Making a Killing: Halliburton / Bechtel War Scams
by DOUG LORIMER (GREEN LEFT WEEKLY)
While nearly 100,000 Iraqis and 1600 US troops have died as a result of the Iraq war and tens of thousands have been severely wounded, the war has proven to be extremely lucrative for the Houston-based oil services company Halliburton and the San Francisco-based construction company Bechtel. These are the two largest private contractors to the US occupation forces in Iraq.
Iraq war and "reconstruction" contracts helped Halliburton to turn a profit in the first quarter of this year, after the company suffered a loss of US$65 million in the first quarter of last year after paying out $4.2 billion in asbestos lawsuit settlements.
Until 2000, Halliburton was headed by US Vice-President Dick Cheney. On April 15, Cheney released his 2004 tax return.
It showed that he received $194,852 in deferred payments from Halliburton, only slightly less than the $203,000 he earned as vice-president.
On April 21, Halliburton reported a net profit of $365 million. This is a dramatic turnaround from last year's first quarter loss.
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