Dick Cheney- Corporate Criminal
Details the myriad illegal, immoral, and unethical activities of Dick Cheney when CEO of Halliburton, his obstruction of justice, and lies to the American public since his appointment as Vice President. For information on an equally corrupt politician, see link to Tom DeLay-Corporate Whore. Be sure to visit our cavernous vault of archives.
Clark accuses Cheney of putting politics before security
By M.E. SPRENGELMEYER
January 25, 2004
Adding response from Weekly Standard
Former Gen. Wesley Clark on Sunday accused Vice President Dick Cheney of "playing politics with national security" for his recent comments on a leaked, classified intelligence report.
Clark, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, has called for a White House investigation into statements Cheney made to Denver's Rocky Mountain News in which he called a magazine article based on leaked intelligence reports the "best source of information" on an alleged link between the former Iraqi regime and al Qaeda.
Last year the Pentagon questioned conclusions in the magazine article and said that leaks of classified intelligence reports were "deplorable and may be illegal."
In the interview earlier this month, Cheney cited various incidents that he said suggested a link between Iraqi intelligence services and al Qaeda.
Cheney cited in an article in the Weekly Standard that was based on classified documents forwarded to Congress, and said, "That's your best source of information."
That angers critics because nearly two months earlier the Defense Department responded to publication of the article with a terse press release. It said certain still-classified, raw intelligence reports had been forwarded to the Senate Intelligence Committee, but that it was "inaccurate" to report that officials had confirmed new information about ties between Iraq and al Qaeda.
The Defense Department's statement concluded, "Individuals who leak or purport to leak classified information are doing serious harm to national security: such activity is deplorable and may be illegal."
Clark, former supreme allied commander of NATO, said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," that by endorsing the Weekly Standard article, Cheney was essentially confirming the contents of leaked classified documents.
"Now, the standard rule on anything like this is, never to confirm it because if you confirm something like this, you're giving away maybe sources and methods," Clark said.
"The vice president said that that was the best explanation for the connection between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. So he's essentially using a leaked memo to confirm his predisposition to believe that Saddam had something to do with 9/11. That's playing politics with national security. It risks our intelligence community, our sources and methods; it's wrong."
Clark's senior foreign policy adviser, James Rubin, a former assistant secretary of state in the Clinton administration, said Clark was calling for an investigation by the White House legal counsel into Cheney's statements to the Rocky Mountain News.
"The president should call the vice president on the carpet and ask him why he was confirming a highly classified document in public and ask his legal department to see if any damage was done and what the appropriate response for government should be," Rubin said.
Neither the White House nor Cheney's office returned calls seeking comment over the weekend.
The author of The Weekly Standard article, Stephen F. Hayes, defended his reporting in a November column, saying the Pentagon's charge of inaccuracy was "vague and unsubstantiated." The column pointed out several pieces of new analysis contained in the leaked documents, then concluded by quoting former CIA director James Woolsey, who served in the Clinton Administration.
"Anybody who says there is no working relationship between al Qaeda and Iraqi intelligence going back to the early '90s - they can only say that if they are illiterate. This is a slam dunk."
Administration critics have seized on a transcript of the Cheney interview published online at www.rockymountainnews.com.
Last week, David Sirota of the left-leaning policy group Center for American Progress, called it "obscene" that Cheney would cite "a discredited and condemned" report as the best source of information.
The controversy was first outlined Friday in The Washington Post. Last year, citing confidential sources, the newspaper reported that CIA officials and congressional leaders were considering an investigation into the source of the intelligence leak.
Trip With Cheney Puts Ethics Spotlight on Scalia
Friends hunt ducks together, even as the justice is set to hear the vice president's case.
by David G. Savage
WASHINGTON — Vice President Dick Cheney and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia spent part of last week duck hunting together at a private camp in southern Louisiana just three weeks after the court agreed to take up the vice president's appeal in lawsuits over his handling of the administration's energy task force.
While Scalia and Cheney are avid hunters and longtime friends, several experts in legal ethics questioned the timing of their trip and said it raised doubts about Scalia's ability to judge the case impartially.
But Scalia rejected that concern Friday, saying, "I do not think my impartiality could reasonably be questioned."
Federal law says "any justice or judge shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might be questioned." For nearly three years, Cheney has been fighting demands that he reveal whether he met with energy industry officials, including Kenneth L. Lay when he was chairman of Enron, while he was formulating the president's energy policy.
A lower court ruled that Cheney must turn over documents detailing who met with his task force, but on Dec. 15, the high court announced it would hear his appeal. The justices are due to hear arguments in April in the case of "in re Richard B. Cheney."
In a written response to an inquiry from the Times about the hunting trip, Scalia said: "Cheney was indeed among the party of about nine who hunted from the camp. Social contacts with high-level executive officials (including cabinet officers) have never been thought improper for judges who may have before them cases in which those people are involved in their official capacity, as opposed to their personal capacity. For example, Supreme Court Justices are regularly invited to dine at the White House, whether or not a suit seeking to compel or prevent certain presidential action is pending."
Cheney does not face a personal penalty in the pending lawsuits. He could not be forced to pay damages, for example.
But the suits are not routine disputes about the powers of Cheney's office. Rather, the plaintiffs — the Sierra Club and Judicial Watch — contend that Cheney and his staff violated an open-government measure known as the Federal Advisory Committee Act by meeting behind closed doors with outside lobbyists for the oil, gas, coal and nuclear industries.
Stephen Gillers, a New York University law professor, said Scalia should have skipped going hunting with Cheney this year.
"A judge may have a friendship with a lawyer, and that's fine. But if the lawyer has a case before the judge, they don't socialize until it's over. That shows a proper respect for maintaining the public's confidence in the integrity of the process," said Gillers, who is an expert on legal ethics. "I think Justice Scalia should have been cognizant of that and avoided contact with the vice president until this was over. And this is not like a dinner with 25 or 30 people. This is a hunting trip where you are together for a few days."
The pair arrived Jan. 5 on Gulfstream jets and were guests of Wallace Carline, the owner of Diamond Services Corp., an oil services company in Amelia, La. The Associated Press in Morgan City, La., reported the trip on the day the vice president and his entourage departed.
"They asked us not to bring cameras out there," said Sheriff David Naquin, who serves St. Mary Parish, about 90 miles southwest of New Orleans, referring to the group's request for privacy. "The vice president and the justice were there for a relaxing trip, so we backed off."
While the local police were told about Cheney's trip shortly before his arrival, they were told to keep it a secret, Naquin said.
"The justice had been here several times before. I'm kind of sorry Cheney picked that week because it was a poor shooting week," Naquin said. "There weren't many ducks here, which is unusual for this time of the year."
Scalia agreed with the sheriff's assessment.
"The duck hunting was lousy. Our host said that in 35 years of duck hunting on this lease, he had never seen so few ducks," the justice said in his written response to the Times. "I did come back with a few ducks, which tasted swell."
In October, Justice Scalia announced he would not participate in the court's handling of a case involving the Pledge of Allegiance; that case is due to be heard in March. It stems from a U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling two years ago that declared unconstitutional the use of the words "under God" in the Pledge that is recited daily by millions of schoolchildren. These words were added to the Pledge by Congress in 1954, and they amount to an official government promotion of religion, the appeals court said.
Last year, Justice Scalia appeared to criticize that ruling in a speech at a Religious Freedom Day event in Fredericksburg, Va. "We could eliminate 'under God' from the Pledge of Allegiance," he said. "That could be democratically done."
But this is contrary to the wishes of most Americans, and it should not be done by judges or courts, he added.
The California school district that was on the losing end in the Pledge case appealed to the Supreme Court last summer.
Its lawyers urged the justices to restore the use of the words "under God."
While the appeal was pending, the Sacramento-area atheist who won the ruling in the 9th Circuit filed a motion suggesting Scalia withdraw from the case. He cited news account of Scalia's speech and the federal law mandating disqualifications whenever the judge's impartiality "might reasonably be questioned." When the court announced it would hear the case, Scalia also announced he would not participate.
Steven Lubet, who teaches judicial ethics at Northwestern University Law School, said he was not convinced that Scalia must withdraw from the Cheney case but said the trip raised a number of questions.
"It's not clear this requires disqualification, but there are not separate rules for longtime friends," he said. "This is not like a lawyer going on a fishing trip with a judge. A lawyer is one step removed. Cheney is the litigant in this case. The question is whether the justice's hunting partner did something wrong. And the whole purpose of these rules is to ensure the appearance of impartiality in regard to the litigants before the court."
The code of conduct for federal judges sets guidelines for members of the judiciary, but it does not set clear-cut rules. A judge should "act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary," it says. "A judge should not allow family, social or other relationships to influence judicial conduct or judgments," it says. Nor should a judge "permit others to convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence the judge."
In the lower courts, litigants may ask a judge to step aside. And if the request is refused, they may appeal to a higher court.
At the Supreme Court, the justices decide for themselves whether to step aside. On occasion, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has withdrawn from business cases because she owns stock in one of the companies.
The justices have been reluctant to withdraw from a case simply because a former clerk is handling the dispute, or their son or daughter works at a law firm participating in the case. Last year, for example, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist said he did not see a need to withdraw from a pending appeal in the Microsoft antitrust case simply because his son, a lawyer, was working on a related case.
Copyright 2004 Los Angeles Times
Will the French Indict Cheney?
by Doug Ireland
Yet another sordid chapter in the murky annals of Halliburton might well lead to the indictment of Dick Cheney by a French court on charges of bribery, money-laundering and misuse of corporate assets.
At the heart of the matter is a $6 billion gas liquification factory built in Nigeria on behalf of oil mammoth Shell by Halliburton--the company Cheney headed before becoming Vice President--in partnership with a large French petroengineering company, Technip. Nigeria has been rated by the anticorruption watchdog Transparency International as the second-most corrupt country in the world, surpassed only by Bangladesh.
One of France's best-known investigating magistrates, Judge Renaud van Ruymbeke--who came to fame by unearthing major French campaign finance scandals in the 1990s that led to a raft of indictments--has been conducting a probe of the Nigeria deal since October. And, three days before Christmas, the Paris daily Le Figaro front-paged the news that Judge van Ruymbeke had notified the Justice Ministry that Cheney might be among those eventually indicted as a result of his investigation.
According to accounts in the French press, Judge van Ruymbeke believes that some or all of $180 million in so-called secret "retrocommissions" paid by Halliburton and Technip were, in fact, bribes given to Nigerian officials and others to grease the wheels for the refinery's construction. These reports say van Ruymbeke has fingered as the bagman in the operation a 55-year-old London lawyer, Jeffrey Tesler, who has worked for Halliburton for some thirty years. It was Tesler who was paid the $180 million as a "commercial consultant" through a Gibraltar-based front company he set up called TriStar. TriStar, in turn, got the money from a consortium set up for the Nigeria deal by Halliburton and Technip and registered in Madeira, the Portuguese offshore island where taxes don't apply. According to Agence France-Presse, a former top Technip official, Georges Krammer, has testified that the Madeira-based consortium was a "slush fund" controlled by Halliburton--through its subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root--and Technip. Krammer, who is cooperating with the investigation, also swore that Tesler was imposed as the intermediary by Halliburton over the objections of Technip.
Tesler is a curious fellow: A veteran operator in Nigeria, he was the financial adviser to the late dictator Gen. Sani Abacha and controlled his personal fortune, while at the same time working for Halliburton. Abacha's former Oil Minister, Dan Etete--who is suspected of having used some of the alleged bribe money to buy himself fancy apartments in Paris and a chateau in Normandy--was deposed by Judge van Ruymbeke in December. According to the Journal du Dimanche (a large Sunday paper), Etete's testimony seemed to confirm the judge's suspicions that Tesler laundered the $180 million through offshore and other accounts, and that part of the money wound up in dictator Abacha's coffers. Tesler's bank accounts in Monaco, Switzerland and elsewhere have been subpoenaed in an effort to find out where the money went.
Judge van Ruymbeke's authority for his transnational investigation comes from a law France passed in 2000 against "bribing foreign officials," following its ratification of a convention adopted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development prohibiting bribe-giving in the course of commercial transactions. The notion that the judge's targeting of Cheney might be in part retaliatory for the Bush Administration's exclusion of France from Iraq reconstruction contracts is unlikely: Van Ruymbeke is notoriously independent, and his previous investigations have been aimed at politicians and parties of both right and left. He's also no stranger to the unsavory world of oil-and-gas politics, having previously investigated bribe-giving by the French petrogiant Elf--indeed, it was in the course of his Elf investigation that van Ruymbeke stumbled upon the Nigerian deal.
The suspected bribe money was mostly ladled out between 1995 and 2000, when Cheney was Halliburton's CEO. The Journal du Dimanche reported on December 21 that "it is probable that some of the 'retrocommissions' found their way back to the United States" and asked, did this money go "to Halliburton's officials? To officials of the Republican Party?" These questions have so far gone unasked by America's media, which have completely ignored the explosive Le Figaro headline revealing the targeting of Cheney. It will be interesting to see if the US press looks seriously into this ticking time-bomb of a scandal before the November elections.