15 February 2005

Empire has been built through economic manipulation, cheating, fraud, seduction, through economic hit men

And now former Economic Hit Man John Perkins has had an epiphany and penned a new book titled Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. It's indeed a page turner, I could hardly set it down, as Perkins tells the story he served as a tool U.S. neo-imperialism and how the global game works. The author also makes some bold claims, including unproven charges that Ecuador president Jaime Roldos and Panama president Omar Torrijos were assassinated for standing up against the corporatocracy.
Yeah, it was a tongue-in-cheek term that we called ourselves. Officially, I was a chief economist. We called ourselves e.h.m.'s. It was tongue-in-cheek. It was like, nobody will believe us if we say this, you know? And, so, we went to Saudi Arabia in the early seventies. We knew Saudi Arabia was the key to dropping our dependency, or to controlling the situation. And we worked out this deal whereby the Royal House of Saud agreed to send most of their petro-dollars back to the United States and invest them in U.S. government securities. The Treasury Department would use the interest from these securities to hire U.S. companies to build Saudi Arabia–new cities, new infrastructure–which we’ve done. And the House of Saud would agree to maintain the price of oil within acceptable limits to us, which they’ve done all of these years, and we would agree to keep the House of Saud in power as long as they did this, which we’ve done, which is one of the reasons we went to war with Iraq in the first place. And in Iraq we tried to implement the same policy that was so successful in Saudi Arabia, but Saddam Hussein didn't buy. When the economic hit men fail in this scenario, the next step is what we call the jackals. Jackals are C.I.A.-sanctioned people that come in and try to foment a coup or revolution. If that doesn't work, they perform assassinations. or try to. In the case of Iraq, they weren't able to get through to Saddam Hussein. He had -- His bodyguards were too good. He had doubles. They couldn’t get through to him. 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.

Basically, the con is to go into developing nations, overhype and inflate economic estimates and projections to justify massive loan expenditures made out to the the developing nation which in turn flow back to the corporatocracy. Loans which the dependent nation will be unable to pay back, and thus the global powers will now have their "hooks" into the country's leadership. Fat profits flow to firms like Chas T. Main, Bechtel, Halliburton, etc.…, the foreign land's ruling class become enriched in loot, but economic pain is inflicted upon the common folks, who ultimately end up paying for the party.

Perkins tale seems to be abridged for the general readership as he covers his induction into his "chief economist" role for Chas T. Main all the way into current events, which he writes, compelled him to finally publish the book that he'd tried to write years before, but was "bribed" to keep silent. Critics can rightfully shred a good deal of the printed material here, as most all of the book is anecdotal in nature, though bibliographic links are presented in support of transpired events. Again, it's not so much a detailed breakdown of chicanery, but Perkins own wrestling with what he was and what was done in the interests of an empire, not so altruistic and benevolent as Americans typically believe. Repeatedly, Perkins bangs the theme of life being a "series of coincidences" and how "the world is as you dream it", contrasting his "man in the middle" perspective with the natives in foreign lands and the American public, who are totally blind to these global affairs.

Additionally, it's been a few years since he was a primary player on the global economic stage, thus, a great deal of his inferences regarding current affairs seem to be based on kvetching with contacts he's kept from his days of past international intrigue. Latter chapters in the book give fuel to those who wish to dismiss his words as conspiracy chattel.

Still, I think a great deal of what Perkins writes has merit, and it is consistent with what other "globalization" insiders spilling the beans have detailed — including David Korten and Joseph Stiglitz. Total adherence to the altar of capitalism is not a panacea for the ills in the world, and it's had a destructive effect.


Real democracy in Iraq would mean that Iraqis can decide who gets their oil, whether they want to privatize their economy, whether they want seed patents, and whether they want the Bush forces there. I don't think Bush will offer them real democracy. The question is whether they will get distracted by other issues and other disagreements, and give Bush what he wants.