EMAIL PAGE TEN
COLUMN SIXTY-NINE, MARCH 1, 2002
(Copyright © 2002 Al Aronowitz)
Portside (the left side in nautical parlance) is a
news, discussion and debate service of the Committees
of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism. It
aims to provide varied material of interest to people
on the left.
mail to 'email@example.com'
Subscribe: mail to 'firstname.lastname@example.org'
Unsubscribe: mail to 'email@example.com'
List owner: firstname.lastname@example.org
Web address: <http://www.egroups.com/group/portside>
Digest mode: visit Web site
* * *
Cheney Made Millions Off Oil Deals with Hussein
Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2002 10:41:37 -0500
Cheney Made Millions Off Oil Deals with Hussein
Francisco Bay Guardian
Martin A. Lee
a whopper of a story you may have missed amid the cacophony of campaign ads and
stump speeches in the run-up to the elections.
former defense secretary Richard Cheney's five-year tenure as chief executive of
Halliburton, Inc., his oil services firm raked in big bucks from dubious
commercial dealings with Iraq. Cheney left Halliburton with a $34 million
retirement package last July when he became the GOP's vice-presidential
course, U.S. firms aren't generally supposed to do business with Saddam Hussein.
But thanks to legal loopholes large enough to steer an oil tanker through,
Halliburton profited big-time from deals with the Iraqi dictatorship.
discreetly through several Halliburton subsidiaries in Europe, these greasy
transactions helped Saddam Hussein retain his grip on power while lining the
pockets of Cheney and company.
to the Financial Times of London, between September 1988 and last winter,
Cheney, as CEO of Halliburton, oversaw $23.8 million of business contracts for
the sale of oil-industry equipment and services to Iraq through two of its
subsidiaries, Dresser Rand and Ingersoll-Dresser Pump, which helped rebuild
Iraq's war-damaged petroleum-production infrastructure. The combined value of
these contracts exceeded those of any other U.S. company doing business with
was among more than a dozen American firms that supplied Iraq's petroleum
industry with spare parts and retooled its oil rigs when U.N. sanctions were
eased in 998. Cheney's company utilized subsidiaries in France,
Cheney at the helm since 1995, Halliburton quickly grew into America's
number-one oil-services company, the fifth-largest military contractor, and the
biggest nonunion employer in the nation. Although Cheney claimed that the U.S.
government "had absolutely nothing to do" with his firm's meteoric
financial success, State Department documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times
indicate that U.S. officials helped Halliburton secure major contracts in Asia
and Africa. Halliburton now does business in 130 countries and employs more than
100,000 workers worldwide.
1999 income was a cool $15 billion.
addition to Iraq, Halliburton counts among its business partners several brutal
dictatorships that have committed egregious human rights abuses, including the
hated military regime in Burma (Myanmar).
a Washington, D.C.-based human rights watchdog, condemned Halliburton for two
energy-pipeline projects in Burma that led to the forced relocation of villages,
rape, murder, indentured labor, and other crimes against humanity.
full report (this is a 45 page pdf file - there is also a brief summary) on the
Burma connection, "Halliburton's Destructive Engagement," can be
accessed on EarthRights' Web site.
rights activists have also criticized Cheney's company for its questionable role
in Algeria, Angola, Bosnia, Croatia, Haiti, Rwanda, Somalia, Indonesia, and
other volatile trouble spots. In Russia, Halliburton's partner, Tyumen Oil, has
been accused of committing massive fraud to gain control of a Siberian oil
in oil-rich Nigeria, Halliburton worked with Shell and Chevron, which were
implicated in gross human rights violations and environmental calamities in that
country. Indeed, Cheney's firm increased its involvement in the Niger Delta
after the military government executed several ecology activists and crushed
popular protests against the oil industry.
also had business dealings in Iran and Libya, which remain on the State
Department's list of terrorist states. Brown and Root, a Halliburton subsidiary,
was fined $3.8 million for reexporting U.S. goods to Libya in
in terms of sheer hypocrisy, Halliburton's relationship with Saddam Hussein is
hard to top. What's more, Cheney lied about his company's activities in Iraq
when journalists fleetingly raised the issue during the campaign.
by Sam Donaldson on ABC's This Week program in August, Cheney bluntly asserted
that Halliburton had no dealings with the Iraqi regime while he was on board.
I'm told, and correct me if I'm wrong, that Halliburton, through subsidiaries,
was actually trying to do business in Iraq?
No. No. I had a firm policy that I wouldn't do anything in Iraq even
arrangements that were supposedly legal.
that was it! ABC News and the other U.S. networks dropped the issue like a hot
potato. As damning information about Halliburton surfaced in the European press,
American reporters stuck to old routines and took their cues on how to cover the
campaign from the two main political parties, both of which had very little to
say about official U.S. support for abusive corporate policies at home and
why, in this instance, didn't the Democrats stomp and scream about Cheney's Iraq
connection? The Gore campaign undoubtedly knew of Halliburton's smarmy business
dealings from the get-go.
and Lieberman could have made hay about how the wannabe GOP veep had been in
cahoots with Saddam. Such explosive revelations may well have swayed voters and
boosted Gore's chances in what was shaping up to be a close electoral contest.
Democratic standard-bearers dropped the ball in part because Halliburton's
conduct was generally in accordance with the foreign policy of the Clinton
administration. Cheney is certainly not the only Washington mover and shaker to
have been affiliated with a company trading in Iraq. Former CIA Director John
Deutsch, who served in a Democratic administration, is a member of the board of
directors of Schlumberger, the second-largest U.S. oil-services company, which
also does business through subsidiaries in Iraq.
occasional rhetorical skirmishes, a bipartisan foreign-policy consensus prevails
on Capital Hill, where the commitment to human rights, with a few notable
exceptions, is about as deep as an oil slick.
be told, trading with the enemy is a time-honored American corporate practice or
perhaps "malpractice" would be a more appropriate description of
big-business ties to repressive regimes.
that Saddam Hussein, the pariah du jour, has often been compared to Hitler, it's
worth pointing out that several blue-chip U.S. firms profited from extensive
commercial dealings with Nazi Germany.
some American companies =96 including Standard Oil, Ford, ITT, GM, and General
Electric secretly kept trading with the Nazi enemy while American soldiers
fought and died during World War II.
General Electric is among the companies that are back in business with Saddam
Hussein, even as American jets and battleships attack Iraq on a weekly basis
using weapons made by G.E. But the United Nations sanctions committee, dominated
by U.S. officials, has routinely blocked medicines and other essential items
from being delivered to Iraq through the oil-for-food program, claiming they
have a potential military "dual use." These sanctions have taken a
terrible toll on ordinary Iraqis, and on children in particular, while the likes
of Halliburton and G.E. continue to lubricate their coffers. ##
CLICK HERE TO GET TO INDEX OF COLUMN SIXTY-NINE
CLICK HERE TO GET TO INDEX OF COLUMNS
Blacklisted Journalist can be contacted at P.O.Box 964, Elizabeth, NJ 07208-0964
The Blacklisted Journalist's E-Mail Address:
THE BLACKLISTED JOURNALIST IS A SERVICE MARK OF AL ARONOWITZ