tv Democracy Now LINKTV October 5, 2021 8:00am-9:01am PDT
showing a facebook indicates profits over the welfare of its users, frances haugen is set to testify to congress today about how the social media giant uses information and hate speech, and contributes to eating disorders and suicidal thoughts among teenage girls. we will speak roger, and early facebook investor and mentor to mark zuckerberg who wrote the book zucked: waking up to the facebook catastrophe. jessica gonzales, the ceo of free press and cofounder of change the terms, coalitn that works to disrupt online hate. and then, the pandora papers. >> this is like the panama papers on steroids.
are loong at documents from 14 different providers, these are law firm, secret offshore accounts where people are in multiple jurisdictions, police -- in belize and some hour, these documents for the first time i showing tax havens. --are showing tax savings. amy: we look at a new report and the connection between offshore banking and colonialism. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. facebook whistleblower frances haugen is testifying on capitol hill today. expected to call on lawmakers to take action against facebook for the harm it poses to its users and the world. according to her prepared remarks she will say "when we realized tobacco companies were hiding the harms it caused, the government took action. when we figured out cars were safer with seat belts, the
government took action. and today, the government is taking action against companies that hid evidence on opioids. i implore you to do the same here." haugen's testimony comes a day after facebook, whatsapp and instagram suffered a six-hour outage disrupting online communication across the globe. we will have more on facebook after headlines. johnson & johnson has asked the food and drug administration to authorize booster shots for its coronavirus vaccine. an fda advisory panel will review the request at a meeting next week when it might also consider a booster shot from moderna. meanwhile, astrazeneca has requested emergency use authorization the chances of developing covid by 77%. in other pandemic news, the largest health care network in new york state, northwell, has
fired about 1,400 workers who refused to get vaccinated. that's less than 2% of its staff. the state is mandating vaccines for all hospital and nursing home workers. while covid cases continue to fall in much of the country, some areas are still facing a crisis. in california, the national guard has been deployed to help overwhelmed hospitals in rural areas. in alaska, doctors have been forced to ration care essentially deciding which patients can live and die. president biden has accused republicans of playing russian roulette with the u.s. economy for blocking efforts to raise the u.s. government's debt limit. biden warned the republican move could be catastrophic for the economy. president biden: the meteors had to crash into our economy, democrats are willing to do the work to topic. republicans have to let us do our job, to get out of the way. if you don't want to help save the country, get out of the way so we don't destroy it. amy: meanwhile grassroots
pressure is growing on democratic senators joe manchin and kyrsten sinema to back a $3.5 trillion reconciliation package to expand the nation's social safety net and combat the climate emergency. on sunday, the group living a group of activists following -- sinema into a bathroom at arizona state university, where she teaches urging sinema to , back biden's economic agenda. >> we need a bill that's better for us now. >> we needs -- we need solutions . >> we knocked on doors for you. that's how you got elected. amy: a senior lawyer at the state department has blasted the
biden administration for continue to mass expel asylum seekers without due process under the trump-era policy title 42. the attorney harold koh described the explosions as illegal and inhumane. in a memo he wrote i believe this administration's current and limitation of the title 42 authority authority continues to violate our legal obligation not to expel or return individuals who fear persecution, death,aton torture, especially migrants fleeing from haiti. koh is leaving the biden administration soon to teach at oxford. california governor gavin newsom has declared a state of emergency in orange county following what's been described as california's worst oil spill in nearly three decades. officials now say as much as 144,000 gallons of oil has leaked from a pipeline connected to an offshore oil platform off the coast of huntington beach, about 30 miles south of los angeles. investigators are looking into a chip anchor -- a ship anchor punctured the pipeline.
beaches in the area are expected to be closed for months. this is orange county district attorney todd spitzer. the district attorney's office is deeply concerned about the wildlife impact that has occurred on our shores, and the economic impacto our community. someone is going to pay for that. criminally, or civilly. amy: environmental groups are calling on authorities to ban offshore oil drilling. monica embrey of the sierra club's beyond dirty fuels campaign said quote "how many of these oil disasters do we have to witness before our elected leaders understand that there is no safe way to drill or transport dirty fossil fuels? " in related news, the biden administration is moving ahead with a plan to open up 80 million acres of the gulf of mexico to new oil and gas drilling. an auction for drilling rights is scheduled for mid-november but a coalition of environmental groups have sued to block the sale from moving forward. inclement news, a major knit -- in climate news, a u.n. study
found that the world has lost 14% of its coral reefs between 2009 and 2018 due to rising temperatures. coral reefs phase in existential crisis. the biden administration has reversed a trump-era ban that blocked federally-funded family planning clinics from referring patients for abortions or even mentioning abortion as an option. the so-called domestic gag rule had threatened healthcare for millions who rely on title x health centers for primary and preventive care. planned parenthood president alexis mcgill johnson called the lifting of the trump rule was a huge victory for patients and a huge victory for sexual and reproductive health care. to see our full interview with her, go to democracynow.org. a federal judge has sentenced a
participant in the january 6 insurrection to 45 days in jail, a far harsher sentence than requested by federal prosecutors who asked for three months of home confinement. matthew mazzocco flew from texas to take part in the protests aimed at overturning the 2020 election. judge tanya chutkan said quote if mr. mazzocco walks away with probation and a slap on the wrist, that's not going to deter anyone from trying to do what he did. tens of thousands of hollywood crew workers have voted to authorize a strike over disputes with studio producers on the work conditions and pay for crew working on streaming productions for netflix, apple, amazon and others. the workers are represented by the international alliance of theatrical stage employees. this is rebecca rhine, the union's executive director. >> we have some meers in our craft that are so underpaid tt they cnot ssibly survive in the cities where they provide services. we are looking for a livle wage for them. and we are looking for the employers to keep their long ago may promise tt with new media
movirom experimental to successful that oumembers would then be paid indtry standa rates. i don't think there's anybody that thinks appland amazon and disney need a break in order to produce their products. amy: a major investigation in france is estimating 330,000 children were sexually abused by catholic clergy or lay members of the church since 1950. the head of the inquiry said the church had quote "showed a profound and even cruel indifference towards the victims. " jean-marc sauve, who headed the independent commission, spoke earlier today. >> i major point that must be underlined is that until the early 2000's there was cruel indifference towards victims. the victims were not believed, listened to, when they were listened to they were believed to have contributed to what had happened to them. amy: t israe newsper
haarz is repting the has be a surgen jewishettler olence ainst paltinians the ocpied wesbank ovethe past two yea. therwere morcases of anti-pestinianiolence the fit half o2021 thain all of 2019. last week the raeli hun rightsroup b'tselemeleased vio of dozs of masd settlersscorted israeli securityorces atcking lestinia ridents b'elem saithe settrs invaded palestian hos, ashed wiows and maged uipment d vehicl. three-ye-old paltinian b wrote walater hospitalized th a fraured sku. b'tselem dcribed t attack a grom. balade is contuing to vestigatlast we's muer of o of the ominent gures inhe rohina refuge communit mohiullah wagunned dn in a refugee camp in cox's bazar. he had spent years gathering evidence about the the burmese military's ethnic cleansing campaign targeting rohingya muslims.
six men have been arrested in his murder so far. philippines president rodrigo duterte has announced he is retiring from politics after his term ends next year. he had previously said he would run for the vice presidency. duterte is currently under investigation by the international criminal court for overseeing the mass killing of up to 30,000 people in a so-called war against drugs. four on monday duterte said he . will be involved in preparing for his defense in the icc probe. meanwhile ferdinand marcos jr., the son of the former filipino dictator, has announced he will run in next year's elections. there is also speculation duterte's daughter may run as well well. the united nations is saying over 5,100 migrants have now -- refugees have now been detained in western libya as part of a sweeping crackdown. the detained include over 200 children. this comes as un investigators accuse multiples sides in the libyan conflict of committing
possible war crimes, including torture, enslavement, and extrajudicial killings. many of the crimes targeted refugees who were trying to flee to europe. in sports news, u.s. ccer has hired former acting attorney general sally yates to investigate abusive behavior and sexual misconduct in the national women's soccer league. last week north carolina courage coach, paul riley, was fired after he was accused of coercing a player into having sex with him. the coach of the washington spirit was also fired last week over allegations of verbal and emotional abuse. on friday the commissioner of the national women's soccer league resigned and the league cancelled all of its weekend games. some of the naton's largest pharmacy chains including cvs, walgreens and walmart are on trial in cleveland, ohio, for recklessly selling painkillers fueling the deadly opioid epidemic. the pharmacies were sued in 2018
by two counties in ohio. if convicted, the pharmacies could be on the hook to pay billions of dollars to help end the epidemic. the trial began on monday. congressmembers cori bush and emmanuel cleaver are calling on missouri's republican governor to halt today's scheduled execution of ernest lee johnson, an intellectually disabled black man. in 2008 johnson lost about 20% of his brain during a surgery to remove a brain tumor. in their letter, bush and right cleaver right, like slavery and lynching did before it, the death penalty perpetuates cycles of trauma, violence and state-sanctioned murder in black and brown communities. and those are some of the headlines this is democracy now, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. when we come back, facebook whistleblower frances haugen is
testifying on capitol hill today. she is expected to, lawmakers to take action against facebook for the harm it poses to its users and the world. we will speak with roger, and early facebook investor and zuckerberg mentor who wrote the book zucked: waking up to the facebook catastrophe three we will also speak to jessica gonzales, the co-ceo of free press and member of the real facebook oversight board. she works with a coalition networks to disrupt online hate. stay with us. ♪ ♪
at work. i'm amy goodman, i'm here with my cohost, juan. juan: welcome to our listeners. we begin --amy: we begin our show looking at a massive leak of tens of thousands of pages of internal facebook documents. that shows that facebook's own research shows the social media's algorithm helps boost disinformation, hate speech and political unrest around the world. and that facebook executives knew about it but kept the damning information hidden from the public. the leak also implicates facebook to issues of child safety and human trafficking, while the social media giant prioritized profits over people's welfare. the documents were behind a sweeping investigation by the wall street journal and were unveiled by whistleblower and former facebook product manager frances haugen
she secretly copied the pages before leaving her job at the company's civic integrity unit earlier this year. haugen spoke publicly for the first time sunday on cbs's 60 minutes with reporter scott pelley. >> we have evidence variety of sources that hate speech, varieties -- hate speechnd misinformation are affecting societies around the world. >> where we live in an information environment that's full of angry, hateful, polarizing content, it erodes civic trust, faith in each other, our ability to want to care for each other, the version of facebook with us today is tearing society apart and causing violence. amy: haugen has filed a federal
complaint against facebook and is testifying today before the senate commerce subcommittee on consumer protection. the panel is inquiring into facebook's knowledge that way -- she is expected to say that when cars are safer with seatbelt, the government took action. and today the government is taking actions that hid evidence today's panel is also looking at how facebook downplayed its knowledge that instagram, a photo and video sharing app also owned by facebook, is harmful for teen girls, while downplaying its negative impacts to the public. >> one study says 13.5% of teen girls says that instagram makes thoughts of suicide worse.
17% of teenage girls say that instagram makes eating disorders worse. >> what tragic is that facebook some research says as these young women begin to consume this content, they get more depressed. it makes them use the app more. so they end up in the feedback cycle where they hate their bodies more and more. facebook's own research says it's not just that instagram is dangerous for teenagers. it harms teenagers. it is distinctly worse than other forms of social media. amy: lawmakers are also pursuing facebook as part of a federal antitrust case and over its role in the january 6 capitol insurrection. documents leaked by haugen detail facebook's decision to dissolve its civic integrity unit after the 2020 election and before the assault on the capitol. her testimony comes a day after facebook, instagram, and
whatsapp, also owned by facebook, suffered a six hour outage. disrupting online communication worldwide. it's the first time this has happened for so long. for more we are joined in san francisco by roger. he was an early investor in facebook, a mark zuckerberg mentor. he went on to write the book "zucked: waking up to the facebook catastrophe." and in los angeles we're joined by jessica gonzales. co-ceo of the media advocacy organization free press. she is the cofounder of change the terms, and is also a member of the real facebook oversight board. we welcome you both. jessica. let's begin with you. as he listen to this testimony of frances haugen and all of these documents that have been released, it was amazing to see these congressional hearings in
the last few weeks. you have facebook being confronted by senators. the senators are saying the studies that you did not reveal, like the damage you do to tween and teen girls, are astounding. overall, your response what's taking place now? jessica: amy, good morning. i'm not surprised that facebook new it was causing -- knew it was causing concrete harm to women, people of color, and society as a whole. or that it knew it was spreading disinformation about the pandemic, vacnes, and other things. what i'm surprised about is how blatantly they lied to the amican public. including members of congress, over and over again about the extent to which they were
causing harm here in the united states and around the world. that's the shocking part. just a number of bald-faced lies repeated over and over again. it indicates, clearly, facebook is unfit to self govern and we need the.s. congress and administration to step in and provide transparency and accountability. roger: -- juan: in terms of facebook's record and ability to monitor hate speech, you also raise questions about is not just in the english language given the enormous international reach of faceok, but other languages as well. they are noticing a difference between how it even monitors english-language material versus those in other languages across the country. given the enormous impact that
right-wing groups from latin america have through whatsapp and other facebook posts during the election to reach spanish-speaking people here in the u.s.. jessica: as bad as this is in english, it's much worse in spanish and other non-english languages pre-that's why we work together with partners center for american project -- progress and the national spanish media coalition to launch a campaign. we were calling for content moderation in ai systems, and the personnel needed to accurately a adequately monitor non-english content on facebook. we really got a complete blowoff from facebook. facebook would not even tell us who is in charge of spanish-language content moderation, how many moderators do they have, where those people
located, the systems and training in place. they won't even provide baseline transparency. part of what frances haugen helps real this week is that facebook is not adequately invested in any language besides, perhaps, english and french. they have some investments in those areas. but they utterly failed to make the investments necessary to make facebook safe and other languages. i have to tell you, if it were me and i was running facebook and i hear from the united nations that i played a contributing role in the genocide in myanmar, i would look right away at this issue. whether are moderation systems were keeping people safe, particularly around the globe. that that did not happen is
unacceptable. juan: i'd like to bring roger into the conversation. could you talk to us about your reaction to the latest revelations of frances haugen and how you initially began to believe that facebook waon a negative and dangerous course? roger: it's a great honor to be back on the show, i want to tip my hat to jessica because she framed many of the problems exactly correctly. i also want to throw out a france to -- a thanks to frances haugen. she is so courageous, authoritative, and utterly convinced. this is in a position -- a person in a position of enormous responsibility who saw these problems and had the courage to bring documents out. to make sure the world knows.
that level of courage -- should all be applauding. my own experience, i was an advisor to mark in the early days of facebook. he was 22 when we met and i advised him when the company started before it had a newsfeed. my concerns became an issue in early 2016. i reached out to mark zuckerberg and sheryl sandberg to warn them before the election in 2016. i had seen things going on that really bothered me and it made me fear th the culture facebook, the business model and algothms were allowing bad people to harm innocent people in the context of civil rights. that's what jessica was just talking about. it also democracy. i pleaded with him. you are in a business that depends on trust, you have to get this right. i spent months trying to convince facebook to do the right thing. starting before the election and
continuing for several months after. that didn't work so i became an activist. the reason frances haugen has changed the game more in three weeks and i could in five years is because she brought out documents that established that the executives at facebook were aware of the problems. and in spite of warnings about things like covid disinformation, things like the insurrection, things like the damage to teage girls, they persisted. they persisted because of the business model that is not just at facebook. we cannot just let this be about facebook. the business model of surveillance capitalism, a concept coined by sean as above -- by a professor at harvard, uses business models together data and uses it to predict our behavior and manipulate our choices.
that is so fundamentally un-american, fundamentally unethical. it's asnethical as child labor. it is something being adopted by companies throughout the economy. google invented it, facebook adopted it, amazon uses it, microsoft, many tech not -- tech companies have become leaders in it. you see it in cars now, smart devices, all over the economy. it's incredibly dangerous. amy: you talk about the bravery of frances haugen. she is afraid and that makes her more behave -- more brace. she's taking on trillion dollar company. physically afraid of what kind of retaliation facebook arrays. do you have thoughtsn that? roger: her strategy of maximum public attention is exactly right. the people who organized this communication strategy have done a brilliant job. i tip my hat to them and to her. her best defenses is to be so visible that facebook wouldn't
dare. their past strategy has been to use ad hominem and invent stories to read your member the same one -- the famous one by george soros after he gave a speech criticizing facebook. they hired a negative research company to vent an anti-semitic story about him and spread it through the press. that's been their past behavior. i don't think these people are criminals, not in the way th's defined. but they have a very different value system. it's about efficiency, speed, growth, profit, power, and is in conflict with democracy and all right to make our own choices. the country has to make a decision. are we going to allow corporations to essentially replace the government as the people who control our lives, or are we going to recognize that the government is us, it can
represent us as long as we insist that it do so. that's what we have to do with congress. francis is going to testify. congress will string this out if we let them. we have to say it's time to have safety laws. it's time to have privacy laws and antitrust laws. amy: i want to play a few clips, just to give people a sense of where congress is going. in this senate hearing, antigone davis, the global had of -- on facebook. she was questioned by richard blumenthal, chair of the subcommittee of consumer protections. >> i don't understand how you can deny that instagram is not exploiting young users for its own profit. >> as somebody who was a teenage girl herself, and somebody who has taught middle school d teenage girls, i have seen
firsthand the troubling intersection between the pressure to be perfect, body image, and finding your identity at that age. i think what is lost in this report is that in fact, with this research we found that more teen gls find instagram helpful. teen girls who are suffering from these issues, find stagram helpful than not. thatoesn't mean that the ones that aren't aren't important to us. that's why we do this research. sen. blunt: -- sen. blumenthal: these are euro reports. these findings are from your own study and experts. you can speak from your own experience but will you disclose all of the reports? all of the findings? will you commit to full disclosure? >> we have a number the
reports and we are looking to find ways to release more of this reseah. i want to be clear that this research is not a bombshell. it's not causal research. sen. blumenthal: this research is a bombshell. it is powerful, gripping, riveting evidence that facebook knows the harmful effects of its site on children. and it has concealed those facts and findings. amy: facebook postponed the launch of its instagram at for kids under 18 when frances haugen released these documents. during the senate hearing, senator markey questioned the global head of safety, antigone davis, on the platforms harm to children. sen. markey: will you promise
not to launch a site that includes features such as like buttons and follower towns which allow children to quantify popularity? that's yes or n >> does of the features we will be talking about with our experts, trying understan what is most age-appropriate and what is not age-appropriate. we will discuss those features. sen. markey: you're talking about 12-year-olds, nine-year-olds. if you need to do more research on this, you should fire all of the people who you are paying to do your research till now. this is pretty obvious. it's obvious to every mother and father in our country because all recent scientific studies by child development experts on not getting enough likes on social media significantly reduces adolescent feelings of self-worth. amy: that's from the senate hearing. i do want to end these clips with frances haugen herself and the interview on 60 minutes when
the former facebook product manager explained on social medias algorithm works and describes how the documents that she leaked lay out facebook's decision to dissolve its civic integrity unit after the 2020 election and before the january 6 capital insurrection. she is speaking with scott kelly -- pelley. francis: it is optimizing for content that gets engagement and reaction. but the research is showing that the content that is hateful, divisive, polarizing, it's easier to inspire people to anger than other emotions. scott: misinformation, angry content is enticing to people and it keeps them on the platform. frances: facebook has realized they change the algorithm to be safer people spend less time on the site. they will make less money.
scott: she says that facebook understood the danger to the 2020 election so it turned on safety systems to reduce misinformation. but many of those changes were temporary. frances: as soon as the election was over they turned them off or change the settings back to what they were to prioritize profit over safety. that feels like a betrayal of democracy. amy: that is frances haugen, testifying today on capitol hill on 60 minutes. jessica, you are ceo of free press, and a cofounder of the change the terms coalition, which disrupts online hate. whether we're talking about out teenage girls or the insurrection, right before the insurrection they knew the level of hate mounting and being amplified. they turned off the monitors and the disruptors of that.
jessica: not only did they know, the fix was so easy. they had a setting and they decided to turn it off before election results were certified despite phonic -- spotting trends that fake information about a suppose that of the election. despite the activity on their site showing militia groups organizing calls to arms on different parts of their network. this was a choice to put profit over public safety, democracy, the health and well-being not just facebook users but all of us. this is why i don't believe facebook is fit to govern itself. we need to step in. and here's what is really insidious about how facebook's business model operates.
which is not true -- maybe young girls receive negative messaging in magazines, or on tv and radio . but here's what's insidious in particular about how not just facebook but other social media platforms earn their revenues. they are collecting and extracting our personal demographic data. the way we are behaving on the site, and they are identifying what we might be vulnerabl to. our vulnerabilities, our predispositions, our behavior. they are targeting us with things that they think will engage -- we will engage more with. this is targeted disinformation. targeted eight. -- kate -- hate. targeted image that might cause teen girls to feel worse about themselves.
without informed consent, i don't know that most they are selling us to their advertisers. without even truly understanding how this works, we are being used. without any public interest good, in fact, a lot of harm. we have to completely rethink the structure that underpins social media we need to pass legislation, we need investigations. juan: what is the difference between what facebook is doing now, and the old legacy media companies are doing in the past.
this leads to conflict, fear, and division. this is what sells in media. so to what degree is facebook magnifying the trend that has always existed? although at different times, there were different efforts to curb the media, which has the press monopoly back in 1945 back in the supreme court. there has been efforts to break out the original nbc network, because it had too much control over radio in america. do you think it's time to break up facebook? jessica: that's -- roger: that's an important question. jessica taed about this at the individual level. let's think about how traditional media works. this is a broadcast model. one message for everyone. what internet platforms have done, what surveillance capitalism does, broadly,
through the economy, is that it targets us individually. there's a giant marketplace in the united states for data. this is called third-party data. they gather data in one place and sell it to people in other places for other uses and they make additional money for doing that. so everything that you do that touches something digital, if you travel, if you do a financial transaction, your home loan or whatever, anything you do on your phone including your real-time location, anything you do in your app or online, all of this is captured. it's all available in the marketplace. these companies can create a digital model of you. they do this for everyone, whether you are on internet platforms are not read everyone is in this is him. they use the model to make predictions. you could sell those to an advertiser or use them in other ways. for example they are used in the banking industry to give out
mortgages. police departments use it for productive policing. those two things are based on artificial intelligence. they train artificial intelligence with historical data. the historical data is filled with biases. so you wind up moving towards a digital redlining for mortgages so that black people can only live in certain community. they cannot live wherever they want. they have different mortgage rates and housing prices because of this unfair stuff from the past. you get for addictive policing, which over polices brown and black communities because of historical biases built into the system. if you think about this, the manifest unfairness is magnified by a corporate culture that says the only people that matter are shareholders. if you think about it, optimizing for shareholder value is the equivalent of saying i'm just following orders. it forgives all manner of sins.
what frances haugen was talking about, the moral crisis of ceos who maximize profits instead of the public good. one of the challenges is that as a country we have accepted this notion that corporations should only worry about shareholder value. that has to change. that's one thing that congress needs to do right now. they have done enough studies. we've done enough hearings. we now need to have something that looks like the food and drug administration which requires that every technology product demonstrate that it is safe before it is allowed to go into the market. that should apply to products in the market today. we need rules that say i'm sorry , there should be no third-party marketplace for location data, health data, anything related to your usage of apps on the internet, your financial data. things that are so intimate that they allow people to manipulate your choices. and we need new laws on
antitrust so we can fight against entrenched corporate power. amy: i want to thank you. after 10 likes facebook knows you better than colleagues, after 70 likes, better than friends, after 150 likes, better than family, after 300 likes, better than your spouse. roger, jessica, next up we look at the revelations in the pandora papers about the offshore financial dealings of the world's richest and most powerful p -- people and the connection between offer banking and colonialism. back in 30 seconds. ♪♪ [music break]
amy: money, by the flying lizards. we are looki at wha has bee reveal about t murky financia dlings of the richest and most powerful people. a new report has been released called the pandora papers. >>f the nama pers on steroi. -- iis the pen -- eanama pars on steroids. it'opening e box on lot of things.
whertalking about 1million documentfrom 14 fferent service provirs, l fir, secr offshoraccountsith pele in mtiple juriiction the brish virgslands, beeves,hese cuments e showinthe u.s. as aax haven. >> 330oliticians om 90 untries. >> t mt mous pple in t world are in these documents. presents, prime misters public ministers thking of jorn. a nuer of very high rsian clients. people vy close vladimi putin e buyingeal estate, trading in shares, reaching offshore cpanies, buying houses, rs, artwk. stly donstratethat pple cod end wh'going on but th are theelves befiting -- benefing fromt. >> theiggestournalis
partnehip led by [iiscernib] dear loing at tllionsf dolls. -- we are oking at trlions dollars >> to financia cters of e worlre able siphon ney aw and het rough thuse ofnonymous cpanies. >> uasking 2000 dons. --wners. >> these are ao rocktars and celebrits. peop who havbeen concted cris all ov the wor. a jy in losngeles fnd rort durstuilty of first-deee murde >> rafae mta -- >> the family accusedn the united states of money launderi concted to drug traffickg. >> the abili to hideoney has a direct impact your lif it afftsour acss to
ucatio health,ome. >> we ar looking. -- we are looking at a system that's harming the world. amy: it's a llaborion of mo than 0 repoers fr 150 mea olets and 1 countri. e rst rorts publishedn sund and newtors are comi out eve day. wereoined by then, t senior etor at th nationa consortium ojourlism, and the- and vassa, a pfessor of hisry at the university of berkeley. and she did a new piece headlined the end of empire and the rise of tax savings. we will talk about the connection between tax evasion and colonialism in a minute. but i want to go to. lay out what you think -- i want to go too. lay out the cash i want to go to
ben -- i want to go to ben. what is the biggest mining? ben: you mentioned some of e names, the king of jordan, ruin offshore shell game purchased mansions in malibu, and the prime minister of the czech republic secretly bought a chateau in fnce. hundreds of other politicis the sides. that's a big take away for us. some of the people in a position to stop offshore abuses are in fact themselves benefiting from this system. juan: and here your point, in many cases this is not a legal -- not illegal. could you talk about the difference and how often crimes are committed under the cer of
the law but not in violation of the law? n: we see jurisdiction shopping. an internation game of arbitrage where companiesave tremendo expertise in lping clients find places to hide moneyegally. a small jurisdiction, the british virgin islands, these are jurisdictions where it is possible to set up a company for a few ousandollars and not even disose the fact thatou are e actualwner of e compy. you c just t them uthrough front m a throug sheholdersnd direcrs. thiss a legasystem. and wdo s illegaloney owing rough offshoras well as illegal -- awells lal. but the use of offshore is legal. juan: and it did not necessarily
starred in those small countries. delaware has a long history, south dakota is becoming a big haven. cayou talk about the local u.s. versions? ben: we do want to point out a little bit owhat we call western world hypocrisy on t subject. the u.s. and the u.k. are quick to chide smaller countries. when using a tax shelter you think of palm slip -- palm trees . but the u.s. is one of the biggest jurisdictions in the world. we have a focuon south dakota, which over the last few decades has really come to rival offshore -- traditional offshore tax savgs as sort of a haven for people to hide their assets. the trump industry has essentially rewritten the law of that state to make it possible for people to ho money.
one of the things they advertised is not the secrecy but the longevity, in perpetuity, forever income. amy: go through some of the names. i was struck -- you are talking about the king of jordan but some of the richest men in the world are right here in the united states. and you are not saying their names. ben: we do have a story about robert brockman, one of the richest men in the u.s. who has shut up- set up tax shelters and believe -- in belize. u.s. billionaires are not often mentioned inhis release, and there's a few reasons. this offers a parallel view into the economy but it's not -- it is not a clue the cayman islands are a massive tax haven and we
don't have any documentation from the cayman islands. also american billionaires have figured out other ways to avoid taxes. amy: so let's bring professor vanessa into the conversation. you are working on a book on tax savings on tax savings and the offshore economy. you wrote a telling article headlined the end of empire and the rise of tax havens. give us the historical context and how you relate colonialism to tax evasion. vanessa: absolutely. thank you for having me on. it's an honor and a pleasure. we see tax havens emerge really for the first time on a significant scale already in the 1920's and 30's. at this point it's a direct reaction to the introduction of income taxes in many countries in europe and the united states.
there is a second phase where tax havens expand, important tax havens that we know today appear on the scene that's inhe 1950's and 60's. that's when you get places like the bahamas that really take off as a tax haven. that's where you get the cayman islands, the british virgin islands and so on. during these decades, there are connections between the end of colonial rule, european empire, and the expansion of these havens at the same time. so what you have a situation where european settlers, european businessmen who have been doing business and living in the colonial world, in kenya, a british colony at that point, they've been living there a doing business. they begin to see the writing on the wall. they see local anticolonialism
movements and they worry about the safety of their assets in these places. after all, they've been there for decades, sometimes centuries and in the view of the local population, they certainly oppress these populations and rule against their will. so it might be that new governments might not lk so favorably on these europeans. so what they do, when these countries become independent, europeans begin to move assets out of the colonial world. at this time, tax rates in britain and france are relatively high, these other decades where the european welfare state are financed by high tax rates.
because that's the case they decide to move assets to other places. they choose the bahamas we have french businessmen, and essentially you get the situation where in the bahamas where the expansion of these tax havens comes out of the colonial world, the settlers and others who are about to leave these places and are looking for shelter. we have the infrastructure of tax evasion, if you want an ecosystem of lawyers, bankers, the thousands who facilitate those and enable this, i think it's important when we talk today about elite corruption in
low income countries. especially those with a colonial past, it's important to point to the long history of this. and the legacy of european colonialism. juan: could you talk specifically about -- and its central role in hiding the colonial wealth of africa? vanessa: yes, this is a tax haven that has appeared on the scene since the 1990's. it has, through tax treaties and very low tax rates for companies , it has found a way to make itself a steppingstone for investments in sub-saharan africa. it means that western companies
that want to funnel funds into sub-saharan africa go through them to avoid paying taxes in these countries in sub-saharan africa and benefit from the extremely low or zero tax rate that they are offerg. this is particularly harmful for economies in this part of the world because they rely to a greater extent than many rich countries on corporate taxes as a source of revenue which has to do with the makeup of these economies where you have the big informal sector and it is much harder to collect revenues and taxes. that means corporate taxes which are generally easier to collect sometimes our force of revenue. amy: thank you for being with us