Dick Cheney- Corporate Criminal

Cheney changed his view on Iraq

He said in '92 Saddam not worth U.S. casualties WASHINGTON -- In an assessment that differs sharply with his view today, Dick Cheney more than a decade ago defended the decision to leave Saddam Hussein in power after the first Gulf War, telling a Seattle audience that capturing Saddam wouldn't be worth additional U.S. casualties or the risk of getting "bogged down in the problems of trying to take over and govern Iraq."

Cheney, who was secretary of defense at the time, made the observations answering audience questions after a speech to the Discovery Institute in August 1992, nearly 18 months after U.S. forces routed the Iraqi army and liberated Kuwait.

The same day in August 1992, before a Seattle audience, Cheney supported the decision not to occupy Iraq but to leave Saddam Hussein in power after the first Gulf War.

President George H.W. Bush was criticized for pulling out before U.S. forces could storm Baghdad, allowing Saddam to remain in power and eventually setting the stage for the invasion of Iraq ordered by his son, President George W. Bush, in March 2003.

The comments Cheney made more than a decade ago in a little-publicized appearance have acquired new relevance as he and Bush run for a second term.

A central theme of their campaign has been their unflinching, unchanging approach toward Iraq and the shifting positions offered by Democratic nominee John Kerry.

A transcript of the 1992 appearance was tracked down by P-I columnist Joel Connelly, as reported in today's In the Northwest column. "And the question in my mind is how many additional American casualties is Saddam worth?" Cheney said then in response to a question.

"And the answer is not very damned many. So I think we got it right, both when we decided to expel him from Kuwait, but also when the president made the decision that we'd achieved our objectives and we were not going to go get bogged down in the problems of trying to take over and govern Iraq."

About 146 Americans were killed in the Gulf War. More than 1,000 U.S. soldiers have died in the invasion of Iraq and its aftermath.

Going to Baghdad, Cheney said in 1992, would require a much different approach militarily than fighting in the open desert outside the capital, a type of warfare that U.S. troops were not familiar, or comfortable fighting. "All of a sudden you've got a battle you're fighting in a major built-up city, a lot of civilians are around, significant limitations on our ability to use our most effective technologies and techniques," Cheney said. "Once we had rounded him up and gotten rid of his government, then the question is what do you put in its place? You know, you then have accepted the responsibility for governing Iraq."

Last week, Cheney attacked Kerry for his alleged inconsistencies. "Senator Kerry ... said that under his leadership, more of America's friends would speak with one voice on Iraq. That seems a little odd coming from a guy who doesn't speak with one voice himself. By his repeated efforts to recast and redefine the war on terror and our operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, Senator Kerry has given every indication that he lacks the resolve, the determination and the conviction to prevail in the conflict we face."

Cheney's office did not respond to requests for comment about his 1992 statements, nor did the White House. The Bush-Cheney re-election campaign, also asked about the 1992 statements, did not respond.

Cheney 'Pushes the Envelope' on Al Qaeda-Iraq Connection

Critics say the vice president's campaign statements on terrorism 'blur the lines.'

by James Gerstenzang

WARRENTON, Mo. — The phrases vary. Some days, Vice President Dick Cheney says Saddam Hussein had "long-established" ties to Al Qaeda. Other days, he says the onetime Iraqi dictator "had a relationship" with the terrorist group.

But the underlying message remains unchanged — Cheney plants the idea that Hussein was allied with the group responsible for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Although the extent of the Al Qaeda-Hussein relationship — if it existed — has been widely disputed, Cheney proceeds with nary a nod toward such questions.

And in doing so, he draws a line from the war in Iraq, on which public opinion is divided, to the larger war on terrorism, for which President Bush wins greater support.

"When voters look at Iraq as a standalone issue … it is a horrible situation for the president," said Charles Cook, a nonpartisan political analyst in Washington. "But when it is woven into the fabric of a global war on terrorism, people are more accepting of it as the price we have to pay."
Cheney slips his reference to Hussein and Al Qaeda into his litany of Hussein's offenses: the regime's production and use of chemical weapons against enemies; support for the families of suicide bombers; Iraq's defiance of various U.N. resolutions.

Each has largely been established and is subject of little debate — with the exception of the tie to Al Qaeda.

The bipartisan commission that investigated the Sept. 11 attacks said it had found no evidence of a "collaborative relationship" between Hussein and the terrorist organization led by Osama bin Laden. Its staff has said it had found "no credible evidence" that Iraq had cooperated with Al Qaeda in targeting the United States.

To back up Cheney's claim of an Al Qaeda-Hussein "relationship," his aides point to the presence in pre-invasion Iraq of Abu Musab Zarqawi, a Jordanian-born militant believed to be behind much of the insurgency in postwar Iraq.

But while Zarqawi is widely thought to have had ties to Bin Laden's group — the vice president calls him "a senior Al Qaeda associate" — the extent of his links to Hussein, if any, has never been established.

The vice president's staff notes that former CIA Director George J. Tenet testified in Congress about a relationship between Hussein and Al Qaeda. And, his aides say, Cheney has been careful to not state that Hussein was behind the Sept. 11 attacks.

Still, Cheney's references to an Al Qaeda-Hussein connection may obscure that distinction for many voters.

Surveys of Americans consistently have found large numbers who say Hussein was personally involved in the Sept. 11 attacks, despite repeated declarations by a variety of investigators to the contrary. As recently as June, a Gallup Poll found that 44% said Hussein was personally tied to the terrorist strikes; 51% said he was not.

A senior Republican who served in top White House positions during the Ford and Reagan administrations cited the Gallup findings in discussing Cheney's campaign comments on Al Qaeda and Hussein. The vice president, the senior Republican said, is "talking about something that is credible with the American people, despite the intelligence. And the intelligence community is so under attack that he can say whatever he wants.

"What he gets out of it is making the case even stronger for why we went into Iraq, and it fits a pattern of what the American people want to believe," said the Republican, who requested anonymity.

Many Democrats are infuriated by what they view as an effort by Cheney to exaggerate the link between Al Qaeda and Hussein.

"This is one of his major issues. He tries to blur the lines between Al Qaeda and 9/11, and Saddam Hussein and Iraq," said Michael B. Feldman, a senior aide four years ago to Al Gore who is not active in this year's presidential race.

"From the very beginning of the effort to sell the [Iraq] war, this has been Cheney's role. He's also … at odds with the facts…. That doesn't stop him. I don't think it's an accident. I don't think it's a slip of the tongue."

Polls have found that, overall, Cheney is one of the least popular vice presidents in recent administrations. But he is a major draw among the Republican faithful. The Bush reelection campaign frequently sends him to the most closely contested states, where he is dispatched to communities that supported the Republican ticket four years ago.

In the speeches he delivers — at rallies, at town hall question-and-answer sessions and at small round-table meetings to audiences made up almost entirely of loyal supporters admitted by invitation — the war in Iraq and the fight against terrorism are woven throughout. They are the vice president's central, inseparable themes. And he delivers his message in a rich baritone and no-nonsense manner.

He delivered one of his typical speeches Friday at a dusty fairgrounds in Warrenton, Mo., about 40 miles west of St. Louis. Speaking of Hussein, Cheney said: "He provided safe haven for terrorists over the years. He was making $25,000 payments to the families of suicide bombers, and he had a relationship with Al Qaeda, and Iraq for years was carried by our State Department as a state sponsor of terrorism."

Hours later, he made similar comments at a fundraising dinner in Tulsa, Okla.
Paul Light, a professor of public service at New York University and author of several books on the vice presidency, offered a succinct explanation for Cheney's effort to connect Hussein to Al Qaeda: He does it, Light said, "because he can."

He added: "It's a statement to the party faithful. He doesn't say Saddam Hussein planned 9/11 and funded it. There's no evidence of that. But he pushes the envelope, for sure."

Light also said that Cheney had been seen in a more serious light than most of his predecessors, taking on "an important role as a 'legitimizer' at the start of [Bush's] term," when the president was seen as inexperienced in the ways of Washington, the presidency and the world.

"The veneer of legitimacy has stuck to him," Light said of Cheney, "and allows him to say things that are outrageous."

"In a sense, Cheney wants it both ways: to be seen as an influential vice president who has expanded the job and to also have the leeway of past vice presidents and not be subjected to the same scrutiny as the president."

© 2004 Los Angeles Times

Nigeria Bars Halliburton Contracts After Theft

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

ABUJA, Nigeria -- Nigeria said Monday it had banned the awarding of government contracts to Halliburton, the world's No. 2 oil services firm, following the theft of two radioactive devices from its Nigerian subsidiary.

The theft of the devices, used for X-raying cracks in oil pipelines and well-heads, had raised fears of a terror attack in Nigeria, the world's seventh-largest oil exporter.

"Mr. President has approved a ban on the award of contracts to the company by any ministry, parastatal, or agency of government until further directive on the matter," a statement from the presidency said.

German authorities intercepted the materials last year at a steel-recycling plant in Bavaria. They were reported missing by the local unit of Halliburton in December 2002.

Nigeria, which launched a probe in June to discover how the materials had ended up in Germany, said the U.S.-based firm had refused to cooperate.

Halliburton spokeswoman Cathy Gist in Houston would not comment except to say the company was working on the matter.

"Halliburton continues to work with the Nigerian government to resolve issues related to the sources in question," she said. "As the matter is continuing, we believe that further comment is not appropriate at this time."

The probe came after Germany halted its investigations and returned the radioactive materials to Halliburton, which took them back to the United States earlier this year.

Halliburton is already facing allegations of paying $180 million in kickbacks to win a contract in Nigeria in the 1990s.

The Nigerian National Assembly this month passed a motion recommending that Halliburton and its associate companies be excluded from new contracts and new business in Nigeria pending the outcome of the corruption probe.

Halliburton 'backed' bribes probe agent

Halliburton intervened with its partners in a huge Nigerian gas venture to secure the reappointment of a business agent now at the centre of an international bribery inquiry, a French judge has been told. Evidence before the judge suggests that in 1999 - while US Vice-President Dick Cheney was Halliburton chief executive - a Halliburton subsidiary overrode its partners' objections to rehiring a British lawyer who, it has since been alleged, channelled payments to Nigerian officials and corporate executives.

The evidence comes from a summary of the case obtained by the Financial Times along with a partial record of an interview by the judge of Jeffrey Tesler, the London-based lawyer. Halliburton, the US oil services company, has long denied breaking US laws banning foreign bribery. It admitted this month finding notes that showed executives in the joint venture had discussed bribing Nigerian officials "at least 10 years ago".

But it said there was no evidence bribes were paid and emphasised that the talks had largely pre-dated its own involvement in the venture, called TSKJ. Halliburton entered the consortium only in 1998, when it took over Dresser Industries and its M.W. Kellogg unit, which owned a 25 per cent share in TSKJ.

Nevertheless, the French papers contain claims that Kellogg actively pushed for Mr Tesler's continued role as agent even after the Halliburton takeover. It raises questions over what Mr Cheney knew - or should have known - about one of the largest contracts awarded to a Halliburton subsidiary. Mr Cheney's office did not respond to questions. The decision to reappoint Mr Tesler was taken at a 1999 meeting of the joint venture partners in London.

Kellogg wanted Mr Tesler, with whom it had a long-term relationship, to attend. But the representative from the French partner, Technip, wanted a different agent and insisted that Mr Tesler be excluded from the meeting. Even so, Mr Tesler's contract was renewed.

The case notes quote a March 2003 letter from William Chaudan, the Kellogg representative on the consortium, which said that Mr Tesler had been selected on Kellogg's recommendation and over Technip's "strong opposition". Halliburton said this month that the venture had severed ties with Mr Tesler and threatened court action against him to recover fees paid to his Gibraltar-registered company, Tri-Star.

It has also sackedtwo employees, Jack Stanley, the former head of its KBR unit, and Mr Chaudan, after both were found to have received "improper personal benefits" in connection with the project. In his testimony, Mr Tesler confirmed that he made payments to both men.

Mr Stanley declined to comment through his lawyer. Halliburton was unable to provide any contact details for Mr Chaudan. On Thursday, Halliburton denied that it had overridden Technip's objections. "We have examined the minutes from that meeting and they do not support the thesis that Technip objected to the appointment of Tesler," a spokesperson said. "In fact, the minutes specifically recite that the decision was unanimous. Technip could have blocked the appointment by refusing to sign the minutes."

Technip declined to comment.

Mr Tesler's lawyer did not respond to written questions, but has in the past denied the payments constituted bribes. Mr Tesler told the judge Mr Chaudan had been paid for finding sub-contractors for the project.

TSKJ was established in Madeira in 1994 to build the first two of a series of huge liquefied natural gas production units and was later awarded contracts for the subsequent four. The other partners were JGC of Japan and Snamprogetti of Italy.

Some $9bn (€7.4bn, £5bn) - out of a planned total of $12bn - has been invested in the project, slightly more than half of which has been paid to TSKJ.

According to the French case summary, Judge Renaud van Ruymbeke launched the investigation after being told by a former Technip executive, Georges Krammer, of the "existence of a black box set up in Madeira".

Mr Krammer also told the judge that Tri-Star "is directly linked to corruption in Nigeria". US regulators are also investigating.

Tri-Star was contracted to receive at least $160m in five agreements signed between 1995 and 2002, and the funds were directed to bank accounts in Switzerland and Monaco.

Under the 1999 contract, a copy of which was seen by the FT, Tri-Star was to be paid $32.5m. In the contract, Tri-Star agreed that it would not bribe government officials or provide funds for political campaigns or parties.

It also said that Tri-Star had not breached a no-corruption clause on its first contract signed in 1995. Halliburton pointed out that Mr Tesler signed warrants on four separate occasions declaring that he had not paid any bribes.

Ad blasting Cheney's ties to company timed to visit

Republicans depict the TV spot concerning Halliburton as misleading one day before the vice president arrives in Oregon

Friday, September 17, 2004

When Vice President Dick Cheney arrives today in Oregon, he will be greeted by a new television commercial suggesting that he has profited from work done in Iraq by Halliburton Inc., the giant Texas oil services and construction company he headed before President Bush chose him as his running mate.

Titled "Cheney Halliburton," the 30-second commercial is being broadcast first in Oregon to coincide with the Cheney visit. It marks the first time that the campaign of Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry has directly attacked Cheney on his ties to his former company.

The commercial begins with Cheney saying, "I have no financial interest in Halliburton of any kind and haven't had now for over three years," according to a transcript that was made available to The Oregonian on Thursday.

A narrator then adds: "The truth: As vice president, Dick Cheney received $2 million from Halliburton. Halliburton got billions in no bid contracts in Iraq. Dick Cheney got $2 million, What did we get? A $200 billion bill for Iraq. Lost jobs. Rising health care costs. It's time for a new direction."

Republicans on Thursday denounced the new Kerry ad, calling it "completely baseless" and "incredibly misleading."

Steve Schmidt, a national spokesman for the Bush-Cheney campaign, said Cheney has received deferred compensation payments from Halliburton, part of a retirement package that was negotiated when he left the firm to run for vice president in 2000. He said the payments are "insured," meaning that Cheney gets them regardless of Halliburton's financial condition.

Schmidt also said that Halliburton received no-bid government contracts for overseas work during the Clinton administration, and that several high ranking Clinton administration officials had similar deferred compensation arrangements with their former companies.

"The vice president has no financial interest in Halliburton," Schmidt said. "Because John Kerry can't run on his 20-year record in the Senate and is behind in the polls, he has resorted to a campaign strategy to try to tear down the president and vice president."

Lisa Sohn, a spokeswoman for the Kerry campaign in Oregon, said the televised attack linking Cheney to the government contracts that Halliburton has been awarded in Iraq will also coincide with a speech Kerry is scheduled to make today in Albuquerque, N.M., calling for an overhaul of the government procurement process.

Sohn said the ad will begin running in other closely contested states next week.

"We think it's important to highlight the fact that Halliburton has profited from no-bid contracts, and it's well-documented that they've overcharged the government," Sohn said. "It's egregious that the vice president's office is still connected with it."

Cheney, chief executive officer of Halliburton from 1995 to 2000, has consistently denied any role in the award of government contracts to the company. Halliburton has come under fire and been the subject of critical government audits for some of the work it has done in Iraq and elsewhere.

Cheney is scheduled to speak at a town hall meeting in Oregon City this morning and at a rally at the Eugene Airport later in the day.

GOP Hypocrite of the Week: Dick Cheney

Listen to the GOPHOTW HERE
Welcome back to the BuzzFlash.com GOP Hypocrite of the Week.

Well, Dick Cheney makes an unprecedented third appearance as our weekly honorary GOP Hypocrite! And what a well-deserved dishonor it is!

As a reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times noted, "Isn't it terrorists who are supposed to threaten us, and not our vice president?"

Good point.

But, that's if you forget that Dick Cheney, the REAL President, is more Don Corleone than the de facto leader of a democracy. Let's quit the pretense of respecting this guy -- we all know his good buddy Nino Scalia installed him in office in 2000, despite the will of the American voters.
And just as voters get another chance to tell Cheney to take a hike, he pulls out the threat card, saying, "It's absolutely essential that eight weeks from today, on Nov. 2, we make the right choice, because if we make the wrong choice then the danger is that we'll get hit again and we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating."

What a despicable thug.

If this administration -- which did nothing to prevent the hijackings that led to 9/11, despite being warned of them -- is supposed to be so successful in fighting terrorism, then why has terrorism increased since 9/11? Why would Cheney say we'd be "greeted as liberators" in Iraq, when the country has become a haven for terrorists and a graveyard for more and more of our soldiers.

When Cheney made his shameful, intimidating statement this past week, he wasn't offering us security; he was threatening us, promising we'd see more terrorism in our country if he and Bush were sent packing.

Why? Because Cheney doesn't care about ending terrorism, he cares only about making the world more profitable for companies like Halliburton and frightening Americans so they're blind to the Bush Administration lies. Ya see, if the truth behind this war on terrorism were ever to be set free, Bush and Cheney might be trading the White House for the Big House.

That's why the man who got five deferments to stay out of Vietnam now resorts to threatening Americans to stay in the White House.

As one of our readers noted:

Last Tuesday, at 4:27 ET, the Associated Press put this headline out on the wire: "U.S. death toll in Iraq passes 1,000 mark."

Bush's Homeland Security Dept. had a quickie news conference and not 15 minutes later, the AP headline changed to "Ridge: Terrorists hope to disrupt election". There wasn't anything new to tell - and no apparent reason for the announcement except to control the news cycle and frighten the public.

The next day, Vice President Dick Cheney threatened voters, warning them a new President was just asking to be attacked in a big way.

The Patriot Act says acts can be considered domestic terrorism if they "appear to be intended" to "influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion," or "to intimidate or coerce a civilian population."

By their own definition, doesn't that make terrorists of Bush and Cheney?

It sure sounds like it.

So, this week, the BuzzFlash Hypocrite is the bully who really runs our country and a desperate man willing to threaten Americans who don't like him. Congratulations Dick, you're this week's BuzzFlash Hypocite of the Week.

Until next week, remember our motto at BuzzFlash.com: So many Republican hypocrites, so little time.

Catch up with you soon.

A Disgraceful Campaign Speech

Published: September 9, 2004

There are some things a presidential campaign should steer clear of, through innate good taste, prudence or just a sensible fear of a voter backlash. We'd have thought that both the Kerry and Bush camps would instinctively know that it would be appalling to suggest that terrorists were rooting for one side or another in this race. But Vice President Dick Cheney seemed to breach that unspoken barrier this week in Des Moines. If John Kerry was elected president, Mr. Cheney warned the crowd, "the danger is that we'll get hit again." In a long, rather rambling statement, he said the United States might then fall back into a "pre-9/11 mind-set" that "these terrorist attacks are just criminal acts."

At the very best, Mr. Cheney was speaking loosely and carelessly about the area in this campaign that deserves the most careful and serious discussion. It sounds to us more likely that he stepped across a line that the Bush campaign team had flirted with throughout its convention, telling his audience that re-electing the president would be the only way to stay safe from another attack.

There is a danger that we'll be hit again no matter who is elected president this November, as President Bush himself has said on many occasions. The danger might be a bit less if the current administration had chosen to spend less on tax cuts for the wealthy and more on protecting our ports, securing nuclear materials in Russia and establishing an enforceable immigration policy that would keep better track of people who enter the country from abroad.

Immigration and homeland security strategies are policy fights, fair game for a political campaign. What's totally unacceptable is to tell the American people that the mere act of voting for your opponent opens the door to a terrorist attack. For Mr. Cheney to suggest that is flat wrong. There was a time in this country when elected officials knew how to separate the position from the person. The American people, we're sure, would like to return to it.