The rulers of the world – according to the World Economic Forum and Transparency International

16 July 2022 | A revealing text has appeared on the website of the World Economic Forum, the lobby of the largest international corporations. It names, unusually openly, the true rulers of world affairs. The co-authorship of the head of Transparency International makes clear the true character of such “non-governmental” organisations.

In the article entitled “3 anti-corruption takeaways from the war in Ukraine”, published online on 16 June by the World Economic Forum, there is a remarkable passage:

“Accountants, bankers, financial service providers, lawyers, real estate agents, luxury goods dealers and other private sector intermediaries, or “gatekeepers”, facilitate international financial flows across our globalized markets. They also play an indispensable role in the enforcement and realization of laws and regulations that target illicit finance. (…) Many now realize that by controlling, distributing and managing wealth, gatekeepers control, distribute and manage global power – and, in effect, global security.”

So, according to this text, it is the financial sector in the broader sense that rules the world – or, more likely, is a key instrument for those who rule the world.

Not since the spectacular article by Deutsche Bank boss Rolf E. Breuer on “The Fifth Power” in the German weekly Die Zeit in 2000 have I read such clear words from the pen of representatives or friends of this industry. Breuer wrote at the time, among other things (translated):

„Today more than ever, policy must also be formulated with the financial markets in mind. If you like, the financial markets have taken on an important watchdog role, as it were, as the “fifth power” alongside the media. Is politics in tow of the financial markets? This view assumes a clash of interests between the goals of financial market participants and the goals of politics. But don’t both areas have in common the desire for stable growth and the increase of prosperity? A liberal financial market is an important instrument for achieving these goals. The superiority of the free-market system over the communist system has shown this. If politics in the 21st century were in the tow of the financial markets in this sense, this might not be such a bad thing.”

“Financial markets” are of course not small investors like you and me. Financial markets are dominated by gigantic asset managers like Blackrock, big banks like JP Morgan, and, deeper in the shadows, barely regulated large hedge funds,  private equity companies and various kinds of shadow banks.

The authors of the current essay are Delia Ferreira Rubio, head of the anti-corruption organisation Transparency International, together with a court clerk from the USA and a partner at the US-based major law firm Paul Hastings.

With regard to the Ukraine war, they state:

“The corruption-laden context of the present conflict is not unique. Corruption, conflict and instability have long been, and will likely always be, profoundly intertwined. (…) Countries characterized by severe corruption also tend to suffer conflict or state failure. Corruption erodes public services, distorts political priorities, exacerbates inequality and insulates political leaders from the will of the people. It can also fuel authoritarian violence and civil unrest.”

It sounds as if the rampant corruption in Ukraine were one of the causes of the conflict with Russia. But no! The three take a sharp turn from their opening statement and apply its message exclusively to Russia. They blame the corruption of the Russian elites for the war. Where they briefly mention that corruption is indeed also a major problem in Ukraine, they take another sharp turn and declare the tender shoots of anti-corruption that are allowed to sprout there under Western pressure to be an existential threat to the corrupt Russian regime and thus an important motive for the war.

But if the most corrupt country in Europe (Russia) – according to the latest report by Transparency International – is waging war against the second most corrupt country in Europe (Ukraine), and corruption leads to conflicts and state failure, then this one-sidedness of analysis can really only be explained by the interests of the rulers of the country of origin of the authors and their organisations.

The core of the article is about the enforcement of sanctions against Russia and the role of financial institutions and financial markets in this. The authors mention that  revelations “Panama Papers” and “Pandora Papers” have shown that Russian and other oligarchs hide and move their assets with the help of the financial sector. It is notable, though, that only persons with whom the USA has a bad relationship were exposed, which invites assumptions about the origin of the revelations.

Recent initiatives of the USA against corruption by the financial sector are praised, without mentioning that with Delaware, the USA operates probably the most important international financial centre offering tax evasion services and anonymous asset holding. Joe Biden was the chief lobbyist for this financial centre for many years. The major law firm Paul Hastings, for whcih one of the co-authors works, probably does a large part of its business with those who save taxes and hide their assets there. The firm has several subsidiaries in Delaware.

But never mind, the authors write unperturbed. After all, the World Economic Forum has developed a code of conduct for the financial sector. The main thing is that the financial institutions adhere to it:

“Fortunately, a variety of resources can help guide gatekeepers in the fight against illicit finance. Although no industry is perfect, highly regulated sectors, like financial institutions, have developed best practices around client due diligence and red flags that could be adapted to other gatekeeping industries.”

An industry as powerful as the US financial sector can do it by itself, it doesn’t need any guidelines from the government, is the message from Transparency and Co.

It seems, that is not only human rights and freedom of the press that are misused as propaganda weapons against competing governments. While people like Assange are tried for exposing the war crimes of the wrong side, and the dismemberment of journalists and mass beheadings by the government of Saudi Arabia are generously overlooked in the free West, the lack of human rights and press freedom in other countries are criticized by Reporters Without Borders and Human Right Watch and other such organizations. Anti-corruption, and the organisations that espouse it, can also serve as weapons in the propaganda war. While a business is being made of promoting corruption in Delaware, Nevada and other places, other countries are lectured and pressured to fight it better by the likes of Transparency International.

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