18 Mar. 2008

Iraq War Crimes: Australia Is Complicit

Chris Doran examines Australia's role in Iraq:
Global cheerleader and spruiker for the invasion, Australia's complicity hardly ended there. Abu Ghraib couldn't have happened if the Australian military hadn't helped keep it secret.

Australia sanctioned the nightmare of Guantanamo by allowing the US to torture its own citizens, Mamdouh Habib and David Hicks, depriving them of the most basic notion of human decency, let alone rights, and then allowed Hicks to be used in a despicable show trial to parade his "guilt".

Fallujah? The attack was designed, carried out, and led by an Australian general, James Molan.

It was an Australian company, AWB, that paid $300million in illegal bribes to Saddam to guarantee wheat contracts. This was followed by Australia's attempt to convert Iraq into a free-market corporate dependent state as a member of the Coalition Provisional Authority after the invasion. The authority put nearly all of Iraq's industries up for sale, with foreigners able to purchase 100 per cent of Iraqi companies, including banks, and export all the profits. Tariffs and duties were practically eliminated.

Australia's most prominent and shameful role in the authority was restructuring Iraq's agriculture, where it focused on guaranteeing AWB wheat contracts while introducing a system of monopoly patent rights over seeds and vastly facilitating corporate dominance of Iraq's agriculture. Iraqi agriculture is now devastated, unable to compete with cheap imports such as Australian wheat.

And then there's the oil. For the past year, the Iraqi Parliament has been under immense US pressure to pass legislation which would essentially privatise oil for Western firms. Iraqi civil society and trade unions are in a desperate struggle to ensure oil remains under Iraqi control. US rhetoric that the law is about ensuring a fair distribution to all Iraqis is laughable. The legislation has nothing to do with fairness, and everything to do with what the coalition hasn't been able to acquire by force: Iraq's oil.
Doran suggests that the Australia people voted for Rudd because they want us to get completely out of Iraq (whether or not that's what Rudd was really promising), and this democratic wish should not be ignored.