See also, excerpts from Chapters 34 and 38:
Click on the small grey text at the top of this posting, John Perkins (category) for videos with John Perkins.
Now to Chapter 40, Excerpts.
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CHAPTER 40 Istanbul: Tools of Modern Empire
P. 249: In the 1970s, economic hit men were executives and consultants at a few multinational corporations and consulting companies. Today’s EHMs are executives and consultants at thousands of multinational corporations, consulting companies, investment funds, industry groups, and associations – – as well as an army of lobbyists that represents all of these.
. . . I thought about the core tools we EHMs used in my day: false economics that included distorted financial analyses, inflated projections, and rigged accounting books; secrecy, deception, threats, bribes, and extortion; false promises that we never intended to honor; and enslavement through debt and fear. These same tools are used today. Now, as then, the glue that holds all of this together is the belief that any means are justified to achieve the desired ends.
A major change is that this EHM system, today, is also at work in the US and other economically developed countries. It is everywhere. And there are many more variations on each of these tools. There are hundreds of thousands more EHMs spread around the world. They have created a truly global empire. They are working in the open as well as in the shadows. This system has become so widely and deeply entrenched that it is the normal way of doing business and therefore is not alarming to most people.
These men and women convince government officials to give them favorable tax and regulatory treatment. They force countries to compete against one another for the opportunity to host their facilities. Their ability to locate their production plants in one country, their tax-sheltered banking in a second, their phone call centers in a third, and their headquarters in a fourth gives them immense leverage. Countries must vie with one another to offer the most lenient environmental and social regulations and the lowest wage and tax rates. In many cases, governments swamp themselves with debt so they can offer perks to subsidize corporations. In the past decade we’ve watched this happen to countries such as Iceland, Spain, Ireland, and Greece, in addition to the economically developing countries, where it has been going on longer. When the subtler approaches fail, government officials learn that some damaging aspect of their personal lives, which they thought was secret, will be exposed even, in some cases, fabricated.
INSERT: The film, “Snowden” by Oliver Stone contains scenes that illustrate the how and what of the use of personal information by the NSA / CIA / EHMs as a tool for coercion. The movie trailer is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QlSAiI3xMh4. Aside: The young woman who plays Snowden’s girl friend is Shailene Woodley. You may recognize her from her role at Standing Rock (resistance to the Dakota Access Pile Line).
Another change is evident in the justification used for the EHM tactics. Then, it was protecting the world from Communist takeover, from the Vietcong and other revolutionary groups, or from threats to our affluent American way of life. Today, the justification is stopping terrorists, fighting Islamic extremists, promoting economic growth, or saving our affluent way of life. . . .
“You spell it out in your book,” Uluc said. “Economics is the key to power.”
I pointed at a passing freighter. “Trade.”
“Yes. And debt.” he smiled.
. . . “You emphasize that your job was to bind countries with debt.” “Fear and debt. The two most powerful tools of empire.” “Most everybody thinks military might is the driver of empire, but war’s important because it – – and the threat of it – – instills fear. People are terrified into parting with their money. They take on more debt.” Whether we owe money or favors, debt shackles us. That’s why the economic hit man approach is so effective. More so than war.”
P. 251: tells what happened to Gadhafi, Libya.
P. 252: Uluc continuing: “It happened here, too, you know. (Turkey) The US played a deciding role in the 1980 coup in my country.” We talked about how President Carter had sent 3,000 troops to support the coup, and $4 billion in aid. In typical EHM fashion, some of the money had been filtered through NATO and the OECD. Following the coup, the IMF stepped in to support privatization and takeovers by big business. “Turkey bought into the game of what you call the corporatocracy.”
I pointed out that the globalizing corporate network had destabilized the world economy, building it on wars or threat of war, debt, and abuse of the earth’s resources – – a death economy. “Less than 5 percent of the world’s population lives in the US, and we consume more than 25 percent of the resources, while half the world suffers from desperate poverty. That’s not a model. It can’t be replicated – – not by China, India, Brazil, Turkey, or any other country, no matter how hard they try.”
Yes. Fear, debt, and another very important strategy: divide and conquer. . . . how civil wars and tribal factions create power vacuums that open the doors to exploitation. “In such disputes both parties take on more debt, buy more arms, destroy resources and infrastructure, and then accept even more debt to finance reconstruction. We’re seeing it throughout the Middle East, in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Afghanistan . . . So many countries are the building blocks for billionaires.”
I asked what he thought it would take to transform the death economy into a life economy. “You have to go after the businessmen, the CEOs and major stockholders of the multinationals that run the world. They are the roots of the problem.”
(flying home, looking down on the Mediterranean) …
I felt a growing sense of anger. Our business and government leaders were taking the EHM system way beyond anything imaginable in my time – – or in the era of the feudal emperors who, during the so-called Dark Ages, ruled the lands beneath my plane.
. . . historians would look back on the post-9/11 era as an even darker age.
. . . we in the US are told that we must fear scarcity, should buy more, work harder, keep accumulating, bury ourselves in more and more debt. Goes beyond personal to become an aspect of national patriotism – – our country must amass increasing amounts of the world’s resources. Assured that the debt used to finance the military is necessary for our own good – – the same argument that has been used on the subjects of those feudal emperors.
. . . when we point out that military spending reduces our benefits, we are told that social programs encourage indolence, whereas programs that support armies, subsidize windfall profits, and encourage corporate barons to speculate with our tax dollars fuel the engines of economic growth – – that top-down economics works, despite the overwhelming evidence of the past decade to the contrary.
. … how, after 9/11 , the EHM system came home to roost. The use of debt and fear, the Patriot Act, the militarization of police forces, a vast array of new surveillance technologies, the infiltration and sabotage of the Occupy movement, and the draconian expansion of privatized prisons have strengthened the US government’s ability to marginalize those who oppose it. Giant, corporate-funded political action committees (PACs), reinforced by (Supreme Court decision) Citizens United and other court decisions, and billionaires like the Koch brothers, who finance groups such as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), subvert the democratic process and win elections by flooding the media with propaganda. They hire cadres of lawyers, lobbyists, and strategists to legalize corruption and to influence every level of government.