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 Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 07/18/2006 :  15:12:46  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man is supposed to be a tell-all memoir of an insider about the secret and dirty actions of the American corporatocracy. In this system, when leaders of smaller and weaker nations refuse to be puppets for US and corporate interests, first the Economic Hit Men (EHMs) are sent in. The EHMs are high level employees of companies like Halliburton and Chas T. Main (where Perkins worked). They use (mostly legal) manipulation in an attempt to bring those leaders around by appealing to their sense of greed (EHMs convince the leaders to put their own people in horrible debt for the sake of personally benefiting themselves and a few rich families). When the EHMs fail, the "jackals" are sent in. These are CIA operatives who secretly set up coups and assassinations. And when the jackals fail, the old method for maintaining and building an empire begins - in other words, military intervention.

Sounds very sexy, eh? Too bad the book sucks.

The book is dumbed-down and poorly written to the point of simply being unbelievable. The guy never even mentions his security clearance. Most of the supposedly revealing information is a series of vague synopsizes with zero sources or evidence. Take this passage for example:

quote:
To set the process in motion, someone at the highest level of government was dispatched to Saudi Arabia -- an extremely confidential mission. I never knew for sure, but I believe the envoy was Henry Kissinger.

Whoever the envoy was, his first job was to remind the royal family about what had happened in neighboring Iran when Mossadegh tried to oust British petroleum interests. Next, he would outline a plan that would be too attractive for them to turn down, in effect conveying to the Saudis that they had few alternatives. I have no doubt that they were left with the distinct impression that they could either accept our offer and thus gain assurances that we would support and protect them as rulers, or they could refuse -- and go the way of Mossadegh. When the envoy returned to Washington, he brought with him the message that Saudis would like to comply. (page 104.)


If it was so confidential a mission, how does he know anything at all about it? Is he just guessing or offering witness testimony? Why does he suspect the envoy was Henry Kissinger? Is this all just his speculation? I mean, hell, I can keep up on the news and read a lot of books on history and foreign policy and come up with my speculation - but this guy is claiming to be an insider. If he's really an insider, why is he being so vague?

Aside from the fact that the book's writing style is pathetic (lots of passive language, poor scene descriptions, and many redundancies), the pacing is misleading. Perkins jumps around in time in order to make his jumps to conclusions seem like obvious truth.

And he never tells us the whole story. Perkins repeatedly tells the readers that the deaths of President Torrijos of Panama, and President Roldos of Ecuador (which both resulted from air-plane crashes within one year of each other) were CIA orchestrated assassinations. What he leaves out is that Torrijos was never President of Panama – he was “Maximum Leader of the Panamanian Revolution” and then “Chief of Government” (never an elected position). He did do many good things for the poor in Panama, but he also made many enemies among the most rich and powerful families in Panama. Although it is certainly possible that the CIA was involved in his death (Noriega claimed to have document proving a CIA attempt to assassinate them both, though they were never allowed as evidence in trial), it was never proven and there are other suspects. As for Roldos, while many Ecuadorians suspected the CIA, many other suspected Peru's governm

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com


Edited by - marfknox on 07/18/2006 15:13:20

Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 07/19/2006 :  09:24:31   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message
Thanks for the insights. I read it feeling like there was a lot missing and some things seemed 'off' but never attempted to articulate exactly what it was.

I think that there is some evidence, of course, that the U.S. gummint uses private organizations to do some of the work that the CIA might have been doing in the past(NED, IRI, etc.) so a lot of what he said sounded plausible, but it just seems like there was too much of the story missing. Whether the NSA does the same thing or not, I don't know, but I have no reason to doubt it.

I'll have to take another look at it with your comments in mind.

I thought about the woo-woo thing as well, but wouldn't necessarily question something like that because he was a Christian, so I don't know why I'm more likely to question something because they're New Age.

I supported Kucinich in the last election for a while and his "Department of Peace." I received an email advertising some get-together which includes good people like Marianne Williamson and Deepak Chopra. Does that make the "Department of Peace" a wacky idea because some of the things these people say are things that I don't agree with? I don't know. I don't support the Department of Peace if it's just another way to promote superstition.

On the NED:
http://rightweb.irc-online.org/profile/1513
http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/NED/NED.html
http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/articles.php?artno=1548

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 07/19/2006 :  14:52:30   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message
Thanks for the heads-up, marfknox. This book is exactly the kind of thing I might have wasted money upon. An extraordinarily revealing expose of how one's country does international business does require extraordinary evidence, and this books just doesn't deliver. As you point out, it's not even clear that Perkins was in a position to know the stuff he's writing about. Much of it may indeed be true, but guesswork (and maybe fiction) doesn't expose anything by itself.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Edited by - HalfMooner on 07/19/2006 14:57:40
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 07/20/2006 :  23:03:27   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message
Gorgo wrote:
quote:
I think that there is some evidence, of course, that the U.S. gummint uses private organizations to do some of the work that the CIA might have been doing in the past(NED, IRI, etc.) so a lot of what he said sounded plausible, but it just seems like there was too much of the story missing. Whether the NSA does the same thing or not, I don't know, but I have no reason to doubt it.
You also have no good reason to believe it. Speculation is speculation, even if it is plausible.

quote:
I supported Kucinich in the last election for a while and his "Department of Peace."
Yay, Denny! (I'm from Ohio and voted for him in the 2004 primaries.)

quote:
I thought about the woo-woo thing as well, but wouldn't necessarily question something like that because he was a Christian, so I don't know why I'm more likely to question something because they're New Age...

I received an email advertising some get-together which includes good people like Marianne Williamson and Deepak Chopra. Does that make the "Department of Peace" a wacky idea because some of the things these people say are things that I don't agree with?
That's why I wrote "And not that this does anything to further discredit..." The comment about him being a "woo-woo" was tongue-in-cheek. I haven't even read those books; I'm just making fun of Perkins because I think he's a con-man. I also don't think "Shapeshifting" and "Psychonavigation" refer to religious beliefs as much as "techniques". I'm not sure what they are techniques for, but I don't plan on reading those books so I guess I won't find out.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 07/20/2006 :  23:06:18   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message
Halfmooner wrote:
quote:
This book is exactly the kind of thing I might have wasted money upon.
I was so glad I bought a used copy off Amazon so Perkins didn't get any of my money. Plus, in my case it ended up being worth it since my book club had a good debate/discussion over it. I would have felt really bummed if I bought it just for myself to read.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 07/21/2006 :  03:53:40   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message
quote:
You also have no good reason to believe it. Speculation is speculation, even if it is plausible.


And none of it makes much sense the way that he's written it. It just doesn't fit together somehow. I see no negative reviews for it in leftist magazines either, not that I've read them all. I've only read one in 'Z' and it's pretty positive.

quote:
Yay, Denny! (I'm from Ohio and voted for him in the 2004 primaries.)


Yeah. Plant closed down so we moved, and now I actually have a Democratic representative here in Virginia. Not that I'm thrilled with Democrats. Sherrod Brown is running for the Senate I see. A real progressive. I think I'm done with Democrats, though.

quote:
That's why I wrote "And not that this does anything to further discredit..."


Sure. I said "I", not "you."

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



Edited by - Gorgo on 07/21/2006 03:56:36
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 07/21/2006 :  08:06:54   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message
Gorgo wrote:
quote:
I see no negative reviews for it in leftist magazines either, not that I've read them all.
I heard an interview with him on Democracy Now - usually an excellent radio/TV show - and it was horrible. Perkins wasn't questioned at all about how he supposedly "knew" these things he claimed to know.

Like anyone else with strong opinions, the skepticism of Leftists is likely to dissolve when they are hearing things they want to believe. The people in my Humanist group are pretty much all Leftist, and some of them said some of the most absurd things (IMHO) during the discussion, including "I think this is a man (Perkins) that we really need to respect." / "I don't think we need to worry about all whether all these little details are true or not, but take it as a whole." / "I thought it was common knowledge among people in the know that the CIA assassinated them (Torrijos and Roldos)."

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 07/21/2006 :  08:11:15   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message
The New York Times had a good article about the book, "Confessing to the Converted" by Landon Thomas Jr. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/19/business/yourmoney/19confess.html?ex=1298005200&en=59c686e6f96b0421&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

I enjoyed the sarcastic ending:

quote:
At the Chicago bookstore, Mr. Perkins wrapped up his speech by connecting the work he did modernizing Saudi Arabia in the 1970's to the rage of Osama bin Laden, the Sept. 11 attacks and the turmoil in Iraq. He mentioned the growing crowds of admirers that have met him at his stops, adding that now, as opposed to last year, few are questioning the truthfulness of his account — "except, that is, a few journalists," he said, with an arch of his eyebrows, as he looked at a reporter in the crowd taking notes.

The 200 or so fans erupted in sympathetic laughter. The joke was on the skeptic; having read the book, they, like Mr. Perkins, were insiders now, and all the smarter for it.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 07/21/2006 :  08:14:10   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message
I think NPR did something too. I'll have to look. Here's how Tom Gallagher starts out in 'Z.'

quote:
If Confessions of an Economic Hit Man disappoints readers it won't be for failing to measure up to its provocative title. Some may have a problem with the fact that 25 years have now passed since the last of the author's stories of mucking around in third world economies, so central figures like Jaime Roldos and Omar Torrijos—not household names in the U.S. in their heyday—will seem a bit remote.


I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 07/21/2006 :  08:26:49   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message
Thanks for the link. I keep thinking of Chuck Barris when I think of him, except Chuck was kidding.

Nothing in a quick check for transcripts at NPR.

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 07/21/2006 :  12:46:55   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message
Left or right, boneheadedness can be found aplenty when it comes to the tendency to not seek evidence for claims that one is already politically inclined to accept.

Though I'm a committed Liberal, as often as not the arguments I get into are with people taking a more leftist position than I have, especially when, for example, they make a statement that begins something like, "Everyone knows that Bush went into Iraq for the sake of Big Oil/Israel/Haliburton." Now, any of these, or a combination of them, may be true, but presenting evidence is always shrugged off as unnecessary, because "everyone knows." I have some suspicions myself as to the real reasons Bush invaded Iraq, but they are mere guesses. All I feel I can be sure of is that his given reasons were false, because there is evidence which contradicts his stated reasons for the invasion.

Likewise, I get especially upset when someone on "my" side uses lies or other unevidenced statements to make a political point. I think that in general, Liberals have arguably been more honest than the Neocons in recent years, especially as telling lies seems to be a central Neocon strategy. But every time a Liberal does lie, I shudder.

One such probable liar was the Liberal blogger who started the myth that Bush contemptuously dismissed the Bill of Rights and the Constitution as "just a piece of paper." (The blogger claimed he was quoted this by two Senators who'd head Bush say it, but the blogger never identified the Senators.) Bush certainly has treated the Constitution contemptuously, but making up false quotes is just wrong. Yet that quote can be seen all across the Internet, quoted as gospel on many of the less particular Left/Liberal blogs and Web sites.

As a Liberal, I want my side to employ much higher standards of truth and evidence than is used by the opposition.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 07/28/2006 :  22:08:30   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message
quote:
I think that in general, Liberals have arguably been more honest than the Neocons in recent years, especially as telling lies seems to be a central Neocon strategy.


As much as I hate to say this, because I consider myself a liberal, I tend to think the only reason conservatives are more corrupt than liberals right now is because they are more powerful. If the power balances shifts, so will the level of moral integrity. At least that's my guess.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
25977 Posts

Posted - 07/28/2006 :  22:33:16   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by marfknox

If the power balances shifts, so will the level of moral integrity. At least that's my guess.
Well, there are some historical precedents which can guide one's thinking on these matters. For example, last year the Republicans were trying to demolish the Congressional ethics rules that they had worked hard to enact when the Democrats were in control. Not that I have any great affection for the Democrats, since if the current state of affairs is any indication, they were simply too wishy-washy back then to say "no" to the increased ethical rules, and too wimpy to actually abuse their power.

In other words, I feel that today's crop of Republican's is so overassertive that they feel no moral twinge in practicing selective ethics, while today's Democrats are about as assertive as a handful of closing-time salad bar lettuce.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
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