Conspiracy theorists are having a field day—but not for the reason that you might think
In the days following the first release of a massive whistleblowing operation that has already exposed global leaders, kings and Jackie Chan, the most popular conspiracy theory forums are exploding with chatter. But as the Panama Papers begin to topple the “global elite” whom many of these armchair activists think are plotting to create a “New World Order” that enslaves the masses, the skeptics aren’t rejoicing. Actually, most just think this is all a part of a deeply sinister master plan.
The Reddit channel r/Conspiracy consists of 345,915 “free thinkers” who fill the forum with wild theories ranging from U.S. politicians performing human sacrifices to Edward Snowden revealing that aliens live under the Earth’s crust. But over the last 48 hours, the majority of the top posts have been about the Panama Papers—11.5 million leaked files from the Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca that reveal clients with shell companies in tax havens.
One seemingly relieved redditor stood out from the rest due to his or her optimism. Duliticolaparadoxa shared a short screed celebrating the leak. “The Panama papers is it. It is the proof of the conspiracy to which all other conspiracies follow. It is the uncovering of the global system used by the economic elite across the planet to fund and profit from the worst of humanity,” Duliticolaparadoxa wrote. “This is how terrorist networks get arms, this is how death squads and puppet dictators are kept in power, this is why we produce more food than we could ever eat, yet are unable to distribute it to over a billion malnourished and starving humans.”
To which a small chorus of dissenters responded, Nope.
“Not even remotely close. It’s a psy-op authored by George Soros, for fuck’s sake,” Assurrance_Fraud commented.
“Don’t get excited. This leak has been manufactured,” kraftwerkd added.
“lol,” mvfc76 chimed.
Within the thousands of Panama Papers-related posts and comments that have consumed r/Conspiracy over the last few days, the majority of the statements assert that this leak is only one part of a larger strategy. Here are the main themes guiding the conspiracy narrative.
1. This is an attack on enemies of Western capitalism
Most of the top Panama Paper stories on r/Conspiracy point to the connection between the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and Western businesses. The ICIJ is organized by the Center of Public Integrity, which is funded by several influential U.S. think thanks and organizations, like the Carnegie Endowment, Rockefeller Family Fund and Open Society Foundations, which is founded by major progressive political donor George Soros. The article asserts that this is why the Panama leaks only exposes “enemies of the west.” Another redditor thought it was odd that no one associated with Soros is on the list, even though he is connected to many figures who, the redditor assumes, must use offshore tax evasion methods. Several other r/Conspiracy posts also point to Soros’ connection to the ICIJ.
Popular conspiracy theory-touting fringe journalist James Corbett released a video explaining how the “Panama Papers propaganda” only exposes “those in the State Department crosshairs.”
It is true that most the leaks made public so far are linked to countries like Russia, Syria and Iceland, but Stefan Plöchinger, editor of Süddeutsche Zeitung, the main newspaper involved in the investigation, has responded to this peculiarity....
...2. Panama Papers are a distraction from the U.S. election
Redditor catsandnarwahls suggested that the Panama Papers leak is an effort to distract from the Hilary Clinton email scandal, to which one commenter responded, “Do you have any idea at all how bat shit crazy you sound?” But others agreed with the theory, pointing out the above-mentioned Soros connection, as Soros is a major funder of Clinton’s campaign. Another redditor suggested this was planned by Soros to “bring down Donald Trump.”
3. This is a strategic leak
The most common theme among all the threads is skepticism. And of course, that would make sense in a forum filled with hundreds of thousands of skeptics....MORE
Thursday, April 7, 2016
Some Of the Panama Papers Conspiracy Theories