From Woodward and Bernstein to Edward Snowden, breaking stories from the 5th Estate are always exciting. This one is the biggest story yet to blow open millions of files linking dirty money to high-powered officials.
After a leak of over 11 million documents compiled from the 1970s to today, and offered up to the Munich paper, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 350 journalists have taken about a year to read, assemble, research, and connect data through one corporation: Mossack Fonseca, a Panama law firm that's helped elite clients to launder money, evade taxes, dodge sanctions.... It's been guarding the data of the word's most powerful people including 240,000 companies, sports organizations, and political leaders.
The first journalists got the ICIJ, Guardian, BBC, and Le Monde involved. They all met in Washington to figure out how to file through all the information and turn it into well researched, verifiable, and readable stories about undisclosed financial transactions, weapons, drugs and pedophilia rings, and offshore tax havens linked to war crimes and other illegal activity around the world.
The 10 minute video at this page explains their process they went through to begin to tell these stories.
But the video below gets at the heart of why the story is so important:
Take a look at "who did what and how"at the official Panama Papers website. Prepare to lose a few days reading through it all. It's the kind of thing you always suspected, but now there's proof of all the connections.
Like this one:
ETA: Here's a good primer on Offshore investments and more on the Panama Papers. And Truthdig has more to say, including an Edward Snowden tweet: "Courage is contagious." And the BBC has a Q&A.