Sunday, April 24, 2016

[OFF] The 10 lies of Globo TV. The Mastermind of the coup against Brazil

The 10 lies of Globo. 24/04/2016

Globo, a media group from Brazil, responded to an article published by The Guardian about the brazilian political crisis:
"The real reason Dilma Rousseff’s enemies want her impeached" (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/apr/21/dilma-rousseff-enemies-impeached-brazil)

Here’s the result:
by Priscila Silva

LIE 1: “It fails to mention that everything began with an investigation (named Operation Carwash)”.

The impeachment has nothing to do with Operation Car Wash, and Globo is mentioning it to confuse the readers of this respectable media outlet — as they normally do in Brazil. Rousseff herself isn’t implicated in any of the criminal facts been investigated by Car Wash. She is been impeached under accusations of fiscal maneuvers, executed to maintain social programs, like “Bolsa Família” (famous all over the world for been an example against social inequality). This maneuvers are regularly practiced by most brazilian public administrations (including by opposing ex-president Fernando Henrique Cardoso), and was also practiced just last year by 16 elected state governments currently in office. Does Globo want them impeached? Here’s a million dollar question.

LIE 2: “[…] investigation (named Operation Carwash), which in turn revealed the largest bribery scheme and corruption scandal in the country’s history, involving leading members of the ruling Workers Party (PT), as well as leaders of other parties in the government coalition, public servants and business moguls”.

Globo fails to mention that several members of the current political opposition to the Workers Party (PT) are also been implicated in Operation Car Wash. Aecio Neves, Rousseff’s defeated opponent in the last presidential elections, for example, was been accused of receiving bribes and was mentioned seven times in delations given by politicians and business men. The vice-president, Michel Temer, who has been orchestrating the coup himself in order to reach power, has also been cited. All of this can be easily verified, but Globo prefers to try keeping the readers in the dark, in order to construct the illusion that PT is the only party responsible for the corruption in brazilian institutions.

LIE 3: “The entire investigation process has been conducted in accordance with Brazil’s rule of law, under the strict supervision of the country’s Supreme Court”.

There have been serious violations of civil rights by the judge responsible for Operation Car Wash, Sérgio Moro, in collusion with the Globo Group itself, in order to inflame the masses and damage the image of Workers Party ex-president of Brazil, Lula. Sérgio Moro illegally leaked recordings of wiretappings placed in Lula’s residence to Globo, which then publicized selected parts of the audio in the network’s most rated news show. Apart from the fact that most of the conversations were personal and irrelevant to the investigation, the recordings caught a chat between Lula and the president of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, and thus should have been immediately sent to the Supreme Court due to privileged forum. Instead, Moro sent them to Globo Group — but they don’t want anybody remembering that, do they?

LIE 4: “The Brazilian press in general, and the Globo Group in particular, fulfilled their duty to inform about everything, as would have been the case in any other democracy in the world. We will continue to do our job, no matter who may be affected by the investigation”.

The brazilian media in general, and specially Globo Group, is playing an important role in opposing the government systematically since Rousseff became president for the first time, in 2010 — actually, since Lula was president, and even before that, in 1989, when he lost the election to conservative and latter impeached Fernando Collor de Mello, after been deliberately harmed in a debate promoted by Globo. Members of the opposition involved in several corruption scandals, like “Trensalão” and “Máfia das merendas”, have been consistently spared by the oligarchic media of Brazil, which is controlled by something between 9 to 11 families with clear elitist interests. Brazilian media is famous all over the world for been extremely concentrated and devoted to conservative political forces. It also endorsed the military coup of 1964. Need I say more?

LIE 5: “As a reaction to the revelations of Operation Carwash, millions of Brazilians took to the streets in protest”.

The protests in Brazil are been deliberately stimulated by the media and the political opposition since Rousseff’s reelection, in 2014. Although there have been rallies in 2013, promoted by popular left-wing movements, the current protests are very, very different. They are financed by right-wing organizations like “Movimento Brasil Livre” and “Revoltados On-line”, which were created to promote the coup we see taking place in Brasil today, and also by corporate organizations, like Fiesp (Federation of São Paulo Industries).

There’s no doubt some of the protesters are going to the streets spontaneously, but it’s also clear the role that this artificially created movements and the oligarchic media have been playing in promoting them and in creating, among the masses, a hate feeling against PT and all left-wing social movements. Globo wants to make believe “the people” suddenly took the streets moved by a sense of citizenship and morality. But here in Brazil we know the political climate was been built since Rousseff displeased the conservative forces by becoming president again.

LIE 6: “Precisely to avoid any accusations of inciting mass rallies — as Mr. Miranda now accuses us — the Globo Group covered the protests without ever announcing or reporting on them on its news outlets before they happened. Globo took equal measures regarding rallies for President Dilma Rousseff and against the impeachment: it covered them all, without mentioning them prior to them actually taking place, granting them the same space as was given to the anti-Dilma protests”.

The coverage of the protests have been absurd, to say the least. For starters, Globo has been calling the pro-impeachment protesters “brazilians” or “Brazil”, while the protesters against the coup — many of them critics of Rousseff’s administration — are “pro-government” or “Dilma’s supporters”. But that’s just a detail. All the protests for the impeachment have been 100% televised live by GloboNews (the network’s cable news channel), that interviewed protesters and made sure to set a cheered climate. On the other hand, protests against the impeachment were covered by short superficial flashes and usually did not listen to the protesters arguments. No news here when it comes to Globo.

LIE 7: “The Globo Group did not support the impeachment in editorials”.

That’s the most absurd lie of the entire article, because it’s enable do resist a simples Google search. Just type “impeachment”, “editorial” and “O Globo”, and have fun!

LIE 8: “To blame the press for the current Brazilian political crisis, or to suggest that it serves as an agitator, is to repeat the ancient mistake of blaming the messenger for the message”.

Globo knows it has been promoting hate and conflict among brazilians. And that’s, actually, exactly what they want: to create a sense of general dissatisfaction that “justifies” a coup.

Just stop lying already! It’s starting to get embarrassing.

LIE 9: “The Brazilian press is a vast and plural landscape of several independent organizations, 784 daily printed newspapers, 4,626 radio stations, 5 national television broadcast networks, 216 paid cable channels and another multitude of news websites. Everyone competes with great zeal for the Brazilian audience, which in turn is free to make its choices. Among strong competitors, what one finds is independence, without any tolerance for being led”.

If less than a dozen families controlling the entire media is not been concentrated, I don’t know what is. Another lie that collapses on itself after a basic Google search. But if you want something more reliable, what about aresearch published by Oxford? Enjoy!

LIE 10: “With the Globo Group rests the responsibility to report the facts as they happened. It is our duty”.

In Brazil, that’s what we can call “cereja do bolo”: a bizarre ending to an absurd article. Simply amazing.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The physiology of barbarism. "The Nazis, Capitalism and the Working Class" - Donny Gluckstein

Few historical events have been subject to the same degree of controversy, confusion and mystification as the Nazi rise to power and the tragedy which unfolded in its wake. Attempts to understand the phenomenon have focused on a variety of explanations, some stressing the psychology of individual Nazis, others, such as Daniel Goldhagen's Hitler's Willing Executioners, arguing that the German population shared Hitler's pathological race hatred and that this mass psychosis made the Holocaust possible. Various studies have stressed the exceptional nature of the Nazi regime, and many have therefore tended to minimise the potential for such atrocities to happen again. Recent trends have seen earlier social explanations of Nazism challenged by studies which claim that the Third Reich was above all else a racial hierarchy.1 Another increasingly widespread view holds that the Nazi state pursued a programme not of reaction but of modernisation or revolution. Donny Gluckstein offers a powerful counter to such arguments, and in the process reaffirms the Marxist analysis of fascism with a clarity and an authority that make The Nazis, Capitalism and the Working Class essential reading.

The book begins with an outline of the development of modern Germany and takes up the argument that the conditions which gave rise to the Nazi regime are somehow linked to a unique path of historical development whereby the 'normal' process of capitalist development was bypassed, producing an exceptional semi-feudal state. The opening chapter succinctly describes the specific features of German capitalism and their consequences for the classes in that society. In most advanced industrial nations capitalism had emerged with national unification and the establishment of bourgeois democracy. In Germany national unification was brought about by the Kaiser without any real democracy. This did not mean that capitalism failed to develop in Germany--in fact it did so at a great rate. But Germany's status as a 'follower' nation, industrialising after Britain, meant that it emerged with certain distinctive features, notably a greater concentration of capital in certain sectors, since it started out with larger production units, greater collaboration between capital and the state and, as a latecomer to the battle for international markets, a more prominent role for the state. At the same time, a mass of smaller, artisanal units continued to prosper, ensuring the survival of a large middle class.

The development of Nazism was to be shaped by all these factors, but above all else it was a product of the imperialist stage of capitalism. The concentration and centralisation of production, the increasing importance of banks as investors of finance capital, and the intensification of competition in an expanding world market led to a greater role for the state as an actor in defending and promoting economic interests both domestically and abroad. The fusion of state and capital under Nazism was therefore characteristic of an era dominated by finance capital which 'makes the dictatorship of the capitalist lords of one country increasingly incompatible with the capitalist interests of other countries, and the internal domination of capital increasingly irreconcilable with the interests of the masses'.2 In order to resolve these conflicts Germany's ruling elite turned to Hitler in much the same way as the French bourgeoisie had turned to Bonapartism in 1851, giving up its crown 'in order to save its purse'. Except that, given Germany's status as an advanced industrialised nation, the Nazis were forced to mobilise the petty bourgeoisie to secure power, using it as a 'battering ram' against working class opposition.3

Rather than transforming existing social relations, Nazism reinforced them 'by the most brutal and systematic methods imaginable--counter-revolution at home and, later, world war abroad'.4 Hitler, then, 'did not fall from the sky or come up out of hell: he is nothing but the personification of all the destructive forces of imperialism'.5 In the sense that Nazism reflected the tendency, identified by Marx, for the relations of production to be constantly revolutionised under capitalism, it may be considered 'modern', but, as the author argues, a regime which bolsters a system that has 'outlived its usefulness' is not engaged in modernisation.6

The origins of Nazism are firmly rooted in the counter-revolutionary current which developed in Germany after the First World War as a reaction to the revolutionary surge of 1918-1923. During this period Hitler established himself as a force to be reckoned with and sealed links with industrialists prepared to consider radical means to block the left, like the steel magnate Thyssen, who stated, 'Democracy with us represents nothing'.7 But although the capitalist class had an interest in promoting Hitler as a means of eliminating obstacles to its domination both at home and abroad, funding of the Nazi Party (NSDAP) did not guarantee complete control over them: 'Connections existed between capitalism and the NSDAP; but this does not mean the Nazis were either robots programmed by the bosses, or free agents making up their own minds and acting as they pleased'.8 Having failed to win ruling class backing for an armed uprising in 1923, Hitler realised that mass support was necessary to make fascism a serious alternative to democratic forces. The creation of a mass party of a million members with a 400,000 strong armed wing gave the Nazis a degree of autonomy, but their capacity for brutality had to be balanced against the need to keep elite supporters on board by not upsetting ruling class sensibilities.

When the Nazis came to power in 1933 they did so not as the result of a popular uprising, or even an electoral majority, but because they had the backing of a section of the ruling class. How, then, the author asks, did a party acting in the interests of this tiny elite achieve such widespread support among ordinary Germans? The analysis of this question, presented in chapters on the 'Nazi machine' and the Holocaust, is one of the book's great strengths. Central to the explanation developed here is an understanding of the way in which capitalism's capacity to mask the exploitation at its core is refracted through the prism of class:
The daily experience of life under capitalism mediates the impact of capitalist ideology. It can reinforce it, contradict it, or still have more complex results, partially reinforcing some points of the ideology and negating others. The general pattern is that with capitalists their life experience serves to reinforce belief in the system; the life experience of workers tends to clash with the received ways of thinking and cause it to be questioned either partially or totally. The middle class has a life experience which leaves it vacillating between both these poles.9
Nazi ideology was less likely to exert an influence over workers living in large towns--whose livelihood was threatened by unemployment and whose experience of work was characterised by a sense of collective solidarity--than over those working in craft or service sectors, less affected by unemployment, or those living in isolated rural communities. Similarly, in terms of middle class support, those whose livelihoods were threatened by the loss of savings--the old middle class 'rentiers'--or whose careers were bound up with the survival of the capitalist state--the civil service bureaucrats--were more likely to identify with Nazism than white collar employees, who remained potential allies of the industrial working class. What determined both electoral support for the Nazis and membership of the party itself were the social relations of capitalism. The more isolated the individual, the more bound up their lives and careers were with the preservation of the status quo, the less resistant they were likely to be to fascism: 'What counts in resisting Nazism are the chances of collective organisation and consciousness, and freedom from the direct influence (and intimidation) of the employer'.10

This is not to say that workers were immune to the pull of Nazism, or that no workers joined Hitler's party, but in general it was anxiety about the effects of the crisis which drove people into his arms, rather than rejection of the capitalist system, or even direct experience of unemployment. At the core of the mass movement built by the Nazis was the frustrated petty bourgeoisie which, faced with the disintegration of society and fearful of the prospect of revolution, sought to break free from the domination of the monopolies and cartels. Fusing at the lower end of the social scale with the working class, and with the capitalist bourgeoisie at the other, it is 'no wonder', wrote Trotsky, 'that ideologically it scintillates with all the colours of the rainbow'.11

Fascism's capacity to combine counter-revolutionary aims with a mass movement was both its strength and its weakness, a factor identified very early on by Clara Zetkin:
We should not regard fascism as a homogenous entity, as a granite block from which all our exertions will simply rebound. Fascism is a disparate formation, comprising various contradictory elements, and hence liable to internal dissolution and disintegration... however tough an image fascism presents, it is in fact the result of the decay and disintegration of the capitalist economy and a symptom of the dissolution of the bourgeois state.12
Although the 'sheer weight of forces at its disposal'13 would permit a fascist regime to survive for some time, as a movement it was nevertheless vulnerable when confronted, and sections of its support could even be won to a different political project. In the absence of a credible revolutionary socialist alternative, however, the 'countless human beings whom finance capital has brought to desperation and frenzy'14 were pulled by fascism into a movement in which everything was 'as contradictory and chaotic as in a nightmare'.15

Was fascism a middle class movement? Nazi propaganda before 1933 was full of promises to its middle class followers: '100,000 independent cobblers', declared Gottfried Feder, 'are worth more to the economy of the people and the state than five giant shoe factories'.16 Despite such rhetoric, Nazi rule offered very little to the middle classes. Indeed, once the labour movement had been defeated, ruling class power was immeasurably reinforced, at the expense of all other classes.17

If the regime can be seen to have retained the basic features of capitalism in an extreme form, rather than representing a break with it, how can the importance of anti-Semitism to the Nazi project be explained? A common view holds that the Nazis attempted a racial revolution and that their supporters were motivated above all else by pathological anti-Semitism. Here, again, the book underlines the importance of class distinctions. As far as ordinary Germans were concerned, racist attitudes derived from the anxieties and frustrations of everyday existence and provided scapegoats for their various grievances. In contrast, ruling class racism is a means of shoring up existing social relations and forms part of a hierarchical conception of society whereby notions of superiority and inferiority are bolstered by, among other things, the use of racism to legitimise the targeting of certain groups and, by extension, the treatment meted out to all 'inferior' elements in the hierarchy.18 The reification of existence under capitalism, which turns human beings into objects to be bought and sold, found its most grotesque expression in the Holocaust, when assembly line techniques and a modern transport network were used to commit mass murder, leaving what remained--teeth, human hair, etc--to be treated as industrial 'byproducts'. The distinction between ruling class and popular racism is an important one, not least because it undermines Goldhagen's claim that the Holocaust was a product of a collective German mentality. The shock and repulsion felt by ordinary Germans at Nazi led pogroms such as Kristallnacht (night of broken glass) in 1938, and the revulsion felt even by rank and file Nazis at the euthanasia programme targeted at 'lives not worth living', are evidence of this distinction.19

But if ordinary Germans did not share the same outlook as the Nazi leadership, why did so many participate in its crimes? Again, the horrors perpetrated under Nazi rule are best understood not as a reflection of some kind of primordial evil but in relation to the constraints which capitalism imposes on human activity. The dehumanising bureaucratisation of life under capitalism, which strives to subordinate individuals to an external authority, and to control behaviour patterns by imposing deference to a hierarchical social structure, was reinforced and accentuated under Nazism which, by treating genocide as an everyday productive task (to the extent that railway regulations set out a system of fares for those transported to the death camps), imbued it with an illusory normality which helps explain why so many participated in it.20 Likewise, when leading Nazis boasted of their intention to destroy the individual's private sphere (Robert Ley declared in 1938 that the private citizen had ceased to exist and that hitherto only sleep would remain an intimate affair), such ideas were an extension, rather than a negation, of monopoly capitalism, itself typified by 'the feeling of individual insignificance and powerlessness'21 as personal autonomy is suppressed by the imperatives of production and the domination of the market.22

None of this would have been carried out, however, were it not for the smashing of resistance. This needs to be stressed, because it is an aspect of the Nazi rise to power neglected by writers like Goldhagen who choose to ignore opposition to the Nazis before 1933.23 In the early 1920s Hitler's attempts to seize power came to nothing. By 1928 electoral support for the Nazis stood at only 2.8 percent. As the crisis deepened and the Weimar Republic became increasingly discredited, society polarised and support for the Nazis grew. Why did the left, the most powerful and organised in Western Europe, fail to eliminate their threat? 'We have been defeated,' wrote the Austrian Marxist Otto Bauer after the fascists took power, 'and each of us is turning over in his mind the question whether we brought the bloody disaster on ourselves by our own political mistakes'.24

The tragedy of German social democracy's attitude to fascism was that it repeated the errors made by Italian social democracy a decade earlier in pinning its hopes on legality and the constitution: 'Stay at home: do not respond to provocations,' union leader Matteotti urged Italian workers attacked by fascists, 'Even silence, even cowardice, are sometimes heroic'.25 The German socialist Hilferding proclaimed 'the downfall of fascism' in January 1933, the month Hitler became chancellor, arguing that 'legality will be his undoing'.26 This loyalty to the institutions of the German state had led the Social Democratic Party (the SPD) to use violence against Communist opposition and even its own members, sending in the Freikorps to crush the Spartakist revolt in 1919, murdering Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, granting emergency powers to General Seekt to smash the left wing provincial government in Saxony and shooting down 30 Communists taking part in the banned May Day parade of 1929. Instead of attempting to win rank and file socialists to the fight against fascism, the Communist Party simply issued sectarian declarations against the SPD, denouncing it as fascism's 'twin' and calling for a 'united front...against the Hitler party and the Social Democratic leadership' which, as Trotsky pointed out, amounted to nothing more than 'a united front with itself'27. Having failed to stop the Nazis before they took control of the state, the left was immediately targeted and crushed by the regime. No amount of heroic resistance, well documented here in a chapter on defiance against Nazi rule, could prevent the imposition of the Nazis' sick 'moral norms' once the labour movement had been wiped out.

In the 1930s Trotsky highlighted the way in which barbaric aspects of medieval society survived alongside the technological advances of modernity. People all over the world could listen to radio and hear the pope talk about water being transformed into wine. Pilots flew the most advanced aircraft that science could produce but wore lucky charms to protect themselves from danger. Fascism drew on this kind of superstition and backwardness. When the Nazis came to power, he described how fascism had 'opened up the depths of society for politics':
Everything that should have been eliminated from the national organism in the form of cultural excrement in the course of the normal development of society has now come gushing out from the throat; capitalist society is puking up the undigested barbarism. Such is the physiology of National Socialism.28
Today such contradictions between society's modernity and the persistence of backwardness and superstition are even more marked. Before playing his part in one of the century's most dazzling feats of technology by walking on the moon, the US astronaut Buzz Aldrin sat in his spacecraft and took holy communion; during the 1980s Reagan and Mitterrand, the leaders of two of the world's most advanced industrialised nations, both felt the need to employ the services of astrologers; in the 1990s religious sects announce their suicide pacts over the internet.

In a year when New Labour ministers have used the rhetoric of anti-fascism to justify the imposition of NATO power in the Balkans, and compared those who oppose their warmongering to appeasers of Hitler, this book is a timely reminder of what fascism is and what it is not. Donny Gluckstein has provided us with an outstanding analysis of the Nazi phenomenon. In its discussion of the Nazi leadership and its anti-Semitism, its analysis of the relationship between the Nazi regime, capitalism and the ruling class, and in its assessment of the aims and actions of both supporters and opponents of Nazism, this book's sensitivity to the interplay between the motivations of individuals and the broader historical and social context sets it out as a model for a dialectical understanding of fascism.

A review of Donny Gluckstein, The Nazis, Capitalism and the Working Class (Bookmarks, 1999)
JIM WOLFREYS

Notes

1 M Burleigh and W Wippermann, The Racial State: Germany 1933-1945 (Cambridge, 1991).
2 R Hilferding, Finance Capital, cited in D Gluckstein, The Nazis, Capitalism and the Working Class (London, 1999), p8.
3 In 1931 Trotsky warned that 'considering the far greater maturity and acuteness of the social contradictions in Germany, the hellish work of Italian fascism would probably appear as a pale and almost humane experiment in comparison with the work of the German National Socialists'. See 'Germany, the Key to the International Situation', in L Trotsky, The Struggle Against Fascism in Germany (New York, 1971), p125.
4 D Gluckstein, op cit, p128.
5 L Trotsky, cited ibid, p182.
6 Ibid, pp190-191.
7 F Thyssen, cited in D Guerin, Fascism and Big Business (New York, 1973), p35.
8 D Gluckstein, op cit, p44.
9 Ibid, p69.
10 Ibid, p89.
11 L Trotsky, 'What Next? Vital Questions for the German Proletariat', in L Trotsky, op cit, p212.
12 C Zetkin, 'The Struggle against Fascism', in D Beetham (ed), Marxists in Face of Fascism (Manchester, 1983), pp104, 109-110.
13 Ibid, p110.
14 L Trotsky, 'What Next? Vital Questions for the German Proletariat', in L Trotsky, op cit, p155.
15 L Trotsky, 'The German Puzzle', in L Trotsky, op cit, p266.
16 G Feder, cited in D Guerin, op cit, p86.
17 D Gluckstein, op cit, p135.
18 Ibid, pp175-176.
19 Ibid, pp173-177.
20 Ibid, pp182-183.
21 E Fromm, Fear of Freedom (London, 1942), p188.
22 D Gluckstein, op cit, pp148-149.
23 For a critique of Goldhagen see H Maitles, 'Never Again!', International Socialism 77 (1997).
24 O Bauer, 'Austrian Democracy under Fire', in D Beetham (ed), op cit, p289.
25 G Matteotti, cited in D Guerin, op cit, p109.
26 R Hilferding, 'Between the Decisions', cited in D Beetham (ed), op cit, p261.
27 B Fowkes, Communism in Germany under the Weimar Republic (London, 1984), p163.
28 L Trotsky, 'What is National Socialism?', in L Trotsky, op cit, p405.

Source: Socialist Review Index (UK)
http://pubs.socialistreviewindex.org.uk/isj83/wolfreys.htm

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

[OFF] Attempts to oust President Dilma Rousseff are undemocratic

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff with children in Rio de Janeiro last week.
Photograph: Roberto Stuckert Filho/AFP/Getty Images

Letters. Monday 11 April 2016 17.24 BST; Last modified on Monday 11 April 2016 22.00 BST

We are extremely concerned about the sustained efforts by sections of Brazil’s rightwing opposition to destabilise – and ultimately overthrow – its constitutional and elected government, including through attempting to impeach President Dilma Rousseff. This campaign has involved demonstrations for “regime change” through the ousting of the president before the end of her term. These have even included overt calls for the military to carry out a coup d’état.

There is also a crude campaign aimed at discrediting former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, whom Dilma is seeking to appoint as a minister in her government. The aim here seems to be not only to oust Dilma but also legally bar Lula as a potential presidential candidate in 2018.

Meanwhile, trade unions and social movements have denounced examples of physical aggression against government supporters. We oppose this golpista attempt, echo the support for Brazil being given by the Union of South American Nations, and defend Brazilian democracy.

Brian Eno
Michael Mansfield QC
Dr Francisco Dominguez Head of Latin American and Brazilian studies research group, Middlesex University
Grahame Morris MP
Kelvin Hopkins MP
Roger Godsiff MP
Jeff Cuthbert AM Welsh national assembly member
Manuel Cortes General secretary, TSSA
Doug Nicholls General secretary, GFTU
Mick Cash General secretary, RMT
Kevin Courtney Deputy general secretary, National Union of Teachers
Tony Burke Assistant general secretary, Unite the Union
Dr Derek Wall International coordinator, Green party of England and Wales
Salma Yaqoob
Martin Mayer Labour party national executive committee member
Dr Julia Buxton Central European University
Oscar Guardiola-Rivera Birkbeck, University of London
Francisco Panizza Professor in Latin American and comparative politics, LSE
Dr Peter Hallward Professor, Kingston University

• Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

Sunday, April 10, 2016

El otro secreto de los papeles de Panamá. Erhard Mossack

ERHARD MOSSACK. Es el primero por la derecha. En noviembre de 1942,
fue adscrito a uno de los escuadrones de las temibles Totenkopf (cabeza de muerto),
cuya insignia era una calavera.
Decían en Panamá que Mossack tenía más poder que el presidente del país, y ahora todos lo ven confirmado...

Ésta es la historia de lo que nadie decía. De él. Y de su padre, espía y nazi. Erhard 'vendía' secretos; su hijo, el paraíso del dinero

MARTÍN MUCHA
@Mart1nMucha
10/04/2016 03:32

Erhard Guenther Mossack (16 de abril de 1924), nacido en Grube-Ericka, el nazi, era un hombre de rostro adusto, 176 centímetros de estatura y varias cicatrices: en los dedos y debajo del brazo izquierdo, donde se cortó la piel para borrar un tatuaje que revelaba su vínculo con las SS. Su oficio: cerrajero y miembro de la temible división Totenkopf (que se puede traducir literalmente como "cabeza de muerto"). Cuando lo atraparon las fuerzas aliadas vendería información para salvarse. A eso se dedicaría el resto de su vida.

Su hijo, Jürgen Rolf Dieter Mossack (20 de marzo de 1948), nacido en Fürth, ciudad de Baviera, unos 178 centímetros, piel sin marcas por heridas a simple vista. Su profesión: abogado creador de empresas offshore, protagonista de los #PanamaPapers. Los 11,5 millones de archivos clasificados, procedentes del bufete que fundó (Mossack Fonseca), se consideran el mayor escándalo de filtración de documentos confidenciales de la historia. Jürgen Mossack, multimillonario, díscolo y vanidoso, buscaba ser una sombra para la sociedad panameña. Lo había aprendido de su padre, el nazi, quien llegaría incluso a ofrecerse como espía para Estados Unidos.

La mansión de Jürgen Mossack en los Altos del Golf, una urbanización en Panamá donde viven expresidentes, diplomáticos y magnates, la misma donde residía el dictador Manuel Antonio Noriega, está protegida. Alrededor circulan berlinas del máximo lujo y vigilantes de seguridad. Las cámaras siempre están grabando. A diferencia de su padre, él tiene varios sobrenombres, le llaman: El alemán, El teutón, El nazi. El último apelativo es más reciente. Desde que se desvelaron sus contactos internacionales ha pasado al escondite.

Antes, si bien apenas ha dado un puñado de entrevistas a lo largo de su existencia, se codeaba con la alta sociedad panameña. Sobre todo para lucir a sus hijas: Nicole y Andrea, ambas jinetes profesionales. Jürgen buscó ocultar el pasado de su padre. Quienes han visitado su ostentosa vivienda no recuerdan ver fotos suyas en las paredes. Cuando hablaba de él no se refería a su pasado como SS ni como agente secreto. "Nosotros pensábamos que era ingeniero", refiere una de nuestras fuentes periodísticas panameñas que no quiere ser citada. "Mossack tiene más poder que el presidente, decían, y yo ahora les creo". Lo que es indudable es que es multimillonario.

Erhard Mossack, el padre nazi, en cambio, tuvo una vida austera. En 1935, según documentos del FBI, con 11 años entró en la Jungvolk, sección infantil de las juventudes hitlerianas. Se fue a vivir con su tío Manfred, en 1938, a Dresden. Mientras iba a una escuela técnica, trabajaba como aprendiz en la empresa de lentes y equipos ópticos Zeiss-Ikon. Por sus habilidades, luego consiguió que le aceptaran en la residencia que tenían para sus trabajadores. Un año más tarde, el quinceañero Erhard volvió a caer seducido por el Führer y su mensaje de dominación mundial. En 1940, volvió a su localidad natal y laboraba en una empresa minera. Con la mayoría de edad se apuntó a las Waffen-SS. En noviembre de 1942, lo transfirieron a una ya disminuida división Totenkopf, de la que un 80% había muerto en Demyansk (Rusia). Al joven Erhard lo enviaron primero a Francia. Después al frente soviético. Sus siguientes destinos: Checoslovaquia, Finlandia y Noruega.

Es capturado por las tropas norteamericanas en marzo de 1945, dos meses antes de la caída del Berlín. Erhard estaba a punto de cumplir los 21 años...

Mucho tiempo después, al cumplir esa edad, su hijo Jürgen estaba estudiando Derecho en la primera universidad privada de Panamá, la Católica Santa María La Antigua. Se graduó algo tarde, en 1973, con 25 años. No tardó mucho en poner rumbo a Londres. Este viaje sería clave para que entendiera las finanzas globales. Fue admitido por la Law Society of England (Consejo de Colegios de Abogados de Inglaterra). Se codeó con lo más alto de los abogados del mundo. Y con los tiburones que forjarían la fama actual de la City. Regresó a Panamá en 1977 ya sabiendo que iba a fundar su propio despacho, Jürgen Mossack Lawfirm, bautizado en inglés. Apuntaba al derecho corporativo, naval, banca, inversiones extranjeras, fideicomisos, fundaciones privadas y gestión de inversiones... No había cumplido los 30 y era el orgullo de papá. Ya entonces Jürgen Mossack era un miembro selecto de la oligarquía panameña.

La escapada de 1945

En diciembre de 1945, junto a otros siete, el nazi Erhard Mossack había robado un camión y escapaba de un campo de prisioneros de guerra en Le Havre (Francia). Se separó de los fugados, tras más de 600 kilómetros de viaje, al llegar a Colonia (Alemania). "Mossack ha tenido una muy extensa pero superficial educación política... Es un típico líder de las juventudes hitlerianas", se lee en el documento enviado desde la embajada de EEUU en Londres con destino al director del FBI, rubricado el 4 de diciembre de 1946 . En este texto, de 20 páginas, se cuenta la historia completa hasta ese momento del exnazi Erhard Mossack, que, un año después de terminada la guerra, se ofrecía como informante. El tono era dubitativo. Los norteamericanos advierten que Erhard "estaba cerca de unirse a una organización clandestina, ya sea de los antiguos nazis ahora convertidos en comunistas... o de nazis no conversos que se encubrían a sí mismos como comunistas... Su oferta de convertirse en informante [la califican] como un posible astuto intento para salir de una situación incómoda". Lo cierto es que, con el tiempo, Erhard terminó en Baviera viviendo en libertad. ¿Ya espía? En la primavera de 1948 nació Jürgen Rolf Dieter Mossack Herzog.

Erhard se había enamorado de Luisa Herzog. Ella, fruto de una relación previa, tenía otro hijo. Su nombre: Horst, hermano mayor de Jürgen. Hoy Horst llena, con su testimonio, algunos vacíos en la vida del nazi, de su padrastro. Entrevistado por The Daily Mail, reconoce lo que sintió su madre por haberlo tenido fuera del matrimonio. "Era una vergüenza en esos días, así que me pusieron en adopción". Pero aporta un dato adicional que revela un acto de generosidad del SS. "Mi madre más tarde se casó con Erhard Mossack. Él me dio su apellido después".

¿Y de su hermanastro panameño, qué dice? Le perdió el rastro cuando estuvo en Londres estudiando. "Lo que ha salido de Panamá es una noticia impactante, sorprendente. Desconcertante, incluso, pero no puedo decir que siento vergüenza porque no tengo conexión en la realidad con él".

Lo más llamativo es que Horst revela que en un momento de su vida el que fuera cabo primero de los cabeza de muerto se hizo periodista. Según su versión, publicó en 1952 -cuando Jürgen tenía apenas cuatro años- un libro titulado Los últimos días de Nüremberg. Una reseña de esta obra señala que "Erhard Mossack describe el calvario de Nüremberg en los últimos meses de la II Guerra Mundial. Como editor de un periódico, amasó un amplio material de origen, en especial el análisis de numerosas declaraciones de testigos. Nos lleva a mirar detrás del telón de fondo histórico... de lo sucedido entre enero y mayo de 1945 allí".

El padre nazi de Mossack narra cómo cayó la ciudad. Son 160 páginas con fotos de edificios destruidos y de unidades militares. ¿Se hizo periodista tras aceptar los servicios secretos de EEUU su oferta de colaboración? ¿O más bien se unió a la inteligencia germana como otros sospechan? Si el propio héroe de guerra nazi Otto Skorzeny, según informaciones recientes del diario israelí Haaretz, terminó de sicario del Mossad, nada suena descabellado.

El nombre de Erhard, por cierto, no es desconocido para el BND (los servicios secretos alemanes), con sede en Pullach, cerca de Múnich. De hecho, han confirmado la existencia de documentos sobre él, aunque no los desclasificarán. Ésta es su respuesta oficial: "Porque podrían dañar a la República Federal de Alemania o alguno de sus estados federados".

DOCUMENTOS PROBATORIOS. Derecha y centro, dos páginas del informe del FBI, de noviembre de 1946, donde describen las acciones del nazi Erhard Mossack. A la izquierda, fichero de la CIA de 1963, sobre los contactos de Mossack con la inteligencia militar de EEUU #PANAMAPAPERS / ICIJ / CRÓNICA / MOSSACK FONSECA
Erhard fue capturado por las tropas estadounidenses en Baviera y en posesión de una lista de nombres de miembros de las unidades los Werwolf (hombres lobo), una fuerza irregular creada por el general nazi Heinrich Himmler, en 1944, para mermar el avance de los aliados con tácticas de guerrilla y actos de sabotaje en las zonas que iban ocupando.

Estas unidades de resistencia, que deben su nombre a una novela escrita en 1914 por Hermann Löns, autor reverenciado por el nacionalsocialismo, llegó a contar con hasta 5.000 hombres reclutados en las juventudes hitlerianas y miembros de las SS. A este movimiento se le atribuyen varias matanzas de civiles. Erhard fue posiblemente un hombre lobo que se batió en retirada con una información que supo utilizar en su favor y que, según los datos que se han ido recabando sobre él, le permitió acortar su cautiverio.

¿Doble espía?

Según documentos procedentes de los servicios estadounidenses de inteligencia citados por el Süddeutsche Zeitung en el marco de los #PanamaPapers, el padre de Mossack no sólo se prestó a colaborar sino también a recabar información para los aliados. Sorteó el proceso de Nüremberg y comenzó una vida trabajando como redactor para varios medios, incluido el 8 Uhr-Abendblatt de Nüremberg. Este periódico fue fundado en octubre de 1919 por una editorial ultracatólica. Fue, junto al diario del partido nazi, el único periódico que circulaba durante la II Guerra Mundial, entre 1939 y abril de 1945. Fue prohibido por los estadounidenses al terminar la guerra. En 1949 el diario volvió a aparecer, hasta su desaparición, en 2012.

Erhard, en 1960, se va con su familia a Panamá, donde trabajó para Lufthansa, al tiempo que -se especula- colaboró con la CIA desenmascarando comunistas. La pista de Mossack padre se retoma en octubre de 1963. En un documento de la agencia, explican que desde 1961 Erhard ha intentado establecer contacto con la inteligencia militar de EEUU. Su área de acción la sitúan desde Frankfurt, pasando por Panamá, hasta Santiago de Chile y Cuba.

Jürgen era adolescente. Tenía dos hermanos más: Peter, actual cónsul honorario de Panamá en Frankfurt, y Marian, también residente en Alemania... Erhard poco a poco se va desvaneciendo como personaje. Se sabe que regresó a Múnich, cual retiro dorado, durante los 70, para establecerse allí. Era la década en que su Jürgen se iba haciendo fuerte en Ciudad de Panamá y Londres. Su bufete funcionaba. Era el germen inicial de lo que después sería Mossack Fonseca.

La unión con Fonseca

Los propios documentos internos de Mossack Fonseca sitúan el nacimiento de la firma en 1977, cuando no existía como tal sino sólo la Jürgen Mossack Lawfirm. Es en 1986 cuando se establece el nexo que cambia su vida. El teutón se une a Ramón Fonseca Mora, su socio a partir de entonces. Ramón era el perfecto complemento para sus fines. No sólo conocía el mercado internacional. Era el carisma que el hijo del nazi no tenía, las sonrisas que le faltaban.

Le gustaban a Mossack los vínculos que había establecido Fonseca con sus compañeros de la London School of Economics, donde se graduó. Además, su nuevo socio, cuatro años menor que Jürgen, disfrutaba del beneplácito de la clase política panameña. En los tiempos en que Manuel Antonio Noriega, alias Cara de Piña, gobernaba, eso era un filón invalorable. Jürgen ya sabía cuál era el futuro. En 1988, sólo dos años después de su unión con Fonseca, escribió un texto premonitorio: Panamá paraíso fiscal. Padre e hijo Mossack, escritores, ambos contando sus vivencias. Los estragos de la guerra uno. El otro, sus batallas financieras.

La foto en blanco y negro del momento de la firma del acuerdo la conservan en los archivos de Mossack Fonseca. El alemán y Fonseca juntos, con un trago en vaso de tubo en sus manos. Uno con traje con raya diplomática, Jürgen; el otro, con atuendo gris. De esa oficina discreta, a poseer más de 40 sedes en todo el orbe. De Panamá a Niue, una isla remota en Oceanía que Mossack convirtió en paraíso fiscal.

Lo cuenta bien Michael J. Field, autor de Nadando con tiburones: Historias de la primera línea de Pacífico Sur y corresponsal para AFP. Según él, Jürgen buscaba un terreno nuevo, lejos de Panamá, para las empresas. Y descubrió Niue, un estado libre asociado a Nueva Zelanda, no parte de la ONU. Una isla celestial ideal para ser paraíso fiscal. Field, como representante de la prensa en la zona, comenzó a informar de los andares de Jürgen.

Sus informaciones desesperaron al germano de rostro impenetrable. "A finales de 1990 tuve un encuentro con Jürgen Mossack; llegó a Auckland sólo para amenazarme", señala Field. "Me dijo que antes de ese momento nunca había oído hablar de Niue... Quería un lugar fuera del Caribe y en una zona horaria de Asia y el Pacífico...".

Total secreto y anonimato

Era un acuerdo de exclusividad por dos décadas. La isla de 260 km2, 1.200 habitantes, recibía un millón de dólares anuales por las 6.000 empresas que se asentaron. "Mossack Fonseca designó a un agente local para cuidar de los archivos. Su nombre era Peleni Talagi. Su padre, Toke Talagi, es ahora el primer ministro de Niue...". Mossack Fonseca describía las ventajas: "Total secreto y el anonimato... completa privacidad y confidencialidad de negocios". Uno de los que creyó en la publicidad fue el actor español Imanol Arias. O su gestor.

"Arrancó su primer pelotazo televisivo con una sociedad en Niue", titula El Confidencial. El intérprete fue uno de los que apostó por crear una offshore con los Mossack Fonseca, bufete que es la pieza principal de la exclusiva periodística denominada #PanamaPapers, un trabajo del periódico germano Süddeutsche Zeitungy del ICIJ, siglas en inglés del Consorcio Internacional de Periodistas de Investigación, del cual en España forman parte La Sexta y el citado diario online Y no es el único famoso español señalado.

Se añaden a la enorme lista el cineasta manchego Pedro Almodovar; Pilar de Borbón, hermana del rey emérito; miembros de la trama Gürtel; los Pujol; los Domecq; Marina Ruiz-Picasso, heredera del pintor malagueño; el excampeón mundial de motos Alex Crivillé; el hispano-peruano y premio Nobel de Literatura Mario Vargas Llosa... la familia Escarrer (Sol Meliá); los hoteleros Riu y Enrique Martinon; el promotor inmobiliario y expresidente del FC Barcelona José Luis Núñez Clemente; Demetrio Carceller; la familia Thyssen-Bornemisza; el financiero Javier De la Rosa, dos nietos de Franco...

Son, "al menos, 1.200 sociedades, 558 accionistas, 166 clientes intermediarios y 89 beneficiarios con dirección postal española los que aparecen en los documentos secretos", confirma el socio español del ICIJ. Un colofón terrible: "La mayoría de los españoles que aparecen en los papeles de Panamá se acogió a la amnistía fiscal de 2012 y disolvió las sociedades, por lo que no sufrirán consecuencias".

Aparecen más nombres propios vinculados a este destape: Vladimir Putin; Silvio Berlusconi; el presidente argentino Mauricio Macri; Lionel Messi; el dimitido primer ministro islandés, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson; el rey saudí Salman Abdulaziz; Michel Platini, el hijo de Kofi Annan, exsecretario de la ONU; el padre del premier británico David Cameron... Hasta Jackie Chan ha dejado de reír. Ni siquiera se libra el genial Stanley Kubrick...

Jürgen Mossack ha salido en defensa de su bufete, de sus clientes, de su obra. "No vamos a suspender nuestros servicios para ir a sembrar bananas. La gente comete errores. Nosotros también", respondió a Kejal Vyas de The Wall Street Journal, desde la segunda planta de la sede de su compañía, un edificio ubicado en la calle Marbella, en el distrito financiero de Ciudad de Panamá. "Las compañías offshore tienen un montón de usos legítimos, dijo el señor Mossack, incluyendo evitar el pago de los impuestos por duplicado, proporcionar privacidad y la protección de los regímenes criminales y los delincuentes", escribe Vyas. Sobre las 240.000 sociedades fantasma investigadas, con orgullo ario, el hijo del SS afirma: "No habrá consecuencias... Ninguna".

Su escudo: La familia

El jueves 7 de abril, Jürgen Mossack renunció al prestigioso Consejo Nacional de Relaciones Exteriores de Panamá. La familia en pleno ha salido a defenderle en su círculo social. Se apoya en su mujer, la cubana nacionalizada panameña en 2007 Leydelises Pérez de Mossack. En su hija Nicole Mossack Acoca, casada con Tomas Altamirano (fundador de Futurad / Mivtech Inc). Y en la modelo Andrea Mossack Acoca, cuya pareja, Daniel Sessa, trabaja en el Programa Mundial de Alimentos, agencia especializada de la ONU. Estas últimas son hijas de un anterior matrimonio del alemán. Curiosamente, todas ellas figuran en distintas sociedades que aparecen en los registros mercantiles en Panamá.

Así como hizo su padre, Jürgen ha aceptado al hijo de Leydelesis como propio. El adolescente comparte con Nicole y Andrea el gusto por la equitación y ha sido seleccionado, por Panamá, en esta disciplina.

El patriarca de los Mossack murió en los 90, en Múnich. Su mujer, cinco años más tarde. Se llevó a la tumba secretos, de esos que "podrían dañar a Alemania". Jürgen, su querido heredero, tras sobrevivirle, carga con otros, aún más enigmáticos.
- Con información de Carmen Valero (Berlín) / @carmenvalero20 - Los datos de este reportaje se basan en investigación y entrevistas propias; así como en la documentación obtenida por elICIJ, archivos del FBI e inteligencia norteamericana, y los textos periodísticos citados. Jürgen Mossack no aceptó la entrevista con Crónica.
Source: El Mundo (Spain)
http://www.elmundo.es/cronica/2016/04/10/5708b6eee2704eb3678b45ce.html

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