GWB's Latest Golden Lawbreaker:
When Will Burton Hold Hearings on THIS?
by Tamara Baker
Feb. 26, 2001 -- SAINT PAUL, MINNESOTA -- When I first started my "Golden Lawbreaker" series, even I didn't realize where it would lead.
As you know, the "Golden Lawbreakers" are those friends and donors of G.W. Bush who, if President Clinton's regulations had not been undone by Usurper Boy and his Prince Regent Cheney, would be barred from receiving Federal Government contracts because of their habitual lawbreaking. As expected, the pro-Bush US Chamber of Commerce raised a stink (now, what was this about conservatives and businessmen respecting "the rule of law"?), thus giving Shrub's minders the cover they needed to zap the regulations within hours of their gaining control of the Oval Office.
It turns out that a company very near and dear to Dick Cheney's heart is one of these Golden Lawbreakers.
Yes, folks -- I'm speaking of Halliburton.
Here's the scoop:
We all know that one of the two counts Rudy Giuliani filed against Marc Rich, way back when, concerned Rich's buying oil from Iran.
However, it also seems that Halliburton has been caught violating President Clinton's 1995 executive order forbidding US companies/individuals from doing business with Iran:
Halliburton Co., the U.S. oil-services giant until recently headed by Vice President Richard Cheney, has opened an office in Tehran and operated in Iran in possible violation of U.S. sanctions, Thursday's Wall Street Journal reported.
Since 1995, U.S. laws have banned most American commerce with Iran. Halliburton Products and Services Ltd. works behind an unmarked door on the ninth floor of a new north Tehran tower block. A brochure declares that the company was registered in 1975 in the Cayman Islands, is based in the Persian Gulf sheikdom of Dubai and is "non-American." But, like the sign over the receptionist's head, the brochure bears the Dallas company's name and red emblem, and offers services from Halliburton units around the world.
You know, I think that the 5th Federal Judiciary Circuit's Northern Texas District () might find this rather interesting, don't you? Perhaps someone should bring this to their attention.
Ah, but it gets even better...
... a U.S. official said a Halliburton (HAL) office in Tehran would violate at least the spirit of American law. The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control declined to comment on a specific company, referring inquiries to a Web site summary of Iran sanctions that bans almost all U.S. trade and investment with Iran, specifically in oil services. The Web site adds: "No U.S. person may approve or facilitate the entry into or performance of transactions or contracts with Iran by a foreign subsidiary of a U.S. firm that the U.S. person is precluded from performing directly. Similarly, no U.S. person may facilitate such transactions by unaffiliated foreign persons."
Got that? The law was written so that certain attempts to foil it, such as the transparent attempts by companies like Halliburton to create fake foreign "shell" (or "Potemkin") companies for that very purpose, would be thwarted.
Even out of the Oval Office, our last elected President is still going to give Cheney and Bush fits:
An executive order signed by President Clinton in March 1995 prohibits "new investments [in Iran] by U.S. persons, including commitment of funds or other assets." It also bars U.S. companies from performing services "that would benefit the Iranian oil industry." Violation of the order can result in fines of as much as $500,000 for companies and up to 10 years in jail for individuals.
And guess what?
The Halliburton brochure in Tehran says the company has performed oil-drilling services on two offshore drilling contracts in the Iranian sector of the Persian Gulf. One is the Sirri field, being developed by France's TotalFinaElf SA, and the other is Phase 1 of the South Pars field, being developed by an Iranian company.
The Halliburton brochure continues: "We are committed to position ourselves in a market that offers huge growth potential."
So, we know that Halliburton has already given its drilling services to two Iranian projects: the Sirri Field and Phase 1 of the South Pars field.
After reading your Halliburton article today, I thought you might find this Ignatius article in the International Herald Tribune last week interesting.
"...In the shadows of the oil-trading world, however, a weird system has grown up in the past two months. Several dozen unknown companies have emerged as the main buyers of Iraqi crude. Based in places such as Belarus, Liechtenstein and Malaysia, these appear to be "nameplate" companies that exist only on paper. ..."
In the Middle East, the Sirri E field (TotalFinaElf 60%) in Iran started production in February 1999 and rose to a level of 90 mb/d by year end.
Hmmm. Now remember, Cheney didn't leave Halliburton until July of 2000. Sounds like he may have been around when both the Sirri and South Pars fields were drilled by the company he led, and he certainly was around when the drilling deals were negotiated.
I next did a Google on "South Pars Phase 1 Halliburton". At the very end of the Google cached version of the July 2000 Menas oil newsletter, we find this:
5.0 Facts and Figures
* The former US Defence Secretary Dick Cheney, who is currently Chief Executive of Halliburton, labelled present Iran-US relation as a "tragedy" and said that it is time to set the past crises aside. Speaking at the World Petroleum Congress in Calgary, Cheney said: "I hope we can find ways to improve mutual ties. I think one of those ways is to allow American firms to do the same works as other firms from other parts of the world are able to do now." He further added: "We are kept out of there primarily by our own government," noting that the US policy aims to prevent its companies from making large investments in Iran and that this policy is a "mistake." "While American companies have to sit on the sidelines, oil companies from the rest of the world have invested in Iran's energy sector, sometimes without operating the same high standards." He also remarked that unilateral economic sanctions were not effective in achieving political and even human rights goals.
Now, again, remember, here's the story as I understand it:
Marc Rich is allegedly Satan Incarnate because he bought some oil from Iran over twenty years ago.
But Dick Cheney presided over his company's, Halliburton's, setting up a fake shell company so it could drill oil wells in Iranian waters, in direct violation of US law -- and THAT is somehow just peachy-keen?
Please, do me and yourselves a favor, and fax this to your Democratic legislators, as well as the 5th Circuit. Forward this by e-mail to your local and national media contacts. We have to do something about this.
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