Jul 22, 2002
Vice President Dick Cheney has emerged from his hidden retreat to be at the center of the year’s two biggest news stories: the “war against terrorism” and the corporate accounting scandal.
Halliburton, the company Cheney headed from 1995 to 2000, has been sued for falsifying its records and so cheating its investors. Like many other companies, Halliburton, under Cheney, was wheeling and dealing. It got big government contracts with lots of room for fudging the books. One of Halliburton’s subsidiaries provided logistical support for the military in the Balkans, where it has chalked up over a billion dollars in sales. The General Accounting Office found that it flew in plywood at $85.98 a sheet that it could have bought for $14.06 a sheet.
But now, with Cheney sitting in the vice-president’s chair, it has much bigger possibilities. It’s enrolled in the “war against terrorism.” The company has a 10-year contract with no set costs to provide all kinds of support at the Khanabad Air Base in Uzbekistan, from running the dining room to handling fuel and producing power. The Army admits that the costs will run from 10 to 20% higher on this base than if the Army did the work itself.
It also had the contract to build 600 detention cells in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba for 300 million dollars. The workers, brought in from the Philippines and India, are estimated to cost 23 million dollars. So there is plenty of room for profit.
If the people suing Cheney aren’t careful, he might get George to declare war on them – and then get Halliburton a contract to build the bases to carry it out.