We’ve seen it before, notably in Iraq under Paul Bremer’s 100 orders that turned the country into a cutthroat capitalist laboratory. Baghdad was open for business at fire sale prices with US and other Western firms having first dibs on everything.
The “cradle of civilization” became Iraq, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of corporate predators. The Iraq that was no longer exists.
A wish list of economic laws followed. Corporate taxes dropped from 45% to a flat 15%. Foreign companies got to own 100% of Iraqi assets and be able to repatriate all profits back home. Import restrictions ended, and investors could sign 40-year deals and leases so no future governments could change them.
Destruction, invasion, occupation, and reconstruction made Iraq a bold new experiment, transforming a once independent country into a fully privatized new market with a huge pot of public money helping at the expense of Iraqis left out entirely.
It was pure pillage, a classic example of war spoils to victors, taking full advantage of their new prize, backed by hardline enforcement to crush resistance.
As a result, mass arrests, aggressive interrogations, torture, other mistreatment, and death squads traumatized and cowed a shattered people. Iraq was erased and rebooted. For investors, a corporate utopia followed. For Iraqis, however, it’s been a hellish dystopia.
They’re plagued by unemployment, poverty, and human deprivation on a massive scale. State enterprises ended. Local ones were shut out. Nothing unrelated to Western interests went to rebuild local infrastructure, including electrical grids, schools, hospitals, and homes.
Iraqis played no role in planning. Local firms weren’t given subcontracts. Jobs were destroyed, not created while thousands of serf-like foreign workers were brought in and abused. Moreover, critically needed social services ended or were ignored.
In addition, unsafe GMO crops infested the country. The combination of war, contamination and drought wrecked its ecosystem, drying up fertile farmland and marshes.
Arable land became desert, killing trees and plants. A Garden of Eden became a wasteland, perhaps never to be reclaimed.
Whenever Washington-led NATO arrives, Iraq’s movable Green Zone follows in one form or other.
The Libya that Was No Longer Exists
Destruction litters the landscape everywhere. Ongoing NATO bombing creates more of it, plus unknown tens of thousands dead and injured. Death squad rebel killers up the body count daily, murdering anyone thought to be pro-Gaddafi.
Moreover, to crush resistance, NATO shut off electricity and water in large parts of the country. It also blocked other essential services, including enough food and medical care.
As a result, unspeakable crimes of war and against humanity were committed. They continue unabated. Libya is one of history’s great crimes, and for Libyans, the worst is yet to come.
Energy is the country’s biggest prize. A previous article said scrambling for it began last April when Italy’s Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said energy giant ENI CEO Paolo Scaroni had talks with Transitional National Council (TNC) officials “to restart cooperation in the energy sector and get going again the collaboration with Italy in the oil sector.”
In June, the Washington Post said ConocoPhillips, other US oil giants, and related companies also held talks with TNC officials.
Though accounting for only 2% of world production, Libya is Africa’s most oil rich state. Moreover, its high quality is especially valued, and reports suggest vast reserves yet to be discovered.
Besides ENI and ConocoPhillips, other companies wanting back in include Britain’s BP, France’s Total, Spain’s Repsol YPF, Austria’s OMV, America’s Hess, Marathon, perhaps ExxonMobil, and others. Russia, Brazil and China will be largely or entirely excluded.
On September 1, New York Times writer Steven Erlanger headlined, “Libya’s Supporters Gather in Paris to Help Ease New Government’s Transition,” saying:
Around 60 nations met to help “restore stability and a functioning economy to a country ravaged by rebellion and 42 years of dictatorship.”
Like other Times’ articles, op-eds and editorials, managed news and opinions substitute for full disclosure truth, especially on issues of war and peace, as well as corporate empowerment.
Instead of discussing the Paris predators ball, Erlanger said convening it is “another important sign of the legitimacy of the Transitional National Council….”
Western powers, in fact, chose it to be Libya’s puppet government, beholden to capital at the expense of millions of Libyans entirely left out.
Carving up the Libya corpse began. Gaddafi’s 1999 Decision No. 111 is gone. Under it, Libyans got free top flight healthcare, education, training, rehabilitation, housing assistance, disability and old age benefits, interest-free state loans, subsidies to study abroad and for couples when they married, free water, electricity, and practically free gasoline.
They also got free use of land for agriculture to create self-sufficiency in food production. Moreover, all basic food items were subsidized and sold through a network of “people’s shops.”
Moreover, women had equal status with men, including for education, employment, and their right to own and sell property independently of their husbands.
On January 4, 2011, the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) “Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Libya Arab Jamahiriya” said Gaddafi’s government protected “not only political rights, but also economic, educational, social and cultural rights.”
It also praised his treatment of religious minorities, and human rights training of its security forces. After Washington and NATO intervened, publication of the report was postponed. It’s now gathering dust, never to be formally released.
It covered Africa’s most developed country. It’s now the least, and discussions in Paris won’t include restoring what NATO destroyed.
Instead, so-called “friends” convened to divvy up Libya’s assets, starting, of course, with energy, but also its Great Man-Made River (GMMR). It’s an ocean-sized aquifer perhaps more valuable than oil because it’s replaceable. Fresh water, of course, can’t be replaced except at great cost.
A Final Comment
Representing America in Paris, Hillary Clinton, an unindicted war criminal, said:
Our partners must “stay focused on the ultimate objective of helping the Libyan people chart their way to a better future….All of us are inspired by what is happening in Libya.”
Gideon Polya maintains the Body Count web site, and in 2007 published a book titled, “Body Count. Global avoidable mortality since 1950.”
In September 2010, he highlighted eight million post-9/11 War on Terror deaths, mainly in Iraq and Afghanistan. A year later, add many more, and expect them to rise in each country NATO occupies and/or attacks, including Libya.
Nonetheless, Clinton is “inspired” by her handiwork, adding that “the international community must maintain the same sense of resolve and shared responsibility” going forward.
In a country of six million people, perhaps continued “resolve and shared responsibility” will leave too few left to notice, including Clinton interested only in sharing the spoils of war.
Why else are they fought instead of saving future “generations from the scourge of war” as the UN Charter “determined.”
Clinton perhaps never read it. For sure, she, Obama, and Paris predators have no interest in “practic(ing) tolerance and liv(ing) together in peace with one another as good neighbors” when doing so sacrifices profits.
In fact, love doesn’t make the world go round, just the spoils of war for victors to carve up. Libya is their latest victim.