11/15/2004

Adventure Capitalism - Moving the Iraqi Economy from Recovery to Growth,

Adventure Capitalism - Moving the Iraqi Economy from Recovery to Growth

Greg Palast - Adventure Capitalism: "Adventure Capitalism

Why were Iraqi elections delayed? Why was Jay Garner fired? Why are our troops still there? Investigative reporter Palast uncovers new documents that answer these questions and more about the Bush administration’s grand designs on Iraq. Like everything else issued during this administration, the plan to overhaul the Iraqi economy has corporate lobbyist fingerprints all over it. You expected the oil industry lobbyists, but Grover Norquist?

In February 2003, a month before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, a 101-page document came my way from somewhere within the U.S. State Department. Titled pleasantly, 'Moving the Iraqi Economy from Recovery to Growth,' it was part of a larger under-wraps program called 'The Iraq Strategy.'

The Economy Plan goes boldly where no invasion plan has gone before: the complete rewrite, it says, of a conquered state's 'policies, laws and regulations.' Here's what you'll find in the Plan: A highly detailed program, begun years before the tanks rolled, for imposing a new regime of low taxes on big business, and quick sales of Iraq's banks and bridges—in fact, 'ALL state enterprises'—to foreign operators. There's more in the Plan, part of which became public when the State Department hired consulting firm to track the progress of the Iraq makeover. Example: This is likely history's first military assault plan appended to a program for toughening the target nation's copyright laws.

And when it comes to oil, the Plan leaves nothing to chance—or to the Iraqis. Beginning on page 73, the secret drafters emphasized that Iraq would have to 'privatize' (i.e., sell off) its 'oil and supporting industries.' The Plan makes it clear that—even if we didn't go in for the oil—we certainly won't leave without it.

If the Economy Plan reads like a Christmas wishlist drafted by U.S. corporate lobbyists, that's because it was.

From slashing taxes to wiping away Iraq's tariffs (taxes on imports of U.S. and other foreign goods), the package carries the unmistakable fingerprints of the small, soft hands of Grover Norquist.

Norquist is the capo di capi of the lobbyist army of the right. In Washington every Wednesday, he hosts a pow-wow of big business political operatives and right-wing muscle groups—including the Christian Coalition and National Rifle Association—where Norquist quarterbacks their media and legislative offensive for the week."

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