ONE DAY IN FEBRUARY
by Ed Steer
February 21, 2006
One of the books on my 2005 Christmas list was John Perkins� �Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.� I actually got to read it back in November, as one of my children purchased it for me well before the holiday season. Since its release earlier in the year, there had been lots of talk about it on the Internet and I'd read the reviews over at Amazon.com, so I doubted there would be many surprises in it. How wrong I was. A book review is not the book itself. It's a mistake that I won't make again.
Anyway, I've been telling all and sundry who would listen, that this book fell into the �must read� category. However, I've gone through a couple of more books since then, and I'd sort of forgotten about it. Yesterday I got a big wake-up call and found myself up to my neck in the book again. It showed up in the form of an audio interview by Amy Goodman, with author John Perkins as the guest.
Even if you've read the book, the interview is sensational in the fact that the author himself is talking�you're not just reading words�although the text of the interview is right below the audio link if you want to follow his words as Perkins talks. The other aspect is that the interview is current�15 February 2006�certainly more than a year after he finished writing the book, so there's much that is new.
However, in order to whet your appetite further, I've done a couple of �cut and pastes� from the text of the speech. Here's the first one�
AMY GOODMAN: Well, before we move further, your experience with it? Explain the vantage point you come from. What does it mean to be an economic hit man?
JOHN PERKINS: Well, what we've done -- we use many techniques, but probably the most common is that we'll go to a country that has resources that our corporations covet, like oil, and we'll arrange a huge loan to that country from an organization like the World Bank or one of its sisters, but almost all of the money goes to the U.S. corporations, not to the country itself, corporations like Bechtel and Halliburton, General Motors, General Electric, these types of organizations, and they build huge infrastructure projects in that country: power plants, highways, ports, industrial parks, things that serve the very rich and seldom even reach the poor. In fact, the poor suffer, because the loans have to be repaid, and they're huge loans, and the repayment of them means that the poor won't get education, health, and other social services, and the country is left holding a huge debt, by intention. We go back, we economic hit men, to this country and say, �Look, you owe us a lot of money. You can't repay your debts, so give us a pound of flesh. Sell our oil companies your oil real cheap or vote with us at the next U.N. vote or send troops in support of ours to some place in the world such as Iraq.� And in that way, we've managed to build a world empire with very few people actually knowing that we've done this.
AMY GOODMAN: And you worked for?
JOHN PERKINS: I was recruited by the National Security Agency, the one that's in the news so much today because of spying on people, and I was tested by them, recruited by them --
AMY GOODMAN: What do you mean you were recruited by them?
JOHN PERKINS: Well, while I was a senior in business school at Boston University, they came to me and suggested that I take their test. I had connections through my wife with people in the agency, and they put me through a series of tests, personality tests, lie detector, several days, and concluded that I would make a good economic hit man, and they also discovered a number of weaknesses in my character, which they could use then to hook me into the business, and then I ended up working for a private corporation.
AMY GOODMAN: Why didn't you work for the N.S.A.?
JOHN PERKINS: Because these days it's not done that way. Nobody wants to be able to connect the dots. So the N.S.A., the C.I.A., these types of organizations often recruit economic hit men and the jackals, the assassins, the 007 types, but they will recruit us, maybe train us, and then turn us over to a private corporation, so that you really can't make the connection, so that if I were caught at what I was doing in one of these countries, it would not reflect on our government; it would only reflect on the corporation that I worked for.
And here's the second quote from the interview�
AMY GOODMAN: Not to be ethnocentric about it, but America is a tremendous power, especially military power. It has been diverted now to dealing with Iraq. President Bush declaring war on Iraq, not exactly officially declaring it, but engaging in it. Do you think that that has something to do with what is happening in Latin America, not to take power away from the people and what they are doing there?
JOHN PERKINS: Well, certainly, I think that Hugo Chavez of Venezuela might not have survived his presidency. His presidency might not have survived had we not been in Iraq and Afghanistan, that we were so diverted. We -- the economic hit men tried to overthrow him, you know, a few years ago and were successful for about 48 hours. But then he had control over the oil company, and he was very, very popular. So he got back into office. At that point, had we not been involved in Iraq, I strongly suspect that we would have done something much more aggressive, as we've done so many other times. When the economic hit men fail, we take more drastic steps. Because we were so involved in Iraq, we didn't do that.
This gave great support to all of the other movements in Latin America. And these other candidates, people like Evo Morales, really looked to Hugo Chavez as an example of someone who�s had the staying power. He's been able to stay there, despite the fact that the administration has spoken so strongly against him and is so angry.
The other side of the coin is that Brazil is a world power. It's one of the largest economies in the world, and it produces a tremendous number of military weapons that are used worldwide. And Lula, of Brazil, he's backed off a bit. And there's an interesting story that I know behind that.
AMY GOODMAN: What?
JOHN PERKINS: Well, I'll get into that. But he's backed off a bit. But he still � he's made alliances with Chavez, with Kirchner of Argentina, with Morales of Bolivia. They�ve all agreed that if the United States does anything drastic, they'll stand together and oppose us. So there is this coalition that's happening. It's quite loose. But nonetheless, there's a tremendous amount of support there.
AMY GOODMAN: Lula, what do you know?
JOHN PERKINS: Well, I was one of the speakers at the World Social Forum in Brazil in last February, and a man asked to meet with me who was a very high advisor to Lula. And he said, �You know, what you say in your book is all very true, but you just -- that's just the tip of the iceberg.� He said, �You know, from the time I was a very young man, I was quite radical. And it was interesting to me, as I was going through university, how much sex, drugs, booze were available to me in the parties that I was invited to, and so on. And now that I'm in this position of power, I discover that somebody was taking pictures of all those things, that there's a record of this.�
And he says, �You don't realize how all-pervasive your Secret Services are. It's recruiting, in their own way, young people, even those that are extreme socialists and communists. Your people befriend us from very early ages and get a lot of information on us. So when we become high up in the government, they basically �� And I said, �They blackmail you?� And he said, �Well, you could use the word �blackmail,� but I think I would prefer that's �modern U.S. diplomacy.��
And I asked him, I said, �Well, is Lula a part of this?� And he obviously didn't really want to answer this question. He hesitated, and he said, �Let me just say that nobody gets to power in Brazil these days without being very willing to make compromises to your corporations and your government.� He said, �I think Lula�s a very, very good man, but he also has to deal with reality. And certainly, he's been watched all of his life, and I'm sure he's had the same temptations I did.�
AMY GOODMAN: And he's also engulfed in a major corruption scandal, which, for many of his long-time supporters, Brazilians and outside, are raising a lot of questions.
JOHN PERKINS: And I think the fact that the scandal has come out and has been blown into such proportions is an indication that someone is sending Lula a very strong message. Incidentally, the jackal � I'll call him � that was working with Gutierrez of Ecuador said to me, �You know, this isn't limited to other countries. This happens in your country, too. Don't you think that the assassination of John Kennedy and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King and John Lennon and others like that, and the many senators that have died in airplane crashes and other things, has sent a strong message to your politicians? And don't you think that ��
AMY GOODMAN: Who said this to you?
JOHN PERKINS: The same economic hit man/jackal who visited Gutierrez and read him the Riot Act.
AMY GOODMAN: Would you care to share his name?
JOHN PERKINS: No. I'll let him do that at some point, if he feels it's appropriate. Right now, he doesn't feel it’s appropriate. He's still in the business. And so, many of these people are still very -- even the ones that have retired are getting pensions, and they've got loyalties, some of them. So, they�ll talk to me on the side and say, �I want you to put this in your book, but I'm not ready to talk.� A couple of them I am working with to write a book, and my literary agent is working with them. So hopefully some of them will come clean. But it's a slow process in making that happen.
The audio interview is thirty minutes long and the URL is below. I urge you to follow the text as the interview progresses. If you haven't read Perkins� book, and want to know the short version of how the American Empire is propagated, do yourself a big favour and listen�
As I mentioned previously, this interview with John Perkins was on February 15, 2006. And as it turned out, that particular day was an excellent day for telling the truth by another courageous person in a position to make a difference. Congressman Ron Paul, M.D. did the very same thing in front of the House of Representatives. I've read that particular speech twice. It is entitled �The End of Dollar Hegemony.� As most of you know, Congressman Paul is one of the only defenders of the U.S. Constitution left on Capitol Hill. He is known for telling the truth�and he makes a lot of people in Washington uncomfortable when he's doing it. In this piece he is more than blunt�he is astonishing! I was overwhelmed by his candor. Here's a quote�
Now, a new attempt is being made against the petrodollar system. Iran, another member of the �axis of evil,� has announced her plans to initiate an oil bourse in March of this year. Guess what, the oil sales will be priced Euros, not dollars.
Most Americans forget how our policies have systematically and needlessly antagonized the Iranians over the years. In 1953 the CIA helped overthrow a democratically elected president, Mohammed Mossadeqh, and install the authoritarian Shah, who was friendly to the U.S. The Iranians were still fuming over this when the hostages were seized in 1979. Our alliance with Saddam Hussein in his invasion of Iran in the early 1980s did not help matters, and obviously did not do much for our relationship with Saddam Hussein. The administration announcement in 2001 that Iran was part of the axis of evil didn't do much to improve the diplomatic relationship between our two countries. Recent threats over nuclear power, while ignoring the fact that they are surrounded by countries with nuclear weapons, doesn't seem to register with those who continue to provoke Iran. With what most Muslims perceive as our war against Islam, and this recent history, there's little wonder why Iran might choose to harm America by undermining the dollar. Iran, like Iraq, has zero capability to attack us. But that didn't stop us from turning Saddam Hussein into a modern day Hitler ready to take over the world. Now Iran, especially since she's made plans for pricing oil in Euros, has been on the receiving end of a propaganda war not unlike that waged against Iraq before our invasion.
It's not likely that maintaining dollar supremacy was the only motivating factor for the war against Iraq, nor for agitating against Iran. Though the real reasons for going to war are complex, we now know the reasons given before the war started, like the presence of weapons of mass destruction and Saddam Hussein�s connection to 9/11, were false. The dollar's importance is obvious, but this does not diminish the influence of the distinct plans laid out years ago by the neo-conservatives to remake the Middle East. Israel�s influence, as well as that of the Christian Zionists, likewise played a role in prosecuting this war. Protecting �our� oil supplies has influenced our Middle East policy for decades.
But the truth is that paying the bills for this aggressive intervention is impossible the old fashioned way, with more taxes, more savings, and more production by the American people. Much of the expense of the Persian Gulf War in 1991 was shouldered by many of our willing allies. That's not so today. Now, more than ever, the dollar hegemony-- it’s dominance as the world reserve currency-- is required to finance our huge war expenditures. This $2 trillion never-ending war must be paid for, one way or another. Dollar hegemony provides the vehicle to do just that.
For the most part the true victims aren't aware of how they pay the bills. The license to create money out of thin air allows the bills to be paid through price inflation. American citizens, as well as average citizens of Japan, China, and other countries suffer from price inflation, which represents the �tax� that pays the bills for our military adventures. That is until the fraud is discovered, and the foreign producers decide not to take dollars nor hold them very long in payment for their goods. Everything possible is done to prevent the fraud of the monetary system from being exposed to the masses who suffer from it. If oil markets replace dollars with Euros, it would in time curtail our ability to continue to print, without restraint, the world's reserve currency.
It is an unbelievable benefit to us to import valuable goods and export depreciating dollars. The exporting countries have become addicted to our purchases for their economic growth. This dependency makes them allies in continuing the fraud, and their participation keeps the dollar's value artificially high. If this system were workable long term, American citizens would never have to work again. We too could enjoy �bread and circuses� just as the Romans did, but their gold finally ran out and the inability of Rome to continue to plunder conquered nations brought an end to her empire.
Here's the URL from Ron Paul�s official government web site�
But as interesting as this URL is, there's another one similar to the Perkins interview. This is the video taken of Congressman Paul as he was making the speech in the House of Representatives on February 15th. And as it turns out, the speech is also accompanied by the text so you can follow along as Paul talks. It's always more impressive to hear (and this time, watch) the speech as its being read by the author in the original setting it was presented in. This one is no different. Here's the URL�
I've sent the Paul speech far and wide, including a friend of mine somewhere in China. His comment on the speech was as follows� �It's obvious that Dick Cheney will have to take Ron Paul on a hunting trip.�
What struck me about both these February 15th items was how far and how fast this information was propagated. Anyone with an interest in the internal goings-on of the U.S. government would be able to watch the Empire in action virtually in real time. Between Perkins and Paul, America (the Empire) is on display for the whole world to see.
The same could be said about GATA�s work. Those of you intelligent enough to have purchased a copy of the Gold Rush 21 video will have seen most of the speeches by now. It was John Brimelow�s speech that impressed me the most. Over the years, I've corresponded with John via e-mail and telephone, and I devour his every word in his daily commentary at Bill Murphy�s LeMetropleCafe, but it’s the first time I've laid two eyes on the guy, or heard him give a speech.
One thing he said that really fits in with John Perkins and Ron Paul�was his luncheon conversation with one of gold's arch enemies�Andy Smith. During the lunch, Andy said to John�and I'm paraphrasing a little here��You know, it’s amazing what some of those GATA people such as Reg Howe have been able to dig up. Things like the gold derivatives at the BIS, for instance. I bet that most of the bullion banks had no idea that they were there.�
Sitting here in Edmonton, I'm still amazed at how such a disparate group of people from all over this little world of ours, have been able to find out so much and expose it to the world, and really make a difference.
I'm reminded of a famous quote by a famous American that pretty well sums up how this is possible��Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world's estimation, and publicly and privately, in season and out, avow their sympathy with despised and persecuted ideas and their advocates, and bear the consequences.� � Susan B. Anthony
We may not see big changes on the surface as fast as we would like, but I know they are going on behind the scenes all over the world right now. How do I know? First of all, on all fronts, American primacy is being challenged openly. Secondly, the Russians (and other countries no doubt) have been following GATA�s work on the sly for years...then they went public with it in a big way. These same people would also be reading everything that Ron Paul, John Perkins, Murphy/Powell, Reg Howe and John Embry et al, have been writing. And lest I forget, one of the latest bricks in the wall for the powers that be was the Cheuvreux Gold Report out of Europe.
The times they are a-changing�and changing fast! It's not only what these people are saying (and in some cases, doing) that is making the difference. Highly ethical people such as these have lived through all of recorded history. The difference is that today we have this magnificent communication tool called the Internet that enables like-minded people to meet, converse and exchange knowledge on an almost instantaneous basis, regardless of where in the world they are. That has NEVER been possible before in all of human history. It is unprecedented! This is the ultimate in freedom of the press and freedom of speech.
Through it, the powers that be have been found out. And as Chris Powell says��We have discovered the secret knowledge of the universe.� Yes we have�and at some point in time (probably sooner rather than later) most of the western world's financial, economic (and probably political) systems as we know them today are going to go up in flames�or down the drain.
I have to agree with Bob Landis�Reg Howe�s business partner over at Golden Sextant.com�one of these days we are going to have a non-linear financial event caused by a non-linear economic or political event, and that will be the end of it. So fasten your golden seat belts�it’s probably going to a rough ride�and maybe a faster one than you might think.
© 2006 Ed
Ed Steer, Director
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee, Inc.