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At the Crossroads of the Most Serious Economic Crisis in World History

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Prof. Michel Chossudovsky on Guns and Butter

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"If we want to confront these powers, we have to confront them in a way which will undermine their legitimacy in the eyes of a very broad public.  And for that to occur, we have to tackle the issue of media disinformation.  We have to confront this inquisitorial doctrine — OK?  It's a dogma.  Whether we are confronted with the so-called War On Terrorism, which is a dogma, which is fake, or whether we're confronted with so-called "austerity measures", or whether we're confronted with the fact that we have to go after terrorists to protect the Homeland, all these statements are FAKE and they constitute the ideological dogmatic underpinnings of the New World Order."

 




BONNIE FAULKNER:   I'm Bonnie Faulkner.  Today on Guns & Butter,  Michel Chossudovsky.  Today's show:  At the Crossroads of the Most Serious Economic Crisis in World History.  Michel Chossudovsky is Professor of Economics, and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalisation, based in Montreal, Quebec.  He is the author of The Globalisation of Poverty and the New World Order, War and Globalisation: The Truth behind September 11th, America's War on Terrorism, and co-editor of the anthology, The Global Economic Crisis — the Great Depression of the XXI Century.  Today we discuss the history of the global financial crisis, as well as what it will take to bring about a shift in power relations to democratize the economic system.

 

BONNIE FAULKNER:  Michel Chossudovsky, welcome!

MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY: I'm delighted to be on the program.

BONNIE FAULKNER:  Could you talk about the history of the present financial crisis, which actually started in 1981 with the Thatcher Era and then proceeded forward?  How would you characterize the historical progression of the global financial crisis that we're currently experiencing?

MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY:  In the early 80s there were two related processes.  On the one hand, the debt crisis which affected the Third World, and which was followed by the deadly [laughs] macro-economic reforms of the IMF and the World Bank imposed on these countries, and in the western countries you had what was called the Reagan-Thatcher Era, which was the so-called Neoliberal agenda, both of the United States and Britain, which led to the eventual demise of the Welfare State, but it also led to a concentration of corporate power, in other words industrial concentration, wiping out small and medium-size enterprises off the economic landscape, financial concentration in banking, and so on. 

 

And so that this process was really the architecture of the current crisis.  We had a financial crash in 1981; we had a subsequent crash in 1987, and interestingly enough, the financial institutions at the time told the US government, "we don't need regulation — we have our own regulation".  In other words, Wall Street regulates Wall Street.  And in essence the financial markets were extremely unstable, but they were also the product of manipulation by institutional speculators.  And so that in the course of the 80s, speculative activity started to overshadow bona fide corporate activities.  And we saw the emergence particularly in the 1990s of a new generation within the capitalist elites which were the institutional speculators.  Not to say that the one excludes the other, but I think what is important to underscore is the fact that money is not simply made by producing commodities, making profit, exploiting workers, you know, what has been traditionally the focus of many economic analysts, both Keynsians and Marxians, but what you do is, you don't need to own any capital: all you need to do is to speculate with inside information and reap the advantages of manipulation of stock markets, commodity markets on the one hand, with prior knowledge of what might happen at particular moments. 

And so that we see the emergence of a new generation of financial actors, particularly in the mid-90s, which make their money not by owning companies and expanding world-wide, in other words, not the traditional multi-national corporation, but people who make money from their cell-phones and their computer terminals linked up with the stock market, timely decisions based on inside information.  And of course these are very powerful institutions, so that they can manipulate and they can speculate at the same time.

The 1990s is also characterized also by another major occurrence, the so-called Asian Crisis in 1997.  Why is the Asian Crisis so important?  It's because several Asian countries were the object of speculative actions by powerful private financiers, and I'm talking about Korea, Thailand, and Indonesia, which were the object of the speculative onslaught against their currencies, and where as a result of speculation an entire national economy collapses, so that the Asian Crisis really is the prelude to an understanding of what's happening today in Greece, Iceland, Portugal.  OK?  It's the ability of financial institutions to destabilize entire national economies.

 

BONNIE FAULKNER:  Now, when you said something about the current financial structure being able to make money without even having capital, that brought to mind the subject of "naked short-selling", just to bring up one example.  And I have read that naked short-selling can take place when a company shorts a stock that they don't even have, or that they haven't even borrowed.  How does that work?

 

MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY: Well, that was the technique which was used during the Asian Crisis.  I'll give you an example.  The short-selling of the Thai baht, means that within an unregulated foreign exchange environment, you can start selling billions and billions of Thai baht in the foreign exchange market, even though you don't own those billions and billions of Thai baht.  And the selling is done for future delivery, three months down the road, one month down the road.  So that you don't need to own the Thai baht at the moment when you start selling them.  But the act of short-selling the Thai baht leads to the collapse of the Thai baht, and the [gasp of astonishment] the only entity which will buy Thai baht in the Secondary Market will be the Thai central banks.  What do they do?  They enter into contract in this environment with a view to protecting their currency, and then when the short-selling contract comes to term the Thai baht has lost 50% of its value.  What do you do?  You buy the Thai baht in the stock market to fulfill your contract, since you don't own those Thai baht.  So that really is how you short-sell.  You don't need any — you don't need to own Thai baht to be able to speculate against the Thai baht.  And that is what they did in relation to Korea, in relation to Indonesia and Thailand.  They weren't able to do it against Malaysia, because Malaysia implemented procedures to prevent short-selling from occurring in the foreign exchange markets.  So it required essentially, by those governments, foreign exchange controls.  Now in the case of Korea, which I followed very carefully, it went one step further: the Korean government was prevented  from implementing foreign exchange controls.  Its finance minister was fired on the orders of Washington, and so was the central bank governor.  And then what happened was, a new finance minister, approved by Washington and the IMF was appointed, with a view to maintaining conditions which would allow foreign speculators to essentially trigger the collapse of the Korean won, and in the wake of that collapse, what happened?  They picked up the pieces, they purchased Korean assets at rock-bottom price — in fact in some cases they acquired those assets at a negative price, because in turn they received subsidies from the Korean government, and so that in essence the Asian Crisis was a dress rehearsal for things to come.  It was an acquisition by essentially US corporate capital, but also Europeans were involved as well, in acquiring the assets of these Asian economies through manipulation, and in this case the main manipulative instrument was the short-selling of their national currencies on the world currency market with a view to triggering collapse of the Thai baht and the Korean won and the Indonesian rupiah.

 

Short-selling is not limited to currencies.  It occurs on a routine basis in stock markets.  And it is a means to, essentially, shatter bona fide corporations.  In other words, make their stock values collapse.  And it's done in a manipulative environment.  In 2008, as we recall, the value of General Motors, at the height of the meltdown, collapsed overnight.  How did it collapse?  It's because Deutsche Bank, one of Germany's largest financial institutions, heavily linked up with Wall Street as well, said in a statement, quote, "We put a zero price on General Motors."  [laughs] OK?  Now that particular act of making this announcement, coupled with the prior short-selling of General Motors stock — they don't need to own it, they just speculate against it made the value of General Motors shares collapse overnight, and then it was picked up.  It was picked up, it was purchased.  It's not to say the General Motors was a worthless asset,  but it became a worthless asset as a result of the speculative onslaught, and it was intended to trigger the demise of the ownership structure of General Motors including the millions of shareholders — OK?  it was an appropriation of savings from people who had shares of General Motors, and then [laughs] a couple of years later General Motors reemerges as, you know, as a bona fide company.  Its financial position is sound today, but its ownership has changed dramatically, with Warren Buffett being one of the main shareholders of General Motors.  So what these financial elites or these speculative elites are able to do is to undermine a corporation which produces goods and services, trigger its demise, and then at some later stage they will then acquire the assets of that corporation once it collapses on the stock markets.  In other words, the financial speculator acquires tremendous command over financial wealth through speculative activities, particularly in the derivative market, and then uses that financial wealth to acquire ownership over real assets.  It buys up companies, airlines — you know, automobile factories, and so on and so forth, thereby modifying fundamentally the ownership structure of preexisting companies. 

 

And in that regard, if we go back to the 70s and 80s when scholars would discuss multinational corporations, and the branch-plant economies and subsidiaries around the world, they were essentially focusing on real economy companies.  You know, they talked about General Motors, or they talked about General Electric, they would be focusing on the activities of these companies, the workers hired by these companies, and so on.  Today's world is very different.  Today's world is characterized by the actions of people who operate from boardrooms, or from their cell phone [laughs] or from a computer, where they're able, while they're still very well organized institutions, they're large institutions, where they're able to destabilize listed companies by acts of media disinformation, insider trading and so on.

[15:46]

And it is that layer of the capitalist elite which is overshadowing the bona fide CEO of America's industrial base, its technological base, and so on.

 

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BONNIE FAULKNER:  I'm speaking with economist and director of the Centre for Research on Globalisation, Michel Chossudovsky.  Today's show:  At the Crossroads of the Most Serious Economic Crisis in World History.  I'm Bonnie Faulkner.  This is Guns & Butter.

 

BONNIE FAULKNER:  Well, how does the current unregulated financial system differ from what Marx described regarding the accumulation of capital and profit?

 

MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY:  Well, that's a good question.  Marx described — that was in the [laughs] 19th century of course — the functioning of a corporation, or a company, characterized by private ownership, where workers were hired, and they were paid low wages, and the so-called surplus value was extracted, and that became profit.  So that, in effect, what Marx was describing in that context was the functioning of a real economy.  He also addressed the monetary system.  But, what you have today is a situation where that process of producing commodities — of course still exists, but the ownership structure is overshadowed by the financial elites, who can use their power within the financial market, their knowledge, their inside information, and the sheer powers of money creation in a global banking system, to destabilize real economies.

And destabilizing real economies is widespread.  I mentioned the case of the Asian countries whose currencies were destabilized.  Destabilizing of the national economies of developing countries was initiated with the IMF and the World Bank in the early 1980s.  It's part of that financial apparatus because the IMF is, in effect, is not an intergovernmental organization — well, formally it is — but in effect it's a tool of Wall Street.  So what do you do?  You go into a country, you impose policy conditionalities, the — the colony collapses, and then you take over.  So that in all these developing countries, the IMF goes in, and then the foreign investor comes to the rescue, takes over essentially the large state corpor ations, telephones, public utilities, of course the mining companies already privatized, and so on.

So that we're dealing with a very pernicious form of Capitalism, but we're also dealing with the conflict between real-economy capitalists on the one hand, the people who run companies, and those who don't actually do anything, they just sit in boardrooms, they have very sophisticated instruments to speculate — most of the speculative actions they undertake are applied using complex algorithms, in other words they're computer-based — and because they have tremendous weight in the financial system, they are able to appropriate wealth, you know, in different areas.  They appropriate the wealth of competing financial institutions let's say in Europe or in the Far East, so we see the demise of Spanish banks.  They're able to appropriate the savings of Americans when stock markets collapse, because a lot of people have shares [laughs], let's say, of major companies, and they know when those stock market collapses are going to occur, and — and so on.

So it is the overriding power of the institutional speculator, which has the ability to overshadow the real economy.  They also have their allies on Capitol Hill, the members of the US Congress, their powerful lobby groups, and so on.  And I don't want to suggest that there's a divide between real economy and finance.  There's interpenetration.  You'll find that the major actors on Wall Street are also major players in the oil industry.  They have a stake in what Eisenhower called the Military Industrial Complex, in other words the so-called Defense contractors.  But at the same time they all compete against one another, and what is occurring today is essentially a battle within the financial establishment.  And that battle is very visible in the European Union where entire national economies have been destabilized as a result of financial manipulation.  And I'm talking about Greece, Iceland, Portugal, and Spain.  And the backlash is on the real economy where — in Spain, you know, more than 20% of the labor force is unemployed.  The situation in Greece is even worse, where 50% of young people are jobless.  And coupled with that you have the demise of the welfare state, so the safety nets are no longer there.  In other words, people are driven into unemployment, but at the same time, the restructuring program is conducive to the demise of social welfare payments, unemployment insurance, everything that guaranteed, historically, in the European welfare state that the unemployed would be taken care of.  That no longer exists.  So that what we are seeing now is a process of generalized poverty, not limited to developing countries, but generalized poverty, which is hitting western countries, particularly Western Europe, but also the United States and Canada.  It is characterized by the collapse of the welfare state; social programs are no longer there to protect people affected by unemployment and low wages.  It's a situation where austerity measures are imposed with the consequence of destabilizing entire areas of economic activity.  Because when austerity measures are imposed, that means essentially that there's no money to pay for social services, that means that — you know, that hospitals are no longer functioning, public hospitals no longer functioning, public education is underfunded, this in turn leads to collapse in the levels of consumption, and the collapse in the levels of consumption then leads to more unemployment.

BONNIE FAULKNER:  Well, what you're describing is "financial warfare".  Who is waging this financial warfare, and who is winning this war?

MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY:  Well, there is financial warfare within the corporate financial system.  I think that's one dimension.  And it is expressed by the merger and acquisitions process which took place in the early 1980s.  It's a historical process of Capitalist consolidation, leading to larger and larger concentration of economic and financial power.  The other area of economic warfare is the relationship between the elites on the one hand, and people in general, mainly the fact that this process of restructuring based on the policies of austerity — it's Neo-Liberalism —  is leading to the impoverishment of virtually every single social category.  People around the world are being impoverished.  If you put all of these things together, namely the collapse in wages, the demise of small and medium size enterprises, the bankruptcies — the corporate bankruptcies which have spread across the land, the confiscation of assets of people who have lost their money and their lifelong savings in the course of the financial crisis from 2008 onwards — when you apply sweeping austerity measures, you ultimately end up with a process of privatization of the State, of all public institutions, including health, education, transportation, and so on.  The levels of public debt have skyrocketed, the governments are under the brunt of their creditors, their creditors call the shots as far as economic policy is concerned, and that means essentially that the public interest is no longer there.  There's no state structure which represents people!  The state represents corporations and financial institutions.  The regulation which emerges from the state is dictated by those elite interests.  How is it that the price of gas is so high?  The answer's very simple.  First of all, the price of gasoline is high because the speculation in the energy market, when we know that the price of a barrel of oil is not more than $20 a barrel.  OK?  But there's absolutely no initiative on the part of governments to regulate the price of gas at the pumps, nor is there any initiative on the part of governments to put a ceiling on credit card debt.  It would be a very simple procedure.  But they don't do it.  There's no attempt on the part of governments to, uh, freeze speculative trade.  These would be very simple measures to be implemented.  They don't change the architecture of the entire system, but they certainly contribute to a certain level of stability.  If you start implementing some of these measures, which you had, let's say, in the 1970s, you safeguard peoples' lives, their livelihood, you create employment, and so on.  But none of that is allowed to occur.  Because austerity is an unbending, uncompromising concept.  It has to be applied.  It has to be applied on the orders of the creditors, and it is generalized, OK?  So they say that "austerity", but in fact it's much more than that.  Because austerity creates conditions of economic collapse.  But those conditions of economic collapse are programmed.  They are intended to occur.  And then you have a whole media disinformation campaign which presents austerity as the solution.  And when we have austerity as the solution, when in fact austerity is the cause, there's no going backwards, or forwards.  Austerity is presented as the solution, when austerity is the cause of economic collapse.  So the solution leads to more economic collapse.

 

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BONNIE FAULKNER:  I'm speaking with economist and director of the Centre for Research on Globalisation, Michel Chossudovsky.  Today's show:  At the Crossroads of the Most Serious Economic Crisis in World History.  I'm Bonnie Faulkner.  This is Guns & Butter.

BONNIE FAULKNER:  We are living during a worldwide economic, social, and political crisis that is far reaching.  Is the world moving toward a World Government, and how would you characterize this World Government?

MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY:  Well, there's been lots of discussion on the issue of World Government.  In effect, that World Government is unfolding.  It really is an imperial government.  It's not a world government, it's an imperial government, where US corporate and financial interests are imposing their will throughout the world.  And it uses both the arm of financial deregulation and destabilization, as in the case of Asian crisis, as well as outright warfare on countries which own resources.  I'm talking about Iraq which has five times more oil reserves than the United States of America.  Iran as well.  In other words, it's overshadowing national governments — the ability of national governments to take decisions.  These are all proxy governments.  So that the notion of world government is really the exercise of imperial power.  It's the predominant role of US foreign policy, the military agenda, the financial agenda, throughout the world.  And at the same time we must understand that the main personae within the US government are themselves puppets and proxies.  They don't act independently.  They don't take decisions on behalf of the people of the United States.  They take decisions because they are told to take decisions.  In other words, policy is dictated by powerful lobby groups, powerful corporate and financial interests, which operate from behind the scenes.  So perhaps that is the world government which is unfolding.  But I would call this an imperial — it's a global imperial government which is unfolding, which is using the United Nations, um — because the United Nations is controlled by a handful of countries.  Of course NATO is the arm of this imperial project, global NATO.  And then you have the financial institutions which overshadow commodity markets, energy markets, which have the ability to destabilize the economies of sovereign countries, the World Bank and the IMF, in other words the so-called international financial institutions also respond to the interests of Wall Street.  They may be bureaucratic entities, but they act on behalf of finance capital.  That, I think for me, is what is unfolding.  It's the concentration of economic power, and it is also a greater concentration of political authority overshadowing sovereign governments throughout the world.  Most of the third world countries, their governments are really under the surveillance of the international financial institutions.  They cannot act, they cannot spend — uh, they cannot spend at a governmental level without the permission of their creditors, and so on.  And the few countries which have the courage to oppose the New World Order are threatened either with war, regime-change, or financial destabilization.  And we can identify some of the countries that are not de facto proxies of the US Empire.

BONNIE FAULKNER:  Will the massive trading in derivatives bring down the entire global banking sector?  Could the whole financial system collapse because of these massive trillions if not quadrillions in derivative trades?

MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY:  Derivative trade has opened up — a Pandora's Box, because you're not trading in real assets, you're trading in derivatives of those real assets.  So that when stock markets go up, you speculate on the upward movement of the stock market.  When stock markets go down, you speculate on the downward movement.  And there are various complex instruments which have led to trillions and trillions of debts which are in effect leading to the demise of companies and financial institutions.  But we should understand that this — this process of derivative debt is also a means of consolidation of the financial establishment.  In other words, when the Spanish or Greek, or Portuguese commercial banks go bankrupt, it's because they are holding large amounts of derivative debt, which they're no longer able to service.  The question is, who is behind that derivative debt?  To whom is it owed?  These issues are rarely discussed.  But what they signify is that these financial institutions can be literally wiped out.  Their assets can be taken over, leading to a greater concentration in the area of banking.  What is happening is the collapse of banking institutions, but not necessarily the collapse of the entire banking system, because that derivative debt is still held by some of the very powerful actors in the world system.

BONNIE FAULKNER:  Well, what could lead to a shift in power relations and bring about the democratization of the economic system?

MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY:  Well, this is a very important question.  I think that for one, people have to have an understanding of how this system operates.  It's not an easy task.  We're dealing with a very complex capitalist — global capitalist system, we're dealing with a military agenda, we're dealing with powerful actors,  and we cannot have a superficial understanding of what’s going on.  If we want to confront these powers, we have to confront them in a way which will — which will undermine their legitimacy in the eyes of a very broad public.  And for that to occur, we have to tackle the issue of media disinformation.  And broadly the lies, both at the political level, but also the lies in academia, but we have to confront this inquisitorial doctrine — OK?  It's a dogma.  Whether we are confronted with the so-called War On Terrorism, which is a dogma, which is fake, or whether we're confronted with so-called "austerity measures", or whether we're confronted with the fact that we have to go after terrorists to protect the Homeland, all these statements are FAKE and they constitute the ideological dogmatic underpinnings of the New World Order.  We have to undermine the legitimacy of war criminals in high office, who are involved in illegal wars, we have to undermine the legitimacy of financiers who behind closed doors destabilize, in a criminal fashion, entire national economies.  And that is just as much a criminal act as going to war against Iraq.  Destabilize the Korean economy, destabilize Thailand, implement economic sanctions against Syria or Iran, those are criminal acts, just as much as acts in the military arena of going to war against sovereign countries.

But to do that, we have to start confronting the media.  We have to confront the mainstream media and the lies of the mainstream media, both in the spheres of economic analysis, but also and more fundamentally in relation to the various wars with are being carried out around the world in the name of human rights, democracy, and so on.

BONNIE FAULKNER:  Well, how do you think people could organize at the grass roots level to bring about a democratization of the economic system, perhaps on a grass roots level.  Do you see that possibility?

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MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY:  I think one of the problems at this stage is that opposition to this system is very much under the control of mainstream political parties as well as various organizations, some of which actually are funded by the very power elite which we are confronting.  So you cannot fight the system and then ask, you know, the Rockefellers or the Rothschilds to pay for your expenses, and your travel and so on.  But this is a reality.  We have an alternative media, which is very important, but we also have various strands of dissent within our society, which is overshadowed by the powerful elites, and the funding — is what I would call "the funding of dissent".  What we need is really the spontaneous creation of a grassroots movement across the land, in towns, workplaces, parishes, schools and universities, where people get together, debate, form their various collectives, integrate at regional, national, international levels, remain totally aloof of any kind of interference from corporate sponsors who say "we're going to give you the money to do what you're doing — we think it's really good".  OK?  Because that's what happens.  This has to be an autonomous, independent movement.  And it is there ultimately to reverse the tide, to confront the political and economic establishment, and not work necessarily on the implementation of piecemeal solutions.  Clearly this structure of global capitalism will not be reversed overnight.  And in the process certain reforms will have to be implemented.  And that's where people will initially come in, pressuring for certain reforms to be implemented, prior to actually developing more cohesive projects of reform.  It has to be implemented in a non-partisan environment, recognizing that in the United States of America, both major political parties are supported and funded by the same lobby groups and the same corporate establishment.  So it is a rotating regime.  So that any kind of action has to be non-partisan.  It has to unite people from all walks of life.  It has to be based on an understanding of how this system works, how it impoverishes people, how it destroys the lives of Americans but also destroys the lives of people all over the world.  How it is predicated on war rather than on peace.

And that is the nature of a mass movement.  The same thing applies to the Left.  The Left  — or the Progressives, the so-called Progressives, many of them are actually tacitly supportive of the Establishment, because that's where they get their money from.  We must call for a grass-roots movement which is generalized, which doesn't distinguish between Democrats and Republicans, or — whatever the person's affiliation is is totally irrelevant.  Once the understanding is instilled that this global system is impoverishing people, destroying their lives, people will rise up, debate, discuss and confront, essentially the legitimacy of people in high office.  So ultimately what we are talking about is "Regime Change in America", but Regime Change in America which means essentially confronting the whole power structure, both of governmental institutions, but also the fabric of the national economy, the intelligence apparatus, the military establishment, and of course the "think-tanks" which are part of this underpinning of the global financial order.

 

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BONNIE FAULKNER:  I'm speaking with economist and director of the Centre for Research on Globalisation, Michel Chossudovsky.  Today's show:  At the Crossroads of the Most Serious Economic Crisis in World History.  I'm Bonnie Faulkner.  This is Guns & Butter.

 

BONNIE FAULKNER:  Well, do you think that this is what Occupy is trying to do?

MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY:  Well, the Occupy movement, at the outset the Occupy movement was supported by corporate funding, very mysteriously.  The Occupy movement was infiltrated.  And I don't think that the Occupy movement can constitute the means to reverse the tide of this global financial system.  What we really need is an independent grass roots movement, not a movement which is stylized and emerges all of a sudden, and which is infiltrated and financed by very powerful people.  Because that essentially means that while people may be committed at the grass roots — there're many very committed people in the Occupy movement — the leadership of that movement, it's underpinnings have already been co-opted to serve the interest of the financial elites.

BONNIE FAULKNER:  In terms of covert control of popular movements, what is your assessment of, say, Anonymous, and AdBusters, for instance, which is credited with starting the Occupy Wall Street movement?

MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY: Well, there were several very important actors in the Occupy Wall Street movement.  AdBusters is supported by corporate tax-free foundations but there were several other entities which played a major role in the original configuration of the Occupy movement.  Anonymous, which is present at all Occupy rallies, back in May of last year [2011], waged cyber attacks on Iran.  OK?  And then later in August, it waged similar cyber attacks against the Syrian Ministry of Defense.  And these cyber attacks were waged in support of the so-called Syrian opposition.  Now we know that the Syrian opposition is integrated by US sponsored terrorists.  So I'm just begging the question, if Anonymous is serving US foreign policy interests directed against Iran and Syria, and this is the same organization which presents itself as being, you know, part of the Occupy movement, on whose side are they?  OK?  Because Iran and Syria are targets of US foreign policy, they're on the military roadmap, and how is it then that — that Anonymous is supportive of that US foreign policy initiative, by waging cyber attacks on alleged enemies of the United States of America with a view to implementing regime change?

Now that's one aspect.  But there's one other thing that's very troubling.  An organization called Canvas which is involved in the training of activists was sent in at the very early stage to help the Occupy movement.  Now Canvas is the outgrowth of a certain organization called Otpor.  And Otpor in fact was a creation of the CIA back in the 90s, in the late 90s, early 2000s, which was implemented with a view to destabilizing the government of Slobodan Milosevic and it was directly — there's absolutely no doubt on that, it was a CIA initiative.  So that then, what happened is that Otpor's spokesperson, Ivan Marovic, was called in, not only to help with the Arab Spring in Egypt, but he was also brought to Wall Street to help with the Occupy movement.  And Canvas, which is an outgrowth of Otpor, is in effect a consulting arm to, let's say to train activists, whether it's the Arab Spring or whether it's Occupy, but it just so happens that [laughs] Canvas is also supported by the National Endowment for Democracy.  So there's an obvious contradiction.  And there are various write-ups on this, including a video, which is entitled "The Revolution Business", namely the fact that Canvas, with the symbol of the fist, which you find in various "colored revolutions" has gone from country to country training activists in what are US sponsored "colored revolutions", covert revolutions, so to speak.  And it just so happens that Canvas and Otpor were not only helping the April 6th youth movement in Egypt with the clenched fist as its logo, but also Kefaya, which means "Enough!" in Arabic, but it was also involved in other colored revolutions in Georgia, and other countries where again the clenched fist was put forth.  But then you say, "on whose side are they?"  The April 6th youth movement in Egypt was supported by the US embassy.  Kefaya was in touch with Hillary Clinton at the State Department.  And there you see that Canvas in a sense was training activists on behalf of the US State Department and the National Endowment for Democracy.  And then later on it trains people within the Occupy movement for similar types of activities of dissent directed against the financial establishment.  All of that is available on our website.  We've covered that in several articles.  The Revolution Business.  I wrote an article called "Occupy Wall Street and American Autumn: Is It A Colored Revolution?"  And in this article I acknowledge the fact that there is a grass-roots protest movement unfolding across America.  I mean it's a movement which included people from all walks of life.  But the question is whether that movement has been co-opted — the movement or segments within this movement, mainly Occupy Wall Street has been co-opted.  So we published actually several articles on the subject of what we describe as "the manufacturing of dissent".  It's where, you know, people who dissent for legitimate purposes, activists, are co-opted.  And that co-optation takes place through the funding of dissent, on the one hand, but also through infiltration, links to US intelligence, and we know that agencies that are very close, or NGOs which are very close to the US State Dept.  are involved in that process, and I'm talking about the National Endowment for Democracy which is in close liaison with the State Dept.  but which in turn is also supporting organizations involved in Arab Spring, but also in the Occupy Wall Street movement, namely — uh, namely Canvas, which is a consulting and training firm specializing in Revolution, which is supported by Freedom House and the NED and which originally was established in 2003 by the CIA.  It's a Serbian organization which initially played a central role in the downfall of Slobodan Milosevic in the wake of the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia but which today is playing the role of training activists.  But when they train the activists, they train them with money from these US foundations.

BONNIE FAULKNER:  Well how do you think that activists can avoid this kind of infiltration and influence?

MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY:  As I mentioned, Otpor's Canvas, Center for Applied Non-Violent Action and Strategies described itself as an international network of trainers and consultants.  It is essentially a training outfit on behalf of the National Endowment for Democracy, and when it infiltrates a movement such as Occupy Wall Street it inevitably will serve the interests of the elites which are being targeted by that movement.  How do we build a grass-roots movement?  We have to build a grass-roots movement which is not funded by any kind of corporate entity, it's independent in its funding, it does not allow for any kind of infiltration among its ranks, and it comes up with a  — ultimately with a position based on an understanding of how this world system operates, and the mechanisms of infiltration and funding of dissent has to be addressed.  OK?  Who is who?  Who is  — who is on our side?  Who is working for us? And when certain media organizations actually applaud the demise of Moammar Khadaffi, and the rebirth of Libya once it had been bombed by NATO for several months, these people are not on the side of democracy.  They are supporting the US NATO agenda.  They are the mouthpieces.  It's a Progressive disguise.  It is not with these people that we will build a mass movement.  It's not through funded dissent, and manufactured dissent that we will undermine the legitimacy of the main economic and political actors.  So that the grass-roots movement has to be independent.  It has to self-finance.  It has to build across the land.  It is non-partisan.  And it is based on the solidarity of people at the grass-roots level, whose lives are being shattered by this New World Order agenda.  It is also very important that domestic issues be related to world-wide issues.  We cannot be against Wall Street on the one hand and then support the war on Syria, or, Iran.  OK?  In other words, we have to have a merging of the anti-war movement with, you know, with the grass-roots movement in the United States or in Canada.  We cannot be against war but support the War on Terrorism.  That's another dimension of the anti-war movement.  The fact that people in the anti-war movement are saying "well, we're against war, but we support humanitarian 'responsibility to protect' operations".  OK?  That's a contradictory statement.  And so that — an understanding of the various effects of this global economic and social system, its military underpinnings, its global agenda, its military roadmap, its economic mechanisms — it's on that basis that you build a grass-roots movement.  It's not through half-lies, and media half-lies which are presented by a so-called Progressive Media.

BONNIE FAULKNER:  Michel Chossudovsky, thank you very much.

MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY:  Thank you very much.  Delighted to be on the program.