Saturday, September 08, 2007

War... What is it good for?...Absolutely boatloads of money

The Globe and Mail has a four page excerpt from Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine :

"In December, 2006, the bipartisan Iraq Study Group fronted by James Baker issued its long-awaited report. It called for the U.S. to “assist Iraqi leaders to reorganize the national oil industry as a commercial enterprise” and to “encourage investment in Iraq's oil sector by the international community and by international energy companies.”

The Bush administration immediately pushed ahead by helping to draft a radical new oil law for Iraq, which would allow companies like Shell and BP to sign 30-year contracts in which they could keep a large share of Iraq's oil profits, amounting to tens or even hundreds of billions of dollars – unheard of in countries with as much easily accessible oil as Iraq, and a sentence to perpetual poverty in a country where 95 per cent of government revenues come from oil."

"Explaining why it was justified for such a large percentage of the profits to leave Iraq, the oil companies cited the security risks. In other words, it was the disaster that made the radical proposed law possible."

Naomi Klein's husband, Avi Lewis, interviewed James Baker for his CBC show On The Map. Only one in twenty Iraq MPs saw that oil law before it was passed. And then there are the profits to be made from the privatization of war. Klein :

"Associated Press put the number of contractors in Iraq at 120,000, almost equivalent to the number of U.S. troops. In scale, this kind of privatized warfare has already overshadowed the United Nations. The UN's budget for peacekeeping in 2006-2007 was $5.25-billion – that's less than a quarter of the $20-billion Halliburton got in Iraq contracts, and the latest estimates are that the mercenary industry alone is worth $4-billion."

In a book interview on CBC's TheCurrent this week, Klein remains obstinately hopeful. Canadians have been fighting "disaster capitalism" for decades, she says, with their continued support for public infrastructure and medicare. The best insurance against being "shocked" into accepting any colonialist corporate agenda is to be ready for it by being informed. Go, Naomi.

Immediately following Klein's CBC interview, Greg Palast and Aurel Braun from Trinity College heatedly discuss the book. Aurel Braun gets the phrase 'conspiracy theory' out a couple of times before Palast puts the ideological boots to him. It must really bite Brown's ass that Palast, who actually studied under Milton Friedman and the Chicago boys, can so easily one-up a Friedman apologist like Braun, who didn't.

Go on - treat yourself.



Robert Rouse said...

I had to stop by and say "Welcome to the Blog World Report."

Anonymous said...

Wonderful to hear Palast talking back at Braun. Too many of the U of T poli sci people, I fear, if they're not smart enough to be Chicago, are some of the minor spawn of that cult, or at least they are intimidated by it.

Lordie, but where did all the spines go? Not to mention the brains?

West End Bob said...

Thanks for the link to this broadcast, Alison. Great interview and the follow-up discussion was superb.

Dave said...

Aural Braun is a prize cherry-picker. I was exceedingly glad Palast pissed on him.

The truth is, Braun actually had nothing. Typical of his ilk, rather than discuss the premise of Naomi's book, he chose to attack her directly. That alone suggests he is deathly afraid that Naomi has hit on something which wasn't supposed to be discovered.

Alison said...

Exceedingly annoyed with reviewers complaining that Klein is "lite" or "popular". Hey, you already knew all this all along? Think it's important? Then where's your fucking book on it?
Same thing happens in science and philosophy : as if bridging the gap between insiders and the rest of us is not a great public service, is selling out. Bah.

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