Doctor Stuart Bramhall

USAID/CIA Supporting Dictators and Stifling Democracy - Part One


Download audio file  16 October 2012, 14:49  

“Clearly their main focus is not to give foreign aid to a country, it is basically to advance the US economic interests” says Dr. Stuart Jeanne Bramhall a researcher, writer, political-activist and blogger, who has studied the activities of USAID for years, spoke with about USAID and their ties to the CIA. Her research has shown that USAID and the CIA promote dictators and are against Democracy which allows corporations to maintain high-profit margins and allows the US to control resources.

USAID has been expelled from the Russian Federation because in the Government’s opinion they attempted to influence the internal political processes in the country. What can you tell our listeners about USAID and similar things they’ve done in other countries?

One thing you need to understand is that it is not acceptable in the US in the political process to give foreign aid. Basically ever since Ronald Reagan was the President, President or Congress people who advocated for doing foreign aid came under a lot of criticism politically. And generally the idea is that it is only really acceptable to give foreign aid if there is some kind of military or economic advantage in giving aid to that country. But you can’t really tell this from walking at the USAID website. Clearly their main focus is not to give foreign aid to a country, it is basically to advance the US economic interests. On their website they divide the periods of influence into 1990-2000, 2000 and forward.

They state very clearly like between 1980 and 1990 the primary focus of the USAID was to promote free market, that kind of a cold word is to say – to promote neoliberalism which is a very specific US economics that promotes very limited Government, only in a form of police force or military force. They feel education should be privatized, medical care should be privatized, social services should be privatized. So, basically this is an attitude that the Government has really no role except to police the population and to expand military influence. And the USAID says this very clearly on their website. None of this is secret, we are not talking about the classified information. It is freely available information that you can read about on the USAID website, you can read in Foreign Relation Council documents and State Department documents.

Noam Chomsky who is a famous American dissident has done a lot of research into something that he calls “US grand area planning” as this been going on since the late 1930’es. And the notion is that there are certain regions of the world that really are expected to be subordinated to the needs of American planning, this is both economically and militarily. And since the WW II these areas have included the western hemisphere, the Far East and the former British Empire. And there’s been a very consistent policy by the US that we support totalitarian dictatorships in those regions. Latin America, they have a long history of direct military interventions where we just sent the marines down if, say, a country lacks a democratic leader, we invade, like we did in Grenada or like we did in Panama.

What can you tell us about the CIA using the USAID as a friend company?

It’s always been a friend company for the CIA. Started by Kenndy, by the executive order in 1961, during the 1980’es, when various Latin American countries began to try to overthrow some of these dictators that the US had installed, there was a very close collaboration between the AFL-CIO – which is the American federation of labour – and the USAID in order to work with potential labour activists there in order to basically suppress union organizing and to persuade the labour activists that they needed to cooperate with the corporations which for the most part were US corporations that were exploiting these countries.

What other types of organizations could USAID use and how could they be manipulated to bring about US advantage or US plans in a region?

They are mostly trying to promote the interests of US corporations. The CIA has very close connections with a number of corporations. There are a number of Wall Street banking interests that have been very closely associated with the CIA and also a number of specific companies that are very closely associated with the CIA.

And so, to a large extent in Latin America the function of the CIA was to suppress any local democracy movements and to suppress any local labour organizing that was going to interfere with the interests of the corporations because the corporations didn’t want to have unions where workers were making significant demands over wages and working conditions. And by having the CIA and the USAID and the AFL-CIO working closely to collaborate with the police and with the squads to arrest and kill union activists, they could prevent any union organizing from happening and that would keep the wages really low because that would increase the profit of the corporations.

Can you name any of these corporations and banks?

Coca-Cola was one. In Guatemala United Fruit Company. Over a long period of time mostly the people who were involved with the CIA were lawyers who would represent various banks, like John McCloy, he was a Wall Street lawyer who worked with the CIA and later became the President of the Ford Foundation. And he was the one that had the Ford Foundation collaborate very closely with the CIA. The Ford Foundation would accept a lot of funding from the CIA because the Ford Foundation was going into countries and doing development, or they would make it appear like they were really trying to help the people in that country, whereas they were really trying to suppress pro-democracy movements and pro-union movements. The Ford Foundation has also worked very closely with USAID.

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

What happened in the ME 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…


Yes, and here it wasn’t because we wanted to get cheap labour, here it was because the US 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 fear was that some of these countries would elect a pro-democratic government that would want to nationalize their oil industry.

USAID/CIA: It is in the US' Interests to Suppress Democracy - Part Two

Download audio file October 31, 2012

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.



Last Update: 08/06/2023 03:24 +0300



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