Dick Cheney- Corporate Criminal

Reps: U.S. Overpaying Halliburton for Gas
Wed Oct 29, 7:24 PM ET Add Politics to My Yahoo!

By Susan Cornwell

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government is paying Vice President Dick Cheney (news - web sites)'s former firm Halliburton (NYSE:HAL - news) "enormous sums" -- $2.65 a gallon -- for gasoline imported into Iraq (news - web sites) from Kuwait, two lawmakers charged on Wednesday.

Democrats Rep. Henry Waxman of California and Rep. John Dingell of Michigan said this gross overpayment was made worse by the fact that the U.S. government was turning around and reselling the gasoline in Iraq for four to 15 cents a gallon.

In a letter of complaint sent to President Bush (news - web sites)'s national security adviser Condoleezza Rice (news - web sites), the two lawmakers said experts they consulted think the cost of buying and transporting gasoline from Kuwait into Iraq should cost less than $1 a gallon.

The Iraqi oil company SOMO is paying only 97 cents a gallon to import gasoline from Kuwait to Iraq, they said.

Waxman added in a statement: "We know that someone is getting rich importing gasoline into Iraq. What we don't know is who is making the money, Halliburton or the Kuwaitis?"

Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root, which defends its pricing as fair, has a contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to rebuild Iraq's oil sector. This has included importing oil products in short supply as the oil-rich nation's refineries are brought back into production.

As of Oct. 19, Halliburton had imported 61.3 million gallons of gasoline from Kuwait into Iraq, and the company was paid $162.5 million for an average price of $2.65 a gallon, Waxman and Dingell wrote.

"The $2.65 per gallon is grossly excessive," they said. "Experts we consulted stated that the total price for buying and transporting gasoline into Iraq should be less than $1.00 per gallon."

The U.S. government was then selling this gasoline inside Iraq for just four to 15 cents a gallon, subsidizing over 95 percent of the cost of gasoline consumed by Iraqis, they said.

"The U.S. government is paying nearly three times more for gasoline from Kuwait than it should, and then is reselling this gasoline at a huge loss inside Iraq," the lawmakers wrote.

Halliburton spokeswoman Wendy Hall defended the company against what she said were "false statements" about its efforts in Iraq, adding that wartime work was expensive and Halliburton only recovered "a few cents on the dollar" for fuel costs.

"Four types of fuel are being purchased: gasoline, kerosene, LPG and diesel," Hall said in a statement. These fuels had different prices, she said, but gave no details.

"It is expensive to purchase, ship and deliver fuel into a wartime situation, especially when you are limited by short duration contracting," she said.

"The costs for the fuel are 'pass-through' costs because Halliburton only recovers a few cents on the dollar for this expense," Hall said.

Cheney was Halliburton's CEO for five years before running for vice-president in 2000.

Waxman wrote earlier this month to the White House Office of Management and Budget to complain that Halliburton's subsidiary was overcharging for petroleum products, saying it was billing an average price of $1.59 a gallon.

A Waxman spokeswoman said new information the lawmaker has received since then was broken down into gasoline from Turkey and gasoline from Kuwait, revealing the price for gasoline imported from Kuwait to be much higher.

Halliburton was charging only $1.22 per gallon to import gasoline from Turkey into Iraq, Waxman and Dingell said.

Cheney's Hawks 'Hijacking Policy'
by Ritt Goldstein

A former Pentagon officer turned whistleblower says a group of hawks in the Bush Administration, including the Vice-President, Dick Cheney, is running a shadow foreign policy, contravening Washington's official line.

"What these people are doing now makes Iran-Contra [a Reagan administration national security scandal] look like amateur hour. . . it's worse than Iran-Contra, worse than what happened in Vietnam," said Karen Kwiatkowski, a former air force lieutenant-colonel.

"[President] George Bush isn't in control . . . the country's been hijacked," she said, describing how "key [governmental] areas of neoconservative concern were politically staffed".

Ms Kwiatkowski, who retired this year after 20 years service, was a Middle East specialist in the office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, headed by Douglas Feith.

She described "a subversion of constitutional limits on executive power and a co-optation through deceit of a large segment of the Congress", adding that "in order to take that first step - Iraq - lies had to be told to Congress to bring them on board".

Ms Kwiatkowski said the pursuit of national security decisions often bypassed "civil service and active-duty military professionals", and was handled instead by political appointees who shared common ideological ties.

There was speculation earlier this year that such an ideologue group had emerged, and that it was behind the US attack on an Iraqi convoy in Syria in June.

The New York Times quoted Patrick Lang, a former senior Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) official, as saying that many in the Government believed the incursion was an effort by ideologues to disrupt co-operation between the US and Syria.

Ms Kwiatkowski said there was an extra-governmental network operating outside normal structures and practices, "a network of political appointees in key positions who felt they needed to take some action, to make things happen in a foreign affairs, national security way". She said Pentagon personnel and the DIA were pressured to favorably alter assessments and reports.

In a separate interview, Chalmers Johnson, an authority on US policy, said that the Administration's neo-conservatives had in effect seized power from Mr Bush.

Dr Johnson said the neo-conservatives had pursued an agenda outlined in the controversial 1992 Defense Planning Guidance. That document, drawn up at the direction of Mr Cheney when he was Defense secretary, said the world's only superpower should not be cautious about asserting its power.

Copyright © 2003. The Sydney Morning Herald

Employees urged to defend Iraq contracts

Suzanne Goldenberg
Monday October 27, 2003
The Guardian

US vice-president Dick Cheney's former employers at the defence contractor Halliburton have called on staff to phone their local newspaper to stem criticism about the firm's activities in Iraq.
The public relations offensive comes at a time of intense public scrutiny of Halliburton, which was awarded billions of dollars in no-bid contracts for the reconstruction of Iraq.

In recent days, congressmen, news organisations and technical experts in Iraq have become increasingly critical of favouritism and corruption in the awarding of contracts.

Such discussions often involve Halliburton and a subsidiary, KBR, which were major benefactors of the Bush administration's policy of awarding reconstruction contracts without a process of competitive tender.

Several congressmen have asked what Halliburton has done with the money from the contracts. Mismanagement and corruption in the rebuilding of Iraq are the topic of this week's cover story in Newsweek magazine.

Among the lucrative business opportunities in Iraq's reconstruction, KBR has been paid $1.59bn (£938.5m) to refurbish Iraq's oil installations. It has also been awarded projects to rebuild Iraqi schools.

In a memo entitled Defending Our Company, dated October 17, Halliburton's president, Dave Lesar, said critics were "distorting our efforts" to restore Iraq's oil industry and provide other services to the US military.

"Now I'm asking you to help by writing a letter to the editor of your newspaper," he wrote, going on to provide talking points about Halliburton's activities.

Mr Lesar's message was leaked to a website called misleader.org, which says it is dedicated to revealing the distortions of the Bush administration. The website said KBR had a history of overcharging the US government for contracts.

The memo was written before it emerged that Halliburton had charged the US-led occupation authority $1.59 a gallon for imported petrol - several times the cost of Iraqi petrol - costing the US taxpayer about $300m.

But it was reminiscent of a public relations offensive by Washington earlier this month in which Mr Bush and others accused the media of screening news from Iraq through a negative filter.

Such similarities are bound to be of interest to critics of the reconstruction effort. Officially, Mr Cheney severed his links to Halliburton when he ran for election in 2000. But Democrats have questioned whether the Bush administration has shown favouritism to the Houston-based firm.

Halliburton Gouging In Iraq?

WASHINGTON, Oct. 16, 2003

"The overcharging is so extreme that one expert has privately called it 'highway robbery.'"
Reps. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and John Dingell, D-Mich.

(CBS/AP) Two senior Democratic lawmakers say Vice President Dick Cheney's former company, Halliburton, is gouging U.S. taxpayers while importing gasoline into Iraq. The Houston-based company contends it is paying the best price possible.

The New York Times reports that in a letter to the White House budget office, Reps. Henry Waxman of California and John Dingell of Michigan contended that, "Halliburton seems to be inflating gasoline prices at a great cost to American taxpayers."

"The overcharging is so extreme that one expert has privately called it 'highway robbery,'" the lawmakers said in the latest Democratic attacks against the Houston company that received a no-bid contract.

Waxman and Dingell said Halliburton's KBR subsidiary is billing the Army between $1.62 and $1.70 per gallon, while the average price for Middle East gasoline is 71 cents.

They also complained that Iraqis are charged between 4 cents and 15 cents at the pump for the imported gasoline.

The charges cover the purchase and transportation of the petroleum from Kuwait and other countries.

Halliburton, originally hired to extinguish oil fires, has received the expanded role of restoring Iraq's oil industry. The company has been paid $1.4 billion through September for its work.

"KBR is not responsible for establishing the price Iraqi motorists pay for gasoline at the pump," Halliburton spokeswoman Wendy Hall said.

She said the company negotiates "fair and competitive prices" with suppliers outside Iraq and must transport the gasoline in a hostile environment.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which chose Halliburton, has received bids for a replacement contract that could be awarded this month.

Corps spokesman Robert Faletti said he could not confirm the figures that Waxman and Dingell cited in a letter to Joshua Bolten, director of the Office of Management and Budget.

He said, however, that the contract is being audited by Congress and the Army.

In a further move against Halliburton, Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., announced Wednesday he would propose barring the government from awarding Iraq reconstruction contracts to companies that maintain close financial ties to the president, vice president or members of the president's Cabinet.

Lautenberg wants the measure added to an $87 billion reconstruction bill for Iraq and Afghanistan.

Cheney receives deferred payments from Halliburton and also has stock options.

Cheney's office has said the vice president had no role in the contract and that the deferred payments were for his services while he headed the company. He has said he would give the proceeds to charity should he profit from the exercise of stock options.

Dick Cheney Does His Part to Set the Stage for the Bush Administration's Horrible Pre-election Event

Cheney defends U.S.-led war in Iraq
Speech part of Bush administration's PR effort

Friday, October 10, 2003 Posted: 1:19 PM EDT (1719 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Vice President Dick Cheney said Friday that terrorists are "doing everything they can" to get weapons of mass destruction that could kill hundreds of thousands of Americans "in a single day of horror."

"Terrorist enemies of our country hope to strike us with the most lethal weapons known to man...

Cheney called the possibility of terrorists acquiring weapons of mass destruction "the ultimate nightmare" that "could bring devastation to our country on a scale we have never experienced. Instead of losing thousands of lives, we might lose tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of lives in a single day of horror. ...

..."there's no containing a terrorist who will commit suicide for the purposes of mass slaughter."

Suit against Cheney energy task force goes to US Supreme Court
Wed Oct 1, 6:11 PM ET Add Politics - AFP to My Yahoo!

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The White House has asked the US Supreme Court to shield it from having to turn over documents to advocacy groups who claim in a lawsuit that corporations swayed Vice President Richard Cheney's energy task force.

Solicitor General Theodore Olson, in a 25-page petition filed with the high court Tuesday, said a US district judge's order to turn over records of energy task force meetings would "open the way for judicial supervision of internal executive branch deliberations."

"Legislative power and judicial power cannot extend to compelling the vice president to disclose... details of the process by which a president obtains information and advice from the vice president," Olson added in the document.

The Sierra Club (news - web sites) environmental group and Judicial Watch, a conservative legal pressure group, are seeking the documents in a lawsuit alleging that Kenneth Lay, then chairman of failed energy trader Enron Corp., and other corporate executives and lobbyists unduly influenced the task force which drew up recommendations for a national energy policy.

The task force produced a May 2001 report calling for increased oil and gas drilling, including on previously protected public lands, and changes in regulations that would spur growth in nuclear power generation.

The administration of President George W. Bush (news - web sites) had sought to block the document disclosure but a federal appeals court rebuffed it, setting the stage for the Supreme Court petition.

The Sierra Club has described the administration's energy policy as irresponsible and polluting and is challenging the legality of the process by which it was drawn up.

Along with Judicial Watch, the environmental group has argued in court that the Cheney energy task force constituted a de facto federal advisory committee and therefore was required by law to be open to public scrutiny and comment.

The Bush administration has maintained the task force was an informal working group and that officials were within their rights to seek confidential advice from interested parties.

The Justice Department (news - web sites), citing policy, declined to comment on Olson's petition.

A federal judge last year dismissed a separate but similar case brought by the General Accounting Office (news - web sites), the investigative arm of Congress, for access to Cheney task force documents.

Many of the energy task force's recommendations have been snarled in Congress, which is expected to vote on energy legislation in coming weeks after protracted, heated debate.