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FizzingWhizzbees 03-28-2003 09:05 AM

US business interests & Iraq.
This is an article from today's Guardian (UK newspaper). Comments, anyone?


British anger as port contract goes to US firm rather than to locals

Rory McCarthy in Camp as-Sayliya, Qatar and Vikram Dodd
Friday March 28, 2003
The Guardian

Serious divisions emerged last night between Britain and America over plans for the running of Iraq's largest port at Umm Qasr.
Air Marshal Brian Burridge, Britain's chief military officer in the Gulf, said it should be run by Iraqis as a model for the future reconstruction of the country. But earlier this week the Bush administration handed the $4.8m (3m) contract to the private Stevedor ing Services of America (SSA).

The Seattle-based firm has clashed with workers across three continents and faced accusations of being union busters. SSA will manage the port and handle cargo and shipping at Umm Qasr whose docks are a similar size to those at Dover.

The US and UK military say Umm Qasr is vital for delivery and unloading of humanitarian supplies, though some experts think it could also be very useful if the war drags on and fresh supplies are needed for the troops.

Air Marshal Burridge said yesterday he wanted the port handed to the Iraqis once the area was secure. "The best outcome is that we find the people who ran it before."

British soldiers have found the port's former manager, an Iraqi army colonel who was arrested in Umm Qasr during the first days of the operation. Officers are trying to find other former staff. The British military say they do not want to seem imperialist invaders. "This is not the pax Britannica. We don't want to conquer a second Mesopotamia. The ultimate goal is to hand everything over to the Iraqi people," an officer said.

The Umm Qasr contract was the second awarded by the US agency for international development to a US company for reconstruction work in Iraq. The first went to the US engineering firm Kellogg Brown and Root - part of Halliburton, the company once headed by Vice-President Dick Cheney. The firm won a contract to put out oil well fires and repair oil facilities.

Until Stevedoring Services take over the port, it will be run by 17 Port and Maritime Regiment of the Royal Logistics Corps - the first time the British military have run a port in wartime since the second world war.

Last year SSA and other US port firms were involved in a bitter and lengthy dispute with American dock workers. Ports across the west coast were crippled and the strike ended when President Bush ordered the dockers back to work. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union accuses SSA of being ideologically anti-union.

Joe Wenzl, a union officer, said: "They want to undermine the strength of the union. They have taken a position that they would like to move forward without us.

"They won't be hiring union help in Iraq."

The Seattle company has business interests at 150 sites around the world, including Vietnam, India, Chile and Panama. Its president, Jon Hemingway, has made political donations to Republican candidates.

Concern has grown that lucrative contracts to rebuild Iraq, after the allied bombing and years of neglect under Saddam Hussein's dictatorship, are going to US firms with British companies missing out.

After the harbour at Basra was destroyed in the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, Umm Qasr became the country's most important docks. It was the main access for food delivered under Iraq's oil-for-food programme and will be vital for the military, aid agencies and the UN world food programme to deliver food, water, and medical supplies.

Rono 03-28-2003 02:04 PM

That is one off the reasons that Europe need to give money to their own companies an organisatons for help to Iraq after the war. Europe money going to American companies,.....:(

Scarletwine 03-28-2003 03:49 PM

The first of many US companies to be awarded contracts I'm sure.
I think Perle resigned so he will have more time to work behind the scenes negotiating these contracts.

diamond 03-28-2003 04:27 PM

:hmm:u know what would be beautiful?

If because of this, the Iraqi population were able to get decent salaries and decent jobs and healthcare instead of living on $2.00 a week.


Scarletwine 03-28-2003 05:03 PM

Yes db9 that's what NAFTA brought to our neighbors south of us. Maybe that's why they wouldn't support the UN resolution.

verte76 03-28-2003 05:36 PM

I'll agree about decent jobs and such for Iraqis. If we're going to be consistent at all the first people we should give a damn about is the Iraqi people. If we make it through this :censored: war-- and I'm getting frustrated and worried about casualties--they are sure as hell going to need our help. This is no time to be plotting to make millions off of the Iraqi people. The $$ should go to them and they should be able to spend it on rebuilding their own country.

Rono 03-29-2003 02:26 AM


Originally posted by diamond
:hmm:u know what would be beautiful?

If because of this, the Iraqi population were able to get decent salaries and decent jobs and healthcare instead of living on $2.00 a week.


That would be nice indeed,...but we do not need the buisness friends of your goverment making money out of it.

diamond 03-29-2003 09:23 AM

i will tell them to just work for free;)


Rono 03-29-2003 11:53 AM


womanfish 03-29-2003 04:23 PM

Yeah, it's a shame that business contracts would go to the U.S. I mean, the French (and many other countries) put no money or effort or aid to get Saddam out, but once the U.S. spends over 1 trillion (yes trillion) dollars to get this job done, they all want to step in and share the rewards.

to me, it only seems fair that contracts should go to the countries that were part of the coalition in the first place. the U.S. also continues to state that they are there to liberate not occupy, so while they may control the port in Um Qasr for a while for transition purposes, I suspect that this would then be transitioned to Iraqi workers.

sharky 03-29-2003 06:37 PM

Read a story that the oil company Halliburton -- the company that Dick Cheney receives his pension checks from -- has been eliminated from the process of choosing a contractor for post-Iraq. We'll see how long that sticks.

anitram 03-29-2003 11:05 PM


'Bush International Airport' opened

TALLIL AIRFIELD, Southern Iraq (AP) -- With the arrival of a C-130 transport plane, Iraq's second-largest airfield took a crucial role Thursday in American war strategy -- a way to sidestep Iraqi attacks on supply lines, and get the troops what they need.

Tallil airfield, mothballed since the 1991 Gulf War, was captured by U.S. soldiers on Saturday. It is now an important forward base; supplies and men can be delivered here, without having to travel by ground from Kuwait and risk bloody encounters with Iraqi forces still roiling the south.

This is, a hastily posted sign declared, "Bush International Airport." The immediate goal: to speed all the stuff of war -- fuel, ammunition, water, food, reinforcements -- to the front, shortening supply lines that had extended as much as 200 miles into Iraq.

There were reports of some shortages Thursday, as U.S. and British troops continued to encounter unexpectedly fierce resistance throughout the south. Some Marines were being issued two meal packets every 36 hours; normally, they get three meals a day.

Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks, a spokesman for the central command, said he had not heard of any shortfalls of supplies. "We haven't had any problems that would hinder operations at this point," he said.

He insisted that plans for the war were working.

But the fight continued around An Nasiriyah, the key city on the Euphrates River. Brooks told reporters merely that some Marines had been injured in a 90-minute battle in the area. But officials at Camp Lejeune, N.C., where the troops are based, said 25 Marines were wounded or missing.

"There are a lot of forces out there that still want to fight. They didn't exactly roll over and surrender," said a Marine helicopter pilot who would use only his nickname, Lurch. "We are so wrapped up in not creating collateral damage that we are leaving great enemy strongholds behind."

Fighting continued as Basra, as well, and at Najaf, less than 100 miles from Baghdad, where units of the Army's 3d Infantry Division had encircled the city and were fighting Iraqi reinforcements from Baghdad, according to Steven Lee Myers, a New York Times reporter who spoke on CNN.

In the north, cargo planes delivered military supplies a day after 1,000 American airborne troops parachuted in to seize an airfield.

The seizure of Tallil and the northern airfield is "not only a monumental step forward but absolutely essential," said military analyst John Abrams, a retired Army general.

For the moment, controlling the bases instantly and dramatically shortens supply lines, reducing their dependence on hundreds of miles of roads where convoys were exposed to hit-and-run attacks by Iraq's Fedayeen and other irregular troops.

From these bases, supplies and troop reinforcements -- like the Army's 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized), 30,000 highly mobile troops who will be deployed from Texas in coming days -- could be airlifted further by helicopter, or sent overland faster and with far less danger.

But Abrams said U.S. control of the bases also reduces Iraq's capacity to counterattack. It will allow use of special radar networks to protect against airborne suicide bombers, helicopters or other aircraft, including RPV drones that could be used for chemical attacks on U.S. troops.

Being able to deploy easily and quickly from forward bases "at a time and place of their own choosing," U.S. commanders will gain the element of surprise and "keep Saddam guessing, forcing him to look in all directions," Abrams said.

The northern airfield taken by 173rd Airborne Brigade paratroopers gives the United States an alternative to bases that Turkey denied. It has a 6,700-foot runway and can accommodate the largest U.S. heavy-lift cargo planes.

The same is true of the sprawling Tallil base, which is located just four miles from An Nasiriyah. U.S. military officers said Tallil was the country's largest airfield after Baghdad's international airport.

Its main runway, once used by Iraqi jet fighters, is long enough to take the military's largest transports as well as civilian 747 jumbo jets.

"It's been sitting in a time warp waiting for someone to wake it up," said Col. A. Myers of the U.S. Air Force Air Mobility Command. His unit, from Scott Air Force Base in Illinois, had the mission to revive it.

It took five days to clear its 12,000-foot runway of concrete blocks, wrecked vehicles and other barriers placed on the strip by the Iraqi military to prevent its use.

The air base had been only partially occupied and maintained over the past decade. Jumbles of rusting equipment were strewn around the derelict control tower and American troops were clearing out ramshackle buildings before moving in.

Located within southern Iraq's no-fly zone, Iraqi aircraft had not used the airfield since it was heavily bombed during the Gulf War. Myers, of Kissimmee, Fla., said U.S. army engineers had to clear the area of unexploded American bombs as well as Iraqi mines and other ordnance.

Blasts from bombs and other weaponry being destroyed could be heard throughout the day Thursday.
What a liberating name. :rolleyes:

Rono 03-30-2003 03:40 AM


Originally posted by womanfish
Yeah, it's a shame that business contracts would go to the U.S. I mean, the French (and many other countries) put no money or effort or aid to get Saddam out, but once the U.S. spends over 1 trillion (yes trillion) dollars to get this job done, they all want to step in and share the rewards.

to me, it only seems fair that contracts should go to the countries that were part of the coalition in the first place. the U.S. also continues to state that they are there to liberate not occupy, so while they may control the port in Um Qasr for a while for transition purposes, I suspect that this would then be transitioned to Iraqi workers.

I only can repeat, not with Europe money. You bomb, you pay. I think the Iraq people will pay for their freedom anyway, Cheap oil for Amerika because the cost of the war must be paid by someone. Probebly the Iraq people will hear the next 60 years, we freed you, you should be greatfull and do what we want.

Are the Iraq people only good for cheap labour ?

deep 03-30-2003 03:54 AM


Originally posted by diamond
i will tell them to just work for free;)


Well, looks like you got it right.

Unocal May Be Tried on Abuses, State Court Rules
Panel says the oil firm may face trial in L.A. in a case brought by Myanmar refugees.
By Lisa Girion
Times Staff Writer

March 29, 2003

A state appeals court has cleared the way for Unocal Corp. to face trial in Los Angeles over allegations that it shares responsibility for the murder, rape and enslavement of villagers by troops guarding a pipeline project in Myanmar.

Refugees from the southeast Asian nation formerly known as Burma accused Unocal in a landmark lawsuit of looking the other way while government troops abused villagers who were forced to work on a $1.2-billion natural gas pipeline project built by a consortium that includes the El Segundo-based company.

Superior Court Judge Victoria Chaney ruled last year that Unocal should face trial for so-called vicarious liability. Lawyers for Unocal challenged her ruling, arguing that the case did not belong in a state court because the crimes allegedly were perpetrated by foreign troops outside California.

The 2nd District Court of Appeal denied Unocal's request in a ruling dated Wednesday, saying only that the company had failed to make a case for preventing a trial.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs said they were encouraged by the ruling.

"That was Unocal's last hope to avoid trial," said Katie Redford, a lawyer and co-founder of Earthrights International, a human rights watchdog organization that is backing the suit. "It's the last obstacle between our clients and trial."

But Charles Strathman, Unocal's chief legal officer, said the company would consider filing a new challenge with the California Supreme Court.

"We had doubts as to whether California tort law should apply to actions that occurred entirely outside of the state and whether state court should have jurisdiction over these types of matters," Strathman said.

Forced labor was legal in Myanmar in the mid-1990s, when the 39-mile natural gas pipeline was laid through a region of farm villages and mountain rain forests. Although the military dictatorship acquiesced to international pressure and banned forced labor in 1999, the practice is believed to be still widespread.

Executives for Unocal have acknowledged that troops did force villagers to carry ammunition and supplies for the military and to perform other labor in the vicinity of the project. But they deny that any of the labor occurred for the project or within a construction corridor over which Western pipeline operators have control. Lawyers for Unocal said the firm had no knowledge of the alleged murder and rapes nor any control over the actions of the troops purported to have committed such crimes.

Because the commercial arm of the military regime is a participant in the pipeline, the plaintiffs argue that Unocal should share liability for the alleged misdeeds of the army, which was expected to safeguard the project.

The refugees first filed suit in federal court seven years ago. U.S. District Judge Ronald S.W. Lew ruled that the evidence suggested Unocal was aware of the military's abuses. But because the company did not control the troops, Lew ruled that it should not stand trial for liability and dismissed the case.

That allowed the refugees to file a second suit under state law in Superior Court in October 2000.

In September, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the federal suit back in. In the majority opinion, the judges decided that the test for liability was whether Unocal knowingly encouraged the alleged abuses. The judges concluded that there was evidence that Unocal met that test and should face trial.

Unocal challenged that decision, and an 11-member panel of the 9th Circuit will hear new arguments in June over whether the company should face a federal trial.

Headache in a Suitcase 03-30-2003 10:46 AM

of course american business interests are going to get first dibs at the contracts... how would you feel if you left your job to go fight in iraq, came home, and you've been laid off because the company you worked for lost out on a lucrative contract to a company in a nation that refused to support you, i.e. france, germany, russia. even if this was a war that was supported across the board by the security council, someone would still need to get the business contracts. why should those contracts go to someone who didn't help in the liberation? that just makes no sense.

and as for the "bush international airport" thing... come on let's get serious for a second. some soldier with a sense of humor plopped a sign saying "bush international airport" on a taken over military airfield. let's not try to make it out into anything more than that.

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