Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org:
Is it the country that corrupts the staff, the employees, of the UN? (No other country has the power to do that. This one does, and it takes full advantage of the opportunity, and carries out that corruption, ruthlessly.)
Is it the country that’s so corrupt at the very top, so that the model their aristocracy sets for their subjects to respect is so thoroughly rotten that this country has the world’s highest percentage of its people in prisons? If those prisoners are behind bars because they authentically should be, then that country is rotten at the bottom. But otherwise than that, there would have to be, above its bottom, at the level of the country’s entire criminal-justice system, a horrific amount of injustice, in order to place so many people behind bars, because this country’s having the world’s highest imprisonment-rate would then NOT reflect the prisoners’ extraordinary badness, but, instead, it would reflect the government’s extraordinary badness. In either instance, this country is an extraordinary global model of corruption, and truly earns the prize: “the world’s most corrupt nation.” (Furthermore: to the extent that this country’s having the world’s highest percentage of its people in prison does reflect extraordinary badness of the general population, it would mean that their government has been atrocious; and, therefore, the country’s elite — the people who control its government — would still have to be ultimately to blame. Consequently: having the world’s highest imprisonment-rate is a remarkably clear indication that the country’s government is uniquely atrocious.)
Of course, this country is the United States of America — none other — a ‘democracy’ that accuses, as being authoritarian and corrupt, the nations (such as Venezuela, and Iran, and Syria, and Russia, and China) that it aims to strangulate by imposing economic sanctions, and coups, and invasions, or whatever else its aristocracy (through the government that they directly control, the United States Government) can do, in order to grab. The USA. is the world’s global-imperial country. Its aristocracy want to control everything. This is clear. And that’s why it’s also the world’s most corrupt nation.
The standard ranking for nations’ corruption is the extremely opaque (non-transparent) Transparency International rankings. They say “The index draws on 13 surveys from independent institutions specialising in governance and business climate analysis covering expert assessments and views of businesspeople.” How ‘independent’ are they? Who are they? TI doesn’t volunteer such crucial information. TI certainly isn’t eager to become “Transparent” itself, and to answer such questions — at least not in any easily accessible and clear way, online, to the global public.
Transparency International is actually funded by the US and its European allies (in other words, it’s a US Cold War, CIA-affiliated, operation, against Russia and any nation that’s friendly toward Russia), as a PR gimmick, in order to use against governments (ones they score lower) which the US aristocracy (America’s billionaires) simply want to regime-change — overthrow, control, take over, add to the list of countries that are obedient to US billionaires’ demands. TI scores all of those less-obedient nations lower. Almost all on the list of TI’s donors (the nations that are scored higher) are controlled by US-and-affiliated billionaires. TI is one of the US billionaires’ agencies; and TI’s ‘findings’ are consistent with the plan of TI’s masters. It’s no mere coincidence that they are scored higher — it’s part of their plan. It’s part of what all of them buy with their donations. America’s current TI ranking, as of 9 July 2019, of 22 out of 180, is said there to be from “Corruption Perceptions Index 2018”. The US scores below 21 nations. Here are the top 25, in order from the top: Denmark, New Zealand, Finland, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, Netherlands, Canada, Luxembourg, Germany, UK, Australia, Austria, Hong Kong, Iceland, Belgium, Estonia, Ireland, Japan, France, US, Uruguay, Barbados.
All of those top 22 governments — both directly and indirectly — fund TI. So: they’re all rated among the top 25. Is that really mere coincidence? None of the top-scoring countries should be funding it, but all of them are. How ‘objective’ are such ratings? Furthermore, Barbados is one of the world’s leading tax-havens, serving billionaires from all over the world, to hide their wealth, and to avoid taxes. How ‘Transparent’ is that?
Then, starting at #26, and going down to #50, it’s: Bhutan, Chile, Seychelles, Bahamas, Portugal, Brunei, Taiwan, Qatar, Botswana, Israel, Poland, Slovenia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Georgia, Latvia, St. Vincent, Spain, Cabo Verde, Dominica, South Korea, Costa Rica, Rwanda, St. Lucia.
Then, prominent nations going down to the very bottom are: Italy is 54. Saudi Arabia is 59. Cuba is 61. Greece is 67. South Africa is 77. India is 83. Turkey is 87. China is 90. Brazil is 107. Ukraine is 123. Honduras is 133. Iran is 139. Russia is 143. Nigeria is 148. Nicaragua is 155. Zimbabwe is 160. Haiti is 163. Iraq is 168. Venezuela is 169. Libya is 171. Afghanistan is 172. North Korea is 176. Yemen is 177. Syria is 179. Somalia is 180 (the last and supposedly most corrupt).
Barbados, Seychelles, Bahamas, Cyprus, St, Vincent, and St. Lucia, are all leading tax-havens, to hide wealth from being taxed. And, for example, Seychelles grants “complete immunity from prosecution in criminal proceedings and the protection of assets from forfeiture even if investment were earned as a result of crimes”. Moreover, most tax-havens were established by the British Empire: Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Virgin Islands, Gibraltar, Turks and Caicos Islands, Anguilla, Montserrat, Jersey, Guernsey, Dominica, and Isle of Man — all of them are. Furthermore, some of the main tax-havens aren’t even listed among the 180 TI-rated nations. Examples of this are Nauru, Cook Islands, and Liechtenstein; and that’s like a signal for billionaires to ‘earn’ their money in such places, since those are especially obscure locales for tax-collectors to look for offshore wealth. So much, then, for ‘Transparency International’.
America’s two main allies in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia and Israel, don’t score amongst the top nations, and this might suggest that their billionaires are part of the US aristocracy — indissolubly connected with it — or even perhaps masters to it; and they therefore don’t even need to concern themselves about their PR.
But none of that list is, at all, trustworthy. Methodology is everything, and TI’s methodology is untrustworthy. It has to be taken on faith — or else not at all — in order to trust TI. No scientific investigation can be like that — faith-based. Furthermore, the funding and history of TI appear to explain why it’s untrustworthy.
EXPLANATION OF HOW INDIVIDUAL COUNTRY SCORES OF THE CORRUPTION PERCEPTIONS INDEX ARE CALCULATED
Issued by Transparency International Secretariat
The Corruption Perceptions Index is a composite index, a combination of different international surveys and assessments of corruption, collected by a variety of reputable institutions. The index draws on 13 surveys from independent institutions specialising in governance and business climate analysis covering expert assessments and views of businesspeople. None of these surveys were commissioned by Transparency International. [This then says here, “Note to editors: For more information about the Corruption Perceptions Index and its methodology, please see: http://www.transparency.org/cpi”, and refers readers further here to this:]
Based on expert opinion, the Corruption Perceptions Index measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption worldwide. [That’s all it says — it’s even less than their site which had linked to it says. It’s a cul-de-sac, instead of a pathway to understanding the methodology behind TI’s rankings.]
Transparency International was founded in May 1993. According to political scientist Ellen Gutterman, “TI’s presence in Germany, and indeed its organizational development and rise from a small operation to a prominent international TNGO, benefited from the activities and personal, elite connections of at least three key German individuals: Peter Eigen, Hansjoerg Elshorst, and Michael Wiehen”.
Peter Eigen, a former regional director for the World Bank, is recognized as a founder, along with others. Michael Wiehen was a World Bank official at Washington, D.C. Hansjörg Elshorst was managing director of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) (German Agency for Technical Cooperation). Other founding board members included John Githongo (former Permanent Secretary for Ethics and Governance in the office of the President, Kenya), General Electriclawyer Fritz Heimann,Michael J. Hershman of the US military intelligence establishment (now President and CEO of the Fairfax Group), Kamal Hossain(Bangladesh‘s former Minister of Foreign Affairs),Dolores L. Español (the Philippines‘ former presiding Judge of Regional Trial Court), George Moody Stuart (sugar industrialist), Gerald Parfitt (Coopers & Lybrand, then PricewaterhouseCoopers in Ukraine), Jeremy Pope (New Zealand activist and writer), and Frank Vogl, a senior official at the World Bank and head of Vogl Communications, Inc., which has “provided advice to leaders of international finance”.
In 1995, Transparency International developed the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). The CPI ranked nations on the prevalence of corruption within each country, based upon surveys of business people.
John Maynard Keynes (right) and Harry Dexter White, the “founding fathers” of both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The World Bank was created at the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference along with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The president of the World Bank is, traditionally, an American. The World Bank and the IMF are both based in Washington, D.C., and work closely with each other.
The Gold Room at the Mount Washington Hotel where the International Monetary Fund and World Bank were established
Although many countries were represented at the Bretton Woods Conference, the United States and United Kingdom were the most powerful in attendance and dominated the negotiations.:52–54 The intention behind the founding of the World Bank was to provide temporary loans to low-income countries which were unable to obtain loans commercially. The Bank may also make loans and demand policy reforms from recipients.
Before 1974, the reconstruction and development loans provided by the World Bank were relatively small. The Bank’s staff were aware of the need to instill confidence in the bank. Fiscal conservatism ruled, and loan applications had to meet strict criteria.:56–60
The first country to receive a World Bank loan was France. The Bank’s president at the time, John McCloy, chose France over two other applicants, Poland and Chile. …
And it goes on and on, and the deeper that I have looked into TI, the more persuasive the case becomes to me that it’s a fraud.
This fraud started in 1993. Why at that time? The Soviet Union had broken up in 1991, and its Warsaw Pact allies were then ripe for the taking — switching soon into America’s NATO military alliance against Russia. The ideology communism no longer ruled Russia; and so a new excuse for US-allied suckers still to dislike and fear Russia was needed: ‘corruption’, and ‘authoritarianism’, and ‘violating its citizens’ rights’, were all used, but especially ‘corruption’. In 1993, TI was instituted by the US-created World Bank, in order to handle the ‘corruption’-propaganda portfolio for the US empire. Actually, even before 1993, the US aristocracy sent in their ‘experts’ to advise the naive Boris Yeltsin’s team how to set up ‘capitalism’ — corruption from which America’s aristocrats could skim. David McClintick’s 20,000-word “How Harvard lost Russia” told this history, in detail. Here’s an excerpt:
[Jeffrey] Sachs wasn’t the only Harvard professor in Moscow in the summer and fall of 1991. No fewer than four university affiliates – the John F. Kennedy School of Government, the Russian Research Center, HIID and the economics department – were represented. Graham Allison, the founding dean of the Kennedy School, was pushing an updated version of the 500 Days plan with its co-author, liberal economist Grigory Yavlinsky. Marshall Goldman, the director of Harvard’s venerable Russian Research Center and a frequent visitor to the Soviet Union for decades, was providing counsel to various parties. Sachs, thanks to his experience in Poland, emerged as the leading figure among these notables. In Moscow he encountered yet another Harvard colleague, Andrei Shleifer. Shleifer had been sent to Moscow by the World Bank, where Summers, on leave from Harvard, was serving as chief economist. Shleifer possessed a distinct advantage over other Westerners: He was a native of Russia and fluent in the language, having been born there in 1961. His parents were engineers, a profession the state chose for them. Shleifer revealed at an early age that he was ambitious; in a photograph taken when he was six, he is dressed as a Soviet Army general. When a friend transferred to one of the best schools in Moscow, Shleifer bicycled there and didn’t leave until he had persuaded the principal to admit him as well.
The World Bank was in on the scheme ever since TI’s very inception. The Summers-led World Bank gave birth to TI in 1993.
This was just one part of US President George Herbert Walker Bush’s scheme, which he first instructed to the US regime’s vassal leaders privately, on the night of 24 February 1990. TI is follow-through, on that, from Bush, but perpetrated under Clinton, and Bush II and Obama and Trump thereafter.
The world’s most corrupt country is the United States of America, especially on a global basis — in America’s international relations — because the imperial capital is always the center of an empire’s corruption. It was true in the Roman Empire and others before, and it’s true now. That’s what empires are for. This is not exceptionalism. It is normal. And TI is just one of this operation’s many frauds.
It’s an important one. Especially because TI’s ‘corruption’ scores affect how high an interest-rate the nation will pay on its sovereign debt. The IMF’s Public Financial Management Blog headlined on 15 September 2016 “The (Fiscal) Benefits of Transparency”, and reported: “A series of studies (Ciocchini et al 2003; Depken et al 2007; Remolona et al 2008) show that as scores on Transparency International’s (TI’s) Corruptions Perception Index (CPI) decrease, borrowing costs increase. These studies all show direct causality between corruption risk and borrowing costs, controlling for other influences.” Investors trust the fraud and therefore pay lots more for debt from ‘Transparent’ regimes. The IMF can only be happy that the TI fraud works. However: taxpayers in any non-US-allied country can only be sad that it does. Everybody either is ignorant that the top scorers ‘coincidentally’ are US-allied, or else they believe that to be US-allied means to be trustworthy, honest. But there’s also a third factor functioning here: countries that aren’t US-allied can have their credit destroyed by US-imposed sanctions. Not to be a US vassal-nation is extremely dangerous. It really does pose a credit-risk. But that’s not because TI isn’t corrupt and its rankings are honest. It is because the US is corrupt — at its very top — and it reigns over global corruption.
This corruption extends to the US regime’s vassal-governments. A recent example is provided by the UK. On 4 July 2019, America’s UK vassal seized an Iranian vessel, the oil tanker “Grace 1.” The UK regime had seized it at the US regime’s request. Christopher Black, a Toronto international criminal lawyer, headlined on 18 July 2019, “Piracy or War?”and he cited the international legislation, to which the US and UK both are signatories, and he proved there that “It is clear that in the case of the boarding and detention of the Iranian oil tanker Grace 1, registered in Panama, as many ships are, off the Spanish coast, near Gibraltar, that Britain had no legal right to order its marines to board the Iranian ship which was either in international waters as the Iranians claim or in Spanish waters near Gibraltar. It is in flagrant violation of the Convention on the High seas to which it is a party and which therefore is also a part of the domestic law of the United Kingdom.” This is typical US-and-allied international gangsterism. It’s thoroughly in line with Cecil Rhodes’s dreamof continuing the British Empire by establishing a “special relationship” in which it’s attached to the rising US empire — which happened at the start of the 1900s.
Then, on 27 July 2019, the whistleblowing UK Ambassador who quit UK’s diplomatic corps and became one of the world’s best investigative journalists, Craig Murray, headlined “Tanker Seizures and the Threat to the Global Economy from Resurgent Imperialism”and he opened by saying — and then he proved — that “The British seizure of the Iranian tanker off Gibraltar was illegal. There is no doubt of that whatsoever.” Corrupt regimes aren’t gangsters only internally, but they are corrupt gangsters also internationally — this time operating like a tag-team against Iran.
Furthermore, on July 30th:
US forces are looting oil fields and farmlands in northeastern Syria. “Syrian oil is extracted and sold from the fields of Conico, al-Omar and al-Tanak located on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River. There is a criminal scheme to transport Syrian oil across the border,” [Russia’s] Col. Gen. Rudskoi said, adding that the number of US private military contractors deployed to secure this effort exceeded 3,500.
The US is also preparing militant sabotage groups that would be tasked with attacks on infrastructure to destabilize the situation in the government-held areas. These groups are being formed from around 2,700 members of Jaysh Maghawir al-Thawra and other militant groups trained by the US.
That’s clearly outright theft by the US regime, against Syria’s Government. It is blatant; it is “Transparent.”
Obviously: any government such as US or UK can’t be trusted by foreign investors in the event that its domestic aristocracy will benefit from its government’s dishonoring a contractual obligation. To invest in any such regime is to bet on its maintaining its position of power. That’s why the US regime spends approximately half of the entire world’s military expenses. Force, coercion, is essential in order to build wealth and to keep it. This is the reality, not the myth. This gang of global billionaires holds almost the entire world in its grip. And the few nations that aren’t in its grip pay enormous costs to continue being free of it (such as UK is). Every nation’s aristocracy is required to pay (extracted from their public) protection-money (tribute), or else it will be crushed.
People who don’t want to know how and why they had been deceived to believe, for example, that there were “WMD in Iraq” in 2002 and 2003, aren’t interested in knowing the deeper reality, which hasn’t changed since at least that time. Corruption radiates outward and downward, from the imperial center. Virtually everything is subject to it. The leadership in every nation know this. The Deep State exists so as to enforce it. The Deep State is impervious to laws, because the only law it follows is might-makes-right.
Clearly, then, the US is the world’s most corrupt country.