Cheney, Dick

"Parenti's succinct description of the care and feeding of the Halliburton Corporation, which receives $1 billion a month for work in Iraq (hardly any of which benefits Iraqis) and meanwhile pays $13,000 a month to former Halliburton CEO Dick Cheney, goes a long way toward explaining why we went to Iraq. Without the Iraq contracts, Halliburton would probably be bankrupt because Cheney, as CEO, bought Dresser Industries without noticing that Dresser had billions in asbestos liabilities (whoever said this guy was smart?)" (Andrew Cockburn. "Because We Could." The Nation, Nov. 8, 2004: 41-46).

"Halliburton, had garnered a $310 million drilling deal with Iran... The association with Iran's mullahs is being conducted by a Halliburton subsidiary based in the Cayman Islands to dodge federal laws that prohibit American companies from dealing with countries that sponsor terrorism... Ironically, Halliburton is already under investigation for its past dealings with Iran" ("Bidness Rules, But Don't Eat the Fish." Texas Observer, Feb. 4, 2005: 4).

"While the Bush Administration calls for the immediate disbanding of what it has labeled "private" and "illegal" militias in Lebanon and Iraq, it is pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into its own global private mercenary army tasked with protecting US officials and institutions overseas. The secretive program, which spans at least twenty-seven countries, has been an incredible jackpot for one heavily Republican-connected firm in particular: Blackwater USA. Government records recently obtained by The Nation reveal that the Bush Administration has paid Blackwater more than $320 million since June 2004 to provide "diplomatic security" services globally. The massive contract is the largest known to have been awarded to Blackwater to date and reveals how the Administration has elevated a once-fledgling security firm into a major profiteer in the "war on terror"...

"Blackwater's higly lucrative "diplomatic security" contract was officially awarded under the State Department's little-known Worldwide Personnel Protective Service (WPPS) program, described in State Department documents as a government initiative to protect US officials as well as "certain foreign government high level officials whenever the need arises"

"A heavily redacted 2005 government audit of Blackwater's WPPS contract proposal, obtained by The Nation, reveals that Blackwater included profit in its overhead and its total costs, which would result "not only in a duplication of profit but a pyramiding of profit since in effect Blackwater is applying profit to profit." The audit also found that the company tried to inflate its profits by representing different Blackwater divisions as wholly separate companies...

""This underscores the need for Congress to exercise real oversight on the runaway use of secret companies that have strong connections to the Bush Administration, for clandestine services all over the world," says Illinois Democrat Jan Schakowsky, a leading Congressional critic of private military companies.

""This whole business of security is just insidious," says former Assistant Defense Secretary Philip Coyle, who worked at the Pentagon from 1994 to 2001. "The costs keep going up, and there is no end in sight to what you can spend. What happens is you keep raising the threat levels to require more actions and more contracts to overcome these imaginary threats. It's an endless spiral"...

"While the WPPS program and the broader use of private security contractors is not new, it has escalaated dramatically under the Bush Administration. According to the most recent Government Accountability Office report, some 48,000 private soldiers, working for 181 private military firms, are deployed in Iraq alone" ("Mercenary Jackpot." The Nation, Aug 28: 6).

Colby Glass, MLIS