31 October 2012, 18:58

USAID/CIA: it is in the US' interests to suppress democracy - interview

USAID/CIA: it is in the US' interests to suppress democracy - interview
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“In the Middle East we also supported dictators, we supported Mubarak, we supported the Saudi royal family” - says Stuart Bramhall, a retired psychiatrist, and author and a long-time political activist who has done extensive research on USAID. She also claims that in Eastern Europe the US government and USAID did a lot of training of activists in advance of all the color revolutions.

USAID/CIA: supporting dictators and stifling democracy - exclusive interview

Robles: So, you are saying it is in the US interests to suppress democracy? 

Bramhall: What happened in the Middle East is that we also supported dictators, we supported Mubarak, we supported the Saudi royal family, which is a very totalitarian government. We supported the king of Jordan. And here it wasn’t because we wanted to get cheap labor. Here it was because the United States wanted to maintain control of oil resources and so, through their support of these dictators, they were able to suppress any pro-democracy movement that might be inclined to nationalize. 

Their biggest fear was that some of these countries would elect a pro-democratic government that would want to nationalize their oil industry, like when Iran, back in the 1950s, they elected a democratic government and in this case the CIA had organized a coup to overthrow the democratically elected government. That was Kermit Roosevelt that did, the re-installed the Shah of Iran, directly organizing a coup and so now what happened with the Arab Spring is they could see that there were some very strong pro-democracy rumblings and very strong pro-labor rumblings happening in the Middle East so that they knew it was only a matter of time before these dictators that they have been supporting were going to be overthrown. And so what they did is they actually trained many of the student activists in various kinds of non-violent techniques and they really set them up in the situation where, when the dictator was overthrown, they would install a new government that would be friendly to the United States. 

They had a period starting in 2008 where USAID, the National Endowment for Democracy and a number of similar foundations were training these activists, and they actually collaborated with the State Department where they would bring these activists over to the United States once a year and train them how to use Facebook, train them how to use Twitter, train them how to use various kinds of software that would kind of circumvent the efforts of the government to shut down websites. 

Robles: How might the US manipulate infrastructure projects and basic services, for example, schools and education and hospitals and clinics? 

Bramhall: Really there are a number of people in the State Department who have written books about USAID and actually I think it is fairly common knowledge that in US Embassies there are a lot of people that make out like they are working for the State Department, they are really CIA agents, it is called like being a CIAid agent under State Department cover and the same is true about USAID that the number of people who work for USAID are actually CIA agents. 

They do two things – one is they collect intelligence information but another thing that they do is they put out propaganda and it can either be propaganda that counters the government where they are working or it can be propaganda that basically supports a free market ideology that promotes the idea that everything should be run privately and that the idea of having publicly run schools is not economic or not free or not the best quality. 

Robles: How could that be used by the US to manipulate and advance their own goals? 

Bramhall: The thing is what is happening right now is that there are a lot of schools being privatized in the United States right now, as charter schools. So what Obama has done and a number of people in his Department of Education, they have collaborated with business people in local cities and that is why they started all of this testing, they go into the inner-cities and they have these minority students take these tests and if they don’t pass a test, they shut the school down and then what happens is that there is all this federal money that has been going into that school, that goes now to a private corporation, and they have all these corporations, set up with textbooks and testing, materials and test preparation material. So they’ve created this whole industry, they take this federal money and it gets funneled into these private corporations. They say that the idea is: that the reason you want to privatize education is because that is the best kind of education, but the truth is that the people who are running around promoting this are making immense profit. 

Robles: So, a lot of it has to do with just making a lot of really, really big money? 

Bramhall: That’s all it has to do with. The is really the only reason for neo-liberalism. It is the same thing with health care, there used to be similarly strong publicly sponsored health programs in the United States, Medicare was one of them, Medicaid is one of them and so what they have done now is they have said “it is better if you let the insurance companies deliver the healthcare rather than having the government do it”. 

About 15 years ago they started requiring elderly people to sign up for an insurance company when they signed up for Medicare. And that has just been a paper that has come out this past week: all of these profits have gone to the insurance companies instead of to patient care. 

They put out this disinformation that medical care is better if it is private, more effective or more efficient or costs less, but the truth is that you have all of these people raking in enormous profits because of the system being privatized. 

In New Zealand, which is where I live, our country is under enormous attack because of free trade treaties that we signed, they are trying to get us to dismantle our health system, so that the insurance companies can come here and start selling their product. 

Robles: Can you tell us a little bit about what you know about USAID’s operations in Central and Latin America because they have been really active in those areas, in that part of the world, and in Eastern Europe? 

Bramhall: In Eastern Europe I am aware that they did a lot of training of activists in advance of all these color revolutions that they had. So, there were all these people those who were really unhappy with the government in a number of these countries and so the USAID came in and George Soros opened institutes and foundations and the National Endowment for Democracy and they trained all of these people to organize in a certain way and to make certain demands but the kind of demands that they had to made were very limited. 

What happened is they installed the government that either didn’t change the economic and political system or left them with an economic and political system that was even worse than the one that they replaced, but it was an economic and political system that was very very favorable to United States corporations and gave them a lot of incentives in terms of tax breaks and guaranteeing them a work force that wasn’t unionized so that they could make immense profit. 

By saying basically there are certain basic ideas that go along with neo-liberalism and these are things that central planning is bad, publicly funded healthcare is bad, publicly funded education is bad, these things need to be privatized in order for economies to flourish, that you need to have outside investment, and if you want outside investment, you have to give tax advantages to American corporations, you have to provide them with something called competitive labor markets. What that means is that there won’t be a requirement on the employer to provide pensions, there won’t be a whole lot of regulation about having a safe work place environment. 

So, in other words they promote these free market ideals that most European countries and even the United States prior to the second World War basically took for granted: that workers worked their best if they were able to meet the basic needs, they had a safe environment to work in, they had freely available access to education, and access to healthcare. 

So, what they do is they challenge these basic ideas as being bad because they interfere with the same market. In other words they make out like they are going to help the country but basically they are promoting a lot of disinformation and propaganda about a free market society and how that is the best kind of society to have. 

Robles: And it’s is all about making big money, right? 

Bramhall: For corporations, yes.

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