July 4, 2003

Dan Amstutz and the Looting of Iraqi Agriculture

by Jeffrey St. Clair

As in the first Gulf War, US bombing raids targeted cattle feed lots, poultry farms, fertilizer warehouses, pumping stations, irrigation systems and pesticide factories (the closest thing the US has come to finding Weapons of Mass Destruction in the country)-the very infrastructure of Iraqi agriculture. It will take years to restore these operations.

. . . Some 60% of Iraq's 24 million people depend totally for their food on the food ration system that was established after the Gulf War. . . .

Into this dire circumstance strides Daniel Amstutz, the Bush administration's choice to oversee the reconstruction of Iraq's agricultural system. Now an international trade lobbyist in DC with a fat roster of big ag clients, Amstutz once served as a top executive at Cargill, the food giant which controls much of the world trade in grain. During Amstutz's tenure at Cargill, the grain company went on a torrid expansion campaign. It is now the largest privately held corporation in the US and controls about 94 percent of the soybean market and more than 50 percent of the corn market in the Upper Midwest. It also has it's hands on the export market controlling 40 percent of all US corn exports, a third of all soybean exports and at least 20 percent of wheat exports.


["Iraqis believe their oil should not be touched by foreigners, that it should remain in the hands of the Iraqi government and that no one has a right to do anything before an elected government is in place," said Fadhil Chalabi, executive director of the Center for Global Energy Studies in London and a former Iraqi Oil Ministry official.--Warren Vieth, "U.S. May Tap Oil for Iraqi Loans," Los Angeles Times, July 11, 2003]

["Under the guise of helping get Iraq back on its feet, the US is setting out to totally re-engineer the country's traditional farming systems into a US-style corporate agribusiness. They've even created a new law - Order 81 - to make sure it happens.--Jeremy Smith, "Paul Bremer's Order 81," The Ecologist, January 21, 2005]

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