A little over a year ago, we were asked by the command and the Office of the Secretary, in collaboration with the U.S. embassy in Kabul, to begin assisting in an economic assessment of the state of Afghans' economy. And the focus of that assessment was to assess the ability, or the long-term viability, of the Afghan economy. Well- publicized challenges there in terms of the Afghans being able to finance their own security, their own development. Obviously, the international community has stepped up in a tremendous way over the past several years, to provide everything from the security costs, but also just the base developmental costs associated with helping that war-torn country get back on its feet.
We began that work last summer. It continued through the fall. And as a part of that work, we began a partnership with the U.S. Geological Survey and, as a by-product of that partnership, became familiar with and then became actively involved with a(n) effort to understand the potential of the mineral wealth of Afghanistan and the challenges, which are many, to the Afghans in developing that resource in a socially and environmentally responsible way, but that would lead to economic sovereignty for the people of Afghanistan to give them the ability to pay for their own development and to pay for their own security, and to enable the eventual reduction of all of the investment the international community is making, but most importantly, the investment of the blood of our young men and women that is sacrificed there every day in an effort to secure the future of the Afghan people.
And so that's where we are today. We've begun an active effort with the U.S. Geological Survey to fine-tune, understand, and to communicate and facilitate effective, socially and economically and environmentally responsible development of this mineral resource to support the economic -- the economic sovereignty of Afghanistan.
(Excerpt from June 15, 2010 Briefing - June 10, Full transcript of Special Defense Department Briefing from the Pentagon, Arlington, Virginia on Afghanistan minerals.)
It is difficult to imagine a government official speaking words like those above and being taken seriously -- by any of our elected representatives, the media, or even by himself.
A reasonably well-informed citizen today already knows that such statements are lame excuses for exploitation. We know the corporatocracy always stands to benefit from the immense resources of countries we ear-mark for "foreign aid" and we know the route of debt enslavement to ensure that deep-pocket profits from the discovery of mineral wealth flow into the coffers of the multinationals.
It is estimated that Afghanistan possesses over $1 trillion in oil, gas, iron, copper, cobalt, gold, and lithium. Such announcements are tantamount to saying "our corporations want it all and they intend to take it."
As I note in my book, Hoodwinked, since WWII, we have sculpted history's first truly global empire. Instead of gladiators in camouflage suits (or in tandem with them, as is the case in Afghanistan), we send in con artists or Special Defense Department operatives laden with briefcases and computer models. They make pronouncements like the one quoted above. They then apply laser-sharp tools of economics to chisel away at precious minerals mined from the newly discovered resource target.
When I was an EHM, our corporations would identify a country that possessed resources considered vital, as well as strategic chunks of real estate. Then the EHMs shuttled off to convince the leaders of that country that what they needed were massive loans from the World Bank and its sister organizations; however, the money would not be dispensed directly to the targeted country- it would instead pay U.S. corporations to build infrastructure projects, such as power plants, harbors and industrial parks. "These will benefit you," we assured the leaders," and your friends" while all the while the real profits accrued to the perpetrators of this mutant form of predatory capitalism.
Those countries could not repay the loans; consequently, the EHMs returned with a new proposition. "We can fix everything. All you have to do is sell your oil (or other resources) cheap to our corporations, drop the environmental and labor laws, agree to never impose tariffs on U.S. goods, accept the trade barriers we want to erect around your markets and products, privatize your utilities, schools, and other public institutions..," and on and on.
This highly profitable and corrupt system is already in place in Afghanistan and will continue its horrible march toward stripping the people of Afghanistan of one of the last resources and hopes that country has to break the stranglehold of poverty.
Will you and I allow this to happen? We know by now that if our system is dependent upon turning countless millions of children into financial slaves, the future for our children is bleak. We -- you and I -- must rebel against these policies. We must send emails, refuse to purchase products made from these resources, boycott the companies involved, and take to the streets if necessary . . . we simply must not allow these crimes against humanity and nature to continue!