By Deanna Spingola
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We repeatedly hear claims from the Propaganda Ministry that Iran, the current “axis of evil,” is developing devastating nuclear power and for this reason deserves sanctions and a warning from the U.S. which, if unheeded, may ultimately result in a “shock and awe” air invasion targeting strategic facilities resulting in inevitable collateral damage, a more socially acceptable word for catastrophic numbers of dead civilians. The real goal is total dominance of the entire oil-rich Middle East through profit-producing war accompanied by expensive reconstruction. There is more profit in death and destruction than there is in life and production.
Dick Cheney was Secretary of Defense in the administration of George H. W. Bush, from March 1989 to January 1993 during which time he directed Operation Just Cause in Panama and Operation Desert Storm in the Middle East. In 1992, the Pentagon, under Cheney, paid Brown & Root Services, a private company, $3.9 million to provide a classified document detailing how they could supply goods and services to American troops in potential war zones around the world. Later that very same year, the Pentagon spent an additional $5 million with BRS to update their report. They immediately received a five year contract from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers “to work alongside American GIs in places like Zaire, Haiti, Somalia, Kosovo, the Balkans, and Saudi Arabia.” 
Brown & Root Services had been acquired by Halliburton in 1962, a major company in the burgeoning military/industrial complex. As Defense Secretary under George H. W. Bush, Cheney created an “unprecedented lucrative market for the firm he would go on to head - Halliburton.” 
Always closely allied to greedy politicians, Texas based BRS, a huge campaign contributor, built roads, harbors, landing strips and military bases in South Vietnam from 1962 to 1972. BRS, who paid LBJ’s 1948 campaign expenses, had a long relationship with war hawk Lyndon B. Johnson, U.N. devotee,  who used the Tonkin Bay incident (read his remarks to Congress) to escalate the Vietnam War after JFK’s unfortunate death (Johnson chose the Warren Commission members). “The abuse of political influence is endemic to Brown & Root, a pathology that repeats itself decade after decade.”  Texas appears to be a unique spawning ground.
After Cheney left the Defense Department on January 20, 1993, he became a Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) until October 1995 when this life-long government insider became chairman and CEO of Halliburton who hired him for his Capital Hill cronyism and Pentagon contacts; they were not disappointed. Under Cheney’s direction, Halliburton, from 1995-2000, increased its taxpayer-insured, Export-Import bank loans from $100 million to $3.8 billion in addition to nearly doubling the government contract business. The company became one of the Pentagon’s top contractors. By 1999, the Pentagon had spent over $1.2 billion with BRS. Then in May 1999, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gave BRS another five year contract worth $731 million for services in the Balkans. 
President Bill Clinton stated in his Executive Order #12957, dated March 15, 1995, “that the actions and policies of the Government of Iran constituted an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States, and hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.” That Executive Order entitled “Prohibiting Certain Transactions With Respect to the Development of Iranian Petroleum Resources”  which prohibited “certain transactions with respect to the development of Iranian petroleum resources” by any U.S. citizen or company. Members of Congress were aware of this order and it was published in the Federal Register.
The Executive Order notwithstanding, Halliburton CEO Cheney lobbied congressional cronies against sanctioning Iran so that his company could do business with this “axis of evil.” Cheney went to the Middle East in March 1996, where he spoke to a group of mostly U.S. businessmen. He said “that Congress should ease sanctions in Iran and Libya to foster better relationships.” He further stated: “Let me make a generalized statement about a trend I see in the U.S. Congress that I find disturbing, that applies not only with respect to the Iranian situation but a number of others as well. I think we Americans sometimes make mistakes . . . There seems to be an assumption that somehow we know what’s best for everybody else and that we are going to use our economic clout to get everybody else to live the way we would like.” 
Obviously, Cheney was and continues to be amply rewarded. Cheney is paid between $100,000 and $1,000,000 per year in “deferred compensation.”  Cheney either hired or promoted many of the executives who currently direct Halliburton and KBR. Interestingly, Cheney resigned from his lucrative Halliburton position on July 25, 2000, to spearhead the selection process in finding a running mate for George W. Bush.
During Cheney’s five years at Halliburton, benefactors of many no-bid government contracts, the company made substantial political contributions, mostly to Republicans – a total of $1,212,000 in soft and hard money to candidates and parties. In the previous five years, the company gave $534,750.  Do campaign contributions affect votes? See these graphs.
Cheney has been the most powerful number two in U.S. history. It was no surprise that Rumsfeld, long-time cohort, was installed at the Pentagon as Secretary of Defense. Cheney also insisted, despite the strenuous objections of Secretary of State, Colin Powell, that Neo-con Paul Wolfowitz be second in command at the Pentagon. He further insisted, against Powell’s objections, on installing “ultra-unilateralist” John Bolton, then vice-president of the American Enterprise Institute as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security.
Cheney, stacking the administration, was also behind the appointment of Elliott Abrams as the head of the Middle East office on the National Security Council. Cheney chose I. Lewis '”Scooter” Libby as his chief of staff and national security adviser. Libby and Wolfowitz had worked on a 1992 draft strategy that called for global U.S. military dominance. Libby and Cheney purportedly visited CIA headquarters numerous times prior to the 2003 Iraq invasion. This was viewed as applying pressure on CIA analysts to develop a link between Saddam Hussein, weapons of mass destruction and al-Qaeda. 
In 1997, Halliburton CEO Cheney, along with fellow Neo-cons Donald Rumsfeld and others, had founded the Project for the New American Century, an extreme right-wing think tank whose goal is to “promote American global leadership.” Cheney was also on the board of advisers of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), founded in 1976, before becoming Vice President. JINSA's advisory board also included Michael Ledeen (AEI), Richard Perle, James Woolsey, John Bolton (AEI), Douglas Feith and others, many of whom serve the Bush/Cheney agenda.  JINSA issued a press statement calling for an Iraqi regime change and support of the Iraqi National Congress on September 13, 2001. 
Michael Ledeen, self-proclaimed “universal fascist,” was on the National Security Council in the Reagan-Bush Administration and was a pivotal figure in the Iran-Contra fiasco. Then he was selling weapons to the people he is now scheming to overthrow. He supports violence as part of America’s objective in bombing people into democracy. He has “repeatedly complained that the Bush administration has let its regime-change plans for Iran and Syria ‘gather mold in the bowels of the bureaucracy’.” 
Military downsizing began in the 1980s, during the Reagan Administration. Ongoing military conflict didn’t decrease; we just had less people to accomplish the same objectives. These combined circumstances further enhanced a previously unprecedented business of private military companies involved in every aspect of military life: procurement, training (domestic and foreign) and logistics. The selling points included: reduce the bureaucracy, create new industry and jobs which would fuel the economy. 
War is always about economics. Iraq for Sale, an online video, defines the profits that Kellogg, Brown & Root makes in Iraq through their no-bid government contracts. War changes business and government. Opportunities for greater profits cause some companies to discontinue production of goods for public benefit. War also changes expenditures. Public monies, instead of benefiting the public, fill the coffers of big business whose sole motivation for existence is profit at the expense of everyone and everything else. Bush’s promise of a long, protracted war on terror provides exclusivity for war-related businesses and possible financial insolvencies for companies who manufacture plowshares. Both Halliburton and the Carlyle Group are in the top twenty list of Pentagon military contractors. Both companies have ties to the top two U.S. government officials. Scroll down and see all the lists and financial benefits: Outsourcing the Pentagon.
The general public remains unaware of the crony capitalism that enriches certain well-connected companies. Public ignorance only breeds more deception and secrecy. The 2006 Defense Authorization Act was passed in December 2005 giving the Pentagon total exemption from the Freedom of Information Act which had previously allowed access to more than 30,000 documents detailing the military involvement in the torture and abuse of foreign detainees. This exemption also shields the government in connection with any future domestic tyranny. The CIA already has such immunity. 
Clinton’s “ban on trade and investment with Iran” was renewed by George W. Bush on March 13, 2001. Bush stated in the renewal of this order regarding sanctions that he was taking the step “because the actions and policies of the government of Iran continue to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.” An amendment was further added on July 26, 2005. “The sanctions, imposed under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, mainly affect US petroleum companies, barring them from investing in Iran's energy sector.”  A UN resolution was passed on December 23, 2006 that imposed sanctions until Iran stops enriching uranium.
Despite Bush’s renewal of the trade ban, Halliburton has continued an illegal business relationship with Oriental Oil Kish, one of Iran’s largest private oil companies and their vice chairman, Cyrus Nasseri who is the head of the Iranian delegation to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) negotiating the future of Iran’s nuclear programs. Nasseri has allegedly been a close advisor and consultant to Halliburton. Apparently, Nasseri purportedly provided Iran’s nuclear secrets to Halliburton for a $1 million bribe.  Hashemi-Rafsanjani, president of Iran from 1989-1997, is reportedly one of the owners of the Oriental Oil Kish.  A subsidiary of Halliburton Energy Services called Halliburton Products and Services Ltd. opened an unmarked office on the 10th floor of a Tehran office building and is likely to remain in Iran through 2009.
Iraq: Frequently Asked Questions About Contracting, CRS Report for Congress
 The Halliburton Agenda, the Politics of Oil and Money by Dan Briody, Introduction
 Prohibiting Certain Transactions With Respect to the Development of Iranian Petroleum Resources (PDF File)
 Is Iran Next? The Pentagon neocons who brought you the war in Iraq have a new target By Tom Barry
 The Halliburton Agenda, the Politics of Oil and Money by Dan Briody, p. 182-83
 Pentagon Exempt from Freedom of Information Act See also: www.dod.mil/pubs/foi/DoD_FOIA_Review.pdf
 Halliburton and Iran: One Pea, Two Pods
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