- Jul 6, 2005
- Reaction score
- Political Leaning
- Very Liberal
I'm pretty stupid when it comes to computer technology. Can anyone tell me why this is so important? Or why it is not? I'm no expert when it comes to this subject. So don't expect too many comments from, yours truly, in this thread. So to all the cyber czars that may be surfing this forum, questions or comments?The auctioning off of Iraq began in the summer of 2003 in a packed conference room at the Grand Hyatt in Amman, Jordan. More than 300 executives had gathered from around the world to vie for a piece of one natural resource Saddam Hussein never managed to exploit—the nation's cellular phone frequencies. With less than 4 percent of Iraqis connected to a phone, the open spectrum could earn billions of dollars for the eager executives working the room. Conference organizers tried to keep everyone focused on the prize. "Iraq needs a mobile communications system and it needs it now," stressed Jim Davies, a British expert with the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) who was leading the effort. "We want quick results."
But back in Washington, D.C., the focus had already turned from the needs of Iraq to the bottom lines of a select few corporations. "The battle for Iraq is not over oil," said one Defense Department official involved in communications. "It's over bandwidth." And no one was fighting harder for a piece of the spectrum than the consortium led by American cellular giant Qualcomm with such business partners as Lucent Technologies and Samsung of South Korea. They wanted to follow U.S. troops into Iraq with Qualcomm's patented cellular technology, called CDMA, a system no nation in the Middle East had yet been willing to adopt. Even as the bombs fell over Baghdad, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), whose district includes many Qualcomm employees, had tried to wrap his favored company in the flag. He denounced the cellular system used by Iraq's neighbors as "an outdated French standard," and proposed a law that would effectively mandate Qualcomm on Iraq. "Hundreds of thousands of American jobs depend on the success of U.S.-developed wireless technologies like CDMA," Issa wrote in a March 26, 2003, letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. A swarm of lobbyists rallied to the companies' cause, including William Walker, a former protégé of Rumsfeld from the Ford White House, and Stacy Carlson, who ran President George W. Bush's California campaign in 2000.