Sunday, February 12, 2006

"Confessions of an Economic Hit Man"

I fought apathy, laziness and that pessimism Trevor Eve confessed to and went into central London on Sat., despite the cold and long tube journey. I walked down from Piccadilly to the South Bank, which is more attractive these days. Even garish lighting on the National Theatre is better than the bare concrete - like a Nazi bunker. Amazing how architects persuaded themselves to believe the idea that brutalism is best. But then many can convince ourselves that robbing the poor to pay the already grossly rich is OK, cf the book I bought in the Foyles there:

"Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" which I'd read about in the Guardian:

'A hit man repents'

'John Perkins didn't wield a gun - he wasn't even a paid-up CIA agent - but he did have nefarious ways of making countries around the world bend to the will of the US. Until, he tells Gary Younge, his conscience got the better of him and he looked for other ways to change the world

'On November 24 2002, Lucio Gutierrez swept to power in Ecuador's presidential election. It was a momentous victory for the populist, leftwing leader who had pledged support for the poor indigenous Indians in a country where 60% live in poverty.
The way John Perkins tells it, within a week Gutierrez had a visitor. "An economic hit man walked into his office and said, 'Congratulations, Mr President, I just want you to know that over here I've got a couple of hundred million dollars for you and your family if you cooperate with your Uncle Sam and our oil companies. And over here I have a man with a gun in his hand and a bullet with your name on it.'"

'Within two months of his election, Gutierrez had apparently made his choice. Implementing a swingeing austerity programme that attacked the very livelihoods of the people who elected him, he raised fuel prices by more than 35% and froze public sector workers' salaries for a year.'


A credible whistle-blower

If you've read Chomsky it won't tell you anything new about the capitalist systemn, and the US in particular, but it does provide an insight into how it operated in some specific cases and is powerful evidence since it comes from an insider. Of course there have been the usual attempts to rubbish the book and attack the man, John Perkins. But Gary Younge was quite persuaded in his interview with Perkins:

'It wouldn't be the first time a powerful country such as the US has gone to extraordinary lengths to preserve its power. Tales of German and Italian nationals (to name but a few) being picked up on the street by the CIA and whisked to third countries where they are tortured, interrogated and then released months later without charge, beggar belief. But they are true. On the other hand, this wouldn't be the first time a good argument and compelling story has been embellished for effect. There is simply no way of knowing.

Softly spoken and articulate, Perkins does not talk like a braggart. You don't get the impression that he's looking for the dramatic and self-serving response to a question.

"The overall scheme is not a conspiracy," he says. "The corporatocracy is ourselves - we make it happen - which, of course, is why most of us find it difficult to stand up and oppose it. Conspiracy means doing something illegal by definition. The overall scheme is not. But within the overall schemes there are plenty of conspiracies going on."

Unlike most men of his age and generation, corporate, anticorporate or otherwise, Perkins listens and engages. In short, he is very believable...'

'9/11 is a direct result of what the economic hit men are doing.'

See also the interview with Amy Goodman for how it relates to 9/11 and why there is hostility towards the West:

'AMY GOODMAN: We're talking to John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. You say because of bribes and other reason you didn't write this book for a long time. What do you mean? Who tried to bribe you, or who -- what are the bribes you accepted?
JOHN PERKINS: Well, I accepted a half a million dollar bribe in the nineties not to write the book.


JOHN PERKINS: From a major construction engineering company.

AMY GOODMAN: Which one?

JOHN PERKINS: Legally speaking, it wasn't -- Stoner-Webster. Legally speaking it wasn't a bribe, it was -- I was being paid as a consultant.
JOHN PERKINS: Very, very closely with the World Bank. The World Bank provides most of the money that’s used by economic hit men, it and the I.M.F. But when 9/11 struck, I had a change of heart. I knew the story had to be told because what happened at 9/11 is a direct result of what the economic hit men are doing. And the only way that we're going to feel secure in this country again and that we're going to feel good about ourselves is if we use these systems we’ve put into place to create positive change around the world.'


Blogger Jeff Pioquinto,SJ said...

nice blog. just passing by. thanks.

Blogger sybariter said...

Thanks Jeff.


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