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Page 1

Confessions of an
Economic Hit Man

John Perkins

B E R R E T T - K O E H L E R P U B L I S H E R S , I N C .

San Francisco

a BK Currents book

Page 2

Copyright (o 2004 by John Perkins
A l l rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or
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L I B R A R Y O F C O N G R E S S C A T A L O O I N G - I N - F U B L I C A T I O N D A T A

Perkins, John, 1945
Confessions of an economic hit man / by John Perkins,

p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN-10:1-57675-301-8: ISBN-13: 978-1-57675-301-9
I. Perkins, John. 1945- 2. United States. National Security Agency—Biography.
3. Economists—United States—Biography. 4. Energy consultants—United S t a t e s -
Biography. 5. Intelligence agents—United States—Biography. 6. Chas. T. M a i n , Inc.
7. Wor ld Bank—Developing countries. 8. Corporations, American—Foreign countries.
9. Corporations, American—Corrupt practices. 10. Imperialism—History—20th century.
II . Imperialism—History—21st century I. Title.
UB271.U52P47 2004
332' .042 '092 -dc22
[ B ] 2004045,353
First Edi t ion
09 08 07 06 05 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11
Cover design by Mark van Bronkhorst. Interior design by Valerie Brewster.
Copyediting by Todd Manza. Indexing by Rachel Rice.

Page 134

route to surpassing Hit ler in the realms of evil. H e does this with the
full knowledge and support of your government."

"Why is that?" I asked.
"Quite simple. H e is your only real ally i n the M i d d l e East, and

the industrial world rotates on the axle of oi l that is the Midd le East.
Oh , you have Israel, o f course, but that's actually a l iabil ity to you,
not an asset. A n d no oi l there. Your politicians must placate the Jew-
ish vote, must get their money to finance campaigns. So you're stuck
with Israel, I'm afraid. However, Iran is the key. Your oi l companies
— which carry even more power than the Jews — need us. You need
our shah — or you th ink you do, just as you thought you needed
South Vietnam's corrupt leaders."

'Are you suggesting otherwise? Is Iran the equivalent to Vietnam?"
"Potentially much worse. You see, this shah won't last much

longer. The M u s l i m wor ld hates h im. N o t just the Arabs, but M u s -
lims everywhere — Indonesia, the Uni ted States, but mostly right
here, his own Persian people." There was a thumping sound and I
realized that he had struck the side of his chair. "He is evi l ! We
Persians hate him." Then silence. I could hear only his heavy breath-
ing, as though the exertion had exhausted h i m .

"Doc is very close to the mullahs," Yamin said to me, his voice low
and calm. "There is a huge undercurrent among the religious factions
here and it pervades most of our country, except for a handful of
people i n the commercial classes who benefit from the shah's

"I don't doubt you," I said. "But I must say that during four visits
here, I've seen nothing of it. Everyone I talk wi th seems to love the
shah, to appreciate the economic upsurge."

"You don't speak Farsi," Yamin observed. "You hear only what is
told to you by those men who benefit the most. The ones who have
been educated i n the States or i n England end up working for the
shah. Doc here is an exception — now."

He paused, seeming to ponder his next words. "It's the same wi th
your press. They only talk wi th the few who are his k i n , his circle. O f
course, for the most part, your press is also controlled by oi l . So they
hear what they want to hear and write what their advertisers want
to read."

"Why are we telling you al l this, M r . Perkins?" Doc's voice was
even more hoarse than before, as i f the effort of speaking and the

Confessions of a Tortured M a n 115

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emotions were draining what little energy the man had mustered for
this meeting. "Because we'd like to convince you to get out and to
persuade your company to stay away from our country. We want
to warn you that although you may think you ' l l make a great deal of
money here, it's an i l lusion. This government w i l l not last." Again , I
heard the sound of his hand thudding against the chair. "And when
it goes, the one that replaces it w i l l have no sympathy for you and
your kind."

"You're saying we won't be paid?"
Doc broke down in a fit of coughing. Yamin went to h i m and

rubbed his back. W h e n the coughing ended, he spoke to Doc in Farsi
and then came back to his seat.

"We must end this conversation," Y a m i n said to me. "In answer to
your question: yes, you wi l l not be paid. You ' l l do al l that work, and
when it comes time to collect your fees, the shah w i l l be gone."

D u r i n g the drive back, I asked Yamin why he and Doc wanted to
spare M A I N the financial disaster he had predicted.

"We'd be happy to see your company go bankrupt. However, we'd
rather see you leave Iran. Just one company like yours, walking away,
could start a trend. That's what we're hoping. You see, we don't want
a bloodbath here, but the shah must go, and we'll try anything that
wi l l make that easier. So we pray to A l l a h that you' l l convince your
M r . Zambott i to get out while there is st i l l time."

"Why me?"
"I knew during our dinner together, when we spoke of the F l o w -

ering Desert project, that you were open to the truth. I knew that our
information about you was correct —you are a man between two
worlds, a man i n the middle."

It made me wonder just how much he d id know about me.

116 Part III: 1975-1981

Page 268

role partly i n response to a series of not-so-veiled threats and lucra-
tive payoffs.

After selling IPS i n 1990, John became a champion for indigenous
rights and environmental movements, working especially closely
w i t h A m a z o n tribes to help them preserve their rain forests. He
wrote five books, published i n many languages, about indigenous
cultures, shamanism, ecology, and sustainabilify; taught at universities
and learning centers on four continents; and founded and served on
the board of directors of several leading nonprofit organizations.

One of the nonprofit organizations he founded and chaired,
Dream Change Coalit ion (later simply Dream Change, or DC) , be-
came a model for inspiring people to attain their personal goals and,
at the same time, to be more conscious of the impacts their lives have
on others and on the planet. D C seeks to empower individuals to
create more balanced and sustainable communities. D C s Pollution
Offset Lease for Earth ( P O L E ) program offsets the atmospheric pol-
lution we each create, helps indigenous people preserve their forests,
and promotes earth-honoring changes i n consciousness. D C has de-
veloped a following around the wor ld and has inspired people in
many countries to form organizations wi th s imilar missions.

About the Author 249

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D u r i n g the 1990s and into the new mi l l ennium, John honored
his vow of silence about his E H M life and continued to receive l u -
crative corporate consulting fees. H e assuaged his guilt by applying
to his nonprofit work much of the money he earned as a consultant.
Arts & Entertainment television featured h i m in a special titled
"Headhunters of the Amazon," narrated by Leonard Nimoy. I t a l i a n
C o s m o p o l i t a n ran a major article on his "Shapeshifting" workshops
i n Europe. T I M E magazine selected Dream Change as one of the
thirteen organizations i n the wor ld whose Web sites best reflect the
ideals and goals of Ear th Day.

Then came September 11, 2001. The terrible events of that day
convinced John to drop the veil of secrecy around his life as an
E H M , to ignore the threats and bribes, and to write C o n f e s s i o n s of
a n E c o n o m i c H i t M a n . H e came to believe in his responsibility to
share his insider knowledge about the role the U.S. government,
mult inational "aid" organizations, and corporations have played i n
br inging the wor ld to a place where such an event could occur. H e
wanted to expose the fact that E H M s are more ubiquitous today than
ever before. H e felt he owed this to his country, to his daughter, to al l
the people around the world who suffer because of the work he and
his peers have done, and to himself. In this book, he outlines the
dangerous path his country is taking as it moves away from the
original ideals of the Amer i can republic and toward a quest for
global empire.

Previous books by John Perkins include S h a p e s / l i f t i n g , T h e W o r l d
I s A s You D r e a m I t , P s y c h o n a v i g a t i o n , T h e S t r e s s - F r e e H a b i t , and
S p i r i t o f t h e S h u a r .

To learn more about John, to find out where he is lecturing, to order
his books, or to contact h i m , please go to his Web site:

To discover more about the work of Dream Change, the 501(c)3
nonprofit that is transforming global consciousness, please visit:

250 Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

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