Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Old Strategy, New Tactics: The Corruption Formula, an Overview, Look at Case Studies, and Call to Action (Part 3 of 3)

An Overview, Look at Case Studies, and Call to Action       (Part 3 of 3)

[Disclaimer:  This is the third part of a 3 part blog post series (part 1 is here and part 2 is here). Here we begin with a visual overview of the Corruption Formula we have previously presented and then illustrate this formula in practice with 4 diverse case studies: Indonesia, Egypt, Nigeria, and Afghanistan. We then offer our own humble suggestions for what you the reader can do to call attention to this issue.

Given the nature of the topic and vast amounts of information available on it, we've tried to condense some of the most pertinent and relevant information to help you the reader to better see and understand our perspective on it. Please take the time to go through all of the links, as well as videos and references. As always, comments, criticisms, suggestions, and questions are most welcome.
What we are putting forward and the whole purpose of this blogpost series, is to show that the US came up with a new method of colonization.  A new formula if you will, whose end result is similar to old school colonization, but without the mad scramble and direct confrontation among world powers. Thus, since the end of WWII, the US (as well as other colonial powers) has been practicing and applying this new formula to secure third world resources, strategic interests, and extend their global influence and power.  

Now that we've helped define the history and elements of this formula as well as instruments and institutions that allow this formula to be made functional, we will proceed to illustrate how this formula actually operates in practice, by looking at 4 case studies: Indonesia, Egypt, Nigeria, and Afghanistan. We then will give recommendations with what you the reader can do and how you can get active on this issue.

But first a visual overview summarizing the formula discussed to this point:

The Corruption Formula - Visual Overview

Thus far, all of our writing has solely focused on the United States. This is because the US is the architect and leader of this new form of colonization. To be fair, all wealthy colonizing countries today are operating and implementing this new formula. For example, the United Kingdom has its own intelligence service, it funds and and uses the services of the IMF, it provides countries with foreign aid, it has it's own multinational companies that go abroad and extract wealth, and London (before Brexit) is considered the financial capital of Europe as well as one of the biggest tax havens in the world today.

Let's look at some case studies to see just how the corruption formula above is made operational.

Case Studies

To really feel the impact of this 'formula', we must look at some examples.

Exa: #1: Indonesia - Over a million-dead due to the formula

  • Prior to World War II, Indonesia was a European Colony.

  • After WWII, a power vacuum arose and Indonesia finally gained 'independence' under a nationalist movement. [36]

  • From 1945 to the 1960s, the nationalist Sukarno government rejected IMF and World Bank interference. This resulted in an economic blockade by the US and aggressive interference CIA and British intelligence. [ibid] [37]

  • The goal of the American and British governments was to put General Suharto in power via a military coup; this was done under the guise of combating communism. [ibid]

  • Once in power, General Suharto was given means to kill anyone who got in his way. [ibid]

  • Reports estimate that Suharto killed up to a million 'alleged' communist sympathizers [ibid]

  • Shortly after, Suharto was offered a drove of economic and military aid. [36]

  • Then of course, the Corporate deals were made.  John Pilger of the Guardian describes these deals perfectly:
"Indonesia under Suharto would offer up what Richard Nixon had called "the richest hoard of natural resources, the greatest prize in south-east Asia". In November 1967, the greatest prize was handed out at a remarkable three-day conference sponsored by the Time-Life Corporation in Geneva. Led by David Rockefeller, all the corporate giants were represented: the major oil companies and banks, General Motors, Imperial Chemical Industries, British American Tobacco, Siemens, US Steel and many others. Across the table sat Suharto's US-trained economists who agreed to the corporate takeover of their country, sector by sector. The Freeport company got a mountain of copper in West Papua. A US/European consortium got the nickel. The giant Alcoa company got the biggest slice of Indonesia's bauxite. American, Japanese and French companies got the tropical forests of Sumatra. When the plunder was complete, President Lyndon Johnson sent his congratulations on "a magnificent story of opportunity seen and promise awakened". Thirty years later, with the genocide in East Timor also complete, the World Bank described the Suharto dictatorship as a "model pupil". [38]
  • A 2004 study done by Transparency International, estimates that Suharto and his family had salted away up to $35 billion dollars. [39]

  • Today General Suharto is gone, but Indonesia is still a model 'corrupt government': money still flows up like a mafia, everything from business deals to the traffic cops demand bribes and kickbacks, powerful international companies control the economy and each employs a local partner who is tied to the Suharto children, all the countries resources are being sucked out at record numbers, and of course the separation between the rich and the poor here is enormous. [ibid] [40]

Exa: #2:  Egypt - The Military Kleptocratic Government

  • Egypt is a country consumed and controlled by its military, and we use the word military here loosely, because since the Camp David Accords of 1978, Egypt's military is just another big corporation sucking the wealth out of the country. [41]

  • The Egyptian Military has overtaken up to 40% of the country’s economy, making everything from jeeps, cooking oil, spaghetti, major construction projects, etc.; and 40% range is vague because the military's real economic depth is a state secret. [42]

  • These state run companies are not designed to promote broader economic development that would help and enrich the society, rather they are strictly run for profit.  In other words, more wealth leaving the country. [ibid]


  • These companies get free land, enjoy tax forgiveness and exemptions from labor laws, and immunity from public oversight since everything the military does is classified as a national secret.  Thus, their products are made very cheap and likewise are sold very cheap, eliminating the competition. [ibid]

  • The irony regarding this setup is that the average people of Egypt either don’t really know how corrupt the military is because the corruption is hidden, or because the people look up to the nationalistic myth of the military, which is constantly maintained by the state controlled media. [ibid]
  • To make matters worse and more corrupt for the country, when Gamal Mubarak (The former Egyptian president’s son) came into the fold in the mid 1990’s, he and his clique started changing everything that was outside of the military’s reach.  He essentially sold off the country's resources and non-military companies to foreign investors & large corporations.  The result of this wave of privatization was that thousands of Egyptians lost their jobs, the clique amassed a staggering fortune, and again all the profits from the companies and the clique was sent overseas. [ibid]
  • But the biggest bane of millions of Egyptians' existence is the auxiliary police, who have their fingers into everything (with government approval of course).  At the airport, they collude with taxi drivers to rip off tourists.  In the streets, they allow vendors to clog the pavement in exchange for bribes. Of course, they set up ‘checkpoints’ everywhere to shake people down.  And if business is slow, they arrest people on fake charges, just to get a bribe at the police station. [ibid]

  • In Egypt, everything is up for sale:  building permits for illegal construction – no problem. Licensees to import illicit goods – no problem.  Tax deferrals and rebates for the rich – no problem.  Again, everything has a price.  But remember these bribes and kickbacks don't solely go into the pockets of the ones committing these extortion tactics; everyone takes a cut and the money moves up the corruption supply chain. [ibid]
  • If you are a 'police' officer operating a checkpoint, you have a quota to make, and then you pass some of this quota to your supervisor, who in turn does the same all the way up. If you are a teacher in school, you have a quota, so you hold back kids grades until the parents pay a bribe, then some of that bribe goes to your supervisor, who in turn must pay a bribe to his manager upwards, doing the same. [ibid]  Starting to get the picture?

  • As far as what the corrupt military controlled government gets from the outside, that is simple. Today Egypt is still receiving billions in US military and economic aid, and billions more in IMF and WB loans.  In exchange the US gets 3 main things: 

    1. Continued commitment to the Camp David Accords, i.e. Egypt is bribed to police both its own people and the people of Gaza on behalf of Israel.
    2. A prime and lucrative market for US defense contractors to sell their outdated equipment [43], and 
    3. Most importantly, preferential, and expedited passage for US ships (especially from China) through the Suez Canal (a perfect example of taking advantage of geostrategic resources). [44]

Exa: #3:  Nigeria - The curse of too many resources

  • Nigeria, like most of Africa, is an extremely resource-rich land.  Nigeria is the largest producer of oil in all of Africa and has the 8th largest supply of natural gas in the world. The US alone imports some 40 percent of the country's oil production.  In all, this wealth is worth billions upon billions of dollars (even when the price of crude oil is low).  But of course, despite all this wealth 62% of the people live on less than $1.25 per day and barely anybody has electricity. [45]  How? Because most of the wealth leaves the country.

  • Officially oil revenues are supposed to go into the Nigerian national budget, which then gets split up and spread throughout the country.  This downward distribution doesn’t exist in these kleptocratic governments.  Usually provinces receive almost no share of the national budget, but get carte blanche to extract wealth at their own levels however they want, as long as they pay their quotas up the chain, (as in Afghanistan).  But of course, not all the oil revenues make it to the official national budget, it was reported that between January 2012 and July 2013 close to $20 billion dollars was 'missing'. [46]

  • Like Egypt, the Nigerian 'police' are a nightmare for the people.  Their corruption is infamous. Locals say that "the police are like flies that settle on your arm".  The police are clearly not protecting anything, they are just fetching money for the corruption supply chain.  For example, the police frequently impound cars and motorcycles, they make fake arrest, checkpoint shake downs, they will even torture people if they are stubborn and don't pay the bribe. [ibid]


  • Nigeria also is a good example of a much deeper problem with these 'corrupt governments', and that's purposeful neglect!  Because the IMF in collusion with these corrupt leaders only cares about maximizing wealth, other valuable parts of the country that can help the overall society gets purposely neglected.  For instance, look at these 3-areas:

    • Electricity:  Even though the 'government' assigned billions of dollars to fix the rundown power stations and received World Bank loans specifically to fix the energy sector, the funds have been squandered or pilfered. [ibid] [47] But somehow the electricity that runs the oil sector or the rich areas of Nigeria never loses electricity.  It's because the IMF SAP's and the ‘government’ only care about keeping the money flowing -- that's neglect.

    • Agricultural:  Nigeria is an area of the world where rains lash much of the territory for half the year and seeds need merely to be scattered to grow, they are the envy of other parched places in the world.  In the 1960's Nigeria was a strong agricultural exporter; now it imports all basic foodstuffs.  This is a direct result of under-investment in agricultural needs and transportation infrastructure. [48] Because quite frankly, the only thing the corrupt government and their backers care about is the oil, that's why oil generates over 95% of Nigeria’s export revenue. [49]

    • Textiles:  Also like Egypt before privatization, Nigeria used to manufacture textiles and clothing, but now Nigeria is a hub of counterfeit Chinese-made textiles.  The rub is that officially the Nigerian government has banned imported textiles, but somehow the market is flooded.  This is because corrupt governments like Nigeria got their hands into everything including the cross-border smuggling racket.  These truckloads of counterfeit textiles have wrecked the Nigerian economy because the overwhelming majority of textile companies can't compete with these cheap counterfeits, so they closed, resulting in thousands of lost jobs. [50]

Exa: #4: Afghanistan - criminal syndicate disguised as a government

The reason we choose Afghanistan as one of our examples, is because it's a very fresh example. The US invasion of Afghanistan was only in October 2001 and the first president (Hamid Karzai) didn't take power until 2002.  In other words, this US installed 'government' is still relativity new, and unlike our previous examples or other parts of the world like South America, they haven't had decades to cement and perfect their corruption yet.  So, essentially we are getting a bird's eye view of how these types of governments are built from the ground up.
  • That being said this corrupt government is fairly easy to describe.  At the top, you have the Afghan government leaders that report to the 'President'.  Below them you have an array of smaller groups spread out throughout the country that represent the subordinate officials -- governors or provincial chiefs of police (once again the word 'police' here is used very loosely like in Nigeria).  Then at the bottom you have the people of Afghanistan.  In this setup, the government's main role is to provide two things, first, unrestrained permission to subordinates to extract wealth and resources for gain in any way possible (as long as they pay their due up the chain), and second, protection from repercussions. [51]  In other words, the government is actually a crime syndicate in disguise, the kind that would make Al Capone jealous.

    • Sarah Chayes, in her book Thieves of State, describes this system perfectly, she writes: "The whole system depended on faithful discharge, by senior officials, of their duty to protect their subordinates. The implicit contract held, much as it does within the Mafia, no matter how inconsequential the subordinate might be. Every level paid the level above, and the men at the top had to extend their protection right to the bottom." [ibid]


  • As far as actual "governing" is concerned, the government purposely leaves the east of the country for the U.S. (where the US military is busy hunting Taliban), because the Afghan government's only concern is siphoning the country's riches, that's why most of their operations are based around Kandahar, a city situated in the heart of the opium fields, near billions of dollars’ worth of minerals (marble, alabaster, iron, etc...), and a major node of entry into southern Afghanistan and trade routes. [ibid]

  • In Afghanistan, the people/farmers don't grow poppy because they want to, or because of Taliban coercion, or because the price of poppy pays more (growing pomegranate and apricot sells higher than poppy), it's because the 'corrupt government' doesn't help farmers with credit for equipment to grow fruit or assistance in the event of a drought.  Rather the government allows the opium dealers to come in and provide loans in exchange for payment in opium (for a cut to the 'government' of course).  [ibid]

  • In case you are wondering, this gangster Afghan government is drowning in IMF & World Bank loans, because the US must support their creation.  In fact, a September 2016 report by the U.S. special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction (SIGAR) "strongly criticized Washington for pouring billions of dollars into Afghanistan with so little oversight that it fueled a culture of rampant corruption". [52]

  • An outsider might see a failing state here, failing because the average person is poor and the leaders are obviously corrupt, but it's the opposite.  This setup is technically serving its purpose: it has very little if anything to do with governing, it's enriching the ruling clique, and it's allowing the US with its companies and military to do whatever it wants. [53]

Exa: #5:  Similarities Across all 'corrupt governments'

  • It goes without saying, that the gap between the rich (those connected to the 'government') and the poor in these countries is enormous!  That's why these countries have constant protests, but just to be clear, it's not simply poverty pushing people over the edge, it's poverty with acute injustice and a lack of dignity imposed on people by these ‘corrupt governments’ [54]

  • In order to get a good paying job in these countries, like a secure 'government' job, you must be part of one of the big families connected to the 'government', and likewise, even a private sector job with one of the international corporations is hard to find. Companies usually only hire from within the connected families because these companies plan on breaking the law and looting too. [ibid]

    • Which explains why it's so hard to find honest people to serve in these "governments".  Since these installed governments are really criminals and thieves, the system self-selects for criminality.  Violation of the law turns into a rite of passage and it is rewarded.

  • As far as the “Armies” of these countries, their role is NOT to defend the country's borders or to help in the times of natural disasters.  Their roles are to protect big business, build mansions for the generals, facilitate the corruption, and silence the people. [ibid]

  • Another common theme is the corruption country’s infrastructure industries, or the lack thereof.  For example, if the country needs a bridge or public housing or a road, they get the money for these types of projects from World Bank loans, then the government auctions off the project to the lowest bidder, of course for half the money that was originally allocated/loaned, because the other half goes into their pockets.   The winning bidder then sells off some of the project, if not all, to further lower bidders, resulting in more people taking a cut of the original funds.  Finally, the winning bidder at the end of the chain has used the cheapest materials possible because barely any money is left and to cut costs, usually brings in their own labor, so no jobs were even created(this is especially common practice when the winning bidder is a Chinese company). The result is a poorly built project just to pacify and silence the people. [55]

  • When thugs control the country, nothing is off limits.  Besides the usually wealth being sucked out and sold-off, and the more common extortion and bribe tactics imposed on the people, dark underground industries are allowed and encouraged to prosper as well.  Industries such as human trafficking, sex slavery (which is foolishly called "sex tourism" in the media), regular slave labor, and child workers are a big source of income in many of these 'corrupt governments'. [56]
  • In majority Muslim countries, these corrupt governments are extra harsh to any Muslim that dares speaks against this corruption.  There’s a commonly known cliché in these countries: “The pen is more dangerous than a gun”.  In other words, the jails in these countries are full of peaceful Muslim activists, whose only crime is speaking (publicly or privately) about the corruption.  And the word jail is not like you see on an episode of “Locked Up”.  These jails are underground medieval torture facilities, designed to strike fear into the population.  [57]
  • The biggest gangster of all is the finance departments.  These governments use audits to subjugate the people.  Nonpayment of taxes is used as a kind of welfare program to secure obedience, or to punish someone who grew to be too independent. Essentially this results in every business having to pay a kickback to operate.  If a business hesitates, someone in 'the family’ is sent to attack.  If you as a business owner refuse, they get your loans called in, or cancel your permits, or audit your taxes, or just flat out close your business. [58]  But worst of all is how these 'government' leaders misappropriate funds.  Just Google the Kabul Bank scandal of 2010 where over $925 million dollars of people's deposits just went missing [59], or look up the 2015 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal were more than $3.5 Billion in funds went missing [60], or simply search "corruption'"and "developing world" online, because the examples are endless.

  • To make matters worse, technology (in particularly remote areas) has empowered and strengthened these Kleptocratic governments.  The top now monitors the bottom to ensure the corruption is maximized. [61]
  • Paying bribes is an unfortunate part of life under these types of governments.  In a 2016 survey conducted by Transparency International, they generated 11,000 individual responses across nine countries (Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Sudan, Tunisia and Yeman), in which they found that
"One in every three adults had paid a bribe in return for an ostensibly free public service.  One in three had paid at a court. One in four to a police officer. One in five reported doing so to a higher authority, but of them, almost half said they feared retaliation.”  The report goes on to say that “the persistence of corruption and bribery in the region is a testament to its history of repressive governments, often installed by foreign powers, which were more concerned with maintaining power and stability than creating structures of legal accountability” [62]

To recap...

In the past, Western European countries would get the resources they desired by directly invading, conquering, and ruling a weaker area (old school colonization).  The result was always the destruction of the local culture, deaths of thousands upon thousands of people, and the ruling invaders would take everything they wanted.
Unfortunately, today the story is not very different.  Powerful countries use their enormous wealth, influence, intelligence, and military superiority to “intervene” (instead of invade) into the affairs of a weaker countries that are rich in the resources they desire and indirectly sway the country by proxy (new school colonization).  The end result is similar: the local cultures are still in ruin and in some cases worse off because now that they’re being bombarded by more corrosive ideas such as nationalism, liberalism, feminism, etc..  Thousands upon thousands of deaths still occur, and the powerful country that sponsors this method just “buys” (instead of takes) anything they want.
The US has given the world many amazing things; unbelievable achievements in science, media, and technology just to name a few.  But instead of using the tremendous competitive advantage they gained post World War II to rid the world of oppressive and unnecessary colonial practices, the US just re-wrote the formula that all powers now use (in their favor of course).

So What?  What can be done? What Can We Do?

We here at iSiyasah.com don’t claim to have all the answers, on the other hand we do believe that Muslims (along with all others interested on this issue) are in dire need of at least small intellectual steps towards revival.  For starters we would humbly propose the following:


Education/Political Literacy:  As the saying goes, “it’s better to know than to not know.” The main objective of this analysis was knowledge.  The more we know about our history, the more we study our Islamic literature, the more we keep up with current news events, only then can any of this knowledge lead to positive intellectual revival.


-Delegitimize Ruling Cliques:  Clarify to people that the leadership in these countries is not politically legitimate. Knowing what we now know about the elites that oversee these Muslim majority countries (i.e. Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, etc.) we all need to mentally detach ourselves from these people.  The essential point here is that, they are not 'our' leaders, they just happened to be the viceroys and gangsters put in charge now. This means that when they speak, we know it’s nonsense, when they organize their fake rallies in their favor, we don’t attend, when one of their “representatives” visits our areas, we don’t honor them, but rather call out their corruption and their role in corrupt systems of governance and exploitation.


-Defang Nationalism:  This is a big topic in and of itself, but if you really strip it down to its core, the poison that is nationalism is not that complicated.  Think about it.  If we mentally reject the people that were put in power by this corruption formula, then by extension we must mentally reject everything they stand for and stand on.  Which means we don’t fly or represent the flags that they’ve given to us, we shouldn’t sing their patriotic national anthems, and we should abstain from proudly labelling ourselves x, y, or z.  These labels and flags were designed to separate us; you know the old political proverb…divide and conquer.


-Suspend Naivety:  Collectively Muslims need to get smarter about how the world actually works.  For instance, next time you hear the slogans that the United States is the “beacon of hope for the world”, you should question this publicly with others.  Or when you read the word “foreign aid” in the news, you must ask yourself and try to investigate as to what strings are attached or deals are going to be made for that aid? Don’t simply accept half truths and learn to look deeper behind slogans.  


-Interaction: These corrupt governments and their donors depend on our constant state of ignorance to keep the formula in operation so as to keep the money flowing. Therefore, at the very least try to raise and spread awareness among your circle of family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues.  Share this analysis and make it a point of discussion to try to get people to see that corruption is not simply an individual failing but is an entire profitable group enterprise, one that relies on fear and ignorance of its existence to keep going.  With increased knowledge and awareness try to make people realize that another world outside of this systematic corruption is possible.  


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