Friday, September 05, 2003

PRINCES (continued)

“Wow, right on the nail!” Raven spits a beakful of granola across the breakfast table.

What’s up, guy? Tools in the newspaper?

“Yesterday we were talking about “reconstructive” contracts in Iraq being the sop to the Petrocriminals, aka “nobles”, in Maquiavellian terms. Now there’s an article in LA JORNADA that’s right on the nail.”

You mean that hits the nail right on the head, I think. Is my bird buddy piddling in the puddles of Bushisms?

“God, I hope not. Anyway, this guy goes so far as to call Halliburton a “parallel army” in the Iraqui context.”

Raven wipes up the spat granola with his napkin.

Sounds great. Let’s hear it.

Raven takes a deep breath.

“’ “The war on terrorism, highest phase of capitalism, has signified for the company Halliburton and its subsidiaries one of the most fabulous businesses in corporate history. In full view of everybody, its open association with the US government represents a paradigmatic case of influence trafficking, as well as the supreme example of just how profitable the war is for hawks and buzzards. Above all, if to that are added comfortable tax exemptions.’”

Hmmm. You’re right that we were right. Does the article total up the windfall for the buzzards?

“Yeah. “Operation Iraqui Freedom” gives them 1.9 billion dollars, plus more related to the Army Corps of Engineers. Then one third of the budget for maintaining US troops in Iraq (3.9 billion dollars) goes directly to Halliburton, and to a lesser degree to Bechtel and DynaCorp.”

This is a bit beyond the bones thrown to camp followers, I think.

“The JORNADA article quotes the WASHINGTON POST’s revelation that they are even wearing military uniforms—but with their company insignias on their shoulders.”

Halliburton maybe should just be called Dick Cheney, Inc.?

“Or Ubiquitous Dick Cheney, Inc. The article goes on to say that Michael Scherer, correspondent in Washington for the magazine Mother Jones, just announced their scope of operation, complete with an interactive map of “The World According to Halliburton”. ‘The reporter notes that the past two years have been excellent for Halliburton—After 9/11, the Bush government has awarded the second largest petroleum services company in the world with at least 2 billion 200 million dollars in defense-related contracts—the majority to support military operations overseas. The map illustrates the location of the bellicose investments of Halliburton: Guantanamo, Bosnia, Kosovo, Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan, Jordan, The Philippines, Russia, Georgia, Uzbekistan y Djibuti and Somalia. Not to mention domestic investments from coast to coast, plus Alaska, Hawaii, Guam y Puerto Rico. No less impressive is the geographic diversity of the “fiscal paradises” where they launder and keep their money: The Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Barbados, Nevis, Santa Lucia, Panama, Liechtenstein, Jersey, Mauricio. And they advanced 58 percent on the Forbes 500 list in 2002.’”

Just a mom and pop operation, Rave.

“Right. And just to put icing on the cake—by the way, we haven’t had cake around here in awhile—maybe chocolate would hit the nail on the head—Halliburton just received a contract for 391 million dollars to maintain the National Lab at Los Alamos, New Mexico—our old stomping ground—and another 200 million to “update” the security of the strategic biological research in the national Institute of Health, in Maryland. Not small change, either.”

I wonder what they mean by “maintain” the Lab at Los Alamos?

“Probably looking for Chinese Americans to blame security leaks on.”

Is that Wu Lee guy still in the New Mexico Penitentiary?

“No, they let him out when in the clean-up after that fire we watched so anxiously from the friendly confines of Espanola in 2000 they found top security hard drives collecting ashes and dust in broom closets. Sort of blew their case.”

I would think so.

“Now, can we talk about taking a walk for chocolate cake?”

Just what I need: A cakewalk with the Bird for All Seasons.


And speaking of cakewalks--this, from yesterday's TORONTO STAR piece, "Bailing Bush Out of His Iraq Fiasco" (reprinted today on COMMON DREAMS:

'Bush is now spending $1 billion a week to keep 150,000 troops in Iraq, along with 11,000 British troops and 10,000 others. Yet he has precious little to show for it. Saddam Hussein is still on the loose, and Iraq is being infiltrated by fighters bent on driving the Americans out.

This explodes the neo-conservative fiction that rebuilding Iraq as a stable democracy would be a cakewalk, once Saddam was deposed.

(As Bush might say--Great minds think by the same set of rules....)

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