2/16/2005

Putting the pieces together

John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, worked for years as chief economist at an international consulting firm in Boston called Chas. T. Main. His job was to persuade countries that are strategically important to the U.S. - such as Indonesia, Panama, Ecuador, Iran and Saudi Arabia – to accept enormous loans for infrastructure development and then to make sure the lucrative projects were contracted out to U.S. corporations. Saddled with huge debts they couldn't possibly repay, these countries came under the control of the U.S. government, the World Bank and other U.S.-dominated aid agencies that acted like loan sharks, dictating repayment terms and bullying foreign governments into submission.
Amy Goodman interview him on her Democracy Now radio show recently.
A couple of key excerpts:
"So, to make a long story short, we put together this deal whereby the House of Saud agreed to send most of their petro dollars, the money we paid for petroleum, back to the United States and invest it in U.S. securities. The interest from those securities would be dealt out by the treasury department to U.S. engineering construction firms to build Saudi Arabia in the Western image, to build huge cities out of the desert, which we've done – power plants, highways, McDonald's, the whole works – to make Saudi Arabia a very westernized country. And the House of Saud would guarantee to keep oil prices within limits acceptable to us, and we would guarantee to keep the House of Saud in power. And we have. All those things have followed since the early 1970s. The policy still holds. Even to the point where we know that the House of Saud supports Osama bin Laden, supported him at our encouragement, of course, in Afghanistan, continues to support him and a lot of terrorist movements."
...Iraq followed Saudi Arabia. After our tremendous success in Saudi Arabia, we decided we should do the same thing in Iraq. And we figured that Saddam Hussein was corruptible. And, of course, we had been involved with Saddam Hussein anyway for some time. And so the economic hit men went in and tried to bring Saddam Hussein around, tried to get him to agree to a deal like the royal House of Saud had agreed to. And he didn't. So, we sent in the jackals to try to overthrow him or to assassinate him. They couldn't. His Republican Guard was too loyal and he had all these doubles.
So, when the economic hit men and the jackals both failed, then the last line of defense that the United States, the empire, uses these days, is the military. We send in our young men and women to die and to kill, and we did that in Iraq in 1990. We thought Saddam Hussein at that point was sufficiently chastised that now he would come around, so the economic hit men went back in the 1990s, failed once again. The jackals went back in, failed once again, and so once again the military went in – the story we all know – because we couldn't bring him around any other way.
Iraq had become very, very important to us for many reasons. Its strategic location, the fact that it controls a great deal of the water of the Middle East, the Tigris and Euphrates both flow through and out of Iraq and, of course, its oil.
And now we're not so sure we can keep the House of Saud in control. It's become extremely unpopular amongst its own people. Over 100 assassinations this year. We've been recently reading about the U.S. Consulate being attacked in Saudi Arabia. The House of Saud is losing control. It's very unpopular, partly because it accepted this deal with the West. It did a lot like what the Shah of Iran has done. And Osama bin Laden, of course, is very against it. But so are a tremendous number of Muslims around the world. So we've been afraid that we're going to lose the grip on the House of Saud. One way to protect against that is by taking over Iraqi oil fields, which may be larger than those in Saudi Arabia.

You can read the whole interview through the link in the title.

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