Book review: Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
by John Perkins
Penguin Group, New York, 2004
I just read a very enlightening book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins . It's a memoir of a former manager of Economics and Planning at MAIN (Chas T. Main Inc.), a powerful corporation, where he worked with CIA agents and other economic hit men to impoverish and subjugate peoples and countries around the world. Plagued by a guilty conscience, he later founded Independent Power Systems and developed environment friendly power plants. Yet he was still tempted by imperialism.
In his confessions, Mr. Perkins explains how the U.S.A. has seized power in Saudi Arabia, Panama, Ecuador and other countries. We try to avoid open warfare. Before we even send in the jackals (special forces, snipers and other assassins, etc.) we employ economic hit men to corrupt governments, destabilize local economies and destroy environments. A Bedouin hero likened the tactics we're using against Islam to the tactics used to conquer the Native American nations. We cut down the trees and shot the buffalo. The foundations of indigenous culture collapsed, and we are now exploiting them, their farmland, their gold, and their oil.
"You see, it is the same here," he said, "the desert is our environment. The Flowering Desert project threatens nothing less than the destruction of our entire fabric. How can we allow this to happen?" (p.130)
In order to defraud and blackmail and corrupt foreign governments and prepare their countries for exploitation by American corporations, he traveled around the world, living in tents, jungle huts and five-star hotels. Some of the action took place in secret meetings here in the United States. I particularly enjoyed some of the conversations that took place in posh offices high up in skyscrapers near my home.
Economic hit men have been very successful in Saudi Arabia. When they fail, as they did in Ecuador, jackals are called in. They probably killed President Roldós of that country and President Torrijos of Panama.
If the jackals fail, as they did in Iraq, military intervention is undertaken directly by the U.S.A. government. The book sheds light upon our current aggression against Venezuela, although the author did not have a major role there.
In 1930, Venezuela was the world's largest oil exporter. By 1973 (the time of the Arab oil embargo), Venezuela was wealthy and its people enjoyed excellent health care, education and low rates of unemployment. Within 30 years, American EHMs (Economic Hit Men) and the International Monetary Fund had changed that. The country's per capita income was down 40% and the middle class was shrinking.
George Bush and the CIA orchestrated a coup, but their victory was short-lived. President Chavez returned to power and immediately initiated further democratic reforms. Bush began war preparations, but crushing resistance in Iraq and Afghanistan took priority and Venezuela got reprieve. Now, fifteen years after Confessions of an Economic Hit Man was published, Donald Trump is making moves to seize control of one of the world's biggest oil reserves and other important natural resources, as well as cheap labor in a once prosperous country brought low by American imperialists.
Confessions is a must read for anyone seeking to understand how the U.S.A. invades, attacks, and oppresses people and starves children in the name of freedom; or why so many millions of people around the world hate us.
MIM(Prisons) adds: The writings of John Perkins are a useful expose of the modern imperialist methods of subversion of other nations self-determination. They stand in stark contrast to all the concerns over Russian influence in U.$. election outcomes.
Despite the obvious implications of the facts Perkins revealed, ey remains unabashedly embedded in the bourgeoisie. The solutions ey provides in this book include pressuring corporations to do good things, and joining organizations to get laws passed. Now it seems ey is promoting a series of trips to the Third World for rich people to engage in mysticism. Needless to say, we see much different solutions being called for by the stories in this book.