Dick Cheney- Corporate Criminal


Halliburton's Hella Good Deal

Charlie Cray
July 21, 2006

Charlie Cray is the director of The Center for Corporate Policy in Washington, D.C., and co-author of The People's Business: Controlling Corporations and Restoring Democracy (Berrett-Koehler, 2004).

Last week, the Army announced with much fanfare that it was canceling the monopoly logistics contract that Halliburton/KBR has used to bilk U.S. taxpayers since the occupation of Iraq began. The contract will be broken up and divided among at least three different companies, but it’s not clear that this will make much difference to taxpayers, or even that Halliburton will stop making a killing.

The new policy is, in effect, tacit recognition of the epidemic of waste, fraud and poor contract oversight that have plagued the Iraq occupation from the start. It vindicates key congressional critics, such as Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., and Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., whose dogged persistence has exposed a cornucopia of corruption associated with contracts like Halliburton’s. Yet, if the history of the Iraq contracts so far is any indication, that’s about as much as can be read into the policy.

The history of Halliburton’s other major contract in Iraq—the oil contract—indicates the need for skepticism. It is well known that Halliburton received its first oil contract (RIO I) as the result of a dubious no-bid contract ordered by top Pentagon officials (including Paul Wolfowitz)—a decision that was “coordinated with the vice president’s office,” according to a Pentagon e-mail uncovered by Judicial Watch.

The rest, as they say, is history. After getting a leg up on all potential competitors, KBR also used its incestuous relationship with the Army Corps of Engineers to extract a second no-bid oil contract (RIO II).

The fix was in, according to the Corps’ top civilian contracting expert, Bunnatine Greenhouse: "I can unequivocally state that the abuse related to contracts awarded to KBR represents the most blatant and improper contract abuse I have witnessed during the course of my professional career." Greenhouse exposed the collusive relationship at an unofficial congressional hearing held by the Democrats last June (no official committee has yet chosen to invite her to testify), before she was demoted for speaking out.

As was the case with the oil contracts, Halliburton remains eligible to bid for the new logistics contracts in Iraq, despite a horrendous record of dubious cost overruns, waste, employees who took kickbacks, the torching of $85,000 trucks that required only minor repairs, $45 cases of soda, $100 per bag of laundry, and evidence that Halliburton served contaminated water to the troops. All of this and so much more have been uncovered by the Pentagon’s auditors, the Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, numerous whistleblowers, Waxman and Dorgan, and plenty of outside investigators, including my colleagues at Halliburton Watch. The point is that in Halliburton’s case, there is more than enough basis for suspension or debarment from future contracts.

Yet the fact remains that with weak oversight, it's impossible to imagine anything will change. In fact, it could get worse, especially if the responsibility for oversight itself is outsourced. With the network of contract cronyism and subcontracting ties in Iraq and elsewhere, it will be hard to find any contractor to conduct such oversight that does not have a significant conflict of interest. Waxman, Dorgan and other members have already identified this conflict of interest in other Iraq-related contracts.

Meanwhile, the powerful Republicans who control key committees in Congress have staunchly resisted all calls for in-depth investigations, while rebuffing numerous attempts by Sen. Dorgan to establish a special Senate investigative committee on war profiteering, modeled after a similar committee established by Harry Truman in World War II. The last time Dorgan raised his proposal was in May, when it was shot down in a strict partisan vote.

Leading Senate Democrats, including Dorgan, Durbin, D-Ill., Harry Reid and Pat Leahy have also introduced a comprehensive contracting reform proposal—The Honest Leadership and Accountability in Contracting Act of 2006 (S. 2361). The bill would establish criminal penalties for war profiteering, require that lawbreaking companies be excluded from any new contracts and protect whistleblowers from retaliation, among other provisions. It was brought up for a vote during the Senate’s consideration of the 2007 Defense bill, and similarly shot down by the Republican Congress’ highly-partisan Halliburton protection racket.

The only contract reform bill that continues to survive with bipartisan support is the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (S. 2590)—a proposal introduced by Sens. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., with support from other Republicans including John McCain. This bill would require the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to create a publicly available database that tracks federal spending as well as the entities that receive federal funds. A useful proposal, but quite modest when measured against the epidemic of contracting abuses.

“We have not done the oversight,” Dorgan suggests. “I think part of it is because we have one-party rule in this town—the White House and the House and Senate. Nobody wants to embarrass anybody. But the fact is there is such massive amount of money that is going out the door in support of these contracts—sole-source, no-bid contracts that have promoted waste. And nobody wants to take a second look at it. Nobody wants to see what is going on.”

Because Halliburton remains eligible to bid on any of the new Iraq logistics work, there is every reason to watch for new scams invented to circumvent the Potemkin-like oversight asserted by the Pentagon. For example, when the buzz about breaking up the monopoly contract began last year, Halliburton's CEO David Lesar, a former partner at Arthur Andersensuggested : "If we do choose to rebid, we're going to jack the margins up significantly."

Another problem with outsourcing oversight is that all kinds of fraud can be hidden under layer after layer of subcontracts, especially when the subcontractors are incorporated in different countries all over the world. It may be difficult for anyone but the best forensic accountant to determine if the other contractors and their subcontractors have no connection to Halliburton. After all, we’re talking about a company experienced at using offshore subsidiaries and tax haven accounts to avoid restrictions on doing business in Iran and who hid a $180 million bribery scheme in Nigeria. Halliburtion is a company that knows how to hide its dirty linen from inattentive eyes. Lesar and his colleagues are plenty confident they can continue business as usual despite the stepped up attention.

U.S. taxpayers, at least, deserve better. If the congressional protection racket that surrounds Halliburton is willing to play hardball, then Democrats should up the ante. Rather than conceding defeat, they should push for tougher reforms to demonstrate what a difference a midterm election can make. As leverage they should continue to expose the culture of corruption that has gutted all kinds of enforcement standards and procurement policies that are merely sweetheart deals and just plain giveaways to former government workers.


Wilkerson: Cheney's Office Cultivated a Pro-Torture Environment

July 12, 2006

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, who served General Colin Powell in various capacities as a close aide for 16 years -- most recently as Powell's Chief of Staff at the Department of States, has written a short, matter of fact assessment of the torture proclivities during the Bush administration and the Vice President's central role in promoting a "pro-torture" national security/military environment.

Wilkerson writes in "Dogging the Torture Story":

Ask Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
Q. Define torture.
Q. Do we do torture?

Q. There have been dozens of homicides and more than a hundred deaths in U.S. custody. Is killing someone not the ultimate torture?

Q. If those cases were just the work of bad apples, why were the investigations dragged out so long? Why, for instance, did it take the Army two years before filing charges related to the homicides at Bagram Air Force Base in December 2002?

Q. Why are the sentences for the "bad apples" so light? Isn't it the case that in these military courts martial, their military peers recognize they were following orders?

Documents and memos that have already made their way into the public domain make it clear that the Office of the Vice President bears responsibility for creating an environment conducive to the acts of torture and murder committed by U.S. forces in the war on terror.

There is, in my view, insufficient evidence to walk into an American courtroom and win a legal case (though an international courtroom for war crimes might feel differently). But there is enough evidence for a soldier of long service -- someone like me with 31 years in the Army -- to know that what started with John Yoo, David Addington, Alberto Gonzales, William Haynes at the Pentagon, and several others, all under the watchful and willing eye of the Vice President, went down through the Secretary of Defense to the commanders in the field, and created two separate pressures that resulted in the violation of longstanding practice and law.

These two pressures were, on the one hand, the understandable pressure to produce intelligence as rapidly as possible, and on the other hand, the creation of an environment best described as "the gloves coming off" -- or better, the gloves ARE off. The Bybee memorandum's description of torture as organ failure or beyond gave officials an out when answering questions about "Did we do torture?"

When an official said "no", he or she meant that we did not do organ failure. Of course, with 136 deaths in detention and counting--and with 25 or more now confirmed as homicides--even that admission by that standard is now false.

The administration has now been forced by the Supreme Court to recognize the "rights" of detained enemy combatants and to manage these detainees in terms consistent with the Geneva Convention.

However, what Wilkerson describes is unbelievably important.

After 9/11/2001, President Bush and his senior staff allowed a combination of outrage and emotion about the attacks, suspicions about Islam, old scores to settle with Saddam Hussein, and a lot of Texas swagger to justify the suspension of traditional norms and routenized processes that were part of America's system of checks and balances.

The President and his staff decided that they would adopt a "war paradigm" in which each key part of the nation's national security bureaucracy would identify rules of process and procedure and not only suspend notifications to the legislative and judicial branches but also assert massive expansion of executive authority in these arenas beyond the norm.

What is interesting is that Cheney, Libby, Addington, Rumsfeld, Feith, Wolfowitz, and others decided to shed the "rules of war" as well and to substitute this so-called "war paradigm" in America's military and intelligence programs.

This was a systemic change and explains why we see the absence of legal gravity in everything from the manner in which prisoners were handled in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo to the establishment of enormous and extra-legal domestic spying operations as in the warrantless wiretap case to the White House simply lying to or failing to inform the Congress of its activities -- as Peter Hoekstra, a Republican House member, has been telling the press.

Cheney promoted a monarchy that spat at constraints and the other branches of government. He promoted a pugnacious, fear-mongering nationalism whose clarion call to other nations was that they would either assimilate with the U.S. or be annihilated. He shed rules of engagement with and capture of enemies that have been part of the most sacredly held military ethic. And many were indeed tortured and died because of Cheney upending not only a legal environment in which accused and detained individuals had rights but a system of norms that had always served as ethical benchmarks for the bulk of our military forces.

Cheney and his team argued that the horror ot 9/11 terrorism and the uniqueness of America's place in the world allowed America to strip itself out of legal norms and routines that had been fashioned for centuries and which were part of America's sense of self.

Wilkerson has the goods on Cheney. He has the memos, emails, files, and other briefs that show that the environment Cheney & Co. created produced horrible behaviors that popped up in many different parts of the military mission. This was a systemic problem -- not a bunch of coincidental, isolated incidents.

TWN again applauds the honesty and candor of Col. Wilkerson who is making sure that the history of what happened inside the Bush administration is told relatively squarely and that when the political pendulum swings that accountability can be fixed on those that crippled America's position in the world.


Democratic congressional candidate lashes out at Cheney

OWENSBORO, Ky. Vice President Dick Cheney arrived in Owensboro this afternoon for a fundraiser for Republican Congressman Ron Lewis.

The Vice President's visit sparked a Democratic congressional candidate to go on the offensive against Cheney.

Democrat Mike Weaver says Cheney has some explaining to do. Weaver told a group of supporters today that Cheney should reveal the results of his secret energy task force that met a few years ago. Weaver says that since the task force met, the price of gasoline has skyrocketed.

Weaver -- a Vietnam veteran -- also says Cheney should say what he intends to do about profiteering during war. Weaver noted that Cheney is the former C-E-O of Halliburton, which Weaver says has reaped huge profits during the Iraq War.

Weaver spoke at a riverfront park shortly before Lewis had his own event a short distance away.

Later this evening, Cheney will attend a private fundraiser for Lewis, who was first elected in 1994 during a special election. Lewis hasn't faced any serious opposition in a decade.


Secret Service logs show Abramoff visit to Cheney aide, White House family residence

By Pete Yost
5:15 p.m. July 7, 2006

WASHINGTON – The Secret Service on Friday revealed four more visits to the White House in 2001 by disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, including one to see a domestic policy aide to Vice President Dick Cheney.
The newly released records of Abramoff's access to the White House bring the total number of his known visits to seven.

One Abramoff White House visit, according to Secret Service logs, was on April 20, 2001, to see Cesar Conda, at the time Cheney's assistant for domestic policy.

Five days after the Conda meeting, one of Abramoff's former lobbying colleagues, Patrick Pizzella, was nominated by the president as assistant secretary of labor. The Secret Service logs do not state why Abramoff met with Conda.

One log entry indicates Abramoff visited the White House family residence on Dec. 10, 2001, for two hours, as part of a large holiday party.

The Secret Service entry for Abramoff's name that day reads, “POTUS,” “WH,” “RESIDENCE,” and lists the number of people present as 326, according to the documents. POTUS refers to the president of the United States.

The Secret Service material surfaced as a result of lawsuits by the conservative organization Judicial Watch and the Democratic National Committee. An earlier Secret Service search turned up just two Abramoff White House visits, and a further search turned up the additional contacts.

Judicial Watch said the public has a right to know “why an admitted felon had appointments with the Bush White House.” The DNC said it will aggressively pursue additional questions about visits to the White House by Abramoff and his lobbying associates.

The government is asking a judge to dismiss the lawsuits, but another group that is suing, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, says it will also seek more information on the visits.

Abramoff has pleaded guilty in an influence-peddling scandal and is cooperating with a wide-ranging Justice Department probe of alleged corruption on Capitol Hill and in the executive branch.

A former White House aide, David Safavian, was convicted in a trial last month for covering up his relationship with Abramoff. Safavian was the Bush administration's top procurement official until his arrest last year.

Abramoff's other previously undisclosed trips to the White House complex in 2001 were on March 1 and May 17. Both were to meetings in the Old Executive Office Building adjacent to the White House.

It has been previously known that Abramoff was in the White House on May 9, 2001, when President Bush had his photograph taken with an Indian tribal official who was an Abramoff client.

The Secret Service earlier disclosed White House visits by Abramoff on Jan. 20, 2004, the day Bush delivered his State of the Union address, and on March 6, 2001.



July 6, 2006 at 10:39:45

(This column appeared in THE LONE STAR ICONOCLAST, Crawford, Texas, and at www.LoneStarIcon.com the week of June 26, 2006.)

The Dark Lord made a rare daylight appearance on national television today (Thursday, June 22, 2006). Even more rare, he agreed to an interview -- on CNN.

The recipient to have been bestowed honor such as this exclusive face-to-face with the Dick Cheney was John King, the news giant's chief national correspondent.

Yep, whenever the real fun stuff comes along, such as a secret flight to Baghdad, King's the guy to whom the White House gives the personal invitation.

And when El Veepo orders up a talk on the veranda, actually in the sunlight, complete with softball questions - all conditions in forward mode to make him appear sweet and lovable - King's the go-to guy.

Because there's no way he's going to ask any question as difficult as those even the tough Larry King (no relation, I'm sure) might pose.

Besides, whenever hard-hittin' John asked a question Dark Lord preferred to not answer, it simply went unanswered. John knows not to press an issue, lest he be silenced and ignored by the Regime a' la Helen Thomas.

That shotgun leanin' against the doorframe off-camera might have been a mild deterrent to open debate, too.

Despite all the facts we now know, such as all the "facts" conjured up by Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz and Donnie Rumsfeld were not facts at all but Faerie Taeles based upon fantasies of the deepest, darkest dimensions, the Dick refuses to budge one mil (0.0001/inch) as to the reasons behind the illegal invasion of Iraq.

Of course, King hasn't the cojones to call Cheney out on any of that.

On any number of issues, the Dick fell back on "I support the president's policy," which we know would be pretty much his own or that of Herr Oberst Karl Rove. But on the record these policies belong to egomaniacal George W. Bush. Ain't it nice having a fall guy?

Dark Lord scooted around the Scooter Libbey issue, using the excuse that he may have to testify. When asked if "Executive Privilege" will be a White House strategy, he began scooting faster in ever-widening circles.

King asked Cheney where had the jokester of 10, 15 years ago gone. The Dick said it was hard being lighthearted after 9/11 - that 9/11 changed everything in America.

Now, where have we heard that before?

King George XLIII certainly has no problem joking around, even at the most serious press conferences.

George always manages to smile (well, he at least smirks) when talking about death, destruction, and how he's gonna git some evildoer or another. It's not uncommon for those whose synapses aren't firing in proper synchronicity to smile a lot, with or without reason. These people also display a tendency to make jokes or play around in inappropriate settings.

It's nice to see a dude happy in his job, even if it is "hard work," as he continually reminded us during Herr Rove's 2004 Campaign to Steal America, Phase III.

Toward the end of the interview, Cheney was queried as to his feelings about having poll numbers lower than the 33% enjoyed by George.

With typical hubris the Dick responded that the King and he would be done with politics after this term, so they didn't pay attention to the polls.

Said he, we're doing what we think is best for the Country.

Damn what the people want!

They refuse to pull our troops out of Iraq because that will cause terrorists to attack U.S. targets at home.

He's talking with callous disregard about your sons and daughters, husbands and wives, partners and parents; somebody's brothers, sisters, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and cousins; everyone's friends and neighbors.

Realize that not one person in the White House Fascist Regime has a direct link to anyone serving in the military - or even getting smashed nightly in Alabama on an Air National Guard flight lieutenant's paycheck.

Mr. Five Deferment Cheney quit school in the middle of his doctorate program as soon as the draft would no longer affect him.

Doing what's best for the Country, my 100% Italian-American posterior!

The longer we stay in Iraq, the more money Halliburton and other Rove/Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rice Charities make off U.S. taxpayers and dead brown people.

These people don't believe in traditional charities, such as the United Way and Jerry Lewis' MDA Telethons. They feel an entitlement to line their own pockets is a grand charity, the best and only one - and all the lesser beings of the World must contribute.

On the recent anniversary of the Columbine shootings, Bill Clinton was present to turn a shovel of dirt, finally starting the long-awaited memorial, which he worked hard to make a reality. I couldn't begin to imagine a member of the Royal Bush's or Dark Lord Cheney's participating in any such event.

The memorial fund had raised something like $1.2 Million, but as of that day was still about $350,000.00 short. One speaker mentioned that the golf club across the road offered to match the next $50,000.00 in contributions that came in.

From the back of the dais, Mr. Clinton said tell them to write the check, because he was taking care of the first $50 thousand.

Now, this isn't something the former President did for a photo op. He wasn't looking for glory. This wasn't on any network news show that I know of; rather I came across a relatively small article in a Colorado newspaper.

Bill Clinton gave of himself because he felt compassion for the people of Columbine, and as President he had made a solemn promise to them.

These are the things a Leader does; Bill is a President of the people.

What we're saddled with in the era of Bush and Cheney are tyrannical ideologues who don't care one scintilla for anything beyond their own power, wealth and comfort.

We're just numbers to them, a fact that was pointed out quite succinctly by Tony Snow when our military dead had reached 2,500 in Iraq.

"I told you so" is such an ugly phrase, but following the martyrdom of Abu Mussab al-Zarkawi I said there would be jihad to pay.

So, al Qaeda looked to its farm system and brought in another non-Iraqi to kill and maim Iraqis and Americans for Iraq and Allah, Sheikh Abu Hamza Al-Muhajer.

These guys have at least as much chutzpah as King George and his (unwitting) Crusaders, bringing in a dude whose name actually translates into "the immigrant."

That makes at least two sides who have absolutely no business in Iraq terrorizing the indigenous populous under the guise of screwed-up misconceptions of holy laws.

So here's Dark Lord the Dick Cheney, on CNN, on my television, trying to get me to believe that there hasn't been a "terrorist" attack on U.S. soil since 9/11 because we invaded Iraq, nor will there be one as long as we keep wasting humanity, infrastructure, equipment and money by the ton in that godforsaken land.

And Herr Karl Rove, essentially the Viceroy (it's the Viceroy who's always the one pressing the nation on to war yet himself too soft and wussy, even effeminate to serve in the military), accusing the Democrats of always "cutting and running" - Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman showed a tad of moxie in beating the Axis during World War II; John F. Kennedy was cited for heroically saving his PT crew in the Pacific, then saved the Planet during October, 1962 with the able assistance of super-Liberal Adlai E. Stevenson; Truman stood up to the North Koreans and Chinese; Lyndon Johnson escalated the mess in VietNam; John Kerry was thrice wounded in 'Nam.

If we Dems and Liberals are perpetually wrong, wrong, wrong, as Rove is so fond of saying, why are we the ones who have done in the bad guys pretty much all of the time? Why are Republicans connected way back with the sheikhs and mullahs and despots who run Muslim countries?

Some guys merely drive a ridiculous sports car to extend their penises; Karl Rove needs a war in Iraq just to find his.

I doubt sincerely, with all my heart and every fiber of my being, that there was any kind of terrorist attack from persons outside the U.S.A. on September 11, 2001. The "terrorists" were then and are now based at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. They are connected to the same evildoers who attempted a coup d'etat in 1998, then stole our Nation away from true, honest Americans in November, 2000, abetted by the Rehnquist Federalist Supremes that December.

It doesn't make any sense to me that those who've never served, or served while doing nothing but partying and getting wasted in Alabama and Connecticut, are running our military - especially a "war" military.

No matter what Dark Lord the Dick Cheney says, or anyone else, for that matter, having our soldiers, Marines and National Guard tied up in Iraq, rather than in place guarding U.S. soil and nearer regions such as Europe, has not, does not, and can not possibly make our Nation safer.

They keep reciting that mantra over and over, again and again, yet not once have we been given a scenario explaining just how this works.

The Dick said that if we leave Iraq the "terrorists" are just going to follow us wherever we go.

When it comes to banal logic, that's about as banal as I've ever heard!

One final thought: Could Michael Chertoff have truly gotten it right when he allocated more Homeland Security money to Chicago, as Mayor Richard M. Daley has screamed for years? Did he know about this plot in Miami, and use the funding shift to make himself look smarter than he really is? Or did he just get damn lucky?

A plot against the Sears Tower? What in the hell's wrong with those clowns? They had to have been confused -- Sears was bought by innocuous Kmart, not the wicked Wal-Mart.

(July 6 addendum: Since I wrote this, we've all learned that the FBI had these goofballs pegged weeks before Chertoff's "decision" to increase Chicago's share of OHS funds. What a political crock! And the only reason the "ringleader" was targeting the Sears Tower was to create a diversion to attempt a breakout of some of his equally inept pals from either the nearby Federal lock-up or Cook County Jail.)


Waas at 'National Journal' Reports Bush Urged Cheney to Lead Charge Against Joe Wilson

By E&P Staff
Published: July 03, 2006 6:20 PM ET

NEW YORK President Bush told the special prosecutor in the Plame/CIA leak case "that he directed Vice President Cheney to personally lead an effort to counter allegations made by former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, " Murray Waas writes today in his latest revelation for the National Journal.

Waas, who has broken a string of stories on this case, attributed the information to "people familiar with the president's statement."

He adds: "Bush also told federal prosecutors during his June 24, 2004, interview in the Oval Office that he had directed Cheney, as part of that broader effort, to disclose highly classified intelligence information that would not only defend his administration but also discredit Wilson, the sources said.

"But Bush," Waas continues, "told investigators that he was unaware that Cheney had directed I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, the vice president's chief of staff, to covertly leak the classified information to the media instead of releasing it to the public after undergoing the formal governmental declassification processes.

"Bush also said during his interview with prosecutors that he had never directed anyone to disclose the identity of then-covert CIA officer Valerie Plame, Wilson's wife. Bush said he had no information that Cheney had disclosed Plame's identity or directed anyone else to do so."

Dana Perino, a spokesperson for the White House, declined to comment.

A senior government official familiar with the matter told Waas that in directing Libby to leak the classified information to Miller and other reporters, Cheney said words to the effect of, "The president wants this out," or "The president wants this done."

The complete, lengthy article can be found at www.nationaljournal.com.