Finny's News and Views.: REBUILDING IRAQ by: Naomi Klein    
 REBUILDING IRAQ by: Naomi Klein8 comments
13 Apr 2003 @ 21:48, by John Finn

Rebuilding Iraq? It's privatization in disguise by Naomi Klein; April 13, 2003



On April 6, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz spelled it out: There will be no role for the United Nations in setting up an interim government in Iraq. The US-run regime will last at least six months, "probably...longer than that."

And by the time the Iraqi people have a say in choosing a government, the key economic decisions about their country's future will have been made by their occupiers. "There has got to be an effective administration from day one," Wolfowitz said. "People need water and food and medicine, and the sewers have to work, the electricity has to work. And that's a coalition responsibility."

The process of getting all this infrastructure to work is usually called "reconstruction." But American plans for Iraq's future economy go well beyond that. Rather, the country is being treated as a blank slate on which the most ideological Washington neoliberals can design their dream economy: fully privatized, foreign-owned and open for business.

Some highlights: The $4.8 million management contract for the port in Umm Qasr has already gone to a US company, Stevedoring Services of America, and the airports are on the auction block. The US Agency for International Development has invited US multinationals to bid on everything from rebuilding roads and bridges to printing textbooks. Most of these contracts are for about a year, but some have options that extend up to four. How long before they meld into long-term contracts for privatized water services, transit systems, roads, schools and phones? When does reconstruction turn into privatization in disguise?

California Republican Congressman Darrel Issa has introduced a bill that would require the Defense Department to build a CDMA cell-phone system in postwar Iraq in order to benefit "US patent holders." As Farhad Manjoo noted in Salon, CDMA is the system used in the United States, not Europe, and was developed by Qualcomm, one of Issa's most generous donors.

And then there's oil. The Bush Administration knows it can't talk openly about selling off Iraq's oil resources to ExxonMobil and Shell. It leaves that to Fadhil Chalabi, a former Iraq petroleum ministry official. "We need to have a huge amount of money coming into the country," Chalabi says. "The only way is to partially privatize the industry."

He is part of a group of Iraqi exiles who have been advising the State Department on how to implement that privatization in such a way that it isn't seen to be coming from the United States. Helpfully, the group held a conference on April 4-5 in London, where it called on Iraq to open itself up to oil multinationals after the war. The Administration has shown its gratitude by promising there will be plenty of posts for Iraqi exiles in the interim government.

Some argue that it's too simplistic to say this war is about oil. They're right. It's about oil, water, roads, trains, phones, ports and drugs. And if this process isn't halted, "free Iraq" will be the most sold country on earth. It's no surprise that so many multinationals are lunging for Iraq's untapped market. It's not just that the reconstruction will be worth as much as $100 billion; it's also that "free trade" by less violent means hasn't been going that well lately. More and more developing countries are rejecting privatization, while the Free Trade Area of the Americas, Bush's top trade priority, is wildly unpopular across Latin America. World Trade Organization talks on intellectual property, agriculture and services have all bogged down amid accusations that America and Europe have yet to make good on past promises.

So what is a recessionary, growth-addicted superpower to do? How about upgrading Free Trade Lite, which wrestles market access through backroom bullying, to Free Trade Supercharged, which seizes new markets on the battlefields of pre-emptive wars? After all, negotiations with sovereign nations can be hard. Far easier to just tear up the country, occupy it, then rebuild it the way you want. Bush hasn't abandoned free trade, as some have claimed, he just has a new doctrine: "Bomb before you buy."

It goes further than one unlucky country. Investors are openly predicting that once privatization of Iraq takes root, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait will be forced to compete by privatizing their oil. "In Iran, it would just catch like wildfire," S. Rob Sobhani, an energy consultant, told the Wall Street Journal. Soon, America may have bombed its way into a whole new free-trade zone.

So far, the press debate over the reconstruction of Iraq has focused on fair play: It is "exceptionally maladroit," in the words of the European Union's Commissioner for External Relations, Chris Patten, for the United States to keep all the juicy contracts for itself. It has to learn to share: ExxonMobil should invite France's TotalFinaElf to the most lucrative oilfields; Bechtel should give Britain's Thames Water a shot at the sewer contracts.

But while Patten may find US unilateralism galling and Tony Blair may be calling for UN oversight, on this matter it's beside the point. Who cares which multinationals get the best deals in Iraq's post-Saddam, pre-democracy liquidation sale? What does it matter if the privatizing is done unilaterally by Washington or multilaterally by the United States, Europe, Russia and China?

Entirely absent from this debate are the Iraqi people, who might — who knows? — want to hold on to a few of their assets. Iraq will be owed massive reparations after the bombing stops, but without any real democratic process, what is being planned is not reparations, reconstruction or rehabilitation. It is robbery: mass theft disguised as charity; privatization without representation.

A people, starved and sickened by sanctions, then pulverized by war, is going to emerge from this trauma to find that their country has been sold out from under them. They will also discover that their newfound "freedom" — for which so many of their loved ones perished — comes pre-shackled with irreversible economic decisions that were made in boardrooms while the bombs were still falling.

They will then be told to vote for their new leaders, and welcomed to the wonderful world of democracy.

This article first appeared in The Nation.


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8 comments

14 Apr 2003 @ 14:25 by sharie : slavery in disguise
It's slavery in disguise. The corporate billionaires just need some more slave laborers for their sweat shops and filthy factories... so the Americans and European will give them their money.

Thanks for the article.  



15 Apr 2003 @ 00:31 by finny : Blantant Colonization
The US blantant disregard for article 37 of the Geneva Convention that states that an invading force is responsible to prevent looting is just another facet on US foriegn policy of economic control through whatever means. US citizens in the main have been sucked into the "liberation of Iraq" and fail to see the deeper and more pernicious implications of the US invasion of a soviegn nation. Who's next?  


5 Jun 2004 @ 14:13 by vaxen : Well...
probably Iran is next or maybe Syria. This all depends, of course, on whether or not the American 'Idioti' can be made to see through this 'age old ruse.' After all this did'nt start with G.W. now did it? Remember Britain so long ago? 'IT' is an ongoing 'process.'

You may feel incensed at the apparent 'idiocy' of this 'game' but I must ask you in all honesty and seriousness: Just who has allowed this to come to pass? And who supports it with their 'hard earned cash?' Mmm Hmm.

Good to see you back from your long walkabout Mr Finn! Top o the day to ya!

[link]  



21 Sep 2004 @ 23:29 by b : I heard that you were an Administrator
of some remote island Finny. I heard it on the grapevine. Any slaves there?
Nice to see you back around NCN.
- bee -  



22 Feb 2005 @ 18:36 by astrid : Thank you vaxen!
Bless your Heart! THANKS for pulling up the importance of Britain's role in this big leaders-of-the-Nations-scam. Britain has "always" been theee Nr ONE guys, though, mostly "only" from behind the scenes... Not that I think many more people will react to that today by your words any more they did by my words, when I was saying these things.
I also said what Henry Makow says in this article [link] . He says it all very eloquently tying the Jesuit-front with the Zionist-front with the Knights of Malta-fronts and The Knights of Templar-fronts ( the Queen, u know who I mean, is a cherished memeber in both, if memory serves, and few others as well ) etc.
These FRONTS are the "SEPARATE" mini-puppetshows for us Every-day humans to amuse us with. BEHIND THE SCENES these guys are all ONE big crime org, which Henry Makows article really brings into razor sharp/ laser sharp ( take your pick ) focus here. NO MORE MIS-INTERPRTATIONS under the "religiosity" card, or any other stupid finger pointing UNLESS YOU are the racisit here, where only YOUR "RACE" is the RIGHT ONE and the ONE to be observed, respected, allowed etc. It can'tbe both ways!.... Ask vaxen, he'll explain... just in case Henry Makow's excellent article don't do the trick in tying all this shit together to give us ALL a comprehensive picture of WHAT has duped us for too long already! It IS time to wake up!

By the way, Vaxen; today on the NET "Grapewine" ( like rense.com ) you can read that IRAN is chosen to be hit in JUNE this SUMMER!!!!..... SOMEONE --GOD KNOWS WHO-- has written a PLAN = PLANNED all the major "How-To's" for the attack and Bush OK'd it yesterday!

Vaxen, people hate us for asking this Q: "Just who has allowed this to come to pass? And who supports it with their 'hard earned cash?' Mmm Hmm..." so we might as well either shoot ourselves or stop asking!... ; ). All the shit that has befallen Mankind stands or falls NOW depending on what majority of Mankind is willing to acknowledge and do something about it! Thanks vax for dragging up that connection to US too. I'm glad I'm not totally alone here!.... : ) It 's a long , long Journey, so ......
Luv ya!/A-d
 



22 Feb 2005 @ 19:32 by jmarc : naw
irans mullahs will do themselves in, and the shiny example to be of Iraq next door will hasten their fall. If you want to foretell the future, look to Syria, Lebanon, the Bekaa valley. That's what's really up. They're demonstrating in beirut today against Syrian occupation, some carrying signs asking GW Bush to live up to his promise of help and invade their country. You won't see that on CNN though. Huh. WHERE ARE YOU FINNY? Did you get to keep that finger?  


20 Jun 2006 @ 03:36 by vaxen : As you...
can plainly see Irans' Mullahs are not doing themselves in anytime soon. The Private Banking System, that you American are under, will make sure of that. Old Godnobodaddy a very long time ago is made to say, in one of the ''books'' attributed to hi,/her/it/etc., that 'He,' get that... He! Will never again end this world by water. This time around it will be FIRE! ;) Get em daddy! Yeah, man...

Universities take up Global Justice!

Trisakti and Chittagong make tremendous start

In August, 2004 Rodney Shakespeare was in Jakarta, Indonesia for the inauguration ceremony of the postgraduate programme in Islamic Economics & Finance at The Triskati University. Rodney (possibly with Global Table member Tarek el-Diwany) will be teaching the subject of endogenous loans which is the first big step to end the imposition of interest. Interest is generally unnecessary and endogenous loans are the method by which:—
• public capital projects are built for half the present cost
• private capital ownership becomes widespread throughout the population
• small businesses are freed from the burden of interest
• “green” capital projects become commercially viable.

AND people get a basic income!

Then, just before Christmas, a big conference at the International Islamic University in Chittagong, Bangladesh also welcomed Global Justice endogenous loans. The university has now incorporated The Institute of Political Economy into the university. The Institute will become the regional centre for the promotion of the new thinking and the Bangladesh Minister of Industries has already asked to receive the Institute’s proposals.

Moreover, the Chittagong academics are showing interest in another aspect of Global thinking — Chris Cook’s partnership proposals.

NB. Trisakti and Chittagong are only the start. Moves are being made to contact other universities – both Western and Islamic.

Things are beginning to move!

[link]

A Stitch in time?  



16 Nov 2006 @ 16:41 by jerryvest : John, thanks for introducing
us to this article on the continuing plunder and greed of the multi-nationals as they divide up the Iraqi resources. I suspect that it will be some time in the distant future before the Americans will be able to operate in a country where we have systematically destroyed their infrastructure, cultures and economy.  


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