compiled by Dee Finney


7-12-04 - DREAM - I was sitting at a desk in my business office, working on some paperwork, and my boss from upstairs called me and said that he had wanted his secretary named Bess (Means God's Promise-Hebrew) , to call me to discuss what I knew about Bechtel. He wanted her to give a speech based on what I knew about them. My phone hadn't run all day, so I knew Bess hadn't called me or left a message to call her back. Then he told me that Bess had written her speech based on a speech he had given earlier. 

All I could do was respond, "Okay!"


U.S. construction firms bidding on a lucrative government contract ($900-million) to rebuild a postwar Iraq.

Contributed a combined $2.8 million—68 percent to Republicans—over the past two election cycles.

Chart of donations to the election campaign

Bechtel Group Inc..
Fluor Corp.
Halliburton Co.
Kellogg, Brown & Root
Louis Berger Group Inc
Parsons Corp.

Carlyle Group

The firms that land the contract are also likely to make the short list for future projects in Iraq, which include plans to develop the country's oil industry.
Bechtel, the engineering giant that employed the likes of former Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, former Secretary of State George Schultz and former CIA Director William Casey before they took their government posts, gave $1.3 million in individual, PAC and soft money contributions between 1999 and 2002.

As it prepares its bid for the postwar project, Bechtel is facing allegations that it contributed to Iraq's military buildup nearly two decades ago.

Bechtel was among 24 U.S. companies that supplied Iraq with weapons during the '80s.

Kellogg, Brown & Root and parent company Halliburton—which was headed by Vice President Dick Cheney until 2000—was the second-largest donor of the group, with more than $709,000 in contributions. Halliburton also gave more to Bush's presidential campaign—$17,677—than any of the other bidders combined.

Fluor, which gave more than $483,000 in individual, PAC and soft money contributions in the previous two election cycles, also has ties to the Defense Department.


Bechtel has a series of links with the Bush administration and those pressing hardest for war within it. Bechtel’s Chairman and Chief Executive Riley Bechtel was recently appointed to President Bush’s export council. Jack Sheehan, a senior Vice-President of Bechtel, is a member of the Defence Policy Board, the Pentagon advisory council that lobbied hard for war. George Shultz, a former US Secretary of State and another Bechtel board member, was chairman of the Committee to Liberate Iraq, a fiercely pro-war group with close ties to the White House. Bechtel has been put in charge of repairing power and water systems in Iraq – worrying since the company is one of the top water privatisation companies in the world. In Bolivia Bechtel was forced to quit the country after a massive hike in water prices caused unrest.

Iraq was seen as a prize because it has the world’s second largest oil reserves – more than 10% of the world’s existing stock. Kellogg, Brown & Root (KB&R), a subsidiary of the US energy company Halliburton has won a $600M contract for initial repairs to Iraq’s oilfields and a further $600M contract for the pumping of oil. Vice President Dick Cheney is a former Chief Executive of Halliburton. KB&R also has the contract for running military camps in Iraq – part of a 10 year deal with the US military that has already netted $830m for the company. Iraq’s national oil company has been put in charge of Philip J. Carroll, the former chief executive of Shell Oil, USA. The three biggest oil companies ExxonMob, Shell and BP earned almost $16Bn (£10Bn) in the first three months of this year as the drive to war pushed oil prices up to $35 a barrel. Exxon reported the biggest quarterly corporate profits in history at $7Bn. Shell, BP & ChevronTexaco , also notorious for its close links to the Bush administration, are now shipping oil out of Iraqi. Recently anti-war protestors blockaded the port of Oakland, California when the first shipment of Iraqi crude since the war arrived in the USA.




Firm linked to Cheney wins oil-field contract
Hussein may destroy facilities in event of war

Saturday, March 8, 2003
Edward Epstein, Chronicle Washington Bureau

Washington -- A company tied to Vice President Dick Cheney has won a Pentagon contract for advice on rebuilding Iraq's oil fields after a possible war.

The contract was disclosed in the last paragraph of a Defense Department statement on preparations for Saddam Hussein's possible destruction of Iraq's oil fields in the event of a U.S.-led invasion. The statement calls for proposals on how to handle oil well fires and for assessing other damage to oil facilities. The contract went to Kellogg Brown & Root Services, which is owned by Halliburton Co., of which Cheney was chairman until his election in 2000.

The Houston company is a respected name in petroleum industry construction and one of a few companies capable of large-scale oil field reconstruction. But its ties to Cheney arouse suspicions among those who believe that a primary motive for a U.S. war in Iraq is oil.

"I certainly don't think this comes as much of a surprise," said Michael Renner, a researcher at WorldWatch Institute, commenting on the Halliburton contract, "There are lots of business opportunities embedded in this war. It represents the larger oil and energy issues at stake."

The White House wouldn't comment on how the contract might fuel such suspicions. "I deal with the reality of situations," said spokesman Ken Lisaius. "The president has made it abundantly clear about the threat that Saddam Hussein poses to us and our friends. We stand by to help rebuild a liberated Iraq."


Cheney's office declined comment, but a Halliburton spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal that Kellogg Brown & Root has been doing government contracting since the 1940s. The Pentagon wouldn't discuss the exact size of the contract, nor how it was rewarded, saying the information is classified.

The initial Kellogg Brown & Root contract doesn't mean it has an inside track on later contracts potentially totaling billions of dollars to rehabilitate Iraq's oil fields, explore new ones and pump the increased supply.

Even if they emerge unscathed, Iraq's oil fields will need work performed by companies like Kellogg Brown & Root. Daily production has slumped during the past two decades, worn down by wars and, since 1991, by United Nations sanctions that barred imports of equipment. Daily output capacity is about 2 million barrels, down from 3.5 million barrels before Hussein took power in 1979.

With enough investment, it's thought Iraqi production could surge to 10 million to 12 million barrels a day within a decade.

Iraq's proven oil reserves of 112 billion barrels are the world's second- largest behind only Saudi Arabia. And there might be large untapped fields in Iraq ripe for exploration.

Renner is convinced that U.S. multinational oil industry firms would strike it rich in post-war Iraq. "Regime change in Baghdad would reshuffle the cards and give U.S. (and British) companies a good shot at direct access to Iraqi oil fields for the first time in 30 years -- a windfall worth hundreds of billions of dollars," he said.

Administration supporters say past history refutes claims that a war with Iraq is about oil.

"This bumper sticker mentality about oil was wrong in the 1991 Gulf War, and it's wrong now. We gave the oil back to Kuwait back then, and this war, at root, is about the nature of Saddam Hussein's regime," said James Phillips, foreign policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation.


Administration officials have said they view Iraq's petroleum wealth as a tool for rebuilding. "Iraq's natural resources belong to all the Iraqi people and -- after decades of being used to build palaces and weapons of mass destruction -- will finally be used for their benefit, not Hussein's," wrote deputy national security adviser Steve Hadley in a recent op-ed article in the Washington Post.

In saying that, the White House is following international law, said David Caron, a professor at UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law. Under the 1907 Hague Convention, the United States would be present in Iraq as an occupying power and would hold the country's resources in trust.

It could rebuild Iraq's oil infrastructure, but probably would have to recognize contracts that oil companies from France, China and Russia have signed with Hussein's regime, even though their governments oppose a war.

"I don't think the United States would get into breaching contracts, but there would be room for new contracts to be let," Caron said.

Using an open bidding process that wouldn't favor American firms "would be wise politically," he added.


In San Francisco, anti-war activists have accused the Bechtel Corp., the engineering firm that rebuilt Kuwait's oil fields after Hussein destroyed them in the 1991 Gulf War, of waiting to profit from a new conflict. Bechtel officials discount that assertion as nonsense.

Spokesman Jonathan Marshall said that while the company is proud of the work it did rebuilding Kuwait's fields, "Bechtel has never lobbied to create a political crisis there. We're not even at war yet, so it's premature to speculate."

But Marshall added that "I'm sure the United States government will consider Bechtel if there is work to be done."

A report by the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, a think tank created by the former secretary of state to the first President George Bush, warns the current administration not to show favoritism for American firms in rebuilding Iraq's oil industry.

"There should be a level playing field for all international players to participate in future repair, development and exploration efforts," the report said. "A heavy-handed American approach will only convince them (the Iraqis) . . . and the rest of the world that the operation against Iraq was undertaken for imperialist, rather than disarmament, reasons."

E-mail Edward Epstein at


This article appears in the August 1, 2003 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

Dick Cheney Has Long Planned
To Loot Iraqi Oil

by Scott Thompson

As this week's Feature highlights, Vice President Dick Cheney has been plotting the conquest of Iraq since he was Secretary of Defense in President George H.W. Bush's Administration—a plan then considered insane aggression. Moreover, on July 17, 2003, Judicial Watch announced that Cheney's Energy Task Force had developed a map of Iraq dated March 2001, as well as maps of the neighboring United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) and Saudi Arabia, which show that Cheney knew precisely how much the conquest of Iraq would be worth.

The map, which shows oilfields, pipelines, tanker terminals, and refineries, includes eight "blocks" for exploration near the border with Saudi Arabia. Iraq has been proven to have the second-highest amount of oil reserves of any nation in the world, next to Saudi Arabia. And, this is without exploration of the eight blocks near the Saudi border—a vast area that is at least one-third of the country—which could make Iraq number one in terms of proven reserves. Alphabetically, from Japan to Vietnam, there is attached to the map a list of "Foreign Suitors" for oil deals with Saddam Hussein's Iraq—deals that the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) has indicated are now off.

A Pipe Dream?

Before returning to the significance of the maps for lining Vice President Cheney's pockets: EIR has learned that the the U.S. Export-Import Bank is circulating a plan that calls for securitizing future oil revenues from Iraq in order to pay for reconstruction contracts. What is known about this from the Ex-Im Bank plan, and from a July 13 article in the Observer of London, entitled "Outrage at U.S. Plan To Mortgage Iraqi Oil," is that the Ex-Im Bank is proposing to raise loans from private banks to pay for reconstruction contracts, to be repaid by revenues from future Iraqi oil sales. It is argued that this would take pressure off the deficit-ridden U.S. budget to pay reconstruction costs.

The Ex-Im Bank has been working on behalf of the corporate lobbying group known as the Coalition for Employment Through Exports, among whose most important participants are Halliburton Oil Co. and Bechtel.

Halliburton, Cheney's company, is actively promoting the "securitization" of Iraq's oil. The stakes are enormous. A spokesman for Platt's Energy news service told EIR that Iraq's oil output, within a few years, could be 5 million barrels per day, at a significantly lower cost than oil from other sources. This would give great wealth to companies involved in developing the industry, and would perhaps give those controlling Iraq, the ability to dictate terms to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

The Ex-Im Bank plan proposes 1) securitizing future oil revenues, either through the UN-created Development Fund for Iraq, or another financial institution; 2) establishing a trade finance facility (a Trade Bank was just established the week of July 21 in Iraq); and, 3) the restructuring of Iraq's debt and reparations obligations.

But look who benefits from this. As EIR has previously reported, the Bechtel Corp. has an estimated $500 million contract, which it obtained through a non-competitive, classified deal for general reconstruction—a program that could grow exponentially under the Ex-Im Bank plan. On the Board of Bechtel sits former Secretary of State George Shultz, who was the "Godfather" who ran G.W. Bush's Presidential Exploratory Committee and hand-picked many of the leading neo-conservative "chicken-hawks" (see EIR, Oct. 4, 2002). These are the same people who, after the 9/11 policy coup d'état, urged war against Iraq, with Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld leading the pack.

And Halliburton Oil Co., where Cheney served as chairman and CEO from 1995 until his nomination as a Vice Presidential candidate, has been given control of Iraq's South Oil Co., which is the largest potential oil producer to date in Iraq. Moreover, Cheney, who received $20 million from Halliburton when he became Vice President, knows that he will receive deferred payments of a size to be determined by Halliburton's Board of Directors, based upon how well he performs in office.

The Ex-Im Bank plan, which is also being pushed by the occupation CPA, headed by former Kissinger Associates executive L. Paul Bremer, is to restructure Iraq's debt and reparation obligations. Presently, Iraq has an outstanding debt of $120 billion, and under the old UN "oil-for-food" program, some 20% from sales of Iraq's oil went to war reparations for oil-rich Kuwait. Under this latest plan, nations like Russia, which is owed over $20 billion for current and future contracts, might get nothing, or at best 10¢ on the dollar.

The Observer added in its July 13 issue: "American plans to mortgage Iraq's future oil supplies to pay for expensive postwar reconstruction work risk a repeat of mistakes made with Germany after the First World War, debt relief campaigners said this weekend.... Anne Pettifor, head of Jubilee Plus debt relief campaign, ... warned against the coalition 'using the instrument of debt to control Iraq,' after it leaves. Such a motive was behind the way Germany was treated after 1918...." In short, the plan may crush the average Iraqi citizen's standard of living, with dire political consequences.

Even a senior official of the World Bank, who asked to remain anonymous, told EIR that this plan "would seriously complicate Iraq's debt repayment." Another World Bank official told Faisal Islam, who authored the Observer article of July 13, "The World Bank has said such a commitment should only be made by a sovereign Iraqi government." Presently, there is no sovereign government in Iraq, only "Proconsul" Bremer and his appointed Governing Council. So, due to World Bank and probable UN opposition, it is likely that this Ex-Im Bank plan will prove to be "a pipe dream."

The Energy Task Force

Ever since Cheney's Energy Task Force filed its final report, there have been private lawsuits to find out whom he talked with about what, given his past history with Halliburton, and close Bush Administration ties with Energy pirate Enron.

The maps that were just released to Judicial Watch under the Freedom of Information Act indicate why. The Judicial Watch press release was republished by Veterans for Common Sense, under the title, "Did Cheney's Secret Energy Meeting Set Stage for Attack?" In their introduction, they wrote: "Here is the smoking gun pointing directly to Vice President Richard Cheney's energy company meetings held at the White House in early 2001.... Congress and the press should immediately investigate any linkage between the secret White House deals ... and the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq."

It is not just private groups that are suing, such as Judicial Watch, the Sierra Club, and the Natural Resources Defense Council. As early as June 5, 2001, Democrats on the House Government Reform Committee called for hearings on the workings of Cheney's secret Energy Task Force. Committee member Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), joined by Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), called for a hearing on what took place during the secret meetings the Task Force held when it was putting together the Bush National Energy Policy, as well as demanding to know the identities of all the participants.

"The Cheney Task Force has conducted its meetings in private, and reportedly has obtained input from private citizens and groups, including political contributors," Waxman said, in a jab at Enron and other current and former energy giants. Waxman also objected to the effort by Cheney's legal counsel, who urged the General Accounting Office of the Congress on May 16, 2001, to scrap an inquiry Waxman had asked for, investigating the role of Federal employees in the Cheney Task Force's meetings, along with other corruption charges. However, despite a request from the GAO, the Vice President refused to turn over any documents from the Committee, and the GAO had to file a lawsuit for them.

In fact, the strategy that has been pursued, to this day, appears to be stonewalling by the Vice President's office, while other agencies involved in the Task Force—e.g., the Energy and Commerce Departments—deluge plaintiffs with documents. Like any cover-up, the scandal grows with efforts to suppress it, and on July 8, 2003, a Federal Appeals Court granted Judicial Watch the right to discovery of Cheney's Task Force documents, unless clear and present risk were posed by the release of documents, which must be specified. This court decision should significantly aid the lawsuit brought against Cheney's Energy Task Force by the GAO, which is also being stonewalled.

Returning to the three maps that have been released, it is significant that a fact sheet released on the U.A.E. indicates that Enron was a partner with Qatar and TotalFinaElf in an $8 billion Dolphin Gas Project. And Enron, together with Occidental Petroleum, TotalFinaElf, ExxonMobil, Shell, and Conoco were listed on the Saudi map as involved in a "Red Sea Area" gas exploration of as yet unknown dimensions. Whether or not Enron had contact with Cheney's Energy Task Force has been a key question, because several top company executives have been indicted on charges stemming from the firm's "energy piracy."

Through the various lawsuits, it has come out that 39 top energy and related firms, between 1999-2002, gave $6.3 million in direct, PAC, and "soft money" political contributions, of which $4.5 went to Republicans. Many of these companies are known to have had contact with key members of Cheney's Energy Task Force, such as Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham. Enron led the pack during these years, with a total of $3,379,665, of which $2,480,056 went to Republicans and $899,109 to Democrats.

Other contributors involved in meetings with the Energy Task Force members include: Bechtel, which gave a total of $645,640, of which $469,690 went to Republicans and $176,950 to Democrats; and, Halliburton, which had a total of $480,188 in contributions, of which $463,288 went to Republicans and $15,900 to Democrats. While these contributions appear to be perfectly legal, it is likely—as the keys to the maps and subsequent developments contracts in Iraq with Bechtel and Halliburton show—that there was influence-peddling involved. In fact, the Vice President knows his deferred payments depend on performance. So, not only did he plan the invasion of Iraq when he was Defense Secretary, but through his Energy Task Force, he appears to have tried to calculate, to the penny, what war would bring for himself and his corporate cronies.



Bechtel Bid Under Scrutiny

April 18, 2003
Bechtel's win could have it repairing power plants, schools and other parts of Iraq's ravaged infrastructure.  

"Bechtel, by its track record, will do an excellent job."
George Shultz, former secretary of state, current Bechtel board member

Vice President Dick Cheney. A subsidiary of his former firm has also won big in the postwar bidding. 

(CBS) Bechtel Corp., a politically active corporation with wide experience overseas, has won a competition to help rebuild Iraq under a contract that could grow to $680 million.

The San Francisco construction and engineering company will receive $34.6 million to start work under Thursday's award, but could earn the larger figure over 18 months if Congress approves the funds.

Several Democratic lawmakers have criticized the fast-track bidding process that allowed only a few experienced companies to submit proposals. The U.S. Agency for International Development has controlled the bidding, saying speed was essential to meet Iraq's pressing postwar needs.

The contract covers rehabilitation of Iraq's power, water and sewage systems, rehabilitation or repair of airport facilities and dredging, repair and upgrading of the Umm Qasr seaport in cooperation with other contractors.

Bechtel also may have a role in repair and reconstruction of hospitals, schools, selected government ministry buildings, irrigation facilities and transportation links.

The company has wide experience working overseas, with 47,000 employees on 900 projects in nearly 60 countries.

Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, one of the Democratic critics, said the contract showed that "a troubling pattern is beginning to emerge, as some of the most powerful business interests in the country continue to receive these huge contracts without ... open, transparent bidding."

Wyden and others are sponsoring a bill that would require a public explanation of contracts awarded under a limited bidding process.

Other companies invited to bid were Parsons Corp.; Fluor Corp.; Louis Berger Group Inc.; and Washington Group International Inc. A subsidiary of Houston-based Halliburton Co., which was formerly run by Vice President Dick Cheney, was invited to bid but decided instead to seek work as a subcontractor.

Bechtel rose from a family business into a privately held international engineering powerhouse. Its executives have included former Secretary of State George Shultz and ex-Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger.

More recently, President Bush named Ross Connelly, a former Bechtel executive, as executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Overseas Private Investment Corp. — the agency that supports U.S. investment around the globe.

Shultz, in a television interview, said, "Bechtel, by its track record, will do an excellent job."

The Bechtel Group and its employees have been among the biggest political givers in the general contracting industry, according to an analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan Washington-based group that tracks campaign finance.

The company and its workers contributed at least $277,050 to federal candidates and party committees in the last election cycle, about 57 percent to Democrats and 43 percent to Republicans, the center found.

Bechtel gave at least $166,000 to national Republican Party committees, center figures show.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported in January that Bechtel and at least one other U.S. company sold Iraq technology that helped build up its military in the 1980s.

The story attributed the information to a German journalist with access to a document on Iraq weapons that was turned over to the United Nations.

Bechtel spokesman Jeff Berger said it was "absolutely false" that the company aided the Iraqi military. The company worked on two projects in Iraq in the 1980s: a hydroelectric dam and a petrochemical plant that was to make "garden variety" products including plastics and synthetic rubber, Berger said. The plant was still under construction when Bechtel's involvement ended.

Bechtel and Parsons jointly ran the costly and controversial Big Dig highway project in downtown Boston. Audits determined that Bechtel overbilled the state of Massachusetts by $2.4 million by 1992, then underbilled by $1.4 million from 1994 to 1996, on the total $14.6 billion project.

Other lucrative contracts for postwar Iraq have been awarded to firms with powerful political connections.

A $7 billion contract to cap oil fires in Iraq was awarded to Kellogg, Brown, and Root — a subsidiary of Halliburton, the company once run by Cheney.

The Army Corps of Engineers sealed the deal without seeking bids from other companies, prompting calls from some in Congress for an investigation, reports CBS News Correspondent Jim Acosta.

In a letter to House Democrat Henry Waxman of California, who's called for a probe into the deal, the army denies any wrongdoing, arguing an open bidding process "would have delayed…war-planning in order to obtain security clearances for potential competitors."

©MMIII, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Bechtel's Political Clout Helps Iraq Bid

By Michael Liedtke, AP Business Writer
The Associated Press
April 19, 2003.

SAN FRANCISCO - It's not just a history of building landmarks like the Hoover Dam that helped Bechtel Corp. win the first major Iraq reconstruction contract. The company is as well-connected as Washington insiders come.

Bechtel not only has close ties with elder Republican statesmen, its executives also enjoy direct links to the Bush administration, which has critics crying cronyism.

Many worry that Bechtel's inside-the-Beltway cachet was as important to its successful bid as any technical advantage over competitors.

The initial $34.6 million contract announced Thursday by the U.S. Agency for International Development could spiral far beyond its projected $680 million price tag.

And Bechtel is widely perceived as the front-runner for future business as the United States spends up to $100 billion in what's seen as the biggest reconstruction project since World War II's aftermath.

The San Francisco-based company has grown over decades from a family business into a privately held international engineering powerhouse.

Other companies invited to submit bids were Pasadena-based Parsons Corp.; Fluor Corp.; Louis Berger Group Inc.; and Washington Group International Inc. A subsidiary of Halliburton Co., which was formerly run by Vice President Dick Cheney, was invited to bid but removed itself amid favoritism charges.

At least two current Bechtel executives have ties to the Bush administration.

A senior vice president, Jack Sheehan, sits on the Defense Policy Board formed to advise Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who himself once lobbied for a Bechtel project. Sheehan, a retired Marine Corps general, manages Bechtel's petroleum and chemical operations.

And President Bush appointed Bechtel's chairman, Riley Bechtel, in February to the Export Council, which advises the president on international trade matters.

Bechtel says its politically connected executives are a small part of a 47,000-employee team working on 900 projects in nearly 60 countries.

"It's our business to have knowledgeable people so we can have the breadth and depth of talent to tackle the things that most other people in the world can't," said Bechtel spokesman Jeff Berger.

Bechtel's accomplishments range from the Depression-era Hoover Dam to the transformation of a former Saudi Arabian fishing village into Jubail, an industrial city expected to house 370,000 residents.

It's that kind of track record that made Bechtel a natural candidate for the reconstruction of Iraq, federal officials say.

The government limited the field to an exclusive group for security reasons, as well as a desire to start the work quickly, USAID spokesman Luke Zahner said. "The reality is that there are only a few companies that can handle a contract of this size."

Bechtel's critics don't doubt the company is up to the job. Instead, they say that by limiting the bidding to Bechtel and five other U.S. companies, the federal government might not have gotten the best free-market deal.

"We are concerned that the government seems to be handpicking their buddies for these contracts," said Seth Morris, research associate for the nonpartisan Washington-based Project on Government Oversight.

© 2003 The Associated Press.


Mondo Washington
by James Ridgeway
Corporate Colonialism
Companies . . . March!
April 23 - 29, 2003


A firm hand.
(photo: Susan Sterner
In Focus: Iraq War
  • Have a Nice Country Noah Feldman helped write the Iraqi constitution. Now he gets to watch it sink or swim.
  • The Essay: Smoke Signals From the Frontier Hello, America: Iraqi citizens fire back and ring in the dawn of a shiny new era
  • Bush's Middle East Plan, Interrupted Positive spin for a shortsighted policy
  • The Essay: Far From the Hamra Hotel Don't come back to Iraq, my friend said. I don't care how badly you want to.
  • Mondo Washington: Rape at Abu Ghraib 'We have daughters, husbands. For god's sake don't tell anyone.'
    See More ...
  • ike one of the 19th-century European colonial empires, the Bush government is calling on Bechtel, Halliburton, and other major corporations to take over the job of running the Iraqi colony. These companies are to act in the name of the government. They are to be paid out of our taxes. It might just as well be the British East India company. The colonial corporations become the instrument of the nation-state, in this case to undertake the reconstruction of Iraq. They, not the government, are the purveyors of laws and customs and democratic ideals.

    The main instrument of the U.S. in Iraq is not the Pentagon, the U.S. Agency for International Development, or the Army Corps of Engineers, but the Bechtel Group. The giant international engineering outfit has won a contract worth up to $680 million that gives the company a leading role in rebuilding Iraq, a job that eventually may cost $100 billion.

    Bechtel maintains close ties with politicians and the government. It is the 17th largest defense contractor, with $1.03 billion in Defense Department deals. (The firm's total revenues are $11.6 billion.) It gave $1.3 million in campaign contributions during the 1999-2000 cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Some of Bechtel's government connections are well-known: Jack Sheehan, a vice president, is on the Defense Policy Board, which advises Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Riley Bechtel, the company chairman, is on the President's Export Council. Other connections are not so well-known. Former Bechtel executive Ross Connelly is chief operating officer of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the government office that insures speculative business ventures in unsafe parts of the world. OPIC has no work in the Middle East at the moment, but as a spokesman put it last week, "The conflict is still winding down, and OPIC as of yet has not received official authorization to activate its programs in Iraq. However, given OPIC's traditional role in supporting U.S. investment in post-war reconstructions such as Afghanistan and the former Yugoslavia, it is safe to assume that OPIC will play an important role in the reconstruction of liberated Iraq."

    Both Reagan's secretary of defense, Caspar Weinberger, and Reagan's secretary of state, George Shultz, came from Bechtel. Shultz is currently a director. Reagan sent Rumsfeld to Iraq as his special envoy during the early 1980s to encourage Saddam in Iraq's war with Iran. According to memos uncovered by the National Security Archives, Rumsfeld may also have been upholding Shultz's private interests in Bechtel by using his visits to lobby for an oil pipeline Bechtel wanted to build from Iraq to the Gulf of Aqaba. In the end, Saddam refused to go for the pipeline.

    If Bechtel is the senior partner in rebuilding Iraq, its junior partner is Vice President Dick Cheney's old employer, Halliburton. Its subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) won an earlier deal to put out oil field fires. Through KBR, Halliburton has an open-ended $7 billion contract—its secretive details still classified—with the U.S. military to provide logistical support for various operations around the world.

    In a recent conference call with stockholders, Halliburton execs told of "a cost-reimbursable design-build contract valued in excess of $100 million for construction of the new U.S. embassy compound in Kabul, Afghanistan, and two contracts from the U.S. State Department for security upgrades and general construction work at multiple facilities of at least $70 million."

    Incidentally, Halliburton has worked for some pretty unsavory governments, including those of Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Libya, and Nigeria. It has lobbied for removal of sanctions against those countries and in certain instances appears to have skirted sanctions by operating through foreign subsidiaries. (At one point, the company opened a subsidiary in Iran despite sanctions.)

    Halliburton has also been remarkably free and easy with taxpayers' dollars. Among other incidents, it wound up having to pay the government $2 million for inflating costs of work between 1994 and 1998 at Fort Ord in California while Cheney was the firm's president. More recently, stockholders took Halliburton to task for building a pipeline in Burma because of human rights abuses there. Cheney has been accused of trying to skirt tax laws by placing 44 of the firm's subsidiaries in foreign tax havens, according to Lee Drutman and Charlie Cray of Citizen Works. And Halliburton is the subject of an SEC probe and shareholder lawsuit about alleged accounting irregularities stemming from policies the company instituted while Cheney was CEO.

    The overall administrator of U.S. operations in Iraq is retired general Jay Garner, who ingratiated himself with his superiors during the first Persian Gulf War with adept handling of the Kurds in northern Iraq. During the Vietnam War, Garner was a district senior adviser in the strategic hamlet program. Recently questions were raised about Garner's judgment in accepting a free trip to Israel in 2000, after which he declared his support for the government there, all this taking place during Israel's incursions into Palestinian territory.

    He has been president of SY Coleman, a firm that specializes in military guidance systems and is owned by a bigger firm called L-3 Communications.

    Garner's operations in Iraq will be closely tied to Iraq's oil industry. Oil is Iraq's major asset, and the Bush government has said repeatedly that the country can at least partially rebuild itself by selling that oil. A crucial and immediate goal is to find people for two key jobs: a manager of operations for the Iraqi state national oil company and an experienced oil person to run the company's marketing operation.

    As of last week, two men with long experience at Shell and BP were being discussed as possible candidates.

    Phillip Carroll, cited by oil industry sources as a possible director of Iraqi oil operations, most recently was CEO of Fluor Co., and before that was president of U.S. Shell, the American subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell, which is owned by both British and Dutch interests. Carroll has acknowledged he has been approached for the job.

    Both Fluor and Shell have aroused controversy in the past. Fluor is all over the energy world, with pipeline deals in Alaska, oil in Kazakhstan, gas and petrochemicals in Saudi Arabia, and so on. It is a Fortune 500 company with a backlog of contracts, as of last year, of $10.6 billion. Along with two other companies, Fluor has contracts for as much as $100 million from the Army Corps of Engineers for work in Afghanistan.

    The company also currently faces a lawsuit by South African black workers claiming, according to activists, that Fluor "exploited and brutalized them during the apartheid era." Among other things, the claimants say Fluor security men dressed up as Ku Klux Klan members in white robes and attacked unarmed workers. Fluor denies all the allegations.

    Before working at Fluor, Carroll ran operations for U.S. Shell during a period when the parent Royal Dutch Shell was under attack for its handling of protests against its operations on the Ogoni tribal lands in Nigeria. Activists were attacked by a private police force allegedly run by the company. Nigeria arrested opposition figures, including the leader, Ken Saro-Wiwa, and hanged them.

    The second man mentioned by industry sources for a major job in Iraq is Rodney Chase, a long time BP executive involved in major deals and deputy chairman of beverage behemoth Diageo (Smirnoff's, Bailey's, Captain Morgan, Jose Cuervo, et al.) and supermarket superfirm Tesco (the United Kingdom's largest retailer).

    Discussion of outsiders running the Iraq oil business already has ignited controversy. Issam al-Chalabi, the Iraqi oil minister from 1987 to 1990 (not the U.S. puppet Ahmed Chalabi), told the news service last week, "I believe that any kind of direct rule by the Americans, whether military or civilian, will be rejected and resisted by Iraqis and will not be to the advantage of the Americans."

    Commenting on one report that speculated Bush would set up 23 ministries, al-Chalabi said such a scheme was "absolutely absurd." He said Iraqi oil employees couldn't stomach it, adding, "I would let the Iraqis run their institutions, ministries, companies, departments." On the other hand, a UN-run operation, in his view, held out some possibilities.

    But the U.S. seems intent on avoiding the UN if it can. A recent proposal by the Heritage Foundation suggests creating a federal government with representation by the three main groups: Kurds, Sunni Muslims and Shiite Muslims. Under this scheme the U.S. government, through Garner, would guide Iraq toward privatization of the oil industry.

    But having captured the Iraqi oil fields, the U.S. may find that it's not so simple to market the oil because of Iraq's outstanding debts abroad. Creditors may well attempt to tie up any oil shipments in an effort to get their money back. Among them are the major oil companies, whose holdings were nationalized in the 1950s. These firms may lay claim to their former holdings, which would cause an endless legal fight. Until ownership of Iraqi oil is firmly settled, the UN's Oil for Food program is the one existing and agreed-upon arrangement for oil sales. Even Bush seems to acknowledge that. In the end, it may not be so easy to get rid of the UN.

    Additional reporting: Phoebe St John and Joanna Khenkine

    Two U.S. Firms Hit Iraq Jackpot
    Aug. 28, 2003

    "The amount of money [Halliburton has earned] is quite staggering, far more than we were originally led to believe."
    Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif.

    Vice President Dick Cheney's former company, Halliburton, is the biggest single government contractor in Iraq. (Photo: AP)

    (CBS) The price of rebuilding Iraq is rising and two companies with strong political ties are being paid even more money by the government for their roles in Iraq's reconstruction than previously thought.

    Halliburton Corp., the oil services firm once headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, has won contracts worth more than $1.7 billion from the U.S. government for its work in Iraq, and it could make hundreds of millions more from a no-bid contract it was awarded by the Army Corps of Engineers, the Washington Post reports.

    Meanwhile, engineering and construction giant Bechtel, whose executives have included former Secretary of State George Shultz and ex-Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, is also getting a big raise in its contract in Iraq, according to the Wall Street Journal.

    Halliburton is the biggest single government contractor in Iraq. The Houston-based company, through its subsidiary Brown and Root, is involved in a wide range of activities in Iraq, including building and maintaining military bases, delivering mail, producing hot mails and providing logistical support for U.S. intelligence officials searching for weapons of mass destruction.

    The Post reports Halliburton employees have become an integral part of Army life in Iraq, often dressing in Army fatigues with civilian patches on the shoulders.

    California-based Bechtel is also getting a boost in its Iraq contracts. The Wall Street Journal reports that escalating costs and continued instability have prompted U.S. officials to increase the value of a deal with Bechtel by $350 million, or more than 50 percent.

    Bechtel was originally awarded an 18-month, $680 million contract for reconstruction work on airports, water, power, schools, roads and government buildings.

    The new money for the engineering and construction firm is part of at least $1 billion the U.S. hopes to pour into Iraqi power generation alone over the next year.

    The Journal says U.S. officials and Bechtel assessment teams now estimate Iraqi reconstruction will cost at least $16 billion and likely much more. L. Paul Bremer, the top U.S. civilian official in Iraq, has said that the costs of rebuilding that nation and revitalizing its economy could top $100 billion.

    Both companies have taken advantage of a growing trend by the government to use private contractors for military support operations overseas.

    The Post reports that the practice of turning to private contractors for a broad range of military logistics operations dates to a study commissioned by then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney after the 1991 Persian Gulf War. The Pentagon chose Brown and Root to conduct the study and then hired the company to implement its own plan.

    Cheney became chief executive of Halliburton, Brown and Root's parent company, in 1995 and remained there until 2000, when he left to run for the vice presidency.

    The government says it's had to turn more and more to the private sector because of military budget cuts since the end of the Cold War that have placed enormous strain on the armed forces – particularly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

    But critics have charged that the Iraq war and occupation have provided a handful of politically connected companies – especially Halliburton – with unprecedented moneymaking opportunities.

    "The amount of money [Halliburton has earned] is quite staggering, far more than we were originally led to believe," said Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif. "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 rather than less."

    Waxman has been critical of Halliburton since an Army Corps of Engineers report in March said the company had been given a no-bid contract, with a $7 billion cap, for putting out oil fires in Iraq. The Corps explained the absence of competitive bidding on the grounds that the operation was part of a classified war plan and the Army did not have the time to wade through numerous bids.

    Waxman, the ranking Democrat on the House Government Reform Committee, has asked the General Accounting Office to look into the decision to give Halliburton the contract without bidding.

    A Halliburton spokeswoman, Wendy Hall, would not discuss details of the firm's operations in Iraq, but said suggestions of war profiteering were "an affront to all hard-working, honorable Halliburton employees."

    © MMIII, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.


    U.S. Government’s Iraq Infrastructure Reconstruction Program


    U.S. Government's Iraq Infrastructure 
    Reconstruction Program

    Project News
    Project Milestones
    Project Images

    Project Images in Bechtel Briefs (3/04)
    Outreach to Iraqi Subcontractors
    Contractor-Supplier Conferences  

    Please visit our careers site at, and search for "Iraq,” "Kuwait,” or "Amman."


    To register as a supplier
    or contractor, or for
    procurement-related questions, please visit Bechtel’s
    Supplier and Contractor portal.

    Media Inquiries

    Bechtel Responds to Coverage of the USAID Iraq Infrastructure Reconstruction Program


    Rebuilding Iraq's Ravaged Railways
    Railway Gazette International

    Reconstruction in Iraq
    U.S.-Iraqi Teamwork Grows Skills While Restoring Powerplant
    Engineering News-Record (ENR) (02/03/04)

    Cliff Mumm Profile
    Reconstruction Warriors
    Worldwide Projects
    (Fall 2003)

    Amid Violence, Iraq Reconstruction Endures
    Construction Equipment Guide

    Reconstruction in Iraq
    After $38-million Overhaul, Iraqi Port of Umm Qasr Is Back in Business
    Engineering News-Record (ENR) (11/13/03)

    No 'Cronyism' in Iraq

    Allegations somewhere between highly improbable and utterly absurd. Op-Ed by Steven Kelman
    Washington Post

    Fables of the Reconstruction
    Bush isn't really favoring Halliburton and Bechtel

    Bechtel under siege:
    Iraqis seethe as sabotage, red tape slow repair effort
    San Francisco Chronicle (09/21/03)


      In support of the Coalition Provisional Authority’s reconstruction effort in Iraq, Bechtel is under contract with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), for the emergency repair, rehabilitation, and reconstruction of critical elements of Iraq’s infrastructure. This initial effort runs through 2004 and includes assessing and repairing selected power, municipal water, and sewage systems; dredging, repairing, and upgrading the Port of Umm Qasr; rehabilitating selected schools, clinics, and fire stations; reconstructing three key bridges; constructing a key rail line; restoring telephone service to more than 200,000 Baghdad subscribers; and restoring Iraq's main 2,000-kilometer, north-south fiber optic communications backbone.

    In addition, on January 6, 2004, USAID awarded Bechtel a second contract known as Iraq Infrastructure II, a major USAID program of engineering, procurement, and construction services for a series of new infrastructure projects in Iraq. Bechtel is teamed with Parsons of Pasadena, California, and Horne Engineering Services of Fairfax, Virginia. This contract runs from January 2004 through December 2005 with a total value of up to $1.8 billion.

    Subcontractor Information

    As of July 2, Bechtel had awarded 158 subcontracts to 119 different Iraqi companies, out of a total of 227 subcontracts for services. To date, over 10,000 companies from 100 countries have registered on Bechtel's Supplier and Contractor portal.

    A key Bechtel and USAID goal under the Iraq Infrastructure Reconstruction Program is to maximize Iraqi participation in our work. Indeed, to increase the cost-effectiveness of the work, and to help revitalize the Iraqi economy, Bechtel decided to award the vast majority of the subcontracting work to Iraqi subcontractors.

    Project Fact Sheets

    Progress reports on Bechtel's work within the U.S. Government's Iraq Infrastructure Reconstruction Program are available in fact sheet format, including information on airports, buildings, the Port of Umm Qasr, power, surface transportation, and water and wastewater. The fact sheets include work descriptions, schedules, number of subcontractors and Iraqi employees hired, jobs created by the program, and project and site selection updates.

    The immediate mission of the Airports program was to restore critical infrastructure at Baghdad (BIA) and Basrah (BSR) International Airports to support opening of the airports for limited, international commercial flights operating under daytime visual meteorological conditions (VMC). More (PDF: 744 KB, 2 pages)

    Bechtel is reconstructing three bridges in Iraq: Khazir Bridge, located between the northern cities of Mosul and Arbil; Al Mat Bridge near Ar Rutbah village in western Iraq; and Tikrit Bridge over the Tigris River. All three bridges sustained damage in the recent conflict. More (PDF: 608 KB, 2 pages)

    Buildings and Facilities
    The Buildings and Facilities program includes rehabilitating schools, primary health care clinics, and selected fire stations in Iraq. These facilities have suffered from looting and vandalism, as well as years of neglect. More (PDF: 665 KB, 2 pages)

    Upon Bechtel's entry to Iraq in mid-May 2003, we found the port―consisting of the Old Port, New Port, and grain facility―in a rundown condition with no commercial power or water supply. Our mission was to perform rehabilitation works and open the port to receive humanitarian aid shipments.  More (PDF: 729 KB, 2 pages)

    Bechtel's Power program consists of reconstructing, repairing, rehabilitating, and upgrading Iraq's power system, including generation, transmission, and institutional strengthening of the Ministry of Electricity (MOE). The program is being executed by directly procuring needed parts and other materials, managing subcontracts, assigning engineers, and providing program management services. More (PDF: 629 KB, 2 pages)

    Bechtel and Iraqi Republic Railways (IRR) are jointly constructing a new European-standard rail line in the Basrah region to improve freight transport service from the Port of Umm Qasr to the rest of the country. The single-track line has not been upgraded since the 1950s and its poor condition causes derailments, accidents, and delays to the existing rail service.  More (PDF: 680 KB, 2 pages)

    The larger telephone exchanges within Baghdad, as well as the critical national fiber optic backbone connecting Iraqi cities to the Baghdad area network, were damaged in the conflict. Bechtel's role in the reconstruction program is to restore connectivity to telephone subscribers in the Baghdad area, and to restore the fiber backbone to pre-conflict capability. More (PDF: 687 KB, 2 pages).

    The mission of Bechtel's Water and Wastewater program is to restore water and sanitation systems in Iraq to ensure a reliable supply of potable water to the general public. Both water and sanitation systems are designed to protect public health, and after many years of outdated operating practices and inadequate maintenance, their rehabilitation has become urgent. More (PDF: 651 KB, 2 pages)



    An Interesting Tidbit: 

    The mysterious Halliburton cabal began about a decade ago, and has only grown stronger in the current Cheney epoch

    In 1993, the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority divided the 4 billion possible addresses of the net into subsections called Netblocks:

    1. Class-C netblocks (the smallest size, 256 addresses) were given out to pretty much anyone who wanted to go online, like small businesses or elementary schools.
    2. Class-B netblocks (middle size, 65536 addresses) were given to useful technology sites like JHU and Microsoft.
    3. Class-A netblocks (super size, 16777216 addresses) were given to exactly 49 giants of the information revolution, such as: MIT, AT&T, the country of Japan, US Department of Defense ... and Halliburton???

    How in the world does an "oil services company" deserve a chunk of the internet as big as the one given to the entirety of South America

    Major Arms and War Contractors

    Your one-stop shop for Halliburton, Bechtel, Carlyle Group

    Independent Media

    Photographs of the Bechtel Shutdown

    Photos of Bechtel rally against the War

    Raytheon destroys it, Bechtel rebuilds it, stolen oil pays for it

    Center for American Progress

    U.S. Politics Today

    Globalization Policy

    1979 - published in Time Magazine - 2003



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    ... brilliant innovator. (May 6) VP Dick Cheney will announce in a few
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