Archive for the ‘Irregular warfare’ Category

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US games with China pipelines

August 18, 2009


I am appalled at the mentality of Americans and the English when they are asked a question about why their countries are sending troups to Afghanistan. It seems that few have even a vague notion of why this expensive military invasion persists. Even more appalling is the Western media reports that purport to explain what is happening in China’s Xinjiang province. I refer here to the recent regional disturbance between the Uygurs and Han people in Xinjiang.

Western media would have one believe this civil unrest is the result of Chinese communist dictators squelching the rights of outlying indigenous peoples. Of course, one expects nothing less of Western media journalism which supports the farcical notion of democracy of the West spread to the lucky countries of Asia and the Mideast.

Yet the real story of the conflicts in this outlying area of China may be quite different than the mainstream media insinuates. As with many other sensationalist propaganda from the West, the essential detail of energy pipeline politics is omitted from the front page analysis.

Below, F. William Engdahl, one of my favorite economists, has a more rational explanation for the civil unrest in Xinjiang recently…one that details the energy pipeline concerns of the U.S. in constraining the unstoppable Sino/Soviet alliance of providing energy to Europe and Asia. Indeed, all conflicts now about ‘democracy’ can be re-interpreted as ‘oiligarchic’ concerns.

Is Washington Playing a Deeper Game with China?


by F. William Engdahl
author of Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order
July 13, 2009
Source

July 12 —After the tragic events of July 5 in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China, it would be useful to look more closely into the actual role of the US Government’s ”independent“ NGO, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). All indications are that the US Government, once more acting through its “private” Non-Governmental Organization, the NED, is massively intervening into the internal politics of China.

The reasons for Washington’s intervention into Xinjiang affairs seems to have little to do with concerns over alleged human rights abuses by Beijing authorities against Uyghur people. It seems rather to have very much to do with the strategic geopolitical location of Xinjiang on the Eurasian landmass and its strategic importance for China’s future economic and energy cooperation with Russia, Kazakhastan and other Central Asia states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

The major organization internationally calling for protests in front of Chinese embassies around the world is the Washington, D.C.-based World Uyghur Congress (WUC).

The WUC manages to finance a staff, a very fancy website in English, and has a very close relation to the US Congress-funded NED. According to published reports by the NED itself, the World Uyghur Congress receives $215,000.00 annually from the National Endowment for Democracy for “human rights research and advocacy projects.” The president of the WUC is an exile Uyghur who describes herself as a “laundress turned millionaire,” Rebiya Kadeer, who also serves as president of the Washington D.C.-based Uyghur American Association, another Uyghur human rights organization which receives significant funding from the US Government via the National Endowment for Democracy.

The NED was intimately involved in financial support to various organizations behind the Lhasa ”Crimson Revolution“ in March 2008, as well as the Saffron Revolution in Burma/Myanmar and virtually every regime change destabilization in eastern Europe over the past years from Serbia to Georgia to Ukraine to Kyrgystan to Teheran in the aftermath of the recent elections.

Allen Weinstein, who helped draft the legislation establishing NED, was quite candid when he said in a published interview in 1991: “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.”

The NED is supposedly a private, non-government, non-profit foundation, but it receives a yearly appropriation for its international work from the US Congress. The NED money is channelled through four “core foundations”. These are the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, linked to Obama’s Democratic Party; the International Republican Institute tied to the Republican Party; the American Center for International Labor Solidarity linked to the AFL-CIO US labor federation as well as the US State Department; and the Center for International Private Enterprise linked to the US Chamber of Commerce.

The salient question is what has the NED been actively doing that might have encouraged the unrest in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, and what is the Obama Administration policy in terms of supporting or denouncing such NED-financed intervention into sovereign politics of states which Washington deems a target for pressure? The answers must be found soon, but one major step to help clarify Washington policy under the new Obama Administration would be for a full disclosure by the NED, the US State Department and NGO’s linked to the US Government, of their involvement, if at all, in encouraging Uyghur separatism or unrest. Is it mere coincidence that the Uyghur riots take place only days following the historic meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization?

Uyghur exile organizations, China and Geopolitics

On May 18 this year, the US-government’s in-house “private” NGO, the NED, according to the official WUC website, hosted a seminal human rights conference entitled East Turkestan: 60 Years under Communist Chinese Rule, along with a curious NGO with the name, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO).

The Honorary President and founder of the UNPO is one Erkin Alptekin, an exile Uyghur who founded UNPO while working for the US Information Agency’s official propaganda organization, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty as Director of their Uygur Division and Assistant Director of the Nationalities Services.

Alptekin also founded the World Uyghur Congress at the same time, in 1991, while he was with the US Information Agency. The official mission of the USIA when Alptekin founded the World Uyghur Congress in 1991 was “to understand, inform, and influence foreign publics in promotion of the [USA] national interest…” Alptekin was the first president of WUC, and, according to the official WUC website, is a “close friend of the Dalai Lama.”

Closer examination reveals that UNPO in turn to be an American geopolitical strategist’s dream organization. It was formed, as noted, in 1991 as the Soviet Union was collapsing and most of the land area of Eurasia was in political and economic chaos. Since 2002 its Director General has been Archduke Karl von Habsburg of Austria who lists his (unrecognized by Austria or Hungary) title as “Prince Imperial of Austria and Royal Prince of Hungary.”

Among the UNPO principles is the right to ‘self-determination’ for the 57 diverse population groups who, by some opaque process not made public, have been admitted as official UNPO members with their own distinct flags, with a total population of some 150 million peoples and headquarters in the Hague, Netherlands.

UNPO members range from Kosovo which “joined” when it was fully part of then Yugoslavia in 1991. It includes the “Aboriginals of Australia” who were listed as founding members along with Kosovo. It includes the Buffalo River Dene Nation indians of northern Canada.

The select UNPO members also include Tibet which is listed as a founding member. It also includes other explosive geopolitical areas as the Crimean Tartars, the Greek Minority in Romania, the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (in Russia), the Democratic Movement of Burma, and the gulf enclave adjacent to Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and which just happens to hold rights to some of the world’s largest offshore oil fields leased to Condi Rice’s old firm, Chevron Oil. Further geopolitical hotspots which have been granted elite recognition by the UNPO membership include the large section of northern Iran which designates itself as Southern Azerbaijan, as well as something that calls itself Iranian Kurdistan.

In April 2008 according to the website of the UNPO, the US Congress’ NED sponsored a “leadership training” seminar for the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) together with the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization. Over 50 Uyghurs from around the world together with prominent academics, government representatives and members of the civil society gathered in Berlin Germany to discuss “Self-Determination under International Law.” What they discussed privately is not known. Rebiya Kadeer gave the keynote address.

The suspicious timing of the Xinjiang riots

The current outbreak of riots and unrest in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang in the northwest part of China, exploded on July 5 local time.

According to the website of the World Uyghur Congress, the “trigger” for the riots was an alleged violent attack on June 26 in China’s southern Guangdong Province at a toy factory where the WUC alleges that Han Chinese workers attacked and beat to death two Uyghur workers for allegedly raping or sexually molesting two Han Chinese women workers in the factory. On July 1, the Munich arm of the WUC issued a worldwide call for protest demonstrations against Chinese embassies and consulates for the alleged Guangdong attack, despite the fact they admitted the details of the incident were unsubstantiated and filled with allegations and dubious reports.

According to a press release they issued, it was that June 26 alleged attack that gave the WUC the grounds to issue their worldwide call to action.

On July 5, a Sunday in Xinjiang but still the USA Independence Day, July 4, in Washington, the WUC in Washington claimed that Han Chinese armed soldiers seized any Uyghur they found on the streets and according to official Chinese news reports, widespread riots and burning of cars along the streets of Urumqi broke out resulting over the following three days in over 140 deaths.

China’s official Xinhua News Agency said that protesters from the Uighur Muslim ethnic minority group began attacking ethnic Han pedestrians, burning vehicles and attacking buses with batons and rocks. “They took to the street…carrying knives, wooden batons, bricks and stones,” they cited an eyewitness as saying. The French AFP news agency quoted Alim Seytoff, general secretary of the Uighur American Association in Washington, that according to his information, police had begun shooting “indiscriminately” at protesting crowds.

Two different versions of the same events: The Chinese government and pictures of the riots indicate it was Uyghur riot and attacks on Han Chinese residents that resulted in deaths and destruction. French official reports put the blame on Chinese police “shooting indiscriminately.” Significantly, the French AFP report relies on the NED-funded Uyghur American Association of Rebiya Kadeer for its information. The reader should judge if the AFP account might be motivated by a US geopolitical agenda, a deeper game from the Obama Administration towards China’s economic future.

Is it merely coincidence that the riots in Xinjiang by Uyghur organizations broke out only days after the meeting took place in Yakaterinburg, Russia of the member nations of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, as well as Iran as official observer guest, represented by President Ahmadinejad?

Over the past few years, in the face of what is seen as an increasingly hostile and incalculable United States foreign policy, the major nations of Eurasia—China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan have increasingly sought ways of direct and more effective cooperation in economic as well as security areas. In addition, formal Observer status within SCO has been given to Iran, Pakistan, India and Mongolia. The SCO defense ministers are in regular and growing consultation on mutual defense needs, as NATO and the US military command continue provocatively to expand across the region wherever it can.

The Strategic Importance of Xinjiang for Eurasian Energy Infrastructure

There is another reason for the nations of the SCO, a vital national security element, to having peace and stability in China’s Xinjiang region. Some of China’s most important oil and gas pipeline routes pass directly through Xinjiang province. Energy relations between Kazkhstan and China are of enormous strategic importance for both countries, and allow China to become less dependent on oil supply sources that can be cut off by possible US interdiction should relations deteriorate to such a point.

Kazak President Nursultan Nazarbayev paid a State visit in April 2009 to Beijing. The talks concerned deepening economic cooperation, above all in the energy area, where Kazkhastan holds huge reserves of oil and likely as well of natural gas. After the talks in Beijing, Chinese media carried articles with such titles as “”Kazakhstani oil to fill in the Great Chinese pipe.”

The Atasu-Alashankou pipeline to be completed in 2009 will provide transportation of transit gas to China via Xinjiang. As well Chinese energy companies are involved in construction of a Zhanazholskiy gas processing plant, Pavlodar electrolyze plant and Moynakskaya hydro electric station in Kazakhstan.

According to the US Government’s Energy Information Administration, Kazakhstan’s Kashagan field is the largest oil field outside the Middle East and the fifth largest in the world in terms of reserves, located off the northern shore of the Caspian Sea, near the city of Atyrau. China has built a 613-mile-long pipeline from Atasu, in northwestern Kazakhstan, to Alashankou at the border of China’s Xinjiang region which is exporting Caspian oil to China. PetroChina’s ChinaOil is the exclusive buyer of the crude oil on the Chinese side. The pipeline is a joint venture of CNPC and Kaztransoil of Kazkhstan. Some 85,000 bbl/d of Kazakh crude oil flowed through the pipeline during 2007. China’s CNPC is also involved in other major energy projects with Kazkhstan. They all traverse China’s Xinjiang region.

In 2007 CNPC signed an agreement to invest more than $2 billion to construct a natural gas pipeline from Turkmenistan through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to China. That pipeline would start at Gedaim on the border of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and extend 1,100 miles through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to Khorgos in China’s Xinjiang region. Turkmenistan and China have signed a 30-year supply agreement for the gas that would fill the pipeline. CNPC has set up two entities to oversee the Turkmen upstream project and the development of a second pipeline that will cross China from the Xinjiang region to southeast China at a cost of some $7 billion.

As well, Russia and China are discussing major natural gas pipelines from eastern Siberia through Xinjiang into China. Eastern Siberia contains around 135 Trillion cubic feet of proven plus probable natural gas reserves. The Kovykta natural gas field could give China with natural gas in the next decade via a proposed pipeline.

During the current global economic crisis, Kazakhstan received a major credit from China of $10 billion, half of which is for oil and gas sector. The oil pipeline Atasu-Alashankou and the gas pipeline China-Central Asia, are an instrument of strategic ‘linkage’ of central Asian countries to the economy China. That Eurasian cohesion from Russia to China across Central Asian countries is the geopolitical cohesion Washington most fears. While they would never say so, growing instability in Xinjiang would be an ideal way for Washington to weaken that growing cohesion of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization nations.

Copyright © 2009 F. William Engdahl

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Rationalisations of the torturers

June 13, 2009

How do ordinary people come to justify torture?  It is impressive to read something written in 2000 that so accurately predicts events in 2009.  It would be a fair guess that these ‘predictions’ also describe many other countries besides Great Britain in 1971…i.e. the Bush Thugs in 2009.  I have edited the article to emphasize the principal thrusts of justification for torture.  Read the entire article here.

Unspeakable Acts, Ordinary People

by John Conroy
University of California Press, 2000, paper
Source
… It takes no genius to see a pattern … and that pattern is repeated throughout the world: torturers are rarely punished, and when they are, the punishment rarely corresponds to the severity of the crime.

When a dictatorship is overthrown by a democratic regime, torture squads typically elude punishment because the new government is not entirely secure.

Furthermore, it is often difficult to mount an effective prosecution. Torture usually occurs in a closed room without independent witnesses. Sometimes the victims have been blindfolded or they are dead..

A prosecutor’s task is made more difficult by the fact that torturers are often decorated soldiers or policemen who have served their country in time of need, men who often represent popular belief: they were tough on crime, or they were saving the country from subversion or immorality….

Consider, for example, the British reaction to the revelations that they were torturing the Northern Irish in 197I.

The first stage of response was absolute and complete denial, accompanied by attacks on those who exposed the treatment. Northern Irish Prime Minister Brian Faulkner announced that there had been “no brutality of any kind.”

The London Sunday Times was denounced for printing “the fantasies of terrorists.”

The second stage was to minimize the abuse….

A third stage is to disparage the victims. Lord Carrington judged them to be “thugs and murderers,” while Reginald Maulding proclaimed, “It was necessary to take measures to fight terrorists, the murderous enemy….
A fourth stage is to justify the treatment on the grounds that it was effective or appropriate under the circumstances. Lord Balniel, junior minister of defense, said that there was no evidence of torture, ill-treatment, or brainwashing, and that the methods employed had produced “invaluable” information about a brutal, callous, and barbaric enemy.

A fifth component of a torturing society’s defense is to charge that those who take up the cause of those tortured are aiding the enemies of the state….

A sixth defense is that the torture is no longer occurring, and anyone who raises the issue is therefore “raking up the past.”…

A seventh component of a torturing bureaucracy is to put the blame on a few bad apples….

A final rationalization of a torturing nation is that the victims will get over it.
It is perhaps understandable that public officials accused of a crime as heinous as torture would react defensively and follow a predictable route of denial. What is perhaps more difficult to understand is the rampant indifference that grips most societies in the face of revelations of torture.

Does this sound uncomfortably current?

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Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

January 25, 2009

Anyone who sees the world in terms of ‘we’ the good guys and ‘them’ the bad guys will be shocked at the history of the USA told by a man who was hired to create it. The book has been out since 2004 tho I have just stumbled on it. Real life – more shocking than fiction. Following is an interview with John Perkins, the author, and if you prefer video you will find it here.
Book Review
Comments by Greg Palast

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man:How the U.S. Uses Globalization to
Cheat Poor Countries Out of Trillions

Source
We speak with John Perkins, a former respected member of the international banking community. In his book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man he describes how as a highly paid professional, he helped the U.S. cheat poor countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars by lending them more money than they could possibly repay and then take over their economies.

John Perkins describes himself as a former economic hit man–a highly paid professional who cheated countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars.

20 years ago Perkins began writing a book with the working title, “Conscience of an Economic Hit Men.”

Perkins writes, “The book was to be dedicated to the presidents of two countries, men who had been his clients whom I respected and thought of as kindred spirits–Jaime Roldós, president of Ecuador, and Omar Torrijos, president of Panama. Both had just died in fiery crashes. Their deaths were not accidental. They were assassinated because they opposed that fraternity of corporate, government, and banking heads whose goal is global empire. We Economic Hit Men failed to bring Roldós and Torrijos around, and the other type of hit men, the CIA-sanctioned jackals who were always right behind us, stepped in.

John Perkins goes on to write: “I was persuaded to stop writing that book. I started it four more times during the next twenty years. On each occasion, my decision to begin again was influenced by current world events: the U.S. invasion of Panama in 1980, the first Gulf War, Somalia, and the rise of Osama bin Laden. However, threats or bribes always convinced me to stop.”

But now Perkins has finally published his story. The book is titled Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. John Perkins joins us now in our Firehouse studios.

* John Perkins, from 1971 to 1981 he worked for the international consulting firm of Chas T. Main where he was a self-described “economic hit man.” He is the author of the new book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.

Transcript of Interview

AMY GOODMAN: John Perkins joins us now in our firehouse studio. Welcome to Democracy Now!

JOHN PERKINS: Thank you, Amy. It’s great to be here.

AMY GOODMAN: It’s good to have you with us. Okay, explain this term, “economic hit man,” e.h.m., as you call it.

JOHN PERKINS: Basically what we were trained to do and what our job is to do is to build up the American empire. To bring—to create situations where as many resources as possible flow into this country, to our corporations, and our government, and in fact we’ve been very successful. We’ve built the largest empire in the history of the world. It’s been done over the last 50 years since World War II with very little military might, actually. It’s only in rare instances like Iraq where the military comes in as a last resort. This empire, unlike any other in the history of the world, has been built primarily through economic manipulation, through cheating, through fraud, through seducing people into our way of life, through the economic hit men. I was very much a part of that.

AMY GOODMAN: How did you become one? Who did you work for?

JOHN PERKINS: Well, I was initially recruited while I was in business school back in the late sixties by the National Security Agency, the nation’s largest and least understood spy organization; but ultimately I worked for private corporations. The first real economic hit man was back in the early 1950’s, Kermit Roosevelt, the grandson of Teddy, who overthrew of government of Iran, a democratically elected government, Mossadegh’s government who was Time‘s magazine person of the year; and he was so successful at doing this without any bloodshed—well, there was a little bloodshed, but no military intervention, just spending millions of dollars and replaced Mossadegh with the Shah of Iran. At that point, we understood that this idea of economic hit man was an extremely good one. We didn’t have to worry about the threat of war with Russia when we did it this way. The problem with that was that Roosevelt was a C.I.A. agent. He was a government employee. Had he been caught, we would have been in a lot of trouble. It would have been very embarrassing. So, at that point, the decision was made to use organizations like the C.I.A. and the N.S.A. to recruit potential economic hit men like me and then send us to work for private consulting companies, engineering firms, construction companies, so that if we were caught, there would be no connection with the government.

AMY GOODMAN: Okay. Explain the company you worked for.

JOHN PERKINS: Well, the company I worked for was a company named Chas. T. Main in Boston, Massachusetts. We were about 2,000 employees, and I became its chief economist. I ended up having fifty people working for me. But my real job was deal-making. It was giving loans to other countries, huge loans, much bigger than they could possibly repay. One of the conditions of the loan—let’s say a $1 billion to a country like Indonesia or Ecuador—and this country would then have to give ninety percent of that loan back to a U.S. company, or U.S. companies, to build the infrastructure—a Halliburton or a Bechtel. These were big ones. Those companies would then go in and build an electrical system or ports or highways, and these would basically serve just a few of the very wealthiest families in those countries. The poor people in those countries would be stuck ultimately with this amazing debt that they couldn’t possibly repay. A country today like Ecuador owes over fifty percent of its national budget just to pay down its debt. And it really can’t do it. So, we literally have them over a barrel. So, when we want more oil, we go to Ecuador and say, “Look, you’re not able to repay your debts, therefore give our oil companies your Amazon rain forest, which are filled with oil.” And today we’re going in and destroying Amazonian rain forests, forcing Ecuador to give them to us because they’ve accumulated all this debt. So we make this big loan, most of it comes back to the United States, the country is left with the debt plus lots of interest, and they basically become our servants, our slaves. It’s an empire. There’s no two ways about it. It’s a huge empire. It’s been extremely successful.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. You say because of bribes and other reason you didn’t write this book for a long time. What do you mean? Who tried to bribe you, or who—what are the bribes you accepted?

JOHN PERKINS: Well, I accepted a half a million dollar bribe in the nineties not to write the book.

AMY GOODMAN: From?

JOHN PERKINS: From a major construction engineering company.

AMY GOODMAN: Which one?

JOHN PERKINS: Legally speaking, it wasn’t—Stoner-Webster. Legally speaking it wasn’t a bribe, it was—I was being paid as a consultant. This is all very legal. But I essentially did nothing. It was a very understood, as I explained in Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, that it was—I was—it was understood when I accepted this money as a consultant to them I wouldn’t have to do much work, but I mustn’t write any books about the subject, which they were aware that I was in the process of writing this book, which at the time I called “Conscience of an Economic Hit Man.” And I have to tell you, Amy, that, you know, it’s an extraordinary story from the standpoint of—It’s almost James Bondish, truly, and I mean-–

AMY GOODMAN: Well that’s certainly how the book reads.

JOHN PERKINS: Yeah, and it was, you know? And when the National Security Agency recruited me, they put me through a day of lie detector tests. They found out all my weaknesses and immediately seduced me. They used the strongest drugs in our culture, sex, power and money, to win me over. I come from a very old New England family, Calvinist, steeped in amazingly strong moral values. I think I, you know, I’m a good person overall, and I think my story really shows how this system and these powerful drugs of sex, money and power can seduce people, because I certainly was seduced. And if I hadn’t lived this life as an economic hit man, I think I’d have a hard time believing that anybody does these things. And that’s why I wrote the book, because our country really needs to understand, if people in this nation understood what our foreign policy is really about, what foreign aid is about, how our corporations work, where our tax money goes, I know we will demand change.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re talking to John Perkins. In your book, you talk about how you helped to implement a secret scheme that funneled billions of dollars of Saudi Arabian petrol dollars back into the U.S. economy, and that further cemented the intimate relationship between the House of Saud and successive U.S. administrations. Explain.

JOHN PERKINS: Yes, it was a fascinating time. I remember well, you’re probably too young to remember, but I remember well in the early seventies how OPEC exercised this power it had, and cut back on oil supplies. We had cars lined up at gas stations. The country was afraid that it was facing another 1929-type of crash—depression; and this was unacceptable. So, they—the Treasury Department hired me and a few other economic hit men. We went to Saudi Arabia. We—

AMY GOODMAN: You’re actually called economic hit men—e.h.m.’s?

JOHN PERKINS: Yeah, it was a tongue-in-cheek term that we called ourselves. Officially, I was a chief economist. We called ourselves e.h.m.‘s. It was tongue-in-cheek. It was like, nobody will believe us if we say this, you know? And, so, we went to Saudi Arabia in the early seventies. We knew Saudi Arabia was the key to dropping our dependency, or to controlling the situation. And we worked out this deal whereby the Royal House of Saud agreed to send most of their petro-dollars back to the United States and invest them in U.S. government securities. The Treasury Department would use the interest from these securities to hire U.S. companies to build Saudi Arabia—new cities, new infrastructure—which we’ve done. And the House of Saud would agree to maintain the price of oil within acceptable limits to us, which they’ve done all of these years, and we would agree to keep the House of Saud in power as long as they did this, which we’ve done, which is one of the reasons we went to war with Iraq in the first place. And in Iraq we tried to implement the same policy that was so successful in Saudi Arabia, but Saddam Hussein didn’t buy. When the economic hit men fail in this scenario, the next step is what we call the jackals. Jackals are C.I.A.-sanctioned people that come in and try to foment a coup or revolution. If that doesn’t work, they perform assassinations. or try to. In the case of Iraq, they weren’t able to get through to Saddam Hussein. He had—His bodyguards were too good. He had doubles. They couldn’t get through to him. So the third line of defense, if the economic hit men and the jackals fail, the next line of defense is our young men and women, who are sent in to die and kill, which is what we’ve obviously done in Iraq.

AMY GOODMAN: Can you explain how Torrijos died?

JOHN PERKINS: Omar Torrijos, the President of Panama. Omar Torrijos had signed the Canal Treaty with Carter much—and, you know, it passed our congress by only one vote. It was a highly contended issue. And Torrijos then also went ahead and negotiated with the Japanese to build a sea-level canal. The Japanese wanted to finance and construct a sea-level canal in Panama. Torrijos talked to them about this which very much upset Bechtel Corporation, whose president was George Schultz and senior council was Casper Weinberger. When Carter was thrown out (and that’s an interesting story—how that actually happened), when he lost the election, and Reagan came in and Schultz came in as Secretary of State from Bechtel, and Weinberger came from Bechtel to be Secretary of Defense, they were extremely angry at Torrijos—tried to get him to renegotiate the Canal Treaty and not to talk to the Japanese. He adamantly refused. He was a very principled man. He had his problem, but he was a very principled man. He was an amazing man, Torrijos. And so, he died in a fiery airplane crash, which was connected to a tape recorder with explosives in it, which—I was there. I had been working with him. I knew that we economic hit men had failed. I knew the jackals were closing in on him, and the next thing, his plane exploded with a tape recorder with a bomb in it. There’s no question in my mind that it was C.I.A. sanctioned, and most—many Latin American investigators have come to the same conclusion. Of course, we never heard about that in our country.

AMY GOODMAN: So, where—when did your change your heart happen?

JOHN PERKINS: I felt guilty throughout the whole time, but I was seduced. The power of these drugs, sex, power, and money, was extremely strong for me. And, of course, I was doing things I was being patted on the back for. I was chief economist. I was doing things that Robert McNamara liked and so on.

AMY GOODMAN: How closely did you work with the World Bank?

JOHN PERKINS: Very, very closely with the World Bank. The World Bank provides most of the money that’s used by economic hit men, it and the I.M.F. But when 9/11 struck, I had a change of heart. I knew the story had to be told because what happened at 9/11 is a direct result of what the economic hit men are doing. And the only way that we’re going to feel secure in this country again and that we’re going to feel good about ourselves is if we use these systems we’ve put into place to create positive change around the world. I really believe we can do that. I believe the World Bank and other institutions can be turned around and do what they were originally intended to do, which is help reconstruct devastated parts of the world. Help—genuinely help poor people. There are twenty-four thousand people starving to death every day. We can change that.

AMY GOODMAN: John Perkins, I want to thank you very much for being with us. John Perkins’ book is called, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.