Saturday, July 22, 2006

How did I miss this? Army fires Halliburton from Iraq contract

This article on July 12 shows that the overcharging by Halliburton have gotten out of hand even for the Pentagon. Pentagon auditors found over $1 billion in questionable costs under the contract. Current and former employees described instances where Halliburton overcharged U.S. taxpayers by paying $45 per case of soda, $100 for a standard cleaning of laundry, and $80,000 for brand new Mercedes trucks that were torched because of minor equipment problems. At one point, Halliburton billed the government for 36 percent more meals than was actually served to the troops while an internal company report said it had overcharged by 19 percent. Another military audit, first revealed by HalliburtonWatch, accused Halliburton of imposing "increased costs to the government” (and therefore higher profits for the company) by purchasing millions of dollars in trucks that were sitting idle and unused in parking lots under Iraq's desert sun. In addition, a report by Halliburton employees, first revealed by HalliburtonWatch, revealed how the company was delivering contaminated and unhealthy water to unsuspecting troops throughout Iraq on a regular basis.

Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) wants multiple companies to fulfil the contracts. He says, rightly, that when there is a single company filling the needs of the government contracts, that company "has the government over a barrell." In this case, that company, Halliburton, is also lining the pockets of Dick Cheney. In June, documents suggested that Cheney lied about his role in awarding a "no bid" oil contract to Halliburton in Iraq.

Yes, there are still the Haliburton oil contracts in Iraq. Haliburton's Hella Good Deal talks about the need for skepticism at this point. After the first dubious no-bid contract, Halliburton subsidiary KBR got a second oil contract with the Army Corps of Engineers.

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.

So as demonstrated by the two oil contracts, Halliburton remains eligiable to bid for new logistics contracts in Iraq despite the blatant abuses including cost overruns, waste, kickbacks, $45 cases of soda. You get the picture.

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.

Dorgan said the bill was shot down because there is "one-party rule" in Washington - the White House, Senate and House. He says "nobody wants to embarrass anybody." Nobody wants to really look at what's going on, because to do so would mean they would have to take responsibility and act.

The American people deserve better than this. Our country has been hijacked by warmongering criminals who have led us into World War III. WE invaded Iraq in order to line the pockets of a very few; WE have lit a fire under Israel, and are currently rushing so-called smart bombs to them, most likely to let Israel invade Iran and Syria - talk about the most amazing red-herring THAT is. Let's blame all of Israel for the cynical, criminal actions of the PNAC-led government in the US. We don't have the manpower to invade Iran; our Iraq invasion is a dismal failure; let's get Israel to do it.

We have to shine that spotlight back where it belongs: on Bush, Cheney, Rove, Wolfowitz, Kristol. Change OUR government.


sumo said...

WE invaded Iraq in order to line the pockets of a very few; WE have lit a fire under Israel, and are currently rushing so-called smart bombs to them, most likely to let Israel invade Iran and Syria - talk about the most amazing red-herring THAT is.

That goes beyond mere observation...why can't our people in power see the big picture? That's why we have to find a way to hold them accountable...and I want to live long enough to see it...and savor it too.

glenda said...

Halliburton is as corrupt as they come,and the Cheneny link is undeniable.
guess it proves the old adage that birds of a feather.......

Sue Woo said...

Can anybody please spell 'conflict of interest"? Shamey gets a big ole check every year from Hallyburton! Hep me Lord, i am goin' down.

DivaJood said...

Sumo, yes indeed. But because our people in power created the situation (Iraq invasion, Israel - hell, I suspect our people even helped Hezbollah!), they see THEIR version of the big picture. It does NOT include anyone who disagrees with them.

Glenda, we have an obligation to remove them from office. Impeachment of both Cheney and Bush is urgent.

Sue Woo: CONFLICT OF INTEREST. Halliburton and Blasty McBirdshot give ME the vapors.

BZ said...

It all makes sense when you follow the $$$$$$$$.

DivaJood said...

And the money leads right back to Dick Cheney.