The plan for primitive accumulation in Iraq: Greg Palast reveals all

Jurriaan Bendien bendien at
Sat Nov 1 18:57:05 MST 2003

Editor's note: BBC investigative reporter Greg Palast is also the author of
the recent bestseller "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy," a look at the
American political process. He is also one of two journalists who obtained a
document from the administration of US President George Bush titled "Moving
the Iraqi Economy from Recovery to Sustainable Growth," a confidential
report of 101 pages from inside the US State Department and written prior to
the invasion of Iraq. It outlines the plan for what it terms "the
postconflict economy" and involves the mass privatization of virtually every
Iraqi government asset.
He decided to grant an interview to the [Baghdad] Bulletin because "you
speak to some people in Iraq, and they ought to know what is planned for

Same old question: Was oil really the reason for war?

The leaked document, which only Palast and a reporter from The Wall Street
Journal have managed to obtain, contains plans of "private sector
involvement in strategic sectors, including privatization, assets, sales,
concessions, leases and management contracts -- especially in the oil and
supporting industries."  "Said more plainly; it is a plan to sell off the
oil fields, the pipelines and the oil infrastructure of Iraq to private
business and to turn what is left of Iraq into a freemarket paradise,"
Palast said.

"The plan is obviously made to make it easier for the giant operators that
could possibly afford to take over Iraq's oil wealth," he said. Palast's
suggestion to what organizations would possibly take over the oil wealth
included "two giant American operators, two British and one Russian
operation." Needless to say, Palast's theory and the leaked document echoes
the European and Middle Eastern claim that the reason to start the war was

The document does not only indicate that US is planning to privatize every
economically beneficial asset, but also the very backbone of Iraq, its laws.
"The plan contains details of how to rewrite Iraq's laws, including the
nation's copyright laws, the nation's business regulations laws, taking over
the banking sector and includes such strange things as writing for Iraq its
application to join the World Trade Organization. On top of that, the plan
includes a detailed rewriting of Iraq's tax code," Palast said.

The plan in action

Quoting the plan, Palast reads: the US government will, through a private
contract: "Design fiscal regimes for petroleum, mining and transit
pipelines, for para-legislations, implementing regulations and strategies
for implementations and identify priorities of revenue tax reform. . If
property tax regimes fit tax policy strategy; to provide support for
regulation and implementing instructions and procedures and appropriate
staffing and training of taxing personnel."

Interestingly, the document also outlines plans to use the World Economic
Forum, rather than the World Bank, which is designed for postwar
reconstruction. The World Economic Forum is a private organization,
controlled by multinational corporations with no experience or authority to
take over a nation's economy.

"By eliminating the World Bank, they indicate that there is no time for the
World Bank's indirect methods. The grab for the assets has to be done before
a government is elected, which would stop it -- any government is going to
want to maintain some Iraqi ownership over Iraqi resources, which is not in
the plan. It is a deliberate go-around around the World Bank."

Though Palast himself is one of the most well-known critics of the World
Bank, he said that: "Compared to Paul Bremer and the World Economic Forum,
the World Bank is a wonderful agency. That is how bad this is."

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