By Haile-Gebriel Endeshaw
There are some books that need to be read repeatedly. Francis Bacon said this in his own way. There are “some books to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested”. Yes, there are some books that should be read with diligence and attention.
Confession of an Economic Hit Man is one of the books that won great acclaim by many readers. Those of us who are interested to know about the economic sabotage being done on developing countries in the name of aid will have to take time to read this wonderful book. John Perkins who served as an Economic Hit Man (EHM) authored the book. Perkins said that it was very difficult for him to publish this book. First, he could not get daring publishers. A man at a publishing house, owned by a powerful international corporation, read the draft and said, “a riveting story that needs to be told”. But fearing for bad reactions from his big bosses, he advised Perkins to fictionalize it. But Perkins did not accept the advice… At last a courageous publisher, which is not owned by an international corporation, agreed to publish the book. According to a reader, “Perkins reveals shocking details of how United States Government and corporate America work hand in hand in maintaining a dominating role in international affairs by using greed and corruption to inhibit foreign governments from economic development”.
Who are economic hit men (EHMs)? Perkins tells us that EHMs are highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars. They funnel money from 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.
If a certain country is believed to possess a natural resource… like mineral oil, cobalt, diamond or uranium…, U.S. will take a closer look at that country. Let’s say that the given mineral rich country desires to expand its infrastructure. If the government of that country needs support or aid for the executions of these projects of infrastructure, U.S. will take no time before it sends off its economic experts that do researches. These experts are called Economic Hit Men (EHMs). The major tasks of the EHMs are to collect pieces of information to be submitted to World Bank (WB) or any other loan providing international organizations. The information should be convincing so that these organizations can approve the loans. Perkins was told by his immediate boss about his responsibilities. You “are paid to cheat countries around the globe out of billions of dollars. A large part of your job is to encourage world leaders to become part of a vast network that promotes U.S. commercial interests. In the end, those leaders become ensnared in a web of debt that ensures their loyalty. We can draw on them whenever we desire – to satisfy our political, economic, or military needs. In return, these leaders bolster their political positions by bringing industrial parks, power plants, and airports to their people. Meanwhile, the owners of U.S. engineering and construction companies become very wealthy”.
Perkins recounts in his book the following: “Like our counterparts in the Mafia, EHMs provide favors. These take the form of loans to develop infrastructure – electric generating plants, high ways, ports, air ports, or industrial parks”. The loan given by WB “never leaves the United States; it is simply transferred from banking offices in Washington to engineering offices in New York, Houston, or San Francisco”.
The thing is that the poor country is purposely made to take a large amount of money which cannot be paid back by its own economic capacity. This is said to burden the country with debts it can never pay. When leaders of that country realize that they cannot pay back the loan, they will be forced to do whatever they are asked by America. “When this happens, then like the Mafia we demand our pound of flesh. This often includes one or more of the following: control over United Nations votes, the installations of military bases, or access to precious resources such as oil…” In this way “the global empire demands its pounds of flesh in the form of oil concessions.”
This is the reality we poor nations across the world have been confronted with. If EHMs are not successful in convincing or on the other way around compelling the leaders of that poor country to concede to the condition, the next step will be taken. The ‘jackals’ will emerge to do their assignments. These jackals are expected to do whatever is needed to overthrow or assassinate the leader of that country. If the assassination is aborted, a coup d’état will be orchestrated. At long last if the jackals failed to do their assignments, young Americans will infiltrate under the cover of peacekeepers to sweep the ‘dictators’ off their seats. Let’s see this in the following way…
What happened in Ecuador and Panama is a good example. America approached Ecuador and Panama by proposing loans for projects of infrastructure. The real objective was that the global empire needed canal ownership and oil exploitation from these countries. The two leaders of those countries, however, adamantly refused the extortion of their resources by the world super power. Yes, president Jaime Roldos of Ecuador and Omar Torrijos of Panama did not bow down for the demand of America. This means Perkins who was assigned as EHM in these countries failed to ‘convince’ them both. Now the lane seemed to have been left wide open for the jackals who were lurking around. The jackals marched along with words of refusal of the two leaders echoing in their ears… “Roldos warned all foreign interests, including but not limited to oil companies, that unless they implemented plans that would help Ecuador’s people, they would be forced to leave his country. He delivered a major speech at the Atahualpa Olympic Stadium in Quito and then headed off to a small community in southern Ecuador. He died there in a fiery airplane crash on May 24, 1981.”
This was a lesson given to the other strong leader of Panama, General Omar Torrijos, who insistently demanded America to relinquish the Panama Canal to its rightful owners. “Omar Torrijos… confessed to having nightmares about his own assassination; he saw himself dropping from the sky in a gigantic fireball. It was prophetic… Two months after Roldos’s death, Omar Torrijos’s nightmare came true; he died in a plane crash. There was a bomb in the small plane in which he was flying… It was July 31, 1981.”
The surprising thing is that “[f]or every $100 of crude oil taken from Ecuadorian rain forest, the [American] oil companies receive $75. Of the remaining $25, three-quarter must go to paying off the foreign dept. Most of the reminder covers 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 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.”
After Torrijos assassination, his successor, Manuel Noriega had strong attachment with U.S. But when he failed to renew license of the famous School of the Americas (of warfare training) located in the Canal Zone of Panama, Noriega was arrested following the bombardment of his country by the American army. Poor Noriega was flown to Miami and sentenced to 40 years of imprisonment. The entire world was stunned by this breach of international law to invade an independent country, mow down its defenseless people at the hands of the most powerful military force on the planet. Expressing the atrocious acts, Perkins says, “The U.S. army had prohibited the press, the Red Cross and other outside observers from entering the heavily bombarded areas [of Panama] for three days, while soldiers incinerated and buried the causalities.” The U.S. attack against Panama was reported to be “the largest air-borne assault on a city since World War II”.
We can read in this book how oil embargo crippled the American economy in the early 1970s and how U.S. took measures to kneel down Saudi Arabia, the major actor in this embargo… how Iraq was considered important to USA…why it was invaded… how Venezuela was saved by Sadam … how USA orchestrated coup against the democratically elected premier of Iran… Magnificent book to be read!