• John Christensen worked for a trust company on the offshore banking haven of Jersey, one of Britain’s Channel Islands. There he found himself at the center of the EHM world, part of a global offshore banking industry that facilitates tax evasion, money laundering, and capital flight. In “Dirty Money” he reveals the workings of a system that enables the theft of billions from Third World (and First World) citizens; the lures of an opulent lifestyle; and why he decided to get out.
• The Bank of Credit and Commerce International was for two decades was a key player in offshore/underground banking. It provided off-the-books/illegal transactions for a startling range of customers—from the CIA to the Medellín cartel to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. In “BCCI’s Double Game,” Lucy Komisar recounts the bank’s rapid rise and fall—and its $13 billion bankruptcy.
• Congo remains one of the world’s poorest countries and is caught in a civil war that has cost at least 4 million lives over the last ten years, with western multinationals financing militias and warlords to ensure access to gold, diamonds, and coltan. In “The Human Cost of Cheap Cell Phones,” Kathleen Kern provides an eyewitness account of the high price the Congolese have paid to bring cheap electronics to First World consumers.
• Some 30 percent of America’s supply of oil is expected to come from Africa in the next ten years, but U.S. and UK oil companies will be competing with China for access to Niger Delta reserves. Local communities have been campaigning to gain a share of this new wealth and to prevent environmental destruction of their region. In “Mercenaries on the Front Lines in the New Scramble for Africa,” Andrew Rowell and James Marriott tell how a British expat security officer found himself in the middle of this struggle for oil and power.
• According to most estimates Iraq has the world’s second largest oil reserves—and access to Iraq’s oil has been one of the essential elements of U.S. foreign policy. The occupation regime is planning to sign oil production sharing agreements with U.S. and UK companies that will cost the Iraqi people $200 billion that they need to rebuild their country. In “Hijacking Iraq’s Oil Reserves,” Greg Muttitt reveals the EHM behind this high-level hit.
• “Have you brought the money?” a Liberian official asked World Bank staffer Steve Berkman, clearly expecting him to hand over a satchel full of cash. In “The World Bank and the $100 Billion Question,” Berkman provides an insider’s account of how and why the Bank looks the other way as corrupt elites steal funds intended for development aid.
• In the 1970s, the Philippines were a showcase for the World Bank’s debt-based model of development and modernization. In “The Philippines, The World Bank, and the Race to the Bottom,” Ellen Augustine tells how billions in loans were central to U.S. efforts to prop up the Marcos dictatorship, with the World Bank serving as a conduit.
• Export credit agencies have a single job: to enrich their countries’ corporations by making it easier for poor countries to buy their products and services. In “Exporting Destruction,” Bruce Rich turns a spotlight on the secretive world of ECAs and the damage they have caused in selling nuclear plants to countries that cannot manage them and pushing arms in war-torn regions.
• The G8 finance ministers announced before their Gleneagles meeting that they had agreed on $40 billion of debt relief for eighteen Third World countries. In “The Mirage of Debt Relief,” James S. Henry, a former international banker, shows how little debt relief has actually been granted—and why dozens of countries remain caught in the West’s debt trap.
Feel free to read the chapters according to your interests. Skip around, focus on one geographic area at a time or on one particular discipline, if you wish. Then turn to Antonia Juhasz’s “Global Uprising” to learn what you can do to resist global domination by the corporatocracy.
As you read, please allow yourself to think about and feel the implications of the actions described for the world and for our children and grandchildren. Permit your passions to rise to the surface. Feel compelled to take action. It is essential that we—you and I—do something. We must transform our country back into one that reflects the values of our Declaration of Independence and the other principles we were raised to honor and defend. We must begin today to re-create the world the corporatocracy has inflicted on us.
This book presents a series of snapshots of the tools used by EHMs to create the world’s first truly global empire. They are, however, a mere introduction to the many nefarious deeds that have been committed by the corporate elite—often in the name of altruism and progress. During the post–World War II period, we EHMs managed to turn the “last, best hope for democracy,” in Lincoln’s words, into an empire that does not flinch at inflicting brutal and often totalitarian measures on people who have resources we covet.
After reading the chapters you will have a better understanding of why people around the world fear, resent, and even hate us. As a result of the corporatocracy’s policies, an average of 24,000 people die every day from hunger; tens of thousands more—mostly children—die from curable diseases because they cannot afford available medicines. More than half the world’s population lives on less than $2 a day, not nearly enough to cover basic necessities in most places. In essence our economic system depends on modern versions of human exploitation that conjure images of serfdom and slavery.
We must put an end to this. You and I must do the right thing. We must understand that our children will not inherit a stable, safe, and sustainable world unless we change the terrible conditions that have been created by EHMs. All of us must look deep into our hearts and souls and decide what it is we can best do. Where are our strengths? What are our passions?