The Secret History of the American Empire: Economic Hit Men, Jackals, and the Truth about Global Corruption
a book by John Perkins
(our site's book review)
John Perkins is the author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man and several other books of this ilk. The Secret History of the American Empire: Economic Hit Men, Jackals, and the Truth about Global Corruption is a very controversial book. We want to doubt his reading of history in which he describes the creation of a corrupt American Empire that was and is wrecking lives, killing people, polluting the environment, and scamming country after country with an evil shell game—Perkins ought to know: he used to be part of this treachery. But then we think about what's been going on in the world during and since the Vietnam War and we see that most (or all?) of his account is true.
This book separates not the men from the boys, but those who've drunk the Kool-Aid from those whose minds are still open—and desperately trying to understand how both the U.S. and the world can be in such terrible shape. There simply is no other reasonable explanation that fits all the known facts. We love life, our world, and our country, and we are patriots toward the United States and toward all our troops (who are being unfairly exploited and put in harms way). But not toward the corporatocracy's evil, unjust, expensive, stupid wars. The patriotism we feel is toward the democracy the Founders set up. Even though the Shadow Government has wrecked it, there are still hopes we can fix it, as the author outlines, and it's all of our duties to follow his advice.
U.S. neocons' imperialism and warmongering is out of control yet the Congress tasked with stopping such abuses is mute—something smells rotten in Washington!
Perkins—once only out for #1 but now a patriot—realizes that we all want to know the real truth about what has been going on for several decades. We realize that the media are just the bought-and-paid-for mouthpieces of a corrupt invisible government. They tow the party line, and are allowed to report only what the corporatocracy allows them to. The state has controlled the press for decades, and therefore the truth is in short supply from mainstream media. Only alternative media hits on the truth sometimes.
The only certain, irrefutable, perpetual and insidious bias in reporting comes from the neocon elites themselves, which make an all-out effort to stay covert and invisible to the unsuspecting citizen
The author proves that the U.S. is an empire, and for several decades has been in the business of empire building. It is a corrupt and dirty business, with everyone in the world (except the shadow government) as collateral damage. (An Empire is an extensive group of states or countries under a single supreme authority, formerly especially an emperor or empress, but now the shadow government oligarchs.) The only winners in the "game" of empire are the greedy, merciless oligarchs of the corporatocracy. Our democracy is ruined. The Supreme Court rubber-stamped the final transformation of the U.S. into a corporatocracy when it decided in the Citizens United case that it was fine if corporations bought and sold elections so that the American public was basically out of the loop. Democracy was gasping its last breath until the so-called high court made that decision. At that point, one could hear a terrible death rattle and a last gasp and then all was still. There was no joy in Mudville, folks, our once-mighty democracy had struck out.
There was no joy in Mudville, folks, our once-mighty democracy had struck out
Perkins says that "Latin America had become a symbol of U.S. domination. Guatemala
under Arbenz, Ikazil under Goulart, Bolivia under Estenssoro,
Chile under Allende, Ecuador under Roldos, Panama under
Torrijos, and every other country in the hemisphere that was
blessed with resources that our corporations coveted, and that had
enjoyed leaders who were determined to use national resources
for the benefit of their own people . . . had seen those leaders thrown out in coups or assassinated and replaced by governments that were puppets of Washington".
The U.S. propaganda machine at the time dutifully did as they were told and stated that these countries were "going commie" so it had to step in in the spirit of democracy "to keep the hemisphere free." The exact opposite is what really happened. All these countries tried to become free and democratic and get led by people who were for the people, but the U.S. came along, murdered their leaders (or jailed them, like Noriega—who was in a U.S. jail, them a French jail, and today in 2017 he's 82 in a Panamanian jail), and installed evil dictators who were willing to cooperate with our country's exploitation of their resources, even though it wrecked their people's lives and wrecked their country's environment. The rest of the countries of the world learned the ugly truth of U.S. imperialism, but our press simply printed or announced what was in the press release the administration gave the media. The press was the government's accomplice in all this exploitation, and any attempts at truth telling were quashed for "national security"! The U.S.—during and since the Vietnam War—has been the biggest enemy of democracy the world has ever seen—including its own!
Our Vietnam and Iraq wars were much more about imperialism than democratization, but most of us drank the Kool-Aid
For about 200 years, the U.S. had championed democracy around the world. "Since the end of World War II, however, our position as leader has eroded, the model we presented to the world undermined by a corporatocracy hell-bent on empire building." Corporate greed made our country abandon our principles and just act like mercenaries out to make the biggest profits possible, regardless of who got hurt or killed or how much the environment and economy of the target country was made to suffer. The rest of the world learned to hate and fear the U.S. and yet our media was kept as thoroughly misinformed as possible.
Corporate greed made our country abandon our principles and just act like mercenaries out to make the biggest profits possible, regardless of who got hurt or killed or how much the environment and economy of the target country was made to suffer
If the Queen during the 18th century French Revolution said: "Let them eat cake," then in the last half of the 20th century an analogous expression from rich U.S. bankers to Latin Americans would be "Let them eat loans!"
Map of Latin America
Perkins tells us that "High school students throughout Latin America understood that the United States had overthrown Chile's Allende, Iran's Mossadegh, Guatemala's Ar-benz, Brazil's Goulart, and Iraq's Qasim—even if our own students were unaware of such things." The IMF and the World Bank were tools of the corporatocracy, getting innocent young countries to accept outrageously large loans that were used to develop infrastructure projects that all too often served only the upper classes (and corporatocracy companies like Bechtel and Halliburton) while leaving the country burdened with obscene levels of debt.national debt
Unless American citizens start defecating money, the debt has put us all in deep doo-doo
The end result of all this corruption and profiteering was that in many countries millions of innocent middle class citizens whose only crime was being naive enough to trust the IMF, World Bank, and the U.S., lost most of their money and ended up impoverished and unhappy. But our presidents, politicians, military, diplomats, and even our NGOs didn't care. Money is money.
Perkins is a classic case of a guy who went from being part of the world's problems to being part of its solutions. He created an organization for changing the way we in industrialized nations see the earth and our relationship to the earth. He was trying to reverse the process he had promoted as an economic hit man (EHM). He named his own nonprofit Dream Change, and he organized trips and workshops. He took people to live with indigenous teachers and he brought those teachers to the United States as well. Then he produced books, tapes, CDs, and films aimed at bridging the gaps between these two worlds. The Pachamama Alliance, another of his nonprofits, has raised millions of dollars to help various indigenous communities, much of it used to finance legal battles against oil companies who insisted on raping the land, cutting down tropical forests, polluting the environment, and putting the people into debt.
In 2005, Latin America was—happily—caught up in what amounted to a revolution against the corporatocracy. They were laughing at George Dubya Bush. "Each of the new presidents had campaigned as a nationalist determined to see his country's resources used to help its citizens rise out of poverty." The anti-imperialism and anti-corporatocracy World Social Forum (WSF) "is a symbol of the changes sweeping our planet. It was established at the beginning of the third millennium as a response to the World Economic Forum, where government and business leaders collaborate, strike deals, hammer out trade policies, and coordinate other corporatocracy strategies."
But the CIA finds ways to blackmail these freedom-loving leaders so that they end up compromised and beholden to the U.S. Rumor has it that Dubya was photographed having kinky sex and doing coke and Noriega was using it to have his way with the U.S. by doing his own blackmail, so the next thing you know the U.S. attacked Panama, grabbed Noriega, and threw him in a U.S. prison. (More than 2000 innocent civilians were burned to death in Panama City that day in December 1989, and yet our government—especially Dubya—went nuts over the 3000 that died in 9/11. Apparently, Latin lives aren't worth all that much to the likes of G.H.W. Bush, Dubya and Cheney.)
The Latin American revolution, in which pro-U.S.-installed dictators were dumped in favor of pro-national leaders, was not just aimed at expelling foreign exploiters. It was a positive movement toward creating greater equality, more freedom, and social reform. By defying the corporatocracy, they forced us in the United States to look at what "we" (our corrupt Shadow Government) are doing in the world (except that corporatocracy-controlled media suppressed the story in this country, of course). And for the most part, the Latin American revolution was peaceful. The impact of this revolution reached around the planet and was setting a good example for everyone, and it inspired people on every continent. The U.S.'s infinite greed had happily backfired and angered just about everyone in the world, except the media-brainwashed sheep in the U.S. who knew very little. But the Chinese—much wiser than us—approached Latin America with relatively mild, win-win trade pacts and the Latins started signing, giving the U.S. the finger in the process.
Sheep—how the corporatocracy sees U.S. citizens as it dictates what the U.S. media should report
Perkins says that if the U.S. had supported democratically elected Mossadegh in Iran rather than killing him off and installing the Shah, we could have showed that we not only talk the talk but also walk the walk, and we would have made friends all over the region and the Mideast would not be the basket case it is today and there would be no ISIS. But infinite greed told American leaders to interfere the ugly, dirty way, and the Islamic people of the region have hated the U.S. ever since. Think how we'd feel if Iranians had been found out to be the killers of JFK! Happily for Iran, in 1979, militant nationalists dethroned the Shah who ran and hid in the U.S.
Perhaps the Bushes, Cheney, and Obama all need immediate brain transplants—stat!
Washington's overreaction to 9/11 put our country into greater jeopardy. "War on Terror" our aunt Fanny! U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan turned a sympathetic world against us. Invading Iraq sent a message that Washington was more interested in grabbing oil supplies than finding Osama bin Laden.
Osama bin Laden
In the long term, it added to the unforgivable insult of replacing Mossadegh with the Shah, it inflamed Muslim populations, it inspired millions to join terrorist cells, and it underlined the vulnerability of the U.S. military, not to mention sinking the United States into what amounted to bankruptcy. Perhaps we need smarter leaders!!!!! Perhaps the Bushes, Cheney, and Obama all need immediate brain transplants—stat!
The illegal, stupid, unprovoked invasion of a foreign country (Iraq) by the U.S. under false pretenses for the purpose of securing oil for the U.S.
In trying to grasp why the Mideast has recently experienced the rise of the mullahs, increased popularity of al-Qaeda, replacement of moderate governments by more radical ones, the hero worship of martyred suicide bombers, and an escalation in fanaticism up to and including the ISIS phenomenon, look no further than our evil Shadow Government trying to con Islamics out of oil and money via use of economic hit men and jackals and deception, and in general, treating these people like they were inferior fools—perfect marks for pulling a long con on. Decent people really hate being mistreated that way, even when the con includes prostitutes, bribes, and getting a few rich while exploiting the many.
9/11 terrorist attack
So why had so many leaders bungled so badly during and since the Vietnam War? Because the corporatocracy reaped immense profits, regardless of all the miscalculations. Ask Cheney and Bush about Halliburton profits from Iraq War. Never forget how much the rich just love to get richer.
When Bush and Obama said their wars on terror may go on indefinitely, you can just imagine these fat cats rolling around in huge money bins laughing just like Scrooge McDuck
Ask Cheney and Bush about Halliburton's profits from Iraq War
Perkins says "As we approach the end of the first decade of the 2000s, we can only conclude that the corporatocracy has led us into an abyss of historic proportions." And the same thing applies to the way the U.S. treated Latin Americans. Similarly, the long history of Africa is one in which the U.S. treated them with cruelty, avarice, and treachery while pretending to help them with development, aid, progress, and the empowerment of democracy. The overall, long-term African policy was designed to access and plunder Africa's wealth at the expense of its people—especially diamonds, oil, minerals and natural gas. American policies reflected a racist bias toward these people that assumed they were either subhuman or simply really stupid. Africans were sometimes naive, it's true, but that's only because they weren't used to dealing with people who had no honor—saying one thing but doing another, all the while smiling sweetly.
The overall, long-term African policy was designed to access and plunder Africa's wealth at the expense of its people—especially diamonds, oil, minerals and natural gas
Perkins says what Robert Reich and others have said: since corporations have the same rights as human, they should be subject to the same laws and be made to be responsible for their actions, like people are. They should be honorable, ethical members of the community (which equates to the world since all important corporations are multinationals) that are actually good citizens. Their public relations departments crow about what good citizens they are, but their national and international actions as part of the corporatocracy betray that they're nothing of a kind. They corrupt democracy, pervert legislation and elections and engage in tax evasion that is barely legal. Because of the way they lobbied successfully for loopholes and exceptions, such tax evading was not criminal—but should have been.
In a just world they'd have to account for (in their accounting) such things as the effect on the environment and on people. Basically, corporations plunder the world's poor and all future generations in order to further enrich the wealthy. The expression "win-win" is simply—and tragically—not in their vocabulary.
Of all NGOs that are trying to get corporations to act responsibly, the Rainforest Action Network, Reporters Without Borders, Amnesty International and MoveOn have had quite a few successes and many multinationals have capitulated to their demands, often because an NGO campaign to embarrass them about their abuses and the effects of these abuses on citizens starts to affect their reputations, their brands, and consequentially their bottom line and shareholder attitudes.
It is critical that Americans cooperate to turn imperialistic capitalism into democratic capitalism, so that pollution and/or global warming doesn't take us all under, so that devastating wars are avoided, so that we empower rather than exploit, and so the U.S. can return to being what it was many years ago: a beacon of hope and a force for peace and rights and justice. We can no longer afford to have corrupt ass clowns like the Bushes and Obama flushing us down the drain while blindly serving an egomaniacal but stupid Shadow Government frothing at the mouth in its psychotic quest to con all the money and resources from all countries and people of our delicate world.
The U.S.'s psychotic quest to con all the money and resources from all countries and people of our delicate world, while wrecking the environment, needs to be stopped before WWIII breaks out
We can no longer afford to have corrupt ass clowns like the Bushes and Obama flushing us down the drain while blindly serving an egomaniacal but stupid Shadow Government
The U.S. exhibits all the signs of being an empire and yet that is not what the people want or need and it is not what they intended, either. A few greedy people have conned us with a long con and ended up with much of our money. So we need to say enough is enough. We know who you are and what you are doing and we no longer want to play along, passively. We not only are ready to throw open our windows and holler that we are mad as hell and we are not going to take it anymore; we will act; Perkins gives us lots of things we can do. But we do NOT need or want armed rebellion.
We not only are ready to throw open our windows and holler that we are mad as hell and we are not going to take it anymore; we will act; Perkins gives us lots of things we can do
Instead, Perkins says, we need to insist upon sustainable development and this means buying at local co-ops and only buying products grown in sustainable ways. We must participate in or at least support such tactics as protests, rallies, street theater, banner hangings, newspaper ads, postcards to CEOs, shareholder resolutions, speeches, letters to editors, call-in campaigns to political representatives, massive Internet petitions to force multinationals to act like the responsibe "citizens" they claim to be. Get them to clean up polluted rivers, outlaw ozone-layer-destroying aerosol sprays, protect endangered species, open their doors to minorities, ban gender discrimination, etc. Many corporations have changed due to such tactics, but many have not.
Polluting a stream
Corporations can be coaxed to become more ecological and responsible, even though at first it may seem like pushing a big, heavy pig
Be a conscious consumer, not a passive materialistic sheep
Be part of the world's solutions, not part of its problems. Don't just be a passive materialistic sheep that professes great values but, except for recycling, practices none of them. Be a conscious consumer. The invisible government has done a pretty effective job of wrecking our world while we snoozed. Well, our beauty rest is over. Either we are at cause in our lives or we're at effect of the corporatocracy's ugly tactics. Why were there so few demonstrators in the Occupy Wall Street protests? Too many people have drunk the Kool-Aid, bought the party lines the oligarchs give to the media to pollute our minds with. The CW means the conventional wisdom; it may be conventional but it is not wisdom. It is the misinformation that the corporatocracy spews out to lead us lambs to the slaughter. Look at how the middle class's wealth is disappearing into oligarchical bank accounts. Is THIS what you want as a patriotic citizen of the United States of America?! Like us, YOU are very patriotic toward our great nation—but NOT toward the shadow government!
No wonder the public seems so confused and nothing ever changes. They're choking on misinformation that comes their way via political manipulation of citizens and via the Culture War!
Perkins' book is an important, eye-opening experience. Get it, read it, wake up, get conscious, get involved, and show other citizens what REAL patriotism is all about. Before it's too late.
The middle class's wealth is disappearing into oligarchical bank accounts—is THIS what you want as a patriotic citizen of the United States of America?!
- Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World
- When Corporations Rule the World
- The Rise of the American Corporate Security State
- The Secret History of the American Empire: Economic Hit Men, Jackals, and the Truth about Global Corruption
- Losing Our Way: An Intimate Portrait of a Troubled America
- The Crash of 2016: The Plot to Destroy America--and What We Can Do to Stop It
- The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government
- National Security and Double Government
- A Game As Old As Empire: The Secret World of Economic Hit Men and the Web of Global Corruption
- Hoodwinked: An Economic Hit Man Reveals Why the Global Economy IMPLODED -- and How to Fix It
Various authors see the shadow government from various perspectives—like the blind men and the elephant, but the overall gist is creepily similar