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Chris Floyd's Global Eye

Published: January 27, 2004 (Issue # 938)


Out of the blood and murk of Iraq, yet another sinister connection is emerging, a skein of corruption tying Dick Cheney's Halliburton, the Bush Family fortunes - and a mysterious Kuwaiti company that peddles material for building weapons of mass destruction.

This month, Pentagon auditors called for a formal investigation of "overcharges" by Cheney's Halliburton hirelings. The well-connected corporation - which has been the chief beneficiary of the Bush Regime's looting of the American treasury to pay for its ravaging of Iraq - is accused of skimming $61 million in excess cream from a shady deal to import Kuwaiti gasoline into the conquered land.

To carry out this choice bit of war profiteering, Halliburton hooked up with Altanmia Marketing of Kuwait. Altanmia was given exclusive rights to ship Kuwaiti gasoline to Iraq - "even though it had no prior experience transporting fuel," U.S. Congressional investigators report. So what is the firm's actual expertise? Investments, real estate - and acting as "representative agents for companies trading in military and nuclear, biological and chemical equipment," the Wall Street Journal reports.

In other words, Halliburton's new partner traffics in the essential elements of WMD - the very stuff whose spread and sale the United States is ostensibly dedicated to stopping around the world. Ostensibly. But as always with the Bushists, the rhetoric of "security" is a thin rag to cover their unquenchable thirst for state-supported brigandage.

After grabbing the gasoline subcontract - before the bidding process was closed, naturally - Altanmia proceeded to charge Halliburton more than twice the price that other exporters were getting for moving gasoline into Iraq. Luckily, the White House has given Halliburton a "cost-plus" contract to lord it over Iraq's energy sector. Thus, the higher Altanmia's costs, the more "plus" Halliburton gets for its coffers - and all of it paid for by those eternal suckers, the American people. It's crony capitalism at its finest: the suckers shoulder the financial risk, the American military serves as company muscle; all Halliburton has to do is sit back and rake in the dough - minus a few campaign contributions and "retirement packages" for their political operatives, of course.

Strangely enough, Kuwaiti energy officials had never heard of Altanmia before the Halliburton deal. They had recommended several experienced distributors - with far cheaper rates - to the Americans, but were told that Altanmia was the only choice, the Wall Street Journal reports. Stout yeomen down in the military contracting ranks, under the mistaken impression that they were supposed to broker an honest deal, complained of heavy pressure from American and Kuwaiti government officials to keep Altanmia on the gravy train, Congress reports. One stalwart, contracting officer Mary Robertson, tried to stem the tide, declaring in a letter to Halliburton, "I will not succumb to the political pressures ... to go against my integrity and pay a higher price for fuel than necessary."

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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