Halliburton: Poster Child of the War Profiteers

by KEVIN ZEESE

More and more revelations about contract abuse by Halliburton come out regularly. Just last week Rep. Henry Waxman issued a report that found Halliburton overcharging in Iraq now totaled more than $200 million, see: http://www.democrats.reform.house.gov/. Activists in Houston are working with national groups, including Democracy Rising, to highlight corporate contract abuse by Halliburton when they hold their shareholders meeting this May 18. In the interview below with DemocracyRising’s KEVIN ZEESE, Scott Parkin, a Community Organizer for Houston Global Awareness describes their plans and how it fits into the overall goals of the organization.

Zeese: What organization are you with? What organizations are you working with on this project?

Parkin: I am a community organizer with Houston Global Awareness, a local anti-empire global justice group in Houston, Texas. Over the past year, we have worked extensively with Global Exchange and Code Pink on the Halliburton campaign. We have also worked with a number of local peace groups such as the Houston Peace and Justice Center, Mama’s Brigade and different anti-authoritarian groups in town. We also recently connected with the Austin spokes council who does similar work in Austin.

Zeese: Is Houston Global Awareness only organized for the Halliburton meeting or is it ongoing?

Parkin: No, we originally came together in the summer of 2001 to organize for the September 2001 IMF/World Bank meetings (which were cancelled after 9/11). Since then, we have organized film screenings, teach-ins, rallies, activist skill shares and various protests and non-violent direct actions around the issues of global justice and empire. In February 2003, we began picketing and raising awareness about hometown war profiteer Halliburton and their subsidiary KBR which intensified at their 2004 annual shareholder’s meeting and beyond.

Zeese: What is the goal of the project?

Parkin: The goal of this project is to put economic, social and political pressure on Halliburton so that they withdraw from Iraq. Currently, they are contracted to build 14 permanent bases in Iraq, support the occupation with essential services such as food preparation, laundry and fuel delivery and help reconstruct the oil economy for multi-national oil companies. We see their presence in Iraq as essential to the war and occupation and ending it will seriously hinder the Bush Administration’s efforts at exploitation and conquest in Iraq.

Zeese: What is happening for the Halliburton shareholders meeting?

Parkin: At the Halliburton shareholder’s meeting, we are screening films on recent developments in Iraq, informing folks about Halliburton’s involvement in Iraq with a teach-in and using a large spirited demonstration and non-violent direct action to put pressure on Halliburton. (See schedule at end of interview.) Inside the Halliburton shareholder’s meeting, CEO David Lesar will be informing the shareholder’s about their efforts in 2004 to profit from war and corporate cronyism.

Zeese: What can people do to help?

Parkin: Folks can come to Houston and join the mobilization. If they are unable to make it Houston, they can organize anti-war profiteer actions and events in their towns to demonstrate to the power-brokers that people power still exists in this country and it will end the war and occupation of Iraq.

Zeese: What would be the key points you want readers to take away with them
concerning Halliburton and its role in the Iraq War and occupation?

Parkin: Halliburton is making a killing off the devastation in Iraq, they are actually the "poster child" for war profiteering. They are essential to the war efforts as no other American company could replace the services they provide.

Halliburton has been accused of more fraud, waste, and corruption than any other Iraq contractor — from allegations of overcharging $61 million for fuel and $24.7 million for meals, to confirmed kickbacks worth $6.3 million. Halliburton is also the only Iraq contractor currently under investigation by the Department of Justice.

Recently, media stories have come out about family members of Halliburton truck drivers killed in Iraq filing wrongful death lawsuits about as they said their loved ones were misled about safety conditions, specific jobs and pay. Another Halliburton/KBR employee was gang beat and left for dead on the streets of Baghdad by eight co-workers after complaining about safety and corruption at the Baghdad airport.

Halliburton has a pattern of corruption and deceit in dealing with their employees, the American taxpayers and the Iraqi people. Furthermore, unemployment in parts of Iraq run as high as 60-90 per cent while Halliburton imports Third World workers displacing Iraqi’s from work and contributing to their economic disenfranchisement.

Zeese: What will come next for the Houston Global Awareness after the Halliburton meeting?

Parkin: We are beginning a long term direct action popular education campaign against Halliburton that will go beyond the shareholder’s meeting. Anti-war and global justice activists here recognize that corporate war profiteering is an important pillar of Bush’s power in occupying Iraq. We will continue to make a political, social and economic climate that makes it difficult for Halliburton to continue operations in Iraq.

 

Current Schedule of Events for Halliburton Shareholders Meeting

Sunday, May 15
Halliburton Shareholder’s activist skill shares. Times, locations TBA. A day of skillshares on Nonviolent Direct Action, Knowing your rights, People Power Strategy, Media/Storytelling, Anti-oppression and Arts Organizing.

Monday, May 16
Rice Media and Houston Indymedia to present films on Iraq and Fallujah.

Tuesday, May 17
Teach-in on Halliburton featuring Pratap Chatterjee of Corpwatch, Medea Benjamin of Global Exchange and Code Pink, others TBA, time and location TBA.

Wednesday, May 18
Rally, March and Protest to Stop the War Profiteers. Rally up at 1000 Crawford (Crawford & Lamar), in front of the statue of George R. Brown @ 8am and march to annual Halliburton shareholder’s meeting at the Four Seasons at 1300 Lamar @ 830am.

For more information
Houston Global Awareness Collective at www.houstonglobalawareness.org
Halliburton Watch at http://www.halliburtonwatch.org

Committee on Government Reform Minority Office http://www.democrats.reform.house.gov

Links from DemocracyRising.US under "U.S. Corporations in Iraq and the Cost of the War"

See interview with Jim Donahue of Halliburton Watch http://democracyrising.us/content/view/90/164/





























 

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
August 03, 2015
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
The Atomic Era Turns 70, as Nuclear Hazards Endure
Nelson Valdes
An Internet Legend: the Pope, Fidel and the Black President
Robert Hunziker
The Perfectly Nasty Ocean Storm
Jack Dresser
The Case of Alison Weir: Two Palestinian Solidarity Organizations Borrow from Joe McCarthy’s Playbook
Ahmad Moussa
Incinerating Palestinian Children
Greg Felton
Greece Succumbs to Imperialist Banksterism
Binoy Kampmark
Stalling the Trans-Pacific Partnership: the Failure of the Hawai’i Talks
Ted Rall
My Letter to Nick Goldberg of the LA Times
Mark Weisbrot
New Greek Bailout Increases the Possibility of Grexit
Jose Martinez
Black/Hispanic/Women: a Leadership Crisis
Victor Grossman
German Know-Nothings Today
Patrick Walker
We’re Not Sandernistas: Reinventing the Wheels of Bernie’s Bandwagon
Norman Pollack
Moral Consequences of War: America’s Hegemonic Thirst
Ralph Nader
Republicans Support Massive Tax Evasion by Starving IRS Budget
Alexander Reid Ross
Colonial Pride and the Killing of Cecil the Lion
Suhayb Ahmed
What’s Happening in Britain: Jeremy Corbyn and the Future of the Labour Party
Weekend Edition
July 31-33, 2015
Jeffrey St. Clair
Bernie and the Sandernistas: Into the Void
John Pilger
Julian Assange: the Untold Story of an Epic Struggle for Justice
Roberto J. González – David Price
Remaking the Human Terrain: The US Military’s Continuing Quest to Commandeer Culture
Lawrence Ware
Bernie Sanders’ Race Problem
Andrew Levine
The Logic of Illlogic: Narrow Self-Interest Keeps Israel’s “Existential Threats” Alive
ANDRE VLTCHEK
Kos, Bodrum, Desperate Refugees and a Dying Child
Paul Street
“That’s Politics”: the Sandernistas on the Master’s Schedule
Ted Rall
How the LAPD Conspired to Get Me Fired from the LA Times
Mike Whitney
Power-Mad Erdogan Launches War in Attempt to Become Turkey’s Supreme Leader
Ellen Brown
The Greek Coup: Liquidity as a Weapon of Coercion
Stephen Lendman
Russia Challenges America’s Orwellian NED
Will Parrish
The Politics of California’s Water System
John Wight
The Murder of Ali Saad Dawabsha, a Palestinian Infant Burned Alive by Israeli Terrorists
Jeffrey Blankfort
Leading Bibi’s Army in the War for Washington
Mary Lou Singleton
Gender, Patriarchy, and All That Jazz
Robert Fantina
Israeli Missteps Take a Toll
Pete Dolack
Speculators Circling Puerto Rico Latest Mode of Colonialism
Ron Jacobs
Spying on Black Writers: the FB Eye Blues
Paul Buhle
The Leftwing Seventies?
Binoy Kampmark
The TPP Trade Deal: of Sovereignty and Secrecy
David Swanson
Vietnam, Fifty Years After Defeating the US
Robert Hunziker
Human-Made Evolution
Shamus Cooke
Why Obama’s “Safe Zone” in Syria Will Inflame the War Zone
David Rosen
Hillary Clinton: Learn From Your Sisters
Sam Husseini
How #AllLivesMatter and #BlackLivesMatter Can Devalue Life
Shepherd Bliss
Why I Support Bernie Sanders for President
Louis Proyect
Manufacturing Denial
Howard Lisnoff
The Wrong Argument
Tracey Harris
Living Tiny: a Richer and More Sustainable Future