Fragments of an e-book by Dene McGriff
It is interesting that about the same time Israel was being gathered together again following WWII, a nation was emerging as the sole superpower, the sole currency for the world economy (the dollar), the major trader and consumer. This first article shows how that role developed historically and interestingly enough, I participated actively in that spread.
I must confess to being a “cog” as in the “cog” in a machine. Did I know I was? Nope, but I have gradually come to see that I was a “cog” in the building of the American Global Empire. Please don’t get mad at me for my confessions, for I certainly didn’t realize it at the time. In fact, most of us are oblivious to what is really going on around us. I certainly was, but the more I look into my past, the more I realize my role – as apparently innocent as it appeared to be. I spent most of my life in international work but little did I know what I was really involved in. I was a little cog in a great big machine that was creating the greatest global empire in the history of the world.
We didn’t carry guns, just a briefcase and a laptop! We were the new empire builders! Please let me explain.
America has been building a vast global empire for the past century. By the end of WWII, it was the undisputed leader with only Russia and its satellites standing in the way of global hegemony! A couple of quick little wars in Korea and Vietnam showed the futility of winning by conventional means. But a much more serious war was on whose goal was to turn the entire world into client states of America – tied to us by our apparent generosity and good will. How did this process work?
The end of World War II left Europe and Japan in shambles (the developed world). How were they to be rebuilt? What was the strategy? Very simple, we opened our markets to them. We invested in their business and infrastructure. But what of the rest of the undeveloped world? How were we going to bring them into the Twentieth Century? In true American form and efficiency, we launched a multi-pronged attack.
The Peace Corp sent out young people throughout the world to identify and develop projects. These were the best and the brightest. They were bilingual, sensitive cross-culturally and became the source for great expansion of international business, international aid and development and the CIA.
The Peace Corp spawned the birth of companies known as “the beltway bandits” – consulting companies eager to help the government spend USAID, World Bank, IMF and other monies. I worked on and off for these consulting companies over a period of 25 years. Christian relief and development agencies also got involved in the act (World Relief, Catholic Relief Services, World Vision, Food for the Hungry, etc.) as well. I worked with two of them as well.
These minions of “do gooders” (myself included) fanned out across the globe developing relationships, identifying needs, writing grants and business plans to bring economic development to the “undeveloped” world. I personally worked all over Central and South America, the Far East (Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines), Africa and the Middle East. All this time, I had no idea I was a part of the machine
The back drop of all this is that the developed world – Europe, Japan, America and Canada represented about 20 percent of the world population. Latin America, Africa and the rest of Asia, India, Pakistan and Southeast Asia represented the other 80 percent. They needed infrastructure – water, power, transportation, industry, bridges, dams, technology. How were we to get that to them and where would this all lead? The seductive part is that out goal was so good. Most people were dying from diseases caused by drinking bad water. Cholera, typhoid, malaria – so many diseases could be taken care of just by improving sanitation. Agriculture could be improved, natural resources exploited, industry developed, housing improved, etc.
So the army of volunteers, consultants and corporate executives spread throughout the world looking for opportunity. But who would pay for it? These countries certainly didn’t have excess money to pay for costly infrastructure! The same foundation that was laid to rebuild Europe and Japan was used – the IMF and World Bank, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Inter American Development Bank, the Asia Development Bank, etc. USAID is a part of the State Department and works closely with, if not for the CIA (as I found out the hard way). The “political” and “economic” officers and attaches of our embassies were almost always CIA (Central Intelligence Agency). Reports produced – whether on health care, agricultural development, education, population control (known as “woman and child health”) – all ended up in CIA reports. There was a tremendous amount of overlap between the different agencies and the companies working with them. As development occurred, USAID tended to phase out and World Bank took over and “bilateral relationships” were established with developing country governments.
Here is how it worked. Acquaintances were made, and friendships established especially through the Peace Corps and Christian missionaries who were there as “scouts” for the empire. They were followed by consultants who would be hired by USAID to identify needs, and develop specifications for a project. This would result in an RFP (Request for Proposal) which would go out in formal government digests. Consulting companies or businesses would then develop proposals in response to the RFP. There would usually be a committee consisting of USAID employees and counterparts in the host government that would go through a selection process. Eventually, it would be awarded to a US firm. I personally worked on hundreds of proposals and numerous projects.
Here is an example of how it works. In 1985, I was selected as team leader to evaluate a $27 million health infrastructure project that had been awarded to Westinghouse Health Systems. This was the mid term evaluation of a multi-year project. It was an exciting time – machine gun fire and mortars going off constantly up in the mountains above the Holiday Inn where we stayed. I spent the better part of the summer there. The Salvadoran people were gracious and hard working. The folks staying in the hotel either worked for a consulting company, the CIA, paramilitary or adoption agencies. There were even a couple of Russians. It was quite an eclectic mix.
There were four other people on my team looking at different aspects of the project. Westinghouse was providing training, buying medical supplies, ambulances, etc. Two really important things came out of the study. The first and most important is that only about $2 million was a grant. The rest, about $25 million, was a loan that had to be paid back. I found that this was quite common. Most of our “aid” was really in the form of loans – hundreds of millions in all that had to be paid back!
The other is that the health budget for the country didn’t increase by $27 million. In fact it didn’t increase at all. I asked the Minister of Health why not? They spent it on other things – mainly guns. This aspect of the report became very controversial as the report hit Congress. They tracked me down in Kingston, Jamaica to ask me about it. It turns out that the USAID health and population officer in charge of the project told Congress it was additional money to the budget. He was furious with me and later got caught doing deals under the table and ended up going to jail for a few years.
I was the country director for Food for the Hungry in Bolivia (1981) in charge of resettling Southeast Asian refugees into the jungles. Bolivia didn’t even have diplomatic recognition from America at the time because the government was so involved in the drug business. The President was a thug, a heavy jowled man with a perpetual frown on his face that said, “I just as soon shoot you as talk to you.” I remember arguing with him for hours on end. In exchange for the project, he wanted a road built. He didn’t care what it cost. We were Americans. We could pay for it. World Bank loan, whatever, he would have signed anything since he wouldn’t be around for long (as he padded his secret Swiss bank account). Any third world government would. They didn’t care about their people – just getting the money (and their “cut”). Pay it back? Who cares?
Over the years I worked on projects in Kuwait, Nigeria, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and every country in Latin America except two. I was developing projects, working on them or evaluating them. Most were in health and family planning. Some were strictly private sector – business, as I worked for several huge American multinational corporations.
When you look at the billions of dollars spent in these different countries, you quickly see that 90 or more percent were in the form of loans – loans that had to be paid back! The best thing to happen was a natural disaster, an earthquake, typhoon or flood which led to cooperation and later projects to rebuild. This isn’t to be cynical about the recent tsunami but that is how it worked.
I will come back to the details in later articles but the debt became an unbearable load to these developing countries. The infrastructure projects were sold based on optimistic estimates of GDP growth that never quite happened. A few of the elites in the government and business got wealthy, but there was marginal benefit for the people. A history of default and restructuring of loans followed, but were never paid. Just like our credit card debt, they were lucky to keep up with the interest but never quite got to the principle. They could work off some of the debt by giving concessions to American business, voting with the U.S. in the United Nations or providing other benefits to America. In some cases, the situation was so critical debts were just written off. But generally, this is not the case.
The American global empire spread by enticing the developing world into projects that were extremely high cost. I used to feel guilty knowing that I was making as much in one day as the local professionals working with me made in a month. At one time, my billing rate was over $400 an hour! We knew they would default on the loans. We would just restructure them and time them tighter into our little empire.
Christians played an unknowing role in this first phase of development. The role of Summer Institute of Linguistics or Wycliffe Bible Translators is well known and documented that they were used by the CIA and promoted American business interests. But let’s just talk about my experience. (Please see “Thy Will be Done” by Charlotte Dennett) In 1979, I went to work for World Relief of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE). I wrote the first grant funded by USAID to start our development activities (in contrast to relief). I worked for Cleo Shook who had just left the Carter administration as an Under Secretary of State. Cleo, like many missionaries, in the 1950s had gone to Afghanistan but couldn’t stay as a “Christian Missionary.” He became the CIA eyes and ears in Afghanistan and later Iran, started the Peace Corps with Sergeant Shriver, and though a wonderful Christian, was an emissary for the empire. In Bolivia, I was debriefed by the CIA – an assistant “political officer” named Greg. When I found out that our conversation had been telexed to every embassy in the world, I was furious. These are just two of many experiences I had as a missionary with the intelligence community as I traveled around Latin America putting on conferences for missionaries on how to develop and get funding for projects, mainly from USAID.
The first phase was to do basic community and infrastructure development. The next phase was the expansion of the global empire by exporting jobs to cheap labor markets. I have been in sweatshops in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Nigeria (back in the mid ‘80s) We were trying to convince the plant managers that they would get better work productivity if they provided health and family planning services to the workers. TIPPS, Enterprise and a whole host of other USAID projects were aimed at helping the private sector.
Another aspect of this was privatization. The concept was that the private sector could do a better job (with the profit motive) than the public sector. Whole sectors were being privatized – transportation, health, utilities, etc. Instead of being “privatized” by local business, multinationals would come in and take over resulting in much higher costs than before. But this was the democratic, capitalistic thing to do. I worked on projects like this in Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Jamaica and other countries. I helped the Colombian government develop a “managed competition” system in the mid to late ‘90s with the idea of privatization and cost control. The result was a disaster for the bankrupt public system – the “safety net” for the poor.
Today we see jobs going overseas by the millions. Our development efforts have been in part successful in that there is a relatively healthy, well fed, educated work force willing to do our jobs for one tenth the wage. Do our elites really care that they are displacing American workers? Not really. Do they care that eventually they may lose their domestic market? Not really. It’s pretty small compared to the rest of the world (we are only 5 percent of the population).
America may have its budget and trade deficits. The average American family may be falling deeper in debt, but so what? Isn’t that the overall strategy of the elites? To bankrupt countries and individuals and make them totally dependent and obedient to the elites. If you have been reading my material for some time, you know that I’m not much of a conspiracy theorist but this seems pretty well organized.
I agree with John Perkins (p. 180), who has a similar background to mine, when he says:
“A whole new class of soldier was emerging on the world scene and these people were becoming desensitized to their own actions…
Today, men and women are going into Thailand, the Philippines, Botswana, Bolivia, and every other country where they hole to find people desperate for work. They go to these places with the express purpose of exploiting wretched people – people whose children are severely malnourished, even starving, people who live in shanty-towns and have lost all hope of a better life, people who have ceased to even dream of another day. These men and women leave their plush offices in Manhattan or San Francisco or Chicago, streak across continents and oceans in luxurious jetliners, check into first-class hotels, and dine at the finest restaurants the country has to offer. Then they go searching for desperate people.
Today, we still have slave traders. They no longer find it necessary to march into the forests of Africa looking for prime specimens who will bring top dollar on the auction blocks in Charleston, Cartagena and Havana. They simply recruit desperate people and build a factor to produce the jackets, blue jeans, tennis shoes, automobile parts, computer components, and thousands of other items they can sell in the markets of their choosing. Or they may elect not even to own the factory themselves; instead, they hire a local businessman to do all their dirty work for them.
These men and women think of themselves as upright. They return to their homes with photographs of quaint sites and ancient ruins, to show to their children. They attend seminars where they pat each other on the back and exchange tidbits of advice about dealing with the eccentricities of customs in far-off lands…
The old-fashioned slave trader told himself that he was dealing with a species that was not entirely human and that he was offering them the opportunity to become Christianized. …The modern slave trader assures himself (or herself) that the desperate people are better off earning one dollar a day than no dollars at all and that they are receiving the opportunity to become integrated into the larger world community…desperate people are fundamental to the survival of her company…”
I was a Vice President of three Fortune 100 companies and lived the life described above. None of us thought about it at the time, but now it makes sense. Our consciences were seared and we rationalized what we did. I was always fascinated with international – a Latin American History major, with a Masters in Geography and PhD candidate specializing in problems of developing countries. I attended the Army Language School and became fluent in Spanish and later got a Masters of International Management from Thunderbird (AGSIM) in Arizona – the finest school of international business in the world. Oh, for all you conspiracy buffs. I was also a Captain in U.S. Army Intelligence!
I’m going to be writing more on this subject. It is no secret that the “last days” Babylon of Revelation 18 is a great commercial empire and all the nations of the earth get wealthy trading with her. If that doesn’t describe America, I don’t know what does. A nation of this power and might, with tentacles reaching into every nook and cranny in the world can’t develop this kind of empire over night. The problem is that we have been blinded to what we have done. No matter where you go today, you will find Coke, MacDonald’s, toothpaste, soap, videos and every other item! Like it or not, we have Americanized the world. They all know about our culture. Some hate it. Some covet it.
The difficult part with deception is that it is sooo… good. It can really fool you. We act on the information we have. Sure, a lot of well-meaning people have been involved in spreading the empire without even realizing it. What we have done has apparently been done with the best intentions, but the most terrible result. The government, the media and the powerful corporate interests are ready with their own explanation. I doubt that very few connect the dots and see the connections.
One has to ask themselves, why does the world so hate us? People are not as dumb as we may think. I have run into taxi drivers in Buenos Aires who are clearer on the role of America in the world than the average American. Get your passport updated and travel somewhere. Talk to the people and you will see. It got so embarrassing being an American; I would either speak Spanish or say I was Canadian.
We “cogs” were led to believe that we were bringing progress to the underdeveloped world, not economic tyranny or modern slavery! We thought we were helping while all the time we were looking after our interests. I know many missionaries and relief and development workers and they are a committed group of people – often laboring much harder for a fraction of what they could be earning in the “private sector.” I don’t think that there are many that could conceive of the fact that their reports became a part of intelligence estimates or some multi-national’s business plan. They never thought of the implications of these “loans” when you are in the thick of it. But anyone who was in the field for any time and looked at the results can only conclude that all of our efforts didn’t result in any real benefit for the masses.
Some Call it Conspiracy
There is a worldwide network of elites. Is there a conspiracy or is it all just coincidental? I would again like to quote John Perkins (from his Preface xii):
“Some would blame our current problems on an organized conspiracy. I wish it were so simple. Members of a conspiracy can be rooted out and brought to justice. This system, however, is fueled by something far more dangerous than conspiracy. It is driven not by a small band of men but by a concept that has become accepted as gospel: the idea that all economic growth benefits humankind and that the greater the growth, the more widespread the benefits. This belief also has a corollary: that those people who excel at stoking the fires of economic growth should be exalted and rewarded, while those born at the fringes are available for exploitation. (emphasis mine)
“The concept is, of course, erroneous. We know that in many countries economic growth benefits only a small portion of the population and may in fact result in increasingly desperate circumstances for the majority. This effect is reinforced by the corollary belief that the captains of industry who drive this system should enjoy a special status, a belief that is the root of many of our current problems and is perhaps also the reason why conspiracy theories abound. When men and women are rewarded for greed, greed becomes a corrupting motivator. When we equate the gluttonous consumption of the earth’s resources with a status approaching sainthood, when we teach our children to emulate people who live unbalanced lives, and when we define huge sections of the population as subservient to an elite minority, we ask for trouble. And we get it. (emphasis mine).
“In their drive to advance the global empire, corporations, banks and governments (collectively the corporatocracy) use their financial and political muscle to ensure that our schools, businesses, and media support both the fallacious concept and its corollary. They have brought us to a point where our global culture is a monstrous machine that consumes…
“The corporatocracy is not a conspiracy, but its members do endorse common values and goals…The lives of those who ‘make it,’ and their accoutrements – their mansions, yachts, and private jets – are presented as models to inspire us all to consume, consume, consume…”
No country in the world has developed a truly global economic and military empire as we have. Is this that great “last days” nation that will dominate the earth? One should not be so quick to predict her demise. It took more than a hundred years to get here and we will not be that easily deposed. The American elites are truly global. Just as they have provided credit to the nations to enslave them, they have supplied ample credit to the American households to consume beyond their means – resulting in our ultimate slavery to the system. It matters not that the billions the GEs, Becthels and Halliburtons make in Iraq – it goes into the elite coffers – not yours and mine. The fact that we are being impoverished by credit debt and continually refinanced mortgages; the fact that our currency is losing value, prices are rising, wages are flat, the economy is stagnating – the elites are doing the same thing to us as they did to the rest of the world. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Just look around at your friends, their parents and their children and you will see what the statistics tell us. We are becoming a third world, debtor society with a few at the top who have “made it.”
Should we be surprised? Not if we read our Bibles. There is a system in place to get us to believe that black is white and white is black, that we are the good guys helping the world, that we have the best system and only mean the best for everyone. If we believe the lies told us on a daily basis, we will surely be deceived. In my “Confessions of a Cog,” I didn’t even recognize my role and what we were really doing until many years after the fact. I wouldn’t worry so much about conspiracy, but I would worry about deception. There is the most devious, subtle and professional program of deception the world has ever seen and you are bombarded every day with messages that reinforce the message the evil world system wants you to hear, designed to reassure you, build your prejudices, break down your ability to think objectively. The only way to avoid this deception is to learn how to live in the spirit and not in the flesh. I would encourage you to read “Recognizing Apostasy and Deception.”
In Search of Mystery Babylon (Chapter 4), by Dene McGriff
PS World Military Spending Out Does Anything Else
Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes … known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.… No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. — James Madison, Political Observations, 1795
Military spending costs a lot … and “someone” receives all this money paid by all taxpayers
The world spends some $1,500 billion (1.5 trillion) annually on the military [military expenditure ]
U.S. military spending – Dept. of Defense plus nuclear weapons – is equal to the military spending of the next 15 countries combined. SOURCE: Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, armscontrolcenter.org
The United States accounts for 47 percent of the world’s total military spending, however the U.S.’s share of the world’s GDP is about 21 percent.
The Arms Trade is Big Business: In recent years, annual sales of arms reached 50-60 billion dollars
Source: Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, http://old.armscontrolcenter.org/archives/002279.php; our graph uses a more comparable figure of $515 from actual 2006 U.S. military spending
To print all information e.g. expanded side notes, shows alternative links, use the print version: http://www.globalissues.org/print/article/74
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man [Hardcover] by John Perkins (Author)
John Perkins started and stopped writing Confessions of an Economic Hit Man four times over 20 years. He says he was threatened and bribed in an effort to kill the project, but after 9/11 he finally decided to go through with this expose of his former professional life. Perkins, a former chief economist at Boston strategic-consulting firm Chas. T. Main, says he was an “economic hit man” for 10 years, helping U.S. intelligence agencies and multinationals cajole and blackmail foreign leaders into serving U.S. foreign policy and awarding lucrative contracts to American business. “Economic hit men (EHMs) are highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars,” Perkins writes. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man is an extraordinary and gripping tale of intrigue and dark machinations. Think John Le Carré, except it’s a true story. Perkins writes that his economic projections cooked the books Enron-style to convince foreign governments to accept billions of dollars of loans from the World Bank and other institutions to build dams, airports, electric grids, and other infrastructure he knew they couldn’t afford. The loans were given on condition that construction and engineering contracts went to U.S. companies. Often, the money would simply be transferred from one bank account in Washington, D.C., to another one in New York or San Francisco. The deals were smoothed over with bribes for foreign officials, but it was the taxpayers in the foreign countries who had to pay back the loans. When their governments couldn’t do so, as was often the case, the U.S. or its henchmen at the World Bank or International Monetary Fund would step in and essentially place the country in trusteeship, dictating everything from its spending budget to security agreements and even its United Nations votes. It was, Perkins writes, a clever way for the U.S. to expand its “empire” at the expense of Third World citizens. While at times he seems a little overly focused on conspiracies, perhaps that’s not surprising considering the life he’s led. –Alex Roslin
From Publishers Weekly
Perkins spent the 1970s working as an economic planner for an international consulting firm, a job that took him to exotic locales like Indonesia and Panama, helping wealthy corporations exploit developing nations as, he claims, a not entirely unwitting front for the National Security Agency. He says he was trained early in his career by a glamorous older woman as one of many “economic hit men” advancing the cause of corporate hegemony. He also says he has wanted to tell his story for the last two decades, but his shadowy masters have either bought him off or threatened him until now. The story as presented is implausible to say the least, offering so few details that Perkins often seems paranoid, and the simplistic political analysis doesn’t enhance his credibility. Despite the claim that his work left him wracked with guilt, the artless prose is emotionally flat and generally comes across as a personal crisis of conscience blown up to monstrous proportions, casting Perkins as a victim not only of his own neuroses over class and money but of dark forces beyond his control. His claim to have assisted the House of Saud in strengthening its ties to American power brokers may be timely enough to attract some attention, but the yarn he spins is ultimately unconvincing, except perhaps to conspiracy buffs. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.