Thursday :: Nov 18, 2004

Making Then An Offer They Don't Dare Refuse

by pessimist
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 US 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 fraudlent financial reports, rigged elections, payoffs, extortion, sex, and murder. They play a game that is old as empire, but one that has taken on new and terrfying dimentions during this time of globalization.

I should know; I was an EHM.

These are the opening words of what should be the basic modern history text in the schools today, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.

Starting with the very first page of the Preface, where author John Perkins reveals that two foreign presidents of his professional acquaintance were assassinated because they chose to oppose the plans of the multinational New World Order, there are few pages that don't reveal that many of the things we had heard over the years from the liberal media (when that still existed) about multinational corporations and their activities to destabilize and dominate foreign national economies were not only true, but deliberately planned and conducted.

Far from being a Che Guevara-like revolutionary, Perkins reveals the inner workings of this 'corporatocracy' that took him in, trained him in the black arts of economic forecast manipulation, and sent him to many of the troublespots of the world - before they were trouble spots.

His job - make them troublespots.

Perkins himself was not an agent provocateur, but his projections of major economic growth due to national infrastructure projects - all fabricated - were used to sell a program of developmental loans to relatively poor nations with the goal of making them so indebted that they were factual, if not legal, slave colonies.

For example, he discusses what happens to the oil revenue of Ecuador:

Ecuador is typical of the countries around the world that EHMs have brought into the economic-political fold. For every $100 of crude taken out of Ecuadorian rain forests, the oil companies receive $75. Of the remaining $25, three-quarters must go to paying off the foreign debt. Most of the remainder covers the military and other government expenses - which leaves about $2.50 for health, education, and programs aimed at helping the poor.

Thus, out of every $100 worth of oil torn from the Amazon, less than $3 goes to the people who need the money most, those whose lives have been so adversely impacted by the dams, the drilling, and the pipelines, and who are dying from lack of edible food and potable water.

All those people - millions in Ecuador, billions around the world - are potential terrorists. Not because they believe in communism or anarchism or are intrinsically evil, but simply because they are desperate.

Ecuador was only one of the countries that John Perkins helped to destabilize and convert into an economic slave state. He was involved in operations in Indonesia, Panama, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia ...

Is this all starting to sound familiar?

It took many years, but Perkins finally allowed his conscience to get the better of him. He says of his motivation to reveal these secrets:

How do you rise up against a system that appears to provide you with your home and car, food and clothes, electricity and health care - even when you know that the system also creates a world where 24 thousand peole starve to death each day and millions more hate you, or at least hate the policies made by representatives you elected? how do yo muster the courage to step out of line and challenge concepts you and our neighbors have always accepted as gospel, even when you suspect that the system is ready to self-destruct?

The short answer is that my only child, Jessica, graduated from college and went out into the world on her own. She said, "We need to do this for the grandchildren I hope to give you someday!"

The long answer relates to my dedication to the country where I was raised, to my love of the ideals expressed by our Founding Fathers, to my deep commitment to the american republic that today promises 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness' for all people, everywhere.

Perhaps this book is something of a catharsis. Perhaps it's an atonement. Perhaps Perkins just went soft and couldn't cut it any more.

But in any case, he's telling a tale I've heard through the alternative media most of my life, and there is little that he doesn't relate that doesn't ring true. The parts that don't are generally the tale he tells of how he was fooling himself into going against his instincts, somehow not noticing what he was being trained to do and the consequences they would cause, because 'that's how you get ahead'.

But one thing is sure - he feels that he needs to make amends, to counter the trends he helped to create. He wants to try to reverse the damage, to begin the healing process, and he wants us to know what we are up against.

Today, we see the results of this system run amok. Executives at our most respected companies hire people at near-slave wages to toil under inhumane conditions in Asian sweatshops. Oil companies wantonly pump toxins into rain forest rivers, consciously killing people, animals, and plants, and committing genocide among ancient cultures.

The United States spends over $87 billion conducting a war in Iraqwhile the UN estimates that for less than half that amount we cold provide clean water, and adequate diets, ssanitation services, and basic education to every person on the planet.

When men and women are rewarded for greed, greed becomes a corrupting motivator. When we equate the gluttonous consumption of the Earth's resources with a status aproaching sainthood, when we teach our children to emulate people who live unbalanced lives, and when we define huge sections of the population as subservient to an elite minority, we ask for trouble - and we get it.

How many decisions - including ones of great historical significance that impact millions of people - are made by men and women who are driven by personal motives rather than by a desire to do the right thing? How many of our top government officials are driven by personal greed instead of national loyalty? How many wars are fought because a president does not want his constituents to perceive him as a wimp?

Today, we still have slave traders. They no longer find it necessary to march into the forests of Africa looking for prime specimens who will bring top dollar on the auction blockas in Charleston, Cartagena, and Havana. they simply recruit desperate people and build a factory to produce the jackets, blue jeans, tennis shoes, automobile parts, computer components, and thousands of other items they can sell in the markets of their choosing.

The old-fashioned slave trader told himself that he was dealing with a species that was not entirely human, and that he was offering them the opportunity to become Christianized. He also understood that slaves were fundamental to the survival of his economy.

The modern slave trader assures himself (or herself) that the desperate people are better off earning one dollar a day than no dollars at all, and that they are receiving the opportunity to become integrated into the larger world community. She also understands that these desperate people are fundamental to the survival of her company, that they are the foundations of her own lifestyle.

She never stops to think about the larger implications of what she, her lifestyle, and the economic system behind them are doing to the world - or of how they may ultimately impact her children's future.

We decry slavery, but our global empire enslaves more people than the Romans and all the other colonial powers before us. The income ratio of the one-fifth of the world's population in the wealthiest countries to the one fifth in the poorest countries went from 30:1 in 1960 to 74:1 in 1995

The global empire depends to a large extent on the fact that the dollar acts as the standard world currency, and the United States Mint hs the right to print those dollars. Thus, we make loans to countries like Ecuador with the full knowledge that they will never be able to repay them; in fact, we do not want them to honor their debts, since the nonpayment is what gives us our leverage, our pound of flesh.

The United States prints currency that is not backed by gold. Indeed, it is not backed by anything other than a general worldwide confidence in our economy and our ability to marshal the forces and resources of the empire we have created to support us.

The ability to print currency gives us immense power. It means, among other things, that we can continue to make loans that will never be repaid - and that we ourselves can accumulate huge debts. By the beginning of 2003, the United States' national debt exceeded a staggering $6 trillion and was projected to reach $7 trillion by the end of the year - roughly $24,000 for each US citizen.

Much of this debt is owed to Asian countries, particularly to Japan and China, who purchase US Treasury securities (essentially IOUs) with funds accumulated through the sales of consumer goods...

As long as the world accepts the dollar as its standard currency, this excessive debt does not pose a seirous obstacle to the corporatocracy.

However, if another currency should come along to replace the dollar, and if some of the Unitd States' creditors (Japan or China, for example) should decide to call in their debts, the situation would change drastically.

The United States would suddenly find itself in a most precarious position.

The existence of such a currency is no longer hypothetical. The Euro offers an unusual opportunity for OPEC, if it chooses to retaliate for the Iraq invasion, or if for anyother reason it decides to flex its muscles against the United States. A decision by OPEC to substitute the Euro for the dollar as its standard currency would shake the empire to its foundations. If that were to happen, and if one or two major creditors were to demand that we repay our debts in Euros, the impact would be enormous.

History tells us that unless we modify this story, it is guaranteed to end tragically. Empires never last. Every one of them failed terribly. They destroy many cultures as they race toward greater domination, and then they themselves fall.

No country or combination of countries can thrive in the long term by exploiting others.

I had often asked myself why I should have qualms about exploiting countries like Indonesia, Panama, Columbia, and Ecuador. So many of my heroes - Ethan Allen, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, Lewis and Clark, to name just a few - had exploited Indians, slaves, and lands that didn't belong to them, and I had drawn upon their examples to assuage my guilt.

I remembers some things I had conveniently ignored over the years. Ethan Allen spent several months in fetid and cramped British prison ships, much of the time locked into thirty pounds of iron shackles, and then more time in an English dungeon. He was a prisoner of war, captured at the 1775 Battle of Montreal while fighting for the same sorts of freedom Jaime Roldos and Omar Torijos now sought for their people.

Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and all the other Founding Fathers had risked their lives for similar ideals. Winning the revolution was no forgone conclusion; they understood that if they lost, they would be hanged as traitors.

I had wondered what had motivated them, why those colonial Americans were willing to step out of line. Many of the ringleaders had been prosperous. What had inspired them to risk their businesses, to bite the hand that fed them, to risk their lives?

And then it came to me: WORDS.

The telling of the real story about the British Empire and its selfish and ultimately self-destructive merchantile system had provided that spark. the exposure of the underlying meaning, through the words of men like Tom Paine and Thomas Jefferson, fired the imaginations of their countrymen, opened hearts and minds. The colonists began to question, and when they did, they discovered a new reality that cut away at the deceits. The discerned the truth behind the patina, understood the way the British Empire had manipulated, deceived, and enslaved them.

They saw that their English masters had formulated a system and then had managed to convince most of the people of a lie - that it was the best system mankind could offer, that the prospects for a better world depended on channelling resources through the King of England, that an imperial approach to commerce and politics was the most efficient and humane means of helping the majority of the peole - when in fact the truth was that the system enriched only a very few at the expense of the many.

This lie, and the resulting exploitation, endured and expanded for decades, until a handful of philosophers, businessmen, farmers, fishermen, frontiersmen, writers, and orators began to speak the truth.

Admitting to a problem is the first step toward finding a solution. Confessing a sin is the beginning of redemption. Let this book, then, be the start of our salvation. Let it inspire us to new levels of dedication and drive us to realize our dream of balanced and honorable societies.

And that's only some of the insights contained within Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.

By whatever means, get a hold of a copy of this book - AND READ IT!

Highly recommended. Tell your friends. Please.

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pessimist :: 7:00 PM :: Comments (3) :: Digg It!