Wednesday, April 26, 2006

News Notes:

Ah, the glories of privatization:

Reported via Juan Cole who links to the story in Mercury News (under a post dated April 24):

"Some of the civilian firms supplying "military support services" at US military bases in Iraq have been using slave labor. This report confines itself to speaking of "human trafficking" and "confiscated passports," but it is obviously talking about slavery pure and simple. I have long been against all the boondoggles of corporate socialism in the defense industries, whereby jobs that could be done efficiently and inexpensively by GIs are farmed out as pork barrel patronage to private firms, who do them inefficiently and very expensively. And, it turns out that the corruption in Iraq among American "contractors" has been mind-boggling. But even I could not have imagined slavery."

Ah, so glad we kicked those commies in the patoosky:

Democracy Now interviewed Antonia Juhasz about her new book, "The Bush Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time" yesterday. She notes the following in the interview (you can read the whole transcript on the Democracy Now link):

"Currently, 150 U.S. corporations have received $50 billion worth of contracts, as you said in the introduction, to utterly fail in reconstruction in Iraq, but the money has still been granted. And Mahdi is the person who advanced Paul Bremer's one hundred orders in Iraq that opened up the economy. But more importantly to the Bush administration, he is the person who has most aggressively pushed their agenda for a new oil law in Iraq, which would open up Iraq’s oil sector, the vast majority of Iraq's oil sector, to private foreign corporate investment."

She continues:

" . . . it’s a myth that there was not a post-war planning done by the Bush administration. The reason why it failed was because the interests it was serving were U.S. multinationals, not reconstruction in Iraq.

That plan was ready two months before the invasion. It was written by BearingPoint, Inc., a company based in Virginia that received a $250 million contract to rewrite the entire economy of Iraq. It drafted that new economy. That new economy was put into place systematically by L. Paul Bremer, the head of the occupation government of Iraq for 14 months, who implemented exactly one hundred orders, basically all of which are still in place today. And everyone who is watching who is familiar with the policies of the World Trade Organization, the North American Free Trade Agreement, the World Bank, the I.M.F., will understand the orders.

They implement some of the most radical corporate globalization ideas, such as free investment rules for multinational corporations. That means corporations can enter Iraq, and they essentially don't have to contribute at all to the economy of Iraq. The most harmful provision thus far has been the national treatment provision, which meant that the Iraqis could not give preference to Iraqi companies or workers in the reconstruction, and therefore, U.S. companies received preference in the reconstruction. They hired workers who weren't even from Iraq, in most cases, and utterly bungled the reconstruction."

Your tax dollars at work! And it gets worse, much much worse. As I said, you can read the whole transcript at Democracy Now.

Ah, that good old American sense of fair play at work:

Please check out Juan Cole's post today. He is the current object of a smear campaign by the WSJ (which stands for Wimps Saber Jiggling) and please, if you know his work, write a letter in support of him and against the lies and falsehoods of the commentator (Mr. Fund) who is misusing an enormous public platform to slander a well-respected public intellectual and scholar, and who stands in a relatively defenseless situation.


Post a Comment

<< Home