Firms plan Iraq raid - Naomi Klein

19 May 2008 - 11:21am
Press release

NEWS HOOK: 7.00 pm Monday, 19 May 2008, Friends Meeting House, 173-177 Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ. Controversial author and journalist Naomi Klein, launching the paperback edition of her latest book in Britain, is poised to accuse UK companies over plans to plunder Iraqi oil, on the eve of Shell's annual meeting.

New Iraqi law drafted by Britain and America will ensure huge profits for UK and US oil companies while condemning millions of the country's people to poverty.

This warning will come in a speech from controversial author and journalist Naomi Klein at a meeting organised by the coalition Hands Off Iraqi Oil, which includes the groups War on Want, Platform, Voices UK and Iraq Occupation Focus.

She will address the meeting on Monday (19 May) to launch the paperback edition of her latest book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, a current finalist for five awards.

The event takes place on the eve of Shell's annual general meeting (Tuesday, 20 May).

In the book, Ms Klein claims the draft law will let firms such as BP and Shell make up to hundreds of billions of dollars in profits and impose "a sentence of perpetual poverty in a country where 95 per cent of revenues come from oil."

She says: "Saddam's removal from power has opened vistas of opportunities for the oil giants, including Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Shell and BP."

According to Ms Klein, after the US-UK invasion Paul Bremer, the American director of reconstruction and humanitarian assistance, passed laws which applied shock therapy in Iraq.

"Before the invasion, Iraq's economy had been anchored by its national oil company and by 200 state-owned companies," she says. "The month after he arrived in his new job, Bremer announced that the 200 firms were going to be privatised immediately. 'Getting inefficient state enterprises into private hands.' Bremer said, 'is essential for Iraq's economic recovery'."

In her speech, Ms Klein will also criticise British and American private military companies making a killing in Iraq amid pressure for regulation over human rights violations.

War on Want executive director John Hilary said: "More Britons now think we went to war in Iraq for oil than any other reason. And the war also brought abuse by private armies. The British government must legislate to stop firms exploiting poor people."

Gabriel Carlyle, from Voices UK, said: "Iraq cannot make a democratic decision about its oil?s future while the country remains occupied. We call on Shell to publicly state it will not seek long-term rights to the oil while foreign troops are still in Iraq."

NOTES TO EDITORS

  • Tickets for the meeting, price £7 (£5 concessions), are available until 12 noon on Monday (19 May) at www.waronwant.org/shop, then on the door from 6 pm at Friends Meeting House, 173-177 Euston Road, London NW1 2BJ.
  • Proceeds from the event will go to the Iraqi Federation of Oil Workers and Hands Off Iraqi Oil.
  • Hands Off Iraqi Oil is a UK coalition opposing any foreign exploitation of Iraq?s oil reserves that cheats the Iraqi people. Members include Corporate Watch, Iraq Occupation Focus, Jubilee Iraq, PLATFORM, Voices UK and War on Want. More information on the campaign is available at www.handsoffiraqioil.org
  • The paperback The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, price ?8.99, is published by Penguin.

 

CONTACTS Paul Collins, War on Want: (+44) (0)20 7549 0584 or (+44) (0)7983 550728

Jonathan Stevenson, Iraq Occupation Focus (+44) (0)7818 651124

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