Investigative journalism is not dead

Written By: - Date published: 8:46 am, April 6th, 2013 - 18 comments
Categories: accountability, capitalism, Ethics, International, news, overseas investment, telecommunications - Tags: , ,

Congratulations to Duncan Campbell, Nicky Hager, et al involved in the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists for doing such a great job on the Gobal Offshore Money Maze.  It began with an opportunity, as Duncan Campbell explains:

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’exploration of the secretive world of offshore companies and trusts began after a computer hard drive packed with corporate data and personal information and e-mails arrived in the mail.

Gerard Ryle, ICIJ’s director, obtained the data trove as a result of his three-year investigation of Australia’s Firepower scandal, a case involving offshore havens and corporate fraud.

The offshore information totaled more than 260 gigabytes of useful data. ICIJ’s analysis of the hard drive showed that it held about 2.5 million files, including more than 2 million e-mails that help chart the offshore industry over a long period of explosive growth.  It is one of the biggest collections of leaked data ever gathered and analyzed by a team of investigative journalists.

For the geeks, Campbell then goes into an explanation of how they developed software to sift through the jumble of data, and analyse it.

Of particular note is the high regard of Nicky Hager held by top investigative journalists internationally.  This inspite of the way NAct and their lackeys attempt to bad-mouth and undermine Hager.  Underneath Duncan Campbell’s article explaining the project, is this:

Duncan Campbell (U.K.), a founding member of ICIJ, is the ICIJ Data Journalism Manager for the Offshore Project and a contributing journalist.  Programmers Sebastian Mondial (Germany), Matthew Fowler (UK), Rigoberto Carvajal and Matthew Caruana (Costa Rica) provided custom software design, programming and data support. The initial manual analysis of the client names was done by ICIJ member Nicky Hager and Barbara Mare (New Zealand). ICIJ member Giannina Segnini oversaw the work in Costa Rica.

It will be a long time before all the data is fully interrogated and leads followed up.  Of note is the way Banks, financial speculators and wealth manipulators have been skewing the system.  they do this in ways that are further impoverishing the least wealthy and powerful people in diverse countries.  In his above linked article, Campbell says:

ICIJ’s data analysis showed that the people setting up offshore entities lived most often in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Another important group of clients comes from Russia and former Soviet republics.  This helps explain why the second-largest source of capital investment flowing into China is the tiny offshore tax haven of the British Virgin Islands.  Similarly, a large source of investment flowing into Russia is from Cyprus, a country that also features heavily in the data – and whose financial stability was recently undermined by a crisis precipitated by Cypriot-based banks being bloated by Russian money.

But don’t think it’s all those nasty folk in non-western countries orchestrating the dirty (though usually legal) deals. It is telling that Germany’s Deutsche Bank has been encouraging and managing a lot of these secret offshore accounts.  Furthermore, banks and other enterprises in Australia and NZ have also been part of the network.  See for instance links in Selwyn Manning’s Daily Blog post on the project.  One of the links goes to an ICIJ’s article on ‘Inside the shell: Drugs, arms and tax scams‘, on Queenslander George Taylor’s activities, family and networks:

Within this context, Taylor has led an astonishing double life. Publicly, he has served as a company director and chairman of sharemarket-listed companies both in Australia and in New Zealand. …

By then Taylor’s name, and the names of family members and associates, began to appear in hundreds and possibly thousands of companies that were formed around the world, mostly centered on tax havens. Their vast empire of directorships spread across Panama, New Zealand, Vanuatu, Britain, Hong Kong, China, Canada, Belize, Samoa, the Cook Islands, and the US, among others. …

More details of the activities in NZ/Auckland in the linked article.

Such projects restore my hopes in future of investigative journalism.  They also show how the capabilities of digital technologies can put to uses that benefit the many in holding the powerful few to account.

18 comments on “Investigative journalism is not dead”

  1. ianmac 1

    Although I understand little of the expose , there must be some very rich/powerful people who will understand the significance and move to discredit/destroy those who would uncover the maggots wriggling in the underbelly of global finance.
    Nicky Hagar and Barbara Mare might suddenly find themselves victims of a dawn raid, unbeknownst to the PM of course.

    • geoff 1.1

      The system is corrupt but the participants are largely self-serving. If a shark gets is bleeding in the water the other sharks don’t help, they eat it.
      When I’m feeling particularly naive I like to think we have finally reached the point where capitalism has sold itself the rope by which to hang it.

      • Ugly Truth 1.1.1

        The predatory nature of the civil system goes back to Rome, and from Rome back to Nimrod the hunter and Babylon. Capitalism isn’t responsible for the hubris and dictatorial attitude of the empire.

        • karol 1.1.1.1

          There’s a hint of Marxism in the notion that capitalism will eventually hang itself. And, Marx had a (dialectical materialist) historical perspective on the way capitalism evolved from previous systems. For Marx, each system eventually collapses through its internal contradictions and gives way to a new and different system.

          For Marxists and other left wingers I think there is much to be gained by putting pressure on the internal contradictions within capitalism.

    • karol 1.2

      Nicky Hagar and Barbara Mare might suddenly find themselves victims of a dawn raid, unbeknownst to the PM of course.

      I think that is not extremely likely, ianmac, though not beyond the realms of possibility.

      Duncan Campbell and Nicky Hager are seasoned investigative journalists who have spoken truth to some major global powers int he past, and are still able to operate. Campbell was a respected left wing critical journalist back in the 80s and 90s when I lived in London. Like Hager, he gets dismissed by the neoliberals and elite front people – Key et al call Hager a muckraking conspiracy theorist.

      Such people have probably built up an extensive range of useful networks and contacts in diverse places.

  2. freedom 2

    for some highlights of the associated issues here is RT doing what the other networks shy from
    http://rt.com/shows/the-truthseeker/us-aconomy-exposed-offshore-380/

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    They also show how the capabilities of digital technologies can put to uses that benefit the many in holding the powerful few to account.

    It’s a great first step. However, in the US what has happened when this kind of malfeasance has come to light is usually one of the following:
    – An out of court settlement (fine) with no admission of wrong doing, and no publication of details.
    – An out of court settlement (fine) with admission of wrong doing, but no criminal charges and no prison time.
    – One of the above, but also being hauled up in front of a Congressional committee and being told off. No rule or law changes to prevent future occurrences.
    – Above but with rule or law changes which get severely watered down so by the time they pass they are of the wet bus ticket variety.
    – Above, but not watered down, but also never enforced and ignored by authorities.

    • One Tāne Huna 3.1

      After all, what good is corruption if it fails to corrupt things?

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1

        +1

        Our society has been corrupted by the rich and powerful and it’s time we took it back off them.

    • karol 3.2

      I think the strength of the ICIJ is their extensive international networks, on and offline – distributed operations are far harder to dismantle. In contrast with say, wikileaks, it doesn’t seem so reliant on one, media-fronting, head honcho. Tasks have been delegated to various teams around the world.

      And they include journalists who have worked with major news organisations and/or publishers for several decades.

      And apparently they have far more international data than wikileaks ever held.

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    …the dirty (though usually legal) deals.

    Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean that it’s right.

    This is something that we’re going to have to confront and put in place a lot of rules and regulations that will stop it from further impoverishing the least wealthy and powerful people in diverse countries.

    It’s time we brought the scam of capitalism to an end – permanently.

    • Arfamo 4.1

      Easiser said than done. Time was when I used to dismiss as the lunatic fringe the many global conspiracy theorists who claimed Western mainstream media was being deliberately dumbed down with fluff and distractions by the “global elite” to keep the masses ignorant and docile. Lately I’ve started to wonder if they’re actually right.

      • freedom 4.1.1

        not being patronizing Arfamo, straight up serious
        that is a genuinely difficult road for a lot of people and be confident that your doubts on the veracity of the MSM are well founded.

        All the best on your travels down the rabbit hole
        make regular rest stops, there are some great views to be had 🙂

      • One Anonymous Knucklehead 4.1.2

        There’s a proliferation of junk media, that much is certain. There is still plenty of good journalism around though.

        • Arfamo 4.1.2.1

          Really? Even Key’s “brain fades” are starting to get treated as infotainment by mainstream media. The tv media is starting to be more widely seen as unreliable gossipers IMO.

  5. ghostrider888 5

    “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”

  6. geoff 6

    Sorry if you’ve already linked to this, karol:

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/interactives/offshore-tax-havens/

  7. xtasy 7

    Yes, investigative journalism is not dead, but admittedly much too rare and limited to few great researchers like Hager doing such work.

    It is great to hear what he, Duncan Campbell and a few others have unearthed.

    There is plenty to be exposed, and that would include NZ politics, but I sadly see too little of it. New current affairs shows focus on “soft” and “emotive” stories, which do not rock the boat or shake the system.

    MSM are part of the problem, having basically given up doing the hard work journalism, and are rather shying away from upsetting ministers, business and other leaders of the establishment.

    John Key’s recent comments should actually motivate them to get back into the game of thorough investigative journalism.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Better protections for students in halls of residence
    The Government is moving swiftly to change the law to improve the welfare and pastoral care of students living in university halls of residence and other tertiary hostels. Cabinet has agreed to several changes, including creating a new mandatory Code of Practice that sets out the duty of pastoral care ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • New trapping guide for community and expert trappers alike
    The Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage has launched a new comprehensive trapping guide for community trappers to help them protect our native birds, plants and other wildlife, at Zealandia in Wellington today. ‘A practical guide to trapping’, has been developed by the Department of Conservation (DOC), and was launched during ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Widening Access to Contraceptives Welcomed
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter welcomes PHARMAC’s move to improve access to long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs). PHARMAC has today announced it will fund the full cost of Mirena and Jaydess for anyone seeking long term contraception, lifting previous restrictions on access to Mirena. “I welcome women having greater choices ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Major upgrade for Taranaki Base Hospital
    The Government has approved the next stage of a major redevelopment of Taranaki Base Hospital, which will deliver new and improved facilities for patients. Health Minister Dr David Clark has announced details of a $300 million dollar project to build a new East Wing at the New Plymouth hospital. It ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Extra support for rural families
    Extra funding will allow Rural Support Trusts to help farming families, says Minister for Rural Communities and Agriculture Damien O’Connor. “I know that rural families are worried about some of the challenges facing them, including the ongoing uncertainty created by the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak. “Those concerns sit alongside ongoing worries ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Howard Leaque Beekeeper programme graduation
    Thank you for the opportunity to be here to present certificates to the 16 graduates who have completed a beekeeping course delivered by the Howard League.  Let us start by acknowledging Auckland Prison’s Deputy Prison Director Tom Sherlock, and Acting Assistant Regional Commissioner of Corrections Northern Region Scott Walker - ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Finance Minister to attend APEC meetings
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson leaves this weekend to attend the APEC Finance Ministers meeting in Santiago, Chile. Discussions between APEC Finance Ministers at the meeting will include the effects of the current global economic uncertainty, risks for APEC economies and sustainable development of the region. While at APEC Grant Robertson ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Pacific languages are a source of strength, they ground us and build confidence
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says for Pacific people, language can be a source of strength. It can help ground us and give us confidence. When we speak them, our languages provide us with an immediate and intimate access to our identity and our story - and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Major boost to support disabled people in sport and recreation
    The Coalition Government has announced an action plan to improve the wellbeing of disabled New Zealanders by addressing inequalities in play, active recreation and sport. The initiative includes training to develop a workforce that understands the needs of children and young people with a range of impairments, advocacy for fit ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • More prefab homes to be built as red tape cut
    The construction sector is being freed up to allow more homes to be built more quickly as the Government cuts through some of the red tape of the Building Act.  “Every New Zealander deserves a warm, dry, safe home and old inefficiencies in the Building Act make building slow and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Further details of Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visit to New Zealand
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has welcomed further details on the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall’s visit to New Zealand next month. Their Royal Highnesses will visit New Zealand from 17-23 November – their third joint visit to New Zealand and first in four years. They arrive in Auckland ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • O’Connor in Thailand to push for RCEP deal
    Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth and Minister of Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, heads to Thailand today to attend the final Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Ministerial meeting, as negotiations enter their final stages. “The RCEP Agreement would anchor New Zealand in a regional agreement that covers 16 countries, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Young Pacific people can access earning and learning opportunities in Hawke’s Bay, Otago and South...
    Pacific young people living in the Hawke’s Bay, Southland and Otago regions will have access to support services that have proved successful in helping young people find new earning and learning opportunities. “Tupu Aotearoa is about changing Pacific young peoples’ lives. Our young people are talented, they are smart, they ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Protecting wellbeing – ACC HQSC Trauma Forum
    Introduction As the Minister for ACC I thank you all for the work that you do supporting New Zealanders in their literally most vulnerable moments. From those who hold people’s lives in their hands, to the people who research technique, technology and trends, your work is highly valued. A special ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • NZ economy in good shape – notes prepared for speeches in Christchurch
    Notes prepared for speeches in Christchurch – Wednesday 9 October 2019 Today’s topic, “trends and opportunities for the New Zealand economy,” is certainly one getting a great deal of commentary at the moment. Looking across the media landscape lately you’ll notice we aren’t the only ones having this discussion. There ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • World Mental Health Day a reminder of the importance of mental health work
    Minister of Health Dr David Clark and Associate Minister of Health Peeni Henare say this year’s World Mental Health Day theme is a reminder of why the Government’s work on mental health is so important. “This year the World Federation for Mental Health has made suicide prevention the main theme ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Cultural Ministers Meeting
    Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni will represent the government at Australia’s Meeting of Cultural Ministers in Adelaide this week. “This year’s meeting is special because New Zealand is expected to become an International Member of the Meeting of Cultural Ministers at this Australian forum,” Carmel Sepuloni said. “The meeting is an opportunity to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • 608 claims resolved by GCCRS in first year
    The Greater Christchurch Claims Resolution Service has resolved 608 insurance and EQC claims in its first year in operation, Minister Megan Woods has announced. The government service, which celebrates its first birthday today, provides a one stop shop to help Cantabrians still battling to get their homes repaired or rebuilt ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • NZ economy in good shape
    Today’s topic, “trends and opportunities for the New Zealand economy,” is certainly one getting a great deal of commentary at the moment. Looking across the media landscape lately you’ll notice we aren’t the only ones having this discussion. There has been an increasing amount of attention paid to the outlook ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • NZTA to refocus on safety following review
    The Government is acting swiftly to strengthen NZTA’s regulatory role following a review into the Transport Agency, and Ministry of Transport’s performance as its monitor, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. An independent review by Martin Jenkins has found NZTA failed to properly regulate the transport sector under the previous ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Joint Cooperation Statement on Climate Change between the Netherlands and New Zealand
    The Netherlands and New Zealand have a long-standing and close relationship based on many shared interests and values. We value the rule of law, our democracies, and multilateralism.  And we value our environment – at home and globally. Right now there are major global challenges in all of these areas – ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government putting right Holidays Act underpayment in Health
    The Government is putting right a decade’s worth of underpayment to nurses, doctors and other health workers, says Health Minister Dr David Clark.  Initial sampling of District Health Boards payroll records has found that around $550-$650 million is owed to DHB staff to comply with the Holidays Act. It’s expected ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government accounts show strong economy
    A strong surplus and low debt show the economy is performing well, and means the Government is in a good position to meet the challenges of global economic uncertainty. “The surplus and low levels of debt show the economy is in good shape. This allows the Government to spend more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Ministers approve application to expand Waihi mine
    New applications from mining company OceanaGold to purchase land in Waihi for new tailings ponds associated with its gold mines have been approved. Minister of Finance Grant Robertson and Associate Minister of Finance David Parker considered the applications under the Overseas Investment Act. Earlier this year, applications from OceanaGold to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Tuia 250 Voyage flotilla launches with tribute to tangata whenua
    New Zealanders in Tūranganui-a-Kiwa / Poverty Bay will witness Māori, Pākehā and Pacific voyaging traditions come together today as the Tuia 250 Voyage flotilla assembles for the first time, Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti Minister Kelvin Davis says. “Tuia 250 is a national commemoration and an opportunity for honest conversations ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Visit to advance trade agenda with Europe and the Commonwealth
    Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker leaves tomorrow for Dubai, London and Berlin for a series of meetings to advance New Zealand’s trade interests.  In Dubai he will visit New Zealand’s Pavilion at Expo 2020 where construction is underway.  There he will meet Minister of State for International Cooperation, Her ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More cancer drugs confirmed – even more on horizon
    Confirmation that PHARMAC will fund two new cancer drugs is further evidence of the good progress the Government is making to improve the treatment of New Zealand’s leading cause of death, Health Minister David Clark says. From 1 December PHARMAC will fund alectinib (Alecensa) for ALK positive advanced non-small cell ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Boost for women in high performance sport
    An additional $2.7 million has been announced for the Government Strategy for Women and Girls in Sport and Active Recreation on the first anniversary of the strategy’s launch. Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson gave the opening address to the first Sport NZ Women + Girls Summit in Wellington today, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Parent support to help retain skilled migrants
    As part of its work to ensure businesses can get the skilled workers they need, the Coalition Government is re-opening and re-setting the Parent Category visa programme, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. The move will: support skilled migrants who help fill New Zealand’s skills gaps by providing a pathway for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Senior NZDF Officer to lead Peacekeeping Mission in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has today announced Major General Evan Williams of the New Zealand Defence Force has been selected as the commander of a significant, longstanding peacekeeping mission in the Middle East. In December, Major General Williams takes over as Force Commander for the Multinational Force and Observers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Nurses star as Govt rebuilds health workforces
    A record number of nurses are now working to deliver health services to New Zealanders as the Government’s increased funding and new initiatives rebuild key workforces start to show results, Health Minister Dr David Clark says. •    1458 more DHB nurses since the Government took office •    106 more midwives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New agricultural trade envoy appointed
    Farmer and former Nuffield scholar Mel Poulton has been appointed New Zealand’s Special Agricultural Trade Envoy, Minister for Trade and Export Growth, David Parker, and Minister of Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, announced today. The position supports key Government objectives, including raising the value of New Zealand agricultural goods and services. Mel is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pacific and Māori voyaging heritage celebrated for Tuia 250
    New Zealand’s Pacific and Māori voyaging heritage is acknowledged and celebrated today as waka of the Tuia 250 voyage flotilla arrive in Tūranga / Gisborne. “Today we celebrate Tangata Whenua, the first people of Aotearoa, and the triumphs of the voyaging tradition that brought our ancestors here from Polynesia 1000 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pacific languages are a root from which prosperity will grow
    “Fijian Language Week starts on Sunday and the theme reminds us how important it is that we each have something to anchor ourselves to, something that can help us pause and feel in control in a rapidly changing world,” says Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio. “Family, culture, faith, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ Government establishes innovative, industry-focused Airspace Integration Trials Programme
    The Government is establishing an Airspace Integration Trials Programme to support the safe testing and development of advanced unmanned aircraft and accelerate their integration into the aviation system, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods announced today. The Government will work with leading, innovative aviation industry partners to test and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Safety upgrades and certainty for Ōtaki highway
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford today welcomed the NZ Transport Agency’s decision to fund urgent safety improvements and confirm the designation of the Ōtaki to North of Levin highway. Safety upgrades will be made along 23.4km of the existing state highway, running along SH1 from the end of the Peka Peka ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Playing our part to support refugees in our region and the world
    New Zealand playing its part in Asia-Pacific and globally are behind changes announced today to the Coalition Government’s three year refugee quota policy, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. “We are proud to be a welcoming and inclusive nation committed to supporting some of the world’s most vulnerable people to rebuild ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supporting thriving inclusive communities
    Creating thriving regions and inclusive local communities is the aim of the Welcoming Communities programme being rolled out across the country, says Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway today. A successful pilot of the scheme ran over the last 2 years led by Immigration New Zealand and involved ten councils across five regions ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Takahē population flying high
    Takahē may be flightless but their population is flying high with the official count reaching 418 after a record breeding season that produced an estimated 65 juveniles, the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced today. “The population reaching a high of 418 is great news for takahē which were considered ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand makes further climate commitments
    New Zealand is today taking action to reduce the potent global warming hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) gases, Climate Minister James Shaw and Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage announced today. “The global agreement to reduce these potent greenhouse gases is another step in New Zealand’s commitment to reduce global warming. It is estimated ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago