In an exclusive interview with Sputnik Germany, former “economic hit man” John Perkins tells about the cooperation between his employer and American intelligence agencies, their role in the global economic system and, finally, his decision to quit and write his revealing book, “The Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.”
John Perking worked for an American consulting firm when he knew that his company cooperated with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the National Security Agency (NSA).
Mr. Perkins, how did you know that your employer executed orders from the CIA and the NSA? Was that a moment of truth?
John Perkins: I need to clarify – I never worked directly for intelligence agencies. As for the company I worked for, I can say that we received orders from the World Bank or the US Agency for International Development (USAID) or through the Treasury Department. We had an agreement on Saudi Arabia with the Treasury Department.
So, my company received money from these institutions and, in my turn, I received a salary from the company. We never had real contacts with the NSA and the CIA. All operations ran through some mediating contracts, mediators and subcontractors, at least as far as I know.
My contacts with the NSA were rather mediated. The person who hired me at Chas T. Main was in the US military reserve and, possibly, he had contacts with US intelligence. So, our contacts were not direct.
(Chas T. Main was an American consulting company headquartered in Boston. Perkins was a senior economist and economic adviser there. His job was to arrange credits from the World Bank for developing countries, making their governments dependent on American companies. In addition, loans were used to pressure those governments toward American political and economic interests. Read more on the issue in the first part of the interview with John Perkins.)
So, you didn’t meet CIA or NSA operatives as part of your work?
John Perkins: Maybe, I met some of them, but they didn’t identify themselves. It is normal for intelligence agencies officers. They don’t have visiting cards and usually work under official cover, including as diplomats, trade representatives in embassies or employees in private companies. So, I never met a person who I knew was a CIA or NSA agent, but I can suggest that there were some of them in my work.
What is the current role of intelligence agencies in the global economy?
John Perkins: The NSA, the CIA and other agencies often employ representatives of the economic world, just like the NSA did to me. Why? This is the perfect cover. In other words, they employ business representatives who secretly work for intelligence agencies.
I never got paid from the NSA or the CIA. I always got paid by my employer, Chas T. Main. In its turn, the company received money from those agencies for certain infrastructure projects in undeveloped countries. Thus, the government could always say it was not involved and was not aware of those activities while private companies did the job.
Why did you quit?
John Perkins: In the first years, I thought that my job was a good business for all, including for developing countries. We invested money there and those countries really developed, which was proved by statistic data. But in course of time, I realized thatonly certain rich local families and American companies, including my company, were getting benefit from those investments.
When a country, like Ecuador or Indonesia, received a loan there was a must that the money could be used on infrastructure only with the participation of American companies, such as Halliburton and General Electric; and local oligarchy was also involved.
At the same time, the majority of the population in those countries was poor or extremely poor and continued to suffer, as their finances remained the same. It took me years to realize that. In particular, it happened because I was in the US Peace Corps. I fluently speak Spanish. I walked in the streets in many of those countries, talked to the people and I saw their problems.
What happened after you quit?
John Perkins: My former employer did their best to convince me to stay. But I finally resigned and started writing a book about what I did. I talked to other people in this business, so-called “jackals.” They were called when we, “economic hit men,” failed to convince the government of a country to cooperate. “Jackals” used coups, mutinies or even assassinations to topple governments that refused to cooperate.
After I quit, I received threats, including against my family and my daughter. I also received a quite tempting offer from another consulting company, a rival of my former employer. They told me: “Accept our offer and don’t write the book.” At the time, I felt some pressure and started writing other books. And many years later, I wrote “The Confessions of an Economic Hit Man,” my most famous book.
In the first part of our interview, you already said that you want to change the world. Please, tell us what you are doing? What is the main goal of your organization Dream Change?
John Perkins: Dream Change is a non-commercial organization I co-founded. Our goal is to change the dream, to change the paradigm of “predatory capitalism.” Our goal is to change perception. We need to realize that our reality is determined and formed by perception. … Everything exists because people perceive it in this very particular way. When a lot of people have the same vision of one or another thing this begins to influence the reality. My goal now is to change this vision.
We know that the world is in a deep crisis today. The world has been caught in the trap of the currently economic and military systems that pose a threat to the whole planet. But the reason is that global corporations that control the world ignore the negative consequences of their actions. I want to help change this.