New allegations in Iraq mobile network saga
Darrel Issa named, again
Excitable American reports are suggesting that the attempts made last year by Congressman Darrel Issa to point "reconstruction" money in the direction of Qualcomm were not a silly season joke by one person, but an organised strategy, which may continue.
In a report in the LA Times (free reg needed) it is alleged that a "senior Defense Department official is under investigation by the Pentagon inspector general for allegations that he attempted to alter a contract proposal in Iraq to benefit a mobile phone consortium that includes friends and colleagues."
The original Issa story simply reported that the Congressman, who represents a constituency full of Qualcomm employees, was anxious to get Qualcomm-owned CDMA technology used in Iraq instead of "French" GSM phone systems.
Now, Issa is being mentioned as a bit-part player in the new saga of this official, who is being investigated.
The official is named: the LA Times says he is John A. Shaw, 64, the deputy undersecretary for international technology security. The allegation is simple: "He sought to transform a relatively minor police and fire communications proposal into a contract allowing the creation of an Iraq-wide commercial cellular network that could generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue per year," according to the paper's sources.
And Shaw, says the report, has been contacted by Issa.
At this point, politics enters the picture, and ensures that sides will be taken irrespective of evidence.
According to Eschaton, which is definitely NOT a pro-Bush site, "Shaw said he was trying to help the group because it could quickly install the police and fire communications system, and because the group was using a US-based cellphone technology called CDMA that had lost out in what he called a 'rigged' competition last year for commercial licenses in Iraq. Three companies using European-based technology won contracts."
The link to Issa at the moment looks like it's no more than association. He wanted the contract to go to Qualcomm; Shaw wanted the contract to go to Qualcomm, and they spoke to each other.
But the matter won't end there. The thing is, more American companies make money out of GSM than out of CDMA; and they make more money, too. And of course, in an election year, any hint of political involvement, even if totally above board, is going to raise accusations of corruption.
Eschaton is in no doubt: "Corruption is so endemic in this administration that the people don't even understand that they are corrupt. It's disgusting, and people are dying."