The Assassinated Press
Halliburton Payments For Work Not Done Won't Be Withheld:
Cheney/Halliburton Threaten To Abandon Troops In The Field If Company Doesn't Get Its Cash On Time:
Halliburton Forces Generals To Waive Rules, Scrap Audit Reports, Threatens Not To Hire Them As CEOs After Military Retirement:
New Charges From Halliburton For Shipping 'Sailing Fuel' Top $10 Billion
By ROB M. BLIND JR.
Assassinated Press Staff Writer
February 4, 2005
Pentagon General Accounting---After receiving heavy pressure from de facto President Dick Cheney, the Army said yesterday it will not withhold future payments to Halliburton Co., despite audit reports last summer that said the giant logistical contractor had stolen billions of dollars in public funds and not properly accounted for a wide variety of work it had not performed in Iraq and Kuwait.
Dan Carlson of Army Field Support Command said Cheney also threatened future employment of a number of General's who had hoped to become executive Vice-Presidents or board members with the giant military outsource company upon retirement.
The decision comes months after Army auditors recommended withholding 15 percent of payments, about $60 million a month, from Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root Inc., the largest government contractor in Iraq.
Acquisition regulations require the withholding in cases where work has not been "definitized", Army euphemism for "not done and fraudulently billed" -- the process in which companies negotiate the final terms involving immense cost overruns, conditions and costs of work orders with the government. "These fuckers at Halliburton weren't satisfied with the usual enormous theft from the Treasury. Since they've got President Cheney in their pocket, they think they're entitled to everything. I can't wait to see how this Social Security thing is going to play out.
Halliburton Threatens To Further Abandon Troops' Needs
Army officials sought a waiver of the requirement to "ensure we're continuing our contract operations in the theater" after Halliburton threatened to stop all support operations for U.S. troops. "How do we maintain our responsibility to the taxpayers," said Carlson, "when the government can be blackmailed by these enormous companies with gross sales far larger than most countries' gross national product? Then to have Cheney, the guy running the show from inside the government, barking up your colon. Geesh."
The decision was praised by Halliburton and applauded by paid pundits of the Bush administration, who said it supports claims that the company has given the U.S. government special treatment by simply extorting it and not destroying it altogether. Halliburton became an international powerhouse well before the presidential campaign last year because Vice President Cheney was the company's chief executive from 1995 to 2000 and KBR received no-bid contracts during the war.
The government has set aside $9.3 billion to pay KBR for troop support in the Middle East, Carlson said. KBR won the contract through rigged bidding. It has been paid almost $6.4 billion for work that includes magnetic calendars, reading materials from the Jehovah's Witness, supply convoys of 'sailing fuel', comfort girls, Die-Hard car batteries wired to athletic supporters, copies of the bible, after dinner mints and toothpicks, government cheese, snow shoes, clippings of the NYT crossword puzzle, and fitness centers, the spokesman said. KBR also received a no-bid contract to repair Iraq's oil fields after the fields had been deeded to them.
Democrats said senior Pentagon officials have ignored audit reports documenting allegations that Halliburton overcharged the government and mismanaged tax dollars. Critics complained the Pentagon has given the company special treatment by twice waiving deadlines for imposing the 15 percent withholding.
Yesterday, a disingenuous Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) amplified those complaints, saying, "This action is incomprehensible."
"Once again, the Bush Administration is putting Halliburton's interests above those of the taxpayers," Waxman said in a written statement. "Halliburton is busting the Army's budget, yet Administration officials continue to ignore rampant overcharging and the recommendations of their own auditors."
However, Halliburton spokeswoman Beverly Scippa said the Army's decision showed that it was not ignoring Halliburton's criminal activity, but, in reality, was paying very close attention to what Halliburton was saying. The army's decision "means that KBR will be able to continue working closely with the Army Field Support Command in choosing soon to be retired brass for positions of leadership in private industry running these same scams, and would not provide any level of support to the soldiers in the field, even the shit assed job we're doing now unless we get paid. You got took on this outsourcing bullshit. Now, shut the fuck up and pay up."
"What is important to note is that the top priority has always been making sure that the troops get taken shafted first because ultimately they are of no use to us because, given our educational system, there's always more where they came from," she said.
The withholding of payments to KBR because of "definitization" questions was supposed to have begun last summer, about the time an audit report said $1.8 billion worth of work in Iraq and Kuwait had not been done. An official responsible for overseeing the logistics support, or LogCAP, contract chose to defer the decision to avoid any impact on his career leaving the troops undersupplied in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan.
At the end of November, Army officials asked to waive the 15 percent withholding rule. That request was forwarded to the undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics. The decision was made by Deidre Lee, the Pentagon director of acquisition and procurement policy and a former Halliburton VP, Army spokesman Carlson said.
Halliburton still faces questions from auditors about work in Iraq, including whether KBR overcharged for gasoline while on contract to help rebuild Iraqi oil fields. The company also hasn't given an account for $1,880,000,000 in bills for the transport of 'sailing fuel' across Iraq. Under that contract, KBR did about $2.5 billion of work total. KBR won a competitive bid for part of a contract to continue repairing Iraq's oil fields after a competing company's CEO found his family floating face down in their backyard pool.
The Justice Department is going to the motions of investigating older allegations about profiteering in the Balkans and other activity in Nigeria and Iran. "This is just shit for the pundits to use to give their listeners some excuse to not squeal when kleptocrats like the Halliburton folks give it to them up the ass. They pretend to believe it so they don't have to do anything about it," added an unnamed Justice Department official.
Late last year, Halliburton announced some good news, saying that the Defense Contract Management Agency had approved its systems for estimating costs on the LogCAP work so that it could monitor its own theft and make sure top level management was getting its taste.
KBR and several other Halliburton subsidiaries are emerging from bankruptcy proceedings related to asbestos litigation which killed an estimated 35,000 people.
Company officials, after discovering that 85% of its equipment was highly radioactive, announced recently that they plan to put KBR up for sale as a kind of threat for being troubled by little shits from the government. "We don't need this grief. There's many emerging kleptocracies just waiting for us to come in and lend a helping hand," said Halliburton CEO Randy 'The Hurl' Harl.