Economic Hit Men
John Perkins is an economist and was a high-ranking member of the international banking community. He now has a book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. The book describes how he was a highly paid professional who helped the U.S. cheat third world countries out of trillions of dollars.
Perkins began the book over 20 years ago. He says: “The book was to be dedicated to the presidents of two countries…Jaime Roldós, president of Ecuador, and Omar Torrijos, president of Panama. Both had just died in fiery crashes. Their deaths were not accidental. They were assassinated because they opposed that fraternity of corporate, government, and banking heads whose goal is global empire. We Economic Hit Men failed to bring Roldós and Torrijos around, and the other type of hit men, the CIA-sanctioned jackals who were always right behind us, stepped in.”
The job of an economic hit man is to build up the American Empire. That means creating situations where as many resources as possible flow into our country; our corporations. This has created the largest empire in history.
He says: “It's been done over the last 50 years since World War II with very little military might, actually. It's only in rare instances like Iraq where the military comes in as a last resort. This empire, unlike any other in the history of the world, has been built primarily through economic manipulation, through cheating, through fraud, through seducing people into our way of life, through the economic hit men. I was very much a part of that.”
The first notch in America’s bedpost was Iran in the early 1950s. Their elected leader was overthrown and replaced with the infamous Shah of Iran. (And yes this does have a lot to do with the Iranian hostage situation 25 years later.) In this case the government was overthrown by the CIA.
The American government realized the advantages of this type of overthrow: no open warfare, no conflict with Russia or any other country who might object. The only drawback was that if some of the CIA agents were captured and exposed as U.S. government agents, things could get a little, uh, “awkward.” So after the Iranian overthrow, this type of work was done by private American companies, whose employees could not be traced to any government operation.
The most common method of this economic warfare is to grant a loan to a poor country. A huge loan, a loan way too big for that country to possibly repay. A large contractor — Bechtel, Halliburton, etc., you know the players — would get its foot in the door by building roads, power plants, whatever the country needed. The government of this country is then instructed to pay back the loan to this contractor. When the government is unable to repay the entire loan and goes into debt, the contractor has them over a barrel.
At this point we can practically blackmail the country into handing over its resources (oil, minerals, whatever) to American corporations.
And that's the pattern.
During the energy crisis of the 1970s, our government realized Saudi Arabia was the key player. The American and Saudi governments worked out a deal: the House of Saud would send most of their petro-dollars to the United States and invest them in U.S. securities. The Treasury Dept. would use the interest from these securities to hire American companies to build Saudi Arabia — new cities, new infrastructure. In return, Saudi Arabia has kept the price of oil low. Well, “low” enough to keep Americans happily buying millions of gas guzzlers.
Now, remember those Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq? Hahahahahaha. Here’s what really happened: We tried to use the same manipulative tactics with Iraq that had worked so well with Saudi Arabia and other third world countries. And Saddam Hussein wouldn’t play. When the economic hit men aren’t able to “convince” a third world country to play ball, further steps must be taken.
The CIA can induce a coup by stirring up rebellion among the populace. This didn’t work in Iraq — Hussein’s grip was too powerful. Next step — assassinations. This didn’t work either. Hussein had too many bodyguards and a vast network of “doubles.”
When these backup plans all fail, what’s next? Military invasion. As John Perkins says: “So the third line of defense, if the economic hit men and the jackals fail, the next line of defense is our young men and women, who are sent in to die and kill, which is what we’ve obviously done in Iraq.”
Why did Perkins spend twenty years “working on” this book? The money, power and prestige were just too seductive. It was 9/11 that finally changed his mind.
He says: “But when 9/11 struck, I had a change of heart. I knew the story had to be told because what happened at 9/11 is a direct result of what the economic hit men are doing. And the only way that we're going to feel secure in this country again and that we're going to feel good about ourselves is if we use these systems we’ve put into place to create positive change around the world. I really believe we can do that. I believe the World Bank and other institutions can be turned around and do what they were originally intended to do, which is help reconstruct devastated parts of the world. Help — genuinely help poor people.”
OK, now before you come screaming into the Comment section, remember the above paragraph is a quote. I personally am not playing blame-the-victim and saying 9/11 was America’s fault. But that quote is the perspective of a high ranking American economist who was closely affiliated with the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and international contractors.
Whether or not the United States should be helping poorer countries is open to debate (and not the focus of this article). But using the rest of the world as just so much chattel and raw material for America’s corporate empire is just plain wrong.
Cross-posted at Bring It On!