What an Economic Hit Man Does
by Dr Ruwan M Jayatunge
Sri Lanka Guardian | July 25, 2010
To steal millions, you need a top team of armed robbers. But to steal billions, you need PhD’s with color charts and economic projections made of fairy dust and eye of newt.
(July 25, Ontario, Sri Lanka Guardian) Confessions of an Economic Hit Man is a best seller written by John Perkins based on his undercover experiences. According to the book John Perkins himself was an economic hit man. Who are these Economic hit men? Are they a special kind of breed? John Perkins gives a simple definition of economic hit men thus. Economic hit men or (EHMs) are highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars. Their tools included fraudulent financial reports, rigged elections, payoffs, extortion, sex, and murder. They play a game as old as empire, but one that has taken on new and terrifying dimensions during this time of globalization.
Although the author wanted to publish this book for many years, he was suppressed publishing it by many forces. The World Trade Center attack in 2001 changed his views. Perkins was determined to publish his book. Eventually Perkins managed to publish his controversial book in 2004.
That is what we EHMs do best: we build a global empire. We are an elite group of men and women who utilize international financial organizations to foment conditions that make other nations subservient to the corporatocracy running our biggest corporations, our government, and our banks. Like our counterparts in the Mafia, EHMs provide favors. These take the form of loans to develop infrastructure —electric generating plants, highways, ports, airports, or industrial parks. A condition of such loans is that engineering and construction companies from our own country must build all these projects. In essence, most of the money never leaves the United States; it is simply transferred from banking offices in Washington to engineering offices in New York, Houston, or San Francisco.
With his poor knowledge in geography, John Perkins was recruited by the National Security Agency and he worked with the Peace Corps in South America in 1968. (Perkins was posted to Ecuador and he had thought Ecuador is an African country) In 1971 he joined the International consulting firm called Chas. His assignment was to convince the third world countries to accept massive loans for infrastructure projects. To fulfill this goal Perkins claims that he gave invalid data and exaggerated statistics to various governments. The end result was this money came back to the donors and the recipient countries trapped in heavy foreign debt. Thus these countries could not remain as sovereign independent states in international politics.
He traveled to Indonesia, Panama, Ecuador, and Colombia, Saudi Arabia, Iran and other strategically important countries. Perkins recounts a wild story how multinational ‘aid’ organizations and corporations are following a dangerous path in their pursuit of oil and other resources. As an expert in economy he manipulated and distorted economic forecasts in order to achieve political objectives.
In this book Perkins use the word corporatocracy which refers to the powerful group of people who run the world’s biggest corporations, the most powerful governments, and history’s first truly global empire. Perkins book gives a though provoking recollections of world events. He describes the accidental deaths of Ecuador’s President Jaime Roldos and Panama’s President Omar Torrijos are assassinations . This is what he says in the page 156.
Early in 1981, the Roldós administration formerly presented his new hydrocarbons law to the Ecuadorian Congress. If implemented, it would reform the country’s relationship to oil companies. By many standards, it was considered revolutionary and even radical. It certainly aimed to change the way business was conducted. Its influence would stretch far beyond Ecuador, into much of Latin America and throughout the world.’
The oil companies reacted predictably -they pulled out all the stops. Their public relations people went to work to vilify Jaime Roldós, and their lobbyists swept into Quito and Washington, briefcases full of threats and payoffs. They tried to paint the first democratically elected president of Ecuador in modern times as another Castro. But Roldós would not cave in to intimidation. He responded by denouncing the conspiracy between politics and oil – and religion. He openly accused the Summer Institute of Linguistics of colluding with the oil companies and then, in an extremely bold -perhaps reckless – move, he ordered SIL out of the country.
Only weeks after sending his legislative package to Congress and a couple of days after expelling the SIL missionaries, Roldós warned all foreign interests, including but not limited to oil companies, that unless they implemented plans that would help Ecuador’s people, they would be forced to leave his country. He delivered a major speech at the Atahualpa Olympic Stadium in Quito and then headed off to a small community in southern Ecuador.
He died there in a fiery helicopter crash, on May 24, 1981.
The world was shocked. Latin Americans were outraged. Newspapers throughout the hemisphere blazed, “CIA Assassination!” In addition to the fact that Washington and the oil companies hated him, many circumstances appeared to support these allegations, and such suspicions were heightened as more facts became known. Nothing was ever proven, but eyewitnesses claimed that Roldós, forewarned about an attempt on his life, had taken precautions, including traveling in two helicopters. At the last moment, one of his security officers had convinced him to board the decoy copter. It had blown up.
Despite world reaction, the news hardly made the U.S. press.
Osvaldo Hurtado took over as Ecuador’s president. He reinstated the Summer Institute of Linguistics and their oil company sponsors. By the end of the year, he had launched an ambitious program to increase oil drilling by Texaco and other foreign companies in the Gulf of Guayaquil and the Amazon basin.
Omar Torrijos, in eulogizing Roldós, referred to him as “brother.” He also confessed to having nightmares about his own assassination; he saw himself dropping from the sky in a gigantic fireball. It was prophetic.
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man emphasizes how Globalization is used to cheat Poor Countries and building an empire primarily through economic manipulation, expand its “empire” at the expense of Third World citizens. It was a description of Perkins’ own profession. According to Perkins he was able to realize the repercussions of anti-American feelings, especially in the Muslim World which he narrates in the page 41.
“Vietnam is just a holding action,” one of the men interjected, “like Holland was for the Nazis. A stepping-stone.”
“The real target,” the woman continued, “is the Muslim world?’
I could not let this go unanswered. “Surely,” I protested, “you can’t believe that the United States is anti-Islamic.”
“Oh no?” she asked. “Since when? You need to read one of your own historians – a Brit named Toynbee. Back in the fifties he predicted that the real war in the next century would not be between Communists and capitalists, but between Christians and Muslims.”
‘Arnold Toynbee said that?” I was stunned.
“Yes. Read Civilization on Trial and The World and the West.”
“But why should there be such animosity between Muslims and Christians?” I asked. Looks were exchanged around the table. They appeared to find it hard to believe that I could ask such a foolish question.
“Because,” she said slowly, as though addressing someone slowwitted or hard of hearing, “the West – especially its leader, the U.S. – is determined to take control of all the world, to become the greatest empire in history. It has already gotten very close to succeeding. The Soviet Union currently stands in its way, but the Soviets will not endure. Toynbee could see that. They have no religion, no faith, no substance behind their ideology. History demonstrates that faith – soul, a belief in higher powers – is essential. We Muslims have it. We have it more than anyone else in the world, even more than the Christians. So we wait. We grow strong.”
“We will take our time,” one of the men chimed in, “and then like a snake we will strike.”
“What a horrible thought!” I could barely contain myself. “What can we do to change this?”
The English major looked me directly in the eyes. “Stop being so greedy,” she said, “and so selfish. Realize that there is more to the world than your big houses and fancy stores. People are starving and you worry about oil for your cars. Babies are dying of thirst and you search the fashion magazines for the latest styles. Nations like ours are drowning in poverty, but your people don’t even hear our cries for help. You shut your ears to the voices of those who try to tell you these things. You label them radicals or Communists. You must open your hearts to the poor and downtrodden, instead of driving them further into poverty and servitude. There’s not much time left. If you don’t change, you’re doomed.”
Perkins conversation with Muslim students reminds me Michael Moore’s documentary Fahrenheit 911. Moore says that invasion of Iraq had a different motive and it could further escalate anti American emotions in the Middle East. Bin Laden who was created by America later had a dramatic 180 degree change declared that his organization will keep on attacking American civilians. Consequently EH s trade and industry actions would endanger the lives of innocent American civilians.
In 1965 Kwame Nkrumah wrote a commentary on Neo-Colonialism which he called the Last Stage of imperialism. According to Kwame Nkrumah there are copious mechanisms of neo-colonialism and it operates not only in the economic field, but also in the political, religious, ideological and cultural spheres. After many decades Perkins echoes the words of Kwame Nkrumah. If it came from an outsider people could simply ignore it as pro Marxist propaganda or anti-American slogans. But when the inside men reveal the shocking truth we tend to think twice. Is there a God Father who wants to help the developing nations genuinely? Whether the Foreign “aid” is a trap rather than an altruistic means to alleviate poverty?
Not only the foreign aid sometimes foreign advice could become a damaging factor to the National Economy. The best example can be given from China. When Mao Tse-tung ruled China some forighen advisor told him that house sparrows eat a large number of grains per day and it is a severe wastage. He further adviced that the house sparrows should be eliminated. A Nation wide house sparrow hunt project was launched and millions of birds were killed. The final result came unexpectedly . Soon after the ecological disblance China suffered a series of pest attcks that was earlier controlled by the house sparrows under natural circumstances.
The contemporary world has turned in to a global village and no one can live in a sagrigated societies. In a global village people should share and live in harmoney. In his book, Globalization and Its Discontents, Joseph Stiglitz World Bank chief economist and winner of the Nobel Prize in economics writes:
Globalization, as it has been advocated, often seems to replace the old dictatorships of national elites with new dictatorships of international finance …. For millions of people globalization has not worked …. They have seen their jobs destroyed and their lives become more insecure.
Is this the final reality of the globalization?
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man shocked the United States as well as other countries. Perkins may have found redemption in confession. He became famous and also made extra money from his best seller. But he had already done the damage to many countries beyond repair.