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Tom Foley: “I don’t give a … about international law.”

Tom Foley, who announced that he’s running for Governor of Connecticut today, last held public administrative office as the Coalition Provisional Authority official in charge of economic policy in Iraq.

Down With Tyrranny reports on Foley’s arrival, as described in Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s best seller, Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone:

One dangerous nutcase Republican hack, Peter McPherson, immediately “slashed Iraq’s top tax rate for individuals and businesses from 45% to a flat 15%. It was the sort of tax overhaul that fiscal conservatives long dreamed of implementing in the United States… The centerpiece of McPherson’s agenda was a new foreign-investment law” whereby foreign companies could gobble up all of Iraq’s natural resources and industries.

And there were far worse culprits than McPherson. He was replaced by Bush crony Thomas Foley, “an investment banker and a major Republican Party donor who had been President Bush’s classmate at Harvard Business School.”

A month after arriving, Foley told a contractor from Bearing Point [a GOP-connected criminal consulting firm] that he intended to privatize all of Iraq’s state-owned enterprises within thirty days.

“Tom, there are a couple of problems with that,” the contractor said. “The first is an international law that prevents the sale of assets by an occupation government.”

“I don’t care about any of that stuff,” Foley told the contractor, according to her recollection of the conversation. “I don’t give a shit about international law. I made a commitment to the president that I’d privatize Iraq’s businesses.”

Juan Cole reports on how Foley did there: Laissez Faire Kaput:

Tom Foley, the Coalition Provisional Authority official in charge of economic policy, has given up on a plan to privatize 150 state-owned companies. The plan, submitted to the Interim Governing Council last fall, was shelved by that body. Many Iraqis feared that the state firms would be sold cheaply to foreign concerns, but Foley insists that the plan all along was to sell them to Iraqis. This statement contradicts the economic plans announced in August, in which the CPA said there would be no licensing or restrictions placed on foreign firms investing in Iraq, and that they would be allowed to own 100% of Iraqi companies and to expatriate profits immediately…

As I have said in the past, the entire plan contravened the international law concerning occupied territories, which does not permit an occupier to make alterations in the character of the occupied society or to change civil law.

Colleen Flanagan, Connecticut Democratic Party Communications Director had this to say about Tom Foley today:

Seeing as though his time spent getting Iraq on track was an absolute failure, we’re not quite sure how Tom Foley believes his managerial skills will translate here in Connecticut. Certainly if he believes he has the chops to govern the state, he should run. But being Connecticut’s chief executive, particularly at a time like this, is about more than a snazzy title and a nice office. Over the next few months, assuming Tom Foley doesn’t drop out of this race, too, we look forward to hearing what he believes he has to offer the people of this state on any number of issues they find themselves facing.

But Foley has nothing to say to reporters asking questions, as Ken Dixon reports:

In one of the more bizarre political announcements the Blogster has covered, Greenwich millionaire Tom Foley, the former ambassador to Ireland, seized the opportunity to fill the GOP void left by Gov. Rell, but declined to articulate why. Perhaps he can stop the sectarian violence in northern Connecticut. After first blowing off reporters’ questions in the minuscule meeting room in the Hartford Hilton, he then dodged around reporters massed around him in the hallway. Hello! Who told reporters to come for an announcement? We didn’t just arrive to run his amorphous little speech that was read off several pages of script at the podium before about four dozen supporters of his new GOP gubernatorial bid. He wants to be governor. He intimated that he’ll use his own millions of dollars. Yet he declined to talk about policy until he develops position papers. Wow. There’s a lot to be said about fresh faces in politics, but if you want to run for governor, shouldn’t you be able to vamp before reporters for five minutes on the day you announce?

And Baghdad Year Zero by Naomi Klein reports on what Foley did immediately after he left:

The former head of “private sector development” has left Iraq, a country he had described as “the mother of all turnarounds,” and has accepted another turnaround job, as co-chair of George Bush’s reelection committee in Connecticut. On April 30 in Washington he addressed a crowd of entrepreneurs about business prospects in Baghdad. It was a tough day to be giving an upbeat speech: that morning the first photographs had appeared out of Abu Ghraib, including one of a hooded prisoner with electrical wires attached to his hands. This was another kind of shock therapy, far more literal than the one Foley had helped to administer, but not entirely unconnected. “Whatever you’re seeing, it’s not as bad as it appears,” Foley told the crowd. “You just need to accept that on faith.”

Reminds me of another Fairfield County Republican who minimized Abu Gharib:

Shays: “Then the next question is, well what has the US done? Well it has been accused of doing torture. That’s what it’s been accused of. Now I’ve seen what happened in Abu Ghraib, and Abu Ghraib was not torture, it was outrageous, outrageous involvement of National Guard troops from Maryland who were involved in a sex ring and they took pictures of soldiers who were naked. And they did other things that were just outrageous. But it wasn’t torture.”