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we may be trying to mend relations with Belgum,
Originally posted by Vajrayana
While this article has some slant,I think writer Evelyn Pringle,columnist for Independent Media TV brings some more disturbing points up in this age where investigative journalists seems to be an endangered species.
...with the press seemingly unwilling to publicize the war profiteering aspects of the war in Iraq, the formation of New Bridge basically went unnoticed by the American public and only briefly showed up in the headlines
What is New Bridge Strategies?According to their own website:
"a unique company that was created specifically with the aim of assisting clients to evaluate and take advantage of business opportunities in the Middle East following the conclusion of the U.S.-led war in Iraq."
formed by Joe Allbaugh late in March 2003,with former George H W Bush aids members Ed Rogers and Lanny Griffith,along with business partners of first brother Neil Bush,John Howland as its president, and Jamal Daniel as a principal.
Who is Joe Allbaugh?
He was part of the inner circle in Bush's 2000 presidential campaign, along with Karl Rove and Karen Hughes. In January 2001, when Bush took over the White House, he put Allbaugh in charge of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which dispenses disaster money and loans after hurricanes, floods and fires.
He should be a fortune teller, because somehow he knew a couple of weeks before Bush declared war on Iraq, that he should quit his government job and go into the business of helping wealthy clients secure Iraqi reconstruction contracts.
When he announced his resignation from FEMA on March 1, 2003 he said, "Now I am going to take the opportunity to spend some time with my wife and children." Well his family could not have enjoyed too much quality with Joe because in a matter of weeks he opened a new firm called New Bridge Strategies.
New Bridge is actually an outgrowth of Haley Barbour’s lobbying firm, Barbour Griffith & Rogers (BGR). Josh says he came to this conclusion after he learned that both firms were located in the same office space. And also because Griffith is the CEO of New Bridge and Rogers is the vice president. Sounds to me like he reached the right conclusion.
Although its connections to the administration may not have received much attention in the media, the company itself was not shy about advertising its contacts. Its web site as much as brags about the company's links to Bush, by specifically pointing out that Allbaugh was "chief of staff to then-Gov. Bush of Texas and was the national campaign manager for the Bush-Cheney 2000 presidential campaign."
So here's the setup. Bush’s main man Joe, quits FEMA to spend time with his family, right before the bombs start falling in Iraq. He then moves into the offices of one of the biggest and most politically connected GOP lobbying firms in Washington and starts advertising services to clients who want to win reconstruction contracts in Iraq. How could it possibly get any sweeter than this?
Initially, it said, "the opportunities evolving in Iraq today are of such an unprecedented nature and scope that no other existing firm has the necessary skills and experience to be effective both in Washington, D.C., and on the ground in Iraq." But someone must have warned Allbaugh that that particular sentence was a little over the top because that particular phrasing has since been changed on the web site.
So no other existing firm has the necessary skills and experience to be effective both in Washington,DC & Iraq?Wow, where have I heard this very same excuse before? Thats right KBR/Halliburton, but that may or may not be true for maintaining oil lines, as for $100 laundry loads,serving overpriced meals,& pitching tents I believe our troops are just fine without them.
Allbaugh himself, didn't seem to give his ties to the administration a second thought. According to a Sept 30, 2003 article in Mother Jones, he claimed, "It's beneficial to clients that I know who the players are and I know who the decision makers are." Apparently he forgot to mention that because of all these friends in high places, he has insider knowledge of how much money the government will spend and when it will become available.
Allbaugh denied having any improper motives. "The stories I've seen have been couched as if people are trying to game the system, and that's not what we're about," he said. "We are trying to help Iraq become a capitalist country, and a leader throughout the Middle East. Iraqis themselves are asking for help,"
LMAO - what BS.
Joe seems baffled that anyone would question his assertion about wanting to help the poor Iraqis. "We fought a war, we displaced a horrible, horrible regime, and as a part of that we have an obligation to help Iraqis," he said. "We can't just leave in the middle of the night."
More all too familiar BS from another salivating opportunist.
don't quit your government job before the president even admits he's taking the country to war, set up shop and start advertising to get contracts for work in a country that you somehow know we're about to destroy.
Its clear that BGR was instrumental in bringing other companies into New Bridge's fold, including Diligence, a security firm set up by former US and British intelligence officers.
On Oct 6, 2003, Allbaugh told the NYTs, that "As part of his package for clients ... he offered security in the form of yet another new company, Diligence Iraq, which worked hand-in-hand with New Bridge. New Bridge is a minority partner in Diligence Iraq, which is just opening up in Baghdad.Mike Baker, the head of Diligence Iraq, serves as an advisory board member of New Bridge."
BGR provided the initial funding for Diligence, according to Nick Day, a co-founder of the firm. Like New Bridge, it was given office space at BGR's Washington office. BGR also provided the firm's advisory board. Many of the names on the Diligence board, including the Carlyle Group's Ed Mathias, match the names on the board of New Bridge.
In return for finding an investor for Diligence in Iraq, New Bridge got a minority shareholding in the firm.
Diligence, is now headed by Richard Burt, former US Ambassador to Germany and a consultant in the Carlyle Group. Whitley Bruner, formerly head of the CIA Baghdad station, is now director of the Iraq branch of Diligence.
And guess what? The deputy chairman of Diligence is none other than Joe Allbaugh.
On Dec 11, 2003, The Financial Times of London reported that, "Two businessmen instrumental in setting up New Bridge Strategies, a well-connected Washington firm designed to help clients win contracts in Iraq, have previously used an association with Neil, the younger brother of President Bush, to seek business in the Middle East."
That would be New Bridge president John Howland and Jamal Daniel, a principal. As it turns out, Neil landed a $60,000 a year consultant contract, for which according to his testimony in a divorce deposition, he is required to take phone messages for about 3 hours a week.
However, Neil is being far too modest about his consultant work. According to the Times, he is doing much more than answering phones. Three people contacted by the Financial Times said they have seen letters written by Neil that recommend business ventures promoted by New Bridges in the Middle East. So in a nutshell, Neil is being paid an annual fee to "help companies secure contracts in Iraq," the Times reports.
Bremer's Real Mission
"before the fires from the “shock and awe” military onslaught were even extinguished, Bremer unleashed his shock therapy, pushing through more wrenching changes in one sweltering summer than the International Monetary Fund has managed to enact over three decades in Latin America.”
In his first major act on the job, Bremer "fired 500,000 state workers, most of them soldiers, but also doctors, nurses, teachers, publishers, and printers. Next, he flung open the country’s borders to absolutely unrestricted imports: no tariffs, no duties, no inspections, no taxes. Iraq, Bremer declared was “open for business,”
Before the war, Iraq’s non-oil-related economy consisted of 200 state-owned companies, that produced everything from cement to paper to washing machines. In June, Bremer attended an economic summit in Jordan and announced that the firms would be privatized immediately. “Getting inefficient state enterprises into private hands,” he said, “is essential for Iraq’s economic recovery,"
n September, to entice investors to buy the state-owned companies, Bremer enacted a new set of laws. For example, Order 37 lowered Iraq’s corporate tax rate from roughly 40% to a flat 15%. Order 39 allowed foreign companies to own 100% of Iraqi assets outside of the natural-resource sector.
Investors could take 100% of the profits they made in Iraq out of the country. They would not be required to reinvest and would not be taxed. Under Order 39, they could sign leases and contracts that would last for forty years. Order 40 welcomed foreign banks to Iraq under the same favorable terms
"Iraqis, reeling from violence both military and economic, were far too busy staying alive to mount a political response to Bremer’s campaign. Worrying about the privatization of the sewage system was an unimaginable luxury with half the population lacking access to clean drinking water; the debate over the flat tax would have to wait until the lights were back on,"
The Economist described Iraq under Bremer as “a capitalist dream,” and a flurry of new consulting firms were launched promising to help companies get access to the Iraqi market, their boards of directors stacked with well-connected Republicans,
the most prominent was New Bridge and it was absolutely jubilant over the potential opportunities in Iraq. “Getting the rights to distribute Procter & Gamble products can be a gold mine,” one of the company’s partners enthused. “One well-stocked 7-Eleven could knock out thirty Iraqi stores; a Wal-Mart could take over the country,”
However none of that came to pass. For good reason. Klein explained that Bremer's illegal changes to Iraqi law may have made the country the most friendly in the world to corporations, but they were the least useful to Iraqi workers suffering an unemployment rate over 60%.
During the past year and a half, the whole world has watched as the Iraqis refused to hand over their country to Bremer and the plan for privatization went right down the tubes.
But don't worry about old Joe. Things may not have went as planned in Iraq, but he's branching out and finding other ways to cash in on the war. According to the Sept 30, 2004 Fairfield County Weekly, Allbaugh started yet another consulting company with Andrew Lundquist, the former director of Dick Cheney's secretive energy policy task force. The firm's first client? Lockheed Martin, one of the country's largest defense contractors.
Evelyn Pringle's article slanted or not...I'm sure this doesn't really come as a surprise to many.It's just a shame our media would rather divert the public with Saving Private Jessica fables than to dare inform Americans about tales from the darkside.
How do you expect them to react to the most honorable and courageous President to grace the office in several generations?
It proves my point that the anti-American / anti- Eurpean attitudes goes beyond just a dislike for Bush