Confessions of an Economic Hit Man reveals a game that, according to John Perkins, is as old as Empire but has taken on new and terrifying. Page 2. An Excerpt From. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins. Published by Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Page 3. @ vii. CONTENTS. Preface ix. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. By John Perkins. Preface. Economic hit men (EHMs) are highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe .
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Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. John Perkins. CONTENTS. Preface ix Prologue xvi. PART I: 1 An Economic Hit Man Is Born 3 "In for Life" 12 . LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CA'TALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA. Perkins, John, -. Confessions of an economic hit man by John Perkins. p. cm. Includes. “Give and Take is brimming with life-changing insights. “One of the great secrets of life is that those who win mo The New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.
The media endeavored to paint Noriega as a dangerous mad man, and an evil communist sympathizer. This type of scenario would also undermine any agreements made strictly with Saudi Arabia. He and John had a conversation about the plausibility of such a rosy economic forecast. Torrijos worried that his commitment to taking back the Canal would anger the top people at Bechtel so much that it would make it nearly impossible to achieve his plans for these projects. I was hoping to end a war I had helped create. The father underscores Fidel's point by extolling his gratitude for being American and living in the canal zone.
That hideous, incongruous wall is a dam that blocks the rushing Pastaza River, diverts its waters through huge tunnels bored into the mountain, and converts the energy to electricity. This is the megawatt Agoyan hydroelectric project. It fuels the industries that make a handful of Ecuadorian families wealthy, and it has been the source of untold suffering for the farmers and indigenous people who live along the river. This hydroelectric plant is just one of many projects developed through my efforts and those of other EHMs.
Such projects are the reason Ecuador is now a member of the global empire, and the reason why the Shuars and Kichwas and their neighbors threaten war against our oil companies.
Because of EHM projects, Ecuador is awash in foreign debt and must devote an inordinate share of its national budget to paying this off, instead of using its capital to help the millions of its citizens officially classified as dangerously impoverished.
The only way Ecuador can buy down its foreign obligations is by selling its rain forests to the oil companies.
Indeed, one of the reasons the EHMs set their sights on Ecuador in the first place was because the sea of oil beneath its Amazon region is believed to rival the oil fields of the Middle East. The global empire demands its pound of flesh in the form of oil concessions. These demands became especially urgent after September 11, , when Washington feared that Middle Eastern supplies might cease.
On top of that, Venezuela, our third-largest oil supplier, had recently elected a populist president, Hugo Chavez, who took a strong stand against what he referred to as U. Ecuador is typical of countries around the world that EHMs have brought into the economic-political fold.
All of those people—millions in Ecuador, billions around the planet—are potential terrorists.
Not because they believe in communism or anarchism or are intrinsically evil, but simply because they are desperate. Looking at this dam, I wondered—as I have so often in so many places around the world—when these people would take action, like the Americans against England in the s or Latin Americans against Spain in the early s.
The subtlety of this modern empire building puts the Roman centurions, the Spanish conquistadors, and the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European colonial powers to shame. We EHMs are crafty; we learned from history. Today we do not carry swords. We do not wear armor or clothes that set us apart.
In countries like Ecuador, Nigeria, and Indonesia, we dress like local schoolteachers and shop owners. In Washington and Paris, we look like government bureaucrats and bankers. We appear humble, normal. We visit project sites and stroll through impoverished villages. We profess altruism, talk with local papers about the wonderful humanitarian things we are doing.
We cover the conference tables of government committees with our spreadsheets and financial projections, and we lecture at the Harvard Business School about the miracles of macroeconomics. We are on the record, in the open. Or so we portray ourselves and so are we accepted. It is how the system works. We seldom resort to anything illegal because the system itself is built on subterfuge, and the system is by definition legitimate. However—and this is a very large caveat—if we fail, an even more sinister breed steps in, ones we EHMs refer to as the jackals, men who trace their heritage directly to those earlier empires.
The jackals are always there, lurking in the shadows. When they emerge, heads of state are overthrown or die in violent "accidents. When the jackals fail, young Americans are sent in to kill and to die. As I passed the monster, that hulking mammoth wall of gray concrete rising from the river, I was very conscious of the sweat that soaked my clothes and of the tightening in my intestines.
I headed on down into the jungle to meet with the indigenous people who are determined to fight to the last man in order to stop this empire I helped create, and I was overwhelmed with feelings of guilt.
How, I asked myself, did a nice kid from rural New Hampshire ever get into such a dirty business? Lessons for an EHM 4: Saving a Country from Communism 5: My Role as Inquisitor 7: Civilization on Trial 8: Jesus - Seen Differently 9: Opportunity of a Lifetime Pirates in the Canal Zone Soldiers and Prostitutes Conversations with the General The Saudi Arabian Money-laundering Affair Financing Osama Bin Laden Panama Canal Treaty Negotiations Iran's King of Kings Confessions of a Tortured Man The Fall of a King Keystone to Latin America American Democracy Vs.
Global Empire Ecuador's President Battles Big Oil I Quit Part IV: Presidential death - CIA Assassination? Bush Invades Panama Another EHM Failure He makes a point to mention that his family was middle class but they had very little spending money for extravagant purchases. He vividly recalls feeling like he didn't fit in with his wealthy classmates, which helped to construct a psychological framework that, later in life, led to his seduction into the underworld of dirty global politics.
While growing up, he remembers constantly being reminded by his parents of social class placement and structure. They stressed attending a "good" university and staying away from questionable lower class, and largely poor, people.
Once at university, Middlebury in rural Vermont, Perkins went through something of a rebellious phase. He rejected his parents incessant harping on class and achieving success in life. He defiantly dropped out of school, giving up a full academic scholarship, in order to attend Boston University. While living in Boston he became friends with his later wife, Ann.
As a couple barely out of school in the late sixties, John was fearful that he would be drafted and sent to Vietnam. Ann set up an interview with an official from the National Security Agency for him because those working for the NSA were exempt from the draft. Through a series of events and interviews John was in line to receive a position as an economist within the Agency, however, life was about to take a radical turn for the newly married couple.
On a whim John attended a seminar at Boston University focused on the topic of volunteering for the Peace Corps. John had always dreamed of living with native peoples and coming to understand their cultural practices so, after receiving some positive advice, he and Ann packed up and moved to Ecuador to live with a native tribe.
While living in Ecuador, serving as a Peace Corps volunteer, a man from a private consulting firm came to visit John and Ann, which marked the beginning of John's association with the world of political domination through economic control.
The consulting firm worked for the World Bank primarily. They submitted their analyses and opinions of whether foreign governments should be granted huge loans by the World Bank to fund development projects. The firm kept a very low profile. In fact, they were registered officially as an engineering firm but at that time they were beginning to take on economists to provide the World Bank with statistical information gathered on each project the bank was considering funding.
He also requested that John analyze the local political, social, and economic environment and report back to the NSA with his observations. Perkins did so loyally. Soon after being hired Perkins came to realize that, although he was hired as an economist, his real job was much closer to that of a secret, or double, agent. He observed the way the company worked and was structured but he was unsure as to what the goal of the corporation was as a whole. He remarks that there is an obvious gender bias with many women working at the level of secretary but almost none in the executive ranks.
The public library was where Perkins spends most of his days researching his first assignment, the Indonesian island of Java, as well as a possible future assignment, Kuwait. He studied the history of the countries from economic and political perspectives. One day while studying up on the format of common economic forecasts an attractive woman, Claudine, approaches Perkins.
She goes on to inform Perkins that he was handpicked to be an Economic Hit Man. What that meant, essentially, was that Perkins was to make economic predictions for the prospect of a country that may be granted a huge loan from the World Bank. The linchpin being that Perkins was to always produce statistics that favored the loan being granted and showed increased economic prosperity for the country as a direct result of whatever the loan was to fund.
Basically, on the long term if Perkins could be depended on to produce the desired reports and statistics the loan would be funded by the World Bank. The contractors were paid off and the country to which the loan was granted would be left with a huge debt burden for many decades to come. The debt that was owed would be used by the United States government to spread the American global agenda.
Because of the huge debt the leaders of such countries would submit to supporting US military ventures, and providing political support. Claudine goes onto explain the history of using economic power as a means of control and submission by the American government.
There is a brief foray into the ouster of the democratically elected leader of Iran, Mohammed Mossadegh. This event marks the first occasion the American government abandoned the typical pressure tactic of applying military might to affect the outcome of a foreign dilemma, and instead opted for the more subtle techniques of bribery and threats.
Then she informs Perkins that he has a limited amount of time to decide whether or not he will accept the position for which he was hired. She promises a very rewarding future for him in his family but makes explicitly clear that once he accepts the job he is "in for life". Perkins is, at first, hesitant that his actions will not produce a positive result for all affected by his work. He concludes that he can do more good by working from the inside and that he was certainly the exception to the rule in his profession.
He was not going to be seduced by money, power, and sex, although he had already been seduced quite completely by Claudine in the Boston Public Library. Perkins describes the long history of imperial domination by the Dutch who leaders saw Indonesia as the crown jewel in their empire because of its spices and rich fabrics. Early in the 20th century the Dutch finally gave up control over the islands of Indonesia, which began a brief period of independence.
A coup in resulted in Communist forces aligned with the Chinese taking control. American fear of growing Communist powers throughout the world prompted the US government to take action in Indonesia. They came up with a program for providing electric power to Indonesia which would ultimately lead to an ongoing American presence in the region.
John's first assignment was to take assessment of the proposed electrification plan. Before setting off, Perkins met Claudine for a private dinner in her apartment. Once there she warned him to never speak of their meetings or that fact that they had ever even met because she would deny it all.
He also noted that, in fact, his relationship with Claudine was completely separate from MAIN International and untraceable as all their meetings had occurred in her apartment. Looking back in reflection Perkins sees that his relationship with Claudine was one the major factors of his break up with his wife Ann. He could not wait to experience first-hand the exotic spices and women in elaborate colorful costumes. When he did arrive, however, he was confronted with a very different reality.
The stuff of the stories was present but it was coupled with astounding poverty and filth. He mentions black rivers and cardboard housing for a large segment of the Indonesian population of Jakarta.
The group of engineers and economists from MAIN International were all escorted to a posh dinner in the penthouse of the nicest hotel in Jakarta, where they were to live for three months while carrying out their mission. Charlie Illingworth, the project manager, is described as a war connoisseur. He collected memorabilia and read book after book documenting accounts from all kinds of wars throughout history. He explains that the mission is to provide electricity to Java, the most populous place in the world.
Of course there was also a mission behind the mission which was to keep Communism out of the island nation and provide all the electricity related infrastructure required for oil extraction, production, and exportation. American corporations would be funded to provide the design and labor for the entire project, which would bring many westerners to the nation and it would also help to build a relationship between the Indonesian government and the American businessmen.
America would then doubly benefit by obtaining oil from newly efficient Indonesian producers. Perkins, although on board with the mission, had trouble sleeping because he understood that his colleagues and his goals were selfish and greedy. He could see that electricity and the promotion of capitalism would not benefit the majority of Indonesian. It would make a few men at the top of the population pyramid rich and force everyone else deeper into debt, despair, and poverty.
Chapter 5- Selling My Soul The group of eleven men spent about one week in the capital city of Jakarta before Charlie made the decision to move the group to a smaller city in order to escape the constant distractions of the metropolis of Jakarta. The men visited the embassy and got all the necessary paperwork for their stay in Indonesia in order. Then they were moved to Bandung, into a Dutch colonial style villa. They were given a full staff of various servants in the villa and they each had an off road vehicle with a private driver and translator at their disposal.
Charlie explained that the first few weeks were for gathering data, then the economic projection for growth would be made, which would allow the engineers to design and build the necessary components of an electrical system that would supply the power to the region. Charlie stressed over and over again the importance of favorable economic forecasts, which made John understand his critical nature to the project as a whole.
One of the men on the team was an older gentleman that was the chief load forecaster for the New England Electric System. Howard Parker is described as a bitter old man who never was able to reach his own career goals. He and John had a conversation about the plausibility of such a rosy economic forecast. The conversation upsets Perkins because Howard accuses him of being in it for the money and cooking the numbers for the benefit of a few. After much internal deliberation, Perkins comes to the conclusion that even if he held the company line and made predictions that were designed to please his employers rather than accurately predict the economic growth of the region, it would be no problem because Howard would make accurate predictions and the company would prefer his because of his seniority and rank.
The next morning however, Howard Parker is struck ill with a severe amoebic attack and is forced to return to the United States. His name is Rasmon and he is a student of economics at the local university. John assumes Rasy, as his friends call him, is going to ask him for a job eventually.
Rasy teaches John Bahasa Indonesia, which is a local Indonesian dialect that is simple and easy for foreigners to pick up quickly. The men spend a lot of time together going on different trips to gather data.
Rasy decides one day to show Perkins the true Indonesia, the real city around them. John remembers the night that he spent carousing with Rasy and his friends to be one of the most enjoyable evenings during his stay in Indonesia. After a few weeks in Indonesia, Perkins takes note that all of his meetings are planned ahead of time and the statistics and information he seeks is presented to him in an oddly impersonal manner.
He comments that all the officials he set up meetings with would simply hand him a folder with data in it and that they would always refer to him as an American interrogator in the local dialect. A feeling that the data he collected was contrived by some higher government official, or perhaps someone holding a high position within an international corporation, was one he could not shake. Chapter 7- Civilization on Trial Rasy invites Perkins to be his guest at a traditional Indonesian puppet show, called a dalang.
Perkins notes the beauty of the night at the outdoor setting of the show. He speaks of the food which is passed around for everyone to enjoy. When the show starts, it is described as a feat of true talent. Only one person operates all the puppets and does all of their voices. There is a classic section of the performance which features Indonesian folk tales and historic traditions and legends. Then the show took an unexpected turn.
The characters of Richard Nixon, Uncle Sam, and other world leaders took the stage. A map of the Middle East and Far East dropped down as a back drop. The American president proceeded to take various countries off the map and toss them into the garbage while shouting anti-Muslim epithets. Perkins grew uncomfortable, but Rasy assured him that his presence at the show was acceptable and he was perfectly safe. That type of political show for the public was commonplace and the ideas presented in the performance were well known and accepted.
After the show Perkins enjoyed talking and carousing once again with Rasy and his friends. He was surprised at the general level of knowledge of world affairs and international issues by common people in Indonesia.
Perkins is urged to read certain philosophic offerings by well known American writers in order to increase his knowledge of the mindset of those in charge of American politics and foreign affairs. Rasy and his friends put forward the notion that the next big conflict in the world will be between Muslims and Christians because the West and the Christians have imperial goals and the only group big and strong enough to take them on is the Muslims.
A few days after the memorable and thought provoking evening the local Indonesian politician featured in the dalang, who stood up for the Indonesian culture and all oppressed peoples throughout the world in the puppet show, was struck and killed by a hit and run driver. He thought about the performance and the response of the crowd. He considered the role of the United States government in foreign countries and the role of American corporations in all levels of government, foreign and domestic.
He wondered whether any aide given to foreign countries was done with the goal of altruism and generosity. All around him he saw corruption, greed, and despair. Eventually, he came to the conclusion that the men he worked for truly believed they were exporting freedom and economic growth to struggling people around the world. Interestingly enough he comments that those countries that enjoy international power and those whose citizens live in general ease are the same countries with the highest rates of suicide, violet crime, drug abuse, divorce, and crime.
The wealthiest societies are also the least happy societies throughout history and all over the world. Perkins ponders whether the framers of the Constitution would have supported what has become of their governmental experiment.
On his last night in Indonesia Perkins had a vivid dream of Jesus. Christ stood in front of him in his dream as a man with curly black hair and a dark complexion. This Jesus heaved a car axle up onto his shoulder and has a tire rim as a metallic halo. He said to Perkins, " If I were to come now, you would see me differently Perkins was intimidated by this figure, Bruno Zambotti.
He was worried about the end result of their meeting. Bruno immediately told Perkins that Howard Parker had been fired due to his lack of ability to accurately assess economic growth in any region, specifically Indonesia.
Parker had predicted a growth of only about seven or eight percent a year, which displeased many people at MAIN headquarters. His low forecast made it less likely that analysts from the World Bank would give their stamp of approval, which would detrimentally affect the possibility of a loan being granted to the Indonesian government. Thus, Parker was fired and Perkins was promoted to Chief Economist. He called, only to receive no response.
He went to her apartment and a young couple answered the door. They told him that they did not know any person by the name of Claudine, and no forwarding address by the previous tenant was left.
Perkins was stunned. It was at that moment he realized how deeply he had embedded himself in a dangerous game. All of the fantastic spy stories Claudine told him about before he left for Indonesia were absolutely true.
He left the apartment building in disbelief and a bit fearful for his own future. Perkins still had to present his findings to the analysts from the World Bank. He had to win their approval or his promotion and his job would be in jeopardy. After many hours of being questioned and grilled relentlessly the analysts approved Perkins findings stating a seventeen to twenty percent growth rate of the Indonesian economy as a direct result of the electrical infrastructure loan.
After receiving approval John Perkins was sent on a whirlwind tour of major international cities to speak on behalf of the project and his companies role in it. Many powerful people from foreign government praised John and his work. He felt powerful but his doubts about the goodness and benevolent nature of his work stayed with him constantly. He thought extensively on questions of a highly philosophic nature about power, the nature of war, and who benefits from war.
Once again nervous Perkins entered the room not knowing what to expect. Bruno looked John squarely in the eye and offered him "the opportunity of a lifetime. He tells a brief, but fascinating history of Panama as a nation, and the rise to power of Torrijos. The famed canal was actually began by the French in the late nineteenth century.
The project was riddled with obstacles and suffered tragedy after tragedy. Eventually it was abandoned until Theodore Roosevelt took interest in completing it with American support and financial backing.
At the time Panama was a part of Colombia. When the government in Bogota refused to sign over the canal zone to the U. Roosevelt sent a warship down to threaten the local population. Under much duress the Columbian government released the land and Roosevelt declared Panama "liberated" from Colombian rule.
A puppet government was established and the canal zone was granted to the U. Panama was ruled by an elite group of families for eight generations before the populist leader Torrijos rose through the military ranks of the Panamanian national guard and got elected as President.
He appealed to the poor and lower middle classes who had not been represented in government at all. Perkins makes it a point to recognize that Torrijos was neither aligned with Communist forces or the Western Anti- Communist forces.
He was his own leader, bringing independence and freedom to his people. Perkins writes about the Monroe Doctrine and its ridiculous premise that the United States has special rights granted by God over all the hemisphere. Under the doctrine, the U. He also mentions the School of the Americas, which is located in the canal zone of Panama. This establishment was designed and run by the U.
Together, the two men drive through various parts of the canal zone and surrounding environs. Like Indonesia Perkins is exposed to the poorest areas of the city.
He sees standing fetid water and children with distended stomachs begging for change in the streets. Then the two pass into the canal zone, which is full of lush green landscaped lawns, country club resorts, and opulent mansions.
Fidel confides in John to express his sadness that many American who visit Panama, or those that live in the canal zone, refuse to learn about the local culture. The two men run into an American family picnicking on an old fort used to fight off English pirates many centuries ago. The father underscores Fidel's point by extolling his gratitude for being American and living in the canal zone. He was happy he didn't have to expose his family to what reality was for the people "over there".
The area is run down, dilapidated, and Fidel warns John to never return at night without an escort. As the two men walk the street toward their destination,two boys playing in the street run right into them. Fidel and John arrive at a bar that features various women from neighboring Central American countries stripping for off duty soldiers from the Canal Zone.
Fidel explains that the waitresses are Panamanian and are not to be touched by the men in the bar, however, the stripping women are foreigners with virtually no protection from the whims of the soldiers.
The room is lined with Panamanian men with sharp eyes for everything going on in the bar. John and Fidel converse about the plight of the stripping women and how they have found themselves seemingly happy in such a depraved environment. Fidel illuminates the discussion with the background information that many of the women had chosen to flee their country of origin because of ruthless and brutal dictators.
He said many of them had suffered through years of violence and had lost much, if not all, of their families.
Fidel notes that to them stripping for soldiers is not so bad and it gives them the opportunity to make some cash to start out new somewhere. Perkins describes Torrijos as a typically dressed Panamanian but extremely well informed about world events and the role of the United States and the CIA in international affairs.
The two men speak of the over throw of Mohamman Mossadegh in Iran in the early fifties that was orchestrated by the CIA.
Torrijos makes it known to Perkins that he is aware of the game companies like MAIN and Bechtel are playing with poor countries around the world. He tells a fascinating, albeit brief, history of Guatemala and United Fruit. Torrijos and his chosen subject of talk makes John feel nervous as to what the nature of his visit is, so he asks directly, "Why did you invite me here? He is averse to giving the contract to Bechtel for reasons discussed throughout the chapter.
Perkins notes at the end of the chapter that an unspoken understanding arose from that meeting that he would receive praise and large contracts if he did the bidding of Torrijos on the world stage.
At the beginning of this shift in economic practices, OPEC had the upper hand. The embargo crippled the American economy and the industrial petroleum corporations. During that time, Perkins would frequently meet with friends and debate the causes and effects that OPEC and the embargo would have on the global economy. No one, he said, could have fully understood what was really going to happen as a result of such actions. Perkins writes how the 's was a pivotal point in global economic philosophy and practice.
Robert McNamara was, in Perkin's view, the single greatest influence in that shift. McNamara rose through the ranks of the Ford Motor Company, eventually becoming the first president of the company that was not a member of the Ford family in John F. McNamara was an economist himself and he utilized his statistically based economic theory to manage troop levels and funding for Vietnam. He promoted "aggressive leadership", which became the new popular teaching method at top business schools around the country.
To many Robert McNamara was the embodiment of the military-industrial complex. His various positions shocked many as they were an obvious breach in the separation of powers. He headed a major corporation, a government cabinet, and an international bank. Perkins notes that it did not surprise him in the least bit and he ends the chapter with a long list of notable figures that played the same game with their respective careers. Chapter The Saudi Arabian Money Laundering Affair In the mid 's Saudi Arabia entered the international loan game, however, the House of Saud played under different rules than countries like Indonesia and Ecuador because their country had virtually infinite wealth.
They could finance their own development projects. The job of the EHM, in this circumstance, was to get leading parties in Saudi Arabia to, first, want to develop the countries infrastructure, and then, get them to grant the contracts to American firms. Perkins explains how this all came to be and how this unlikely alliance between the United States and Saudi Arabia has endured and worked to both ignite tensions and subdue foreign power over both countries respective economies.
The US essentially accepted Saudi Monies in Return for huge expensive contracts and favorable votes in all international governing bodies. Saudi Arabia also agreed to increase oil production in the event of another embargo brought on by other OPEC nations. This action basically undermines the power of OPEC because the American consumer will never again have to feel the pinch of an oil shortage.
This shelter has become an issue revisited over and over again in the subsequent years since the agreement was made. The two nations have also endured criticism for their "sweetheart" deal from countries all around the globe. Perkins gives a very interesting personal account of how these agreements came to be signed, and how the governments, international agencies, and private corporations all worked together to achieve huge payouts and political capital.
Chapter Pimping, and Financing Osama Bin Laden The House of Saud stood as a unified decision making body, which meant that all high level members of government had to be convinced to accept and sign the huge development contracts MAIN put forward. Each MAIN agent was assigned a key government figure to wine, dine, coerce, and convince. Perkins was responsible for Prince W. Perkins was asked, and was able, to locate a beautiful American women to entertain the prince during his frequent stays in Boston.
Perkins was also asked to pay for the expense which he did by coming up with creative expense accounts and huge restaurant tabs. He knew he had to have the numbers to convince the prince but supplying whatever small things he may need may have tipped the tables in his favor.
Perkins also fully understood if he failed to get the prince's approval and the contracts died then he would be blamed at MAIN, and the price for failure was very high.
In the end, perhaps due to a United Airlines flight attendant, the entire package was approved by the royal family. Everybody involved breathed a sigh of relief before celebrating their impending success. What was desolate desert kingdom became a sprawling decadent glistening modern metropolis. Also, as a result of the alliance between the US and the Saudis both countries repeatedly found themselves unable to answer for their actions when they voted again and again to protect each others interests in international bodies.
The most glaring example of this type of behavior that we are still living through today is the finding that many of the terrorists aboard the planes which crashed into the World Trade Center were Saudi nationals. Also, it was further found that Saudi Arabia although shaking the hand of the US with one arm, is and has been funding terrorist cells with the other. He had a staff which grew larger and larger and he was able to hire a Russian economist from MIT that had developed a statistical approach to economic forecasts which "proved" the righteousness of lending huge amounts of cash to countries that would never be able to pay it off.
Torrijos, in Panama, and Perkins honored their secret agreement and their relationship grew closer and more complex throughout the seventies. Perkins published an article in The Boston Globe promoting the return of the canal zone rights and property to Panama.
Many of his peers were disappointed with his position but his boss, Bruno, however, knew it would please Torrijos and thus praised John for the decision to publish it.
Graham Greene, the fiction writer, had also written many articles in support of Torrijos and his mission. The two had fostered an exceptionally close relationship based on the common goal of wealth redistribution to aide the poor. Perkins met Greene one day in a Panamanian hotel lobby. This conversation was especially meaningful and important to Perkins, as he was just barely becoming aware of how insidious his work was. Chapter Iran's King of Kings This chapter focuses on the situation in Iran in the late seventies and how that country was enticed into the fold of the corporatocracy.
Iran, like Saudi Arabia, was oil rich and could finance its own development. The shah, or king, was in power because when his father was deposed of by a democratically elected president, Mohammed Mossadegh, the United States sent CIA agents to remove him from power and reinstate the shah. This action made the Persian population angry but the truth of us involvement was not proved for many years later. The shah was friendly to US interests and Washington did its best to paint him and Iran in a favorable light and as a strong ally in the increasingly caustic Middle Eastern region.
Perkins toured all over Iran in his many visits. During one common visit he was invited to have dinner with a man he had never met before, named Yamin. When he arrived to the destination he was escorted into a walled palace like restaurant filled with private booths.
Yamin was very polite and well dressed in a western business suit. As the two men talked Perkins realized that Yamin knew much about his past and his entire career. Yamin spoke about the shah's plan to cover the desert with green plants in order to change the landscape on a massive scale.
Yamin disapproved of this plan because, he said, the soul of the Persian people was so closely related to the desert. He believed changing the landscape would destroy the culture. Yamin referred to Perkins as a man in the middle of two worlds.
Chapter 19 - Confessions of a Tortured Man A few days after their initial meeting, Yamin drove Perkins far outside the city to meet his friend that went only by, Doc. The two men pulled up to a centuries old desert oasis and Perkins was escorted inside a small hut.
He was instructed to sit on the floor of the dimly lit room and wait. An old man in a wheelchair was brought into the room and introduced himself. He said he was once like Perkins. He had a high level job and powerful friends. He had money and knew many heads of state from around the world. He spoke slowly, stopping to cough and wheeze frequently.
When he turned slightly, Perkins was astonished to see that he had no nose, only a grotesque scar! When the conversation resumed the old man informed Perkins that the shah was approaching Hitler in his evil ways. He went on to say that the shah was the only US ally in the region and that Muslim resentment was growing rapidly.
He warned that the shah would be overthrown soon and hatred of the US would grow. He then told Perkins that MAIN would lose millions of dollars because the new ruling party would simply refuse to pay.
Chapter The Fall of a King Despite the warnings of Doc coupled with the fact that Perkins had heard absolutely nothing about a possible impending coup, Perkins remained in Tehran for an extended stay.
One evening in late while sitting at a cafe John ran into his old college buddy, Farhad. He had not seen him in over a decade. As the two men caught up with each other it became obvious that although Perkins had no inkling into the goings on or Farhad's life, Farhad knew quite a bit about John's career and life in general. Farhad warned Perkins that Iran was indeed quickly falling to pieces behind the curtain of the world stage. He urged John to accompany him to Rome to escape the violence that was sure to come to Tehran soon.
Perkins trusted Farhad and thusly did not question him. They both flew out of Tehran the next day. Once in Rome Perkins met and conversed with Farhad's father, who was an army man in Iran, and thusly had great national pride. His father spoke about the arrogance and greed of the shah and the US policies enacted for Iran. He told Perkins that the overthrow of Mossadegh is coming back to haunt the Americans and the corrupt shah.
He went on to say that the fall of the shah was only the beginning of the direction the entire Muslim world was headed in. Two days after that dinner, violent riots and bombings erupted in Tehran. The groundswell had begun and the shah's power quickly diminished. Ayatollah Khomeini was the religious leader poised to take control of the country. In early the shah fled the country under the guise of receiving urgent medical care for cancer treatment in New York. A mob seized the US embassy in Tehran and held 52 Americans hostage for days, an event which essentially ended Carter's presidency.
The shah was eventually given refuge in Panama, under Torrijos, amidst worldwide calls for his extradition back to Iran for a trial and sentencing. Doc's predictions had all come true. MAIN lost millions in Iran. The ayatollah simply refused to pay for the projects the shah had begun, which angered many international firms. The loss of revenue changed the manner in which US policymakers dealt with Iran.
These events forced Perkins to see the true role of the US in the world. He remarked that the CIA refused to divulge information that showed US intentions to be less than charitable, even to those members of the corporatocracy.
He believed the CIA must have known what was about to happen in Iran but because money was still rolling in the CIA encouraged everyone to close their eyes to it. Chapter 21 - Colombia: Keystone of Latin America A return to the old game of getting poor countries to sign contracts that they could never repay was what was presented to Perkins in Colombia.
Colombia is described as being the geographical and political gateway to South America. In this chapter Perkins provides a brief history of this country and its culture. He notes that Colombia is rich in natural resources and has a long textured history, but its people have also seen their share of violence and corruption. Perkins saw Colombia as a sort of refuge for him despite the harm he and his company were perpetrating against the nation.
It was where he met an important figure in his life, Paula. She was an Italian fashion designer with factories in Colombia. Through conversation and prodding she brought him to honestly reviewing his decisions. Perkins believes life is composed of a series of coincidences over which we have no control, however, once we are presented with those coincidences, we must make choices.
What makes the difference in life is how we respond; what choices we make at those critical crossroads in life. All decisions, he explained, bring you to your current station in life. Paula was a coincidence that forced Perkins to a decision about the direction his life was headed in.
She was the catalyst that caused him to question his role. The working class indigenous people in Colombia detested the dam that was being built because they didn't want the land in the valley it was being constructed in to be flooded. They vowed to see them destroyed before they were ever completed, no matter the cost.
When Torres informed Perkins of the clash, Perkins intimidated him by claiming the militants were not simply working Colombian peers of the foreman, rather they were a group of pro- communism bandits working on behalf of China and Russia. He said that it was evident by the fact that they carried AK's, a gun designed and built in Russia. Perkins knew this wasn't true and that Torres was scared, however he pressured him to keep working on the project.
Paula questioned Perkins and forced him to look inside himself regarding that matter. She informed him that her brother had been imprisoned and tortured before joining a rebel faction himself. Because of that she was privy to a lot of information regarding the philosophy driving such groups to action.
Perkins was shocked to hear of her close ties to the movement which was directly against his work. After further consideration, John began to think about the differences between the ideals of America when it was a new nation as compared to what he saw happening around him then, in the late 's.
He drew the distinction between the American Republic and a global empire. He wrote: It was based on the concepts of equality and justice for all" It is a self-centered, self-serving, greedy, and materialistic, a system based on mercantilism. Like empires before, its arms open only to accumulate resources, to grab everything in sight and stuff its insatiable maw. It will use whatever means it deems necessary to help its rulers gain more power and riches. He explains how MAIN would update his resume for him with each new project he took on and completed, so when he did decide to find his resume to take a look at it the material was all new to him.
The resume listed a number of "clients served", the most interesting of which was the last line that read, "U. Treasury Department, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia".
Perkins notes the strangeness of these two entities being listed on one line, together. He explains that the wording and placement of those "clients" is actually a tip off to those in the inner circle of international business that he had been one of the architects of the biggest infrastructure deal the world had ever seen. As he thinks about the resume and the work he had done to earn such credentials, he laments at the falsity of the document.
He knows that, although the resume portrays him as an intelligent shining gem, he had to stoop to low levels and do a lot of dirty work throughout the years. The resume was a subtle, but monumental, deception. Perkins knew the only reason he had met with so much success was because he, time and again, produced result that the company had hoped for. He found a way to make the stockholders massive amounts of money. He had never been good at mathematics and didn't even have a degree in economics, yet he found himself in the position of Chief Economist at a major international engineering and consulting firm.
He had made it a practice to hire people more capable than him at doing his job and put undo pressure on them to produce the results he knew those in higher up positions wanted. The production of positive forecasts, no matter the method was what he was good at. Its members are disguised as analysts and statisticians, but they use sophisticated methods to cheat companies around the globe out of vast sums of money.
They provide the arguments and calculations for expensive, complex projects that developing nations cannot afford. Then, their optimistic economic forecasts encourage the World Bank and other institutions to grant the credit needed. The economic hit men will do anything to accomplish their ends, but when they fail, more nefarious, shadowy "CIA-sanctioned jackals" step in, wielding violent coups and "accidents.
Sometimes the jackals fail, too. Then young Americans become the marchers, in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. He attended Middlebury College, graduated from Boston University and joined Start getting smarter: Recommendation Author John Perkins is a little like one of those high-tech thieves who gives up his life of crime to enter a lucrative practice teaching police to thwart other criminals.
About the Author John Perkins founded and later sold an alternative energy company. Read on. Instant access to over 18, book summaries Personal Discover your next favorite book with getAbstract.
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