Letter to the ISI on Greek statistics

To the president of the International Statistical Institute (ISI)
Dr. Jae C. Lee
CC. Zoe Georganta, Nikolaos Logothetis, Andreas Georgiou, Hallgrimur Snorrason

Dear dr. Lee,

I read the letter by Georganta and Logothetis at http://www.zoe-georganta.co.uk.

This is getting complex. It indeed seems that ISI gets its main information from mr. Snorrason, vice-president of the ISI, so that the complaint by Georganta and Logothetis is correct in that respect.

It remains unclear what actually happened with the Greek statistics of 2009. Here are my own questions: https://boycottholland.wordpress.com/2012/02/19/dutch-censorship-versus-greek-statistics/

(It so happens that ISI is located in The Hague, but I advise to a boycott of Holland till the censorship of economic science there is resolved. See above link too.)

Eurostat observes an improvement in the quality of the statistics, but Georganta points to a disaster at the current population census, see her website for that other document. If there is chaos in Greek statistics then some can argue that only the EU and IMF can help out. There is some indication from the world of environmental statistics that dr Walter Radermacher, now at Eurostat, did not understand the distinction between science and politics, see http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/12690/

If this issue is not resolved in a decent manner, it will generate miscomprehension amongst our fellow scientists and likely also the general public. It is too simple to leave the investigation to the Greek justice system, since people might look at it wearily. Even Eurostat in 2003 had its own fraud case.

Thus, I propose that ISI sets up a five day conference in Athens, with ISI members attending, supported by interpreters and film makers, with trained interrogators and assistance from Interpol, and with reporters from the NY Times, where the main actors can say what they want to say, produce the relevant powerpoint presentations and documents, and where witnesses are heard, including professors from the various universities, all under oath and with legal protection.

Since ISI is confident that Georgiou and Snorrason are on the right track, you would not mind such a procedure, and might only consider it superfluous. But it would be very important for Statistics, and I hope that you will recognize that.

Sincerely yours,

Thomas Cool / Thomas Colignatus
Econometrician and teacher of mathematics
Consultant to the EU anti fraud unit UCLAF / OLAF in 1993

PS. After sending this email I noticed that Georgiou has studied ways to profit from surprise data, see A.V. Georgiou, “Excessive Lending, Leverage, and Risk-Taking in the Presence of Bailout Expectations“, IMF WP/09/233, 2009. Studying this can be done with full integrity and is necessary to take measures against it. But it adds to the questions that can be asked.

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