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Former CIA officer John Kiriakou has just returned from Greece, and offers heart-wrenching descriptions of life under austerity.Kiriakou, the only American sent to prison in relation to the CIA torture offenses, recently traveled to his ancestral homeland and comments on the heavy toll that European-imposed austerity has taken on the Greek population.
When he worked for the CIA, Kiriakou’s first overseas posting was in Athens; his recent visit showed him how hard-hit average Greek citizens are. He notes that almost none of the bailout money reaches those who are suffering–it goes to pay the banks who racked up big debts over arms sales and the Goldman Sachs scheme that hid pensions and other debt offshore.
He shares his observations of formerly prosperous people who now sleep in doorways, and the hardship of cash withdrawal limits for those who still have some savings. With the economy nearly flat-lined, the prospects that Greece can repay its debt are slim. He talks about the sharp increase in suicides in recent years.
We touch on John Perkins’ Confessions of an Economic Hitman and Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine, as he explains how austerity is used to hammer the few industries, like the dairy industry, that have survived. The deal to sell off state assets like airports and ship terminals will only make a recovery more difficult.
And we touch on Kiriakou’s role in crafting new legislation to protect whistleblowers in Greece.
Kiriakou also gave a longer interview about his prison experience and ideas for prison reform in our Processing Distortion podcast at BoilingFrogsPost.