Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Privatization of Iraq's oil via supplemental spending bill

May 27, 2007 - Nearly one thousand American troops have been killed in Iraq since last Memorial Day, and that number is expected to rise.

In the past year, 980 US forces have been killed in Iraq, compared to 807 who died in the previous year. At least 100 troops have died this month alone... http://politicsplus.blogspot.com/search/label/Iraq

Covert efforts to accomplish privatization of Iraq's oil through the supplemental spending bill

May 24 the US Congress voted to continue the war on Iraq. They called it "supporting the troops." The legislation, which funds military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq through Sept. 30, sets benchmarks for the Iraqi government in securing the country. If the Iraqis do not demonstrate progress by mid-July, U.S. reconstruction aid could be withheld, though Bush could waive that provision.
If the Iraqi Parliament refuses to pass the privatization legislation, Congress will withhold US reconstruction funds that were promised to the Iraqis to rebuild what the United States has destroyed there. The privatization law, written by American oil company consultants hired by the Bush administration, would leave control with the Iraq National Oil Company for only 17 of the 80 known oil fields. The remainder (two-thirds) of known oil fields, and all yet undiscovered ones, would be up for grabs by the private oil companies of the world (but guess how many would go to United States firms

The $12 billion dollar "Support the Troops" legislation passed by Congress requires Iraq, in order to get reconstruction funds from the United States, to privatize its oil resources and put them up for long term (20- to 30-year) contracts.

Comment: US uses 25% of world oil production/demand with 3% of world oil reserves.


(May 9, 2007) — An issue of critical importance, the Iraqi "Hydrocarbon Law", was again broached yesterday for the third time in the Democratic Caucus. The entire 33 page "Hydrocarbon Law," is about creating a complex legal structure to facilitate the privatization of Iraqi oil. As such, it in imperative that all of us carefully read the Iraqi Parliament's bill because the Democratic FY07 Iraq Supplemental puts Democrats on the record in promoting oil privatization.
Over the course of his brutal rule, Saddam Hussein ran up an enormous debt for Iraq. The largest single piece of this debt–$120 billion–was owed to the Paris Club, a group of 19 industrialized creditor nations, including the United States, Japan, Russia, and most of Western Europe. As far too many poor countries have found, the use of debt to impose economic reforms advantageous to wealthier nations is one of the most common methods of neocolonialist coercion. Unfortunately, this has been no different for Iraq.The Bush Administration employed James Baker–the same James Baker that co-chaired the Iraq Study Group–to strike a deal between the Paris Club and the Iraqi government. Baker was the Secretary of State under Bush Sr. and has deep ties to Big Oil. In an article published on AlterNet back in October, Joshua Holland explains how

Baker negotiated a deal whereby the Paris Club would forgive 80 percent of Iraq's debt, but the catch–and it was a big one–was that Iraq had to agree to an economic "reform" package administered by the International Monetary Fund… The debt would be written off in stages; 30 percent would be cancelled outright, another 30 percent when an elected Iraqi government accepted an IMF structural reform agreement and a final 20 percent after the IMF had monitored its implementation for three years. This gave the IMF the role of watchdog over the country's new economy, despite the fact that its share of the country's debt burden was less than 1 percent of the total.

Among a number of provisions in the IMF agreement, along with privatizing state-run companies (which resulted in the layoffs of an estimated 145,000 Iraqis), slashing government pensions and phasing out the subsidies on food and fuel that many Iraqis depended on, was a commitment to develop Iraq's oil in partnership with the private sector. Then-Finance Minister Adel Abdul Mehdi said, none too happily, that the deal would be "very promising to the American investors and to American enterprise, certainly to oil companies." The Iraqi National Assembly released a statement saying, "the Paris Club has no right to make decisions and impose IMF conditions on Iraq," and called it "a new crime committed by the creditors who financed Saddam's oppression."

opening phase of an intensifying food shortage

SASKATOON, Sask.-MAY 11, 2007 the United States Department of Agriculture
(USDA) released its first projections of world grain supply and demand for the
coming crop year: 2007/08. USDA predicts supplies will plunge to a 53-day
2007/08 will mark the seventh year out of the past eight in which global grain production has fallen short of demand. This consistent shortfall has cut supplies in half-down from a
115-day supply in 1999/00.. "The world is consistently failing to produce as much grain as it uses,"
"The current low supply levels are not the result of a transient weather event or an isolated production problem: low supplies are the result of a persistent drawdown trend."
"Every six years, we're adding to the world the equivalent of a North American population. We're trying to feed those extra people, feed a growing livestock herd, and now, feed our cars, all from a static farmland base. No one should be surprised that food production can't keep up,"

The converging problems of natural gas and fertilizer constraints, intensifying water shortages, climate change, farmland loss and degradation, population increases, the proliferation of livestock feeding, and an increasing push to divert food supplies into biofuels means that we are in the opening phase of an intensifying food shortage.
In addition to falling grain supplies, global fisheries are faltering.Reports in respected journals Science and Nature state that 1/3 of ocean fisheries are in collapse.
Skim milk powder, the benchmark for world trade, rose 60 percent in six months to a record $1.58 a pound May 4 (2007) on Chicago Mercantile Exchange. That was a 74 percent higher than the five-year average.
Source: The Seattle Times, May 25, 2007, page D2.
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes. MY NEWSLETTER has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is MY NEWSLETTER endorsed or sponsored by the originator.

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