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Cheney's Dirty Business

by Wayne Madsen

Companies involved in some of world's worst trouble spots
(AR) WASHINGTON -- The Bush camp touts Cheney as an icon of statesmanship, but after serving as Secretary of Defense in Bush the Elder's administration and rescuing Kuwait's oil from the clutches of Sadaam Hussein, Cheney went on to become Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Halliburton, Inc., an oil drilling firm based in Houston. Halliburton owns the construction firm Brown & Root Services (BRS), a company involved in U.S. intelligence operations in Africa and elsewhere.

Considering the fact that Bush the Elder lives in Houston and was involved with both the oil business and the CIA, the Bush, Jr.-Cheney ticket must be a dream team for him, his friends in the oil industry, and the folks who work at the George Bush Center for Intelligence in Langley, Va. (formerly known as CIA headquarters).

The GOP has a knack for reaching into the past to find candidates to lead the nation into the future. In 1996, the party anointed Bob Dole, a veteran of WWII, to preside over a nation entering the 21st Century. Now Gov. Bush has not only reached back to the Bush administration but to the gloomy post-Watergate era, to pick Cheney, who was President Gerald Ford's chief of staff.

Cheney's links to defense contractors and the intelligence community are suspect because of the roles played by Halliburton and Brown & Root in some of the world's most volatile trouble spots. In 1998, while conducting research in Rwanda for my book, "Genocide and Covert Operations in Africa 1993-1999," a member of a U.S. military team reported that the latter was "into some real bad shit" in that beleaguered nation.

Brown & Root provided "infrastructure support" for the U.S. military and the Tutsi-led Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) government led by Major General Paul Kagame. It was such "infrastructure support" that enabled Rwanda to launch two American-supported invasions of the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The first invasion was aimed at unseating Zairean dictator Mobutu Sese Seko and replacing him with Laurent Kabila, while the second was directed at toppling Kabila himself. The two invasions resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Congolese and Rwandan refugees.

While a commission appointed by the governments of Belgium, France, and the Organization of African Unity have charged their own citizens and diplomats with complicity in central Africa's turmoil, no American panel has ever probed the involvement of the U.S. government, military, and defense contractors in central Africa's woes. If there were such a panel, Dick Cheney, the man in charge of Halliburton and BRS, would certainly have to be called and asked, "What did you know about covert U.S. military operations in Rwanda and when did you know about them?"

Under Cheney's leadership, Brown & Root and Halliburton have been part of the Pentagon's overt and covert operations. Brown & Root, for instance, provides construction and other "infrastructure support" to U.S. troops in Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Croatia, Albania, Greece, and Hungary.

Infrastructure support for the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) has permitted that force -- closely tied to organized crime -- to commit heinous human rights violations against Serbs, Rom (gypsies), anti-KLA Albanians, and Slavic Muslims in the province.

Halliburton, in its "integrated solutions" for West Africa, has provided support for offshore oil drilling platforms in the Gulf of Guinea and South Atlantic Ocean. The Halliburton- Gulf- Chevron- Mobil-BP Amoco teams have ensured that ruthless dictators can ensure the free flow of oil from West African waters.

Leaders like Equatorial Guinea's Obiang Nguema Mbasogo use the revenues generated from offshore oil to enrich themselves and their families and ruthlessly suppress ethnic and political opposition. The same holds true for regimes in Congo (Brazzaville), Gabon, Cameroon, and Angola.

Brwon & Root provides support to the oil industry in Angola's enclave of Cabinda, which is seeking independence from Angola. Supported by them and American mercenary firmss like AirScan of Titusville, Fla., and MPRI of Alexandria, Va., the Front for the Liberation of the Cabinda Enclave (FLEC) is kept in check -- often with blood and brutality -- by the Angolan army.

If Bush chose Cheney as his running mate, we can expect their administration to be a return to yesteryear. The CIA, the oil industry, and the military would regroup to fight a Cold War that no longer exists, with victims being the unfortunate citizens of countries trying to reap a fair share of the wealth generated by oil.

Profits, not people, would be the major thrust of a Bush-Cheney ticket. Candidates like John McCain, Bill Bradley and Ralph Nader who have decried the influence of special interests in the halls of power will have once again been proven right.

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Albion Monitor July 31, 2000 (

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