Economy International Robert Scheer SI Podcast

Andres Auraz: Biden’s Peace for Afghanistan Is a Humanitarian Disaster

The U.S. withdrew its troops and with them all humanitarian aid while freezing Afghanistan’s foreign reserves, leading to mass deprivation for Afghanistan’s innocent civilian population.
Andres Arauz.
Andres Arauz. [CEPR]

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Calling it the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis,” former Ecuadorian Central Bank director Andres Arauz details a Biden Administration economic war against the Afghan people that has only intensified the suffering of a population that has suffered merciless military attacks, first by the Soviets and then the US. This time, according to this recent article for CEPR, the deadly weapon is U.S. control over central banking and international humanitarian aid, which has totally wrecked the already fragile Afghan economy.

“Basically, all humanitarian aid was cut when the Taliban took over the country last year when the U.S. withdrew in an improvised manner,” Arauz tells Robert Scheer on this week’s installment of “Scheer Intelligence,” adding that the dire consequence was compounded when “The US froze and then seized all of Afghanistan’s foreign reserves that were held by the Central Bank of Afghanistan and deposited at the New York Fed […] Basically they froze the economy overnight and you had people not being able to afford food, energy, their essential needs.”

The seized Afghan reserves were placed in a private Swiss account while the Biden Administration decides what to do with those funds, but fully half, $3.5 billion, already has been put aside to compensate a group of families of 9/11 victims currently suing the Taliban led government in Kabul. On August 10, Arauz and 70 other prominent economists including Nobel laureate Joseph Stieglitz requested of President Biden that the funds be returned to Afghanistan’s Central Bank because the seizure of the reserves destroyed what remained of the fragile Afghan economy and, as Arauz put it in a detailed report ,“the seizure of the reserves is contributing to mass death and starvation.”

It is not the Taliban government that will suffer but rather ordinary people depending upon a functioning economy that requires the Afghan Central Bank to obtain control over the U.S. looted funds. The International Rescue Committee, a highly respected relief agency, warns that “the current humanitarian crisis could lead to more deaths than 20 years of war.” That is the direct result of the Biden Administration’s seizure of Afghanistan’s banking resources. As Arauz puts it: “Without a functioning Central Bank, the economy of Afghanistan has, predictably, collapsed. The people of Afghanistan have been made to suffer doubly for a government they did not chose.”

And a war that they did not choose, but in which they were the hapless victims of decades of mindless violence resulting, as the podcast discusses, the machinations of the U.S. and the Soviets as they jockeyed for power in a Cold War that even now seems to have been resurrected in the Ukraine.

Credits

Host:

Robert Scheer

Producer:

Joshua Scheer

Robert Scheer: Hi, this is Robert Scheer with another edition of Scheer Intelligence, where the intelligence comes from my guest. In this case, it’s Andres Arauz, a brilliant economist who comes from Ecuador originally, is a former Minister of Knowledge in Ecuador and a former Central Bank General Director. Now he’s in Mexico, doing academic work there. Arauz is one of 70 leading economists, including famous Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize winner, I think probably America’s most important economist on the basis of my own graduate work in the field. But this statement is a damning indictment of the Biden administration, and it has to do with Afghanistan, a country, which we, and yes, the old Soviet Union, did as much as we could to destroy and mess up in every which way. But the article that Andres wrote, “The U.S. Response to the World’s Worst Humanitarian Crisis: Seize and Privatize.” So, Andres, why don’t you tell us about the title of this piece and why is it the world’s worst humanitarian crisis? Set the stage.

Andres Arauz: All right. So, we have three components here. First, the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. We have a very delicate and dire situation in Afghanistan. Basically, all humanitarian aid was cut when the Taliban took over the country last year when the U.S. withdrew in an improvised manner last year. And another thing happened, which was that the U.S. froze and then seized all of Afghanistan’s foreign reserves that were held by the Central Bank of Afghanistan and deposited at the New York Fed. So, this did not help the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan. The economy basically halted. It froze.

The financial system underwent a crisis. The currency was devalued, and people lost their purchasing power. Basically, they froze the economy overnight and you had people not being able to afford food, energy, their most essential needs. And of course, this became a humanitarian crisis with unfathomable consequences. The United Nations has said that this is a humanitarian emergency that needs action from everybody in the world. And one of those most concrete and logical actions is to have the economy restart, working again. And a functioning economy in the 21st Century requires what’s called a payment system, which is how money flows between companies and people. And a payment system requires a central bank to work, and for a central bank to work, you need what are called the international reserves of a central bank so that international payments can work.

And why I use the word privatize in the title is because after the United States seized the Afghanistan Banks’ Central Bank reserves, then the Biden administration decided to put this money into a private entity created in this haven, Switzerland, in a private foundation with only four people in charge to basically decide what they’re going to do with that money, saying that eventually it would be returned to Afghanistan, but not in the short term. So, half of the money went to this private entity and the other half, which is $3.5 billion was saved and put aside in case a group of families, the victims of the 9/11 attacks, win their case and include attachment against the Taliban and take that money as compensation.

Robert Scheer: You know what’s sickening about this is whatever you think about the Taliban, the Al-Qaeda came, as it was later constructed, came to be in Afghanistan as a result of a recruiting campaign that the U.S. CIA was instrumental in in getting fighters, Ronald Reagan called them freedom fighters, to go to Afghanistan to fight the Soviets, fight the Russians who had invaded Afghanistan, a country that they had had good relations with at one point. Nonetheless, we were going to give them their Vietnam. We’re always giving them their Vietnam and now the situation in Ukraine, but the terrible thing here is that these foreign fighters, there weren’t enough people in Afghanistan that wanted to do terrible things against the U.S., they had to bring them from Saudi Arabia and everywhere else, Osama bin Laden and what have you. And now we’re still punishing the Afghan people.

And I want you to explain why. Everybody thinks it’s wonderful that Biden got out of Afghanistan, but there’s no talk here about what happens to the people. Tell us about the condition of the Afghan people while we’re playing around, seizing their money, and wanting to give it even to some other people who, yes, they suffered, the victims of 9/11. But again, that was a lot to do with the U.S. machinations. So, tell us about the situation, why this money and a central bank system is needed and how people are hurting.

Andres Arauz: So the principle here is that there should be no collective punishment against the entire people of Afghanistan because of the government that they now have in place. So it’s not the people of Afghanistan’s fault that the Taliban took over Afghanistan because of a mediocre and basically very weak reconstruction and management effort on behalf of the U.S. allies that had been running the country for a couple of decades. So, it’s not the people of Afghanistan’s fault. It’s not their fault, but by freezing and seizing the central bank assets, you are effectively punishing the entire country because you don’t like a part of what their government is. And that is called collective punishment. And that is absolutely forbidden in the context of war. And some say, “Well, if it’s forbidden in the context of war, it should be forbidden in the context of peace as well.” So quote unquote, “peace,” and it is worrying that one country can basically decide unilaterally that a country’s economy can be frozen.

I’m very worried about certain statements by Tom West, who’s the U.S. special delegate for Afghanistan who says we’re not ready to capitalize the Afghan financial system just yet, but we are not realizing the extent of those words. I mean, he’s saying basically that he wants the banks, the private commercial banks that operate in Afghanistan to continue being broke, to continue being out of service and not being able to function properly and to service the economy and the business owners and the people of Afghanistan. And this is the extent of the consequence. So it’s one thing that if you want to sanction or punish Al-Qaeda or some of the most virulent people in the Taliban regime, but it’s a completely different thing to basically freeze and therefore punish the entire financial system of Afghanistan. This is something that we think is inhumane, that has contributed to the crisis that has made Afghanistan even more dependent on cash.

In my article, that I invite everybody to check out online, if you go to the CEPR website, you will see pictures from the Twitter feed of the Central Bank of Afghanistan and how they show they literally have to ship plane loads of physical U.S. dollar bills to basically put money into the system right now, because all the electronic payment system for international payments is not working due to this freeze and seizure. So that makes the entire economy more cash dependent. And if it makes the economy more cash dependent, it makes it even harder to monitor, to track, to survey what’s happening with the money. If it’s all cash based, it’s very difficult for the authorities, whether domestic or foreign, to monitor how the money is moving around the economy.

And of course, it makes it very, very difficult to manage a country with only physical bills and without a functioning banking or payment system. This is why we’re worried about this. And we think that, and not just us, but the 70 economists, including Joseph Stiglitz, former ministers of different countries, many academics, but also the United Nations. Some society organizations are saying, “Hey, let’s put an end to this freeze and seizure, and let’s give this money back to the Central Bank of Afghanistan,” which has to perform a technical function, which is basically to be the cornerstone of the country’s financial system.

Robert Scheer: And what the Biden administration is doing it seems to me is playing loose, taking this humanitarian rhetoric and saying, “We’re going to tell these people how to live,” and to say that they have to be a cash economy, I’m not as expert as you are, but it seems to me is an invitation for expanding the drug trade, because that’s certainly a great source of cash, unregulated. You mentioned that your study, this study is available, and I should have given a proper introduction. You’re a senior research fellow at the Washington DC based Center for Economic and Policy Research. And is that where the study can be found?

Andres Arauz: Yes, that’s where the study can be found. We have some very interesting data to back all of this, and I think people can also see other studies in the letter that was published by the 70 economists and many more facts around the humanitarian crisis that the Afghan people are going through.

Robert Scheer: So what are we talking about here? Is this just callous indifference? Or is that the Biden White House knows best still for the Afghan people, a country that has been messed up by just about every other major power that has ever existed in human history? The whole world has in its most enlightened, sophisticated, cosmopolitan presence, one country after another has tried to tell the Afghan people what to do, has ordered them what to do, and you haven’t really told us how miserable the situation is there right now. I mean, you call it the worst humanitarian crisis. What is happening to these people of Afghanistan who have been manipulated, conned, hustled by almost every major government?

Andres Arauz: The situation is really bad. And here’s one piece of information that should shock everybody. It’s estimated that more people will die from the economic impact of these sanctions than the people who died in the 20 years of war. Okay, this is how bad the situation is. I mean, you have massive hunger, especially among children who are not getting their three meals a day. People are actually starving because the prices of food went up 40% after the Taliban takeover and the United States seizure of the international reserves of the country. And there is a lot of risk of people being displaced. People are having to move within the country and of course, also are seeking refuge out of the country. UNICEF, the child rights agency of the United Nations, are saying that a million children under five are at risk of dying due to severe acute malnutrition.

This is all very, very recent. And it happened basically as a consequence of last year’s freeze and seizure. And the U.S. government’s response, it appears it was never planned properly. So they withdrew from Afghanistan, but then they hadn’t planned the economic transition of the country when they left. They just figured the military transition, but not the economic transition because you had tons of soldiers there and the entire department of defense spending a lot of money. And the Afghan economy was very dependent on basically the U.S. military spending there. The economy depended on the spending on behalf of the U.S. army and so on. And then it all ended overnight without building a local industrial base, a local food sector for food sovereignty and food security purposes. There wasn’t a lot of industrial development, either. The drug trade unfortunately was still there and people are also dependent on that.

And of course, if the most important spender in the economy all of a sudden leaves, you have a massive crisis. And you add the seizure of assets to all of that, then you have this world’s worst humanitarian crisis. I mean, you have basically starvation, people that are actually willing to even sell their kidneys and sell their children into slavery in order to get some money and survive. So the situation is extremely dire. And of course, if there are no solutions in the short term, history has shown that regular people will adopt more radical tendencies and of course, it will be a breeding ground for more radical terrorists and an invitation for radical groups to go to Afghanistan and sort of get cozy with the people that are not going well, they’re not going through a decent situation. So we have a very, very deep crisis in Afghanistan and the entire world, including the U.S. should help put this back into normal operation.

And it is not so difficult. You need basically to restore the functioning of the economy. And the way to do that is to have the central bank work, to have the payment systems work, the financial system work, the banks open, get some credit rolling, get some businesses up and going, get people employed, and stave off all of this risk of terrorist fertile ground by getting the economy working. But if the cornerstone of all of that, which are the international reserves, are not there, the country does not have the tools to deploy an economic recovery plan.

Robert Scheer: So, what are we really talking about? You see words like humanitarian and so forth, but this seems to be the norm. I mean, what’s going to happen in Ukraine now, oh, well, maybe because it’s white people, we’re already spending the enormous amount of money, but maybe there will be repair and maybe the Soviets will, the Russians they’re no longer Soviets, will have to bear responsibility as well. But the same thing happened in every country where we’ve been involved other than World War II, at least, I don’t know, maybe again because the Germans… But we also were pretty good with the Japanese, but not as good with the Germans and the people of Central Europe. The idea that somehow ordinary people shouldn’t suffer for what their leaders did and Germany was able to, at least, the part the U.S., the West controlled come back to become a functioning, I would say major economy.

This idea that we have no responsibility to the ordinary people of Afghanistan and that we can just walk away, which is really what you’re saying, I don’t get it. And here’s the Biden administration, which keeps talking about human rights. I’m looking at the list of the 70 that have supplies, including the former top economic person in Argentina, elsewhere. But what about Joseph Stiglitz? Probably are, I mean, I said before our leading economist, certainly the guy who got most things right about banking and everything when the others got it all wrong. Has he talked to Biden? Has anybody in your group taken this to the president? And what did they say?

Andres Arauz: I’m not sure if Joe Stiglitz has talked directly to President Biden, but there has definitely been a lot of noise and a lot of sway and a lot of conversation with the administration, with treasury, with OFAC, which is the office in charge of seizures and asset freezes. There’s been talk at the United Nations, the Security Council. And most recently we have this action on behalf of the Biden administration that has said, “Fine. We’re not going to keep half of the amount that the Afghan people had saved at the U.S. Federal Reserve. We’re going to put it in this private foundation in Switzerland and deposit that money in this organization called the Bank of International Settlements,” which is a bank of central banks. And they said, “Eventually it may go back to the Central Bank of Afghanistan, but for now, we’re going to keep it to work basically as a parallel central bank but for the purposes that only we see as fit.”

Of course, I deem that type of arrangement, not only a privatized arrangement, but also a neo-colonial arrangement. I mean, in the past, when you had countries that were in debt and you wanted to help them recover, you would basically forgive their debt. This is what happened to post-World War Germany in 1953. Basically, our entire foreign debt was forgiven in the conference. And in this case, if you want to help the economy recover, Afghanistan doesn’t really have foreign debt, but they had a few savings. They had $9 billion in savings, $7 billion of which were in the U.S. And instead of using that money to leverage Afghanistan’s development and economic recovery and getting the economy to function properly, the United States decided to seize that money. So how on earth is it going to be possible to bootstrap your own way to development, to having a little bit of industry, a little bit of business going, a little bit of economy working if you don’t have the money that has caused you so much and for so long to save as part of your country’s international reserves?

And of course, the Biden administration and some of the right-wing pundits are saying, “Well, it’s because that’s going to be money for the Taliban, and we don’t want the Taliban to put their hands on this money.” But my piece, what it tries to show with a very technically minded narrative is that the Central Bank is not the same as the Taliban. The Central Bank is what’s called the bank of banks, the bank of banks. So, I show with numbers that the United States seized the $7 billion claiming that it was at risk of being controlled by the Taliban. But I show with numbers that only about $1.4 billion out of those seven at most could be attributed to actually the government’s money. The rest of the money actually belonged to the private commercial banks that operated in Afghanistan and of course, to the depositors, which are regular people and businesses that have their money in the bank.

So, the Biden administration is not taking the Taliban’s money by seizing and privatizing it, they’re taking the financial systems’, the depositors’ money, the businesses that operate in Afghanistan that have nothing to do with the Taliban and most probably don’t even like the Taliban, but they live in Afghanistan because it’s their country anyway. So, we’re punishing these people that are not getting access to their funds and of course, making the situation worse and in general, making very hard for the economy to recover. So, it will probably create another refugee crisis that has already been happening. The region is not precisely the most stable region. Like I said, it will probably start attracting people who want to abuse this situation. And by making the economy more cash dependent, they’re definitely not solving the problem of monitoring or surveillance or risk monitoring or assessment of their local financial system. If everything starts to depend on physical a hundred dollars bills, you know where that’s headed.

Robert Scheer: It’s interesting, you said “we are doing this in Afghanistan.” You are actually from Ecuador, and you were a central bank director there. And so you didn’t cause this problem. I certainly was opposed to what Zbigniew Brzezinski did and actually the Carter administration. And I actually knew Zbigniew Brzezinski and interviewed him for the Los Angeles Times where I worked, and the arrogance of Brzezinski persists right into Joseph Biden. It is the same thing, “Whatever we do is virtuous.” And so here was Zbigniew Brzezinski, in Le Nouvel Observateur interview, they took responsibility for advocating and recruiting Arab terrorists, basically to go to Afghanistan, many from the money and everything else, from Saudi Arabia and elsewhere and use Afghanistan under the Taliban as a base. And they wanted them to have a war within the old Soviet Union. He encouraged it. He defended it and he even attributes that to bringing down the Soviet Union.

And he said, “So what? That’s a great victory and yeah, you got some crazed, riled-up Muslims,” I think is the way he put it. And there’s no sense of accountability. And now here we are with the Biden administration, which at least they got out of Afghanistan, but no obligation whatsoever to the Afghan people to make them whole, to give them some opportunity and to try to help prevent Afghanistan from becoming a breeding ground for terrorism again. And that’s why I bring up Joseph Stiglitz and the other people who have signed this statement that this is just bad economics. It’s irresponsible, it’s bad politics. It’s immoral. So why isn’t this getting more publicity? You wrote a brilliant paper. Again, people can get it. What is the way you sign on to that site where you are a senior researcher?

Andres Arauz: It’s a really easy website. Just type in cepr.net. CEPR for Center for Economic and Policy Research, dot net. And you will find that it’s right on the front page for now and it’s available to anybody who has an interest in this. Yeah, and you mentioned that-

Robert Scheer: But wait. Before you move off, everybody should have an interest in it.

Andres Arauz: Yeah.

Robert Scheer: No, it shouldn’t be, “Oh yeah. Okay. Let me pay attention.” No. Our taxes paid for this war and there’s bipartisan, by the way, supported by Democrats and Republicans. Now you’ve got a democratic president who everybody thinks is so wonderful compared to Trump. I don’t know, did Trump start this policy of freezing the assets and then Biden just continued it? Or is this some brilliance out of the Biden administration?

Andres Arauz: It happened during the Biden administration. This was only last year. This is a very recent and it has-

Robert Scheer: So, you can’t blame this one on Trump.

Andres Arauz: Can’t blame-

Robert Scheer: You can’t blame this-

Andres Arauz: Can’t blame Trump on this one, but-

Robert Scheer: Oh good.

Andres Arauz: It’s U.S. foreign policy there. It’s in the context of unilateral course of mergers, or you can call them sanctions, that are not within the realm of the United Nations charter or anything like that. These are unilateral decisions that the United States is taking with extraterritorial power, which means basically exerting its own law over across the ocean. And this is actually a thing that is more worrying. When I was saying we, perhaps it was a grammatical expression from my native Spanish language to mean a generic term. But in fact, when I was the central banker in my own country, in Ecuador, part of my job was to design a strategy to avoid these kinds of asset seizures. And we quickly learned that… We tried to keep the money as far away as we can from the New York Fed because we know that one day, we don’t know what might happen, but sometimes somebody might feel like they should seize our assets.

And this has happened to Ecuador in the case of the UK in 1931, the Bank of England unilaterally froze Ecuador’s gold at the Bank of England. Then they never returned it except for some British pound notes with the picture of the king on them. Then in 1989, Citibank, a private bank in the U.S. also unilaterally seized Ecuador’s international reserves when we had an earthquake, because they said that they feared that we weren’t going to be able to pay back our debt. And that was also a unilateral decision and we faced these kinds of risks. And the thing is this isn’t something reserved for a few countries in the world. This threat of asset seizure, either by governments or by judicial attachment decisions or arbitrations is actually more generalized than we believe.

And developing countries in general are facing this risk. So this is not something that is just a recent decision by the Biden administration. This has a history of unfortunately unilateral decisions on behalf of the powers that be that threaten the development opportunities of developing countries. The Afghan case is the worst case that I’ve ever seen in the history of this, and definitely worries me and tried to put some elements on the table so that the decision makers, the people that have authority in the United States can decide to basically let this one go. There’s no need to punish the entire people of Afghanistan, their businesses, or their banks for a change in government.

Robert Scheer: It’s very interesting, we’re going to wrap this up, but I think this last example, it’s the splendid indifference to the consequence of your action. That’s really what it’s all about. It’s what Graham Greene in “The Quiet American” tried to capture and did brilliantly. And I just want to close on something we just stumbled on. You say in 1989, what was then Citibank, I guess, with some authorization from the U.S. government was able to take this punitive action against your small country of Ecuador. And that’s the old Citibank. And for people who don’t know anything about banking history, it was the power and influence of Citibank, which was going to merge with Travelers Insurance and become a new, huge banking thing that caused a change in financial regulation in the U.S. government and Bill Clinton signed off on the Financial Services Modernization Act, which allowed the biggest too big to fail bank was the new merged bank out of Citibank.

So, they were rewarded for their bad practice in 1989 under Clinton in the 1990s with new legislation that allowed the whole collateralized debt obligations and credit default swaps and all the garbage banking that destroyed the lives of many Americans, certainly economically. And we had the great housing meltdown. So, the Citibank that brought pain and suffering to Ecuador in ’89 within, what seven years, six years gets the U.S. government to reverse the whole New Deal legislation of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, free Wall Street because that’s going to make the Financial Service Modernization Act. And this same Citibank leadership then becomes the biggest bank. And then they have to be bailed out because a whole economy got destroyed. I don’t know. You’re more expert on this than I am.

Andres Arauz: Yeah, that’s exactly right. You’re describing exactly what happened under the Clinton government. Larry Summers was, I think, I believe at Citibank and then went on to work at the White House and made this happen. So yeah, I mean, this has a very specific people that played a role.

Robert Scheer: It’s worse. Excuse me, it’s worse than that. Robert Rubin proceeded these-

Andres Arauz: Yeah.

Robert Scheer: Robert Rubin had been at Goldman Sachs and Robert Rubin went to work at Citibank and got paid some enormous amount of money. I forget what it was, many millions a year. Larry Summers, continuing Robert Rubin’s policy, he was his protege, then goes on to be head of Harvard. And they cause this incredible misery, but they’re considered good, enlightened, progressive Democrats. So, people have got to take note of this and assign responsibility. I think Trump-washing which lets everyone off the hook is really quite a menace because it means if you’re not Trump, you can’t do evil. And what you are describing, and I think people should read your paper, “The U.S. Response to the World’s Worst Humanitarian Crisis: Seize and Privatize,”and as you say, you can get it on your website, right?

Andres Arauz: Yeah.

Robert Scheer: What is it? CEPR-

Andres Arauz: CEPR.net

Robert Scheer: Cepr.net. Read it and weep is what I will say. That’s all the time we’ve got for this really severe indictment, not of the other, the louts who support Trump. No people like myself. I voted for Bill Clinton. I bear some responsibility. Truth be told, my wife conned me into voting for Biden. And so, it’s our crowd. It’s our crowd in the name of lesser evil as a more humanitarian that is bringing this misery right now to Afghanistan. By our crowd, I mean people with liberal pretensions, claim to be concerned about human rights, and here we’ve brought more misery. And yeah, the Soviets deserve a lot of responsibility. We and the old Soviet Union brought a lot of misery, maybe more misery to the Afghan people that have been brought to any country at any time. And we’re continuing the pain, continuing the pain. I guess that’s all the pain we have time for. I want to thank-

Andres Arauz: If you give me just two seconds to describe this, the situation-

Robert Scheer: You know what? We can go a little longer. What have we missed there? What have we missed? It’s important and we’re probably the only people talking about it.

Andres Arauz: That is true.

Robert Scheer: So, let’s go on for a few minutes.

Andres Arauz: Thank you for discussing this.

Robert Scheer: Yeah.

Andres Arauz: So the United Nations has an agency called the World Food Program and they’re in charge of basically providing packages of food, water, and so on to people that are in extreme situations. They usually come after a flood or an earthquake and so on. In the case of Afghanistan, they have had to go there because of this humanitarian crisis caused by human-made pain, which is an economic measure which was seizing the reserve assets of the country, and the director of the World’s Food Program has described the situation in Afghanistan as, “Hell on earth.” And I’m using quotes here, “Hell on earth.”

Now this is a pretty radical description for what’s going on in Afghanistan by a director of the United Nations agency in charge of basically distributing food to the people that are in need. Now this seizure, this putting aside this money to family members of the victims of 9/11 and so on, and then putting this other part of the money into a private foundation in Switzerland is not helping the situation. Some may perceive that it is a way forward. Perhaps it may even be, but we don’t need half measures right now. We need to end “Hell on earth” and to do that, the Biden administration should release the full $7 billion directly to the Central Bank of Afghanistan, put the monitors that they want in place, make sure that they can survey over whatever happens to the money, but the money needs to go back to the people of Afghanistan. That’s what I wanted to add to finalize and thanks Robert for this opportunity.

Robert Scheer: Yes. And thank you, Andres Arauz, a former central banker himself from Ecuador and go check out his statement. We’ll try to post it on this site. We’ll certainly share and post and hopefully add it on the KCRW broadcast. And I want to thank Laura Kondourajian in particular at KCRW for being great week after week at getting these programs posted, with Christopher Ho also at KCRW, the very important NPR FM station in Santa Monica. I want to thank our executive producer, Joshua Scheer for organizing this, all of our discussions and doing such great work, and Natasha Hakimi Zapata who edits these broadcasts and the JKW Foundation in the memory of a terrific writer, Jean Stein, and researcher and public personality and intellectual for helping get these shows going. See you next week with another edition of Scheer Intelligence.

4 comments

  1. Does ‘politics’ give a person the right to say that other people must suffer and die because you don’t like their politics? Do you have the right to starve people because you don’t like their politics? Or are there basic concerns that transcend politics? Do you help someone who is starving just because you see that they are starving and need help?

    What would Jesus Say?
    What would Hitler Say?

    The USA is a whole lot closer to the latter than the former, no matter how many times and how loudly it is proclaimed that this is a Christian Nation.

    Although, my favorite was Biden stealing money from the poorest people on Earth and giving it to the families of Wall Street Traders who died in the World Trade Center. I bet that’s really going to impress Saint Peter when Joe arrives at the Pearly Gates. Stealing from starving poor to give the money to the Money Changers in the Temple. Yep, just like Jesus said.

  2. Perhaps a editor could shorten that headline.

    “Biden is a Humanitarian Disaster.”

    Seems to cover it.

  3. What the F–k did you n expect.Just look at his record in the Senate for 40 years.Look who made him VP.A man.can.be judged by the company he keeps.In Sleepy senile Joe’s case lots of
    right wing Senators and Congressmen as well.as Oreo Barrack Obama

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