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News ::
haliburton makes blood money (english)
28 Aug 2003
sick bastards!
Records: Halliburton has over $1.7b in Iraq contracts

By Michael Dobbs, Washington Post, 8/28/2003

WASHINGTON -- Halliburton, the company formerly headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, has won contracts worth more than $1.7 billion out of Operation Iraqi Freedom and stands to make hundreds of millions more dollars under a no-bid contract awarded by the US Army Corps of Engineers, according to newly available documents. The size and scope of the government contracts awarded to Halliburton in connection with the war in Iraq are significantly greater than previously disclosed and demonstrate the US military's increasing reliance on for-profit corporations to run its logistical operations. Independent experts estimate that as much as one-third of the monthly $3.9 billion cost of keeping US troops in Iraq is going to independent contractors.
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Services performed by Halliburton, through its Brown and Root subsidiary, include building and managing military bases, logistical support for the 1,200 intelligence officers hunting Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, delivering mail, and producing millions of hot meals. Often dressed in Army fatigues with civilian patches on their shoulders, Halliburton employees and contract personnel have become an integral part of Army life in Iraq.

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 US-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 Halliburton 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 enemy prisoner of war camps, the Army spreadsheet shows. The company also was allocated $39 million for building and operating US base camps in Jordan, the existence of which the Pentagon has not publicly acknowledged.

Over the past decade, Halliburton, a Houston-based company that originally made its name servicing pipelines and oil wells, has positioned itself to take advantage of an increasing trend by the federal government to contract out many of its 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 US Agency for International Development reconstruction contracts, and Virginia-based DynCorp, which is training the Iraqi police force.

The government said the practice has been spurred by cutbacks in the military budget and a string of wars since the end of the Cold War that have placed a enormous demand on the armed forces.

But according to Representative Henry Waxman, Democrat of California, and other critics, the Iraq war and occupation have provided several 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."

Wendy Hall, a Halliburton spokeswoman, declined to discuss the details of the company's operations in Iraq, or confirm or deny estimates of the amounts the company has earned from its contracting work on behalf of the military. But in an e-mail message, she said suggestions of war profiteering were "an affront to all hard-working, honorable Halliburton employees."

Hall added that military contracts were awarded "not by politicians but by government civil servants, under strict guidelines."

Daniel Carlson, a spokesman for the Army's Joint Munitions Command, said Brown and Root had won a competitive bidding process in 2001 to provide a wide range of "contingency" services to the military US troops were deployed overseas. He said the contract, known as the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program, or LOGCAP, was designed to free up uniformed personnel for combat duties and did not preclude deals with other contractors.
Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.
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