uncover and dismantle their funding networks.
This means that banks in tax havens will have to give up their
clients’ secrets. The Bushies ignore this part of the “war”
on terrorism: money laundering is more fun to get away with
than to explain. The US corporatist “press” also ignores this
angle: it’s not flashy and hot, it’s boring and ice cold.
Just try making a snazzy news graphic out of a bank disclosure
Yet, with so many tax havens perfectly willing to accept
hard cash with no questions asked, tax havens are major obstacles
in the search for terrorist funding. We must shut down the
money funnels to terrorists if we’re going to shut down their
activities. It’s a good move to focus on tax haven countries,
where banks have records of how the money flows and who’s
sending it where.
In November, former Treasury Secretary Paul “Kill the IRS”
O’Neill signed an agreement with the Cayman Islands in which
the Caymans agreed to fully cooperate with IRS investigations
into tax evasion and money laundering by revealing information
about secret accounts. Great news? Nah. There’s almost nothing
new here; this is just a “formalization” of the information-sharing
practice supposedly already in effect since the Poppy regime.
Now consider this: we all know how much stock George W. Bush
and associates place on formal agreements, such as, for example,
treaties. So how come they made it a point to sign this agreement?
Well, when it’s convenient, the Bush regime will tout this
agreement and others like it as “real” progress in their “war”
on bad guys – terrorists and tax cheats alike. But -- as usual,
they’ll be lying. As usual, it comes down to Bush family interests
and the Bush regime’s agenda. As usual, the real question
is: “In what ways do George W. Bush, his family, his family’s
associates and his rich supporters benefit?”
Here’s the scam with the Cayman Islands “agreement:”
It’s a shakedown. The Bush regime decides who will get investigated,
of course. They can unleash the IRS with abandon on rich crooks
whose support for the regime is deemed insufficient or not
quite enthusiastic enough. It’ll help back up incoming racist
majority leader Trent Lott’s corporatist shakedown by threatening
to make life very difficult for naughty corporatists whose
donations don’t heavily favor his party. (see “Lott Twists
Arms,” Roll Call, September 19, 2002).
It’s a sop for the rich. The agreement doesn’t cover state
taxes or the federal estate and gift taxes. So the self-proclaimed
“state’s rights” gang in the Bush regime once again shows
that it means by that phrase ‘states can go twist in the wind’
even in international matters, where federal action is required
for effectiveness. And how about keeping those family fortunes
hidden away safely and securely for the next generation of
individuals who would be entirely worthless without big, fat
bank accounts….like the Bushes, the Lays, the Cheneys, the
Scalias, the Roves…the O’Neills.
It’s a reward for friends of the regime. The treaty doesn’t
go into effect until January 2004. This gives George W. Bush,
his family, his family’s associates and their benefactors
plenty of time to move their millions into other tax havens
– tax havens with which the US will somehow fail to sign treaties.
Which ones might those be? Only the friends of the regime
It’s a get out of jail free card. Now here’s something that
is new: under this agreement, information about current investigations
will be locked away – forever. Not even the IRS will be allowed
access – ever. Of course this helps regime-friendly slime
balls now being investigated, but it also is a huge enticement,
a design to encourage a spirit of generosity among rich crooks
who otherwise might find the Bush family too repulsive even
for their own questionable lifestyle tastes.
It’s a diversionary tactic. The last thing the Bushies want
is for too many people to get wise to the real intentions
of its actions. So, the Bushies will use this agreement as
part of its never ending quest to manufacture credibility.
“You see,” they’ll say to us, “we’re tough on tax cheats and
terrorists.” Yeah, sure. If this “agreement” never leads to
public disclosure of terrorist funding networks, don’t be
surprised. After all, such disclosure could “compromise” the
“war” effort if too many Bush-friendly people get caught in
bed with terrorists. They’ll have to drop their war on terrorism
faster than they gave up on smokin’ out Osama! And don’t be
too surprised either if some hapless corporate money launderer
gets strung up by the eyeballs every time George W. Bush’s
favorability number falls below 60 in a Wall Street Journal
Since the sum total of the regime’s creativity falls well
short of a typical Neanderthal’s, this is probably the same
scam running with other tax haven “agreements” you’ll hear
about if you read the foreign press. If you get your news
from US corporate sources, now you know what they want you
to believe – and what they don’t want you to know.