The 60 minutes interview of Peter Schiff, the head of an offshore bank at the center of an enormous worldwide tax evasion investigation called “Operation Atlantis”, was all about the construction and control of a narrative.
That narrative exists well outside the world of mainstream media, well outside ratings and completely outside what the average Australian could even imagine is on the horizon at this point in time.
Peter Schiff is a well-known US commentator on gold and economic issues. Irwin Allen Schiff, Peters father, was equally well known in his time and was an American libertarian and it’s fair to say Peter has continued this ideological lineage.
Interestingly, the original Operation Atlantis was a project started by Werner Stiefel in 1968 which aimed to establish a new Libertarian nation in international waters off the Bahamas. After a number of failed attempts involving a cement vessel, an oil rig and an island, Werner Stiefel was forced to give up his dream.
But why would Peter, the libertarian, be of interest to mainstream Australia. Outside libertarian and gold interested circles he’s a complete unknown. The 60 minutes report starts by describing that the Australian tax department has swung into Operation Atlantis. We are informed that there is a fine line between tax evasion and tax minimization and the Australian tax department sees this as theft and is prepared to voyage to the ends of the earth to find Australian tax evaders.
Peter Schiff is immediately introduced as someone who “loves to brag about …. how he knows how to make money.” Peter is presented as the ultimate financial tax dodging pirate bad guy.
Let’s cut to the chase, Peter Schiff is being accused of assisting some 100 Australians in tax evasion via the Euro Pacific Bank in Puerto Rico.
Although Peter Schiff who is part owner of the Euro Pacific Bank, has not been charged with any wrongdoing.
Peter Schiff was oblivious to 60 minutes intentions for the interview. He initially received an email from Ms. Grieves from The Age who requested an interview to discuss gold and global financial issues. In the email Charlotte Grieves stated that she would like to conduct the interview and if there was enough time Nick McKenzie may or may not wish to ask some questions. Basically, Mr. McKenzie would not be the one conducting the interview.
By not mentioning Mr. McKenzie as the main interviewer, 60 minutes was throwing Peter Schiff off any scent that the interview would be about anything other than the topics stated in the email. Of course, the interview changed rapidly once Peter Schiff was taken to task about his involvement with the Puerto Rican bank by Mr. McKenzie. Peter Schiff asked the interviewer directly whether he had evidence to prove his allegations but they had nothing. It seemed all they could do was level unsubstantiated claims at Peter.
This interviewing technique always has the desired effect, that being, pulling off a classic 60 minutes moment. The targeted individual feels deceived, realizes the trap and decides to leave the interview, cameras rolling.
Whether it’s old Darren Hinch or 60 minutes, this approach is well known in Australia. It’s an effective way for demonizing anyone to the audience and destroying their credibility.
Peter in an 1:35 minutes YouTube video also explains how he was set up and how his answers were copy pasted in ways to vilify him.
Peter Schiff is scratching his head as to why he was used in such a way and he speculated it could be ratings. I started becoming suspicious of 60 minutes when the report mentioned the Puerto Rican Bank under suspicion, has had Australian customers also connected with Westpac Bank and the Perth Mint.
The Westpac bank has 14 million clients. The Perth Mint has 34,000 clients. Neither institutions could be held accountable for their client’s business affiliations without evidence of wrongdoing.
You would expect regulations to be lax in this far-flung Caribbean island, but this turns out not to be the case. Peter moved his bank from Saint Vincent also in the Caribbean, which does have bank secrecy, to Puerto Rico which does not have bank secrecy.
Ironically, Peter’s bank has high levels of compliance. One client used as an example in the 60 minutes report was Simon Anketell whose account was actually closed by the Euro Pacific Bank. He was rejected by the bank over some anomalies with a number of transactions that they felt were suspicious. Two years later the same Anketell engineered the biggest tax scam in Australian history. 60 minutes failed to mention that this client had left the bank and simply linked the association. As mentioned, the anomalies in the 60 minutes report are outlined by Peter Schiff himself.
So, what was the point of the 60 minutes report? Continue reading Part 2: Reality Schiff in 60 minutes.
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