Monday, September 01, 2003
::: Snakes Hissing In The Grass in D.C. :::
::: Halliburton Won $1.7 Billion in Contracts
::: Under Operatiion Iraqi Freedom :::
Iraq: Halliburton Reaping Huge Profits
How low can you go ... from CorpWatch, a thoroughly disgusting report on the machinations
of our Vice President, Dick Cheney, Halliburton and Brown and Root. One-third of the monthly
$3.9 billion cost of keeping U.S troops in Iraq is going to independent contractors. This re-
presents a significantly greater amount than was previously anticipated.
Halliburton, the company formerly headed by Vice President Cheney, has won contracts worth more than $1.7 billion under Operation Iraqi Freedom and stands to make hundreds of millions more dollars under a no-bid contract awarded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, according to newly available documents.
Spreadsheets drawn up by the Army Joint Munitions Command show that about $1 billion had been allocated to Brown and Root Services through mid-August for contracts associated with Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Pentagon's name for the U.S.-led war and occupation. In addition, the company has earned about $705 million for an initial round of oil field rehabilitation work for the Army Corps of Engineers, a corps spokesman said.
Specific work orders assigned to the subsidiary under Operation Iraqi Freedom include $142 million for base camp operations in Kuwait, $170 million for logistical support for the Iraqi reconstruction effort and $28 million for the construction of prisoner of war camps, the Army spreadsheet shows. The company was also allocated $39 million for building and operating U.S. base camps in Jordan, the existence of which the Pentagon has not previously publicly acknowledged.
Over the past decade, Halliburton, a Houston-based company that made its name servicing pipelines and oil wells, has positioned itself to take advantage of an increasing trend by the federal government to contract out many support operations overseas. It has emerged as the biggest single government contractor in Iraq, followed by such companies as Bechtel, a California-based engineering firm that has won hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. Agency for International Development reconstruction contracts, and Virginia-based DynCorp, which is training the new Iraqi police force.
Who Is DynCorp - You Won't Believe It
But, according to Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) and other critics, the Iraq war and occupation have provided a handful of companies with good political connections, particularly Halliburton, with unprecedented money-making opportunities. "The amount of money [earned by Halliburton] is quite staggering, far more than we were originally led to believe," Waxman said. "This is clearly a trend under this administration, and it concerns me because often the privatization of government services ends up costing the taxpayers more money rather than less."
In addition to its Iraq contracts, Brown and Root has also earned $183 million from Operation Enduring Freedom, the military name for the war on terrorism and combat operations in Afghanistan, according to the Army's numbers.
Waxman's interest in Halliburton was ignited by a routine Corps of Engineers announcement in March reporting that the company had been awarded a no-bid contract, with a $7 billion limit, for putting out fires at Iraqi oil wells. Corps spokesmen justified the lack of competition on the grounds that the operation was part of a classified war plan and the Army did not have time to secure competitive bids for the work.
The practice of delegating a vast array of logistics operations to a single contractor dates to the aftermath of the 1991 Persian Gulf War and a study commissioned by Cheney, then defense secretary, on military outsourcing. The Pentagon chose Brown and Root to carry out the study and subsequently selected the company to implement its own plan. Cheney served as chief executive of Brown and Root's parent company, Halliburton, from 1995 to 2000, when he resigned to run for the vice presidency.
Brown and Root's revenue from Operation Iraqi Freedom is already rivaling its earnings from its contracts in the Balkans, and is a major factor in increasing the value of Halliburton shares by 50 percent over the past year, according to industry analysts. The company reported a net profit of $26 million in the second quarter of this year, in contrast to a $498 million loss in the same period last year.
Waxman aides said they have been told by the General Accounting Office that Brown and Root is likely to earn "several hundred million more dollars" from the no-bid Corps of Engineers contract to rehabilitate Iraqi oil fields. Waxman, the ranking minority member on the House Government Reform Committee, had asked the GAO to investigate the corps' decision not to bid out the contract
Ah Ha! One major Snake in the Grass Identified.