But how is Halliburton able to interfere with the sacred process of free enterprise? Well, it seems that Cheney’s firm, a private company, has control over the military checkpoint on the volatile Iraq-Kuwait border, and also has the authority to grant – or withhold – the Pen tagon ID cards that are indispensable for contractors operating in . (Even contractors who, like LOI, are working for the supposedly sovereign Iraqi government.) Halliburton used these powers to block LOI’s access to the military crossing – which provides quick, safe delivery of the fuel – for months. Then the game got rougher.

In June, Cheney’s boys blackmailed LOI into delivering some construction materials to a Halliburton project in the friendly confines of Fallujah: no delivery, no “golden ticket” Pen tagon card, said Halliburton. They neglected to tell LOI that convoys on the route had been repeatedly hit by insurgents in recent days. And sure enough, LOI’s delivery trucks were ripped to shreds just outside a Halliburton-operated military base: three men were killed and seven wounded. But that’s not all. An email obtained by investigators revealed that Halliburton brass expressly prohibited company employees from offering any assistance to the shattered convoy.

Halliburton extended this milk of human kindness to its food services as well. The firm had to bring in Turkish and Filipino guest workers to feed American soldiers, because the happily liberated Iraqis couldn’t be trusted not to blow up their benefactors. The Cheneymen treated these coolies as befitted their lowly station: they packed them into tents with sand floors and no beds, and literally fed them scraps from the garbage. When the peons complained, Halliburton sacked the subcontractor, who had been buying bargain produce and meat from the locals, and hired an American crony to ship in food all the way from Phil adelphia .

U.S. soldiers weren’t treated much better. Employees testified that Halliburton brass ordered them to serve spoiled and rotten food to soldiers – day in and day out. Me anwhile, Halliburton brass were reserving choice cuts for the big beer-soaked barbecues they threw for themselves two or three times a week. They also billed the taxpayer for 10,000 “ghost meals” a day at a single base: the food was phantom, but the rake-off was real. Me anwhile, any employee who made noises about exposing the fraud to auditors was threatened with transfer to a red-hot fire zone, like Fallujah or Saddam’s hometown, Tikrit.

All of this criminal katzenjammer – and much, much more – was authorized at the highest levels, as top procurement brass and Pen tagon officials confirmed. Cheney’s office kept tabs on Halliburton’s bids while Pen tagon warlord Don Rumsfeld “violated federal law,” the committee noted, by directly intervening in the procurement process to eliminate all possible rivals and make sure Cheney’s employer got the guaranteed-profit gig. Rumsfeld’s office also removed oversight procedures for the dirty deals, and has ignored repeated warnings from Pen tagon auditors about Halliburton’s blatant, persistent, pervasive fraud. Instead, the money keeps rolling in: just last month, Don and Dick ladled another $1.75 billion dollop of pork gravy into Halliburton’s bowl.

For this they have made a holocaust in the desert sands, sacrificing tens of thousands of innocent lives: for cheap, greasy graft, for grubby pilfering, for the personal profit of Richard B. Cheney and the whole pack of Bushist jackals gorging themselves on blood money.

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