FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Halliburton Made $73 Million from Saddam

That pack of scoundrels
Tumbling through the gate
Emerges as the order of the state.

Stanley Kunitz, The System

At first the reader recoiled in horror. Then, realizing that it was different in law but not in effect from what Halliburton had been doing some years earlier, the reader was reassured. The only question that then remained was why the Russians’ actions were even newsworthy.

On March 5, 2002, it was reported that a group of Russian engineers had helped out Saddam Hussein prior to his downfall. Among other things, they provided technical assistance for prohibited Iraq weapons projects in the years that preceded the U.S. led invasion in violation of U.N. sanctions. Halliburton mimicked the Russians without, however, violating the U.N. sanctions. It, too, took it upon itself to help out Saddam Hussein during the years preceding his downfall. Mr. Hussein was probably equally grateful to the Russians and to Halliburton. He didn’t much care about whether the help was legal or illegal or whether it violated U.N. sanctions or not. He just welcomed the help. The Russians and Halliburton were equally pleased to oblige since they both made money as a result of their respective efforts.

Russian engineers, it was disclosed, were in Baghdad as recently as 2001 and were helping that country in its attempt to produce long-range ballistic missiles. Some of those working on the project were believed to have formerly worked for one of Russia’s aerospace design centers. It is now believed that the missile program was continued by Iraq until shortly before the most recent war. A spokesman for the Russian embassy in Washington denied having knowledge of the engineers’ involvement and said it had been given no evidence of Russian government involvement by the U.S. government.

The Bush administration has had little to say about the recent disclosure since Mr. Bush does not want to upset his good friend, Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia. He has had nothing to say about the assorted disclosures about Halliburton, both before the war and after its conclusion because he want to upset his good friend Dick Cheney.

Years before Mr. Cheney became vice-president, he worked for another George Bush as secretary of defense. In that capacity he helped devise a comprehensive economic embargo the purpose of which was to isolate Saddam Hussein’s government. He probably thought an economic embargo would eventually bring down the Hussein government. It didn’t happen on his watch. Instead, when he left that post he became chairman and chief executive officer of Halliburton, a company that like the Russian engineers, was helping Saddam Hussein. Mr. Cheney quickly forgot his goal of putting in place an economic embargo and instead started personally profiting from trading with Iraq. Under his stewardship Halliburton acquired Dresser Industries which entered a joint venture agreement with Ingersoll-Rand Co. Two subsidiaries of those companies sold water and sewage treatment pumps, spare parts for oil facilities and pipeline equipment to Baghdad using French affiliates. What Halliburton did was completely legal because it did it through joint ventures and subsidiaries and within the orbit of the “oil for food” program run by the United Nations.

United Nations records disclose that the subsidiaries of Halliburton and its joint venturer earned more than $73 million through their dealings with Iraq. In a report by the Washington Post report it was disclosed that two former senior executives of the subsidiaries said there was no company policy against doing business with Iraq and they heard no objections from any Halliburton executive, including Mr. Cheney, to doing business with the country. When running for vice-president and when interviewed on ABC’s “This Week” on July 30, 2000, Mr. Cheney contradicted the two executives. He said: “I had a firm policy that we wouldn’t do anything in Iraq, even arrangements that were supposedly legal. We’ve not done any business in Iraq since U.N. sanction were imposed . . . .” Three weeks later he contradicted himself and supported the two executives he’d contradicted earlier saying: “We inherited two joint ventures with Ingersoll-Rand that were selling some parts into Iraq, but we divested ourselves of those interests.” He neglected to point out that the divestiture did not occur until more than a year later during which time the companies signed close to $30 million in contracts. Mr. Cheney never bothered to explain why he got it wrong the first time.

By not criticizing the Russians’ for helping Saddam Hussein and by not criticizing Halliburton for doing the same thing, Mr. Bush has shown himself to be remarkably even handed. It’s comforting to his critics to learn that he has at least one trait that’s admirable. Would there were more.

CHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI is a Boulder, Colorado lawyer. His column appears weekly in the Daily Camera. He can be reached at: brauchli.56@post.harvard.edu

 

More articles by:
July 18, 2018
Bruce E. Levine
Politics and Psychiatry: the Cost of the Trauma Cover-Up
Frank Stricker
The Crummy Good Economy and the New Serfdom
Linda Ford
Red Fawn Fallis and the Felony of Being Attacked by Cops
David Mattson
Entrusting Grizzlies to a Basket of Deplorables?
Stephen F. Eisenman
Want Gun Control? Arm the Left (It Worked Before)
CJ Hopkins
Trump’s Treasonous Traitor Summit or: How Liberals Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the New McCarthyism
Patrick Bond
State of the BRICS class struggle: Repression, Austerity and Worker Militancy
Dan Corjescu
The USA and Russia: Two Sides of the Same Criminal Corporate Coin
The Hudson Report
How Argentina Got the Biggest Loan in the History of the IMF
Kenn Orphan
You Call This Treason?
Max Parry
Ukraine’s Anti-Roma Pogroms Ignored as Russia is Blamed for Global Far Right Resurgence
Ed Meek
Acts of Resistance
July 17, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Trump & The Big Bad Bugs
Robert Hunziker
Trump Kills Science, Nature Strikes Back
John Grant
The Politics of Cruelty
Kenneth Surin
Calculated Buffoonery: Trump in the UK
Binoy Kampmark
Helsinki Theatrics: Trump Meets Putin
Patrick Bond
BRICS From Above, Seen Critically From Below
Jim Kavanagh
Fighting Fake Stories: The New Yorker, Israel and Obama
Daniel Falcone
Chomsky on the Trump NATO Ruse
W. T. Whitney
Oil Underground in Neuquén, Argentina – and a New US Military Base There
Doug Rawlings
Ken Burns’ “The Vietnam War” was Nominated for an Emmy, Does It Deserve It?
Rajan Menon
The United States of Inequality
Thomas Knapp
Have Mueller and Rosenstein Finally Gone Too Far?
Cesar Chelala
An Insatiable Salesman
Dean Baker
Truth, Trump and the Washington Post
Mel Gurtov
Human Rights Trumped
Binoy Kampmark
Putin’s Football Gambit: How the World Cup Paid Off
July 16, 2018
Sheldon Richman
Trump Turns to Gaza as Middle East Deal of the Century Collapses
Charles Pierson
Kirstjen Nielsen Just Wants to Protect You
Brett Wilkins
The Lydda Death March and the Israeli State of Denial
Patrick Cockburn
Trump Knows That the US Can Exercise More Power in a UK Weakened by Brexit
Robert Fisk
The Fisherman of Sarajevo Told Tales Past Wars and Wars to Come
Gary Leupp
When Did Russia Become an Adversary?
Uri Avnery
“Not Enough!”
Dave Lindorff
Undermining Trump-Putin Summit Means Promoting War
Manuel E. Yepe
World Trade War Has Begun
Binoy Kampmark
Trump Stomps Britain
Wim Laven
The Best Deals are the Deals that Develop Peace
Kary Love
Can We Learn from Heinrich Himmler’s Daughter? Should We?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Franklin Lamb, Requiescat in Pace
Weekend Edition
July 13, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Brian Cloughley
Lessons That Should Have Been Learned From NATO’s Destruction of Libya
Paul Street
Time to Stop Playing “Simon Says” with James Madison and Alexander Hamilton
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of Formula and Honey
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s Intellectuals Bow to the Queen of Chaos 
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail