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Re: [casi] Unfree stuff happens to free Iraqis!

Dear Elga,

The picture is still a bit confusing:
While the Wash Post claimed the exclusion of Iraqi firms from reconstruction
for their not being from a country designated as "part of the free world",
now there are several pieces out mentioning the possible inclusion of them
for some 3rd grade jobs - but only as subcontractors.

The lion's share is allocated BY US LEGISLATION to American firms.

E.g. Andrew Natsios (USAID adminstrator) - is quoted:
(Excerpted quote from below):


Natsios said USAID had waived existing U.S. government procurement
restrictions to allow non-American firms to bid for subcontracts and
estimated about half of those companies would be foreign, and many of those
could be Iraqi.

"We are not going to bring in a company to do WHITEWASHING in a school," he
said, citing an example of where an Iraqi firm would be used...."



USAID's Natsios Defends Iraq Contracts Process
Mon May 5, 2003 12:26 PM ET

By Sue Pleming
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Andrew Natsios, the man in charge of the U.S. Agency
for International Development, is surprised at how much criticism has been
leveled at his agency over the process of awarding contracts to rebuild

Natsios defended bidding rules for lucrative contracts offered to select
U.S. companies and said similar regulations had applied in Afghanistan last
year without attracting the same fanfare.

"I was a little taken aback (at the criticism). I think it has to do with
the opposition to the war in that it sort of spills over into whatever we
do," Natsios, USAID's administrator, said in an interview with Reuters on

Democrats, a handful of Republicans and officials in some countries,
including France, which opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq, have questioned
the transparency of the process and the exclusion of a wider array of local
bidders and foreign firms.

The Iraqi reconstruction project is the largest in scale since the Marshall
Plan in the late 1940s after World War II. So far, nine requests for work in
Iraq have been issued by USAID and seven of those have been awarded.

Natsios expected three more requests to be issued soon for agriculture,
economic governance, and monitoring and evaluation of the capital
reconstruction contract. It was unclear whether new bidding rules would
apply because the war was over.

"As far as our current planning, that would be it," he said, adding he did
not anticipate more funding in the 2004 budget.

USAID said the need to start Iraqi reconstruction quickly meant it had to
rely on emergency provisions to overtake routine bidding rules, which could
have taken six months or more to implement, leaving a vacuum in Iraq.

"If you are asking me if we did the right thing, there's absolutely no
question," Natsios said of the bidding rules.

Federal law, said Natsios, required USAID to choose American companies for
projects funded by U.S. taxpayers.

"No one has said anything about American companies before. Now all of a
sudden it's a big issue," he said.


Natsios said USAID had waived existing U.S. government procurement
restrictions to allow non-American firms to bid for subcontracts and
estimated about half of those companies would be foreign, and many of those
could be Iraqi.

"We are not going to bring in a company to do whitewashing in a school," he
said, citing an example of where an Iraqi firm would be used.

He said many other nations had the same bidding laws as the United States
but their leaders seemed oblivious to them.

"Many of the political leaders who are raising this are unaware of what the
statutes are in their own country," he said, adding France had among the
strictest laws when it came to bidding for projects funded by taxpayers.

The biggest contract so far has been to repair Iraq's infrastructure, which
went to American company Bechtel Group Inc. and could be worth up to $680
million over 18 months.

The true cost of rebuilding Iraq has not yet been calculated, but some
lawmakers predict funding may reach $100 billion, a number Natsios disputed.

"There has been this illusion that there is a $100 billion reconstruction
program. No one knows how much it will cost even remotely to rebuild the
country," said Natsios.

USAID's aim, he said, was for an elected government in Iraq to ultimately
use oil revenues to rebuild the country.

He also anticipated the World Bank and International Monetary Fund would
have a major role in Iraq's reconstruction efforts and said the World Bank
was doing an early assessment to establish what needed to be done.

Asked about concern, especially by aid agencies, that the United Nations was
not being asked to do more in Iraq, Natsios said reconstruction did not
usually fall to the United Nations, which more frequently had a coordinating

He predicted the United Nations would play a "vital" role in Iraq, adding
the United States had already given $300 million in cash to U.N. agencies
working in Iraq.

----- Original Message -----
From: "H Sutter" <>
To: <>
Sent: Dienstag, 6. Mai 2003 15:01
Subject: Re: [casi] Unfree stuff happens to free Iraqis!

> Dear Bob and List,
> Your response has made me very sad. This is the
> second time since the occupation of Iraq that
> I have tried to address what seemed to me serious
> concerns about injustice on CASI and failed utterly.
> I'm not blaming you or anyone else for not getting
> the expected response, far from it. I see other
> reasons: 1) I didn't express my concerns properly;
> 2) my concerns are of no interest to the list;
> 3) most CASI members have now adopted a
> don't-rock-the-conquered-boat attitude; or 4) people
> are simply burnt out from the efforts of many years.
> Whatever the reason, it seems that I shouldn't go
> to CASI to explore USUK injustices in Iraq -
> perceived or real. And it this makes me feel sad.
> Still, c'est la vie.
> >> So why does unfree stuff happen to free Iraqis?
> >> Why are they being discriminated against by their
> >> liberators?
> > While such messages may be useful for those who
> > are just beginning to wake to the truth, for most
> > of us on this list, they are redundant.
> Thank you for pointing this out. Yes, I suppose the
> these comparisons can get rather odious, or as you
> say "redundant". Still, this was _not_ the gist of
> my message, merely the parting shot.
> You have taken my last words and built an entirely
> new case around it that has no bearing on the
> questions I posed. This is fair enough, as far as
> it goes. It's certainly interesting and far-reaching:
> The power position of "Bush, his friends... [who]
> are quite simply trying to take control of everything
> and institute world-wide fascism."
> Equally interesting are the responses to your call
> for action: "Let's start talking about strategy!"
> Someone suggested, in the form of articles,
> 1) Bush's impeachment; 2) a dollar to Euro change;
> or 3) a new currency.
> All three are useful, if old, ideas that go well
> beyond the scope of CASI, I should think. In any
> case, they don't address injustices committed
> in occupied Iraq now.
> I also love your analogy about arguing with the
> "small child eating up all the cake, while we say
> that they should not do that." Spot on!
> But this analogy doesn't apply to the points I
> was raising. I didn't suggest the child "should
> not do that". I was asking what the hell _is_ the
> child doing? On what grounds? And home come the
> child is circumventing, ie, breaking, the
> still-existing sanctions?
> I was hoping that these questions, and more, would
> be of interest to CASI members. Evidently, I was
> mistaken.
> You have responded to my post but left my questions
> untouched.
> Still, the issues are real and deserve some
> research, I think - if not on CASI, elsewhere.
> (The Rummy/looting comparison, while not directly
> related, has some bearing.) So for the record only,
> I'll cite the relevant parts of my original post:
> >    Iraqi firms are barred from working as
> >    subcontractors for USAID "because they are
> >    not designated as countries of the free world"
> >    a USAID official said on April 29. So are
> >    countries from Iran, Syria, Cuba and North Korea.'
>      (Washington Times, April 30, 2003)
> Supplement: in that article it also said:
> "subcontractors can come from any country of the
> free world a designation that does not include Iraq."
> Comment:
> It may be redundant but useful to reiterate that
> the former Iraqi government and the Ba'ath Party
> are no more. There is no other legitimate Iraqi
> government as yet. These are the known facts. So
> Iraq must be considered a de facto a protectorate
> of the US. Can such protectorate be not 'free'?
> Questions arising out of this news item:
> 1-- Has any CASI member read or heard about this
> barring elsewhere?
> 2-- Is this news item essentially correct? That is,
> has USAID implemented the barring of Iraqi firms on
> the grounds that Iraq is not part of the "free world"?
> 2-- If so, who instructed USAID? The State Department?
> Who specifically?
> 3-- Having toppled the former government, ostensibly
> to liberate its people, is it conceivable that the
> US may designate its own conquered protectorate a
> 'dictatorship', ie, not belonging to the "free world"?
> Are there any precedents? Any legal grounds?
> If anyone has answers to these questions, please post
> them - or any suggestions you may have.
> Next item:
> >    "'We're struggling on how to deal with Iraqi
> >    firms,' said an official at a USAID conference
> >    for companies interested in working on Iraqi
> >    reconstruction." The U.S. Treasury Department
> >    has granted waivers for humanitarian work in
> >    the country, which includes reconstruction
> >    efforts, but would not cover hiring local firms.
> >
> >    The U.S. Treasury says it "enforces the U.N.
> >    sanctions."
>      (Washington Times, April 30, 2003)
> Comment:
> The sanctions are still in effect. Legally, they can
> only be lifted by the UN Security Council, who imposed
> them. (This requires the certification by a UN inspection
> team that Iraq is disarmed. The US has refused further
> UN inspections.) Ergo: until the sanctions are lifted
> reconstruction work is illegal since it requires the
> import of foreign labour and material.
> Questions arising out of this news item:
> 1-- Am I correct in saying that reconstruction
> work is illegal until the sanctions are lifted
> going by UN resolutions?
> 2-- How can the US Treasury claim it "enforces the
> U.N. sanctions" when the US is planning to carry
> out reconstruction work amounting to $1.7 billion?
> 3-- How can the Treasury grant "waivers" declaring
> billion dollar projects "humanitarian work" - thus
> circumventing the sanctions?
> 4-- If this is illegal, is Kofi Annan conniving at
> the illegality?
> Again, if anyone has answers or suggestions to
> these questions, please post them.
> If no-one has any answers, finding and verifying
> them requires quite a bit of research. That's why
> I posted this originally. I appreciate that no-one
> may have the time or the inclination to help.
> Finding answers, ie, facts, may bring several
> benefits:
> (a)  Making this takeover of Iraq as difficult as
>      possible for the invaders, or even thwarting
>      some of their nefarious plans, may act as some
>      disincentive to further takeovers.
> (b)  Complaining loudly to the UN Security Council
>      and to Mr. Annan may encourage this gutless
>      brotherhood to act more honestly in future.
> (c)  If nothing else, there will be an accurate record
>      for history: US misdeeds during its occupation of
>      Iraq.
> Besides this, there seems to be a contradiction in
> the reasons given for excluding Iraqi firms - going
> by the Washington Times article: One reason is that
> Iraq is not "designated a country of the free world".
> Another reason is that this lack of proper designation
> is tied to the still-existing sanctions:
> <Quote on>
> The legal issue is tied to lifting sanctions against
> Iraq at the United Nations, a U.S. Treasury spokesman
> said.
> In the meantime, the $1.7 billion USAID-led effort
> to rebuild Iraq would have to exclude local Iraqi
> companies.
> <Quote off>
> To me, this doesn't make sense: lifting the sanctions
> doesn't make Iraq a "free country" in a political
> sense (elections, etc.). But without sanctions,
> Iraq would certainly be a "free country" for the
> US to exploit. That's why Bush wants to have the
> sanctions lifted: He wants Iraq to pay for the
> damage the US has caused.
> So something seems very fishy. And I suspect that
> Washington is using the barring of Iraqi firms
> to blackmail the UN in lifting the sanctions without
> the prerequisites being met. And this too deserves
> exploring. - Here is the link to that article again:
> "Iraqi firms excluded from reconstruction", April 30.
> Conclusion:
> I believe that asking critical (and informed)
> questions may help further injustice being done
> to the Iraqis and their country.
> It will also help to correct social injustice
> worldwide - and this will promote peace. And how
> can you campaign against injustice without knowing
> about it?
> I realize, of course, that the questions I am
> asking may be of no interest to anyone on the list.
> They may even seem boring. But please, compadres,
> don't tell me that they are redundant or irrelevant.
> That would be too disappointing coming from a group
> that has campaigned against the injustice of the
> sanctions on Iraq for some six years.
> Anyway, I won't ask any more questions on CASI.
> I will carry on as best as I can by myself.
> Best regards,
> Elga Sutter
> -----------Original Message-----------
> To:
> Subject: Re: [casi] Unfree stuff happens to free Iraqis!
> From:
> Date: Mon, 05 May 2003 15:20:44 EDT
> >So why does unfree stuff happen to free Iraqis?
> >Why are they being discriminated against by their
> >liberators?
> I must admit I have noticed a growing sense of impatience and frustration
> lately. There have been so many of these sorts of messages for so long --
> these arguments and refutations to the schemes and lies -- that it has
> become like one slap after another, with no end in sight.
> While such messages may be useful for those who are just beginning to
> wake to the truth, for most of us on this list, they are redundant. The
> time has come for all to rub our eyes and shake ourselves fully awake,
> and see the reality.
> Bush, his friends, the corporate heads and political bandits of the world
> are quite simply trying to take control of everything and institute
> world-wide fascism. All of these refutations merely cater to their
> efforts to frame the contexts of discussion and action.
> It all comes down to one thing, really: the madmen want all the power and
> wealth and will do what they can to take it.
> It's a like a small child eating up all the cake, while we say that they
> should not do that. They argue they are not eating ALL the cake, because
> there is still some left. They argue that they are only eating their fair
> share, and argue what is fair, and how much they were cheated out of the
> last cake, and how the fat people should get less, and on and on. Each
> argument has a sound refutation, but while the argument goes on, they
> continue to eat. We end up arguing with the child, on the child's terms.
> The child has already won the argument, however, because the child has
> realized that as long as the argument continues the cake is disappearing,
> and soon the argument will be over when the cake is all gone.
> The proper response is to grab the child by shirt collar and confine him
> to his room, and to stop him from eating.
> The question we have now is how to do that. Not whether it needs to be
> done, not if we can win the argument, not if we should continue to even
> listen to the lies he tells, but how to stop him, confine him.
> We -- the world -- are faced with the newest rise of insane fascist
> forces. We already know where it is going and how it will work, if we
> admit it to ourselves. It is nothing new. The reality is simple: we can
> do everything we can to stop it, or we will be plunged into fascism for
> an indeterminate future, at which time it will be too late and we will
> have to wait for it to gradually die out in a long and painful struggle
> of attrition -- finally exploding in bloody revolution. Considering the
> technology and the breadth of power, the world may not survive it this
> time.
> We, all of us, have to choose -- or the choice will be made for us, and
> we won't like it. It will take a great many of us working together, and
> we need to get a lot of people to choose, but there isn't much time left.
> We must decide how it can be stopped, and do it.
> Let's start talking about strategy!
> _______________________________________________
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