Tuesday, July 15, 2008
IS PRIME MINISTER MANMOHAN SINGH AMERICA’S ECONOMIC HIT MAN IN INDIA?
In the run up to a confidence vote on the survival of UPA coalition government in India, the whole record of Prime Minister’s a decade old performance seem to be reaching a point of climax, when he gets to sign the final deal of civilian nuclear deal with the US administration, head by the lame duck US President, George W. Bush.
At this stage, it will be proper, nay incumbent on all who care for India, its freedom, integrity, its future prosperity, be they the politicians, media people or common well-wisher to read and absorb, the contents of the New York Times bestseller book: Confessions of an economic hit man, written by John Perkins and published in 2004. It is not a fiction novel. In fact, it is the true story of a flesh and blood individual who had a live conscience to expose the most heinous criminal policies widely practiced by his own country, the USA.
Like our Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, John Perkins, too was an economic expert, though the career and mission of both seem to be overlapping, at least at first look. The standard pattern of US strategies to control and exploit victimized nation, may differ from country to country and given different parameters of American interest involved.
But the fact that India is a target nation and with due respect to our Prime Minister’s commitment to his nation and its people and the future of the whole subcontinent, he is probably unaware that he is a prime candidate for the epitaph of an American Hit Man in India, once the role of assessing his career goes to the current or future historians.
An account in WIKIPEDIA writes:
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man (ISBN 0-452-28708-1) is a book written by John Perkins and published in 2004. It tells the story of his career with consulting firm Chas. T. Main.
Before employment with the firm, he interviewed for a job with the National Security Agency (NSA). Perkins claims that this interview effectively constituted an independent screening which led to his subsequent hiring by Einar Greve, a member of the firm (and alleged NSA liaison) to become a self-described “Economic Hit Man.”
According to his book, Perkins’ function was to convince the political and financial leadership of underdeveloped countries to accept enormous development loans from institutions like the World Bank and USAID. Saddled with huge debts they could not hope to pay, these countries were forced to acquiesce to political pressure from the United States on a variety of issues. Perkins argues in his book that developing nations were effectively neutralized politically, had their wealth gaps driven wider and economies crippled in the long run. In this capacity Perkins recounts his meetings with some prominent individuals, including Graham Greene and Omar Torrijos. Perkins describes the role of an EHM as follows:
Economic hit men (EHMs) are highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars. They funnel money from the World Bank, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and other foreign “aid” organizations into the coffers of huge corporations and the pockets of a few wealthy families who control the planet’s natural resources. Their tools included fraudulent financial reports, rigged elections, payoffs, extortion, sex, and murder. They play a game as old as empire, but one that has taken on new and terrifying dimensions during this time of globalization.
The epilogue to the 2006 edition provides a rebuttal to the current move by the G8 nations to forgive Third World debt. Perkins charges that the proposed conditions for this debt forgiveness require countries to sell their health, education, electric, water and other public services to corporations. Those countries would also have to discontinue subsidies and trade restrictions that support local business, but accept the continued subsidization of certain G8 businesses by the US and other G8 countries, and the erection of trade barriers on imports that threaten G8 industries.
Controversy and criticism
Perkins’s first boss at Chas. T. Main, Einar Greve, initially declared to journalists that “basically [Perkins’s] story is true” and that “what John’s book says is, there was a conspiracy to put all these countries on the hook, and that happened.”  Subsequently, he denied Perkins’s allegation that he ever worked as a liaison with the NSA and contradicted other claims made in Perkins’s book, stating that Perkins “has convinced himself that a lot of this stuff is true.” Perkins comments on Greve’s change of heart in the “Epilogue” of “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.” He points out that Greve initially supported the truth of the book, only to switch his opinion several months later. Perkins suggests that Greve was pressured by outside forces to denounce the book as false.
Some of the book’s critics have questioned whether Perkins makes a significant contribution to the debate on global finance and the development of the Third World. For instance, columnist Mark Engler of In These Times, has written that “the actual content of Perkins’ admissions proves distressingly thin.”
According to the New York Times, “the book’s popularity seems driven more by the mix of cloak-and-dagger atmospherics and Mr. Perkins’s Damascene conversion” than by insight into “the larger issue of America’s role in emerging economies.”
Columnist Sebastian Mallaby of the Washington Post reacted sharply to Perkins’ book : “This man is a frothing conspiracy theorist, a vainglorious peddler of nonsense, and yet his book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, is a runaway bestseller.” Mallaby, who spent 13 years writing for the London Economist and wrote a critically well-received biography of World Bank chief James Wolfensohn, holds that Perkins’ conception of international finance is “largely a dream” and that his “basic contentions are flat wrong.” For instance he points out that Indonesia reduced its infant mortality and illiteracy rates by two-thirds after economists persuaded its leaders to borrow money in 1970. He also disputes Perkins’ claim that 51 of the top 100 world economies belong to companies. A value-added comparison done by the UN, he says, shows the number to be 29.
Other sources, including articles in the New York Times and Boston Magazine, as well as a press release issued by the United States Department of State, have referred to a lack of documentary or testimonial evidence to corroborate the claim that the NSA was involved in his hiring to Chas T. Main. In addition, the author of the State Department release states that the NSA “is a cryptological (codemaking and codebreaking) organization, not an economic organization” and that its missions do not involve “anything remotely resembling placing economists at private companies in order to increase the debt of foreign countries.”
Critics, including Sebastian Mallaby and the State Department, have also referred to public remarks Perkins has made, as well as previously published books. His published works include books about South American tribal culture that deal with shamanistic techniques for creating self-empowerment, techniques to enhance health and longevity, as well as first hand accounts of metaphysical “travelling” through visions & dream wanderings. Mark Engler questions Perkins’s “New Age leanings,” and accuses him of “delving into a type of essentialism that, thankfully, has been long banished from university anthropology departments.”
The State Department release refers to a presentation at a bookstore, where Perkins allegedly asserted that the US Government was involved in the assassinations of John and Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., John Lennon and several US senators who died in plane crashes, and expressed concern regarding alleged inconsistencies in the US investigation of the events surrounding the September 11 attacks of 2001. The State Department release therefore identifies Perkins as a conspiracy theorist. In the book, however, Perkins repeatedly emphasizes that the dynamics he describes are systemic and specifically not the result of conspiracy:
“Although unconscious, deceived, and—in many cases—self-deluded, these players were not members of any clandestine conspiracy; rather, they were the product of a system that promotes the most subtle and effective form of imperialism the world has ever witnessed.”
1. ^ Tkacik, Maureen, “The True Confessions of an Economic Hit Man,” Boston Magazine, July 2005.
2. ^ Engler, Mark, “Failures of a Hit Man,” In These Times, April 18, 2005.
3. ^ Confessing to the Converted, by Thomas Jr., Landon, New York Times, Sec. 3, Col, 1, p. 1, 2006-02-19.
4. ^ a b The Facts Behind the ‘Confessions’ by Sebastian Mallaby, Washington Post Op-Ed, 2006-02-26
5. ^ Confessions – or Fantasies – of an Economic Hit Man?, US Department of State, 2006-05-10
 Additional reading
• New Confessions and Revelations from the World of Economic Hit Men, John Perkins, 2007-03-15.
• John Perkins talks about his book with NOW’s David Brancaccio (video), 2005-03-04.
• Confessions of an Economic Hit Man: How the U.S. Uses Globalization to Cheat Poor Countries Out of Trillions, Interview with Amy Goodman, Democracy Now!, 2004-11-09.
• In hock to Uncle Sam, The Guardian, Nick Lezard, 2006-02-10.
• Recipe for empire, New Statesman, March 6, 2006, Paul Kingsnorth
• The sinister side of U.S. biz; Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins, The Capital Times (Madison, Wisconsin), July 29, 2005, By Judie Kleinmaier
• Incapable catharsis, The Weekend Australian, February 18, 2006, Matthew Bright
• Hit and Miss; There are good reasons “the mainstream media” has ignored John Perkins’ Confessions of an Economic Hit Man., East Bay Express (California), February 1, 2006.
• Undermining poor nations in the name of profit, The Boston Globe, February 08, 2006, by Michael Langan
• A miss not a hit, Sunday Times (London), March 5, 2006, David Charters
• Confessions–or Fantasies– of an Economic Hitman, US Department of State
• Conscience, confession from an agent of greed, The Seattle Times, January 22, 2006, Steve Weinberg
• A hit man repents, The Guardian, 2006-01-28.
Retrieved from “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confessions_of_an_Economic_Hit_Man”
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The game plan for the Economic Hit Man, is clear. He/She has to work for the US with an agenda, which can never be a win-win situation for both, the US and the victim country; in our case: India. India has to lose for the US to win. The whole façade of helping out India has to be looked into seriously by neutral observers in India, who do not hold brief for special interests.
The time is of essence and now that the signing of the strategic partnership agreement with the US has become the benchmark for the very survival of the ruling coalition government, the priority of saving of the government has become an automatic approval of the controversial deal with the US.
Such railroading of complicated issues must be stopped and politicians who are now more concerned about the sharing of power, should be made aware of the sinister nature of US economic hegemony over India, as a client state. And this is nothing to do with ideology, religion, region, ethnicity, caste and class. If the nation suffers, everybody suffers.
Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai