Calvin Tucker

TI distorts data in favour of its Western paymasters

Transparency International Distorts Data in Favour of its Western Paymasters

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Interview with  Calvin Tucker , Co-Editor of the web magazine  21st Century Socialism .

I’d like to ask you a few questions today about Transparency International. How transparent in your opinion is Transparency International?

I would actually say this is an organization that should probably change its name. I think it’s worth recalling that the Transparency International’s mission statement is “to combat corruption.”Its main activity is publishing reports on countries and companies and ranking them in order of how corrupt or nontransparent they are. These reports are then taking up by the media and more or less uncritically reported because Transparency International (TI) claims to be an independent, non-partisan organization. But – this is the issue – they are funded by Western cooperates and Western governments, for example, the US, the UK, France, Norway, Canada, Australia, the European Commission and so on. Secondly, the source of funding is corporate. The reason why I say that TI’s funding is a problem is because in 2008 I discovered that they backed a completely unjustified attack on Venezuela and it seemed to be a very clear case of “he who pays the piper calls the tune”. What I think happened here is that Venezuela’s state-owned oil company PDVSA came under a two-pronged attack – firstly, from Transparency International itself in the form of a report, and, secondly and simultaneously, from one of Transparency International’s main corporate donors ExxonMobil. I should explain that Venezuela’s PDVSA is not just another oil company like Shell or BP. It’s a publicly owned company, whose profits are directly plowed into the social programs to poor and working class citizens. PDVSA is Venezuela’s main source of export earnings. So, to attack PDVSA isn’t just to attack a company – it’s to attack the engine room of Venezuelan economy and the Venezuelan state itself. The US has had Venezuela and its socialist President Hugo Chavez in their cross hairs since the failure of the US-backed military coup in 2002. ExxonMobil launched this legal action against PDVSA in the British high court in a bid to seize their assets. While all this was going on TI was compiling and producing this hugely damaging report on Venezuela’s PDVSA, claiming that PDVSA were refusing to release basic financial information. The inference here was that PDVSA was probably corrupt. But the report was wrong. It wasn’t just a little bit wrong or wrong in an area here or there. It was totally, utterly and completely false. Despite Transparency International’s claims, all the information – and I mean every single piece of information – that TI said PDVSA was refusing to disclose was freely available on PDVSA’s website and on their published financial statements.  I was utterly perplexed and I assumed that that had been some kind of appalling administrative error. So I contacted Transparency International to ask them what went wrong and I was met with what I can only describe as “wall of silence.” In short, they behaved exactly like one of those shady government companies and institutions that they are supposed to be holding to account. But the story gets even worse because what we do know is that the Venezuelan office of Transparency International is staffed entirely by opponents of Venezuelan government and many of them, including the current executive director, were supporters of the military coup that briefly overthrew Hugo Chavez in 2002. I certainly don’t believe that the composition of Venezuela’s Transparency International office is unconnected with the false allegations that have been coming from Transparency International against Venezuela in years and years. So I’m drawn inexorably towards the conclusion that, when it matters, TI consciously pursues the agenda of their Western paymasters and acts little more than an instrument of Western foreign policy. I think they’re something of a confidence trick played on the world’s public and it’s about time the media started doing their job properly, investigating the organization that claims to be investigating nontransparent and improperly run organizations.

With regards to Russia, recently they moved Russia up only 11 points, to 143th position to 154th on the corruption scale worldwide, despite the fact that Russia has been fighting corruption very actively for years now. What do you think is their agenda for the Russian Federation?

I think it’s a shame, because Transparency International does do some good work on fighting corruption. Unfortunately, it’s tainted by their political bias. The problem with the corruption perfection index is contained in the second word of the sentence. It’s a “perception.” And the big flaw is that perception is not the same thing as fact. You are going to get different perceptions depending on who you ask. So it’s obviously open to manipulation, with governments not favored by the Western powers generally scoring poorly. And anybody who looks at the table can see that very clearly. The big problem is that the index seeks to blame only the government of the developing nations for corruption, reinforcing the IMF, World Bank and Western insistence on placing owner risk conditions on loans. Of course, these loans themselves lock third-world countries into a pattern of underdevelopments and poverty, which in turn encourages corruption in its authority. I’ll just give you one example. In 2007, Jamaica received a very poor ranking because a Dutch oil company had paid $30 million to one of Jamaica’s political parties. Jamaica was lambasted and they were put right at the bottom of the corruption perception index. But the oil company that paid the money and the Dutch government finished in the Top 10 of least corrupt countries. So, I think we can see here that there’s a very clear pattern of political bias at work, which favours Western countries and attacks both developing nations and its more direct economic and political competitors such as Russia.


Last Update: 09/14/2023 22:59 +0300


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