The Middle East,
Changing the World
excerpted from the book
The Secret History of the American
the Truth about Economic Hit Men,
Jackals, and How to Change the World
by John Perkins
Plume Book, 2007, paperback
After peace was declared [WWII] , U.S. oil company executives
formulated a plan that would change the course of history. They
decided that it was in their best interests (and therefore the
country's!) to convince the president and congress to save U.S.
reserves for future wars and other emergencies. Why drain domestic
oil fields when those of other continents could be exploited?
In collaboration with U.K. and European companies, they persuaded
governments to grant them tax breaks and other incentives they
claimed were required to ensure domination of global petroleum
This decision-which has been endorsed
by every president and congress since-led to policies that have
redefined national borders, created kingdoms, and brought down
governments. Like gold, oil turned into a symbol of power and
the basis for valuing currencies; unlike gold, it is essential
to modern technologies-to the plastics, chemical, and computer
At first, it appeared that the oil executives'
plan would heap wealth on Third World oil-producing countries.
However, following in gold's footsteps, oil became an albatross.
Petroleum-rich countries were similar to prospectors in the boomtowns
of the Old West; as soon as they filed claims, they became the
targets of scoundrels and robber barons.
The lessons of Iran [overthrow of Mossadegh in 1953] were clear:
An empire could be built without the risks of war and at far less
expense. The CIA's tactics could be applied wherever resources
existed that the corporatocracy wanted.
... We turned the World Bank, the IMF,
and other "multinational" institutions into colonizing
tools. We negotiated lucrative deals for U.S. corporations, established
"free" trade agreements that blatantly served our exporters
at the expense of those in the Third World, and burdened other
countries with unmanageable debts. In effect, we created surrogate
governments that appeared to represent their people but in reality
were our servants.
... [with the Mossadegh overthrow in Iran]
the United States served notice that it was not a country to be
trusted, not the defender of democracy we portrayed ourselves
to be, and that our aim was not to help the Third World. We simply
wanted to control resources.
Washington's first ally in the struggle to defend the sovereignty
of the dollar was Israel. Most people, including the majority
of Israelis, believed that Tel Aviv's decision to launch attacks
against Egyptian, Syrian, and Jordanian troops along its borders
in what came to be known as the Six-Day War of 1967 was driven
by Israel's determination to protect its borders. Territorial
expansion was the most obvious outcome; by the end of that bloody
week, Israel had quadrupled its land holdings, at the expense
of people living in East Jerusalem, parts of the West Bank, Egypt's
Sinai, and Syria's Golan Heights. However, the Six-Day War served
Arabs were humiliated and infuriated by
the loss of their territories. Much of their anger was aimed at
the United States; they knew that Israel could never have succeeded
without American financial and political support, as well as the
not-so-veiled threat that our troops were standing by in the unlikely
event that Israel needed them. Few Arabs understood that Washington
had motives that were far more selfish than defending the Jewish
homeland, or that the White House would turn Arab anger to its
Nixon's second, and wholly unsuspecting,
ally was the entire Islamic Middle East. In response to the Six-Day
War of 1967, Egypt and Syria simultaneously attacked Israel on
October, 6, 1973
(Yom Kippur, the holiest of Jewish holidays). Knowing that strategically
he was on shaky ground, Egypt's President Anwar Sadat pressured
Saudi Arabia's King Faisal to strike against the United States
and therefore Israel in a -different way-by employing what Sadat
referred to as "the oil weapon." On October 16, Saudi
Arabia and four other Arab states in the Persian Gulf announced
a 70 percent increase in the posted price of oil; Iran (which
is Muslim but not Arab) in an act of Islamic solidarity joined
them. During the ensuing days, Arab oil ministers, agreeing that
the United States should be punished for its pro-Israel stance,
unanimously backed the idea of an oil embargo.
It was a classic game of international
chess. President Nixon asked Congress for $2.2 billion in aid
to Israel on October 19. The next day, led by Saudi Arabia, Arab
oil producers imposed a total embargo on oil shipments to the
United States. At the time, few people perceived the cunning behind
Washington's move, or the fact that it was driven by a determination
to shore up a weakened dollar. '(
The impact was immense. The selling price
of Saudi oil leaped to new records; by January 1, 1974, it had
soared to nearly seven times its price four years earlier. The
media warned that the U.S. economy was on the verge of collapse.
Long lines of cars formed at gas stations across the nation, while
economists expressed fears of the possibility of another 1929-style
depression. Protecting our oil supplies had been a priority; suddenly,
it became an obsession.
We know now that the corporatocracy played
an active role in driving oil prices to these record highs. Although
business and political leaders, including oil executives, feigned
outrage, they were the puppet masters pulling the strings. Nixon
and his advisors realized that the $2.2 billion aid package to
Israel would force the Arabs into taking drastic actions. By supporting
Israel, the administration engineered a situation that generated
what was the craftiest and most significant EHM deal of the twentieth
The U.S. Treasury Department contacted
MAIN and other firms with proven records as corporatocracy henchmen.
Our assignment was twofold: to formulate a strategy to ensure
that OPEC would funnel the billions of dollars we spent on oil
back to U.S. companies and to establish a new "oil standard"
that would replace the former "gold standard." We EHMs
knew that the key to any such plan was Saudi Arabia; because it
possessed more oil than any other country, it controlled OPEC;
the Saudi "royal" family was corrupt and highly vulnerable.
Like other "kings" in the Middle East, the Sauds understood
the politics of colonialism. Royalty had been bestowed on the
House of Saud by the British.
Details behind the strategy I helped engineer-the
Saudi Arabian Money-laundering Affair (SAMA) are provided in Confessions
of an Economic Hit Man. In summary, as far as the media was concerned,
the House of Saud agreed to three important conditions; it would:
1) invest a large portion of its petrodollars in U.S. government
securities; 2) allow the U.S. Treasury Department to use the trillions
of dollars in interest from these securities to hire U.S. corporations
to westernize Saudi Arabia; and 3) maintain the price of oil within
limits acceptable to the corporatocracy. For its part, the U.S.
government promised to keep the Saud family in power.
There was an additional agreement, one
that made few headlines but was crucial to the corporatocracy's
need to maintain the dollar as the standard global currency. Saudi
Arabia committed to trading oil exclusively in U.S. dollars. With
the scratch of a pen, the dollar's sovereignty was reestablished.
Oil replaced gold as the measure of a currency's value.
... a side benefit-one appreciated only
by the most savvy economists-also allowed Washington to continue
imposing a hidden tax on every foreign creditor. Because the dollar
reigned supreme, we bought their goods and services on credit.
By the time they used that credit to purchase oil (or something
else) from our companies, the value of their funds had diminished,
due to inflation; the difference between these amounts was cash-in-the-pocket
for the corporatocracy - a tax without the need for tax collectors.
... When Tel Aviv and Washington drove
the Arab world into a corner, Arabs had little choice but to strike
back, in the Yom Kippur War and through the OPEC embargo. This
propelled the U.S. Treasury Department into action. EHMs were
enlisted to forge a deal with Saudi Arabia that wed the dollar
to oil. The dollar was crowned king, and has reigned supreme ever
SAMA changed geopolitics. It helped bring
down the U.S.S.R., established the United States as an unchallenged
superpower, and angered Osama bin Laden, the Saudi millionaire
who would mastermind 9/Il.
a young Indonesian university English major - to John Perkins
The West, especially its leader, the U.S.,
is determined to take control of all the world, to become the
greatest empire in history. It has already gotten very close to
succeeding. The Soviet Union currently stands in its way, but
the Soviets will not endure. They have no religion, no faith,
no substance behind their ideology. History demonstrates that
faith-soul, a belief in higher powers-is essential. We Muslims
have it. We have it more than anyone else in the world, even more
than the Christians. So we wait. We grow strong.
... Stop being so greedy, and so selfish.
Realize that there is more to the world than your big houses and
fancy stores. People are starving and you worry about oil for
your cars. Babies are dying of thirst and you search the fashion
pages for the latest styles. Nations like ours are drowning in
poverty, but your people don't even hear our cries for help. You
shut your ears to the voices of those who try to tell you these
things. You label them radicals or Communists. You must open your
hearts to the poor and downtrodden, instead of driving them further
into poverty and servitude. There's not much time left. If you
don't change, you're doomed.
a Turkish college history professor at a hotel in Bandar-e-Abbas
to John Perkins
Jews are your watchdogs. You give them
nuclear warheads so they can keep us Muslims in our place. You
fund their army. The Palestinians have no army, just a few patriots.
They have no government, no land to live on.
"For you, Israelis all about domination,
about controlling oil. For the Jews, it is a dream - one that
will prove illusory. For Palestinians, it is their home - a home
they've been forced to vacate. For Arabs it is an enemy fortress
built on Arab lands. For Muslims everywhere, it is an insult,
a humiliation, a reason for us to hate you.
Throughout the 1980s, Washington supported Saddam's war on Iran.
Not only was he our vehicle for revenge against the ayatollahs
who had deposed the shah, stormed our embassy, humiliated American
hostages, and expelled our oil companies, but also he sat on the
world's second-largest oil reserves. The EHMs went to work on
him. We gave him billions of dollars. Bechtel built him chemical
plants that we knew would produce sarin and mustard gas for killing
Iranians, Kurds, and Shi'a rebels. We provided him with fighter
jets, tanks, and missiles and trained his military to operate
them. We pressured the Saudis and Kuwaitis to lend him $50 billion.
Watching events unfold in Iraq, I often
thought back to the words of that Iranian engineer who escorted
me and the other two MAIN employees from Kerman to Bandar-e Abbas.
"Iranians are not Arabs, we're Persians, Arians," he
had said. "The Arabs threaten us. We're with you guys 100
percent." Suddenly the tables had turned. The Iranians had
become the bad guys and an Arab named Saddam was our ally.
The eight-year Iraq-Iran war was one of
the longest, costliest, and bloodiest in modern history. By the
time it ended in 1988, more than a million people were dead. Villages,
farms, and the economies of both countries were devastated. But
the corporatocracy had enjoyed another victory. Military suppliers
and contractors profited handsomely. Oil prices were up. Throughout,
the EHMs tried to convince Saddam to accept a deal similar to
SAMA, the one I had helped forge with the House of Saud. They
wanted him to join the empire.
But Saddam kept refusing. If he had complied,
like the Saudis, he would have received our guarantees of protection
as well as more U.S.-supplied chemical plants and weapons. When
it became obvious that he was entrenched in his independent ways,
Washington sent in the jackals. Assassinations of men like Saddam,)usually
have to involve collusion by bodyguards. In the cases I knew personally
- Ecuador's Roldós and Panama's Torrijos - I was certain
that bodyguards trained at the United States' School of the Americas
were bribed to sabotage the airplanes. Saddam understood jackals
and their techniques. He had been hired by the CIA in the sixties
to assassinate Qasim and had learned from us, his ally, during
the eighties. He screened his men rigorously. He also hired look-alike
doubles. His bodyguards were never sure if they were protecting
him or an actor.
The jackals failed. So in 1991, Washington
chose the option of last resort. The first President Bush sent
in the U. S. military. At this point the White House did not want
to take Saddam out. He was their type of leader: a strongman who
could control his people and act as a deterrent against Iran.
The Pentagon assumed that by destroying his army, they had chastised
him; now he would come around. EHMs went back to work on him during
the nineties. He did not buy their package. Once again the jackals
failed. A second President Bush deployed the military. Saddam
was deposed and executed.
The corporatocracy thrives on an economy that depends on manufacturing
military equipment. Our arms companies rank among the world's
most profitable businesses.
The corporatocracy has managed to link the business of selling
death with international diplomacy. Example: Israel and Egypt
each receive billions of dollars every year from Washington because
they participated in the 1978 Camp David Peace Accords; as part
of this "peace" deal, they must earmark a large portion
of the money they are given for purchasing U. S. military equipment.
The EHMs and media moguls excelled at providing disinformation
that translated greed and domination into liberty and democracy.
They served the corporatocracy magnificently.
The corporatocracy reaped immense profits, regardless of all the
miscalculations - or, some would say, because of them. The War
Machine was a financial success even when it failed militarily;
U.S. contractors reaped windfall profits in Vietnam, Afghanistan,
and Iraq, as well as in dozens of other places suffering from
... the United States - the assassination of Patrice Lumumba in
the Congo, our support of dictators like Jonas Savimbi in Angola,
Mobutu Sese Seko and Laurent Kabila in the Congo, Abacha and Olusegun
Obasanjo in Nigeria, and Samuel Doe in Liberia, as well as recent
atrocities in Rwanda, the Sudan, and Liberia.
Forty-three of the fifty-three African nations suffer from chronic
hunger and low income levels; famine and drought periodically
plague large areas; mineral resources are exploited by foreign
industries that take advantage of lax regulations and corrupt
officials to avoid investing their profits locally, thus perpetuating
weak economies and incompetent governments; people are driven
to violence, ethnic conflict, and Civil War; three million children
die each year from hunger and hunger-related diseases; the average
life expectancy for the continent is forty-six, approximately
that of the United States in I900; and 45 percent of the population
is under the age of fifteen but will never realize their productive
potentials because of hunger, cholera, yellow fever, malaria,
tuberculosis, polio, HIV/AIDS, and war. Nearly thirty million
Africans suffer from HIV, and millions of children have been orphaned
Jenny Williams, worked with NGOs in Africa - emailed John Perkins
in September 2006
We're [NGOs} like a fig leaf that Western
governments hide behind when they don't have -or want - a diplomatic
or political solution," one [NGO] coworker told me. "In
any conflict, any crisis, who goes in first? Aid organizations
of course, so the West can say 'look, we're doing something,'
even if they don't really want to solve the real problems in the
... the West has a real stake in keeping
Africa poor. People in Western countries have sincere feelings
of charity and they have faith that aid works-but Western governments
and multi-national corporations reap enormous benefits from the
continued instability and destitution of African countries. The
successful manipulation of cheap labor and agricultural products,
smuggled resources, and arms trading relies on corrupt politicians,
prolonged warfare, and an underdeveloped civil society that lacks
the capacity to stand up for its rights. If there were peace and
transparency in the Congo, it would be much more difficult-if
not impossible-for foreign corporations to exploit the mineral
resources; f there were no rebel groups or tribal conflicts, there
would be no market for small arms.
... if the West truly wanted to see a
stable, developed Africa, the continent would be well on its way.
Instead, the situation is worse after decades of Western involvement
and billions of dollars of aid money.
Four million people have been killed in
what is euphemistically called the Democratic Republic of the
Congo (formerly Zaire) since 1998. They have died so that wealthier
people can buy inexpensive computers and cell phones. Although
the country won its independence from Belgium in 1960, it soon
fell under Washington's influence. TIME magazine, in a 2006 cover
story entitled "The Deadliest War In The World," stated
bluntly that Congo's "first elected Prime Minister (Lumumba)
had been killed by Belgian- and U.S.-backed opponents because
of his growing ties to the Soviet Union."
After Lumumba's assassination army general
Mobutu Sese Seko eventually took control. In TIME's words, "A
U.S. favorite during the cold war, Mobutu presided over one of
the most corrupt regimes in African history."
Mobutu's long rule was ruthless, as well
as corrupt, and deeply disturbing to neighboring countries. In
1996 and 1997, Rwanda and Uganda sent soldiers into Congo, overthrew
Mobutu, and installed the rebel leader, Laurant Kabila, as its
new president. However, social and economic conditions deteriorated
rapidly under Kabila's administration. Uganda and Rwanda invaded
again in 1998. Six other countries, seeing this as an opportunity
to take advantage of Congo's rich resources, joined what became
known as Africa's first world war.
Ethnic, cultural, and tribal conflicts
played a role in the war; however, mostly it is a struggle over
resources. According to TIME: Congo's "soils are packed with
diamonds, gold, copper, tantalum (known locally as coltan and
used in electronic devices such as cell phones and laptop computers)
and uranium." The country is vast-about one and a half times
the size of Alaska-and is covered in many places with lush tropical
forests and fertile agricultural lands. As I had discovered in
conducting my studies of this region, the waters of the Congo
River have the potential of providing hydroelectric power to much
of the continent.
Without Congo's tantalum, we would not
have many of our computer-based products (for example, a tantalum
shortage resulted in the scarcity of the Sony PlayStation 2 during
the 2000 Christmas season). Militias from Rwanda and Uganda may
justify invasions on the grounds that they are defending their
people against rebels, but they earn billions of dollars from
the tantalum they collect and smuggle across borders during these
EHMs, jackals, and government agents from
the United States, the United Kingdom, and South Africa constantly
flame the fires of conflict. Fortunes are made from arms sales
to all sides. War enables corporations to dodge the scrutiny of
human rights and environmental groups and avoid paying taxes and
Congo is but one of many places where
similar things are happening. U.S. congresswoman Cynthia McKinney
(D-Georgia) exposed many aspects of this "Anglophone conspiracy"
during a hearing she chaired on April 16, 200! Her opening statement
included the following indictment:
Much of what you will hear today has
not been widely reported in the public media. Powerful forces
have fought to suppress these stories from entering the public
The investigations into the activities
of Western governments and Western businessmen in post-colonial
Africa provide clear evidence of the West's long-standing propensity
for cruelty, avarice, and treachery. The misconduct of Western
nations in Africa is not due to momentary lapses, individual defects,
or errors of common human frailty. Instead, they form part of
long-term policy designed to access and plunder Africa's wealth
at the expense of its people.
... at the heart of Africa's suffering
is the West's, and most notably the United States', desire to
access Africa's diamonds, oil, natural gas, and other precious
resources.. . the West, and most notably the United States, has
set in motion a policy of oppression, destabilization and tempered,
not by moral principle, but by a ruthless desire to enrich itself
on Africa's fabulous wealth... Western countries have incited
rebellion against stable African governments ... have even actively
participated in the assassination of duly elected and legitimate
African Heads of State and replaced them with corrupted and malleable
Although the United Nations has committed to halting the bloodshed
in Congo (in the summer of 2006, the largest U.N. force in the
world was stationed there), the United States and other G8 countries
have not cooperated. In TIME's words:
... the world has been willing to let
Congo bleed. Since 2000, the U.N. spent billions on its peacekeeping
mission in Congo... In February the U.N. and aid groups working
in Congo asked for $682 million in humanitarian funds. So far,
they have received just $94 million-or $9.40 for every person
former Peace Corps volunteer Cindy Platt to John Perkins
... USAID and Monsanto were working together
to rewrite Malian legislation. We learned directly from someone
inside USAID-Mali that the U.S. government agency is working with
Monsanto to write into the Malian constitution language that will
allow the introduction, sale, and patent rights of GMO crops.
... By allowing American farmers to sell
their cotton at artificially low prices, our government undercuts
African producers in world markets. African farmers often have
to store their cotton for a year or more and then may be forced
to sell at rock-bottom prices, or not at all. To make matters
worse, our 'experts' are persuading farmers to shift from food
crops to cotton, as a cash crop.
former Peace Corps volunteer Greg Platt
... economic development in Mali is driven
by corporate interests. The faces of the development organizations
appear benevolent. They depict themselves as aid organizations
that work to improve the lives of these folks. However, the publicity
campaigns serve to mask their true intentions, the control of
natural and human resources and the domination of markets. Because
economic development in Mali is corporate driven, the process
is not democratic. The great majority of programs are not requested,
initiated, managed, or governed by Malians. The results are often
devastating, leaving Mali in worse economic and social situations
than before. Furthermore, the development industry has created
a large sector of highly paid foreigners who live luxurious lives
and who are out of touch with the very people they are supposed
former Peace Corps volunteer Greg Platt
In general the good ones [NGOs] work directly
with local people - the little guys. Their employees speak the
language and live like their constituents.
We have allowed ourselves to be drugged into a stupor of self-deception.
We succumb to television ads hawking cheap diamonds and gold.
We brag about declining prices for laptops and cell phones. We
waste gasoline and complain when the prices rise. We sweep the
faces of diamond and gold miners and children poisoned by oil
spills under the rug of materialistic greed.
We forget that our own children will inherit
that rug. They will be called upon to replace it. They will have
to clean up the terrible messes we leave behind.
... the corporation enjoys the same rights as a living person
under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. This concept
was upheld in 1886 by the Supreme Court in Santa Clara County
v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company and has been a fact of law
In actual practice, corporations are the opposite of good citizens.
They bribe politicians to write laws that cheat society on a mammoth
scale, most significantly by allowing them to avoid paying many
of the very real costs incurred in conducting their businesses.
What economists refer to as "externalities" are left
out of pricing calculations. These include the social and environmental
costs of destruction of valuable resources, pollution, the burdens
on society of workers who become injured or ill and receive little
or no health care, the indirect funding received when companies
are permitted to market hazardous products, dump wastes into oceans
and rivers, pay employees less than a living wage, provide substandard
working conditions, and extract natural resources from public
lands at less-than-market prices. Furthermore, most corporations
are dependent on public subsidies, exemptions, massive advertising
and lobbying campaigns, and complex transportation and communications
systems that are underwritten by taxpayers; their executives receive
inflated salaries, perks, and "golden retirement parachutes,"
which are written off as tax deductions.
Under proper accounting all these "externalities"
would be factored into the costs of products. Those goods and
services that are inherently "clean" would also be the
cheapest. Consumers would pay a premium for products that strain
the environment and society; the price would include funds for
correcting the damage. In a truly "free" market economy,
these very real costs would be "internalized"-included.
But they are not. Why? Because accounting firms are not obligated
to enforce sound accounting principles; they only need to adhere
to those required by the laws-which are written by politicians
who are dependent on the corporatocracy.
Modern corporations have all the rights
of individuals but none of the responsibilities. In fact, they
are licensed to steal. From an economic standpoint, there is simply
no other word for it. They plunder the poor and future generations
in order to further enrich the wealthy.
Because of corporatocracy policies and actions...
* More than half the world's population
survives on less than $2 a day-about the same real income as they
had thirty years ago.
* More than two billion people lack access
to basic amenities, including electricity, clean water, sanitation,
land titles, phones, police, and fire protection.
* There is a 55-60 percent failure rate
for all World Bank-sponsored projects (according to a study by
the joint Economic Committee of U.S. Congress).
* The cost of servicing Third World debt
is greater than all Third World spending on health or education
and nearly two times the amount those countries receive each year
in foreign aid. Despite current lip service to forgiving it, Third
World debt grows every year, currently approaching $3 trillion.
The record is not encouraging. During the 1996 round of "debt
forgiveness," the G7 countries, IMF, and World Bank announced
a cancellation of up to 8o percent in HIPC (Heavily Indebted Poor
Countries) debt, but between 1996 and 1999 the overall amount
of debt-servicing payments from HIPC actually increased by 25
percent, from $88.6 billion to $114.4 billion.
* A trade surplus of $' billion for developing
countries in the 1970S turned into an $u billion deficit at the
beginning of the new millennium and continues to grow.
* Ownership of Third World wealth is more
concentrated than it was before the 1970s era of massive infrastructure
development and the 1990S privatization wave. In many countries,
the top r percent of households now accounts for more than 90
percent of all private wealth.
* Transnational corporations have taken
control over much of the production and commerce in developing
countries. For exampie, 40 percent of the world's coffee is traded
by just four companies while thirty supermarket chains account
for almost one-third of worldwide grocery sales. A handful of
oil and other resource-extractive companies control not only the
markets but also the governments of countries that possess the
* Corporate greed was highlighted when
Exxon Mobil announced another record-breaking profit, $10.4 billion,
in the second quarter of 2006-the second biggest profit ever reported
by a U.S. company, surpassed only by Exxon's $10.7 billion in
the fourth quarter of 2005; both were years when rising oil prices
caused intense suffering among the world's poor. Oil companies
are highly subsidized through tax breaks, trade agreements, and
international environmental and labor laws that favor them.
* The overall share of federal taxes paid
by U.S. corporations is now less than 10 percent, down from 21
percent in 2001, and more than o percent during World War II.
One-third of America's largest and most profitable corporations
paid zero taxes in at least one of the first three years in the
new millennium. In 2002 U.s. corporations booked $149 billion
in tax-haven countries such as Ireland, Bermuda, Luxembourg, and
* Of the one hundred largest economies
in the world, fifty-one are corporations. Of these, forty-seven
* At least thirty-four thousand children
under five years old die every day from hunger or preventable
* The United States and many of the countries
Washington touts as democracies exhibit the following undemocratic
characteristics: the media is manipulated by huge corporations
and the government; politicians are beholden to wealthy campaign
contributors; and policies made "behind closed doors"
ensure that voters are not informed about key issues.
* When the international treaty to ban
land mines was passed by the U.N. in 1997' by a vote of 142-0,
the United States abstained; the United States refused to ratify
the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, the International
Biological Weapons Convention, the Kyoto Protocol, and an International
* Global military spending reached a new
record high of $1.1 trillion in 2006, with the United States accounting
for nearly half of that (averaging $i,600 for every U.S. man,
woman, and child).
* The United States was ranked #53 011
the World Press Freedom list in 2006 (compared to #17 in 2002)
and has been severely criticized by Reporters Without Borders
and other NGOs for jailing and intimidating journalists.
* The U.S. national debt (amount of money
owed by the U.S. federal government to creditors who hold U.S.
debt instruments), the largest in the world, reached $8.5 trillion
in August 2006 or $28,500 for every U.S. citizen; it was increasing
by $1.7 billion a day. A large percentage of this debt is held
by the central banks of Japan and China and by members of the
EU, rendering us extremely vulnerable to them.
* U.S. external debt (total public and
private debt owed to non-residents repayable in foreign currency,
goods, or services) is also the largest in the world, estimated
at $9 trillion in 2005. (It is noteworthy that Washington uses
the National and External Debts of other countries as weapons,
forcing their governments to comply with corporatocracy demands
or face bankruptcy, economic sanctions, and severe IMF-imposed
"conditionalities"; yet the United States is the largest
debtor nation in the world.
Secret History of the American Empire