Saturday, April 23, 2005


Do you think if we append "water" to the end of Halliburton the press might get excited?

NEW YORK - The Halliburton corporation, already the Iraq war's poster child for "waste, fraud and abuse", has been hit with a new double whammy. A report from the US State Department accuses the company of "poor performance" in its US$1.2 billion contract to repair Iraq's vital southern oilfields.

And a powerful California congressman is charging that Defense Department audits showing additional overcharges totaling $212 million were concealed from United Nations monitors by the administration of President George W Bush.
According to Representative Henry Waxman, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives sub-committee on government reform, "both the amount of Halliburton's overcharges and the extent of the information withheld from the auditors at the UN's International Advisory and Monitoring Board [IAMB] were much greater than previously known".

Waxman said the Defense Contract Audit Agency, which monitors all Pentagon contracts, had identified Halliburton overcharges and questionable costs totaling $212.3 million - double the total amount of known overcharges under Halliburton's Iraq oil contract.

In one case, Waxman said, the overcharges exceeded 47% of the total value of the task order.

But the Defense Department - at Halliburton's request - withheld the new amount from IAMB, the UN audit oversight body for the Development Fund for Iraq, Waxman charged.

In letters to government auditors, Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR) explained that it redacted statements it considered proprietary or "factually inaccurate or misleading" and gave consent for the release of the audits to international auditors "in redacted form". The administration then sent the heavily edited report to the IAMB.

"The withholding of this information is highly unusual and raises serious issues," Waxman complained in a letter to sub-committee chairman Christopher Shays. "The evidence suggests that the US used Iraqi oil proceeds to overpay Halliburton and then sought to hide the evidence of these overcharges from the international auditors."

Halliburton rips us off, and the Bush administration pays them using Iraqi oil money.