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Confessions Of An Economic Hit Man, By John Perkins

May 3, 2012 by  

Over the years, Americans have heard that people in other countries do not like America, but Americans can’t figure out why that is so. After all, America represents all that is good and right in the world. America just wants to give other countries the gift of its democratic ideals and spread freedom, right?

That’s what politicians and the corporate media would have you believe. But the truth is quite different. John Perkins, who spent years as an economic hit man, tells what is really involved in U.S. foreign policy. Once you read this book, you’ll understand why people around the world hate America, and you’ll realize that said hatred is often justified. It will also shed new light on what is involved in American empire.

What is an economic hit man? Perkins explains that right out of the gate. The preface’s first words are:

Economic hit men (EHMs) are highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars. They funnel money from the World Bank, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and other foreign “aid” organizations into the coffers of huge corporations and the pockets of a few wealthy families who control the planet’s natural resources. Their tools include 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. I should know; I was an EHM.

Perkins first penned these words in 1982 as he considered writing a book dedicated to the presidents of two countries: Ecuador’s Jaime Roldόs and Panama’s Omar Torrijos. These were two men Perkins had worked with in his capacity as an EHM who were assassinated because “they opposed that fraternity of corporate, government, and banking heads whose goal is global empire.”

According to Perkins, when EHMs failed to bring Roldόs and Torrijos around, another type of hit men, CIA-sanctioned jackals, took the men out.

This book reads like a fictionalized spy novel. But, frighteningly, it’s the truth. And it paints a not-so-pretty portrait of the influence American corporations have on U.S. foreign policy and U.S. actions against Third World countries. It also explains how corporations and U.S. foreign policy conspire to loot the treasuries of the U.S. and foreign nations to the benefit of select corporations.

Perkins tells how American industry goes to Third World countries to pillage their natural resources. EHMs like Perkins provide inflated economic forecasts touting the benefits of improving infrastructure and convince the political leaders — through bribery (with money, drugs and prostitutes) or extortion — to commit to vast projects they can’t possibly afford. Those countries borrow U.S. taxpayer dollars provided through the World Bank, International Monetary Fund or USAID to pay for the projects that are constructed by U.S. companies. It’s all done with a wink and a nod by the U.S. government because, once those countries become wholly indebted to the United States, they become U.S. puppet states and part of the American empire.

The precursor of the EHM was Kermit Roosevelt, Theodore’s grandson, who as a CIA agent used payoffs and threats to organize street riots and demonstrations in Iran that led to the overthrow of Mohammad Mossadegh and the installation of Mohammad Reza Shah. Realizing the danger posed by having the United States outed as an agent provocateur if future similar operations failed, new strategies of using corporations and nongovernment organizations (NGOs) in that capacity were devised. This led to the creation of EHMs.

After being trained for weeks in a clandestine manner (he was instructed not to tell anyone about his training, not even his wife) by a woman introduced to him as “Claudine,” Perkins’ first project for his company, MAIN, Inc., was in Indonesia in 1971. He was to write the projections for an electrification project that was part of a plan to ensure American dominance in Southeast Asia.

Even though he was not a trained economist, economic projections were his specialty, he writes, and the more outlandish they were the better. That’s because leaders of the Third World countries were more likely to be swayed by the more grandiose projects; and the more expensive the project, the more profit his company would stand to make.

While working on his Indonesian project, Perkins saw among the Indonesian population the worst poverty he had ever seen. Yet he and his team — and other Americans who were part of the project team for other companies — lived lives of luxury in posh hotels, wining and dining at ritzy restaurants designed to cater to Americans. Years later, when Perkins again visited Indonesia, the poverty among the Indonesians remained — and possibly had grown worse — despite the completion of the project. Yet a select few in government had become extremely wealthy.

In the mid-1970s, Perkins writes, coming out of the Arab oil embargo, Saudi Arabia became a major player on the world scene and American corporatocracy leaders and foreign policy experts realized that another embargo couldn’t be allowed to happen. So a plan was put in place to partner with the Saudis.

Saudi Arabia was awash in cash, so Washington began negotiating with its leaders to provide technical support, military hardware and training and an opportunity to bring its infrastructure into the 20th Century in exchange for petrodollars and assurances there would never be another embargo. When completed, the deal came down to this: Saudi Arabia would use petrodollars to purchase U.S. government securities; in turn, the interest earned on these securities would be spent by the Treasury Department in ways that bring Saudi Arabia out of its medieval existence and into the modern world. In other words, interest compounding on billions of dollars of the kingdom’s oil would be used to pay U.S. companies to fulfill wild visions created by Perkins and EHMs of other companies.

The firms would be hired by Treasury, at Saudi expense, to build infrastructure projects and entire cities throughout the Arabian Peninsula. The firms included MAIN and some companies that may be more familiar: Brown and Root, Kohlberg Kravis and Roberts, Halliburton, etc.

Perkins’ book covers the period between 1971 and the book’s publication in 2004 (he picks up where one left off in his second book). He talks about Enron and the influence of the Bush family and the family’s ties to the Mideast. He touches on Saddam Hussein, and sheds light on the U.S. relationship with him.

There are many familiar names in the book — Robert McNamara, George Shultz, James Baker, etc.; men who figured prominently in shaping U.S. policy through their government positions. Understanding their relationships with certain corporations and foreign governments opens new doors to your understanding of events of that more than 30-year period of U.S. history. The facts Perkins presents about those men’s ties is like drawing back a curtain on a new room of knowledge.

For anyone who truly wants to understand what goes on in the halls of power (what drives the decision-makers to make the choices they do), this book is a must read.

Bob Livingston

is an ultra-conservative American and author of The Bob Livingston Letter™, founded in 1969. Bob has devoted much of his life to research and the quest for truth on a variety of subjects. Bob specializes in health issues such as nutritional supplements and alternatives to drugs, as well as issues of privacy (both personal and financial), asset protection and the preservation of freedom.

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  • steve

    I listened to this book on tape and it is very good. I didn’t think I would like but a friend loaned it to me and I was hooked after a few minutes.

    Sad to think it happens but it doesn’t surprise me a bit.

  • Lowell

    You’re a great “AMERICAN”.

  • dan

    …I’m from THE Government and I’m here to help you….shiver

  • GILLYSROOMS from Australia

    I dont hate America, and you dont have to read the book if you listern to what Dr RON PAUL says about how to fix that perception. VOTE RON PAUL.

  • cawmun cents

    So what now?
    Americans are finally going to own up to being the”he who dies with the most toys wins!” nation?Hello McFly,are you out there?
    The way you get rich and stay wealthy is to exploit other peoples resources.
    There I said it.
    This is nothing new.It has been the case since the dawn of time.Heres a”for instance.”
    When the first woman decided that her sexuality could produce profit,she exploited those with resources to obtain their wealth.
    When the first man thought up how to”win friends and influence people,by exploiting their resources”,the worlds first politician was born.
    When the first person who sat next to and advised that politician,by exploiting his new found and ill gotten resources,was giving him advise,the first lawyer hatched.

    This aint rocket science folks…..nor is it a hardluck story.
    It’s just plain ol’ how things work in the civilized world.
    Some folks know that there are three knows.Most folks couldnt see them if you kicked them in the teeth with them.
    Know yourself
    Know your enemy/opposition
    Know your enivironment
    For some folks who tend to lolligag about,superstitiously living like stone age malfeasants,when those who know the three knows come around,they become extinct rather quickly.If there are resources to be taken advantage of,and someone knows the three knows better than you do,then you are going to be blitzed,and living in your soap-opera,”I am entitled”little dream world,wont matter much to them.
    You see they that know the three knows dont much care about your short-sightedness.
    So when they offer you a hand full of beads for Manhattan,please understand that they fully intend to squash you for the exploitation of your resources.It’s nothing against you personally,but rather that since you went about blissfully unaware of what the laymen term”potential”,you can see where you might be easily subjugated by those who have inventive minds and are not stuck in some stone-age transitional stage,thinking that the world owes them something.

    What is truly mind numbing is the fact that the liberal who often defends the poor person whos resources are being exploited,believes in natural selection,and survival of the fittest,but only when it pertains to some outside source other than that which he is championing.Yet he/she is not only fully capable of looking the other way when it comes to exploiting the use of said resources,but demands them as a societal”right”,when the need to seem important arises.How truly sad that they cannot now see how the purge which is looming in the confrontation between those who have,and those who dont know what they have,is going to bite them in the sexual gratification center.
    But their marxist professors didnt teach them the three knows.
    They put small boxes full of half truths in their folders and books,and left them hanging out to dry.So it is inevitable that they will become the next endangered species on the”what I did or didnt do with my resources”,gambit.

  • John W. Neff

    I have often wondered who is financing these environmental groups through the back door. Are major oil companys?? After all, over seas they are lifting oil out of the ground for a buck or two a barrel. Here in the USA it costs $25.00 to $75.00 a barrel. The majors will lease government lands, ten year leases and then sit on them so no one else can drill them. Like I said, I am just wondering.

    • libertarian58

      Your “wondering” is right on the money. The oil companies are the biggest contributors to the “environmental” movement for the following reasons. The best way for a monopoly to increase profits is to restrict supply, thereby increasing demand so prices can “rise”. To avoid the “black eye” for doing this overtly, they “hire” the environmentalists to “stand in the way of progress” and get “blamed” for the shortages. Plus it makes the oil companies “look good” for supporting the environment. Read “The Great Energy Non-Crisis” by Lindsey Williams (from the 70s’) for more.

    • Scott Todd

      Wrong- they don’t sit on them, the government has been making it bloody near impossible for them to drill. Land leases and drilling permits are two separate animals. The government issues the first but not the second. The oil companies are going gangbusters on private land, especially in ND.

  • libertarian58

    I watched the video of this on Link TV. What an eye-opener. It really substantiates what Ron Paul has been saying all along about America’s so called “foreign policy”.

    • JDL

      Read ‘The Creature from Jekyll Island’ about the Federal Rerserve and how it has functioned in international politics. It is comprised of people with ties (aka minions) of the European Banking cartel that is pulling all the strings and dictating foreign policy. Then…the corporatism of the oil companies comes into play. It’s good to get the Big Picture instead of simply ‘groping the cosmic elephant of truth’ (each person only getting a part of the picture).

  • KS

    CC, you’re right on target; I couldn’t have said it any better myself.

  • Scott Todd

    This guy sounds like a good candidate for being interviewed on Glenn Beck’s TV program.


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