2004-09-24 / Community

The Halliburton Candidate

The Securities and Exchange Commission in a civil suit against the Halliburton Company accused the company of accounting improprieties. The company settled on August 3, 2004 by paying $7.5 million. A new civil law suit was initiated on August 5, 2004 on behalf of investors when four former finance employees of the company stated that a high-level and systemic accounting fraud occurred at the company from 1998 to 2001. During this period of time Vice President Dick Cheney was the company’s chief executive.

Mr. Cheney, a man who states that during the Vietnam conflict he had other priorities than serving his country, was the chief executive that secured deals with our nation that guarantees it millions of dollars every time the military is in armed conflict. He is also part of a campaign for the White House that allows paid political television advertisements that criticize Kerry, a war hero, without comment. Senator McCain, a Republican and also a Vietnam era war hero, has been vocal in opposition to this type of campaign tactic.

During the past decade, military outsourcing, according to The Halliburton Agenda by Dan Briody, has changed dramatically. Reduced military and continued conflicts has led to a booming new industry of private military firms e.g. Halliburton. These firms now assist our armed forces in all aspects of military life. Since the first Gulf War the number of firms around the battlefield have increased tenfold. It is estimated that there is one private contractor for every ten soldiers in Iraq. In the increasingly bleak economic period of low wage job growth, many Americans from our inner city neighborhoods and the hallows of Appalachia can only find employment that will ensure a decent life for themselves and their families with these private military firms.

One of Halliburton’s subsidiaries, of which there are many, is the engineering and construction firm Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR). In 1992 when Mr. Cheney was Secretary of Defense under President George HW Bush (the present president’s father) Halliburton bid and won a contract to write a report on how private firms could assist the armed forces in logistics. The objective of the report was to contemplate a massive contingency plan on how private firms could support the deployment of troops. This report, which is classified, made it possible to create one umbrella contract and award it to a single firm. This umbrella contract became known as the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP). KBR won the LOGCAP contract.

The bottom line for Halliburton when the contract was awarded was enormous. According to an article in the British newspaper, The Guardian, on July 22, 2004, it was “a blank cheque” (check) from the government. Halliburton was involved in building base camps, supplying nourishment for the troops, fuel and weapons, cleaning latrines, washing uniforms etc. The company attended armed forces staff meetings.

To many, Halliburton became part of everyday military life.

In August 1995, Dick Cheney, after KBR lost the LOGCAP contract, was appointed to be Halliburton’s chairman. At that time he had almost no business experience. Halliburton stock was downgraded. Halliburton gained considerable political leverage in Washington DC with his appointment. The firm continued to do business with Libya and Iran despite official government sanctions.

Some of us may consider this criminal or even treasonous. The company even did work in Iraq when Saddam Hussein was in charge and under sanction by our nation. He was quoted as saying that the Clinton administration “has become sanctions-happy’ when that administration imposed economic sanctions against nations suspected of terrorist activity.

Cheney and Halliburton were in clear violation of strict United Nations sanctions against Iraq according to the Halliburton Agenda. When Bush/ Cheney were campaigning in 2000 Mr. Cheney stated he had a “firm” policy against doing business with Iraq. Within three weeks he was forced to admit Halliburton did business with Iraq ($73 million) but he was unaware of this when he chairman. His ignorance is inexcusable. The subsidiaries of Halliburton (Dresser Rand and Ingersoll Dresser Pump Company) continued to do $30 million of business with Iraq after Mr. Cheney’s statements. The Bush family has ties with Dresser Industries. George HW Bush worked for Dresser.

KBR built the cells at Guantanamo Bay at a cost of $52 million as well as bases in Afghanistan. It was reported that KBR had men in Afghanistan before the troops arrived. Halliburton has the contract for restoring the Iraq oil infrastructure.

The Congressional Research Service stated Mr. Cheney is receiving a deferred salary from Halliburton despite his statement he severed all ties with Halliburton when he became vice president of the United States in the Bush administration. He even has an insurance policy that will continue these payments if Halliburton folds. He still holds 433,333 unexercised stock options in Halliburton.

The war records are clear. The GOP candidates are part of the military-industrial complex that feels actual combat is done by the underprivileged.

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