The Price of Oil
edited: Sunday, December 18, 2005
By Niki Collins-Queen
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Tuesday, December 06, 2005
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John Perkins the 2004 New York Times bestselling author of "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" helped me understand the questions: "Why is Anti-Americanism growing around the world? How did America become a Superpower with minimal military action?"
Why is Anti-Americanism growing around the world? How did America become a Superpower with minimal military action?
John Perkins the 2004 New York Times bestselling author of "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" provides an answer.
Perkins’ goals as the Chief Economist for Chas. T. Main, an international consulting firm, was to convince strategic countries to accept enormous loans for infrastructure development and to ensure that U.S. corporations got the projects.
Upon default of the loans The United States Government, World Bank, International Monetary Fund IMF, and other U.S. dominated aid agencies had access to the countries’ resources (especially oil), strategic land and the installation of military bases.
The U.S. companies that make profits from the engineering and construction projects include Bechtel, Halliburten, Brown and Root and Stone and Weber.
Perkins says international economists are highly paid "Economic Hit Man" (EHM) hired by international corporations to hide the U.S. governments’ involvement.
In the 1980s U.S. corporations became legal international companies to minimize rules and regulations.
Perkins calls the big banks, corporations and government a "corporatocracy." Companies that are members of the corporatocracy include Monsanto, Wal-Mart, General Electric and General Motors.
Perkins says the majority of people in the debtor countries benefit little. For example when the wealthy ruling families in Ecuador accepted a billion-dollar loan (backed by the promise of oil revenues), to build roads, hydroelectric dams, industrial parks and other power projects they brought the country to virtual bankruptcy. In three decades the poverty level grew from 50 to 70 percent, unemployment increased by 15 to 17 percent, public debt increased from $240 to $16 billion and the natural resources allocated to the poor declined from 20 to 6 percent.
Although oil accounts for almost half of Ecuador’s exports since Texaco and Shell discovered petroleum in the Amazon in the 60s the oil companies receive $75 for every $100 of crude oil taken. Three quarters of the remaining $25 goes to pay off the debt by selling Ecuador’s rain forest to the oil companies.
The people of Ecuador are afraid of the oil companies as they are destroying the forests and poisoning the rivers. The Trans-Andian pipeline leaked over a half million barrels of oil into the rain forest—more than twice the amount spilled by Exxon Valdez in Alaska. Many people, animals and vast areas of the rain forest have died. Thirty thousand indigenous people hired American lawyers to file a $1 billion lawsuit against ChevronTexeco Corp. for dumping 4 million gallons of oil-contaminated wastewater, heavy metals and carcinogens into the rivers. The 350 uncovered waste pits continue to kill both people and animals.
In August 1979 Jaime Roldós became the first elected president after a long line of dictators. In May 1981 he warned the US foreign interests he would force them to leave if they did not help the Ecuador people and use the natural resources responsibly. He died in the fiery airplane crash a few weeks later. Newpapers blazed "CIA assassination" and Perkins said the circumstances supported the allegations. He says U.S. assassins are called "jackals" by the international consulting firms.
Osvaldo Hurtado took over as Equador’s president and launched an ambitious program to increase oil drilling by Texico and other foreign companies in the Gulf of Guayaquil and the Amazon basin.
Perkins says most countries including Indonesia, Guatemala, Chile, Venezuela, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Panama are beholden to the U.S. global empire and have suffered a similar fate. Third world debt has grown to more than $2.5 trillion. The top one percent of third world households account for 70-90% of the wealth and real estate while over half the people of the world survive on less than $2.00 a day about the same they received in the 1970s.
When the French funded project to build the Panama Canal through Columbia failed President Theodore Roosevelt demanded that Columbia sign a treaty turning the isthmus over to the North American Consortium. When Columbia refused he sent U.S. troops to seize the local militia commander and Panama was declared an independent nation in 1889. Because the Panama Canal connects the Atlantic with the Pacific Ocean Roosevelt understood that Panama is one of the most valuable pieces of real estate in the world.
A treaty was signed, not by a Panamanian, but by the U.S. Secretary of State Hay and France’s Phillippe Bunau-Varilla. A puppet government was installed and Panama was forced to leave Columbia to serve U.S. interests. For 50 years Panama was ruled by an oligarchy of wealthy Panamanian families while the rest of the Panamanian people lived in poverty. The U.S. corporations in Panama include Rockefeller’s Standard Oil and George H.W. Bush’s United Fruit Company who pay workers minimum wages.
In 1968 Omar Torrijos, a champion of human rights who believed that Panama has the right to rule itself, overthrew a dictator and emerged as a popular head of state.
Torrijos successfully negotiated a new treaty with U.S. President Jimmy Carter that placed the Canal Zone under Panamanian control. The canal Treaty was ratified in the U.S. Congress by a single vote.
In July 1981 Torrijos died in a plane crash shortly after he refused to give in to President Ronald Reagan’s demands to renegotiate the Canal Treaty.
Many people asked Washington to open an investigation into CIA activities. Perkins said, once again, Torrijos’ death had all the markings of a CIA orchestrated assassination.
Manuel Noriega, Torrijos’ successor, reinstated a close relationship with the CIA but refused to renegotiate the Canal Treaty. President H.W. Bush attacked Panama with a large airborne assault and captured Noriega shortly after he refused to consider a fifteen-year extension of the School of Americas. The U.S. Army prohibited the press and the Red Cross from entering the heavily bombed areas for three days while soldiers incinerated and buried casualties.
Governments and press around the world denounced the bombing as a clear violation of international law. Defense Secretary Richard Cheney said the death toll of civilians was around six hundred. Independent human rights groups estimated the death toll between three to five thousand with 25 thousand people left homeless.
Washington said violations of American Law committed in Panama justified the attack, capture, trial and U.S. imprisonment of Noriega.
Peter Eisner, a Newsday and Associated Press reporter wrote in his 1997 book, "The Memories of Manuel Noriega: America’s Prisoner":
"I do not think the evidence shows Noriega was guilty of the charges against him…My analysis of the political situation before, during and after the invasion brought me to the conclusion that the U.S. invasion of Panama was an abominable abuse of power."
The Aries family, a pre-Torrijos oligarchy that had served as U.S. puppets was reinstated—allowing Washington to once again control the waterway, despite the Canal Treaty.
Saudi Arabia has a different history with the U.S. During the 1960s a group of countries formed OPEC, the cartel of oil producing nations. The major international oil companies collaborated to hold down petroleum prices to increase their profits in 1973 resulting in an oil embargo. After the embargo Washington offered the House of Saud, the rulers of Saudi Arabia, technical and military support to keep them in charge if they would assure the U.S. there would not be another oil embargo. The United States-Saudi Arabia Joint Economic Commission JEOR was established. Other conditions included Saudi Arabia using its petrodollars to purchase U.S. government securities and using the interest earned to pay U.S. companies to build modern cities and infrastructure projects.
Perkins was told to make sure that the U.S. and Saudi economies become dependent on each other when he negotiated the contract.
In 1951when Mohammed Mossadegh, the Iranian Prime Minister, rebelled against the British Petroleum by nationalizing all Iranian petroleum assets, England sought help from the U.S. Instead of sending in the marines Kermit Roosevelt, a CIA agent was sent to win the Iranian people through payoffs and threats. He organized a series of street riots that created the impression that Mossadegh was inept. The U.S. covertly appointed Mohammad Reza Shah, a pro-American, and Mossadegh was placed under house arrest.
Perkins believes if Saddam Hussein had cooperated with the Bush Administrations and set up a system like Saudi Arabia he would have missiles, chemical plants and an upgraded infrastructure in Iraq. One reason the U.S. invaded oil rich Iraq is that there would be less of a need to continue to honor the U.S. pact with The House of Saud. The U.S. economy also benefits since the World Bank and other institutions are under U.S. influence and the contracts to rebuild Iraq have been given to U.S. companies such as Bechtel and Halliburton.
When Perkins finally admitted that only a few people profit when a country has a debt burden and felt guilt that U.S. foreign policies were alienating many nations and ultimately led to the U.S. attacks on September 11 he left Chas. T. Main after forty years—ten years as Chief Economist and thirty years as Manager of Economics and Regional Planning.
Perkins is concerned that Saudi Arabia is the primary source of funds and training to the jihad movement and to terrorists such as Osama bin Laden.
He decided he could no longer be a part of a system that uses fraudulent financial reports, rigged elections, payoffs, extortion, assassinations and war to foster impoverishment of millions of people across the planet, where citizens are used for cheap labor and deprived of health benefits, education and social services.
Perkins cautions Americans to read between the lines of U.S. newspapers and TV as publicity houses are owned and manipulated by gigantic international corporations that are part of the corporatocracy.
He recommends that U.S. apply the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to all people of the world not just Americans as history shows that communism and terrorism are predictable reactions to oppression and exploitation. In the long run no one benefits from world starvation, diseases, deforestation and water and air pollution. He also believes big corporations, banks and government can decrease terrorism if they used their resources to end poverty, disease, starvation and wars.
Other people who share Perkins’ concerns:
The research for the film "Syriana" supports John Perkins’ concerns. "Syriana" a powerful award-winning movie by writer director Stephen Gaghan is based on former CIA agent Robert Baer’s book "See No Evil" and looks at the danger of U.S. reliance on Middle Eastern oil.
In her book "Small Wonder" Barbara Kingsolver, a biology graduate and award winning author, said U.S. corporations, banks and the World Trade Organization are overtaking the autonomy and economy of small countries. In the last 30 years the U.S. has helped finance air assaults in Afghanistan, Chile, El Salvador, Grenada, Iran, Libya, Lebanon, Nicaragua, Panama, the Sudan, Vietnam and Yugoslavia.
The World Trade Organizations are placing pressure on farmers of other countries to buy genetically altered seeds that kill their own embryos so the farmer will always have to buy seed from the company.
Kingsolver based her novel "The Poisonwood Bible" on the U.S., CIA and Western Europe’s involvement in Patrice Lumumba’s death in the Congo. The U.S. supported Joseph Mobutu’s dictatorship and abuse of funds while his people were dying of starvation and disease. She says the Export-Import Bank loaned the Congo more than a billion dollars for a bogus power line so they can be assured a permanent debt and be repaid in cobalt and diamonds.
Harold Pinter the British 2005 winner of the Nobel Prize in literature, in his acceptance speech, criticized the U.S. invasion of Iraq and President Ronald Reagan’s overthrow of Nicaragua’s socialist Sandinista government by supporting the Contras. As Perkins says U.S. foreign policy refuses to accept governments that allocate land to the poor, institute universal health care, free public education, and eliminate the death penalty.
Kingsover says we live in the only rich country in the world that still tolerates poverty in our own country. In Japan, some European countries and Canada the state assumes the duty of providing all its citizens with good education, good health and shelter. These nations believe that homelessness simply isn’t an option. The citizens pay higher taxes than the U.S. and so they have smaller homes, smaller cars, and appetites for consumer goods. They realize true peace is not the absence of tension but the presence of justice.
Web Site: Jim Perkins
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