Tag Archives: Coalition Provisional Authority

Hey Iraqis: How’s that “Liberation” Stuff Workin’ Out For Ya?

Center for a Stateless Society

building public awareness of left-wing market anarchism

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  on Mar 21, 2013

On March 19 Donald Rumsfeld, former US “Defense” Secretary and ongoing sociopath and moral leper, celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Iraq War with this tweet: “10 yrs ago began the long, difficult work of liberating 25 mil Iraqis. All who played a role in history deserve our respect & appreciation.”

Just what “liberation” meant to Rummy, Dummy and Scummy can be seen from the agenda Paul Bremer implemented as head of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Iraq. Imagine the kind of “What I Would Do If I Were Absolute Dictator For A Year” list an entire army of ALEC staffers and Heritage Foundation interns would come up with, with the RIAA, MPAA, Monsanto, Halliburton and Blackwater egging them on, and that’s basically what Bremer did to Iraq.

Bremer’s CPA was a classic “night watchman state.” Remember all those priceless historical treasures the looters “liberated” from the National Museum while the U.S. looked the other way? With Night Watchman Bremer’s go-ahead, global corporate looters gave the Iraqi economy just as thorough a ransacking.

Bremer’s infamous “100 Orders” repealed virtually all of the Saddam-era legal structure — except for the 1987 Labor Code, which prohibited collective bargaining in the state sector. The state sector encompassed two hundred state-owned firms (a major chunk of the industrial economy), and Bremer wanted to “privatize” them in insider sweetheart deals with crony capitalists. Legalizing unions might gum up the works.

The CPA refused to unfreeze the assets of the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU). Bremer ordered US troops to storm the IFTU headquarters and kept it closed down for months. A local American commander helpfully told an imprisoned union organizer that Iraq was not a sovereign country, and that so long as it was under the administration of the CPA Bremer didn’t want unions.

Bremer’s 100 Orders also included Order 81 on “Patent, Industrial Design, Undisclosed Information, Integrated Circuits and Plant Variety,” which updated “intellectual property” law to “meet current internationally-recognized standards of protection” like the WIPO Copyright Treaty and Uruguay Round TRIPS Accord (which the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act was also passed to implement). Among other things, the new law criminalized saving seeds for the next year.

The entire legal regime Bremer implemented by decree was to remain the law of the land even after the restoration of sovereignty, until — and unless — it was supervened by a new constitution. The so-called “transfer of sovereignty” was to a government appointed by the CPA, enabling Bremer to evade the restriction in international law against a conqueror directly selling off state assets — while also leaving in place an “interim constitution” based on Bremer’s 100 Orders.

Article 26 of Bremer’s Constitution, stated that “[t]he laws, regulations, orders and directives issued by the Coalition Provisional Authority … shall remain in force” under the interim government, until the “sovereign” puppet regime was replaced by general elections. As Naomi Klein observed in “Baghdad Year Zero” (Harper’s, September 2004):

“Bremer had found his legal loophole: There would be a window — seven months — when the occupation was officially over but before general elections were scheduled to take place. Within this window, the Hague and Geneva Conventions’ bans on privatization would no longer apply, but Bremer’s own laws, thanks to Article 26, would stand. During these seven months, foreign investors could come to Iraq and sign forty-year contracts to buy up Iraqi assets. If a future elected Iraqi government decided to change the rules, investors could sue for compensation.”

The “interim constitution” was designed to make its own replacement by referendum extremely difficult — among other things, requiring any new constitution actually approved by the people of Iraq (as opposed to decreed by Bremer’s fiat) to receive  at least thirty percent of the vote in sixteen of Iraq’s eighteen provinces.

On top of everything else, Bremer appointed a whole slew of ministerial officials to five-year terms that would override any later decisions by an independent government.

Meanwhile, a “debt forgiveness” plan negotiated with creditor nations under IMF auspices used debt contracted by Saddam — debt that should have been treated as odious, and hence null and void — as a whip to coerce adherence to the Washington Consensus economic agenda.

This is the “liberation” agenda for which Rumsfeld and his fellow war criminals murdered hundreds of thousands, and physically crippled or psychologically scarred untold hundreds of thousands more. If that’s the kind of “liberation” you like, may you soon join Rumsfeld in hell.

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Kevin Carson is a senior fellow of the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org) and holds the Center’s Karl Hess Chair in Social Theory. He is a mutualist and individualist anarchist whose written work includes Studies in Mutualist Political EconomyOrganization Theory: A Libertarian Perspective, and The Homebrew Industrial Revolution: A Low-Overhead Manifesto, all of which are freely available online. Carson has also written for such print publications as The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty and a variety of internet-based journals and blogs, including Just Things, The Art of the Possible, the P2P Foundation, and his own Mutualist Blog.


Bradley Manning: One Soldier Who Really Did “Defend Our Freedom”

 

http://www.bradleymanning.org/15918/bradley-manning-one-soldier-who-really-did-defend-our-freedom/

2010-12-30 Originally written by Kevin Carson for the Center for a Stateless Society

When I hear someone say that soldiers “defend our freedom,” my immediate response is to gag.  I think the last time American soldiers actually fought for the freedom of Americans was probably the Revolutionary War — or maybe the War of 1812, if you want to be generous.  Every war since then has been for nothing but to uphold a system of power, and to make the rich folks even richer.

But I can think of one exception.  If there’s a soldier anywhere in the world who’s fought and suffered for my freedom, it’s Pfc. Bradley Manning.

Manning is frequently portrayed, among the knuckle-draggers on right-wing message boards, as some sort of spoiled brat or ingrate, acting on an adolescent whim.  But that’s not quite what happened, according to Johann Hari (“The under-appreciated heroes of 2010,” The Independent, Dec. 24).

Manning, like many young soldiers, joined up in the naive belief that he was defending the freedom of his fellow Americans.  When he got to Iraq, he found himself working under orders “to round up and hand over Iraqi civilians to America’s new Iraqi allies, who he could see were then torturing them with electrical drills and other implements.”  The people he arrested, and handed over for torture, were guilty of such “crimes” as writing “scholarly critiques” of the U.S. occupation forces and its puppet government.  When he expressed his moral reservations to his supervisor, Manning “was told to shut up and get back to herding up Iraqis.”

The people Manning saw tortured, by the way, were frequently the very same people who had been tortured by Saddam:  trade unionists, members of the Iraqi Freedom Congress, and other freedom-loving people who had no more use for Halliburton and Blackwater than they had for the Baath Party.

For exposing his government’s crimes against humanity, Manning has spent seven months in solitary confinement –  a torture deliberately calculated to break the human mind.

We see a lot of “serious thinkers” on the op-ed pages and talking head shows, people like David Gergen, Chris Matthews and Michael Kinsley, going on about all the stuff that Manning’s leaks have impaired the ability of “our government” to do.

He’s impaired the ability of the U.S. government to conduct diplomacy in pursuit of some fabled “national interest” that I supposedly have in common with Microsoft, Wal-Mart and Disney.  He’s risked untold numbers of innocent lives, according to the very same people who have ordered the deaths of untold thousands of innocent people.  According to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, Manning’s exposure of secret U.S. collusion with authoritarian governments in the Middle East, to promote policies that their peoples would find abhorrent, undermines America’s ability to promote “democracy, open government, and free and open societies.”

But I’ll tell you what Manning’s really impaired government’s ability to do.

He’s impaired the U.S. government’s ability to lie us into wars where thousands of Americans and tens of thousands of foreigners are murdered.

He’s impaired its ability to use such wars — under the guise of promoting “democracy” — to install puppet governments like the Coalition Provisional Authority, that will rubber stamp neoliberal “free trade” agreements (including harsh “intellectual property” provisions written by the proprietary content industries) and cut special deals with American crony capitalists.

He’s impaired its ability to seize good, decent people who — unlike most soldiers — really are fighting for freedom, and hand them over to thuggish governments for torture with power tools.

Let’s get something straight.  Bradley Manning may be a criminal by the standards of the American state.  But by all human standards of morality, the government and its functionaries that Manning exposed to the light of day are criminals.  And Manning is a hero of freedom for doing it.

So if you’re one of the authoritarian state-worshippers, one of the grovelling sycophants of power, who are cheering on Manning’s punishment and calling for even harsher treatment, all I can say is that you’d probably have been there at the crucifixion urging Pontius Pilate to lay the lashes on a little harder.  You’d have told the Nazis where Anne Frank was hiding.  You’re unworthy of the freedoms which so many heroes and martyrs  throughout history — heroes like Bradley Manning — have fought to give you.

C4SS Research Associate Kevin Carson is a contemporary mutualist author and individualist anarchist whose written work includes Studies in Mutualist Political EconomyOrganization Theory: An Individualist Anarchist Perspective, and The Homebrew Industrial Revolution: A Low-Overhead Manifesto, all of which are freely available online. Carson has also written for such print publications as The Freeman: Ideas on Liberty and a variety of internet-based journals and blogs, including Just Things, The Art of the Possible, the P2P Foundation and his own Mutualist Blog.

 


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