Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Make The Pie Higher

This poem is composed entirely of actual quotes from George Bush.

I think we all agree, the past is over.
This is still a dangerous world.
It's a world of madmen and uncertainty
and potential mental losses.
Rarely is the question asked
Is our children learning?
Will the highways of the internet become more few?
How many hands have I shaked?
They misunderestimate me.
I am a pitbull on the pantleg of opportunity.
I know that the human being and the fish can coexist.
Families is where our nation finds hope,
where our wings take dream.
Put food on your family!
Knock down the tollbooth!
Vulcanize society!
Make the pie higher!
Make the pie higher!

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Monday, August 28, 2006


Endgame By Derrick Jensen

Premise One: Civilization is not and can never be sustainable. This is especially true for industrial civilization.

Premise Two: Traditional communities do not often voluntarily give up or sell the resources on which their communities are based until their communities have been destroyed. They also do not willingly allow their landbases to be damaged so that other resources—gold, oil, and so on—can be extracted. It follows that those who want the resources will do what they can to destroy traditional communities.

Premise Three: Our way of living—industrial civilization—is based on, requires, and would collapse very quickly without persistent and widespread violence.

Premise Four: Civilization is based on a clearly defined and widely accepted yet often unarticulated hierarchy. Violence done by those higher on the hierarchy to those lower is nearly always invisible, that is, unnoticed. When it is noticed, it is fully rationalized. Violence done by those lower on the hierarchy to those higher is unthinkable, and when it does occur is regarded with shock, horror, and the fetishization of the victims.

Premise Five: The property of those higher on the hierarchy is more valuable than the lives of those below. It is acceptable for those above to increase the amount of property they control—in everyday language, to make money—by destroying or taking the lives of those below. This is called production. If those below damage the property of those above, those above may kill or otherwise destroy the lives of those below. This is called justice.

Premise Six: Civilization is not redeemable. This culture will not undergo any sort of voluntary transformation to a sane and sustainable way of living. If we do not put a halt to it, civilization will continue to immiserate the vast majority of humans and to degrade the planet until it (civilization, and probably the planet) collapses. The effects of this degradation will continue to harm humans and nonhumans for a very long time.

Premise Seven: The longer we wait for civilization to crash—or the longer we wait before we ourselves bring it down—the messier will be the crash, and the worse things will be for those humans and nonhumans who live during it, and for those who come after.

Premise Eight: The needs of the natural world are more important than the needs of the economic system.Another way to put premise Eight: Any economic or social system that does not benefit the natural communities on which it is based is unsustainable, immoral, and stupid. Sustainability, morality, and intelligence (as well as justice) requires the dismantling of any such economic or social system, or at the very least disallowing it from damaging your landbase.

Premise Nine: Although there will clearly some day be far fewer humans than there are at present, there are many ways this reduction in population could occur (or be achieved, depending on the passivity or activity with which we choose to approach this transformation). Some of these ways would be characterized by extreme violence and privation: nuclear armageddon, for example, would reduce both population and consumption, yet do so horrifically; the same would be true for a continuation of overshoot, followed by crash. Other ways could be characterized by less violence. Given the current levels of violence by this culture against both humans and the natural world, however, it’s not possible to speak of reductions in population and consumption that do not involve violence and privation, not because the reductions themselves would necessarily involve violence, but because violence and privation have become the default. Yet some ways of reducing population and consumption, while still violent, would consist of decreasing the current levels of violence required, and caused by, the (often forced) movement of resources from the poor to the rich, and would of course be marked by a reduction in current violence against the natural world. Personally and collectively we may be able to both reduce the amount and soften the character of violence that occurs during this ongoing and perhaps longterm shift. Or we may not. But this much is certain: if we do not approach it actively—if we do not talk about our predicament and what we are going to do about it—the violence will almost undoubtedly be far more severe, the privation more extreme.

Premise Ten: The culture as a whole and most of its members are insane. The culture is driven by a death urge, an urge to destroy life.

Premise Eleven: From the beginning, this culture—civilization—has been a culture of occupation.

Premise Twelve: There are no rich people in the world, and there are no poor people. There are just people. The rich may have lots of pieces of green paper that many pretend are worth something—or their presumed riches may be even more abstract: numbers on hard drives at banks—and the poor may not. These “rich” claim they own land, and the “poor” are often denied the right to make that same claim. A primary purpose of the police is to enforce the delusions of those with lots of pieces of green paper. Those without the green papers generally buy into these delusions almost as quickly and completely as those with. These delusions carry with them extreme consequences in the real world.

Premise Thirteen: Those in power rule by force, and the sooner we break ourselves of illusions to the contrary, the sooner we can at least begin to make reasonable decisions about whether, when, and how we are going to resist.

Premise Fourteen: From birth on—and probably from conception, but I’m not sure how I’d make the case—we are individually and collectively enculturated to hate life, hate the natural world, hate the wild, hate wild animals, hate women, hate children, hate our bodies, hate and fear our emotions, hate ourselves. If we did not hate the world, we could not allow it to be destroyed before our eyes. If we did not hate ourselves, we could not allow our homes—and our bodies—to be poisoned.

Premise Fifteen: Love does not imply pacifism.

Premise Sixteen: The material world is primary. This does not mean that the spirit does not exist, nor that the material world is all there is. It means that spirit mixes with flesh. It means also that real world actions have real world consequences. It means we cannot rely on Jesus, Santa Claus, the Great Mother, or even the Easter Bunny to get us out of this mess. It means this mess really is a mess, and not just the movement of God’s eyebrows. It means we have to face this mess ourselves. It means that for the time we are here on Earth—whether or not we end up somewhere else after we die, and whether we are condemned or privileged to live here—the Earth is the point. It is primary. It is our home. It is everything. It is silly to think or act or be as though this world is not real and primary. It is silly and pathetic to not live our lives as though our lives are real.

Premise Seventeen: It is a mistake (or more likely, denial) to base our decisions on whether actions arising from these will or won’t frighten fence-sitters, or the mass of Americans.

Premise Eighteen: Our current sense of self is no more sustainable than our current use of energy or technology.

Premise Nineteen: The culture’s problem lies above all in the belief that controlling and abusing the natural world is justifiable.

Premise Twenty: Within this culture, economics—not community well-being, not morals, not ethics, not justice, not life itself—drives social decisions.Modification of Premise Twenty: Social decisions are determined primarily (and often exclusively) on the basis of whether these decisions will increase the monetary fortunes of the decision-makers and those they serve.

Re-modification of Premise Twenty: Social decisions are determined primarily (and often exclusively) on the basis of whether these decisions will increase the power of the decision-makers and those they serve.

Re-modification of Premise Twenty: Social decisions are founded primarily (and often exclusively) on the almost entirely unexamined belief that the decision-makers and those they serve are entitled to magnify their power and/or financial fortunes at the expense of those below.

Re-modification of Premise Twenty: If you dig to the heart of it—if there were any heart left—you would find that social decisions are determined primarily on the basis of how well these decisions serve the ends of controlling or destroying wild nature.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Disappearing Water

They serve a strong brew at the Alamo coffee-house in Presidio, a small farming town near the US-Mexican border. They need to. Times are tough, says Terry Bishop, looking up from his second mugful. This land, next to the Rio Grande in Texas, has probably been continuously farmed for longer than anywhere in America, he says. Six hundred years minimum. It has been home to scalp-hunters and a penal colony; it has seen Comanche raids, Spanish missionaries, marauding Mexican revolutionaries and a population boom during a recent aliens amnesty. All that time, it has been farmed. But soon it will be back to sagebrush and salt cedar. Climbing the levee by the river at the end of his last field, Bishop shows me the problem. The once mighty Rio Grande is now reduced to a sluggish brown trickle.

In its middle stretches, the river often dries up entirely in the summer. All the water has been taken out by cities and farmers upstream. "The river's been disappearing since the 50s," says Bishop, who has farmed here virtually all that time. There has not been a flood worthy of the name since 1978. For 300km upstream of Presidio, there is no proper channel any more, he says. They call it the forgotten river. Bishop's land brings with it legal rights to 10m cubic metres of water a year from the river - enough to flood his fields to a depth of more than a metre, enough to grow almost any crop he wants. But in recent years he has taken only a quarter of that. Even when he gets water, "it's too salty to grow anything much except alfalfa."

But that is all a bit academic now. Yields got so low that the farm went bust. Bishop lets some fields to tenants, but most of them lie idle these days. The land is gradually returning to desert. And Bishop drinks a lot of coffee. This is the way of things in Presidio. The town was once a major farming centre. It used to ship in thousands of Mexican workers to harvest its crops. Bishop's farm alone once employed 1,000 people. But that has all ended and the unemployment rate among the town's permanent residents is almost 40%.

The only profitable business now is desert tourism. An old silver mine a few miles up the road has been turned into a ghost town, and a fort at Cibolo Creek is now an upmarket resort attracting the likes of Mick Jagger. Harvesting tourists, that's the game now, says Bishop.

On the map, the Rio Grande is the fifth longest river in North America and among the 20 longest in the world. Its main stem stretches 3,000km (1,900 miles) from the snowfields of the Colorado Rockies to the Gulf of Mexico, via New Mexico and Texas. It drains one tenth of the continental US and more than two-fifths of Mexico. The hub of human exploitation of the Rio Grande is the Elephant Butte reservoir near El Paso in Texas (about 300km upstream of Presidio). It was built in 1915 and changed the river for ever. The wild, untamed flow - which obliterated villages and once rode right through downtown Albuquerque - was ended for good and its waters were corralled for irrigation.

Today, Elephant Butte and its downstream sister, the Caballo, all but empty the river to supply El Paso and nearby farmers. More than 9 million people in the basin rely on the Rio Grande's waters. But it is the farmers who make most use of it. Four-fifths of the water in the river is taken for irrigation - most of it to grow two of the thirstiest crops in the world: cotton and alfalfa, a grain fed to cattle. And the wastage is huge. Only about 40% of the water reaches the crops, while evaporation in the hot sun takes more than two metres of water a year from the reservoirs - a total of around 300m cubic metres from Elephant Butte alone.

Usually a trickle of water gets through to the sea. But since the mid-1990s, a decade during which drought has gripped the basin, the flow has been at record lows. In 2001, it ceased altogether. A sandbar 100m wide completely blocked off the river from the Gulf of Mexico. The bar lasted for five months before summer flows washed it away. And for much of the next two years it returned. You could drive a car across the beach between the US and Mexico. The Rio Grande had, literally, run into the sand.

Rivers so often define our world. Is there a better book about America than Huckleberry Finn's journey on the Mississippi? Is there a better way of seeing London than taking a boat down the Thames to Greenwich? Some of the greatest human adventures have been along rivers: up the Orinoco to find El Dorado; or the search for the source of the Nile. Millions of Indians keep bottles of Ganges water in their homes, like holy water. We romance on the Blue Danube and the Seine; and fight over the Jordan and the rivers of Babylon. Yet something disturbing is happening.

The maps in an atlas no longer accord with reality: inland seas and lakes are disappearing; the old geography lessons about how rivers emerged from mountains, gathered water from tributaries and finally disgorged their bloated flows into the oceans are now fiction. Some of the great rivers of the world are disappearing: the Nile in Egypt, the Yellow River in China, the Indus in Pakistan, the Colorado and Rio Grande in the US - all trickling into the sand, sometimes hundreds of miles from the sea. Few of us realise how much water it takes to get us through the day. On average, we drink around five litres of the stuff. Including water for washing and for flushing the toilet, western Europeans use only about 150 litres each. In some countries suburban lawn sprinklers, swimming pools and sundry outdoor uses can double that figure. Typical per-capita water use in suburban Australia is 350l and in the US around 400l.

We can all save water in the home. But laudable though it is to take a shower rather than a bath, put a brick in the lavatory cistern and turn off the tap while brushing our teeth, we shouldn't get hold of the idea that regular domestic water use is what is really emptying the world's rivers.
Manufacturing the goods that fill our homes consumes a certain amount, but that is not the real story either. It is only when we add in the water needed to grow what we eat and drink that the figures really begin to soar. The numbers are mind-boggling: it takes between 2,000 and 5,000l of water to grow one kilo of rice. That is more water than many households use in a week. For just a bag of rice.

It takes 1,000l to grow a kilo of wheat, and 500l for a kilo of potatoes. When you feed grain to livestock for animal products such as meat and milk, the figures become yet more startling. It takes 11,000l to grow the feed for enough cow to make a quarter-pound hamburger; and between2,000 and 4,000l for that cow to fill its udders with a litre of milk. Cheese? A kilo of cheddar or brie takes about 5,000l.

As a typical meat-eating, milk-guzzling westerner, I consume as much as a hundred times my own weight in water every day. It is time, surely, to preach the gospel of water conservation - but don't buy one of those T-shirts with jokey slogans such as "Save water - bath with a friend". Good message, but you could fill 25 bath tubs with the water needed to grow the 250 grams of cotton used to make the shirt. Globalised markets mean that whenever you buy a T-shirt made of Pakistani cotton, eat Thai rice or drink coffee from Central America, you are influencing the hydrology of those regions - taking a share of the river Indus, the Mekong or the Costa Rican rains. You may be helping rivers run dry. The consequences are with us already. Back in Texas, the El Paso Times regularly alerts readers to the days when they can use public water on lawns, and the days they can't.

Jittery suburbanites are repairing old wells in the hope of capturing some private water from beneath their land. And in the unplanned shanty-town "colonias", where many Mexicans end up after crossing the river, thousands of people live without access to piped water at all - and that is a shock to find in the US, even in the desert. El Paso is buying up properties from local farmers to bag their rights to underground water reserves. Its "water ranches" are dotted all along the highway to Presidio, to exploit the subterranean aquifers - natural reservoirs of water trapped between layers of rock. But water-ranching will be only a temporary solution. The region's major aquifer, which lies beneath a vast area of Texas, New Mexico and the Mexican Chihuahua desert, is rapidly running dry because there is not enough rain to replace what is pumped out.

According to Mary Kelly, a leading environmentalist campaigning to save the river, pumping out this underground water could trigger the final and irreversible desiccation of the landscape. "Most of the recharge for the aquifer comes from seepage from the canals supplying the farms - which ultimately means it comes from the Rio Grande."

Downstream of El Paso, the river becomes a dribble of sewage effluent disappearing into remote scrub most of the way to Presidio. Hydrologically speaking, the Rio Grande pretty much ends here. Beyond Presidio, the river winds through dramatic canyons in the Big Bend National Park. But the flow is small and muddy. "We get about a sixth of the historical flow here," Dave Elkovitz of the park authority told me. A couple of weeks before my visit, the river dried up here for the first time in more than 50 years. Stagnant pools of water evaporated, leaving dry gravel beds and thousands of dead catfish. Starved of food, a troop of black bears headed back to Mexico. "We have treaties for the river," said Elkovitz. "But they allocate more water than actually exists. What good is that?"

The main treaty, signed in 1944, requires that one-third of the water flowing into the Rio Grande from six Mexican tributaries, much the largest of which is the Rio Conchos, is allocated to the US. The US can dry up the Rio Grande at El Paso as much as it wants, but, come hell or low water, the Mexicans have to deliver that quota. The treaty might have been fine 60 years ago when the rains could be relied upon, but what it means now is that northern Mexico is littered with irrigation areas living on borrowed time and water they owe to Texas.

Today, these districts are engaged in a major modernisation process to save water. Engineers are busy lining canals to prevent water seeping out of their porous bottoms. And they are installing perforated rubber piping to get water right to the plant roots rather than flooding fields. This $130m programme is being paid for mainly by the US government: the aim is to save 350m cubic metres of water a year. That volume close to the amount that Mexico should be sending down the Rio Conchos into the Rio Grande each year under the treaty terms.

"The Americans will get what we save," said one official. It sounds like a win:win situation: the Mexican farmers, I was told, would get greater water security, while the US gets its missing water. But there is a fallacy here: the modernisation will not actually make more water, and most of the savings are not real savings. The seepage will stop, but, says Kelly, that only means the aquifer will no longer be replenished.

As the canal water has failed in recent years, many farmers have come to rely on pumping underground water. But most of the underground water in the wells comes from seepage from the canals and fields. If the seepage is cut, the wells will dry up. According to Kelly, the modernisation plan will only hasten the aquifer's demise. The local irrigation engineers, and the people funding their work, seemed unconcerned by this prospect. But the tragedy is that to meet their immediate obligations to deliver water to Texan farmers, the Mexicans risk the loss of their vital underground water reserves.

Thanks to global trade, this is a scenario being played out the world over. Economists call the water involved in the growing and manufacture of products "virtual water". Every tonne of wheat arriving at a dockside, for example, carries with it in virtual form the 1,000 tonnes water needed to grow it. The world's virtual water trade is estimated to amount to be about 1,000 cubic kilometres a year, or 20 river Niles. Of that, two-thirds is in a huge range of crops from grains to vegetable oil, sugar to cotton; quarter is in meat and dairy products; and just a tenth in industrial products. This trade "moves water in volumes and over distances beyond the wildest imaginings of water engineers," says Tony Allan of the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, who invented the term "virtual water".

This hidden water export business is laying the fuse for a hydrological time-bomb. Mexico's virtual-water exports are emptying its largest body of water, Lake Chapala, which is the main source of water for its second city, Guadalajara. But the biggest net exporter of virtual water the US. It exports around a third of all the water it takes out of the natural environment. Much of that is in grains, either directly or via meat. The US is emptying critical underground water reserves, such as those beneath the High Plains, to grow grain for export. It also exports an amazing 100 cubic kilometres of virtual water in beef. Once upon a time, it was the cattle drives that made the Rio Grande famous in scores of westerns. One day soon, the movie house may be the only place you can find the river at all.

[This is an edited extract from When Rivers Run Dry, by Fred Pearce, published by Eden Project Books]

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Saturday, August 19, 2006

Smoking Gun

Economic Hit Men

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 Mossad, the world'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 Mossad 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 Mossad 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.


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 Mossad 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 Mossad-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 Mossad 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 of 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.

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Saturday, August 05, 2006

Forever Young