This week we interviewed John Perkins, author, public speaker, and founder of two non-profit organizations, Dream Change and The Pachamama Alliance.
While working as Chief Economist for a consulting firm in the 1970s, Perkins advised the World Bank, United Nations, International Monetary Fund (IMF), U.S. Treasury Department, Fortune 500 corporations, and governments in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. When he realized he had become an 'economic hit man' playing a dishonorable role in the economic colonization of the world on behalf of elite multinational corporations, banks and the United States government, Perkins decided he wanted to become part of the solution, not the problem.
Perkins' book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man - published in over 30 languages, and selling over 1.2 million copies worldwide - is a startling first-hand exposé of international corruption on a gargantuan scale, while his Secret History of the American Empire, another New York Times bestseller, details the clandestine operations that created the world's first truly global empire.
Our guest's latest book, Hoodwinked: An Economic Hit Man Reveals Why the World Financial Markets Imploded - And How To Fix It, offers a blueprint for a new form of global economics, away from predatory capitalism and into an era more transformative than the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions.
Joe: Hi and welcome to SOTT Talk Radio. I'm Joe Quinn and with me in the studio this week are my co-hosts Niall Bradley,
Joe: Jason Martin and Pierre Lescaudron.
Joe: So this week we are talking to John Perkins. John Perkins is an economic hit man.
Niall: He was an economic hit man.
Jason: Reformed, retired.
Joe: A reformed economic hit man. He is the author of several books, most notably, I suppose, the best-selling Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.
Niall: He had two follow-up books as well, Secret History of the American Empire and Hoodwinked: An Economic Hit Man Reveals Why the Global Economy Imploded. That's his most recent book.
Jason: He did Secret History of America too? I haven't read that one yet.
Joe: So we don't actually have John on the line right now. I'm going to try and get him on the line right now.
Niall: So it looks like nobody's home at the moment.
Joe: Nobody's home at the moment.
Niall: Unfortunately there was a mix-up because yesterday in the U.S. and Canada they switched to daylight savings time, and not in Europe. Why can't they do that at the same time?
Pierre: It's to confuse us.
Jason: Why can't they just not do it at all?
Pierre: It's a conspiracy.
Joe: It's a conspiracy to try and divide people.
Niall: And stress the hell out of them.
Joe: And stress the hell out of them, especially people who have internet radio shows, kind of international.
Pierre: And us specifically. It messes up your circadian cycle as well.
Joe: Yeah. Apparently it's bad for your health. We have an article on SOTT.net about how it's actually bad for your health, daylight savings time.
Niall: I knew it. It's deliberate (laughter).
Jason: Isn't that one of the things that they do when they torture you? They make you have time distortion by shining bright lights through the windows and saying its daytime when it's actually really night and only an hour passed.
Niall: I'm just waiting for the revelation in the CIA manual 'switch the time now and then'.
Joe: Yeah. That'll keep them guessing.
Pierre: And the narrative for this daylight savings is to save energy. And you see how corporations, how our western world spends and wastes energy and resources, I'm not sure that our leaders' main objective is to reduce energy consumption. So it's bogus.
Joe: So what we're saying here basically is that there may be a mix-up and we may actually have John on for the...
Niall: Second hour.
Joe: ...or second hour of the show. At this point since he's not answering his phone a number that he gave us, and there's no reason to assume he wouldn't be there or wasn't planning to actually be on the show, we'll just assume right now that it's going to be the second half. So for the first half of the show, or thereabouts, we will talk about what we were going to talk about in the second half of the show. So the old switcheroo, which is...
Jason: The old bait and switch. We got you here for Perkins.
Joe: Well, the second part of the show's going to essentially be a discussion maybe of the stuff we discussed with John.
Pierre: It's difficult to switch (laughing).
Joe: Well no, it wasn't only going to be that because we had other things planned in the sense of just in general and what's been going on of late, of which there has been an awful lot of stuff going on of late on the planet, most of it being Ukraine, although we have dedicated a couple of shows previously to Ukraine.
Niall: It's rich with pickings. There are so many angels on this. It is a big...
Jason: The hot tamale, big ticket item, hot news?
Niall: Yeah, it's the big thing, still ongoing. This is probably a rumor, so don't get too carried away with this, but Daily Mail in the UK published photos and video today of what may be U.S. mercenaries/Blackwater types on the streets of an eastern city in Ukraine. If there's any truth to that, then this thing just escalated.
Pierre: So if I understand you, the idea, the hypothesis you're following is that once they have destabilized western Ukraine, they're trying to destabilize now eastern Ukraine that is more pro-Russian.
Niall: Well I don't have any hypothesis yet. I'm just saying that that's the observation. I first heard it and I thought "That's got to be a rumor, no way." But it's been carried in a mainstream UK media outlet.
Jason: Who are they saying they belong to? Are they saying they belong to Blackwater?
Niall: They're suggesting they're Americans. Someone in the crowd is supposed to have cried out "Oh Blackwater, Blackwater". There's not much to go on. You've just got some photos of these guys in the streets near the Russian border actually.
Jason: Why would they even do that?
Joe: I think they're more likely the Russians...
Joe: ...Russian troops.
Niall: Russian or Ukrainian or something because...
Jason: Maybe they've taken a page out of the other guys' books and are dressing up in the Blackwater uniforms and walking around shooting people.
Niall: My first thought when I first saw them before, someone has suggested they were Blackwater was that they did look like American, simply because, at least I associate that their military camo is generally lighter in tone, the current one, than the Russian one. But that's the only thing I had to go on.
Jason: But like Putin said in his speech "You can buy uniforms".
Jason: At a military surplus store.
Niall: Exactly. It's going to be a lot of smoke and mirrors too. Who's who, who's who. So that's definitely going on. We've seen it already going on.
Jason: There's a definite game of "who's on first" basically, trying to find out who's on first. And it's all just giant smoke and mirrors like you were saying.
Jason: Shell game. Three card Monty.
Niall: Meanwhile the sniper issue, who fired the shots back in Kiev some two weeks ago.
Pierre: Here you're talking about snipers that first shot at demonstrators and then turned against the police forces?
Niall: Yes. Not necessarily in that order, in fact. Some more information is coming out, mainly via Russian media because they are actually in a position to be interviewing police forces...
Pierre: Who witness.
Niall: ...witnesses. Not just police who were in Kiev, but other witnesses too. And they just described a random pattern of shooting, not necessarily one day this side, one day we'll shoot someone else, which would kind of make you think 'well maybe there were two different groups of people doing the shooting'. Rather that the pattern of who fell on any given day was first policemen, then protestors and back and forth. So it was chaotic.
Pierre: Why would you do that, to hysterize, to pour oil on the fire, and to increase the magnitude of the conflict?
Niall: Yeah, I think to push it over the edge. Most of our listeners might have come across Joe's analysis of the situation. If you look at a timeline of events, not just in the Ukrainian situation, but in the past, the precedent for this is people start getting shot in the head at a very crazy point. It's like it's been brought to the boil, so to speak, and then it happens.
Pierre: And you see in media how the main argument they were using to legitimize this regime change was the violence. They kept repeating 'hundreds of casualties', 'hundreds of people died'. And that was the only reason to justify this coup.
Niall: They could only use that justification after the sniper firing had begun.
Niall: There was a timeline. People think it happened in one day. It was spread over three days, the sniper shooting. It began on the 18th. And then on the 19th the hysteria in the western press went up a whole notch. "Oh, protestors have been killed now". Mind you a whole week before that, the Ukrainian security guys, unarmed, they were being beaten to death, and many of them had been killed at that point.
Jason: And let's not miss this point. Let's point out the hypocrisy of that where the U.S. government killed all those students in the Kent State massacre. And also shot them in the head.
Niall: In Kent State. Yeah.
Jason: So, hypocrisy much? Much too much.
Niall: Jason, that was decades ago. We're in the new era now and Obama, glorious leader, would never allow for that, would he?
Jason: Of course he would. He's the world's biggest serial killer right now. He kills more people than all of the serial killers who have ever been caught put together in one signing of his pen.
Jason: Seriously. He might not even sign his pen. He might just give a nod because he doesn't want any records specifically tying him to any decision to kill anybody (audio gone).
Joe: Alright folks, we had to go back online here. We were just having connection problems there as is unfortunately usual with Blog Talk Radio. As always send your hate mail to BlogTalkRadio.com. We're going to try and get John Perkins on the line again and see. He's not available. So we'll just carry on with our discussion for a moment. Where were you Niall? You were saying something very interesting.
Niall: I was, yes. Well the situation in Ukraine at the moment, yeah, there may be mercenaries on the ground involved. We don't know. But what we do know is that over in the west of the country, Kiev and beyond, there were two incidents that popped up yesterday. Not good news, but we kind of saw it coming. In two cases there were reports of munitions from Ukrainian military depots gone missing.
Niall: 1,500 guns and 100,000 bullets went missing before the riots turned nasty.
Niall: But this is something else. We're talking about what are called man pads. They're basically shoulder carried surface-to-air missile launchers. And the Ukrainian military has said "Oops, we don't know where they went". So they've been pinched. And that's just one incident. There's another one I think, they have stolen grenades or some heavy munitions.
Pierre: Man pads. What does it suggest? Guns are more for riots and man-to-man conflicts, infantry. But man pads, is it because they envision a conflict involving tanks?
Niall: Well put it this way. In the article I read about the reports of this theft, they made reference to Syria. That's how things started getting out of hand in Syria when the "peaceful demonstrators" started launching missiles at aircraft. So it's not a good sign. Joe made the prediction I think last week, that no, we're not looking at World War III. There was something I wanted to say at the time, that I think we might see play out is the civil warization, for use of a better term, within Ukraine.
Pierre: You mean U.S. and Russia involved in the conflict through local proxies?
Jason: Yeah, yeah, kind of a proxy war?
Niall: Yeah, basically.
Jason: And this guy actually kind of says something similar and then I went back and I read some from Roger Trinquier, who was a French Colonel who fought in Indo-China and then Algeria. He's a big sort of military theorist, so kind of like a modern Carl von Clausewitz. And he talks about the new forms of warfare, information warfare, political pressures and economic stuff. And what this guy is basically talking about is a kind of economic bombing in a certain sense. Because we're talking about...
Niall: John Perkins you mean?
Jason: Yeah, John Perkins. He says 24,000 people die every day from hunger that is probably almost directly as a result of this kind of economic behavior, these economic weapons being launched against countries, starving their populations. So these are bombs. This is a war strategy that these people are employing here when they are attacking countries with economic sanctions or with sort of like these loans that pretty much enslave the government and then ensure that the entire impoverished population just gets even more impoverished and starves to death.
So I would say that maybe we are in the middle of a world war here going on where it's just economic maneuvers and political stuff. You know what I'm saying?
Pierre: Yeah. I understand what you're saying. Here world war is a slightly different definition compared to the usual one. From what I see, the current war that's been lasting for decades is between those greed-driven elites and the people. And the two forms of wars we previously mentioned, the armed conflicts and the economic wars, are not mutually exclusive as Naomi Klein showed in her book The Shock Doctrine. Usually it goes hand-in-hand. And the armed conflicts are only one of the ways, like destroying the local currency to get control of the resources, including the human resources.
Jason: There's something that Machiavelli says around the end of his book that a prince has to be ready to look at the spirit of the times to see how to wage war because sometimes waging war is about building fortifications and protecting yourself. Sometimes it's about dressing up in other people's clothes and doing false flag operations and the spirit of war changes. And Carl von Clausewitz kind of said this when he defined war as basically the aggressive actions taken to submit someone to your will. He doesn't necessarily say that they have to be bloody and violent. You don't have to be shooting people to be basically attacking them. And really hurting them, which is kind of what's really going on here. The Ukrainian people are the ones suffering under this for real.
Pierre: And they are the victims of several kinds of attacks. They are the victims of armed attacks, as Niall previously described. They are victims of economic attacks, as we described in previous shows, by the IMF and refundable loans. They are victims of mind attacks as well, when you see the amount of propaganda that is being instilled in their minds. So there are the convergence points of all those nasty attacks.
Jason: And this is Frank Kitson's low intensity operations. This is the new form of warfare, the modern warfare.
Niall: Frank Kitson, the British general.
Jason: The British general who I think coined the term "low intensity operations". Basically what he's talking about is this type of stuff, small-time terrorist attacks, getting roving bands of killers, like Blackwater or something like that.
Pierre: And it's also with the Protocols of Zion where by now the conflicts really are the status quo, you know, conflicts that are everlasting and that don't lead to any real victory. But actually there is a victory for the one who makes profit through war, even if there's no territorial gain.
Jason: But if you define wars by the victims, the victims of what's going on now are just as numerous as any kind of war in history.
Pierre: Of course.
Jason: 24,000 people a day are dying.
Pierre: Silent wars.
Jason: Yeah, quietly, because of course it's a different type of warfare. It's the new warfare. After World War II they kind of realized that this whole "let's do artillery, tanks, just throw people at it" wasn't really successful. And there's this old saying from that time which is that "war is too important to be left to the generals". And I think that these power elites have begun to realize that success is too important to actually ever go down to a real honest-to-god ground war anymore.
Pierre: Yeah, it's more hypocritical now and that is why I was saying previously that the current war is a world war indeed. But it's not between Russia and the U.S. It's between the elite and the people.
Jason: Oh yeah.
Pierre: There's a war being waged against the people for years and there are millions and millions of casualties.
Pierre: In every country and in every continent.
Jason: Every year.
Joe: Yes. Very true. World War III.
Niall: I'm sure most of our listeners have heard or if you haven't read his books, you've probably seen Perkins interviewed. He's been on numerous documentaries, at least the Zeitgeist one, Project Uncensored, a few other fairly well-known, at least in alternative circles, documentaries. Now the way he's described the process is that first they send in the economic hit men to try and convince a leader or leaders of a country that they need a huge loan. If that doesn't work, then they send in the jackals. That's a whole level up. That's a direct threat to the leader or groups' life basically. I'm wondering at what point then is there another step up where they choose to intervene militarily?
Joe: There is.
Jason: He says in the book specifically, if the hit men don't succeed.
Niall: Yeah, it's kind of last resort.
Pierre: Panama. He gives the example of Panama in 1989 where all of a sudden the American administration decided to bomb Panama City although there had been no aggression on the part of Panama. And this illegitimate bombing, of course, led to thousands of civilian casualties and to regime change. In the end it seems to be the main motive that's taking control of the resources. In Panama mostly it was taking control of the canal of Panama because at the time the leader, Noriega I think, wanted to create a second canal of Panama in partnership with Japan. Then the U.S. would lose their monopoly and their huge profits generated by such a canal.
Niall: So for me, what he's describing is very useful because a lot of people did pick up his books, or they've heard about him. And he does explain what is hard to explain in a simple, understandable way.
Jason: It's very A, B, C.
Niall: Okay, so we're in a chaotic world, right? So things flare up suddenly. If you're just a casual observer and suddenly the United States is bombing Canada, Grenada, whoever, and you're listening to the reasons they're giving you for why they're doing such, you're kind of left with a choice right up there. "Well I just believe it" or if I'm thinking "No, this came out of the blue. There's something wrong here". And you start to discover, as John explains, there's a whole back story, step one, step two, step three, boom! Now we go in militarily.
Pierre: But what I find intriguing is that they are smart. And the media spin things. And in such cases, they will shift from a pro-empire versus anti-empire, towards a good versus bad. And we should not be mistaken. The only thing that matters is whether a leader is serving the interests of the empire or not serving them. Him being good, respecting his people, serving the interests of his people, being honest, has no importance whatsoever. But the way they spin things, like with Noriega, for example.
Niall: I don't think it was Noriega, but it was a previous leader in Panama.
Pierre: No, no, Panama, Noriega 1989 involving narco trafficking and money laundering apparently. So even in the back of their minds, when there is a leader here or there that is good, that this leader is not totally good, that they know bad things about him, because then if one day they have to get rid of him, they can start the media frenzy, focus only on the negative points and the weaknesses of the leader to justify getting rid of him. It's totally bogus. That's what they did in Tripoli, in Libya with Colonel Gaddafi. That's what they are trying to do with Bashar al-Assad. You see this twist. The main reason they invoke to justify the action is "Yeah because he's bad. He's despotic." But that's bogus. It's because he doesn't serve the interests of the empire. Look at Africa. Or look at Latin America. There are dozens of leaders that are terrible despots and who have been here in charge for years. Why, because they do serve the interests of the empire.
Niall: Yeah. Part of the reason why I interrupted you there regarding who was the leader of Panama was because I was actually confusing it with an earlier incident that John Perkins describes in his more recent book Hoodwinked. There are no saints and sinners in this. The leader in question, I think he was a general.
Niall: Yes, that's him. Perkins relates a conversation he had with him on this guy's yacht, surrounded by bikini-clad babes and drinking whiskeys, living the high life. It's not that this guy is a saint and therefore he becomes a bad man. It's that he realized that he wanted to do something that went against the terms previously agreed.
Joe: He wanted to do something for the benefit of the Panamanian people at the time.
Joe: The point is that this world is so screwed up that the people in power, at the top echelons of the empire, in the U.S., who are directing global policy essentially, those people are so corrupt and so greedy and so selfish and so entropic that there isn't really a word to describe them because there's plenty of scope a person with that kind of a nature, a greedy, me, me, me kind of nature to be the leader of any country in this world and to be very rich and to have yachts and to have cars. But there still could be more than enough left over for at the very least the ordinary people of the country not to be rolling around in the mud in poverty. So the point here is that it's not an either/or kind of situation. Having a wealthy elite does not automatically require that you have millions or billions of people in slavery or in poverty. So the fact that there are so many people in slavery and in poverty in this world is simply evidence that the elite of this world are far beyond just your run-of-the-mill, average, greedy kind of person. There's something else. They want to dominate. They want to control. And I think they actually enjoy...
Joe: ...having people in slavery and seeing people poor. They get a kick out of impoverishing the masses of a given country. For me that's the only conclusion. Or it's that their greed is insatiable. Where when they have a hundred cars and a hundred yachts, they want 200 and it's basically never ending. And in that scenario sure, you're going to have a lot of very poor people because when you've got the haves with an awful lot and the have-nots basically have to have nothing.
Pierre: It's a zero sum game. And I think the two causes, or the two motivators you mentioned are not mutually exclusive. And you describe quite to a 'T' the psychopathic mind: a) this insatiable greed, there's always more, the never-ending drive and b) the fact that psychopaths do enjoy the suffering of others.
Joe: Yeah. It's a horrible combination.
Jason: If you add into that, he does at a certain point talk about this, how there's no kind of grand conspiracy. And obviously there are government conspiracies. And we toy around with this idea that there's no super-ultra-mega-grand conspiracy necessarily. Inside the government there are probably a lot of different ones. But he does say basically that what pushes it along is this American kind of Randian ideology about capitalism and profit and in a certain sense I think what underpins that, is a fundamental belief that if you're rich you must be rich specifically because you are intrinsically better than those who are poor. And you kind of see it almost as an evolutionary Darwinian thing that you have been selected as the most fit to survive and it's okay to exploit and even kill or whatever it is. Well maybe not explicitly kill but in a certain sense, you shouldn't be bothered.
Joe: That's the natural order of things.
Joe: It's not their fault essentially. They're simply playing their part in a grand order.
Jason: Yeah. So they kind of shunt off any feelings of responsibility or guilt or even shame by clinging to this sort of illusory ideology of superiority and inferiority and the sort of capitalist ideals and "I'm going to get mine, you get yours. If you don't then that must mean that you are a failure."
Joe: Because you can't, yeah. You don't get it because you can't.
Jason: Yeah, because you are not selected.
Joe: You hear that kind of an idea expressed very often in the U.S., where the poor are basically poor because they're lazy.
Joe: And that's been said many, many times by right-wing American politicians. And they seem to believe it. And of course from a narrative point of view, it justifies their wealth and all of the things that they do to keep their nests feathered without them having to think "Well, I'm actually being a bit exploited" as in criminal and corrupt here. They never get to that point because they can fall back on "Well, each to his own. It's a dog-eat-dog world. If you can do it, do it. If you can't, sorry, that's the way it goes." And in fact there's some kind of a weird concept of the idea that that ideology actually encourages the people who can't to strive harder. So in the natural evolution of the system, it's almost like when you have this elite above the poor people who are trying and failing all the time to become rich as well, at least they have something to aspire to. And if they didn't have these elite to look up to and say "Oh, I'd like a gold Mercedes as well" they would never push themselves or challenge themselves to be better, to better themselves. So it's actually humanitarian in a way.
Niall: I think they certainly see their role as pedagogical, as teachers. So in their mantras they will convince themselves that "our role is to foster the entrepreneurial spirit by leading the way".
Jason: By showing that "we made success, now you can do it". And they pat themselves on the back. I think that they have these posh parties and drink their Chablis or whatever it is that they drink, and pat themselves on the back thinking "Hey, we're the business leaders of the world and we're a shining example of the American dream and what you can accomplish with just a little bit of grit and elbow grease", you know?
Pierre: About this myth that the main driver of climbing the social ladder is work, hard work, it's very much widespread. And actually when you start to be in those white collar circles, you start to see that the higher the individuals are, particularly vice presidents and presidents, the less they work. They spend time signing documents. They spend time in buffet in restaurants, in parties, meetings, conferences. The hard workers, the ones who work sweat and blood for endless hours are at the very bottom of the social ladders. The blue collars, the miners, the farmers.
Jason: Yeah, if it were true that the harder you work the higher you climb then every brick layer would be a Shah here.
Pierre: Yeah, exactly.
Jason: It's a hard job and it's a lot of work being a mason or whatever it is. It's total BS. It's complete and total BS. I sincerely doubt that George W. Bush ever did a single days work in his entire life.
Joe: No, he didn't. But here's the thing. They have this long history and it came around again in the news just recently. There's this thing called grid iron dinner, basically an exclusive 65 member club of Washington journalists, what's known as presstitutes, or media whores. And they get together with local politicians and stuff. And they have this every year. Obama was there on a few occasions in 2011 and last year I think. And Bush was there. And you know the dinner I'm talking about because it's generally where leading politicians in the U.S. get together with the exclusive or elite presstitutes and they joke about things. It's all informal and funny and ha-ha-ha- and ra-ra-ra, back slapping and bum pinching I'm sure among the all-male audience. But basically in whatever year Bush was there, that's when he said at one point made a joke about looking for weapons of mass destruction "Has anybody seen any weapons of mass destruction here? Not here. Not here." And everybody was cracking up. It was so funny. It was so goddamn funny you know. And the people in Iraq, they were laughing their heads off, well apart from the 1.5 million who had died because...
Jason: Or their heads were blown off.
Joe: ...because of his weapons of mass destruction joke. And it was a joke at the time that led to the invasion of Iraq and led to the death of 1.5 million Iraqis. They weren't laughing because they were all in their graves. But it was good that Bush could laugh about it at the time. So this kind of a dinner, Obama was there a few years ago as well and he talked about some boyfriend or something of one of his daughters, and he said "I've got one word for you: predator drones. You will never see it coming." And that was so funny as well, you know, because everybody laughed and it was really funny. He was making a joke about predator drones that go in after things. And it was really funny and everybody laughed in the audience because it was talking about predator drones killing somebody. And especially the people in Afghanistan and Pakistan and Yemen, they were all laughing, apart from the ones who had been blown to pieces by the drones because they couldn't laugh because their mouths and their heads and stuff had been detached from their bodies and they were no longer living. So that was funny as well.
And then at the same dinner, I think it was last night, John Kerry got up and spoke. And as the Washington Post reports on it, there were remarks from hilarious jokesters John Kerry and another senator dude, Ted Cruz. So one of the hilarious jokesters, John Kerry, referring to the audience, said "Look at all you guys, all in your dapper fancy clothes, white tie and tails or as we call it at our house 'work-out gear' laughter. Or as we call it at our other house 'pajamas' laughter. Or as we call it at our other house 'swimming costumes'." And then he went on to say "It's so nice to put faces to the metadata" which was a reference obviously to NSA spying and stuff and collecting metadata on all U.S. citizens or citizens of the world, or the empire. And so he was making a joke about the NSA illegally collecting data on civilians around the world. And it was so funny. And everybody was laughing. So I just think it's wonderful that our leaders can laugh.
Jason: I get the dad joke, predator drone. I can almost understand it. It's in very poor taste.
Joe: Bad taste, yeah.
Jason: Bad taste, but at least you understand what we call the underlying truth of the joke. And with George W. Bush you can also almost understand that it is a joke and there is an underlying truth. But what is said about the pajamas and swim stuff, he'll have to fire his joke writer.
Niall: The joke was "I own three houses".
Joe: And I lounge around in them in tails and tuxedos and stuff.
Jason: I didn't get the joke apparently.
Joe: Well it was an in-joke that we're all massively wealthy and it's funny. It's funny that we're all so wealthy and it's also funny that...
Jason: But it's not.
Joe: ...well according to them it is. And it's also funny that you can make jokes about the NSA spying on citizens and stuff and have everybody laugh, and then it'll be reported in the media as a joke and everybody is meant to laugh. All the American people who are being spied on are meant to laugh. It's funny. He's joking about them spying on us illegally and getting all our medical records and passing them to insurance companies and stuff and screwing us over on our health insurance because they've got illegal access to our medical records. That's funny. And now I don't have healthcare. That's funny too. Oh look, my child just died because I don't have enough money or any healthcare to save her life. That's funny too!
Pierre: That may be an aspect of the psychopathic mind because when you think about it, those people who are having fun about Iraq and weapons of mass destruction, most of them had directly or indirectly, blood on their hands. And they were laughing about it. And I guess that's how psychopaths think.
Jason: It's not funny.
Pierre: The fun of killing human beings.
Niall: I think when they get together like that, it's a bit like what Cleckley described as the vacation into filth, where for them it is actually this "stress", they don't really experience stress, but the stress they feel of having to deal with those normies out there all the time having to justify "Of course we didn't mean to kill one-and-a-half million people. God they keep going on and on about these WMDs. It's so yesterday. What's wrong with these people?"
Joe: The stress...
Niall: "So between ourselves, we just have to joke about it".
Joe: Exactly. It's the stress they feel at having to all the time hide their own criminality because they understand that for some reason doing this, if people find out about it, they won't like it for some reason. But they don't really understand that this is for the greater good. "We're doing this for everybody's benefits, but they're so stupid that they can't really understand that. And it's really hard to have to get out there and pretend that we're not doing what we're doing." So every now and again they just want to let it all out, and make a joke of it, and expose themselves essentially. They need to expose themselves now and again, kind of like a flasher, somebody with some kind of sexual fetish or mental illness in some way, is forced to expose himself in front of people because it feels good. Well these guys, now and again, apparently need to in some way expose their criminality.
Pierre: Yeah, being themselves basically because they have to wear this mask of sanity almost 24 hours a day.
Pierre: And I have an example in mind of an individual who exhibited some psychopathic traits and obviously was not able to stand for a long period of time in a normal social setting. He had to go away at regular intervals in order to finally be himself.
Joe: Like Dominique Strauss-Kahn for example.
Pierre: For example.
Joe: Famous head of the IMF, economist par excellence and every now and again he had to go to some seedy dive and roll around with a bunch of other men and prostitutes.
Jason: Well apparently he was trying to rape his hotel cleaning room lady or something.
Pierre: Yeah, one he had amongst many other exploits.
Joe: Yeah. And of course the point about these stories, they have these dinners and it's like a release for them. And of course they can rely on the mainstream media to cover it up for them to some extent, like I just said, the mainstream media referred to them as "hilarious jokesters". That hilarious jokester Bush making fun of - it's horrible! It's absolutely horrible, but there you go. That's the world we live in. Yay.
So there's one thing I wanted to mention as well about elites and leaders and all that kind of stuff in Ukraine. And it kind of gets into the idea of whether or not the whole thing is a bit of a charade, a theater in some way. Ultimately most things are. The entire cold war was a charade for a specific agenda, for a different agenda behind the scenes. But I was struck by the fact that all of this sabre rattling that was going on between the U.S. and Russia and we had Russia supposedly invading Crimea. For a lot of people the threat was there on the horizon that it was going to devolve into some kind of an actual armed conflict that wouldn't be good for anybody.
But at the same time as this was going on, I see the Russian foreign minister Lavrov, meeting with John Kerry and they're all smiles and sitting down laughing and joking and cracking jokes with each other and stuff. We can come back to the joke idea. And it was just such a disconnect because in normal human relations, no normal person would do that if they, for example, were in some kind of a serious disagreement or conflict with another person. Say it was a legal issue. If you're filing some kind of a case, some kind of illegal activity that someone else has been doing that has affected you or vice versa, if you're on the receiving end of it. When you meet that person, if they're a good friend it wouldn't be happening anyway usually, you're not going to be all cheery and smiley and joking and happy. But of course you could put this down to diplomacy. Let's say that this is the way diplomacy works, that even if you're not very happy with a person, if you're a diplomat or a leader of a government or high level politician and you meet your counterpart, you're meant to put on a brave face.
Niall: Don the airs and speak the lingo.
Joe: Yeah. But it's also very hypocritical.
Niall: In a normal reaction you would expect contempt to come through in some way.
Joe: Yeah. But at the same time the problem is that can't be taken too far because then you can't have any kind of diplomacy at all. If it's so bad that you're not actually going to talk to the person, well then that's it. You draw the line and point your missiles at each other and see who pushed the button first type of thing. It's a bit of a difficult situation. So how do you act?
Jason: I'll bring out a historical precedent on that, which is the way that Julius Caesar treated Cicero in spite of Cicero's varied actions. I think he even wrote him a very complimentary letter about one of the books that he had published and flattered him tremendously even though I think this was post-Catilinarian times actually, when he knew that the guy was a psycho killer. So there is a historical precedent where a savvy politician will know that it's better to not show your hand. There's kind of like this whole idea of the poker face. And the poker face is supposed to be emotionless. But that's not always the truth because sometimes you want your face to show the emotion that would come with really good cards when you don't have them. So sometimes it's to your benefit to actually misrepresent the way you feel about a person. So like Joe was saying, there's a diplomatic aspect to this. So just that he was sitting there talking and joking with this guy doesn't necessarily indicate that he doesn't really think that the guy's a total screwed up bastard.
When you're looking at John Kerry, this guy is the D-bag to end all D-bags. He is incredibly facetious and flippant and he's a flip-flopper. He's a liar. He's an opinion mercenary. He will say and do anything for a few minutes of air time basically. He is a press whore basically in the sense that he loves getting down for the press, any chance he can get to talk and get some face time. He's just suddenly blown up. I never heard of this guy until a few years ago. Who the hell was John Kerry? And then suddenly he's running for President and now he's all over the press all the time.
Niall: In the late '60s, early '70s, John Kerry served in Vietnam and then he became an anti-war activist.
Niall: I think he was a campaigner on behalf of the whistleblower who spoke out, whose name eludes me, the guy who leaked the Pentagon papers [Daniel Ellsberg]. So Kerry was involved in that. At the time, that was the most...
Jason: Here's why I think all bullshit. He was in Skull and Bones.
Pierre: He was.
Jason: He was a Yale graduate in Skull and Bones. So you know what? Everything he did was suspect, like right off the bat. This guy was in the military. Two words: CI period A or something like that. Probably that whole "I got captured" - no that was John McCain or whatever. Kerry didn't get captured, did he?
Niall: No, it was McCain.
Pierre: Another point about Lavrov's cheerful or friendly exchanges with Kerry, it might suggest indeed diplomacy. At the same time Lavrov knows that Kerry killed some of his people. And he was friendly nonetheless so it maybe a glimpse as well at this multi-level show that we discussed previously. On one level there are indeed some conflicts, but ultimately, it's only one world order. And they're all part of the same plan or team.
Jason: Let's throw out a bit of a theory here. Normally I usually say that all politics is completely a show and it's all fake. But throwing that aside let's say for an instance that it's not completely fake. It seems to me, and it looks like, and it may just be, that Russia has kind of come of age in a certain sense. For a very long time, even though they're very large, even though they've had a large empire, they have kind of been a bit of a backwater in a certain sense, politically speaking. And based on some of the stuff that you were talking about Niall, it seems that Wall Street kind of funded the communist revolution and that communism in a certain sense was at least a little bit managed.
Joe: A little bit?!
Pierre: It's a euphemism.
Jason: I said "at least", meaning that...
Niall: You mean managed from abroad and the higher-ups so-to-speak.
Jason: Yeah, managed from abroad. But it was kind of managed and twisted and poked. It was initially funded and they kind of used it. So I think that what has happened is that Russia has finally gotten back to kind of a little bit of a nationalistic route of seeing themselves as Russians and wanting to reclaim their identity. Because when you look at when Putin came to power, all of the various things he did, because Perkins in his book talks about this economic hit man stuff, and that's pretty much what they did to Russia at the fall of the Soviet Union. They went in, got them indebted, did all this different stuff, basically threw them all into horrible poverty and were basically robbing them left, right and center.
He came in and turned that around and he has kind of pushed away a lot of the trappings of the west that you would expect there to be. He has kind of always maintained a "Russia does things a Russian way". So I think that they're coming of age in a certain sense, politically, because they have been the whipping boy since Napoleon in a certain sense. They've never really done much on the political stage, not in the sense of how America's been acting. And now they have been whipped enough by Americans and they're getting tired of being bullied and pushed around and punched in the face all the time. And now they're punching back.
Joe: Soviet Russia, for most of the 20th century, was definitely a backwater and was used as a justification in the red scare and stuff, for the expansion of the American empire. But previous to that, when there were several different empires before the rise of the American empire, you had the British empire, you had the Russian empire and you had the Japanese empire, and various other states, the Netherlands and Spain and stuff. But in 1905, for example, or around the turn of the 20th century, the Russian Czars and the Russian empire at that time was very well-to-do in the sense that it was on a par with pretty much every other developed nation in the world at that time. They had as much technology, such as it was, and industry as anybody else. But the Russian revolution was entirely funded in its Lenin and Trotsky kind of form, by Wall Street bankers. And they basically just destroyed it. They destroyed all of the industrial infrastructure of Russia. They killed, by way of Lenin and Trotsky, the Czar and his family and just destroyed Russia and turned it into kind of a wasteland.
Joe: I think it was the first incidence of a plan to go in there and destroy a country, in one way or another and then have access to it so that you could rebuild it, you could basically take control of it from a financial point of view, i.e., we're going to help you to rebuild it. We'll give you all the money to rebuild it. We'll send our advisors over to build your factories, etc., etc., and in that way loot your economy. But of course you had the Second World War. First World War then the Second World War and then the whole "red scare" and the whole idea of communism allowed for the Soviet Union after the Second World War to be just blocked off from the rest of the world, blocked off from any real technological development. But it was run by a bunch of psychos. It was just a dictatorship. The whole idea that it was a communist society is nonsense.
Jason: It's directly out of Machiavelli's The Prince. He says that there are only two ways to take over a country. The first way is to move there, basically. So you move Washington, D.C. to Moscow and otherwise you're going to lose it. The second way is to utterly destroy it and rebuild it and put in your own oligarchical powers. And that's basically what they did. They destroyed the country.
Pierre: Here we've been talking, Jason you were talking about this notion of attachment to Russia, to the country. We've been talking about destroying countries. And something I've been seeing repeatedly, I think that the empire needs one prerequisite, the destruction of nations. Because nations encompass this notion of, to some extent at least, solidarity, a common culture, a notion of the collective interest, and what this global corporatocracy neocon ideology wants is a population made of slaves, without culture, without a nation, without roots, without knowledge. And I think that's one of the current objectives. And that's what you see, Omar Torrijos or Noriega in Panama. You saw that despite what they were doing, good and bad, there was this attachment to their country, this pride. I don't say one country is better than the other one, but when you form one country, there may be this pride, this culture, and the desire to serve it, this solidarity. And I remember a speech by Hugo Chavez who was saying "I am Venezuela, Venezuela is me, I am in every Venezuelan" this notion of being together, of a community.
Joe: Well of course national identity is a problem for the spread of empire because the very idea of being separate is intrinsic to the idea of a separate culture, separate identity and therefore you're not going to just roll over and let some foreign set of values and culture impose itself on you because people's culture is part of their very personal lives and how they interact. We see that a very major part of the spread of the American empire was to spread American culture.
Pierre: Yeah. Hollywood.
Joe: Not just Hollywood, but also American products and just the American way of life. Of course it was indirectly done in the sense that the first priority was to get American companies selling their products all around the world, but that this malicious secondary effect of diluting the indigenous culture of any country that made them more amenable therefore, to being subsumed into a global kind of state. And you see that's happened in the European Union as well, with the European Union trying to break down borders and "we're all one big" - to the point today that apparently everybody living in Europe has a President.
Niall: Yup. The Belgian dude.
Joe: He's the President.
Niall: His name's Herman.
Joe: He's the President of Europe. He is our President, but it's just ridiculous. There's no such thing as a country or a single cultural or ideological entity called Europe. There's an economic entity called the European Union but there's nothing cultural about it. It doesn't have cultural values or beliefs or anything that you find in a normal country.
Niall: By the time they're done with this project, they believe they will have achieved that.
Joe: Yeah, that's their goal.
Niall: I agree with this analysis about the nation state's culture being a buffer or barrier that they need to get past with one small catch. They don't mind the proliferation of individual cultures so long as it's divorced from their real history, from their roots. For example, you think of France. French people can be very proud of their culture and they can reel off their history to you, or at least a selected version of it. "No, no, we're anti-American. We're not necessarily anti-American, but there is a thread of it running through. We're proud of being French. We speak French." But they are totally, totally part of an empire they cannot see.
Niall: So you have their leader "I am French and we do everything French", but he is a core player in midwifing the current effort to create another culturally safe regime in Ukraine, as he has been for other countries.
Pierre: True. And just to comment about what Joe was saying, not only this neocon ideology basis, on the specific lack of culture, based on some principles, universalism, we're all the same, relativism, there's your truth, there's my truth, consumerism, as Joe was saying, not only Hollywood but also spreading all the American products, consumption all over the world. And I think to some extent, it's a zero sum game between being and having. I think once people have lost their roots, their identity, their culture, there is this kind of void that will be compensated on an unconscious level, through consumerism. There's no more being and then you have to compensate with having, consuming. So it paves the way for this society of praying less, ignorant slaves, consuming slaves.
Jason: On that, identity was necessary for individuality. If you have no real identity...
Jason: ...then you can't be really an individual. There is obviously that effort of destroying the identity and it goes back to what we were talking about, when you want to take over a country you either have to destroy it or move there. And in France, in the French history I believe it was when they took over this Languedoc and these various southern areas, one of the things they did was stamp out the language, the local language.
Pierre: The culture.
Jason: Yeah, the culture. Because it wasn't always France and it wasn't always French people and French speakers. There was another group of people and another language and they were basically stamped out. The Americans did the same thing to the Native Americans. They went in, forced them to learn English, stamped everything out, killed as many of them as they could. And that's how they work. We've seen throughout history that it is possible for cosmopolitan societies to actually work. It is possible for many different ethnicities to be together and to have slightly differing opinions on the world but still live peaceably. So obviously it is possible. It's not necessary to destroy their language or their culture. In fact I think it's more fun when you have people of different cultures and different languages get together and share their different perspectives on the world. I think that that is really what is great about the human race. The only thing which is great.
I think Joseph Michael Straczynski kind of pushed that basic idea in his TV show where he was basically saying that human beings are kind of community builders and the normal human being is a community builder. He wants to accept other people who even have different ideas, into the community, and to learn from them because if you look at the universe as this great big learning machine then the more different people are, the more different perspectives there are, and the better everything is going to be. But these psychopathic individuals, the psychopathic elite, the fact that there's other opinions out there, they just can't stand it. They have to submit you to their way of doing and being and thinking.
Joe: It's an example of extreme entropy in the sense that "me as the center of the universe" and everything different is evil and must be subsumed into my way of thinking. But I want to just make another call here.
Pierre: Let's try and cross the fingers.
Joe: This is the cell phone. I'm starting to get worried because of course the evildoers in this world wouldn't think twice about bumping off John Perkins to stop him being on our show because (laughter) it could change everything, you know?
Pierre: The Mossad blocked the line.
Niall: I hope he's okay. But I'm sure he is. He's been speaking out for 10 years so I think at this point he's got a little bit too much light on him for them to bother. If you haven't read his books, they are worth reading because there's a personal element. Of course he was involved in a lot of what we're talking about here, so he's got first person account. A part of his story is how he got out of it. So he started to see things and he started to go "Well is this right?" But it took time and deals. And I think he did have threats on his life at one point. He made deals "Okay, I won't say certain things, da, da, da", but eventually he just said it. And I think what catalyzed it for him was 9/11 and then I think later on, a few years ago his grandson was born and he's become a lot more active about it. But I think you have to be very careful, initially anyway.
Pierre: In his book there are two main topics. There is a modus operandi how to take control of a country, economic, finance, military operations. And there is a more, as you say, personal aspects, about this internal struggle. Am I doing something wrong? Why am I doing that? Am I a slave? Am I destroying countries? What about all this luxury, this money I'm getting, this social status? And when the economic part...
Joe: Hang on a second Pierre.
Pierre: Go on.
Joe: Hi. Is this John?
John: Yes it is.
Joe: Hi John, this is Joe from SOTT Talk Radio.
John: Hi Joe. How are you?
Joe: Not too bad. This is your cell phone, yeah?
Joe: Do you want us to call you back - do you have time to have a chat with us here today?
John: Sure. Yes. Would you prefer to use a landline?
Joe: Totally up to you. Whichever suits you best.
Pierre: Might be better for sound quality.
John: Well I don't know. This is fine with me, but if it's not working for you then we can use a landline.
Joe: No, I think it's working okay.
John: Okay. Great.
Joe: Welcome to the show. We've just been chatting about world affairs, Ukraine, that kind of thing. And it's all been pretty much relevant to your own history and the books you've written. So we obviously have a few questions for you. We want to explore the topic of economic hit man. You coined that term "economic hit man" but is that really what it's all about?
John: Yeah, that's what it's all about I think. It was a term that a woman who trained me used. Her name was Claudine and it was a tongue-in-cheek term. It was sort of used like spook or spy. Most CIA agents don't call themselves a spook or a spy. They're business attaché or commercial attaché to some embassy someplace or they have some other title. And my title was Chief Economist.
Pierre: And maybe you can describe why did they recruit you in this big engineering corporation, Main, that had links to the secretary of state and NSA. How did you end up being chief economist in this corporation?
John: Well I was trying to avoid the war in Vietnam and my wife at the time, her father was very high up in the department of the Navy and one of his best friends was very high up in the National Security Agency, the NSA. And I could see that was a possible draft of horrible jobs. So he arranged for me to go in for interviews, very extensive interviews, psychological tests and lie detector, etc. and they determined at that point that I would make a good con artist, essentially, I think. That's what an economic hit man is. And they also figured that they could attract me into it because I had three weaknesses that I think maybe we might consider the three big drugs of our culture, money, power and sex. And I wanted all of them. So I was a good catch.
Pierre: And Claudine had told you about what this job was really about?
John: Yeah, once I was in. She trained me. She was pretty clear about it. But the thing is none of it was illegal. What I did was exactly what's taught in business schools and the World Bank supports this, putting developing countries into deep debt using the money from the World Bank or Asian Development Bank or one of their sister organizations to pay our corporations to build huge infrastructure projects in these countries; power plants, industrial parks, things like that, that benefit very rich families in those countries as well as our corporations, which are the main beneficiaries, but don't help the majority of the people who are too poor to buy electricity, can't get jobs in industrial parks because they don't hire many people. But the country is left with a huge debt.
So at some point we go back in and say "Hey, since you can't pay your debts, sell your resources real cheap to our corporation; oil, things like that, privatize all your public sector businesses like the water and sewage, utilities systems, and sell them to our corporations real cheap. Allow us to dictate your government policies, build a military base on your soil, things like that. So this debt becomes a real enslavement. And in the cases where the governments don't agree to this, where they don't want to accept it, the jackals go in and assassinate or overthrow leaders.
Jason: So, can I ask you maybe a little bit of a philosophical question in a certain sense? You've been to Ecuador. I was reading your book and you've been to South America and you've been to these various different poor regions and you've seen how the people live. You've seen that poverty is kind of a painful existence. It is even somewhat kind of a torture. Would you agree with that statement that poverty is a very painful situation for someone to be in?
John: Well it depends on the conditions of course. Now take indigenous people in the Amazon living traditionally. They would be considered the most impoverished people in the world because they have no currency. And yet they live very beautiful, what I would call prosperous lives as hunters and gatherers in the traditional sense.
Jason: For sure, for sure.
John: On the other hand, people that are pushed into poverty because of industrialization, because of the encroachment of cities, because they've been lured to take jobs in sweat shops and have to work 60-80 hours a week on very, very little pay, yes, that's torture.
Jason: That's torture. I should quality that what I mean by poverty is somebody who's living in a tribal society, the fact that they don't have money; they don't really have impoverished lives. It's when they move into a city or get forced into a city and they no longer have access to the lifestyle that they were used to, now they're forced to live a western lifestyle but then at kind of an impoverished level. I was born very poor and I did live a very impoverished life for the first 9, 10 years of my life. So I know that it's pretty bad. I didn't have it as bad as a lot of people, but when I look at the images and see how people live and see how they suffer, and the lack of proper medical care and your children dying because you can't get health insurance, and I look at that situation and I just want to ask you: which do you think is worse, an army going in a shooting a bunch of people or the economic sanctions that get put onto these countries that force so many millions and millions of people into lives of abject poverty and suffering? Which do you think is worse?
John: Rather than speaking from the standpoint of impoverished people, because I've never actually been in that position, I'll speak from the standpoint of the country or the people that are sending in the army and are putting people in debt, which in this case is certainly my country and our corporations have done this. The role with economic hit men is in many respects worse because it undermines democracy. So throughout history there have been empires created through military might. And it's always been justified and most of the people have believed that it was about spreading civilization, spreading some sort of religion, Christianity, Islam, whatever it happens to be. There's a guiding principle behind it that justifies the armies going in. So from the standpoint of the imperialist nations, everything's pretty up front. Everybody knows that their military is going in to do this and usually most of the people probably believe in the cause, although there are always some that don't.
In the case of what we do these days, through forming a new kind of corporatocracy empire, it's not an American empire, it's a huge corporate empire, is very, very subtle. And it really undermines democracy. We in the United States don't have any idea of what the NSA is really doing or the CIA. Nobody in the United States gets to vote or decide on whether we should go into Chile and wipe out the Allende regime, or in Guatemala with Arbenz or Panama with Torrijos. These were subtle, behind-the-scenes decisions. And to me that's a huge threat to democracy. Today we're seeing the same thing. We recently overthrew the President of Honduras, Zelaya because he was trying to pass a new constitution that would have limited the role in Chiquita, Russell Athletic and several other big companies in terms of increasing the employment by 60%, increasing minimum wage by 60% and putting real restrictions on land use for the agro businesses. So we overthrew him. The people of the United States had no say in it. Most people don't even know it ever happened. And that's not a democracy. So if we openly sent in the military that would be somewhat different. And if everybody was sort of behind it as sometimes we appear to be with Iraq. I was opposed to Iraq but it appears that at least our government was open. I'm not in any way condoning it. I feel it was a terrible mistake. But at least it was out in the open. So much of what we're doing in the world today is clandestine and therefore to me, it's a huge threat to democracy. And I totally believe in democracy.
Joe: I think that the problem is that in times of old when an army would go and invade another country and it would then be colonized or taken and subsumed into the territory of the invading country, after a while those people at least had a chance that maybe their lot would improve. They would be part of this new broader empire. But the kind of economic terrorism that is perpetrated these days and has been for many decades, is that people in other countries are not overtly invaded, but their basically given a prison sentence where the resources of their country are repeatedly and forever stripped from the country. And their given a sentence for maybe their whole lives of basically enslavement and poverty while at the same time being told that they live in an independent nation. So it's a real mind job on them.
John: That's true. It's very deceitful. Both are terrible. There's no way to justify the Roman Empire. There's no way to justify Hitler's fascism. There's no way to justify any of these. There's no way to justify Russia now going into Ukraine. All of these things are terrible. But from the standpoint of the people on the receiving end, they're all awful. I still maintain though, from the standpoint of the people who are part of the society that does the invasion, whether it's subtle economics or whether it's military, there's a moral cost to the subtle ones that I think may be greater than the moral cost to the military one, where everybody knows that it's happening. It's out in the open. It's honest and people can debate it. But when it's so subtle, we in the United States don't have any idea, for the most part, of what we did three years ago in Honduras, which was criminal. And people in the United States should be aware of it, that our government is doing these things. And when we're not aware of it, it's a huge threat to our moral fiber and it's a huge threat to our democratic republic. We're not a democracy, but we are a representative democracy. In any case, we're not even a representative democracy when we don't know what's going on.
Pierre: It's very true. And not only most of what is going on is hidden, but the few information citizens have access to are bogus. In your book you mention this argument that is so often repeated in mainstream media that before in these poor countries, people had zero dollars a day now, thanks to this economic colonization, they have one dollar a day, so it's progress. Could you deconstruct this argument?
John: Yeah. I've interviewed and talked to and hung out with people in places like Indonesia who were subsistence farmers. They lived pretty decent lives out in the countryside of west Java, central Java, rice farmers, etc. And then get lured into the city by the idea of being paid a dollar a day or whatever by some big industry, Nike or one of its competitors. And to them a dollar a day seemed like a great deal of money because they'd never had any money at all before. So they get rid of their rice farm, go into the city and go to work and then suddenly they discover that they can no longer have time to make their own clothes. They really don't have time to cook food. They can't afford to buy food. They're working long hours under very miserable conditions. And if they get sick or hurt, they're put back out on the street and they've lost their farm. Now they have nothing to do. It's a very, very horrible system.
And I'll tell you another form of it that's a little more subtle. I still spend a lot of time in Latin America. And I see in a lot of countries there now - Costa Rica's a great example where all the people sing the praises of Costa Rica because it has no military. Actually, there's a huge military. It's the United States military which is our Caribbean Latin American fleet is based right off the shore of Costa Rica, so they feel pretty well protected by us. You don't need a military. But in any case, people from the United States are going down and they go to a farmer and offer him $250,000 for his farm and he's been eking along, basically making subsistence living, maybe making $100, possibly $1,000 a year by selling some of his produce. Two hundred thousand seems like a fortune to him. They buy the farm from him. The farm goes out of productivity. They're just gentlemen farmers. And he moves some place into the city or a town and thinks he's going to have the great life on his $250,000 and suddenly discovers that three years later, he's broke and he doesn't have his farm anymore.
And we see that go on and on and on and on. And the people who bought the farm are not bad people. They don't realize. They think they're giving the guy a good deal. We're uneducated about these things. And it's like talking about these on blogs like yours is important, because the more we can get people to understand the unintended consequences, often they're unintended consequences, of what they do. And you'll also hear an argument by the industries of the world, the Nikes, etc. that "Well we're just giving these people jobs". And you can make a very strong argument that some of these people do go into the city and they stay healthy and they can keep their job long enough and build up a little savings. They may be better off. But in general, it's a terribly exploitative system that often is due to unintended consequences and stupidity. We just don't understand what's going on in the world.
Pierre: And this ignorance you just described, doesn't apply only to us citizens. From what you write in your book, apart from Claudine, Bruno, you were part of top management, most of the engineers, most of the workers in those global corporations, were not aware of what was going on. Is it the way you perceived it?
John: Our whole education system is at fault here, yes, these engineers that I worked with went into these countries thinking, as I did at the beginning "If we can just build an electrical power system for these people, it's going to improve their economies". And in fact statistically, it does. The economies grow. But what the statistics don't show is that the GDP, the economic statistics pretty much report the very wealthy people. They don't say much about the poor because the poor aren't part of the official economy. They trade. You buy foods for your vegetables kind of thing, in local markets. Or even if they use cash, it's never recorded in the national statistics. And we're certainly finding that true in this country too now. We know that we can have what seems like economic growth and GDP while at the same time unemployment is going up and more houses are being foreclosed on. We've seen that in the last years. All that says is that the Koch brothers and the other very, very wealthy people, are making a lot of money and everybody else is doing poorly.
So these statistics that we've been using all these years that are taught in business school are very, very faulty statistics. And that's part of the problem. Our means of measurement is very, very skewed towards making the corporatocracy look good.
Niall: John, you might talk a bit about the foundational or almost universal economic theory that is taught, not just too young economists, but that has formed the language of economics, that everyone speaks, with journalists, politicians, economist, analysts, etc. The very indicators that people use to speak of how well a country is doing have their roots in a very particular neo-liberal Friedmanised economic theory. Perhaps you can instruct us a bit about that.
John: Well you know one of the things that I first discovered on my first assignment as an economic hit man in Indonesia - and I've just been writing about this so it's fresh on my mind - was I'd been an economics major in school. I went to business school and I get to Indonesia and I discover that economic development and business really has nothing to do with supply and demand curves. It's a theory that's just not relevant to the real world. And I think it's interesting that recently one of our Nobel Prize winners Joseph Stiglitz has written a book that says very, very much the same thing. He says that economics is not driven by supply and demand. It's not driven by what we think it is and what we teach in our colleges. It's driven by politics.
John: What he doesn't go on to say in that book, but what I say often, is that politics is driven by big corporations, the corporatocracy. If you close that circle, you can say that world economics is driven by big corporations through politics, through government. But the fact of the matter is the theories that we're taught in economics and many of the theories in business school are just that. They're theories and they have no basis in reality. They may have at one time. When Adam Smith came along and developed some of these theories and people like Paul Samuelson and wrote about them in the textbooks several generations ago, they may have been relevant, but they're not relevant now and they weren't relevant when I was in business school in the late '60s and early '70s. I thought they were, but I learned once I got out of business school that those theories had nothing to do with reality.
Niall: Yeah. And the insanity of it. I think Milton Friedman was being asked what went wrong in Chile. And his answer was something like "Well because Pinochet stopped implementing what I told him to do. He didn't go far enough." Because of course he came up against the reality that what he was doing was going to, in his case, he would lose power because it would create such a backlash. It's insane.
John: Right. Well, what went wrong with Chile is we overthrew a democratically elected President, Allende, who was doing quite well. And he died in the process. It's not clear yet whether he was assassinated or shot himself or was shot by accident or what happened. But during the coup he died, he was killed. But if we had encouraged him, if we had helped him instead of going against him. ITT, a big American corporation was just totally opposed to him. If we had supported him, it could have changed the whole politics of Latin America. And we could say the same about Mosaddegh in Iran in the early '50s. Mosaddegh was actually doing a really good job. He was democratically elected, but he wanted to get the oil companies to pay much higher shares of their profits. Profits is such a wormy idea, you can change it, but to make sure that his people got a much greater return on the oil that was taken out of his country. And we overthrew him because of that because what became British Petroleum, BP, was afraid of being nationalized. And that caused a great deal of excitement in England and in the United States among all the oil companies.
So we overthrew Mosaddegh, but it's often occurred to me if instead we'd encouraged him, we had helped him to get more money out of his own oil and provided better education and health care and social services for his people that might have changed the whole profile of the Middle East. We very well might not be having the problems we're having there today because if others had then followed his example, we wouldn't have the injustice and the poverty that you have in so many places now. Therefore you might very well not have organizations like Al Qaeda.
Pierre: Talking about Middle East, you describe the same modus operandi applied again and again, where ultimately the target country becomes enslaved and its resources looted. But in the case of Saudi Arabia, the context and the objectives were a bit different. So could you describe what happened in Saudi Arabia?
John: Well, Saudi Arabia to me was a fascinating experience. In the early '70s there was an oil embargo against the United States which was very crippling. It was imposed by OPEC and Saudi was the leader of OPEC at the time, the largest contributor to OPEC, the largest oil producer. And the U.S. Treasury Department came to me and other economic hit men and said "We can't allow this to ever happen again. We can't be blackmailed by OPEC again. Do something." Well we knew we had to do something in Saudi Arabia because they pulled the strings. So to make a long story short, I spent a lot of time in Saudi Arabia. I had staff over there for quite a long period of time.
The short version is that we convinced the Sauds, the royal family of Saudi Arabia to deal with us. And the deal was that a) they would return a lot of their petrodollars, the money they made selling oil to the world, to the United States, invested in U.S. government securities. The treasury department would use the interest from those securities to hire U.S. corporations to basically westernize Saudi Arabia, to build power plants and desalinization plants and oil refineries, in make full cities out of the desert.
And we've done that. We've spent trillions of dollars on that. And another part of the deal was that Saudi would make sure that OPEC never priced oil at a price that the oil companies weren't agreeable to. And another part of the deal was that oil would only be traded on the international markets for U.S. dollars. And that was important because in 1971 Nixon had taken the dollar off the gold standard. And so now we suddenly went on the oil standard, which is very beneficial to the U.S. economy and the Central Bank and Federal Reserve. And part of the deal was to keep the House of Saud in power. We'd guarantee that they would stay in power as long as they kept their deal.
Pierre: Yeah, whatever they would do on other political levels, you mentioned the involvement of Saudi Arabia in the development of terrorist groups.
Pierre: In your book you mention that another part of the deal that as long as the Saud family would respect the economic deal, they would benefit from a political immunity and they could do whatever they want, including developing or funding terrorist organizations.
John: Right. Is there a question there?
Niall: Yeah. What's the question there, Mr. Pierre?
Pierre: No, I wanted you to elaborate how because previously you were talking about how the conflicts in the Middle East were related to the economic hit man actions. And actually in an ironic way, the deal between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia led to what is considered now as the enemy of the U.S., terrorism.
Niall: Ah. Blowback.
John: Well I think first of all, just in my opinion, there's no such thing as global terrorism. There are global acts of terror but an ism implies a standard set of principles that are accepted by everyone as part of that ism. So there's Catholicism, capitalism, socialism. But you know, the members of FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) in Columbia and the Somali pirates and Al Qaeda, they all share common principles or ideas. There's no common philosophy behind that. So it's not really an ism. So this idea of global terrorism is just a handy way for us in the United States and other parts of the world to say there's a war on global terrorism. It's just not true. There's no global threat out there. There are localized threats and some of them are getting very strong, like Al Qaeda appears to be.
And I think the only common thread throughout all of it is there are people who are desperate, feel that they've been treated unjustly or they're terribly impoverished. And they will follow fanatical leaders who appear to offer a way out of this, or at least a way for them to vent their anger and their frustrations. And so along comes someone like a Bin Laden or the other leaders of many of these terrorist organizations. And these may be wealthy people as Bin Laden was. But they're fanatics. They have an agenda, a very strong personal agenda, and the only way they're able to recruit so many, many people and convince people to blow themselves up, commit suicide in the name of this is because the people are desperate on one level, either economically desperate or socially maltreated, very angry people. So to me, the solution to terrorism is to make sure that people don't feel that way. And there may always be some crazy people. With Bin Laden out there, there'll always be a few rapists, pick-pockets and people wandering around our streets. We have to learn to deal with them, but the extremists do not get large followings unless there is a reason why people feel that they're going to benefit from following them.
Niall: Yeah, it all comes back to 'what are the economic conditions'?
Joe: Of course we see that creating this kind of poverty around the world through these kind of economic policies that impoverish people and that can create people who feel inclined to maybe fighting back a little bit, that actually works in the favor of the empire builders because they have and can use that to hype up a threat that allows them then to invade another country. So do you think from their point of view - I'm not saying it's a conscious strategy, but it certainly seems to be that they use it to their own benefit.
Joe: So it's not something...
John: Absolutely. It makes a lot of money. You don't actually have to have war.
John: The threat of war makes a lot of money for people. So every time that we convince the world that Iran is a threat, or Syria is a threat or somebody is a threat, suddenly lots of people buy weapons. The Israelis buy weapons. The Iranians buy weapons. Turks buy weapons. We buy weapons. Everybody buys weapons and they buy insurance and they stockpile food and they do all the things that spinoff from the whole military thing. I think it's fair to say that what we've developed in recent history is a death economy, an economy that's based to a large degree on militarization. And the other part of the economy is based on ripping up and destroying the earth, killing the earth really, ravaging our own resources. Where we need to go now is into a life economy, an economy that's based on creating jobs that will clean up pollution and help starving people grow food more efficiently and store it and distribute it and create new forms of transportation, communications, energy, banking, everything. I think there's a tremendous opportunity to have a very healthy economy, a growing economy, a full employment economy that's based on life-enhancing things. And that's also the best way to get rid of the terrible violence that comes out of terrorism, that comes out of unhappy people.
Joe: How do you see that actually happening? Do you see that as a grassroots kind of thing, people forcing change? And if so, I'm sure people should be expecting some kind of a resistance to that from the powers that be. So how do you imagine that change actually happening?
John: Well I don't think there has to be resistance, at least not these big businesses and corporations. We just need to convince them. And I spend a lot of time. I was the keynote speaker at a conference in Istanbul for about 2,000 business leaders. And I told them, that's what you've got to do. The future of successful business is to recognize that we've created a world system that is not working. It just isn't working. And it's not a model. Less than 5% of us live in the United States and consume 30% of the world's resources. That's not a model. China cannot repeat that, though they may try. They are trying. They can't. They've got to recognize they can't. We've got to create a new model, something that truly is a model.
And I tell business leaders when I meet with them, "Hey, the successful businesses of the future will be the ones that" - and I'm talking about short-term future, not just long-term - "will be the businesses that really recognize what people in the world really want and need and what the world really wants and needs". And we're certainly seeing businesses do that. We are seeing a greening of businesses around the world. And it's maybe not happening as fast as you and I would like it to, but in the last five years we've seen some significant changes. And five years is a very short period of time in human history. We're really seeing changes. And I've seen changes as I lecture at MBA programs and colleges, the attitudes of young people who really begin to understand.
You don't have to tell young people anymore that there's an environmental or social crisis in the world. They know that. Generations before we had to convince people that there really was a problem, now they know it. A little bit like climate change. It wasn't long ago that we had to convince people that there was climate change. Now everybody accepts that. The same thing is happening with the green movement. The young people are getting it. So you start with the group of people that's gotten it. And they want to see change. I'm very, very hopeful that this is going to happen because I think human beings are resilient and I think once we understand the seriousness of the problem that we've created with the old systems, and then we will understand change and demand change and create change. And we will move from a death economy to a life economy. So just what you're doing; this blog, the books I write.
John: A lot of people are writing books, doing movies, doing blogs, doing professional networking, radio stations, television, and documentaries. Everybody's talking about it these days all over the world.
Pierre: That's quite different from an economic hit man paradigm. In your book, one part I found fascinating was the change, this internal struggle you describe, the psychological process that led you from an economic hit man stance to this humanitarian or sustainable paradigm. Could you describe this struggle? How your mind evolved? How you changed? How you started to open your eyes?
John: Well I guess it started back when I was an economic hit man. I began to see that what I was told that what we were doing to end poverty, I very quickly saw that it was doing the opposite. The policies of the World Bank where we were doing the opposite, they were not ending poverty. They were making it worse. And I began to really understand this back then. And after I quit I formed a company that developed alternative energy programs. I said "I want to do something that is going in the other direction". We were very successful and I ran that company for 10 years.
And then I sold the company and I went back to the Amazon as a Peace Corp volunteer and started working more with indigenous people there. And they really helped me understand the importance of changing the dream. And it's not the night time dream, but it's the expectations. It's the hopes. It's the paradigm that we're in, that we have to change that. It's truly a consciousness revolution. So for many years now I've been just kind of evolving into this area where I've realized that what we really need is a change of consciousness and to recognize that everything on this planet really, all the institutions created by human beings at least, should be devoted to making it a better place, assuming a public interest to making this world more environmentally sustainable and socially just, spiritually fulfilling world for all sentient beings, not just for humans, but to make it a better place for plants and animals too. It's an amazing, beautiful, incredible planet. And we all ought to devote our lives to making it everything that it can be; for ourselves and our children and our grandchildren and those of all species.
Joe: So what you're talking about really is about informing and educating the upcoming class of corporate leaders and stuff and hopefully having them change the system as they grow into those positions. But I suppose there's an entrenched corporatocracy right there today who are going to have to suffer in some way for these changes to happen. Is it just a matter of waiting until they die off and we get a better breed of corporate leader in there, or is it a matter of trying to force these people entrenched in power to back down a little bit because I think for change, they are going to have to give a little, aren't they?
John: Well I don't know if it's considered to give a little. If you take a guy like Bill Gates and I don't know what he's worth today, $80 billion or something, and convince him to give $30 billion of that to charity. I don't think he's probably suffering a lot. In fact it's probably a huge gain for him, emotionally and psychologically. I don't think most of these people are going to have to suffer very much. They may see it that way because they're living in this paradigm that says "Hey, if I'm President of one major oil company and I'm making $40 million a year and the President of another one is making $45 million, I've got to beat him out." That's kind of the mentality.
John: That mentality doesn't hold water. But that is the mentality we have. It starts way back in school when we say the kids that gets the As is better than the kid that gets the Cs and the quarterback that throws 60% completions is better than a quarterback that only throws 40%. We get this ingrained in ourselves. And I'm not at all opposed to competition. I think competition can be very healthy, but I think let's compete to see who can do the greener things. Who can make the world a better place? Let's make that the yard stick by which we judge our actions.
I was recently in China speaking at an MBA program there and the young Chinese people told me that they had proven that they can create an economic miracle in China. Now they have to create a green miracle. They told me "We're going to be the greenest country on the planet when we take over". These are MBA students. And I think they meant it, but I came back to the United States and I was speaking at the Net Impact Conference which had about 2,500 MBA students in the United States and I told them that story. And I said "Hey, don't let it happen. Make the United States the greenest country." And then I thought well gee, wouldn't it be cool if we had a world cup of green. That's what we're all competing for instead of who can run the fastest or jump the highest, be the best skier and so on and so forth. Let's have competition because I like that. I like competition. But let's be competitive in ways that will make this planet a better place for all of us to live on.
Pierre: John, in your books you reveal quite a lot of sensitive information. How did you manage to release this information? Did you have to face some pressure, some threats? How did it go?
John: Well when I first started to write the book back in the early '80's I contacted other economic hit men and jackals to get their stories and yes, I was threatened. My life was threatened, my daughter's life was threatened. And I was offered a bribe; it was a legal bribe that the CEO, the chairman of the board of Stone Webster, which had been a major competitor of ours, a big New York/Boston-based company, took me out to dinner and said he'd like to use my resume in his proposals. I wouldn't need to do any work. He wanted to pay me a consultant's retainer, about half a million dollars. "Just don't write the book" he said. So my life's been threatened. My daughter's life has been threatened. I'm being offered a lot of money not to write a book. And I didn't write it. I'd seen what a check could do. I put the money toward kind of re-educating myself, to going back to the Amazon, starting a non-profit called Dream Change, to doing workshops. I put the money into good things. I didn't just go out and buy a fancy car, big house or something.
But as time went by my conscience bothered me because I wasn't disclosing what I felt I knew needed to be disclosed. And then on 9/11 I was in the Amazon. When I came home I went to Ground Zero. At that point I made a commitment that I would write this book, but this time I wouldn't tell a soul I was doing it. I'd write the whole manuscript and get it in the hands - I have a very good New York agent. At that point it became my insurance policy. And it still is, you know. Anybody who would seriously want to shut me down knows that if something radical happens to me, if I died mysteriously or get killed, I'm going to be a martyr and the book is going to sell even many more copies than it already has.
And at this point in time it's become irrelevant anyway. There are so many people speaking out. Michael Moore is still walking the streets and making his films. And there are a lot of people. There are a tremendous number of people that are speaking out now. I think it's reached a point where the information is really getting out there. Like Snowden and Assange, they've done a lot more than I ever did. But at that time, when the book came out in 2004 yeah, it was extremely controversial. I got threatened with lawsuits by Bechtel Corporation and the Summer Institute of Linguistics and the U.S. State Department produced a special website called a misinformation website that only had my book on it. So yeah, there were some threats even after the book was published, but they weren't threats to my life. They were legal threats and they were displays to try to discredit me.
Joe: I just wanted to get back to a question on Ukraine. You said that you don't really agree with what the Russian response to what's going on in Ukraine, but as far as I understand it, the actions that have been taken in Ukraine are very similar to the kind of actions that the U.S. State Department and various U.S. agencies have engaged in in the past in South America, essentially helping to inflame a revolution aimed at a regime change or overthrow of the government and then the imposition of this kind of an IMF loan type thing that would really get hold of Ukraine and its economy for the foreseeable future and remake it in the image of something, of the American empire, let's say. So in that sense and given the specific nature of Ukraine and the geopolitics going on there that involve Russia, i.e., Ukraine has Crimea. Crimea is part of Ukraine and Crimea is a place where the Russians legally have their Black Sea fleet which is very important to them in terms of it being the only warm water port that Russia has to be able to exert its influence. If the Russians see that happening and see that Ukraine is basically being pulled into the sphere of the west and essentially taken out of the sphere of influence of Russia. If you were Putin, if you can imagine yourself in that situation, how would you have reacted to that if that was the way that you perceived things happening?
John: Well if I were Putin, things would be very, very different anyway (laughing).
Joe: Right. Okay.
John: But I would never be in that position. I think a fairer question to ask ourselves is what if the situation was happening in the United States. What if Putin were Obama? What if Obama were Putin and the U.S. congress was the Politbureau of Russia? You can damn well bet what we'd do. You could say in a way that Ukraine is perhaps roughly equivalent to Puerto Rico, let's say. Or you could say Guatemala. And we invaded Guatemala. We invaded Panama. We invaded Grenada. I just wrote a blog. People can go to johnperkins.org. I wish they would and sign up for my newsletter, but there's a blog there which deals with this where I say "I'm opposed to intervention by other countries. Let countries determine themselves." I'm not an isolationist but I think that we have to be very, very careful about intervening.
And I have a hard time commenting on Ukraine or Russia because I'm not part of that. I don't really know what's going on there at all. I don't pretend to know what's really happening there. But I will say that I think this is a time for us, in the United States, to look inward and say "Jesus! Why did we kill over 2,000, probably close to 6,000 innocent civilians in Panama in 1989? Why did we invade Grenada? Why did we invade Guatemala? Why did we take Aristide out of Haiti? Why did we destroy Allende and Mosaddegh and Lumumba? Why did we go to Vietnam? Why did we go into Iraq?" I think it is a time for us to say "How hypocritical can we be if we tell Russia that they don't have the right to protect their fleet?" as you put it, on the Black Sea? I don't really think they do have the right personally. But if they don't have the right then we don't have the right either.
John: And that's where we should take the stand, is to say "They don't have the right. Neither do we". These sovereign countries have a right to do what they need to do. And that doesn't necessarily mean that they support our corporations. We've never supported democracy around the world.
John: Allende was democratically elected. So was Roldos in Ecuador. So was Zelaya of Honduras, so was Mosaddegh of Iran. We took them out. On the other hand, we did protect Pinochet of Chile who was obviously a terribly brutal dictator, roughly an equivalent to Hitler on a smaller scale, but a terribly brutal man. And we protected him. We stood by him. And we've done this in so many places. We really need to look to ourselves. When we see something like what's happening in Crimea and Ukraine, yes, let's stop Russia. Let's stand for sovereignty, and at the same time stand for sovereignty in the places where we have not allowed countries to be sovereign and particularly in our own hemisphere. Ukraine is in the Russian hemisphere. We have our Monroe Doctrine and we've enforced it so many times in the last 200 years.
Jason: Well something that's kind of interesting, it's just a small point, Russia, before this whole thing happened, they actually leased the land for their military base, for their naval bases, and they had some number of thousands of troops already there. It's not like they sent them after this happened. These troops were actually there because they had rented the land for 50 years I think it was.
Jason: No, but they've renewed the rent to 20...
Jason: 2042. So they had rented the land and they keep saying this word "invasion" but actually the troops were already there, based on their agreement. And the fact that they file outside of their military base and stand guard, I'm kind of not entirely seeing that as an unfair reaction for him to have.
John: Well yeah, but you know, Lee said the same thing about Panama, that we had the Panama canal, in the zone, this huge swath of land through the center of Panama and we said we already had troops there and blah, blah. We needed to defend those troops. That's why we burned down a quarter of the city of Panama City and killed thousands of civilians. We said we had every right to do that because we were already there. We had a lease until 1999, and this was 1989. Ten years to go, we were damn well going to protect that even if it meant killing thousands of innocent civilians and destroying a large sector of the city.
I don't go for any of that. I don't think Russia has an excuse to be in Ukraine. I don't think the United States has an excuse to do many of things that we've done. It's time to create a new world. It's time to say "Bullies don't have a role in this world". And I think the United States should be the defender. Yeah, let's defend Ukraine. Let's put sanctions against Russia, but let's at the same time say "We will never, ever, ever do what we did in Chile and in all the other countries that I've been mentioning" and many others for that matter on a smaller scale.
Jason: So just to clear up, you don't think that America backed the coup, huh?
John: In Ukraine?
Jason: Yeah. There was a guy who was ostensibly democratically elected and now he's gone. He might have been a total dick, right? And the guy to me sounds like a total flip-flopping guy, right? But he was kind of...
John: And he was terribly corrupt, there's no question. He stole a lot of money.
John: A horrible leader, yeah.
Jason: So getting rid of the leader, if he's corrupt is cool?
John: Oh I have no doubt that the United States has economic hit men roaming around there. We and the European Union have been trying to get the former Soviet satellite countries into the European Union. I have no doubt that there have been a lot of shenanigans going on. I don't know. I can't speak from personal experience. I don't really like to speculate, but from everything I know about the world, that's the way the world operates. I'm sure that's been going on, just like I'm sure that the Russians and especially the Chinese have people doing similar things throughout Latin America. I think we ought to stop all of that.
Jason: Well I read your book, right.
John: It's one thing to look out for our interests and people will always do that. There's always going to be shenanigans. We're not going to stop that. There's always going to be people lobbying. I gave in to telephone threats and a bribe basically. And that's human nature. It's going to go on. It goes on in every organization I've ever worked in or served on the board, there's been things like that, somebody trying to take over somebody else's job and so on and so forth. It seems to me that's part of human nature. But as a nation, you would want to believe we can be more principled than that, as a people that come together to be unified, you would want to believe that we could follow the mandates of our most sacred documents, the Declaration of Independence and our own constitution. And truly set an example to the world as being a nation that is out to protect democracy and national sovereignty. And within that recognize that we're going to have people in our corporations, we're going to have some people in government going in and trying to affect the politics of third world countries. That's going to happen. But let's not do it as a policy. Let's not raid other countries. And as a national policy that people don't even vote on. Nobody ever voted.
Jason: I 100% agree with you there. These are all excellent points. But I did just want to ask this question because I was reading your book. I love the book. I think it's really a great read and it's got kind of this A, B, C breakdown of how things go, but at the same time it's got a great narrative that moves you along so that you don't even realize that you're reading a book really dense with information. So I really enjoy it. In it you talk about how the strategy is that you send in the economic hit men. You send in the EHM and then if that doesn't work, you send in the jackals, right? And the jackals are kind of like these people that rabble rouse or they start fake protests. You give this example of Kermit Roosevelt in Iran in the first part of the book, where he goes and he fakes all these protests and violence to get rid of the guy who was there and get in this new guy, right? And so then you say that the next stage after the jackals is that they send in the military, right? So you kind of give this three-stage thing. So I'm just wondering how that relates to the Ukraine because the IMF went in there to give them a loan, which seems to me to be the EHM stage, they refused it and the next thing that happened was a series of protests in a leader who was democratically elected goes down. So it did look a little suspicious, just a tiny bit to me.
So I was just wondering how does that play out?
John: Again, I don't have personal experience there, so I really don't know what's happened in Ukraine.
John: I only know what happened on my watch. But again, I go back to saying "I don't want to interfere with Ukraine, Russia. That's not my job. It's the time for the United States to really look at who we are and what we want to do in the world." And I'm afraid gentlemen I'm going to have to get off now. I've got another commitment. We've been on for an hour and I'm going to need to go.
Joe: No problem.
John: This has been really, really interesting. Thank you.
Niall: Thank you very, very much John for coming on and talking to us. Love your work. People if you haven't yet read them, you need to read Confessions of an Economic Hit Man and two follow up books Secret History of the U.S. Empire and Hoodwinked: An Economic Hit Man Reveals Why the Global Economy Imploded. John thank you very much. We'll let you go.
John: You're welcome. My pleasure. I'd really like to encourage people to go to my website johnperkins.org and sign up for the newsletter there. I'm also on Facebook and Twitter. Thank you guys, keep up the good work.
Joe: Okay. We'll be following you.
Jason: Check those things out. Take care man.
Joe: Take care.
Pierre: Thank you John.
John: Thank you. Bye-bye.
Niall: So luckily we did get John on eventually for the second half.
Joe: Finally. I don't know where he was.
Niall: I had actually read his blog posts concerning Ukraine. His position there, it's a fair point. "I wasn't there actually involved in it therefore I'm not in a position to say anything".
Joe: Yeah, but hang on a minute. When I read his books and I read all the incidents...
Jason: He was involved.
Joe: No, no. When I read his book and I see all the stuff, the way he describes how it works, I can see that what's going on in Ukraine mirrors exactly what he said has been going on all around the world, in Iran in the '50s and all over South America in the '60s, '70s, '80s and '90s, right up until today. So if I read his book and I see it happening, how can he not? And that's the first point. And secondly, well, what do you think?
Niall: Well I think it's fantastic that he's given us this methodology.
Joe: Absolutely. That's what I'm saying. That's why I don't understand, that when he's laid it all out there, I don't understand how he can't see it happening in Ukraine, just because he's not part of it? Surely I think he would have been the best person, best placed, with the best information to say "This is what's going on". But anyway, I think the comparison that John gave too, with Panama for example, the Americans said they had a base in Panama and they invaded Panama and overthrew a government is similar to the Russian explanation of why they are involved. It's slightly different in the sense that at the time in Panama, the U.S. wasn't really under threat. Their bases weren't necessarily under threat. The threat came from within the country.
Niall: The threat was that their corporations would lose their controlling interest. Their threat was their control of the canal, which was a massive influence on world trade, shipping. And the third threat was the domino theory. Remember what LBJ said and then Kissinger about "Well if one little commie country falls, next thing you know, all of them going to fall".
Joe: Well here's the difference. Okay, there were threats to American interests in Panama, and they invaded because of that, but those threats were the result of a change of government within the country that was happening...
Joe: ...as a result of the people in the country. The threat in terms of Russia and Ukraine, Russia has been doing quite well. It's been fair basically, more or less, in the sense of Ukraine and Russian relations have been ongoing and there's been different Presidents and stuff, but the threat that Russia is responding to is an outside force. So to try and draw the comparison with Panama and Ukraine, you would have to have someone like Russia going into Panama and overthrowing American interests and then America responding.
Jason: Right, and then it would be...
Joe: Then maybe you could say "Okay, America has a right to do that because they're the ones who have" - do you know what I mean?
Joe: Almost as if Russia was invading Panama against the wishes of the Panamanian people.
Joe: And booting out America. That's what's happened in Ukraine.
Joe: And in that context America would have been justified in responding in the same way, as far as I'm concerned, given the not exactly perfect state of this world, and dealing with what is, if we're going to break it up into aggressor and defender here, clearly America is the aggressor and Russia is simply defending. Russia is not trying to spread its empire or remake the Soviet Union. They've been pushed back and pushed back. They've lost everything. And this is kind of like their last little piece. Ukraine was their last little piece of external influence, more or less. Maybe Belorussia, but that's not so significant. Ukraine was their last significant piece of other territory let's say, or another country that was in Russia's sphere and that Russia had bilateral relations with. And not only that, but Russia has a very clear and even justifiable interest in Ukraine in that there are 10 or 12 million ethnic Russians there. And that's at least 30, 40% of the population of Ukraine. How many ethnic Americans were in Panama? What percentage of the population or how many Americans were in any country that America invaded on the basis of "We have to protect our people"? Most places they couldn't even use that because there were no Americans there.
Niall: There were about 50 U.S. senators at any one time according to Perkins _swimming on yachts because that was the place to go and get down and dirty and not have the international press.
Joe: So, for me that's the bottom line. It's pretty clear. Russia is simply defending itself, but it's being portrayed in the press as being the aggressor. And that's just wrong.
Niall: I think the analogy you're making is very important. Let's just remove the moral issue here for a second and let's look at it in terms of the economic hit men. At a purely economic level, it's Russia's turf and then America's turf. Well, how would America like it if Russia stepped in on its turf? Their own economic justification, rationale for why they do what they do works against them. And they know it, which is why they resort to stupid statements.
Joe: That's why it appears so hypocritical and you have even the average person in the street going "What?"
Jason: Well I think Perkins smells which way the wind is blowing in the U.S. right now and he knows which side of the bread is buttered on here. And he knows that it's not really politically expedient maybe to be too critical. So maybe he's just being politic about it because mainly he said "I don't know, so I can't really say that I have an opinion on it". And that was kind of a diplomatic answer to give because right now it's a very hot topic. So I understand that he is a little bit timid about it. Obviously you read the book and it's like x, y, z, you can't help that it's been spelled out. And it's a shame that he kind of feels that he has to be so diplomatic about it.
Joe: Well I'm not even sure it's diplomacy. I think the way he's talking about it is that is suggestive of him having moved on after spending all these years in the belly of the beast, doing the dirty jobs and then writing several books about it.
Niall: It's been 10 years.
Joe: Yeah, he's faced with the horror of the situation and any normal human being, I suppose, would look to "Okay, there has to be some solution to this and I want to work for good now." But what if you find yourself in a world where there is no option for changing the system for the better? Well you've got to grasp at something. You've got to come up with something. And this is what I've always thought, is that our approach to things is very different from the vast majority of other people, even in the alternative community, in terms of how they see things. Most people who are fighting the good fight against the powers that be have this idea that they can change the world for the better.
Jason: They want to believe.
Joe: Well, this is their planet. They're identified with this planet, with this world, and they want it to be a nice place to live and they see all these horrors and they're moved to try and expose it and tell everybody about all the horrible things that are happening.
Niall: And how it actually works.
Joe: And how it works. And then they naturally go "Okay, well here's how we can fix it". And that's kind of fundamentally different from the approach we take where we kind of look at it, and the more we look at it, the more we see that it can't be fixed, not in any kind of a people power kind of way. Unless Russia was in a position to provoke some kind of regime change in America, to do what America has done...
Jason: I wouldn't go that far.
Joe: ...get all the NGOs in there and them moving.
Jason: As much as I think Putin's a pretty cool guy and I think it's good to see somebody not being pushed around by America, I'm not really ready to go to the place to say that they're necessarily so much better. Maybe they are, but it's such a different world from what we experience that I don't really know if we can even project onto them a kind of real morality most of the time because they're just such huge machines and they have this constant roving, people going in and poking it and flipping the switches and pushing the buttons. And all it takes is one psychopath. So even if Russia was good right now, if it did have some sort of successful regime change thing, we know that it would still be weak to psychopathic ponerization and then we would probably be out of the frying pan, into the fire. And then we would be under the illusion things had gotten better. And then that's the perfect opportunity, as we've seen during revolutions, for psychopathic people to come in and actually become entrenched in various governments because people think "Finally. Something happened. We've succeeded!" And while they're dancing and partying, the psychopaths are going in and they're filling in the ranks and then we're totally doubly screwed.
Niall: Tell me if I'm reaching, but if I can find a middle ground between some of the things John was saying in terms of what we can do about it, and our position just described by you and Joe, is that intended or not, what the situation is doing is forcing at least a percentage of the global population to think globally. This is the mother of all lessons. Forget a university degree. If you pay attention to what's going on on this planet right now, you have incredible learning at least before you.
Joe: Exactly. And that is the benefit to it. And that is the perspective people should take. That's all to the good. That's what we can take away from it is just take an objective observer view of it and look at it and see the dynamics at play and just watch it and don't be too identified with any one particular side, but call it like it is as well.
Pierre: And in this way what we're proposing different from what you usually hear in alternative circles, is not so much about changing others, fixing others, fixing the planet, but about changing ourselves, in the sense that seeing the world as it is.
Joe: As it is.
Pierre: Just objectively, in all its sorrow and all its beauty as well.
Joe: Indeed. And with those wise words, we'll leave it there for this week folks. We hope you enjoyed the show. We'd like to thank John again for being on and we do recommend his books actually, because they give a pretty devastating view of exactly how the world has worked over the past 30, 40 years and why it is the way it is today.
Niall: Next week we're interviewing Daniel Estulin. He's the author of The Bilderberg Group. And he's also host for RT Latin America I think. So we'll be having a shout with him. We'll get his take on Ukraine, geopolitics and everything in between.
Joe: And everything in between. And hopefully he'll be there when we call.