Re: Perkins "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man"
Tue Jan 2, 2007 13:20

 
FPF-fwd. Joan Brunwasser + MediaLens

Re: Perkins "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man"

JOAN BRUNWASSER, VOTING INTEGRITY EDITOR, OPEDNEWS

"This book is my every nightmare come true. When I speak about it, the first thing most people ask is, "It's fiction, right?" Wrong. And, I'm more sorry about that than I can say.

Here is a review of an important and disturbing book about what fuels our national foreign policy. It's an eye-opener. This article will give you a taste; I urge you to take the time to read the book, available in hardcopy, paperback and on CD." - Best wishes, Joan Brunwasser - Email: Joan@OpEdNews.com  op rafijoan@comcast.net

Her story is at Url.: http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_joan_bru_070101__22confessions_of_an_e.htm

HR: When reading Joan's article on Perkins, I thought about this article* by the excellent MediaLens:

KILLING HOPE - OF JACKALS AND ECONOMIC HIT MEN

In his book, Confessions Of An Economic Hit Man, John Perkins describes the role he played in the West¹s devastation of the Third World for profit, Latin America very much included. Perkins compares himself to the slave traders of colonial times:

³I had been the heir of those slavers who had marched into African jungles and hauled men and women off to waiting ships. Mine had been a more modern approach, subtler - I never had to see the dying bodies, smell the rotting flesh, or hear the screams of agony.² (Perkins, Confessions Of An Economic Hit Man, Ebury Press, 2005, p.148; www.johnperkins.org)

In January 1971, Perkins was hired by American big business to forecast economic growth in Third World countries. These forecasts were used to justify massive international loans, which funded engineering and construction projects, so funnelling money back to US corporations while enriching a small Third World elite.

Perkins explains that his real task - rarely discussed but always understood in high government and business circles - was to deliberately exaggerate growth forecasts in countries like Peru, Ecuador, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia. The goal was for these countries to +fail+ to achieve their inflated targets and so be unable to repay their loans. The point being, as Perkins writes, that Third World leaders would then ³become ensnared in a web of debt that ensures their loyalty³. As a result, American interests ³can draw on them whenever we desire ‹ to satisfy our political, economic, or military needs. In turn, they bolster their political positions by bringing industrial parks, power plants, and airports to their people. The owners of US engineering and construction companies become fabulously wealthy². (Ibid, p.xi)

THE ³NEEDS² INCLUDE MILITARY BASES, VOTES AT THE UN, CHEAP ACCESS TO OIL AND OTHER HUMAN AND NATURAL RESOURCES. PERKINS DESCRIBES THIS AS A NON-MILITARY MEANS FOR ACHIEVING ³THE MOST SUBTLE AND EFFECTIVE FORM OF IMPERIALISM THE WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN². (IBID, P.139)

Bankrupt debtor countries have thus been forced to spend much of their national wealth simply on repaying these debts even as their people sicken and die from malnutrition and poverty. For example, international banks dominated by Washington loaned Ecuador billions of dollars from the 1970s onwards so that it could hire engineering and construction firms to improve life for the rich. In the space of thirty years, poverty grew from 50 to 60 per cent, under- or unemployment increased from 15 to 70 per cent, public debt increased from $240 million to $16 billion, and the share of national resources allocated to the poor fell from 20 per cent to 6 per cent.

Today, Ecuador is required to devote nearly 50 per cent of its national budget to debt repayment - leaving almost no resources for millions of citizens classified as ³dangerously impoverished². Out of every $100 worth of oil pumped from the Amazon, less than $3 goes to Ecuadorian people dying from lack of food and potable water.

Perkins is clear that, waiting in the wings should the economic hit men (EHMs) fail, are the real hit men - ³the jackals². He writes of Jaime Roldós, president of Ecuador, and Omar Torrijos, president of Panama, who both died in plane crashes:

³THEIR DEATHS WERE NOT ACCIDENTAL. They were assassinated because they opposed that fraternity of corporate, government, and banking heads whose goal is global empire. We EHMs failed to bring Roldós and Torrijos around, and the other type of hit men, the CIA-sanctioned jackals who were always right behind us, stepped in.² (Ibid, p.ix)

Perkins writes of RoldósŒs death in May 1981:

³It had all the markings of a CIA-orchestrated assassination. I understood that it had been executed so blatantly in order to send a message. The new Reagan administration, complete with its fast-draw Hollywood cowboy image, was the ideal vehicle for delivering such a message. The jackals were back, and they wanted Omar Torrijos and everyone else who might consider joining an anti-corporate crusade to know it.² (Ibid, p.158)

Torrijos was killed just two months later. This is the likely fate that awaits Chavez, Morales, and other Third World leaders currently being ridiculed by the British press.

The last fifty years have seen a vast bloodbath as Washington has funnelled money, weapons and supplies to client dictators and right-wing death squads battling independent nationalism across Latin America. Britain¹s only left-wing daily newspaper, the Morning Star - with a tiny circulation of between 13,000-14,000 - is a lone voice describing some of these horrors. Dr Francisco Dominguez, head of the Centre for Brazilian and Latin American Studies at Middlesex University, writes:

³Military dictatorship, death squads, torture, assassination, economic blockade, economic genocide, military intervention, wanton repression, corruption and every other means intrinsic to capitalist and imperialist Œmanagement techniques¹ has been utilised to secure the profits of primarily US multinationals and the wealth of the privileged few. Mass unemployment and mass poverty are just two extra means with which to obtain compliance with the economic and political pillage of the continent.² (Dominguez, ŒLatin America takes centre stage,¹ Morning Star, November 22, 2005)

JOHN PILGER ADDS:

"In the US media in the 1980s, the Œthreat¹ of tiny Nicaragua was seriously debated until it was crushed. Venezuela is clearly being Œsoftened up¹ for something similar. A US army publication, Doctrine for Asymmetric War against Venezuela, describes Chávez and the Bolivarian revolution as the Œlargest threat since the Soviet Union and CommunismŒ." (Pilger, op., cit)

WHO BENEFITS?

The answer is provided by Professor William Domhoff of the University of California at Santa Cruz in his study ŒWealth, Income, and Power In the United States¹. Domhoff reports that as of 2001, the top 1% of US households owned 33.4% of all privately held wealth, and the next 19% had 51%, indicating that just 20% of the people owned 84%, leaving only 16% of the wealth for the bottom 80%. In terms of financial wealth, the top 1% of households had an even greater share: 39.7%.

In terms of types of financial wealth, the top 1 percent of households have 44.1% of all privately held stock, 58.0% of financial securities, and 57.3% of business equity. The top 10% have 85% to 90% of stock, bonds, trust funds, and business equity, and over 75% of non-home real estate. Domhoff comments:

³Since financial wealth is what counts as far as the control of income-producing assets, we can say that just 10% of the people own the United States of America.² (G. William Domhoff, ŒWealth, Income, and Power In The United States,¹ February 2006; http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html)

These fabulously wealthy elites own politics, they own the media, they control what the American people know, see and think. In Britain, the top 5% of the British population own 45% of the nation's wealth - they also run politics, the economy and the media in their own interests.

Naturally, then, elite journalists reflexively declare that the United States and Britain are passionately intent on bringing democracy to the world. A recent BBC radio talk show asked: ³Are 100 British soldiers' lives too high a price to pay for democracy in Iraq?² (BBC Radio Five Live)

This, despite the fact that the income ratio of the one-fifth of the world¹s population in the wealthiest countries to the one-fifth in the poorest countries went from 30 to 1 in 1960 to 74 to 1 in 1995.

Despite achieving bestseller status by word of mouth, Perkins¹ account has been all but ignored by the mainstream British press since its publication last year, receiving mentions in just four articles. In one of these, a Sunday Times reviewer wrote:

³One measure of the success of an author is whether his book passes the Œlaugh out loud¹ test. John Perkins¹s had me in stitches. The problem is, it is not meant to.² (David Charters, ŒA miss not a hit,¹ Sunday Times, March 5, 2006)

CYNICALLY IGNORING THE ISSUES AND EVIDENCE, CHARTERS DISMISSED THE BOOK AS ³RIDICULOUS²: ³IF IT WAS NOT SO LAUGHABLE, IT COULD BE DEPRESSING.² THE BOOK HAS RECEIVED SIMILAR TREATMENT IN THE US PRESS.

WE SHOULD BE UNDER NO ILLUSIONS.

The corporate media oppose Chavez because the corporate system is viscerally opposed to policies that are unleashing democratic hopes in Venezuela. It takes a moment¹s thought to understand that greater democracy, equality, justice and popular empowerment are +not+ in the interests of a system built on exploitation. As John Perkins comments of the media:

³Things are not as they appear... Our media is part of the corporatocracy. The officers and directors who control nearly all our communications outlets know their places; they are taught throughout life that one of their most important jobs is to perpetuate, strengthen, and expand the system they have inherited. They are very efficient at doing so, and when opposed, they can be ruthless.² (Perkins, op. cit, p.221)

As long as we support this corporate media system - as long as we hand over our money for its product, for its phoney ¹balance¹ and subliminal smears - it will continue to subordinate the welfare of millions of human beings to corporate greed.

SUGGESTED ACTION

The goal of Media Lens is to promote rationality, compassion and respect for others. In writing letters to journalists, we strongly urge readers to maintain a polite, non-aggressive and non-abusive tone.

Write to Jonathan Charles at the BBC
Email: jonathan.charles@bbc.co.uk

Write to Stephen Castle at the Independent on Sunday
Email: s.castle@independent.co.uk

Write to Jonathan Steele at the Guardian
Email: jonathan.steele@guardian.co.uk

Write to Kim Sengupta at the Independent
Email: k.sengupta@independent.co.uk

Write to Daniel Howden at the Independent
Email: d.howden@independent.co.uk

Write to Richard Beeston at the Times
Email: richard.beeston@the-times.co.uk

Write to Jim Gray, editor of Channel 4 News
Email: jim.gray@independent.co.uk

Write to Helen Boaden, director of BBC news
Email: HelenBoaden.Complaints@bbc.co.uk

Please also send copies of all emails to Media Lens:
Email: editor@medialens.org

Story at MediaLens - pls scroll down - Url.: http://www.medialens.org/alerts/06/060518_ridiculing_chavez_the.php

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FPF - RELATED:

THROW OUT WAR PROPAGANDISTS LIKE THE BBC, FOX, CNN ETC.! - Url.: http://www.cemab.be/news/2006/07/1632.php

HR this far has lived and worked abroad - never in an English speaking country - for more than 4 decades for international media as an independent foreign correspondent, of which 10 years - also during Gulf War I - in the Arab World and the Middle East. Seeing worldwide that every bullet and every bomb breeds more terrorism!

FPF-COPYRIGHT NOTICE - In accordance with Title 17 U. S. C. Section 107 - any copyrighted work in this message is distributed by the Foreign Press Foundation under fair use, without profit or payment, to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the information. Url.: http://liimirror.warwick.ac.uk/uscode/17/107.html

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