So we're joined right now by F. William Engdahl.
He is based in
Germany. He is a prominent commentator and geopolitical analyst.
And he is also the author of a recent book. Right in 2018, fresh
off the press you might say! And the name of the book is
Manifest Destiny: Democracy as Cognitive Dissonance.
William Engdahl, thank you very much for joining us!
While we're talking about the subject of 'fake democracy,' we're
talking essentially about the new - er, not so new, but a weapon
of warfare that's being utilized by the imperial power that is
the U.S. as a way of executing regime change in order to further
their own imperial interests and I think that the way most
people are accustomed to thinking about U.S. military power,
their thinking about aggressive wars and pretexts built on self-defence
against the 'communists' or the 'terrorists' or whatever.
we're dealing... we seem to be dealing with a mechanism here
that's much more insidious.
So do you want to maybe just sort of
help us introduce this mechanism, and how far back it goes?
William Engdahl: The mechanism goes back - and the reason
I decided to dedicate an entire book to this... in the degree of
calculation and diabolical mechanisms that are employed - it's
often very, very poorly understood especially when countries
that are - the country that is the target of these mechanisms.
It came out of a project proposed during the Reagan
Administration in 1983 by Reagan's CIA Director William Casey-
Bill Casey, and at that time the CIA was under the spotlight in
Senate hearings and exposés around the world, the revelations by
CIA whistle-blowers like Mr. Marchetti or others, and for their
involvement in the Pinochet coup in Chile, for the Iranian
toppling of Mossadeq in the fifties and... all that was beginning
to come out and it was having huge negative effects, and Casey
proposed doing what the CIA does but doing it privately, and
that resulted in creation of something by U.S. Congress called
the National Endowment for Democracy.
And the name is very
deliberately chosen. It's a linguistic manipulation, if you
will. Seems (to) sound like the National Endowment for the
Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts... It sounds very
In reality, this is a CIA directed, U.S. Intelligence community
directed operation using Non-Governmental Organizations, in a
coherent way, I call them 'fake democracy' NGOs and even give a
better description in the actual book itself. And I detail which
NGOs are used for that.
The monies come from U.S. government or from certain private
foundations who seem to have unlimited funds and seem to be very
closely connected to the State Department and the Intelligence
community, and they have systematically targeted nation after
nation to topple regimes that are not friendly to the Washington
GR: As I understand it we're kind of talking about what I
think of as a Trojan Horse, except instead of a wooden horse
full of soldiers that's being sent to the target country, here
we're talking about, well, like you say these human rights and
democracy furthering organizations that are undermining the
sovereign authority of the country.
WE: The way it works is - very valid one, I agree - the first
step occasion that these U.S. government directed fake
democracies NGOs came with Poland, with the Solidarność
movement, where the U.S. government through these NGOs like the
National Endowment for Democracy, the AFL-CIO connected... of the
NED and others, they funneled millions of dollars, U.S. taxpayer
dollars, into Lech Walesa's Solidarność and created mass
protests on the streets in Poland at a point where the communist
government was simply powerless to intervene, among other
reasons because, unbeknownst to most people, the Polish Pope
John Paul II... and he met with Ronald Reagan and entered into a
secret agreement, and this was later confirmed by his - Reagan's
National Security Advisor - a secret agreement to bring down the
communist regime in Poland, and they did that very successfully.
And just to give you an idea, they - once they brought down the
regime, the U.S. brought in its economic shock troops in the
form of Harvard economists Jeffrey Sachs in his famous, or
infamous shock theory.
What they did was to demand the Polish
- the communist, everyone was under State control - that they
immediately privatize everything, that they free up the zloty
against the dollar so the zloty fell like a stone.
And then if
you suddenly had dollar assets, like Western investors who were
on the inside of the scheme did, you could buy up some of the
Crown Jewels of the Polish economy for pennies on the dollar.
And the losers in this were the Polish people who
exploded, just a time of incredible misery, and this is
basically the model, that was then turned in 1989 to three major
communist countries at the same time and this is all under
George Herbert Walker Bush - George Bush Sr.
- from the CIA
Director who was very much in the middle of these so-called fake
democracy NGOs. And they targeted the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia,
and the People's Republic of China, all three simultaneously in
In the case of the Soviet Union, they managed to bring in a CIA
asset by the name of Boris Yeltsin, and use Yeltsin to simply
what I call in the book the Rape of Russia - to literally steal
and rob from the Russian State and the Russian people almost
anything of value they could get their kleptocratic hands on.
And, in the case of Yugoslavia, it led
- it was the ignition
that led to the explosion of a civil war in Yugoslavia between
Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia... and completely destroyed
In the case of China, the Chinese... somehow managed to get wind
of what was going on and kicked out certain NGO operatives that
were connected (to) the U.S. State Department and the U.S.
Ambassador at that time people like James Lilley who was a
former CIA crony (under) George Bush Sr., no accident that he
was Ambassador at that time.
And of course, in my estimation
running the Tiananmen Square destabilization on the ground in
By the way, one thing that I document quite in detail in the
book, and people may be shocked by this: there was never a
student massacre by the People's Liberation Army in Tiananmen
Square in June of 1989. That was fabricated by the U.S.
Ambassador James Lilley and by the Western media...
This gives you an
idea of how these fake democracy NGOs...
GR: When we talk about fake democracies, it all seems very
benign at first, and what we're finding is that this covert
funding that's going to promote certain candidates or certain
movements, and that has the appearance of making the target
government that the U.S. figures are looking to overthrow,
giving them a bad image both in the eyes of the domestic
population and in the eyes of the wider world.
Is it possible to
detail some of the money flows? How does it translate on the
WE: How it translates on the ground is the money goes to all
sorts of - the means are just innumerable.
All sorts of NGOs in
target countries that prop up out of thin air, and then, you
know, 'democracy for Ukraine' or 'freedom for Iran'... but
they're simply financed by U.S. government money, or indirectly
by think tanks... following the money.
And - this is - we're talking about billions of dollars - what
they do is they refine the sort of leaders and, again, in the
period of the Ukraine color revolution, the so-called
Revolution 2003, 2004 and also in Georgia next door, they begin
focusing on election processes and having poll watchers that
they train - biased incredulous poll watchers... not neutral poll
watchers from international organizations, but fake poll
And then coordinating with embedded media
like CNN or
BBC to put out a certain message, and then they use other
There's an organization that did the successful overthrow of
Milosevic after 2000 in Yugoslavia and Serbia, called Otpor,
trained by U.S. Intelligence.
And that later transformed itself
into a professional organization keeping the cover of this
successful Serbian regime change organization but they call
CANVAS, C-A-N-V-A-S, and the same people are involved.
very secretive about where they get their funding from but it's
clear that it's coordinated with the U.S. State Department's
And what they do, they serve as the logistics training centre,
the people on the ground for the U.S. government in - usually
through the Embassy - begin recruiting student activists
usually, they're the most effective, and bringing them into
training systems, usually in Belgrade or elsewhere, sometimes
they leave the country.
And they're trained in techniques of
non-violence according to textbook regime shops - Albert
Einstein Institution - non-violence is a method of warfare... and
they're trained in techniques, very much similar to what we see
going on today in Armenia.
But they're trained in techniques to
discredit the power and the authority of authoritarian
governments, or governments who try to resist mass protests, as
many governments will do.
Certainly you can imagine the U.S.
government... it would stop at nothing to crush certain dissent.
The techniques that are - have been refined in
For example, in the Arab Spring, which was a NGO
operation backed by the U.S. government when
Hillary Clinton was
Secretary of State, to change the map of the Middle East and
bring U.S. military control of the key oil and gas regions of
the world outside of Russia and the Russian Federation under
direct U.S. military control, that process is ongoing to this
The techniques are constantly being refined. The RAND
corporation, research and development corporation as detailed in
the book, Manifest Destiny, is developing techniques they call
And they did a study of all or most of the major
world brilliant military commanders from Alexander the Great to
Genghis Khan, Napoleon, and others, and their military tactics.
They identified how to... with the doctrine of
'swarming' as in a
swarm of bees... And then they applied this to these mass protests,
and using GPS satellite communication with certain key leaders
in these protests, they used twitter and Facebook to communicate
with groups of protesters that have been prudent for each other
And then their tactics will be protest- and-run,
protest-and-run, regroup in different parts of the city and then
keep the government completely off guard, keep the military or
the security police off guard, so that the power of the State
looks like it's impotent.
And that begins to undermine
GR: William, I want to try to get...
WE: I should add that in most cases, and certainly this is the
case in Ukraine in 2014.
GR: I want to make sure a specific distinction here.
GR: I mean, with these popular mobilizations, we're not talking
about a homogeneous group of people who are all being paid off
National Endowment for Democracy.
There are a lot of
sincere people who are being caught up in all of this. It's just
that these... well funded mechanisms are just so effective at
reaching out to people, but a lot of the people who are being
brought in are, they're rather sincere in their convictions.
mean, is that not true? Is that not accurate? I mean we're not
just talking about every activist... getting a pay cheque.
Crucial point about this, and I'm glad you brought
it up, is that the... no no no no, the key leaders that steer the
thing, and for most of the protesters, most of them are as you
say innocent and want more freedom - and who doesn't want
individual freedom and democracy being all good things, and
maybe your nation's economy is really down and you think well
the Western goods are prosperous.
If we go along with the West
we'll get all these American quality of life and so forth, which
Let's take the example of Egypt... and there you had the case of
certain key organizations, umbrella organizations... that
mobilized millions of students.
I know some are - have spoken to
me, some of the students who were in those protests, and they
deeply believed that they were fighting for democracy and human
rights. And that, without that it doesn't work. It's not
convincing. So that's an essential element of it.
But what most of the students didn't realize is that behind the
scenes were front organizations of a political terrorist cult,
and I use that term very precisely, called
Brotherhood, which was created in Egypt by British Intelligence
in the 1920s.
And in the time of the Arab Spring and backed by
the Hillary Clinton State Department as the alternative to
governments like Mubarak or Libya's Gaddafi, or Ben Ali in
And so the demonstrations spread. Were successful.
There was collusion on elements of the Egyptian military to
- who were pressured by the Pentagon to not support Mubarak at a
critical moment. But, once Mubarak stepped down, the Muslim
Brotherhood and the U.S. government moved to have early
elections, and the only organized force that was prepared to win
early elections was the Muslim Brotherhood.
And that's where you
got Mohammed Morsi and the government controlled by the Muslim
Brotherhood and supported by the U.S. State Department and the
CIA which had been working, collaborating in cahoots with the
Muslim Brotherhood since the early 1950s.
So in this, I document in some detail in an earlier book of mine
The Lost Hegemon: Whom the Gods would Destroy, which
details the connection between the Muslim Brotherhood and the
In any event, the students were suddenly completely left in the
lurch by Washington and the U.S. government, because their
agenda was to bring in this political terrorist organization
called the Muslim Brotherhood and impose a U.S. controlled
regime on the country.
GR: Could you talk about the importance of some of these
economic arrangements -
Because it seems like a
consistent element in all successful colored revolutions is the
willingness of the favored political order to jump on board
with IMF style reforms.
I mean, are we talking about a kind of
like a one-two - first you get the revolution and then you
cement it with an IMF style arrangement?
WE: Well, it works both ways actually.
I think that uh, let's
take the case Poland. In the case of Poland they had borrowed
heavily in the dollar markets to finance the economic shortages
and so forth, because it was a very grim time economically for
Warsaw Pact countries at the end of the 1980s.
And at a certain
point they were cut off from Western credits - Western private
bank credits - unless they would agree, the government would
need to submit to IMF conditionalities, and that set the trap.
And this was also the case in Yugoslavia, where a similar
situation ensued and the IMF conditionalities were used to
create the economic tensions between different parts of
Yugoslavia - different ethnic groups in Yugoslavia to create the...
And then under Bush Senior, the U.S. Congress passed a law
that forced the break-up of Yugoslavia if they wanted to receive
any further U.S. credits.
So the IMF was used, in the case of the Russian Federation, the
IMF was brought in by the Bush Administration in 1990 as the
<inaudible> of the economic transformation order... part of the
economic transformation of the former Soviet Union.
would play an instrumental role in forcing - Boris Yeltsin was
the willing actor in this - but forcing the privatization of
State assets and selling them off on the world market at pennies
on the dollar.
And that's the crucial role of the IMF in all of
GR: In terms of financing these revolutions, how much of that
funding is coming from, you know, authorized by Congress versus
off-the-book financing, and where is the off-the-book financing
WE: [Chuckle] That would be a little difficult because I...
certain... I am hesitant to name on the air, but there are
If you go into the book you find them amply
documented with footnotes and sources. But there are private
foundations that work in connection with the U.S. government
finance, the National Endowment for Democracy, the NED. And the
breakdown of that is very difficult simply because they don't
disclose in an open and honest way fully what they're financing.
It's a lot of covert fund transfers from offshore entities and
so forth. So, it's very difficult to trace.
GR: Can you speak to any funding sources that we know about?
example, we've heard about Iran-Contra, where they were able to
uh, further illegal uh, shipments. The arms for hostages deal
where they were able to utilize drug networks to finance the
Contras in Nicaragua - some interesting things happening there
You also mention in the book about gold that had
belonged to the Japanese during the war, and that was then - ended up in the
So I was wondering if you could
speak to some of those source - I mean we may not have the exact
breakdown but we do know that some of that money ended up coming
from some of these off-the-book sources and entering into these...
money-laundering and what not.
WE: Well the destruction of the Soviet Union and the rape of
Russia, the things you mention, it wasn't Japanese gold, it was
gold that the Japanese occupation army during World War II stole
from as it traveled from Mongolia, from Indonesia and other
countries that they occupied...
And it was buried deep caves in
the Philippines in the event Japan would lose the war.
Emperor's family was the only ones - they were the only ones
privy to the locations, until Ferdinand Marcos, an asset of the
CIA, he was President of the Philippines - a dictator - back in
the 1980s, managed to uncover some of the sites.
He got hold of
one of the... of the Japanese Army, and they were digging some of
these places, and eventually uncovered the stolen gold.
Well, he made a mistake in using another CIA asset named Adnan
Khashoggi, a Saudi Arabian arms dealer, ostensibly the richest
man in the world at that time.
Adnan Khashoggi is used by Marcos
to sell the Japanese gold onto the world market... and Adnan
Khashoggi took his friend George Herbert Walker Bush, one of the
CIA members in the agency, U.S. government, and they
destabilized and toppled the Marcos regime.
So they used that
Philippine gold - the Marcos gold - as collateral to create
derivatives that were used to nominally back up the buying up of
the Russian State assets by certain so-called Russian oligarchs,
who laundered the money through Western banks in Switzerland and
the Jersey Islands offshore in Ukraine, other places. And all of
that was done under the supervision of the CIA.
Bank was one of the banks involved as well.
GR: It's not as if every time there's a popular mobilization
that there isn't a genuine effort at revolutionary pressure, but
I think that - I mean I've participated in popular mobilizations
WE: As have I! [laughter]
GR: Since there are people who do legitimately want to overthrow
an oppressive government, an oppressive regime, versus those
that are stage-managed by these U.S. covert sources...
Is there a
way that we can distinguish between a genuine and a fake
WE: It's sometimes very difficult.
For example the ongoing
protests in Yerevan and Armenia. Armenia is a former Soviet - part of the Soviet Union, as well, and is a member of the
Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union with the countries with
Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan and others. And a very strategic
country for the security of Russia.
Now the protests that have broken out a couple of weeks ago in
Armenia are aimed at closing - successfully closing the
resignation of Serzh Sargsyan who - former president for the
last decade - who had been elected by the Parliament...
minister and back after a new law was introduced which
transferred all of the presidential powers to lead into the
So the mass protests have been focused on the
fact that Sargsyan was simply playing a trick to become defacto
dictator for life, a little bit like a reverse play on the
Erdogan operation in Turkey where the powers devolved from prime
minister which Erdogan was, to president which he is now.
went the other way in Armenia.
Now, the popular opposition... Nikol Pashinyan, a former
journalist, is the only candidate to replace Sargsyan as prime
Sargsyan resigned and announced that,
"I was wrong, and Pashinyan was right."
What we don't know, and this is very fine
line... yes, the same U.S. government NGOs and private foundations
that work with those U.S. government NGOs or the
Endowment for Democracy, are very active in Armenia and have
been active in Armenia, on all the kinds of financing operations
that have been connected with colored revolutions in the past.
This time, the opposition leader, Pashinyan, goes out of his way
to stress that he's not against Armenia's membership in the
Eurasian Economic Union or against Russia, that he's against the
corruption of the Sargsyan - the former government, and the fact
that the Armenian economy is in such bad shape.
So, there are genuine grievances that the population has, but
the point is the U.S. State Department is very much on the scene
there in telephone contact with Pashinyan, and all the
indications are it hasn't been at its initiation a colored
The U.S. State Department the intelligence agencies
are for sure trying to draw up the best way to take advantage of
that in Azerbaijan, the... conflict with Armenia over
Nagorno-Karabakh, that... into a shooting conflict a year and a
Parliamentarians from Azerbaijan are saying let's take
advantage of this chaos in Armenia and retake Nagorno-Karabakh
which is majority Armenian ethnic population. It seceded in 1991
from Azerbaijan and has been contested by it. A truce agreement
between both countries upsets it.
A very uneasy truce. So, in
some cases, it's a very difficult distinction.
Let's take another example. There is a series of student-led
protests in Hong Kong, which used to be a British colony as of
about 1989. 1999 rather.
And those protests were given the name
in the media as the 'umbrella revolution,' because umbrellas
were used by the students who... in it as a symbol.
Later, it came
out that they were of course protesting the heavy-handed ,
anti-democratic measures of Beijing to control the political
process in Hong Kong. It's reverted to China after the British
left in '99.
And initially it wasn't clear if that was a genuine
student protest or not.
It later became clear that the Vice
President of the National Endowment for Democracy was direct on
the scene orchestrating the events in Hong Kong against the
Beijing government, who embarrassed Beijing.
So, you have to look at these things sometimes in great detail,
and like I say, in the case of Armenia, I would say the jury's
My own sense is that it is being manipulated in the
direction of a colored revolution by the U.S. government's
State Department, Intelligence Agency, but it's not one hundred
per cent clear yet.
GR: There was the revolution, or U.S. interference in Russia and
the looting of Russia throughout the 1990s.
eventually removed and Vladimir Putin came in and since Vladimir
Putin has arrived, I think the future of anymore of this kind of
U.S. intervention within Russia seems to be very uh, dim, as is
the case, it seems to me in China.
Again as you mention, that
revolution - that fake democratic revolution as you put it, it
does not seem to have prevailed. So what are your thoughts about
the future of this mode of... this fake democratic... mechanism of
Are the other states catching on? Are they going to be
able to defend themselves from this? Are they learning their
WE: Yes and no I would say.
Russia has certainly learned its
lesson, and the Russian security services are quite
sophisticated. They began figuring out the pattern of Ukraine,
Georgia, the attempted pattern in Belarus... and they passed a bill
in the Duma called the Law Against Undesirable NGOs, which
various NGOs screamed and hollered about.
They take it as trying
to re-install the Soviet Union...
China has made a similar
crack-down on the NGOs, and other countries - smaller countries,
I would say Armenia is a good example, are less experienced in
this kind of thing, and therefore less prepared to deal with it
in an effective way. So it's very uneven.
It's very uneven and these are highly insidious operations where
you have some of the NGOs popping up and calling for democracy
and more freedom for whatever in some country whether it be
Egypt or whatever.
And then it's picked up by select Western
media like CNN or BBC, and - as a genuine grassroots movement,
and the focus on the dictatorial regimes go mostly - regimes
don't want to be given bad press - as dictatorial, if they can
So, sometimes they're thrown off guard by that kind of
thing. It's done in a very calculated way.
Recall the Trump campaign he said,
"The time is over when
America needs to intervene (in) other country's affairs" - secrecy demands and so forth. And some people thought,
is an end to the colored revolutions by Washington."
been in no way, shape or form the end of that from Washington.
There have been numerous attacks since Trump has been in office.
That's continually what's being done on a lower profile.
So I would urge your listeners to look at the book in detail
where I go into all this, and develop it historically. And you
can get a much better sense.
I think one of the most important
questions of warfare that has been developed by any NATO country
post 1945 period.
GR: Well, I agree. It's definitely worth the read and the name
of that book again is Manifest Destiny: Democracy as Cognitive
Dissonance, and it was authored by our featured guest, F.
So, thank you very much for sharing these
perspectives with us. It's very important to understand.
WE: Well, thank you!