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Why You Shouldn't Trust "Transparency International"

Posted by libhom Sunday, June 15, 2008

Hat tip to Ten Percent for leading me in the direction of excellent reporting on "Transparency International" (TI) by Calvin Tucker in the Guardian 5/22/08. He exposes the factually in accurate claims TI made against the government oil company in Venezuela. Tucker also exposes the role of the Venezuelan opposition and Big Oil in influencing TI. It's important reading, but, rather than reinvent this wheel, I'll focus on TI and the United States.

You would think that an international NGO focused on government corruption and transparency would make its single biggest focus the Bush regime. That logical expectation certainly is not met by "Transparency International" which gets major media play in here the US corporate media.

Based on primarily on greed and naked political corruption, the Bush regime has gotten the US into a war in Iraq that has cost hundreds of billions of dollars, over 1.2 million Iraqi lives, 4000 US troops killed, and tens of thousands of troops maimed and facing psychological injuries.

The fact that the Bush regime is illegally occupying the White House due to two stolen presidential elections is a rather potent example of the corruption in our government.

Numerous "signing statements" where the Bush regime asserts non-existent constitutional powers to be above the law are something that only the most corrupt of governments would engage in. Dick Cheney's illegal, secret energy policy meetings with energy company donors (including Enron) also show how spectacularly corrupt this illegitimate regime can be.

Some of Many Resources on Bush regime corruption:

- Dennis Kucinich's articles of impeachment against George W. Bush (After Downing Street)

- The Downing Street Memo (more information)

- 8.8 Billion Dollars in US funds "lost" by the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq.

- Corruption in war contracting.

Where did TI put the US in its 2006 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), which it asserts as a measure of government transparency?

(A lower ranking number is meant to convey a less corrupt government.)

The Bush regime is tied for position 20?!?!?!?!?


This is less surprising when you follow the money. Take a gander at some of their major donors.

* Anglo American
* Ernst & Young
* ExxonMobil
* General Electric
* Merck & Co.
* Nexen
* Norsk Hydro
* Procter & Gamble
* SAP
* Shell International
* UBS
* Wal-Mart

...

* Credit Suisse
* HSBC Holdings
* KPMG
* XL Capital

That explains a whole lot.

Another major problem is their methodology:
Whose opinion is polled for the surveys used in the CPI?

The expertise reflected in the CPI scores draws on an understanding of corrupt practices held by those based in both the industrialised and developing world. Surveys are carried out among business people and country analysts. The surveys used in the CPI use two types of samples, both non-resident and resident. It is important to note that residents' viewpoints correlate well with those of non-resident experts.

It would be interesting to know who the "country analysts" are. The more transparently disturbing aspect is that they rely on surveys of "business people." Business interests are hardly going to provide accurate or meaningful results. They will only report corruption when it is not in their favor.

Corruption Iraq War contractors, Big Oil, and war profiteers will see the corrupt war in Iraq and the corrupt contracting practices of the Bush regime as fine and dandy. Drug companies whose products don't get adequate scrutiny from the FDA are delighted with the way their campaign contributions pay off. Monopolies like Microsoft and Wal-Mart (a major TI donor by the way) are not going to think that the lack of enforcement of anti-trust laws is a problem.

Sigh.

The upshot is that TI is primarily an advocacy group for the interests of corporations and their wealthy owners. The next time a news outlet cites TI as an information source, you know to take what they say with a grain of salt.

 

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