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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

Thursday, Apr. 17


Expocenter Eurasia at 13 Ulitsa Kapitan Voronin is the sight of Goods on the Way, a five-day event starting today showcasing the latest in the industrial products industry. Bags, backpacks, swimsuits and much, much more will be available to attendees hoping to update not only their style but their accessories for the upcoming summer.


Friday, Apr. 18


Teachers and students alike shouldn’t miss the opportunity to establish lasting contacts with Russian and foreign institutions during the 21st Education and Career Fair at LenExpo, beginning today and finishing tomorrow. Learn more about education in Russia and connect with your fellow scholars.


The Tromso International Film Festival, Norway’s largest, brings a short festival to St. Petersburg for one day only during Scandinavian Oddities, starting at 7 p.m. today at Rodina Cinema Center. Tickets for the event are 100 rubles ($2.80).


Sunday, Apr. 20


Celebrate Easter at Pavlovsk during the Easter Fair that begins today and continues through next Sunday. Visitors will have the chance to paint Easter eggs and children can take part in games as well as help decorate a tree in honor of Christianity’s holiest day.


Today is one of the final days to see the exhibit Cacti — Children of the Sun at the Peter the Great Botanical Garden. Starting Apr. 17, budding botanists will marvel at the variety and beauty of the desert’s most iconic plant.


Monday, Apr. 21


Improve your grasp of Neruda, Bolano and Marquez at TrueDA’s Beginners Spanish Lesson this evening at their location on the Petrograd Side. An experienced teacher will be on hand to help all attendees better understand the intricacies of the language and improve their accent.


Tuesday, Apr. 22


SPIBA’s Breakfast with the Director event series continues as the association welcomes Andrei Barannikov, general director of SPN Communications, to the Anna Pavlova Hall of the Angleterre Hotel this morning at 9 a.m. Attendees must confirm their participation by Apr. 21.


The AmCham Environment, Health and Safety Committee Meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. this morning in the their St. Petersburg office.