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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, July 31


Develop your leadership abilities during a lecture by famous Russian author and coach Radislav Gandapas. The event starts at 9 a.m. at 5 Lodeinopolskaya Ulitsa. The price for entry is 20,500 rubles ($570).


Relax and enjoy a Parisian atmosphere with some romantic and laidback jazz tunes during the Night of French Music at Lenny Jam Cafe, 63 Ligovsky Prospekt. The entrance fee is 250 rubles ($7).


The Women’s Business Club is hosting a Beauty Brunch where participants are invited to discuss the latest news in the beauty industry and listen to lectures by professional stylists in the business.



Friday, Aug. 1


Bikers from all around the world will gather to take part in a parade, extreme shows and rock concerts during the International Biker Festival that revs its engines today and runs through Aug. 3 near Olgino Hotel, 4/2 Primorskogo Shosse.


The Peter and Paul Fortress will be turned into an open-air cinema today and tomorrow as part of the 5th International Short and Animation Film Festival. A huge screen across the fortress walls will air short films non-stop with board games, photo sessions and other activities also on offer for visitors. For more information, visit www.opencinemafest.ru



Saturday, Aug. 2


Gatchina Palace Park Museum will host its second annual Night of Light, an impressive audio-visual show across the night sky. Tickets are 600 rubles ($16).


If graphic design is more your thing then check out Illustration Day, where you will be able to visit an exhibition, attend lectures by professionals and even show experts some of your own work. The event starts at noon at Zona Deystvia, 73 Ligovsky Prospekt. The entrance fee is 350 rubles ($10).



Sunday, Aug. 3


History lovers shouldn’t miss the chance to see reenactments of World War I battles in Pushkin at noon. Besides exciting war scenes, visitors can enjoy live music, historical costumes, an equestrian show and a fancy-dress parade starting from the Moscow gates.


Garage Sale, the popular and growing flea market where nothing is priced over 500 rubles ($14.11), starts today at noon in Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt. Be sure to get in early to score a bargain. Entry costs 50 rubles ($1.40)



Monday, Aug. 4


Continue the working week with a calm and steady mind with a free yoga lesson at 7 p.m. in the Bukvoyed store at 23A Vladimirsky Prospekt.



Tuesday, Aug. 5


Visit The Romanov Dynasty doll exhibition today, where more than fifty porcelain dolls depicting Russian rulers, and made by Olina Ventzel, will be on show. The exhibition continues through Aug. 31 in Sheremetyev Palace, 34 Fontanka Naberezhnaya.



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