The Lobbyist Occupation of Iraq


Monday, October 24, 2005

2006 PROJECT CENSORED AWARD WINNER

by Greg Palast

From the newly released 2006 Project Censored Year-Book

In his article “Adventure Capitalism,” Greg Palast exposes the contents of a secret plan 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 ... especially the oil.” This economy makeover plan, says Palast, “goes boldly where no invasion plan has gone before.”

This highly detailed program, which began years before the tanks rolled, outlines the small print of doing business under occupation. One of the goals is to impose intellectual property laws favorable to multinationals. Palast calls this “history’s first military assault plan appended to a program for toughening the target nation’s copyright laws.”

It also turns out that those of us who may have thought it was all about the oil were mostly right. “The plan makes it clear that—even if we didn’t go in for the oil—we certainly won’t leave without it.”

In an interview with Palast, Grover Norquist, the “capo di capi of the lobbyist army of the right,” makes the plans even more clear when he responds, “The right to trade, property rights, these things are not to be determined by some democratic election.” No, these things were to be determined by the Coalition Provisional Authority, the interim government lead by the U.S.

Before he left his position, CPA administrator Paul Bremer, “the leader of the Coalition Provisional Authority issued exactly 100 orders that remade Iraq in the image of the Economy Plan.” These orders effectively changed Iraqi law.

Update by Greg Palast:

In February 2003, White House spokesman Ari Fleisher announced the preparations for “Operation Iraqi Liberation”—O.I.L.

I can’t make these things up.

I’m not one of the those people who believes George Bush led us into Iraq for the oil but, from the documents I’ve obtained, it’s clear that we sure as hell aren’t leaving without it.

At BBC Television Newsnight, which has granted me journalistic asylum from the commercially-crazed madhouse of the American news market, we ran Fleisher’s announcement of operation O.I.L. (later corrected to Operation Iraqi Freedom—OIF!). More importantly, we ran a series of stories—which I also developed for Harper’s Magazine in the USA—on the pre-invasion plans to slice up and sell off Iraq’s assets, “especially the oil,” in the terms of one State Department secret document.

After we got our hands on the confidential document to “Move Iraq’s Economy Forward”—i.e. sell off its oil—we at BBC put General Jay Garner on the air. Garner, whom the president apnted as viceroy over the newly-conquered Iraq, confirmed the plan to sell off Iraq’s oil—and his refusal to carry out the deed. U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld fired him and smeared him for his dissent. This was big, big news in Europe where I reported it—but in the U.S. the story was buried.

We later discovered that the plan to sell off Iraq’s oil was replaced by another confidential plan. This one, 323 pages long and literally written by oil industry consultants, was obtained by BBC and Harper’s after a protracted legal war with the State Department. We discovered, interestingly, that this industry plan to create a state oil company favorable to OPEC was first conceived in February 2001. In other words, invasion was in the works, including stratagems for controlling Iraq’s oil, within week’s of George Bush’s first inauguration and well before the September 11 attack.

The discovery of this plan for Iraq’s oil, received exactly zero coverage by the U.S. “mainstream” press. Only Harper’s Magazine gave it full play along with those wonderful internet sites (Buzzflash, Guerrilla News Network, WorkingForChange, CommonDreams, Alternet, Truthout and more) that cussedly insist on printing news from abroad not approved by the Powers That Be.

Bless them. They, Project Censored, and Harper’s, have my deepest thanks for bringing my words back home.

Want to see the television you’re not supposed to see? The British Broadcasting Corporation has graciously kept my reports available as Internet video archives. Go to www.GregPalast.com and click on the “Watch BBC” buttons for the stories effectively censored by the U.S. news lords and the Bush Administration’s chorus of journalist castrati.

Finally, I must give special thanks to our team’s special investigator on Iraq, Leni von Eckardt, to brilliant BBC producer Meirion Jones, to the stalwart editors of Harper’s Magazine who withstood legal threats to publish the story, and to TomPaine.com, which has always provided a refuge for the best investigative reporting American newspapers won’t print.

Palast concludes, “The free market paradise in Iraq is not free.”

Here's the original article from TomPaine.com

Project Censored is the media research group of the California State University's Journalism School which annually chooses the most important stories of the year ignored by America's mainstream press. This is one of two investigations by the Palast Team which Project Censored highlighted as news that didn't make the news.

Get your copy of the 2006 Project Censored Year-Book available from 7 Stories Press

To recieve the Palast Investigative Reports or to view his BBC TV broadcasts, go to www.GregPalast.com.

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