022-025 Global main.qxd - Business Spotlight Online



022-025 Global main.qxd - Business Spotlight Online
Vom Saulus zum Paulus: Nach eigener Aussage erledigte John Perkins früher für die US-Regierung
schmutzige Geschäfte. VICKI SUSSENS-MESSERER sprach mit ihm und stellt seine Bücher vor.
t reads like something out of a James Bond novel.
John Perkins’s book Confessions of an Economic
Hit Man tells a story of political bribery, sex,
and murder. Perkins claims that, in the 1970s
and 1980s, he was indirectly employed by the U.S.
government to help cripple the economies of developing countries so that America could take control of their
resources. “We called ourselves ‘economic hit men’
because we worked like the Mafia,” says Perkins, who
claims that EHMs — as he calls them — are more active than ever before.
Perkins’s job was to corrupt leaders of strategically
important countries so that they promoted the interests
of what Perkins calls the “corporatocracy” — a coalition of the U.S. government, aid organizations, and corporations. He traveled to places like Indonesia, Iran,
Ecuador, and Panama, persuading leaders to take huge
loans from the World Bank and other aid organizations
to invest in infrastructure. To obtain the loans, Perkins
produced exaggerated forecasts showing how much the
investments would make the economy grow. But most
of the money never left the U.S. “About 90 percent went
directly into the pockets of U.S. corporations like Bechtel, Halliburton, and General Electric to build things
like highways, airports, or industrial parks,” says
Perkins, who has no problem naming names. And the
promised economic growth did not happen, trapping
the countries into debt, and making them slaves to U.S.
policies. “We would go back and say, ‘You can’t pay
back the money, so sell your oil to our oil companies
real cheap. Vote with us in the next UN vote. Or, send
troops in support of ours to some place like Iraq.”
He says that, if the hit men failed to bring a leader
around, the U.S. government would send in “jackals,”
shadowy people trained to overthrow leaders or assassinate them. If the jackals failed, as Perkins claims happened in Iraq, then the military would be called in.
The political, social, and environmental destruction
caused by this system has been enormous, he says. “The
infrastructures only benefit the very rich who own and
use them; the poor tend not to be connected to electricity, or to use the highways and airports, or have the
skills to work in industrial parks. They suffer most because, with so much debt, the governments have little
money for health, education, and other social services.”
Leaders, Perkins says, mostly know what the game is.
“When they get elected, we tell them: ‘If you play the
game, we can make you and your family very rich. If
22 Business Spotlight
medium US
you don’t, remember what happened to Jaime Roldós
(president of Ecuador from 1979 to 1981), remember
what happened to Omar Torrijos (leader of Panama
from 1968 to 1981).” Both died in plane crashes that
Perkins claims were assassinations. “We played a game
as old as empire, but one that has taken on new and terrifying dimensions with globalization,” says Perkins,
who writes in his book that he had always planned to
enjoy the benefits of the job and then to “become a
hero” by telling all.
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man was on The
New York Times best-seller list for 70 weeks. Its success
led him to write The Secret History of the American
Empire. Published in May this year, it tells the stories
of others like Perkins who have worked to promote the
“American empire” but now feel the need to confess.
For the most part, the mainstream media have either ignored Perkins’s books, or have questioned his authenticity. “Luckily for mankind, Perkins has retired from
his job as an infidel dog and now works on the side of
the angels,” wrote Joe Queenan in a particularly sarcastic book review which appeared in the International
Herald Tribune. But Perkins’ books have hit a nerve
with the public: “I think that, generally, people want to
aid organization [eid ɔrənəzeiʃən]
angel [eind
around: bring sb. ~ [əraυnd]
assassinate sb. [əssineit]
assassination [əssineiʃən]
bribery [braibəri]
corporation [kɔrpəreiʃən]
corporatocracy [kɔrpərətɒkrəsi]
cripple sth. [kripəl]
empire [empaiər]
environmental destruction
[invaiərənmentəl distrkʃən]
exaggerated [izd
forecast [fɔrkst]
hero [hiroυ]
hit a nerve [hit ə nv]
hit man [hit mn]
infidel dog [infidəl dɔ]
jackal [d
loan [loυn]
mainstream [meinstrim]
overthrow sb. [oυvərθroυ]
review [rivju]
shadowy [ʃdoυi]
trap sb. into debt [trp intə det]
“We called ourselves
‘economic hit men’ because
we worked like the Mafia”
jmdn. überreden
jmdn. bei einem Anschlag
Attentat, politischer Mord
etw. lahm legen
Weltreich; hier auch: die
Geschichte der Weltreiche
einen wunden Punkt treffen
Killer; hier: skrupellos
etwa: Ketzer
jmdn. stürzen
undurchsichtig, zwielichtig
jmdn. in die Schuldenfalle
A shadowy mission:
John Perkins says his job
was to corrupt leaders

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