Halliburton Corporation's Brown and Root is one of the major components of
THE BUSH-CHENEY DRUG EMPIRE
[Lead story in the October 24, 2000 issue of "From The Wilderness"]*
Michael C. Ruppert
© Copyright 2000, Michael C. Ruppert and "From The Wilderness" Publications, P.O. Box 6061-350, Sherman Oaks, CA 91413, 818-788-8791, www.copvcia.com. All Rights Reserved. - Permission to reprint for non-profit only is hereby granted as long as proper sourcing appears. For all other permissions contact email@example.com.
FTW* October 24, 2000 - The success of Bush Vice Presidential running mate Richard Cheney at leading Halliburton, Inc. to a five year $3.8 billion "pig-out" on federal contracts and taxpayer-insured loans is only a partial indicator of what may happen if the Bush ticket wins in two weeks. A closer look at available research, including an August 2, 2000 report by the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) at www.public-i.org, suggests that drug money has played a role in the successes achieved by Halliburton under Cheney's tenure as CEO from 1995 to 2000. This is especially true for Halliburton's most famous subsidiary, heavy construction and oil giant, Brown and Root. A deeper look into history reveals that Brown and Root's past as well as the past of Dick Cheney himself, connect to the international drug trade on more than one occasion and in more than one way.
This June the lead Washington, D.C. attorney for a major Russian oil company connected in law enforcement reports to heroin smuggling and also a beneficiary of US backed loans to pay for Brown and Root contracts in Russia, held a $2.2 million fund raiser to fill the already bulging coffers of presidential candidate George W. Bush. This is not the first time that Brown and Root has been connected to drugs and the fact is that this "poster child" of American industry may also be a key player in Wall Street's efforts to maintain domination of the half trillion dollar a year global drug trade and its profits. And Dick Cheney, who has also come closer to drugs than most suspect, and who is also Halliburton's largest individual shareholder ($45.5 million), has a vested interest in seeing to it that Brown and Root's successes continue.
Of all American companies dealing directly with the U.S. military and providing cover for CIA operations few firms can match the global presence of this giant construction powerhouse which employs 20,000 people in more than 100 countries. Through its sister companies or joint ventures, Brown and Root can build offshore oil rigs, drill wells, construct and operate everything from harbors to pipelines to highways to nuclear reactors. It can train and arm security forces and it can now also feed, supply and house armies. One key beacon of Brown and Root's overwhelming appeal to agencies like the CIA is that, from its own corporate web page, it* proudly announces that it has received the contract to dismantle aging Russian nuclear tipped ICBMs in their silos.
Furthermore, the relationships between key institutions, players and the Bushes themselves suggest that under a George "W" administration the Bush family and its allies may well be able, using Brown and Root as the operational interface, to control the drug trade all the way from Medellin to Moscow.
Originally formed as a heavy construction company to build dams, Brown and Root grew its operations via shrewd political contributions to Senate candidate Lyndon Johnson in 1948. Expanding into the building of oil platforms, military bases, ports, nuclear facilities, harbors and tunnels, Brown and Root virtually underwrote LBJ's political career. It prospered as a result, making billions on U.S. Government contracts during the Vietnam War. The "Austin Chronicle" in an August 28 Op-ed piece entitled "The Candidate From Brown and Root" labels Republican Cheney as the political dispenser of Brown and Root's largesse.* According to political campaign records, during Cheney's five year tenure at Halliburton the company's political contributions more than doubled to $1.2 million. Not surprisingly, most of that money went to Republican candidates.
Independent news service "newsmakingnews.com," also describes how in 1998, with Cheney as Chairman, Halliburton spent $8.1 billion to purchase oil industry equipment and drilling supplier Dresser Industries. This made Halliburton a corporation that will have a presence in almost any future oil drilling operation anywhere in the world. And it also brought back into the family fold the company that had once sent a plane - also in 1948 - to fetch the new Yale Graduate George H.W. Bush, to begin his career in the Texas oil business.* Bush the elder's father, Prescott, served as a Managing Director for the firm that once owned Dresser, Brown Bothers Harriman.
It is clear that everywhere there is oil there is Brown and Root. But increasingly, everywhere there is war or insurrection there is Brown and Root also. From Bosnia and Kosovo, to Chechnya, to Rwanda, to Burma, to Pakistan, to Laos, to Vietnam, to Indonesia, to Iran to Libya to Mexico to Colombia, Brown and Root's traditional operations have expanded from heavy construction to include the provision of logistical support for the U.S. military. Now, instead of U.S. Army quartermasters, the world is likely to see Brown and Root warehouses storing and managing everything from uniforms to rations to vehicles.
Dramatic expansion of Brown and Root's operations in Colombia also suggest Bush preparations for a war inspired feeding frenzy as a part of "Plan Colombia." This is consistent with moves by former Bush Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady to open a joint Colombian-American investment partnership called Corfinsura for the financing of major construction projects with the Colombian Antioquia Syndicate, headquartered in Medellin. (See FTW June, 00). And expectations of a ground war in Colombia may explain why, in a 2000 SEC filing, Brown and Root reported that in addition to owning more than 800,000 square feet of warehouse space in Colombia, they also lease another 122,000 square feet. According to the filing of the Brown and Root Energy Services Group, the only other places where the company maintains warehouse space are in Mexico (525,000 sq. feet), and the U.S. (38,000) square feet.
According to the web site of Colombia's Foreign Investment Promotion Agency Brown and Root had no presence in the country until 1997. What does Brown and Root, which, according to the AP has made more than $2 billion supporting and supplying U.S. troops, know about Colombia that the U.S. public does not?* Why the need for almost a million square feet of warehouse space that can be transferred from one Brown and Root operation (energy) to another (military support) with the stroke of a pen?
*As described by the Associated Press, during "Iran-Contra" Congressman Dick Cheney of the House Intelligence Committee was a rabid supporter of Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North. This was in spite of the fact that North had lied to Cheney in a private 1986 White House briefing. Oliver North's own diaries and subsequent investigations by the CIA Inspector General have irrevocably tied him directly to cocaine smuggling during the 1980s and the opening of bank accounts for one firm moving four tons of cocaine a month. This, however, did not stop Cheney from actively supporting North's 1994 unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate from Virginia just a year before he took over the reins at Brown and Root's parent company, Dallas based Halliburton Inc. in 1995.
As the Bush Secretary of Defense during Desert Shield/Desert Storm (1990-91), Cheney also directed special operations involving Kurdish rebels in northern Iran. The Kurds' primary source of income for more than fifty years has been heroin smuggling from Afghanistan and Pakistan through Iran, Iraq and Turkey. Having had some personal experience with Brown and Root I noted carefully* when the Los Angeles Times observed that on March 22, 1991 that a group of gunmen burst into the Ankara, Turkey offices of the joint venture, Vinnell, Brown and Root and assassinated retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant John Gandy.
In March of 1991, tens of thousands of Kurdish refugees, long-time assets of the CIA, were being massacred by Saddam Hussein in the wake of the Gulf War. Saddam, seeking to destroy any hopes of a successful Kurdish revolt, found it easy to kill thousands of the unwanted Kurds who had fled to the Turkish border seeking sanctuary. There, Turkish security forces, trained in part by the Vinnell, Brown and Root partnership,* turned thousands of Kurds back into certain death. Today, the Vinnell Corporation (a TRW Company) is, along with the firms MPRI and DynCorp (FTW June, 00) one of the three pre-eminent private mercenary corporations in the world. It is also the dominant entity for the training of security forces throughout the Middle East. Not surprisingly the Turkish border regions in question were the primary transhipment points for heroin, grown in Afghanistan and Pakistan and destined for the markets of Europe.
A confidential source with intelligence experience in the region subsequently told me that the Kurds "got some payback against the folks that used to help them move their drugs." He openly acknowledged that Brown and Root and Vinnell both routinely provided NOC or non-official cover for CIA officers. But I already knew that.
From 1994 to 1999, during US military intervention in the Balkans where, according to "The Christian Science Monitor" and "Jane's Intelligence Review," the Kosovo Liberation Army controls 70 per cent of the heroin entering Western Europe, Cheney's* Brown and Root made billions of dollars supplying U.S. troops from vast facilities in the region. Brown and Root support operations continue in Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia to this day.
Dick Cheney's footprints have come closer to drugs than one might suspect. The August Center for Public Integrity report brought them even closer. It would be factually correct to say that there is a direct linkage of Brown and Root facilities - often in remote and hazardous regions - between every drug producing region and every drug consuming region in the world. These coincidences, in and of themselves, do not prove complicity in the trade. Other facts, however, lead inescapably in that direction.
End Part I