Updated April 29, 2005








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Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

By Greg Szymanski

A former Washington insider who once acted as a pimp in order to get a wealthy Saudi prince to play “economic U.S. hardball” has finally come clean in a tell-all book entitled Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.* But pimping a blonde prostitute is only the beginning of John Perkins’s incredible story.

His startling book, a must-read for anyone who wants to know why America is hated around the world, reveals how foreign governments are intimidated and uncooperative leaders assassinated while the U.S. masquerades as a benevolent benefactor.

For more than 15 years, the former corporate consultant, acting as a third party intermediary between the U.S. and foreign leaders, lived in a dangerous “political underworld” of deceit, bribery, loan sharking and murder while advancing America’s shady foreign policy interests.

Perkins finally went public, detailing how the United States “gets what it wants” by using mafia-style tactics, after being guilt-ridden from taking a half-million-dollar bribe from the Stoner-Webster Corp. to keep silent and being haunted by the memory of the 9-11 tragedy. He considers that 9-11 was the result of foreign retaliation based on years of U.S. aggression.

Confessions clearly shows the ugly side of America’s empire building and provides a firsthand account why the “jackals” in the CIA were responsible for the assassinations of President Omar Torrijos of Panama and President Jaime Roldas of Ecuador.

Perkins said the pair were killed after they failed to accept U.S. sponsored bank loans. Essentially, these inflated loans were geared to bankrupt both countries, leaving behind a sea of poverty while forcing them to use American corporations which would have profited greatly.

“It’s the way the game is played,” said Perkins. “When both leaders didn’t play ball, mysteriously they died in plane crashes several months later.”

How the “game is played” provides the main thrust of Perkins’s book and his role as the government’s “economic hit man” provides the credibility behind the shocking details. Page by page, every step of the way, he portrays America as a greedy villain, never taking “no” for an answer when it comes to raping a country of its wealth and natural resources.

“In Indonesia, Panama, South America, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran, the U.S. has used the same system of economic intimidation, assassination and ultimately war as a last resort to get what it wants,” said Perkins.

Perkins remembers being first recruited by the Boston consulting firm of Chas T. Main in 1971 after a two-year stint in the Peace Corp. The firm worked closely with the National Security Agency and CIA, enlisting Perkins for his knowledge of languages gained while working in Ecuador.

Perkins describes his 10-year tenure with the consulting firm, after being trained and given his first assignment in Indonesia, as “technically legal, but morally and ethically bankrupt.”

Essentially, no matter where he traveled or what leader he was hired to manipulate, the modus operandi was the same. Perkins would meet with a leader of a targeted country, encouraging him to accept a large loan for an inflated project that both the CIA and the leader knew the country could not afford.

When the loan was accepted, usually through U.S. connections at the World Bank, the money would be transferred to a bank in the United States and then funneled back to U.S. companies through massive construction and engineering projects.

Perkins’s job was to provide inflated loan estimates, saddling the underdeveloped country with a massive debt, impossible to repay, and leaving the country at the mercy of the United States to dictate repayment terms. These terms oftentimes included the right to construct a strategically important military base, a UN vote in support of U.S. policy or cheap access and usage to a country’s natural resources.

“Once the Third World country was economically indebted to the United States, the CIA would then have its hooks into manipulating the course and direction of the country’s political agenda,” said Perkins.

Perkins added that if this type of loan was arranged between private parties, it would be called extortion, but in the international arena it’s simply dismissed as economic development.

In cases where leaders refused to be bribed by U.S. bank rolls, Perkins reminded them of the fate of others like Torrijos of Panama or Roldas of Ecuador, who were either killed or were the victims of a CIA-orchestrated coup.

This type of U.S. extortion was also used by Perkins in Saudi Arabia after the 1973 oil embargo when Washington offered to take the oil-rich nation into the 20th century with technical support and military hardware as long as the oil kept flowing at a modest price.

“My job was to ensure that large amounts of petro dollars went back to the United States by inflating loans and justifying the infusion of hundreds of millions of dollars into the Saudi economy as long as the U.S. engineering and construction companies benefited,” said Perkins.

Besides Saudi Arabia, Perkins’s relationship with Torrijos of Panama during the same time period provides another good example of the crooked back door tactics of American foreign policy.

Perkins said Torrijos knew U.S. foreign aid was a sham and refused to cooperate from the beginning, saying he would only accept legitimate loans that would benefit his people, not U.S. corporations.

“When he forced the United States to relinquish the Panama Canal, I had a vision that his plane would one day drop from the sky in a giant fireball, which came true in 1981,” said Perkins, adding it had all the markings of a CIA assassination. Torrijos was then replaced by Manuel Noriega, who, at the time, was on friendly terms with the United States.

It was right after Torrijos’s death that Perkins left the consulting firm, having a change of heart since he had established a personal friendship with the Panamanian leader.

“I think our aggressive position of bringing other countries to their knees has created a tremendous economic imbalance where, now out of the 100 largest economies in the world, 52 are corporations, and 47 of those are American. Here we have 5 percent of the world’s population reaching out like a giant octopus and sucking in 25 percent or more of the world’s resources.

“But it’s not really 5 percent of the world’s population or the American people. It’s really 1 percent of our population controlling more than 90 percent of the wealth while the rest of us support them through taxes, through our purchases, through our silence and through going along with
the system.”

After writing his book, Perkins was turned down by almost every major publishing house until a small family-owned company named Berret-Koehler in San Francisco took the risk and published his book.

Although the book reached The New York Times bestseller list in its fifth week of publication and now is in its fifth printing, Perkins has still been relegated to getting his story out in the alternative media and by filling his calendar with speaking engagements.

“None of the major corporate radio or television stations will have me on,” said Perkins. “Isn’t that interesting? Nobody who is owned by a big corporation or depends on big corporations for advertising has interviewed me at this point.”

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (Item #1185, hardcover, 250 pps., $27.95) is available from First Amendment Books, 645 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, Suite 100, Washington, D.C. 20003. To order by Visa or MasterCard, call toll free 1-888-699-NEWS (6397) or order online.