Sightings from The Catbird Seat
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February 6, 2009
Halliburton Whistleblower Requests Your Help To Protect Taxpayers
From: "National Whistleblowers Center - Bunny Greenhouse" firstname.lastname@example.org
To: “Bobby N. Harmon”
Personal Letter From Bunny Greenhouse
Take Action! Please Urge Your Senators To Support Taxpayers!
Dear Action Alert Member:
My name is Bunny Greenhouse. I am the former Procurement Executive and highest-ranking Army Corps of Engineers civilian procurement official.
Today I am asking you to contact your Senators and Representatives to demand, in the strongest possible terms, that employees who disclose fraud in federal contracting are fully and properly protected in the 800 billion dollar stimulus package that Congress is currently debating.
Shortly before the Iraq War commenced, I blew the whistle on improper contracting concerning the award of a multi-billion dollar no-bid, cost plus contract to Halliburton / KBR for the reconstruction of Iraq.
I was concerned that improper contracting activity would cost the taxpayers billions – and it did. The contract should not have been awarded. From my inside prospective, it was clear that the “fix was in” – the contract was going to be awarded to Halliburton no matter what I said or did.
Those who should have protested the contract remained silent. And their silence is not surprising because, as federal employees, we have no meaningful whistleblower protection! We can be fired for reporting fraud. We can lose our careers simply for doing our job and trying to protect the taxpayer.
I know this is true. It happened to me. The top brass demanded that I drop my protests. I refused. The top brass – many of whom had longstanding relations with government contractors – retaliated. They removed me from the Senior Executive Service and from anything having to do with contract oversight. When I went to federal court to demand protection the judge dismissed my case because as a federal employee I had no protection.
The bottom line is that without access to independent courts, real judges and juries, whistleblowers don’t stand a chance, and fairness and transparency will not see the light day.
Only Congress can fix this. The House of Representatives has already acted decisively by adding H.R. 985 to the stimulus bill, by a unanimous voice vote (now called H.R. 1, Section IV). President Obama's presidential campaign is on record as supporting the same whistleblower protections now found in House version of the stimulus bill.
So, the buck stops with the Senate. I urge you to contact your Senators and let them know that whistleblower protection is a critical part of the stimulus package for protection of the public trust. I urge you to contact your Representatives and tell them to hold strong -- and refuse to cut whistleblower protections from the bill. Federal employees, like me, who risk their careers to protect taxpayer money need to be protected.
Please act now! Pass this letter to your friends! Pass this letter to your co-workers! Pass this letter to your family! Send a letter to your Senator Now!
Billions of taxpayer dollars are at stake and it is up to the Senate to do the right thing.
Very truly yours,
Bunnatine H. Greenhouse
Former Procurement Executive
Army Corps of Engineers
National Whistleblower Center Action Alert
This company truly has a guardian angel: former Halliburton CEO and now Vice President Dick Cheney who looks out for its interests from the White House. The result?
$8 billion in contracts “rebuilding” Iraq in 2004.
CEO: David J. Lesar
Military contracts 2005: $5.8 billion
Campaign contributions in 2004: $217,199 (Oil & gas related)
The biggest windfall in the invasion of Iraq has most certainly gone to the oil services and logistics company Halliburton . The company, which was formerly run by Vice President Dick Cheney, had revenue of over $8 billion in contracts in Iraq in 2003 alone.
And while Halliburton ’s dealings in Iraq have been dogged everywhere by scandal – including now a criminal investigation into overcharging by Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root for gas shipped into Iraq – Vice President Cheney manages to be doing quite well from the deal. He owns $433,000 unexercised Halliburton stock options worth more than $10 million dollars.
But Halliburton ’s history of benefiting from government largesse goes back a ways. From 1962 to 1972 the Pentagon paid the company tens of millions of dollars to work in South Vietnam, where they built roads, landing strips, harbors, and military bases from the demilitarized zone to the Mekong Delta. The company was one of the main contractors hired to construct the Diego Garcia air base in the Indian Ocean, according to Pentagon military histories.
In the early 1990s the company was awarded the job to study and then implement the privatization of routine army functions under then-secretary of defense Dick Cheney. When Cheney quit his Pentagon job, he landed the job of Halliburton 's CEO, bringing with him his trusted deputy David Gribbin. The two substantially increased Halliburton 's government business until they quit in 2000, once Cheney was elected vice president. This included a $2.2 billion bill for a Brown and Root contract to support US soldiers in Operation Just Endeavor in the Balkans.
After Cheney and Gribbin departed, another confidante of Cheney, Admiral Joe Lopez, former commander in chief for U.S. forces in southern Europe, took over Gribbin's old job of go-between for the government and the company, according to Brown and Root's own press releases.
In 2001 the company took in $13 billion in revenues, according to its latest annual report. Currently, Brown and Root estimates it has $740 million in existing U.S. government contracts (approximately 37 percent of its global business).
For example, in mid November 2001, Brown and Root was paid $2 million to reinforce the U.S. embassy in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, under contract with the State Department, according to the New York Times. More recently Brown and Root was paid $16 million by the federal government to go to Guantnamo Bay, Cuba, to build a 408-person prison for captured Taliban fighters, according to Pentagon press releases.
That's by no means all: Brown and Root employees can be found back home running support operations from Fort Knox, Kentucky, to a naval base in El Centro, California, according to company press releases. In December 2001, Brown and Root secured a 10-year deal named the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP), from the Pentagon, which has already been estimated at $830 million.
Meanwhile independent agencies are still skeptical about claimed financial savings from contracting out military support operations. According to the Government Accounting Office (GAO), a February 1997 study showed that a Brown and Root operation in Bosnia estimated at $191.6 million when presented to Congress in 1996 had ballooned to $461.5 million a year later.
All told this former Yugoslavia contract has now cost the taxpayer $2.2 billion over the last several years. Examples of overspending by contractors include flying plywood from the United States to the Balkans at $85.98 a sheet and billing the army to pay its employees' income taxes in Hungary.
A subsequent GAO report, issued September 2000, showed that Brown and Root was still taking advantage of the contract in the Balkans. Army commanders were unable to keep track of the contract because they were typically rotated out of camps after a six-month duration, erasing institutional memory, according to the report.
The GAO painted a picture of Brown and Root contract employees sitting idly most of the time. The report also noted that a lot of staff time was spent doing unnecessary tasks, such as cleaning offices four times a day. Pentagon officials were able to identify $72 million in cost savings on the Brown and Root contract simply by eliminating excess power generation equipment that the company had purchased for the operation.
Brown and Root has been also been investigated for over billing the government in its domestic operations. In February 2002, Brown and Root paid out $2 million to settle a suit with the Justice Department that alleged the company defrauded the government during the mid-1990s closure of Fort Ord in Monterey, California.
The allegations in the case surfaced several years ago when Dammen Gant Campbell, a former contracts manager for Brown and Root turned whistle-blower, charged that between 1994 and 1998 the company fraudulently inflated project costs by misrepresenting the quantities, quality, and types of materials required for 224 projects. Campbell said the company submitted a detailed "contractors pricing proposal" from an army manual containing fixed prices for some 30,000 line items.
Once the proposal was approved, the company submitted a more general "statement of work," which did not contain a breakdown of items to be purchased. Campbell maintained the company intentionally did not deliver many items listed in the original proposal. The company defended this practice by claiming the statement of work was the legally binding document, not the original contractors pricing proposal.
"Whether you characterize it as fraud or sharp business practices, the bottom line is the same: the government was not getting what it paid for," says Michael Hirst, of the United States Attorney's Office in Sacramento, who litigated the suit on behalf of the government.
"We alleged that they exploited the contracting process and increased their profits at the governments expense."
* * * * *
SECRETS FROM THE CATBIRD’S NEST!
(S-h-h-h ... don’t tell anybody)
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December 4, 2008
Stranded workers in Iraq:
Recruiters duped us
From Michael Ware, CNN
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Kept in a derelict warehouse at Baghdad's airport for months, sleeping four to a bed with poor food and no money, hundreds of would-be contract workers are stranded, claiming they were duped by unscrupulous recruiting agents into coming to Iraq for nonexistent jobs.
The recruiters told the men -- from India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Uganda -- that jobs were waiting for them with American defense contractor KBR, through a Kuwaiti company called Najlaa Catering Services. The recruiting agents charged them between $3,000 and $5,000 to make the trip to Iraq; many sold their farms or other valuables to raise the money.
But when they arrived in Baghdad, they said, Najlaa housed about 1,000 of them -- 600 in the one-room warehouse -- in the compound within the airport, surrounded by private security guards. Showers are there, but are useless because the taps are nonfunctional. Many have questions about their visas and status in Iraq. Legally unable to stay, they lack the money to return home.
Asked if their governments were helping them, the men said, "Nothing, nothing." They said that when they protested, their guards fired guns upward to silence them.
Najlaa's officials in Iraq refused comment to CNN. The company's Kuwaiti office said the situation was "under control" and being dealt with.
Some Ugandan men said the Iraqi police handcuffed and beat them. "They say, 'If you are here for the U.S., we're going to show you the difference between the U.S. government and the Iraqi government. Let's see if the U.S. is going to help you,' " one man said. Iraqi police would not answer questions regarding those allegations.
As the men spoke to CNN on camera, an official in charge of them threatened to lock them out of the compound unless they returned inside within two minutes.
KBR was not involved in recruiting the men. The company told CNN it does not condone unethical behavior, saying its contractors abide by its code of conduct, including training in human trafficking. The company said when it becomes aware of possible trafficking it works "to remediate the problem and report the matter to proper authorities. KBR then works with authorities to rectify the matter."
Meanwhile, men at a separate makeshift camp nearby said they were duped by different recruiters. They live off food donated by Iraqi workers, and say the men who brought them to Iraq have disappeared.
The men in the makeshift camp said their immigration status is in limbo. Their passports have been taken, or pages with visas have been torn out.
Help may be on the way. The men said United Nations workers had visited them. The world organization told CNN it is aware of the situation and is figuring out how to assist the men.
The U.S. military told CNN it takes human rights abuses seriously and is looking into the matter. The Iraqi government has also confiscated the passport of a Najlaa official until a solution is found.
But for the stranded men, help can't come soon enough.
"It's not fair," one said....
For more > > > KBR: Kidnaping, Bribery and Robbery at US Taxpayers’ Expense?
December 19, 2007
WOMAN TESTIFIES SHE WAS GANG RAPED BY US CONTRACTORS IN IRAQ
A US woman who said she was raped by US contractors in Iraq testified in Congress on Wednesday, telling legislators that she was kept under armed guard in her trailer after reporting the incident.
Jamie Leigh Jones, now 23, said that she was gang raped inside the Baghdad Green Zone in July 2005 while she was working for the Halliburton subsidiary KBR Inc, which has support contracts with the US military.
The US Department of Justice failed to send an attorney to the House of Representatives sub-committee hearing, which Democrat John Conyers blasted as "outrageous" and "unacceptable."
Jones told committee members that on her fourth day in Baghdad some co-workers, who she described as Halliburton-KBR firefighters, invited her for a drink. "I took two sips from the drink and don't remember anything after that," she said.
The next morning Jones woke up groggy and confused, and with a sore chest and blood between her legs. She reported the incident to KBR and was examined by an army doctor, who confirmed she had been repeatedly raped vaginally and anally.
The doctor took photographs, made notes, and handed all the evidence over to KBR personnel.
"The KBR security then took me to a trailer and then locked me in a room with two armed guards outside my door," Jones testified. "I was imprisoned in the trailer for approximately a day. One of the guards finally had mercy and let me use a phone."
Jones called her father in Texas, who called his representative in Congress, Republican Ted Poe. Poe contacted the State Department, who quickly sent personnel to rescue Jones and flew her back to Texas.
The rape was so brutal she is still undergoing reconstructive surgery, Jones said.
Jones tried to get her case resolved first through KBR channels, then through the US Department of Justice. When neither course seemed to work, she gave an interview with ABC television news.
KBR has been silent on the matter, though according to ABC News the company circulated a memo among employees signed by company president and CEO Bill Utt saying that it "disputes portions of Ms. [Jamie Leigh] Jones' version and facts."
Jones said that she knows of at least 11 other women who were raped by US contractors in Iraq.
Jones' KBR contract however included a clause which prevents her from suing her employer, Poe said, which will likely force her into arbitration, which he described as "a privatized justice system with no public record, no discovery and no meaningful appeal."
There are many laws that the Department of Justice (DOJ) "can enforce with respect to contractors who commit crimes abroad, but it chooses not to," Democrat Robert Scott said.
The DOJ "seems to be taking action with respect to enforcement of criminal laws in Iraq only when it is forced to do something by embarrassing media coverage," he added.
"This is outrageous that we even have to be here today," said Conyers, adding that it shows "how far out of control the law enforcement system in Iraq is today."
There are 180,000 civilian contractor employees in Iraq, including more than 21,000 Americans, Conyers said.
While the DOJ says it is committed to law enforcement in Iraq, "they can't even give us one example of a prosecution where the victim was a civilian contractor employee in Iraq," Conyers added.
Poe was equally caustic.
The department's silence on the case "speaks volumes about the hidden crimes in Iraq," he said.
December 19, 2007
From: "Public Citizen" <email@example.com>
Subject: Halliburton Victim Twice Over
Jamie Leigh Jones told ABC's 20/20 that while she was working in Iraq for a Halliburton subsidiary called KBR she was gang raped. Afterwards, she was confined to a shipping container with a bed and warned that if she left Iraq for medical treatment, she'd be fired.
Now, Jamie Leigh Jones is being victimized twice over. Halliburton is denying her constitutional right to have her traumatic experience heard by a jury.
Tell Congress this cannot stand.
Binding mandatory arbitration clauses, like the one in Halliburton's employment contract, are increasingly common. This means that Jamie, like millions of other Americans, cannot take her employer to court. Instead, she will be forced into a secret, privatized justice system with no accountability. She might even be required to make her case to an arbitrator chosen by Halliburton, with no appeal to anyone else.
Right now, Congress is considering legislation to reign in the predatory practice used by Iraq contractors, credit card companies, mortgage lenders and others. Your representatives need to hear your outrage and your demand for an end to the arbitration trap.
Tell your members of Congress it is time to pass the Arbitration Fairness Act (H.R. 3010/S. 1782) to ban binding mandatory arbitration clauses in employment contracts like Jamie's, as well as in other consumer, franchisee, and securities contracts.
Arbitration should be voluntary - chosen by both parties when a dispute arises - not a mandatory condition of getting a job, using a cell phone, trading stocks, holding a credit card, or entering a nursing home!
Take action NOW to tell your members of Congress to co-sponsor the Arbitration Fairness Act.
Director of Advocacy
Public Citizen's Congress Watch
June 15, 2007
Secrets of the CIA's
Global Sex Slave Industry
By Sue Arrigo, MD
This is the story of how the CIA uses "war zones" to garner kids for the sex slave business. You may have heard how the two companies, DynCorp and Halliburton, were caught trafficking in women during the war in Yugoslavia....
In these cases,they were importing and trafficking in Russian and East bloc women as sex slaves.
I want to talk about the children that are native to any war zone. The CIA did this across Africa, and anywhere they went as a standard part of their operations.
The names of the front companies will change over time. I am writing this down from memory after being inside the CIA for decades. Some of the details may be off, but the gist of the material will be correct....
Secrets of the CIA's Global Sex Slave Industry - Part 1
Secrets of the CIA's Global Sex Slave Industry - Part 2
Secrets of the CIA's Global Sex Slave Industry - Part 3
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April 17, 2007
Articles of Impeachment
To Be Filed On Cheney
Looks like he's reached his boiling point.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), the most liberal of the Democratic presidential candidates in the primary field, declared in a letter sent to his Democratic House colleagues this morning that he plans to file articles of impeachment against Vice President Dick Cheney.
Kucinich has made ending the war in Iraq the central theme of his campaign. He has even taken aim at the leading Democratic presidential candidates in the field for their votes on authorizing the war.
Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution gives Congress the authority to impeach the president, vice president and "all civil Officers of the United States" for "treason, bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."
Sources tell the Sleuth that in light of the mass killings at Virginia Tech Monday, Kucinich's impeachment plans have been put on hold. There will be no action this week, they say.
Kucinich's office had no comment on the Congressman's "Dear Colleague" letter -- which apparently was drafted over the weekend, before the school massacre -- or on what the focus of articles of impeachment against Cheney would be.
But Kucinich shouldn't hold his breath on getting anywhere with his impeachment plan. "We'll see a Kucinich Administration before we'll see a Cheney impeachment," quipped one Democratic aide.
Here is the text of his letter, a copy of which was forwarded to the Sleuth:
April 17, 2007
This week I intend to introduce Articles of Impeachment with respect to the conduct of Vice President Cheney. Please have your staff contact my office . . . if you would like to receive a confidential copy of the document prior to its introduction in the House.
/s/ Dennis J. Kucinich
Member of Congress
< < < FLASHBACK < < <
November 5, 2004
The Coming Indictment of
Dick Cheney and the Neo-Cons
by Jeffrey Steinberg, Executive Intelligence Review
As we go to press, Americans are preparing to vote in the Nov. 2 elections. Regardless of the outcome of the Presidential race, during the immediate days and weeks ahead, Dick Cheney will finally be facing the music.
The Vice President has presided over one of the most corrupt Administrations in American history, and the proximity of the Presidential elections has postponed—but not quashed—a string of Federal grand jury and Congressional probes of the Vice President and his neo-con allies in the Pentagon and in his own "shadow national security council," housed in the Office of the Vice President, and headed by Cheney's chief of staff and alter ego, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.
Among Cheney's most recent election-eve damage-control efforts: the suppression of a Central Intelligence Agency Inspector General's report on intelligence failures, leading up to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. According to recent reports in Newsweek, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times, newly installed CIA Director Porter Goss, a partisan Republican Cheney pick, put the kibosh on the release of the IG report to Congress, despite the fact that the document was completed in June.
According to Los Angeles Times editorial writer Robert Scheer, the CIA study names the names of top government officials who sat on key intelligence leads prior to the attacks. Scheer quoted one unnamed intelligence official: "It is infuriating that a report which shows that high-level people were not doing their jobs in a satisfactory manner before 9/11 is being suppressed.”
The report is potentially very embarrassing for the administration, because it makes it look like they weren't interested in terrorism before 9/11, or in holding people in the government responsible afterwards."
The top Bush Administration official who ignored pre-9/11 warnings and suppressed legislation aimed at creating a Homeland Security Department prior to the Pentagon and World Trade Center attacks was none other than Vice President Cheney, who was appointed by President Bush in May 2001 to head up a White House task force on terrorism. According to former National Security Council counter-terrorism czar Richard Clarke, that task force never held a single meeting, prior to the 9/11 attacks.
The suppression of the IG report has provoked bipartisan anger from the ranking members of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.) and Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), who wrote a letter of protest to Goss over the delay until after Nov. 2. More recently, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, also wrote to Goss, protesting the stall.
The IG report was the result of a 17-month probe by an 11-person CIA team. Another CIA official told the Los Angeles Times, "No previous director of CIA has ever tried to stop the inspector general from releasing a report to the Congress, in this case a report requested by Congress." Indeed, Newsweek reported that, following the publication of the Scheer article, Goss's top aides ordered the Office of Security to launch a probe into the leak. Senior U.S. intelligence sources have told EIR that Cheney hand-picked Goss to take the CIA post with one over-riding mandate: Block any pre-election leaks from within the CIA bureaucracy.
'Minister of Disinformation'
Adding to the pattern of exposés of Cheney interference in the national security intelligence process, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, released a 46-page report on Oct. 21, documenting the fabrication of intelligence prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
While the Levin report's findings centered on the office of Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith, which created an illegal parallel intelligence unit, outside the purview of the Intelligence Community (IC), to peddle a stream of disinformation on Iraq's non-existent ties to al-Qaeda, the report highlighted the personal role of Cheney. Sen. John Kerry recently aptly called Cheney "the Chief Minister of Disinformation" in the Bush Administration.
Senator Kerry knows, all too well, the personal role that the Vice President played in marching America into the Iraq quagmire. As the Senator has confided to several colleagues, it was a personal visit by the Vice President to Senator Kerry that convinced the latter to vote in favor of the Iraq war resolution in October 2002, which gave President Bush an unconstitutional Congressional green light to launch a needless and disastrous "preventive war."
Vice President Cheney lied to Senator Kerry, and, presumably, to scores of other hesitant legislators, that the Administration had hard evidence that Saddam Hussein had an advanced nuclear weapons program, and that it was the threat of a nuclear-armed Iraq that justified the preventive war to unseat Saddam Hussein and capture his supposed "vast arsenal" of weapons of mass destruction, before the "proof" emerged in the form of a nuclear mushroom cloud.
'You Can Run, But You Can't Hide'
On Oct. 28, just five days before the Presidential election, the FBI announced a criminal investigation, to determine whether Halliburton Co., which was chaired for five years by Dick Cheney (1995-2000), illegally got billions of dollars in no-bid contracts from the Bush Administration, to run Iraq's oil sector, following the U.S. invasion and occupation.
The criminal probe, touching on Cheney, was launched in response to allegations by Army Corps of Engineers senior contracting officer Bunnatine Greenhouse, who charged that she came under pressure from her superiors to drop opposition to Halliburton's five-year no-bid contract. The Greenhouse charges were featured in Time magazine, on Oct. 24.
In a letter to the acting Secretary of the Army, Greenhouse's attorney, Michael Kohn, charged that Gen. Robert Griffin and other top Army Corps of Engineers officials admonished her for questioning the Halliburton contract, which was approved on the eve of the March 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.
The letter detailed a February 2003 meeting at the Pentagon, attended by top Halliburton executives and Army officials, at which the $7 billion no-bid contract was discussed. Greenhouse objected to the presence of the Halliburton executives, and to the terms of the contract itself, arguing that the no-bid deal should be restricted to one year, and then opened to competitive bidding.
The next day, she received a copy of the five-year contract, unchanged, and was ordered by superiors to sign it. According to Kohn's letter, which was also provided to Congressional offices, Greenhouse was threatened with demotion, for raising a stink about the Halliburton deal.
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Government Reform Committee—which is now investigating billions of dollars in other Halliburton no-bid contracts under the United Nations-administered Oil for Food Program, and its successor Coalition Provisional Authority-administered Development Fund for Iraq—issued a statement on the Greenhouse case: "These charges," he told Time, "undercut months of assertions by Administration officials that the Halliburton contract was on the level."
Now FBI agents are set to interview Greenhouse and other Pentagon officials about the deal. They are also gathering documents from Army offices in Texas and other locations, all related to the Halliburton no-bid contracts. Associated Press reported on Oct. 28 that "The line of inquiry expands an earlier FBI investigation into whether Halliburton overcharged taxpayers for fuel in Iraq, and it elevates to a criminal matter the election-year question of whether the Bush administration showed favoritism to Vice President Dick Cheney's former company."
Indeed, documents already released by the Army Corps of Engineers confirm that Cheney Chief of Staff Libby was kept abreast of the Halliburton contract status on an ongoing basis.
The Halliburton Axis of Evil
Iraq is not the only case of Cheney-Halliburton corruption, currently under criminal investigation. Two other potential Halliburton crimes, both carried out while Dick Cheney was the company's CEO, are the subjects of Justice Department inquiries, U.S. Federal grand juries, and foreign criminal probes.
The first case involves $180 million in bribes, allegedly paid to Nigerian government officials by a consortium headed by Halliburton, which was seeking a monopoly on natural gas development in that oil- and gas-rich West African country. The case is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, French public prosecutor Renaud Van Ruymbeke, and the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crime Commission.
The French probe not only is targetting the bribes to Nigerian government officials; it also is focusing on $132 million, passed by the Halliburton-led consortium to British attorney Jeffrey Tesler, some of which, French investigators believe, may have been laundered back into the United States through offshore accounts, for use by the Republican Party in the 2000 elections.
According to a report prepared by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), titled "Ten Halliburton Scandals: Ten Billion in U.S. Contracts, Zero Senate Hearings": French magistrate Van Ruymbeke "has said that embezzlement charges could ultimately be filed against Cheney himself in a French court. In 2000, France joined the United States and more than 30 other countries in outlawing bribery of foreign public officials under the auspices of a convention negotiated through the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development."
Another explosive probe of Halliburton deals with the company's creation of a fictitious offshore subsidiary, to do business in Iran, in violation of a number of Federal statutes, including the Trading with the Enemy Act. In July 2004, after three years of investigation by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, the case was referred to the Justice Department, which opened a criminal grand jury investigation in Houston, Texas.
At the center of the controversy is Halliburton Products and Services Ltd., a company founded in the Cayman Islands—outside the reach of U.S. laws, banning certain economic cooperation with Iran, a country on the State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism, and one of three "rogue states" identified by President George W. Bush in his January 2002 State of the Union address as part of the "Axis of Evil."
A January 2004 investigation by CBS "60 Minutes" producer Leslie Stahl confirmed that the Halliburton Cayman Islands subsidiary, in fact, doesn't exist. It has no employees and no office on the island—merely a letter drop which forwards all mail back to Halliburton headquarters in Houston. Its only operations are run out of the Dubai offices of Kellogg Brown & Root, the wholly owned unit of the American Halliburton Co.
Senator Lautenberg has spearheaded the Senate probe into Cheney and Halliburton, and he dubbed the Iran dealings, which today are up to over $40 million a year in sales and services to the Islamic Republic, "serious and willful violations" of U.S. sanctions laws. "It's unconscionable that an American company would skirt the law to help Iran generate revenues."
Not to be forgotten is the fact that Cheney's "golden parachute" from Halliburton yielded him tens of millions of dollars, that he still receives annual deferred payments from Halliburton, and he holds 440,000 stock options in the firm—while claiming that he has been divested of any Halliburton interests since becoming Vice President.
The Valerie Plame Case
Beyond his Halliburton corruption, the Vice President is also in the eye of another storm—with serious potential criminal consequences. In July 2003, syndicated columnist Robert Novak exposed the identity of an undercover CIA officer, Valerie Plame, who happened to also be the wife of Ambassador Joseph Wilson.
In February 2002, at the behest of the CIA, Ambassador Wilson, who served in both Iraq and Niger during a distinguished career as a foreign service officer, travelled to the African state, to probe reports that Iraq was seeking a large quantity of "yellowcake," a uranium precursor used in nuclear bombs.
The Wilson trip came directly as the result of a query by Vice President Cheney, about alleged Niger government documents obtained by the Italian secret service, SISMI, pointing to the Iraq-Niger yellowcake deals.
Wilson concluded that the reports were false, and his findings were passed by the CIA to senior White House officials. Ultimately, in early March 2003, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) head Dr. Mohammed ElBaradei revealed that the Niger documents, which had been subsequently obtained by the CIA and shared with IAEA analysts, were shoddy forgeries.
Several days after Dr. ElBaradei made these revelations at a United Nations Security Council session, Joe Wilson appeared on CNN TV, and reminded Administration officials that they had some knowledge about the Niger yellowcake affair.
According to EIR's most well-informed government sources, the Wilson TV appearance triggered a meeting in the Vice President's Office, to "get Joe Wilson." When Wilson penned an op-ed for the New York Times in early July 2003, detailing his Niger mission, the Novak leak appeared targetting his wife, a career CIA "non-official cover" officer, involved in sensitive overseas work, tracking weapons of mass destruction.
Senior CIA officers were incensed that Novak openly boasted that he had been given Plame's name by two senior White House officials. It is one thing when an enemy spy, like Aldrich Ames or Robert Hanssen, provides the names of undercover U.S. intelligence officers. It is another thing entirely, when top White House officials reveal such information, in an act of political revenge.
After months of stalling by Attorney General John Ashcroft, evidence surfaced of Ashcroft's long-standing ties to one of the White House leak suspects, Karl Rove. Ashcroft was forced to recuse himself from the case, and the Deputy Attorney General, Robert Comey, immediately appointed an independent counsel, Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, to find and prosecute the leakers.
Sources have informed EIR that the Plame leak probe has zeroed in on Cheney's office. They indicate that a top aide to the Vice President, John Hannah, has already confessed to leaking the name to reporters—at the behest of Cheney Chief of Staff Libby. One remaining question is whether Libby acted on his own, or on the orders of Cheney or some other White House higher-up.
The Fitzpatrick grand jury has been reportedly stalled, in the run-up to the Presidential elections, but one well-placed intelligence source reported that, if Bush-Cheney are re-elected, "You will see the Administration swamped by Watergate-like scandals, including the Plame affair."
Beyond Dick Cheney's own looming day in court, many of the Administration's leading neo-con officials and fellow-travellers, are facing an array of scandals, some involving espionage. Sources report that several top officials in the office of Undersecretary of Defense Feith are under investigation for leaking national security secrets to Israel and Iran. Among the reported targets of these probes are : Harold Rhode, David Wurmser, Michael Maloof, and Col. William Brunner. Feith underling Larry Franklin is the subject of an ongoing spy probe, centered around classified documents he allegedly passed to Israeli Embassy officials, via the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the semi-official Israeli lobby in the U.S.A.
These investigations are deadly serious, and they must be completed — regardless of the outcome on Nov. 2. Cheney and his neo-con allies have caused near-irreversible damage to America's standing in the world. If they are guilty of criminal acts, including passing classified material to foreign governments, trading with the enemy, violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and leaking the identities of undercover U.S. intelligence officers, they must be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Such actions would go a long way toward repairing America's standing around the globe—and would go a long way towards assuring that the neo-con menace does not crawl out of its hole anytime in the near future.
March 12, 2007
Halliburton to move headquarters,
CEO to Dubai
By Mohammed Abbas and Anna Driver, Yahoo News
U.S. oil services firm Halliburton Co. (NYSE:HAL - news) is moving its headquarters and chief executive to Dubai in a move that immediately sparked criticism from some U.S. politicians.
Texas-based Halliburton, which was led by Vice President Dick Cheney from 1995-2000, did not specify what, if any, tax implications the move might entail. It plans to list on a Middle East bourse once it moves to Dubai -- a booming commercial center in the Gulf. The company said it was making the moves to position itself better to gain contracts in the oil-rich Middle East.
"This is an insult to the U.S. soldiers and taxpayers who paid the tab for their no-bid contracts and endured their overcharges for all these years," said judiciary committee chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat.
Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, might hold a hearing on the implications, an aide to Waxman said.
Halliburton has drawn scrutiny from auditors, congressional Democrats and the Justice Department for the quality and pricing of its KBR Inc. unit's work for the U.S. army in Iraq.
"My office will be in Dubai, and I will run our entire worldwide operations from that office," Chief Executive David Lesar said at an energy conference in Bahrain on Sunday. "Dubai is a great business center."
Halliburton, which has long been involved in the Middle East, generated more than 38 percent of its $13 billion in oil-services revenue in the eastern hemisphere last year....
Halliburton's shares closed up 29 cents at $32.02 on Friday. The stock has gained 7 percent in the past month but has slipped 3 percent in the last 52 weeks.
July 28, 2002
THE CORPORATE HISTORY THAT MAY COME
BACK TO HAUNT THE WHITE HOUSE
-- The Company
One of world's largest oil field service providers, with a large engineering and construction division, Halliburton Co. is No. 153 on the current Fortune 500 list. Dick Cheney, former secretary of defense under the first President Bush, became CEO in 1995 and brought in $1 billion of federal contracts before leaving in 2000.
-- Securities and Exchange Commission connections
Harvey Pitt, the current SEC chair, was picked by George W. Bush's transition team, which Cheney headed. Pitt is a former lobbyist for the accounting industry; Halliburton's accounting practices are at the heart of the current probe.
-- The investigations:
Cheney and Halliburton: After the New York Times wrote in May about Halliburton's 1998 change in accounting of revenues from construction overruns, the SEC said it would investigate and Cheney would not be "immune" from the probe. Although he is not commenting, his office says he has not been directly contacted by the SEC.
In June, a shareholders' class-action suit accused Halliburton of violating federal securities laws when it changed its accounting practices. Earlier this month, Judicial Watch, a conservative political watchdog group, filed a class-action suit that alleged Cheney and Halliburton defrauded stockholders by overstating revenues by $445 million from 1999 to 2001. .
-- Andersen Connections
Cheney's No. 2 at Halliburton, David Lesar, now the CEO, was a former Andersen partner. While Cheney was CEO, Cheney appeared in a promotional video for Andersen, which remained Halliburton's auditor until April.
May 29, 2002
Halliburton Under the Microscope
SEC looking into energy service specialists' accounting for cost overruns; company headed by Vice President Cheney from 1995 to 2000. Also: revolving auditors at Peregrine, and why did Moody's slam Conseco?
Stephen Taub, CFO.com
Yet another former Andersen client is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Energy services specialist Halliburton Co. reported that the Commission has initiated a preliminary investigation into the company's accounting treatment for cost overruns on construction jobs. Halliburton management said it expects to receive a formal request for documents or a subpoena in the next few days.
Halliburton management denied any wrongdoing. "The company believes that it has accounted for construction claims and change orders in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles applicable to the construction industry," Halliburton management said in a statement. Not surprisingly, the company's management added that it will cooperate fully with the SEC in its investigation.
The SEC request comes just days after the Commission slapped two other energy sector companies, Reliant Resources and Dynegy, with subpoenas. The SEC is reportedly looking into those companies use of round-trip trades to boost sales.
In addition, the Commission is currently looking at the books of several non-energy industry companies. Those include Qwest Communications, Computer Associates, and Peregrine Systems. Reportedly, the SEC is looking into revenue recognition policies of the three companies.
Earlier this month, the SEC settled its charges against Edison Schools Inc. That corporation had been accused of record- keeping and reporting violations.
Qwest, Peregrine and Halliburton were all clients of embattled auditor Andersen. All of the companies recently fired the indicted auditing firm.
It's not entirely clear what time period regulators at the SEC are focusing on. As you recall, Vice President Dick Cheney was Halliburton's CEO from 1995 to August 2000. He was also chairman of the company from 1996 to October 1998 and from February to August 2000.
In a statement released yesterday, Halliburton management blamed the SEC investigation on an article that appeared in the New York Times on May 22. In that article, certain allegations were reported concerning the company's accounting treatment of construction job claims and change orders which are negotiated with customers.
"Prior to 1998 and the merger with Dresser, the company did not record such items in revenue or accounts receivable before they were resolved with the customer," Halliburton management said.
Senior executives at Halliburton assert that the company disclosed (in its 1998 10-K) it had recorded losses on certain engineering and construction projects related to current year claims and change orders which it did not feel would be accepted by customers.
"Furthermore, in instances where unapproved claims and change orders were recognized in revenue and accounts receivable, no profits at all were recognized on the related projects," Halliburton management added.
According to the company, Halliburton began to record such items as revenue and accounts receivable in 1998 -- but only when Halliburton management expected such items to be collectible from the customer.
"The company has continued this accounting treatment of similar items since 1998 and has never recorded a profit on a job where an unapproved claim or change order has been recorded in revenue," Halliburton management claimed.
In other energy industry news: Dynegy Inc. Chief Executive Officer Charles L. Watson resigned yesterday.
The energy trading company recently disclosed bogus electricity trades with CMS Energy Corp., whose CEO resigned Friday.
And two top traders at Reliant Resources, which also engaged in round-trip trades with CMS, quit as well.
CHARLES “CHUCK” WATSON
Charles "Chuck" Watson was the founder of The Natural Gas Clearinghouse. Later renamed Dynegy, the firm was a highly diverse energy trading company that was similar to rival Enron in many respects. Watson attempted to orchestrate a buyout of Enron in late 2001, but withdrew following the restating of Enron's financials.
Watson left Dynegy in late 2002 when Dynegy's own finances took a turn for the south amid allegations of accounting frauds, misconduct in the California energy crises and other serious problems. He was replaced by Bruce Williamson.
Watson, an Oklahoma State University - Stillwater alum, is principal of Caldwell Watson. He is currently minority owner of the Houston Aeros, and has a minority stake in the Houston Texans, where he chaired Houston's 2004 Super Bowl host committee.
April 9, 2002
Halliburton considers dumping
Andersen as auditor
DALLAS - Halliburton Co., which has hired Arthur Andersen LLP to review its books since 1946, said today it is interviewing other audit firms because of "recent extraordinary events" at the embattled accounting giant.
However, Halliburton said it would not be ready to ask stockholders to ratify a new auditor at the oil-services company's annual meeting May 15.
Halliburton said it paid Andersen $7.2 million for audit work and $12.1 million for other consulting in 2001. In 2000, it paid Andersen $51.5 million.
Halliburton also said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that chairman and chief executive David J. Lesar's compensation rose 55 percent last year to $7.2 million. That included a $1.1 million salary, a $2.2 million bonus and $3.38 million in stock.
Lesar also got options to buy more than 154,000 shares by 2011 that would be worth $3 million to $7.8 million if the shares gain 5 percent to 10 percent per year.
Halliburton's stock price fell 65 percent last year.
The company's compensation committee said Halliburton "achieved outstanding operating results" in 2001 and executives met or surpassed performance goals, even though concern about asbestos claims weighed heavily on the stock.
Lesar has led the Dallas-based company since Vice President Dick Cheney left to join the Republican ticket in August 2000.
Andersen faces a criminal charge of obstructing justice for shredding documents at another client, bankrupt Enron Corp. A senior auditor at the firm was expected to plead guilty Tuesday to a single criminal obstruction charge and cooperate with the government's investigation of Andersen and Enron....
May 7, 2002
Halliburton profits fall $87 million
DALLAS -- Oil-services provider Halliburton Co. reported Tuesday that its profits and revenue fell in the first quarter as drilling activity slowed and the company spent money on asbestos claims.
Dallas-based Halliburton said it earned $22 million, or 5 cents per share, compared with $109 million, or 25 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.
Excluding what the company termed one-time gains and losses, including a $28 million after-tax charge for asbestos claims, Halliburton would have earned $83 million, or 19 cents per share....
Chairman and CEO David Lesar said Halliburton's results were in line with other oil-services companies and were down because of weaker drilling activity in North America. He said the company's engineering and construction business showed "solid improvement" over last year.
Halliburton is splitting the energy and construction groups into separate, wholly owned subsidiaries, a move some analysts believe could foreshadow an attempt to sell the construction group....
May 30, 2002
Cheney firm in
SEC accounting probe
© Copyright Unison
HALLIBURTON Co. executives in Texas say they will co-operate with a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation of the accounting method the company uses to report cost overruns on construction jobs.
Executives of the oilfield services company said yesterday the SEC had launched a preliminary investigation. Officials say they expect to receive a formal agency request for documents or a subpoena in the next few days.
Cedric Burgher, vice-president of investor relations, told The Dallas Morning News yesterday that the SEC's concerns revolve around accounting changes that the company made in 1998.
The company said it believes the SEC's interest stems from a story in The New York Times.
The Times story said the Dallas-based company was counting cost overruns on construction projects as additional revenue, even before the customer agreed to pay for the overruns.
Burgher said the company believes it adhered to generally accepted accounting principles.
Vice-president Dick Cheney was chairman and chief executive of the world's largest oil field services company from 1995 to 2000.
Halliburton announced on Tuesday that it settled 30 lawsuits pending against it in a New York federal court.
The lawsuits sought millions of dollars in damages from those with lung cancers allegedly caused by asbestos exposure.
The company declined to release terms of the settlements.
In recent months, Halliburton lost verdicts totaling more than $150 million in asbestos cases....
July 22, 2002
Halliburton to take
large asbestos charge
DALLAS, Texas (Reuters) - Halliburton Co. (HAL) said on Monday it will take a "substantial" charge against second-quarter earnings to cover future asbestos claims, and announced more than $250 million in additional losses and one-time charges.
Shares of the Dallas-based oilfield services and engineering company fell as much as 14.7 percent to $9.85, their lowest level since hitting a 15-year low of $8.62 in January. The shares closed $1.58 or 13.7 percent lower at $9.97.
Halliburton, led from 1995 to 2000 by U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, said it will disclose the full extent of the asbestos charge in its quarterly earnings report on Wednesday.
The company also said its KBR unit, formerly known as Kellogg Brown & Root, will record a pretax loss of $119 million on an offshore engineering and construction job in the second quarter, equivalent to about 25 cents per share.
Bear Sterns Analyst Robin Shoemaker said this was a "whopping loss" on a single project and indicated that Halliburton had bid too aggressively for the work and thus forfeited any profits.
Questions about Halliburton's accounting for cost overruns and disputed claims relating to construction projects led earlier this year to a probe by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
HALLIBURTON, CHENEY SUED
Halliburton and Cheney were recently sued by the Judicial Watch group which alleged that the company overstated its revenues by as much as $445 million over three years.
The company and the White House both said the Judicial Watch case was meritless. Halliburton says it has applied accounting rules correctly and is cooperating with the SEC probe.
Halliburton said it will no longer pursue offshore engineering and construction contracts that require it to complete a project for a fixed price, but will instead seek agreements under which it is reimbursed for its costs. . . .
Halliburton also announced a second-quarter restructuring charge of $56 million before taxes, or 8 cents per share, with further such charges of $20 million expected later this year. . . .
Since 1976 some 499,000 asbestos claims have been filed against Halliburton and its subsidiaries, of which 292,000 were still unresolved at the end of the first quarter of 2002.
The company said it has settled or disposed of 207,000 claims at an average cost of $309 per claim, after deduction of money it expects to recover from its insurance companies.
February 9, 2002
Big Contractor Settles
Lawsuit in Fraud Case
The New York Times
SACRAMENTO (AP) —— A military contractor will pay the government $2 million to settle accusations that it defrauded the government, the United States attorney's office here said.
Kellogg Brown & Root, a Houston subsidiary of the multinational energy services corporation Halliburton, was accused of inflating contract prices for maintenance and repairs at Fort Ord, a military base, now closed, near Monterey, Calif.
The company admitted no liability in the settlement and denied any wrongdoing, said a Halliburton spokeswoman, Wendy Hall. The settlement precludes further investigations and penalties, Ms. Hall said, and Halliburton expects to continue as a major military contractor.
Under the terms of its contract, Kellogg Brown & Root did not bid against other contractors for maintenance and repair projects; instead, it presented the military with fixed costs that it said were necessary for specific projects.
The suit, filed in Sacramento, said the company submitted false claims and made false statements in connection with 224 delivery orders between April 1994 and September 1998.
Vice President Dick Cheney was Halliburton's chairman and chief executive when the government says Kellogg Brown & Root made the false claims and statements, but no evidence has surfaced that Mr. Cheney knew of them.
A Cheney spokeswoman did not immediately return a call seeking comment today.
Democrats made the federal grand jury investigation into Kellogg Brown & Root an issue before the 2000 presidential election.
One of the company's managers, Dammen Campbell, helped prepare the contract prices and filed a whistle-blower complaint that was also settled by the federal agreement with Halliburton. Mr. Campbell will receive an undisclosed share of the settlement, said Patty Pontello, a spokesman for United States Attorney John Vincent.
Big-Time Payoffs to G.O.P. Pols -
Panic On Pennsylvania Avenue
© Media Whores Online, All rights reserved.
The lid has just about blown off this already tense capital city with breaking news of the possible impending collapse of Vice-President Cheney's old firm, Halliburton Company of Dallas, Texas.
With its stock value in free fall for months, Halliburton is reported on the edge of doom, thanks to a mountain of asbestos lawsuits linked to its 1998 acquisition, under then-CEO Cheney, of Dressler Industries.
The company has paid out more than $150 million in recent damages for asbestos cases - and has about 260,000 related lawsuits still pending. More than $19 billion in Halliburton shareholder value has vanished since the summer of 2001 - an undisclosed amount of it in employee 401(k) plans and other pension funds.
To try and stem off the disaster, Halliburton has given huge gobs of money to former and present Congressional Republicans in order to gain favorable deregulation rulings and other breaks.
Among the more prominent names caught up in the Halliburton political operation, apart from Cheney, are former Missouri Senator and current Attorney General John Ashcroft and House Majority Leader, Dick Armey of Texas.
Both stock-watchers and political heavyweights are nervously awaiting Halliburton's release of its latest earnings report, now scheduled for Wednesday. Bad news could lead to allegations of fraud and mismanagement like the ones that have befallen Enron.
Confidence in Halliburton and its imminent statement is all the shakier given that the firm's accountant is none other than Arthur Andersen LLB - the same outfit mixed up in destroying documents and defrauding shareholders in the Enron affair.
Non-partisan watchdog groups warn than Halliburton shows all the signs of becoming another Enron. "Halliburton is just as vulnerable to collapse but doesn't get much scrutiny", said Craig McDonald, director of Texans for Public Justice. "We definitely should be alarmed."
So, apparently, should the White House and the Republican Party - big time. According to public records, Halliburton and Cheney funneled nearly $500,000 to congressional candidates from 1997 to 2000, including more than $150, 000 to members of Congress sponsoring legislation that would limit the ability of workers to sue companies for asbestos exposure. The vast majority of the money has gone to Republicans - just as, not surprisingly, did the great bulk of the company's contributions in the last presidential campaign.
Of special interest are Halliburton's payouts in connection with the highly controversial Fairness in Asbestos Compensation Act, a piece of legislation so outrageous that it has not yet passed the Congress.
Halliburton gave big money to 49 of the 77 lawmakers who in 2000 co-sponsored the act in the House of Representatives and 14 of 29 co-sponsors of similar legislation in the Senate.
Halliburton's spending on the bill was intensely partisan, including 46 House Republicans and only three House Democrats, along with 14 Senate Republicans and no Senate Democrats.
Of the more than $150,000 Halliburton doled out over the asbestos bill, all but $3500 went to Republicans - a pro-Republican division of 98% to 2%.
Among the top beneficiaries were Tom De Lay (R-TX, $5500), Dick Armey (R-TX, $6000), and J.C. Watts (R-OK, $7000).
Cheney, as an individual, donated $12,500 to members who sponsored or co-sponsored the asbestos bill. A Halliburton spokeswoman, Zelma Branch, told reporters that the contributions were "purely coincidental."
Further complicating matters, while Halliburton, under Cheney, pressed for radical deregulation, it also fed richly at the federal trough, benefiting from at least $3.8 billion in federal contracts and taxpayer-insured loans between 1995 and 2000.
If he were to become vice president, one Halliburton official who admires Cheney but asked to remain anonymous said in 2000, "the company's government contracts would obviously go through the roof". But the company's demise now could well bring close scrutiny to its government contracts, both before and after Cheney and George W. Bush "won" the disputed 2000 election.
There were some scattered press reports about Halliburton during the 2000 campaign, no more. Even though charged by consumers and workers' groups with being an integral part of an asbestos industry which knowingly poisoned its own workers for years, Halliburton escaped media scrutiny.
Reporters were too busy tracking down every last detail of Al Gore's "exaggerations" and the phony Buddhist Temple non-scandal to pay much mind to Dick Cheney and Halliburton - to say nothing of Halliburton's hundreds of thousands of victims, Americans who are today riddled with cancer and other diseases which could have been prevented, except for Halliburton's immoral worship of the bottom line.
Now, just maybe, the press will start paying attention....
July 26, 2000
CHENEY AT THE HELM
AT HALLIBURTON, OIL AND
HUMAN RIGHTS DID NOT MIX
By Wayne Madsen, Wayne Madsen Report
Dick Cheney, George W. Bush's running mate, is a far cry from the "aw, shucks" kind of Wyoming cowboy-politician painted by Republican strategists. When he was at the helm of the Dallas-based oil services giant Halliburton, Inc., from 1995 until his nomination, the company and its subsidiaries--Brown & Root and Dresser Industries--were deeply enmeshed in the military-intelligence complex.
After serving as Secretary of Defense in Bush the Elder's Administration and making Kuwait safe once again for U.S. oil companies, Cheney went around the country making speeches. But when the CEO spot opened up at Halliburton, the board of directors tapped him, knowing that his connections would come in handy. They just didn't know how handy.
For instance, after Halliburton acquired Dresser in 1998, it helped rebuild Iraq's petroleum industry, which Cheney and the Pentagon had decimated during Desert Storm.
During a 1998 speech in Corpus Christi, Texas, Cheney conceded that his top job at the Pentagon stood him in good stead at Halliburton. "In the oil and gas business, I deal with many of the same people," he told the convention of the Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies.
"Cheney delivered fast, embarking on months of globe-trotting that got Halliburton top-level attention from prime ministers and oil sheikhs from Riyadh and Baku to Lagos and Caracas," The Washington Post reported. "Soon he was on a first-name basis with oil ministers all over the world, building on the ties he had developed in the Middle East during his Pentagon days."
The Pentagon itself has been a huge boon to the company. "Halliburton eats at the trough of government contracts," says Wenonah Hauter, director of Public Citizen's Critical Mass Energy & Environment Program, noting that the company's two largest government contracts are with the Pentagon and the British Ministry of Defense.
Cheney's links to defense contractors and the intelligence community have made him suspect among human rights activists. Halliburton and Brown & Root have played a role in some of the world's most volatile trouble spots. These include Algeria, Angola, Bosnia, Burma, Croatia, Haiti, Kuwait, Nigeria, Russia, Rwanda, and Somalia.
In 1998, while I was in Rwanda conducting research for my book, Genocide and Covert Operations in Africa 1993-1999 (Edwin Mellen, 1999), a number of U.S. military personnel assigned to that country raised questions about Brown & Root's activities. "Brown & Root is into some real bad shit," one told me.
The U.S. Army Materiel Command has confirmed that Brown & Root was in Rwanda under contract with the Pentagon.
One U.S. Navy de-mining expert told me that Brown & Root helped Rwanda's U.S.-backed government fight a guerrilla war. Brown & Root's official task was to help clear mines. However, my research showed it was more involved in providing covert military support to the Tutsi-led Rwanda Patriotic Army in putting down a Hutu insurgency and assisting its invasion of the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo (Cheney and Halliburton declined numerous opportunities to comment on this story.)
Cheney was no stranger to covert activities in Rwanda. In 1990, during his tenure as Secretary of Defense, Rwandan strongman Major General Paul Kagame, then a colonel in the Ugandan People's Democratic Force, attended the U.S. Army's Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
Kagame, with the likely knowledge of the U.S. Army and Cheney, suddenly dropped out of the school to assume command of the nascent Rwanda Patriotic Army, which later that year launched a full-scale invasion of Rwanda from rear bases inside Uganda. U.S. military advisers were present in Uganda at the time of the invasion, another fact that would have been known to Cheney and his Pentagon advisers.
While three separate commissions appointed by Belgium, France, and the Organization of African Unity have charged their own officials with complicity in central Africa's turmoil, no American panel has ever probed the involvement of the U.S. government, military, and defense contractors in central Africa's woes. If there were such a panel, Dick Cheney, the man in charge of both the Pentagon and Halliburton during various invasions of Rwanda and the Congo, would certainly have to be called and asked, "What did you know about covert U.S. military operations in central Africa and when did you know about them?"
But that's not all of Halliburton's questionable involvements. The other most serious charge against Halliburton comes from a group called Environmental Rights Action based in Harcourt, Nigeria.
"In September of 1997, eighteen Mobile Police officers . . . shot and killed one Gidikumo Sule at the Opuama flow station at Egbema in Warri. . . . Several other youths were injured during a protest," said the group in a report dated October 16, 1998. It implicated Halliburton in this repression, saying that the company was in collaboration with the police.
Cheney was at the helm of Halliburton at the time.
Halliburton has worked with Chevron and Shell in Nigeria, which have been implicated in gross human rights violations and environmental devastation there.
Leaders like Equatorial Guinea's Obiang Nguema Mbasogo and Congo (Brazzaville) President Denis Sassou-Nguesso also use the revenues generated from Halliburton-built offshore oil platforms to enrich themselves and their families while ruthlessly suppressing ethnic and political opposition.
In Burma, Halliburton began work in the oil sector a decade ago. Oil company ties to the repressive government there have drawn criticism from human rights groups around the world.
Halliburton also has some unsavory ties in Russia. "Halliburton was a beneficiary of $292 million in loan guarantees extended earlier this year by the U.S. Export-Import Bank for a Russian company's development of a Siberian oilfield," The Washington Post reported. "The deal was a major embarrassment for Halliburton because the Russian company that is Halliburton's partner, Tyumen Oil, has been accused of committing a massive fraud to gain control of the oilfield."
What's more, Halliburton has been involved with so-called private military companies. Brown & Root has acted in concert with U.S. mercenary companies like AirScan and MPRI (recently acquired by L-3 Communications) from Angola to Croatia.
Halliburton's environmental record is nothing to be proud of, either. "They've had a lot of problems," says Hauter.
Even the company admits that. "Regrettably, in 1998, reported environmental incidents increased," Halliburton says on its web site. "An environmental incident is any unplanned event regardless of magnitude that could potentially damage the environment."
The company's annual financial statements say: "Our accrued liabilities for environmental matters were $30 million as of December 31, 1999."
Cheney's role at Halliburton and Bush's background in the oil industry suggest that the interests of this sector will be paramount in a Bush Administration.
"With a Bush-Cheney team running the Executive Branch, Big Oil will be in the driver's seat," says Hauter.
A Bush-Cheney Administration would mark a return to yesteryear. Their ties to oil companies and the intelligence community should worry indigenous, environmental, and human rights activists the world over.
– Wayne Madsen is a journalist based in Washington, D.C., and a Senior Fellow of the Electronic Privacy Information Center there.
# # #
FOR MORE ON YOUR (HA!) NATIONAL SECURITY
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BIRDS ON THE POWER LINES
BIRDS THAT DRINK FROM CESSPOOLS
A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING KAMEHAMEHA’S COURT
ALOHA, HARKEN ENERGY
THE BRIBES & BOONDOGGLES OF BOEING
CONDOLEEZZA & THE CHICKEN HAWKS
DOWN THE RABBIT-HOLE
DROWNING IN THINK TANKS
THE FALL OF THE TITAN
KBR: KIDNAPING, BRIBERY & ROBBERY AT U.S. TAXPAYERS’ EXPENSE?
NASA AND THE ‘WAR ON TRUTH’
PIMPS TO POWER
THE EAGLE AWAKES
THE EAGLE HOODED
THE KISSINGER OF DEATH
THE SECRET LIVES OF DUKE & DUSTY
THE SECRET NESTS
THE TORCH OF ERIC SHINE
THE TURKEY NESTS
THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
SONGS OF THE DRUG VULTURES
TARNISHED WINGS: THE GREED AT LOCKHEED
THORNS IN THE ROSE GARDEN
THE NUCLEAR NESTS
THE NESTS OF OSAMA BIN LADEN
UNCLE SAM’S GUINEA PIGS
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Originally posted July 28, 2006
Last update August 22, 2009, by The Catbird
July 28, 2006: Originally posted on www.the-catbird-seat.net
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