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Old 12-10-2003, 04:29 AM   #1
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To the Victor Go the Spoils...

From the Toronto Star:

Dec. 10, 2003. 01:00 AM

Canada shut out of Iraq contracts
France, Germany, Russia in the cold

Pentagon cites U.S. security interests

RICK WESTHEAD
BUSINESS REPORTER

The Pentagon yesterday banned Canadian companies from bidding for contracts worth $18.6 billion (U.S.) to help reconstruct Iraq because of Canada's opposition to the U.S.-led war in the Persian Gulf nation.

Also prevented from bidding for the prime contracts are companies from France, Germany and Russia.

U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz revealed the news in a memorandum that limits competition for the contracts to rebuild Iraq's electrical, transportation and oil sectors, among others, to the 63 countries that supported the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq.

The memo justifies banning Canada and others by saying the move is "necessary for the protection of the essential security interests of the United States to limit competition for the prime contracts of these procurements to companies from the United States, Iraq, coalition partners and force-contributing nations."

The directive doesn't specify why allowing Canadian companies to bid would hurt American security interests. Canadian business officials who have worked in the Middle East have suggested contracts would probably be offered as a reward to those that participated in the war and subsequent occupation.

The contracts cover about 26 major projects and will be awarded for the most part by the State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Army Corps of Engineers.

Canada would still be eligible to work in Iraq as a subcontractor of one of the prime contractors, said Major Joe Yaswa, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Defense.

"We have very tight relations with Canada," Yaswa said. "Canada is actively participating in Afghanistan, which is all of one country over."

Like Germany and France, who both are allies of the United States in NATO, Canada decided not to provide troops for an invasion that toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade wasn't available for comment.

Countries whose companies are allowed to compete for contracts include: Australia, the United Kingdom, Poland, Italy and Japan. Even countries such as Uganda, Morocco and Afghanistan are on the list. While they didn't all send troops to Iraq, their leaders back U.S. policy there.
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Old 12-10-2003, 04:44 AM   #2
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This is of course not a surprise, this has always been a coalition of the bribed. Sone people might argue that it's only fair that countries who spent the most on 'liberating' Iraq get the most out of it. I guess they have a point, but if you say you want to make Iraq a democracy you should leave these decisions to the Iraqis.
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Old 12-10-2003, 06:33 AM   #3
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Yes and now we're giving away their sovereign rights for their money.

http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=17343

Baker Takes the Loaf

By Greg Palast, AlterNet
December 9, 2003

Well, ho ho ho! It's an early Christmas for James Baker III.


All year the elves at his law firm, Baker Botts of Texas, have been working day and night to prevent the families of the victims of the September 11 attack from seeking information from Saudi Arabia on the Kingdom's funding of Al Qaeda fronts.


It's tough work, but this week came the payoff when President Bush appointed Baker Botts' senior partner to "restructure" the debts of the nation of Iraq.


And who will net the big bucks under Jim Baker's plan? Answer: his client, Saudi Arabia, which claims $30.7 billion due from Iraq (plus $12 billion in "reparations" from the First Gulf war).


Puppet Strings


Let's ponder what's going on here.


We are talking about something called 'sovereign debt.' And unless George Bush has finally named himself Pasha of Iraq, he is not their sovereign. Mr. Bush has no authority to seize control of that nation's assets nor its debts.


But our President isn't going to let something as meaningless as international law stand in the way of a quick buck for Mr. Baker. To get around the wee issue that Bush has no legal authority to mess with Iraq's debt, the White House has crafted a neat little subterfuge. The President, says the official press release, has not appointed Baker, rather Mr. Bush is, "responding to a request from the Iraqi Governing Council." That is, Bush is acting on the authority of the puppet government he imposed on Iraqis at gunpoint.


(I will grant the Iraqi 'government' has some knowledge of international finance. Its key member, Ahmed Chalabi, is a convicted bank swindler.)


The Bush team must see the other advantage in having the rump government of Iraq make the choice of Mr. Baker. The US Senate will not have to review or confirm the appointment.


If you remember, Henry Kissinger ran away from the September 11 commission, with his consulting firm tucked between his legs, after the Senate demanded he reveal his client list. In the case of Jim Baker, who will be acting as a de facto Treasury secretary for international affairs, our elected Congress will have no chance to ask him who is paying his firm nor even require him to get off conflicting payrolls.


For the Bush administration, this marks a new low in their Conflicts-R-Us appointments process. Or maybe there's no conflict at all. If you see Jim Baker's new job as working not to protect a new Iraqi democracy but to protect the old theocracy of Saudi Arabia, the conflict disappears.


Iraq owes something on the order of $120 billion to $150 billion, depending on who's counting. And who's counting is very important.


Much of the so-called debt to Saudi Arabia was given to Saddam Hussein to fight a proxy war for the Saudis against their hated foe, the Shi'ia of Iran. And as disclosed by a former Saudi diplomat, the kingdom's sheiks handed about $7 billion to Saddam under the table in the 1980's to build an "Islamic bomb."

Should Iraqis today and those not yet born have to be put in a debtor's prison to pay off the secret payouts to Saddam?


James Wolfensohn says 'No!' Wolfensohn, president of the World Bank, has never been on my Christmas card list, but in this case, he's got it right: Iraq should simply cancel $120 billion in debt.


Normally, the World Bank is in charge of post-war debt restructuring. That's why the official name of the World Bank is "International Bank for Reconstruction and Development." This is the Bank's expertise. Bush has rushed Baker in to pre-empt the debt write-off the World Bank would have certainly promoted.

...
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Old 12-10-2003, 09:48 AM   #4
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So countries should be able to sit on the sidelines, not contribute troops to the rebuilding effort, but be allowed to reap rebuilding contracts (at US expense)???
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Old 12-10-2003, 09:51 AM   #5
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Quote:
The Pentagon yesterday banned Canadian companies from bidding for contracts worth $18.6 billion (U.S.) to help reconstruct Iraq because of Canada's opposition to the U.S.-led war in the Persian Gulf nation.
You mean they're having bids? Why not just assign another one of your buddies the contract?
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Old 12-10-2003, 09:53 AM   #6
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Originally posted by nbcrusader
So countries should be able to sit on the sidelines, not contribute troops to the rebuilding effort, but be allowed to reap rebuilding contracts (at US expense)???
No but be honest about why they can't bid don't make up some BS security reason.

Let the people of Iraq decide.
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Old 12-10-2003, 10:09 AM   #7
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Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar


No but be honest about why they can't bid don't make up some BS security reason.

Let the people of Iraq decide.
Yes, tell them why, and let the people of Iraq in on the decision making process since it's their country. This is making the U.S. vulnerable in the security department.
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Old 12-10-2003, 11:11 AM   #8
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Hello,

What I find a bit sad in this whole process is that it'll probably cost Iraq more money to rebuild its country than when other countries are allowed to participate. This of course assuming that the order will go to the lowest bidder when everyone may participate. Less competition means higher prices in general.
And another point is why the talk about countries? I mean, it is about awarding contracts to companies, what should it matter then what country they're from? How do you judge international (or multinational) companies then, like Daimler-Chrysler (German-US), Royal Dutch-Shell (Dutch-UK), etc.?

To me, it indeed does sound like some child whining 'You're not allowed to play because you're from the wrong country!'

C ya!

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Old 12-10-2003, 04:14 PM   #9
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I think it is a great idea :

1- The USA get more isolated
2- it shows how the USA in real live is,....
3- When it goes wrong, it is Americas fault.
4- When the European companies invest in Iraq that money would go to American companies anyway, there was no fiar chance for non-allied companies to get some big contracts.
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Old 12-10-2003, 04:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
So countries should be able to sit on the sidelines, not contribute troops to the rebuilding effort, but be allowed to reap rebuilding contracts (at US expense)???
Who ought to reap the benefits of conquest? Good question.

I think that is the point. Because there was so much to gain for the US (and coalition nations)by going to war, the motives for war are questionable. If it was about democracy, freedom, UN resolutions, etc., then the US ought to bury the hatchet and let bygones be bygones. Let Iraq decide, as BonoVoxSupastar said.

The Iraq war was an investment opportunity.
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Old 12-10-2003, 04:33 PM   #11
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Iraq can decide how to spend its money. The US should be able to decide how it spends US funds.

Given the post-war reconstruction costs, I doubt this can be characterized as an "investment opportunity". Though, if you want to send me some money, I can buy some Iraqi futures for you.
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Old 12-10-2003, 04:36 PM   #12
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I think it was much more fair when France and Russia were profetting under the Food for Oil contracts that helped Saddam stay in power and killed more people than I care to think about.

Much better.....
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Old 12-10-2003, 04:49 PM   #13
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At the moment, I don't think Iraq is deciding who will be awarded the contracts.

I think it is naive to say it is not an investment opportunity to rebuild Iraq. Firstly, war itself is big business. Secondly, do American companies and shareholders not stand to make millions? Big contract, rising share prices.

Dreadsox, lets not even begin to debate in how many ways first world countries profit from the third world. In that regard, the US's hands are no cleaner than France's, Russia's, Canada's, ect.
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Old 12-10-2003, 04:58 PM   #14
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Originally posted by iacrobat

Dreadsox, lets not even begin to debate in how many ways first world countries profit from the third world. In that regard, the US's hands are no cleaner than France's, Russia's, Canada's, ect.
We are debating Iraq....and I find it VERY interesting that many of the countries that wanted nothing to do with the war and want nothing to do with stablizing Iraq now PROFITED and VIOLATED UN resolutions over the last 12 years. Now they want to be included.

So no, I am not debating 1st world 3rd world....I am on topic and on message in relation to Iraq.
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Old 12-10-2003, 05:44 PM   #15
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Lets remember that the money for the contracts in question comes from US Tax Payers like myself and other US citizens and I'd like my tax dollars to be awarded to companies in countries that support the overthrow of Saddam and are helping to develop and secure Iraq at the current time.

There are currently 63 countries in the Coalition. The United States will spend over 60 Billion dollars this year to help secure and rebuild Iraq. How much money does France and Germany plan to spend this year helping the Iraqi people?
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Old 12-10-2003, 08:37 PM   #16
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Everybody knew it would happen.

Doesn't matter. I'd rather have the Canadian policy and vision of the world than the American one and a billion bucks along with it. Every day of the world and twice on Sunday. As Bono said, "The world needs more Canadas."
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Old 12-10-2003, 08:41 PM   #17
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Do you think most Americans would want their Tax dollars going to companies from countries that politically opposed them in a war their country was fighting?
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Old 12-10-2003, 10:10 PM   #18
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Interesting development wrt debt forgiveness. The Russians have already said no.

From the New York Times:

Quote:
Bush Seeks Help of Allies Barred From Iraq Deals
By DAVID E. SANGER and DOUGLAS JEHL

Published: December 11, 2003


ASHINGTON, Dec. 10 — President Bush found himself in the awkward position on Wednesday of calling the leaders of France, Germany and Russia to ask them to forgive Iraq's debts, just a day after the Pentagon excluded those countries and others from $18 billion in American-financed Iraqi reconstruction projects.

White House officials were fuming about the timing and the tone of the Pentagon's directive, even while conceding that they had approved the Pentagon policy of limiting contracts to 63 countries that have given the United States political or military aid in Iraq.

Many countries excluded from the list, including close allies like Canada, reacted angrily on Wednesday to the Pentagon action. They were incensed, in part, by the Pentagon's explanation in a memorandum that the restrictions were required "for the protection of the essential security interests of the United States." [Page A18.]

The Russian defense minister, Sergei Ivanov, when asked about the Pentagon decision, responded by ruling out any debt write-off for Iraq.

The Canadian deputy prime minister, John Manley, suggested crisply that "it would be difficult" to add to the $190 million already given for reconstruction in Iraq.

White House officials said Mr. Bush and his aides had been surprised by both the timing and the blunt wording of the Pentagon's declaration. But they said the White House had signed off on the policy, after a committee of deputies from a number of departments and the National Security Council agreed that the most lucrative contracts must be reserved for political or military supporters.

Those officials apparently did not realize that the memorandum, signed by Paul D. Wolfowitz, deputy secretary of defense, would appear on a Defense Department Web site hours before Mr. Bush was scheduled to ask world leaders to receive James A. Baker III, the former treasury secretary and secretary of state, who is heading up the effort to wipe out Iraq's debt. Mr. Baker met with the president on Wednesday.

Several of Mr. Bush's aides said they feared that the memorandum would undercut White House efforts to repair relations with allies who had opposed the invasion of Iraq.

White House officials declined to say how Mr. Bush explained the Pentagon policy to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, President Jacques Chirac of France and Chancellor Gerhard Schröder of Germany. France and Russia were two of the largest creditors of Saddam Hussein's government. But officials hinted, by the end of the day, that Mr. Baker might be able to show flexibility to countries that write down Iraqi debt.

"I can't imagine that if you are asking to do stuff for Iraq that this is going to help," a senior State Department official said late Wednesday.

A senior administration official described Mr. Bush as "distinctly unhappy" about dealing with foreign leaders who had just learned of their exclusion from the contracts.

Under the Pentagon rules, only companies whose countries are on the American list of "coalition nations" are eligible to compete for the prime contracts, though they could act as subcontractors. The result is that the Solomon Islands, Uganda and Samoa may compete for the contracts, but China, whose premier just left the White House with promises of an expanded trade relationship, is excluded, along with Israel.

Several of Mr. Bush's aides wondered why the administration had not simply adopted a policy of giving preference to prime contracts to members of the coalition, without barring any countries outright.

"What we did was toss away our leverage," one senior American diplomat said. "We could have put together a policy that said, `The more you help, the more contracts you may be able to gain.' " Instead, the official said, "we found a new way to alienate them."

A senior official at the State Department was asked during an internal meeting on Wednesday how he expected the move to affect the responses of Russia, France and Germany to the American request. He responded, "Go ask Jim Baker," according another senior official, who said of Mr. Baker, "He's the one who's going to be carrying the water, and he's going to be the one who finds out."

In public, however, the White House defended the approach. Scott McClellan, the White House spokesman, said "the United States and coalition countries, as well as others that are contributing forces to the efforts there, and the Iraqi people themselves are the ones that have been helping and sacrificing to build a free and prosperous nation for the Iraqi people."

He said contracts stemming from aid to Iraq pledged by donor nations in Madrid last month would be open to broad international competition.

Richard A. Boucher, the State Department spokesman, said Wednesday that while the bidding restriction applied to prime contracts, "there are very few restrictions on subcontractors."

He also said the World Bank and International Monetary Fund "may have different, or their own, rules for how they contract."

When the committee was drafting the policy, officials said, there was some discussion about whether it would be wise to declare that excluding noncoalition members was in the security interests of the United States. As a matter of trade law, countries are often allowed to limit trade with other nations on national security grounds.

"The intent was to give us the legal cover to make the decision," one official said.

But the phrase angered officials of other nations because it seemed to suggest they were a security risk.

Moreover, the United States Trade Representative's office said on Wednesday that contracts with the occupation authority "are not covered by international trade procurement obligations because the C.P.A. is not an entity subject to these obligations."

"Accordingly, there is no need to invoke the `essential security' exception to our trade obligations," the office added.

That raised the question of why Mr. Wolfowitz included the phrase.

The Pentagon was already recasting the policy on Wednesday.

"Nobody had the intent of being punitive when this was being developed," said Larry Di Rita, spokesman for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

"This is not a fixed, closed list," he said. "This is meant to be forward looking and potentially expansive."
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Old 12-10-2003, 10:15 PM   #19
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Do you think most Americans would want their Tax dollars going to companies from countries that politically opposed them in a war their country was fighting?
I think we should do what's best for Iraq and it doesn't matter where it comes from. Or have we forgot what this is about?
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Old 12-10-2003, 10:25 PM   #20
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Being a security risk makes absolutely no sence, especially if you're allowing them to be sub-contractors. This is just pettiness that will further the gap between these nations in our future. Way to go.
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