During the 1980 U.S. presidential election debate, Ronald Reagan uttered a famous phrase that immediately brought Jimmy Carter’s veracity into question: “There you go again.”

That describes the latest journalistic smear campaign against offshore financial activity and privacy, implying that any offshore financial activities are inherently corrupt.

Pause and consider: If you’re like most prudent persons, your personal and business affairs are carefully ordered, perhaps with the professional assistance of an attorney and a tax accountant.

How would you react if the confidential information you provided to your law firm and your CPA appeared on the front page of The New York Times? This breach of your privacy, you learn, is the result of a theft of your information from your lawyer’s files.

The thieves responsible for this intentional stealing and public exposition of your personal information without consent sanctimoniously cloak themselves in terms of investigative journalism and freedom of the press.

That is exactly what has happened again with the theft of more than 13.4 million documents from the respected, 119-year-old Bermuda law firm Appleby, which specializes in serving corporations and wealthy people. As a law firm should, Appleby assures its clients comply with tax, reporting and other laws while keeping taxes to a minimum using legal tax avoidance.

The Paradise Papers

The arrogant thieves who stole this mass of private information pompously call themselves the “International Consortium of Investigative Journalists,” a confessed group of more than 380 journalists from over 90 media organizations in 67 countries seeking to sell its lurid stories.

Ever savvy about media hype, the ICIJ has dubbed its latest theft the “Paradise Papers,” complete with a searchable website.

This is the same gang that in 2016 produced the Panama Papers, 11.5 million records stolen from a Panama law firm. In 2013, the ICIJ also stole 2.5 million records of over 120,000 companies and trusts from two offshore companies, Commonwealth Trust Ltd. in the British Virgin Islands and Portcullis TrustNet in the Cook Islands, in the 2015 “Swiss Leaks” from a private Swiss bank.

The ICIJ picks through documents looking for famous names, as in the current case with Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth, Apple Inc., U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Russian President Vladimir V. Putin’s son-in-law. Look for more to come.

An Age of Propaganda

Operating and investing offshore is a legal and critically important tool for all of us, even if we’re not oligarchs, and most of the governments of the world desperately want to take that right away from us.

This ICIJ smear job is yet another attempt to destroy all financial privacy, part of a long-running war led by the tax collectors of major nations, including the IRS, and spearheaded by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

This media-driven anti-privacy campaign began in 1989 with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Both the OECD and the FATF are paid for by high-tax governments. Alleged “corruption” is a smoke screen for tax collectors who want to destroy financial and personal privacy, as the so-called Patriot Act has done in the U.S.

They advocate ending lawyer-client privilege through the publication of all beneficial ownership of private trusts, corporations and foundations. They already have imposed a global system of total tax information exchange among nations.

Privacy is an inherent human right. True privacy is a basic requirement for maintaining the human condition with dignity and respect. The real choices in this debate are personal freedom and liberty versus government control of our lives and our fortunes.

We live in an age of propaganda, hyped up so-called news reporting, where facts are so distorted they become lies — an age of calculated political demagoguery, in which so-called leaders and the media deal in doublespeak.

These journalist thieves don’t care about privacy or other rights. Their false thesis is simple — anything associated with financial activity offshore is bad, secretive, wrong and evil.

One of my heroes, George Orwell, aptly wrote: “During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

For information about legal offshore financial centers, tax-free banking, and investment and legal possibilities, I recommend the latest edition of my book, Where to Stash Your Cash (Legally).

Yours for liberty,

Bob Bauman, JD

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