New Civilization News: Pillage of Baghdad    
 Pillage of Baghdad8 comments
2 Nov 2004 @ 08:13, by Robert Oveson

Tonight on CBc's "Ideas" Naomi Klein gave a talk on her one month journalism expedition to Baghdad last April, the details which can be found in this Harpers magazine article Baghdad Year Zero, but I liked the radio title better, "War and Fleece." This article clears up a lot of mysteries about what and why is currently happening in Iraq.

Naomi opened her talk by saying she was going to discuss the details of an illegal invasion and occupation by fundamentalist terrorist, and that these were economic fundamentalists and the terrorists were the United States government. She said it wasn't true that Bush didn't have a post war plan, he had a plan, it just wasn't a good plan. The plan was to disappear the previous culture and in its place install a "gleaming showroom for laissez-faire economics, a utopia such as the world had never seen. Every policy that liberates multinational corporations to pursue their quest for profit would be put into place: a shrunken state, a flexible workforce, open borders, minimal taxes, no tariffs, no ownership restrictions."

Paul Bremmer lead the US occupation of Iraq from May 2 2003, and initiated an economic and cultural shock and awe campaign to the reconstruction. In one summer he was able to make more changes in Iraq than the IMF had been able to make in three decades in Latin America. While the fires were still burning, his first job was to fire 500,000 state workers (without even giving them back pay), and With unemployment running at 67% and no social assistance. Back in the western world we hear of $18 billion in reconstruction but there were no cranes, no bulldozers, no electricity in Baghdad, but in the military controlled green zone construction was going non-stop on 16 permanent military bases. Then within a month Bremmer had thrown the doors of the country wide open to unrestricted foriegn investment. The theory of placing an entire country under such an extreme state of shock that the population would be unable to resist was based on the same torture theory for individuals, and it's worth while reading the article for the details.

Iraqi exciles that were pushing for the invasion were divided into two camps, the pragmatists "who favored getting rid of Saddam and his immediate entourage, securing access to oil, and slowly introducing free-market reforms"; and the Year Zero camp "who believed that Iraq was so contaminated that it needed to be rubbed out and remade from scratch. The prime advocate of the pragmatic approach was Iyad Allawi, a former high-level Baathist who fell out with Saddam and started working for the CIA. The prime advocate of the Year Zero approach was Ahmad Chalabi, whose hatred of the Iraqi state for expropriating his family’s assets during the 1958 revolution ran so deep he longed to see the entire country burned to the ground—everything, that is, but the Oil Ministry, which would be the nucleus of the new Iraq, the cluster of cells from which an entire nation would grow."

On the American side of the table the pragmatists were Colin Powel and the military generals who wanted to hold quick and dirty elections and then establish permanent military bases on the model of the Phillipines. The PNAC crowd wanted this plus an idealist free market that delivered everything on a multinational corporation's wishlist.

One problem with the pillage plan was that it was illegal. UN resolution 1483 did give US and Britian the position of legal occupiers but there was also the provision that they had to abide by the Geneva convention and the Hague resolutions, both of which had safeguards to prevent this kind of massive theft. The corporations were reluctant to come swarming in to the newly opened market because the insurance companies wouldn't give them political risk insurance against future nationalization.

Time is ticking away and the privatization of Iraq, with it's 40 year contracts needs to get in place before the elected government takes over in the promised six months which was the original plan A. The reason for the alternate plan B of the appointed interim government, ala Allawi was to create a loophole and solve the resolution 1483 problem. The interim government could make the privatization deals and subsequent governments would be stuck with them for the next 40 years. This was why the people were so adamant about not having the interim government and why they wanted an election rather than a selection.

Naomi delivered a great talk and cleared up a lot of little mysteries about why the neo-cons continue to keep repeating lies that have already been proved to be untrue, namely because there are serious legal implications down the road once this finally lands up in the world courts, and it will land up in the world courts. My personal opinion is that the only thing that can delay this is by Bush staying in power and which is why I think he will steal the election tomorrow and it will be the last election the US has for a long time.


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8 comments

2 Nov 2004 @ 11:36 by shawa : *
Read. :-)  


2 Nov 2004 @ 14:56 by othomas : The Problem of Power
It becomes obvious as we continue on our various paths! As it has been said, "Power corrupts." In this case is the governmental military power to install a corporate power structure. Corporate power is sometimes, maybe most times, exercised without attention to nurture for the people in lower positions, workers and lower executives. Who among us has a method to teach that we must learn to care or others in equal measure to our care for ourselves? I am very happy to learn that some corporate employees are withdrawing from the takeover plans in order to save their own lives.  


2 Nov 2004 @ 18:13 by ov : Baghdad
Thanks Shawa, it is an interesting read and there was so much in that article that I hadn't heard of before. Maybe my attention was focused in other areas but I think I keep on top of the political news closer than most people. The war news gets all the coverage and the politics beneath it all gets squat. We are left to think that ancient civil war sqabbles are delaying an election and those primitives don't even deserve an election, while what is really happening is an effort to delay the elections until the country has been looted and the deed to the property has been signed over to the same theives that stole all the furniture.

I agree Thomas. The corporate people that are over there should realize that they are entering into a war zone. Plus taking them hostage and creating a dangerous environment seems to be the only thing they understand. The allies kill 100,000 civilians in collatoral damage and that doesn't bat an eye, but a few dozen expatriat carpetbaggers get killed and it provokes moral outrage. It sure would be nice to get some balanced reporting from the mainstream.  



8 Nov 2004 @ 19:51 by ov : Posted at Smirking Chimp
Insurgent is a popular word these days and both those for and against the war in Iraq are using it and in so doing the word has become tacitly legitimized.

My Webster's defines insurgent as a rebel against a lawful government or civil authority, and it is the idea of lawful that is the precedent setting hook. In WWII there was the French resistance, and the French Underground, and these people were defending their country against enemy invaders; they weren't rebelling against a lawful government. So what makes the Iraqi situation different from the WWII French.

Naomi Klein provides a big clue in her recent article written for Harpers concerning the pillaging of Baghdad, and selling off of Iraqi resources to multinational corporations. www.harpers.org/BaghdadYearZero.html

The original reconstruction plan was for democratic elections to be held six months after the end of the Iraqi invasion. UN resolution 1483 granted that US and Britian were legitimate occupiers of Iraq, but that they also had to comply with the Geneva Convention and Hague Regulations, both of which said that the occupiers couldn't economically strip the country. The plan to lock all of Iraqi assets into forty year contracts with foriegn investers was illegal, and this is why it was necessary to create the legal loophole with the creation of an interim government, so that these contracts could be locked in and couldn't be overturned at a later date by nationalization.

The Iraqi people would never have allowed the wholesale selling off of their country but that was the primary function of the US selected puppet government.

There is a big race going on right now to sell off Iraq before the elections. These so called insurgents are actually trying to prevent their country being stolen from them, and not just the furniture and stuff that can be carted away in the middle of the night, but the deed to the property as well.

The battle in Iraq is about the people refusing to acknowledge that these carpet baggers are a legitimate government. The fight is the refusal to accept the label of insurgent, and to retain the legal right for them to own their own country.

There are no insurgents in Iraq regardless of how many Western pundits make the claim.  



24 Apr 2007 @ 20:42 by mike @67.166.225.219 : Bush
Oh Naomi or Or Bob Ovison! you both sound like pimply faced sophmoric dorks that are still upset over Bush's legal elections. What the heck would you have him do in Iraq, just blow it up. Of course he's trying to build a democracy since they tend to be stable. Not many democratic countries go to war agains eachother. Maybe this is his reasoning. Get a life and a job. Mike in ATL  


1 May 2007 @ 03:13 by ov : A Bush Apologist
How quaint. How's that working out for you Mike, going around and defending the Bushter, when even his own clan can't keep the secret that he is being groomed for patsy and scapegoat?

First off, Bush never should have entered Iraq in the first place, as anybody would have known that has looked at the evidence, or heard Scott Ritter speak. As it stands now I think the US should just get out. They should also open up a two hundred billion dollar account with the world bank that would allow Iraq to hire whoever they wanted to rebuild their country, which wouldn't be Bectel or Halliburton considering the shoddy job done so far.

Besides, the States has a big problem of its own right now, paying for the disability from depleted uranium that the vast majority of the Gulf War veterans are dying with. That, and the US dollar about to tank bigger than the Weimar mark, as soon as China gets fed up with them and stops bailing them out to the tune of two billion dollars a day. No morals, no money, no moxie, yup the US has problems enough without adding to them in Iraq.  



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