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InvisibleSorted
Monkee
Registered: 12/27/98
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Loc: UK
The privatisation of Iraq
    #4525476 - 08/12/05 05:46 AM (11 years, 3 months ago)

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,1072-1731547,00.html

August 12, 2005

My sadness at the privatisation of Iraq
Michael Meacher
The US transnational companies are taking over - and they'll benefit for years to come


IF DEMOCRACY is the goal of American policy in Iraq, as President Bush repeatedly says it is - not eliminating WMD, not controlling Middle East oil, not removing a dictator guilty of genocide - then with the Sunni walkout from government and Kurdish intransigence over federalism and Kirkuk, that policy is nearing breakdown. But democracy was always only an after-thought, and anyway never really on offer in the first place.

Before the US proconsul Paul Bremer left Baghdad, he enacted 100 orders as chief of the occupation authority in Iraq. Perhaps the most infamous was Order 39 which decreed that 200 Iraqi state companies would be privatised, that foreign companies could have complete control of Iraqi banks, factories and mines, and that these companies could transfer all of their profits out of Iraq. The "reconstruction" of the country amounts in effect to wholesale privatisation of the economy and is little short of economic colonisation.

These laws will not be reversed while 140,000 US troops remain in the country, or a network of US military bases planned to be retained in Iraq for a much longer period. Aid for rebuilding the electricity and water services, the oil industry, and the legal and security systems will reside with the US Embassy for many years to come.

If all 100 orders are taken together, they set the overall legal framework for overriding foreign exploitation of Iraq's domestic market. They cover almost all facets of the economy, including Iraq's trading regime, the mandate of the Central Bank, and regulations governing trade union activities. Collectively, they lay down the foundations for the real US objective in Iraq, apart from keeping control of the oil supply, namely the imposition of a neoliberal capitalist economy controlled and run by US transnational corporations.

But what is remarkable about these laws is not only their overall degree of control, but their far-reaching application. Order 81, for example, has the status of binding law over "patent industrial design, undisclosed information, integrated circuits and plant variety" - a degree of detailed supervision normally associated with a Soviet command-and-control economy. While historically the Iraqi Constitution prohibited private ownership of biological resources, the new US-imposed patent law introduces a system of monopoly rights over seeds. This is virtually a takeover of Iraqi agriculture.

The rights granted to US plant breeding companies under this order include the exclusive right to produce, reproduce, sell, export, import and store the plant varieties covered by intellectual property right for the next 20-25 years. During this extended period nobody can plant or otherwise use plants, trees or vines without compensating the breeder.

In the name of agricultural reconstruction this new law deprives Iraqi farmers of their inherent right, exercised for the past 10,000 years in the fertile Mesopotamian arc, to save and replant seeds. It enables the penetration of Iraqi agriculture by Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, Dow Chemical and other corporate giants that control the global seed trade. Food sovereignty for the Iraqi people has therefore already been made near-impossible by these new regulations.

This is merely one example of the pervasiveness of the orders left behind by Bremer. But their impact is largely concentrated in the near-monopolisation by US corporations of the economic contracts awarded by the US-dominated Coalition Provisional Authority. Overwhelmingly they have been allocated to big US companies, notably Bechtel and Halliburton, which happens to be Vice-President Dick Cheney's former company, sometimes on a secret no-bid basis - such as the contract to repair and operate oil wells awarded to the Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root.

Almost no contracts have gone to UK companies, apart from one to repair and rebuild the Baghdad sewage system. For oilfield repairs over a two-year period the contracts have been worth some $7 billion. For the little known and disarmingly entitled Logistics Civil Augmentation Programme, the contracts value is far greater.

The funding of these massive contracts has largely come from the Iraqi oil revenues expropriated for US corporate use. The oil money is held in the US Federal Reserve, and the US Government is determined to keep control of it under an international board. The US has already spent around half the revenue, mainly on these long-term contracts with their construction companies. Of course John Negroponte, who was then the American Ambassador to Iraq, made clear that these enormous funds will be managed in consultation with the Iraqi Government, but there can be little doubt where the decision-making power will lie.

Whether this enforced takeover of the economy and imposed privatisation across the board of all the main economic sectors is in accordance with international law is now much disputed. But whether it can be reversed when America holds all the military, political and economic cards is another matter. The only way for the US authorities to sidestep the potential conflict is to ensure that the new Iraqi Government is pliant enough not to press for full sovereignty. Paul Bremer thought of that too.

His Transitional Administrative Law (TAL) effectively gives the Kurds, the most pro-American section of the population, a veto over the new constitution because the TAL itself states that it can only be amended by a 75 per cent vote in parliament. The Kurds hold more that 25 per cent of the seats.


Edited by Sorted (08/12/05 12:09 PM)


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InvisibleIsaacHunt
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Re: The privatisation of Iraq [Re: Sorted]
    #4525994 - 08/12/05 12:02 PM (11 years, 3 months ago)

Now we're getting down to the real reason Iraq was occupied.


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Invisiblebukkake
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Re: The privatisation of Iraq [Re: IsaacHunt]
    #4526461 - 08/12/05 03:19 PM (11 years, 3 months ago)

There are also billions of dollars that were to go to the reconstruction of Iraq missing from his time there, I read on the Guardian sometime ago. I also find it interesting Bremer was replaced by...John Negroponte, of all people. These men are leading Iraq to democracy.

Democracy in Iraq will be a success when McDonalds and Starbucks are on every street corner.


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OfflineSycronica
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Re: The privatisation of Iraq [Re: bukkake]
    #4526539 - 08/12/05 03:37 PM (11 years, 3 months ago)

Hope they enjoy their puppetmaster democracy!


--------------------
Think for yourself. Question authority.

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You can fool some people sometimes, but you can't fool all the people all the time.


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OfflineVex
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Re: The privatisation of Iraq [Re: Sorted]
    #4526650 - 08/12/05 04:03 PM (11 years, 3 months ago)

this war is all about money? i'm shocked! never has there ever been a war about money before.

i love history.


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OfflineRedstorm
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Re: The privatisation of Iraq [Re: bukkake]
    #4526662 - 08/12/05 04:05 PM (11 years, 3 months ago)

I could be wrong, but wasn't there a study that said countries that had McD's had never declared war on each other? I don't know if it was legitimate or not, but that just popped into my head.


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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Re: The privatisation of Iraq [Re: Sycronica]
    #4526920 - 08/12/05 05:26 PM (11 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

Sycronica said:
Hope they enjoy their puppetmaster democracy!





Indeed. Let us hope that they enjoy what will probably be the best government they have ever had.


Chances are they won't though. Chances are they'll fuck it up just as bad as they have every other government that ever tried to civilize them.


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OfflineSycronica
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Re: The privatisation of Iraq [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #4526963 - 08/12/05 05:36 PM (11 years, 3 months ago)

How would you like it if people from a different culture were going to govern you indefinitely?


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Think for yourself. Question authority.

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You can fool some people sometimes, but you can't fool all the people all the time.


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OfflinePhred
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Re: The privatisation of Iraq [Re: Sycronica]
    #4527039 - 08/12/05 05:54 PM (11 years, 3 months ago)

Which culture would this be?

Iraq is governed by Iraqis. Has been for over a year now.

It is true there are variants of Iraqi culture -- I imagine a Ba'athist sees things differently than a Kurd, for example. But look at the US where there are a whole whack of Mooreites and Chomskyites complaining their culture is being mistreated by the Bushites. I doubt there will ever be a point where every single American feels his culture is being sufficiently respected, so to expct that to happen In Iraq is kinda naive.




Phred


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OfflineProsgeopax
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Re: The privatisation of Iraq [Re: Phred]
    #4527132 - 08/12/05 06:14 PM (11 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

Phred said:
Iraq is governed by Iraqis. Has been for over a year now.



Clarification: Iraq is governed by some Iraqis propped up by the U.S. military. If the Iraqis were truly self-governing, there would be no need for an occupying force to ensure compliance with the government. It seems that by your measure, the Vichy government of France was a legitimate government.


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Money doesn't grow on trees, but deficits do grow under Bushes.

You can accept, reject, or examine and test any new idea that comes to you. The wise man chooses the third way.
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Disclaimer: I reserve the right to change my opinions should I become aware of additional facts, the falsification of information or different perspectives. Articles written by others which I post may not necessarily reflect my opinions in part or in whole, my opinions may be in direct opposition, the topic may be one on which I have yet to formulate an opinion or have doubts about, an article may be posted solely with the intent to stimulate discussion or contemplation.


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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Re: The privatisation of Iraq [Re: Sycronica]
    #4527153 - 08/12/05 06:18 PM (11 years, 3 months ago)

Depends on how they treat me.


If they treat me better than people from my own culture, I might like it just fine.


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Invisiblebukkake
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Re: The privatisation of Iraq [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #4527185 - 08/12/05 06:27 PM (11 years, 3 months ago)

US trained police forces and commandos commit torture routinely. Not to mention US-hired mercenaries are running rampant. Though, the mercanaries on the US news are referred to as " government contractors. " The debate of whether they were worse under Saddam is up for debate. After the continuous bombing, most of the infastracture there has been destroyed. How would you feel?


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OfflineSycronica
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Re: The privatisation of Iraq [Re: Phred]
    #4528013 - 08/12/05 10:41 PM (11 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

Phred said:
Which culture would this be?

Iraq is governed by Iraqis. Has been for over a year now.




Is that why the iraqis have to look at US troops everyday when they go anywhere? It sure is a looooooooong shot to say they are governing themselves when we are there with guns blazing. Sorry but we are controlling every government action of any real importance in that country and the iraqis know it, and most of the world knows it. It seems americans are the only ones who believe in this whole "freedom and democracy" spreading routine. I guess when your main concern is NFL and nascar why bother paying any attention to those pesky naysayers?


--------------------
Think for yourself. Question authority.

Forgiveness is the ultimate sacrifice.

You can fool some people sometimes, but you can't fool all the people all the time.


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OfflineLSDempire
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Re: The privatisation of Iraq [Re: Sycronica]
    #4528040 - 08/12/05 10:50 PM (11 years, 3 months ago)

Saddam was no better than Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, Mao Te-sung, Richard Nixon, and George Bush. Anyone that served such a tyrant deserves no mercy.


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InvisibleIsaacHunt
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Re: The privatisation of Iraq [Re: Sycronica]
    #4528641 - 08/13/05 02:37 AM (11 years, 3 months ago)

The Iraqi "government" controls a few streets and buildings within the Green zone of Baghdad.

The rest of Iraq is a bloody, uncontrollable mess.


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Invisible1stimer
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Re: The privatisation of Iraq [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #4530317 - 08/13/05 03:47 PM (11 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

Chances are they'll fuck it up just as bad as they have every other government that ever tried to civilize them.




Worse than Americans let the American government get fucked up?


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ash dingy donker mo gollyhopper patty popiton rockstop bueno mayo riggedy jig bobber johnathan pattywhacker gogboob t-shirt monkey.

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OfflineBaby_Hitler
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Re: The privatisation of Iraq [Re: 1stimer]
    #4530724 - 08/13/05 06:35 PM (11 years, 3 months ago)

By far.


The American government is probably at it's highest point right now.

No slavery, racism is more under control than ever, you can get free money to go to school.


When exactly was America better than it is right now?


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OfflineLSDempire
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Re: The privatisation of Iraq [Re: Baby_Hitler]
    #4531173 - 08/13/05 10:01 PM (11 years, 3 months ago)

Before Nixon was elected. The "war on drugs" has been a major set back for civil rights.


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InvisibleIsaacHunt
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Re: The privatisation of Iraq [Re: LSDempire]
    #4532773 - 08/14/05 05:34 AM (11 years, 3 months ago)

If the religious lunatics currently helping draft the Iraq "constitution" get their way human rights for women will take an enormous step back.


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OfflineGazzBut
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Re: The privatisation of Iraq [Re: Phred]
    #4533300 - 08/14/05 11:33 AM (11 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

Which culture would this be?

Iraq is governed by Iraqis. Has been for over a year now.





Yeah and the US are just acting as "advisors" I presume?

Quote:

Before the US proconsul Paul Bremer left Baghdad, he enacted 100 orders as chief of the occupation authority in Iraq. Perhaps the most infamous was Order 39 which decreed that 200 Iraqi state companies would be privatised, that foreign companies could have complete control of Iraqi banks, factories and mines, and that these companies could transfer all of their profits out of Iraq. The "reconstruction" of the country amounts in effect to wholesale privatisation of the economy and is little short of economic colonisation.





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Always Smi2le


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