Halliburton loots Iraq
May 16, 2003 | Page 1
IRAQ IS about to become a giant filling station for U.S. oil companies. And look who's manning the pumps--Vice President Dick Cheney's old friends at Halliburton, the Houston-based energy services multinational.
Back in March, the Pentagon announced that it had handed out a no-bid contract for putting out oil fires in Iraq to the Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Root and Brown (KRB)--worth a tidy profit of at least $75 million. But when the full extent of the deal was revealed this month, the contract to "put out oil fires" had mysteriously become a contract to get the entire Iraqi oil industry up and running, including "operation of facilities and distribution of products"--possibly until January of 2004.
In other words, Halliburton has become the official state oil company of Iraq. The silver-platter deal guarantees the U.S. corporation at least $600 million--and could be worth as much as $7 billion. Halliburton will even get paid by the U.S. government for such important "reconstruction" projects as the lavish renovation of one of Saddam Hussein's presidential palaces--to be used by U.S. officials and Iraqi exiles working for the Pentagon.
The incredible arrogance of the Bush gang and their corporate pals as they set up shop in Iraq is fueling more and more anger among Iraqis.
In early May, the Washington Post reported on the scene at an oil-gas separation plant in Zubair, where angry Iraqi oil workers had stood waiting at the front gate for hours to learn when their plant might reopen. Jim Humphries, a technician for KBR, breezed into the plant--only to leave in a matter of minutes, without answering a single question.
"KBR just comes and gives orders, but they don't do anything," said Mohammed Mohee, an instrument technician. "This is our oil. This is our city, our company. Our country. We want to clear away the damage and move forward. We have no tools, no instruments. No spare parts. They do nothing. They just look and leave."
But Halliburton and the other corporate vultures from half a world away are going to do more than "look and leave." They'll take--all the oil and profits that they can possibly grab.
From the U.S. forces' seizure of Iraqi oilfields as the invasion began, to the Marines standing guard over the Ministry of Oil building in Baghdad, to Halliburton's sweetheart deal to loot Iraq's oil wealth, Washington's real war aims stand exposed. We have to stand up against this U.S. war and occupation for oil and empire.