Drilling and Killing,

excerpted from the book

The Exception to the Rulers

Exposing Oily Politicians, War Profiteers, and the Media That Love Them

by Amy Goodman with David Goodman

Hyperion, 2004

This is a well-oiled propaganda machine that is repackaging government spin and passing it off as journalism.

The Bush team has invoked a basic principle of propaganda: Control the images and you control the people... The lesson had been learned from Vietnam - a lesson in manipulation. In Iraq, there would be no daily television images of the human toll of war. The government and the media would portray a clean war, a war nearly devoid of victims.

George Santana
Those who do not remember the past are condemned t repeat it.

If we learn anything from September 11 and the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan, it should be that there will be a price to pay every time our government backs thugs and torturers abroad-or becomes one of them.

Kissinger once commented that he saw no reason why Chile go Marxist" simply because "its people are " should be allowed to " irresponsible."'

Peter Kornbluh of the National Security Archive

"Pinochet murdered more than 3,100 Chileans, disappeared 1,100, and tortured and jailed thousands more. He closed the Chilean Congress, banned political parties, censored the press and took over the universities. Through decree, the barrel of the gun and the touch of the electrode, he imposed a seventeen-year dictatorship that became synonymous with human rights abuses at home and terrorist atrocities abroad ."

Between 1975 and 1983, the Argentine military killed 30,000 of its own people. In October 1976, then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger told an Argentine Navy admiral, "The quicker you succeed, the better."

September 11 Around the World

September 11 has now become synonymous with the tragic events of 2001. But for others around the world, this date evokes different images and memories of terror:

September 11, 1973, Chile. President Salvador Allende, democratically elected leader of Chile, died in a CIA-backed military coup.

September 11, 1977, South Africa. Anti-apartheid leader Stephen Biko, unconscious on the floor of a police van after being beaten by police, was driven 1,000 kilometers to Pretoria, where he would die the following day.

September 11, 1990, Guatemala. Guatemalan anthropologist Myrna Mack was murdered by U.S.-backed military.

September 9-13, 1971, New York. The Attica prison uprising occurred, in which New York state troopers killed thirty-nine men and wounded eighty-eight others.

Zbigniew Brzezinski

"What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?"

Brzezinski got his answer on 9/11.

On December is, 2002, Democracy Now! ... interviewed Andreas Zurnach, a Geneva-based UN corespondent with the German daily newspaper Die Tageszeitung. Zurnach had obtained portions of Iraq's report to the United Nations detailing its weapons programs. What Zurnach had was a collector's item: He had the parts of Iraq's 12,000-page report that the United States had redacted.

You might think the United States deemed this material dangerous because it could be misused by terrorists. Try again: The material was dangerous because if it got out, it would expose corporate and official complicity in arming Iraq, which might dampen global enthusiasm for war.

The portions of the UN report censored by the United States identified at least twenty-four U.S. corporations that helped Iraq build its pre-Gulf War weapons programs and rockets. The list includes

Bechtel (conventional)
DuPont (nuclear)
Eastman Kodak (rocket)
Hewlett-Packard (nuclear, rocket, conventional)
Honeywell (rocket, conventional)
International Computer Systems (nuclear, rocket, conventional)
Rockwell (conventional)
Sperry Corp. (rocket, conventional)
Tektronix (rocket, nuclear)
Unisys (nuclear, conventional)

Die Tageszeitung also reported that the U.S. Department of Energy delivered essential nonfissile parts for Baghdad's nuclear weapons program in the 1980s. The Reagan and Bush I administrations also authorized sales of deadly chemical and biological agents to Iraq, including anthrax and bubonic plague.

You would think that Andreas Zurnach's investigative expose would be major news here, right? Wrong. "This knowledge about our responsibility or co-responsibility for the problem now called Saddam Hussein has been suppressed, has been wiped out of our memory," says Zurnach. "The big papers [in the United States] were not interested at all. The European papers, the British, the Scandinavian, the French papers, the Italian, Japanese, Brazilian - they were all on the telephone with me asking for information and doing huge stories. There was silence on this side of the Atlantic."

The blueprint for what has happened since 9/11 was drawn up years earlier, by the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), a think tank formed in 1997 "to promote American global leadership." Its founders are a who's who of the neoconservative movement, which seamlessly morphed into the top officialdom of the Bush 11 administration: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Vice President Dick Cheney, Cheney's chief of staff L. Scooter Libby, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Defense Policy Board member Richard Perle, and National Security Council staff member (and convicted liar) Elliot Abrams, among others.

The PNAC members had a reputation around Washington, explained Ray McGovern, a retired CIA analyst with twenty-seven years' experience. A former intelligence briefer for Vice President George Bush, McGovern observed, "When we saw these people coming back in town, all of us said . . . 'Oh my God, the crazies are back.'" McGovern said their wild-eyed geopolitical schemes would typically go "right into the circular file."

In September 2000, PNAC issued a report that called upon the United States to dominate global resources ... The key to realizing this was "some catastrophic and catalyzing event-like a new Pearl Harbor."

As investigative reporter John 'Pilger has written, "[PNAC] recommended an increase in arms-spending by $48 billion so that Washington could 'fight and win multiple, simultaneous major theatre wars.' This has happened. It said the United States should develop 'bunker-buster' nuclear weapons and make 'star wars' a national priority. This is happening. It said that, in the event of Bush taking power, Iraq should be a target. And so it is.""

Weapons of mass destruction and Iraq itself were mere pretexts for larger schemes. According to PNAC: "While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein."

John Pilger

"Since September, America has established bases at the gateways to all the major sources of fossil fuels, especially central Asia. The Unocal oil company is to build a pipeline across Afghanistan. Bush has scrapped the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions, the war crimes provisions of the International Criminal Court, and the anti-ballistic missile treaty." And that's just the start. "[T]he Bush regime is developing new weapons of mass destruction that undermine international treaties on biological and chemical warfare "

As General Wesley Clark notes in his book Winning Modern Wars: Iraq, Terrorism, and the American Empire, he was informed privately by a top Pentagon colleague that the war on terror was part of "a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia, and Sudan." Clark, a former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, recounted, "I left the Pentagon that afternoon deeply concerned."

Michael Meacher, Tony Blair's environmental minister 1997-2003

The "global war on terrorism has the hallmarks of a political myth propagated to pave the way for a wholly different agenda - the U.S. goal of world hegemony, built around securing by force command over the oil supplies required to drive the whole project."

The feeding frenzy began the morning of 9/11. As my neighbors and coworkers were choking on the debris of the World Trade Center, a windfall awaited a powerful group gathered at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Washington, D.C. The secretive Carlyle Group was holding its annual investors' conference. The private investment company, named for the swank Manhattan hotel where the group was formed in 1987, has tentacles in both the Washington power elite and the Saudi ruling class. In town for the meetings was former President George H. W. Bush, then a senior adviser to Carlyle. He was joined by a cast of characters who have been fixtures in Bush regimes over the years.

There was Reagan's former secretary of defense Frank Carlucci, then head of the Carlyle Group. James Baker III, secretary of state under Bush Sr.-better known as the choreographer of Bush Jr.'s theft of the 2000 election-was also there in his capacity as Carlyle's senior counsel. But it wasn't just Bush's inner circle gathering that day. They were joined by a man by the name of Shafiq bin Laden, brother of Osama bin Laden. It wasn't the first time a bin Laden had worked with Washington's power elite, and this particular bin Laden was a longtime friend and benefactor of the Bush clan. Bush Sr. left the meetings early, but the rest of the men were just finishing breakfast when Shafiq's brother's plot culminated in airplanes slamming into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

A bizarre coincidence? No, the meeting was just business as usual for the Bushes, whose family fortunes have been greased by Saudi oil money for decades. That helps explain why, when the United States grounded all aircraft on that terrible day, one exception was made: Top White House officials authorized planes to pick up 140 Saudis, including two dozen members of the bin Laden family, from ten cities and spirit them back to Saudi Arabia. Dale Watson, the former head of counterterrorism at the FBI, conceded in Vanity Fair that the departing Saudis "were not subject to serious interviews or interrogations. "

Tom Kinton, director of aviation at Boston's Logan Airport, was incredulous, according to Vanity Fair. With the airport still closed and reeling from the 9/11 attacks, Kinton received the order to allow the bin Ladens to fly. "We were in the midst of the worst terrorist act in history and here we were seeing an evacuation of the bin Ladens!" he exclaimed.

A month after the terror attacks, the Carlyle Group took its subsidiary, United Defense, public. It noted in its financial filings that "the Bush administration's recently published Quadrennial Defense Review calls for ... increasing investment ... to enable U.S. military forces to more effectively counter emerging threats."

Translation: We just got check-writing privileges at the U.S. Treasury.

Carlyle netted profits of $237 million in that one day, making three times as much on paper. The old adage has never been truer: It pays to have friends in high places.

Stroking the Saudis

The Bush family has had a long and mutually profitable connection with the corrupt Saudi oil dictatorship. Prince Bandar, Saudi ambassador to the United States, has been an honored guest both at the Bush I summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine, and at Bush 11's getaway in Crawford, Texas (hence his nickname, "Bandar Bush"). Bandar expressed his gratitude to Bush I by donating $1 million to the Bush Presidential Library in Texas. And Bandar's prodding prompted Saudi King Fahd to send another $1 million to Barbara Bush's campaign against illiteracy.

Saudi Prince al-Walid contributed half a million petrodollars to help launch the George Herbert Walker Bush Scholarship Fund at Phillips Academy, the alma mater of both Bush presidents. The depth of these connections was highlighted when the former president visited the Saudis to "discuss U.S.-Saudi business relations" with Crown Prince Abdullah during his son's 2000 presidential campaign.

And then there is the bin Laden problem. The bin Laden family, a key Carlyle investor, stood to make millions of dollars from the war on terror-a war that has as its chief villain a member of their own family. The bin Ladens withdrew from the Carlyle Group in late October 200 1, but it's not just the bin Laden family proper that was problematic for the Bushes. It turns out that Prince Bandar's wife, Princess Haifa, had made charitable contributions that may have helped finance two of the 9/11 hijackers.

It would be reasonable to think that U.S. investigators would have great interest in getting to the bottom of all these possible Saudi terror connections. But in mid-2003, the Bush administration withheld 28 pages relating to Saudi Arabia's role in the attacks from the 800-page final report of the congressional 9/11 Commission.

President Bush justified this action by saying that revealing the contents of the missing pages "would show people how we collect information and on whom we're collecting information, which would be harmful on the war against terror."

Or might it just be harmful to Bush's family and friends? As Julian Borger wrote in The Guardian, "The reason pages about the Saudi link to the hijackers (15 out of 19 of whom were Saudi nationals) are blanked out, while Al Qaeda's questionable ties to Iraq and Iran are taken to the UN, is an old but crucial story." The U.S. -Saudi connection "is the mutual dependency of two wealthy junkies dragging each other ever deeper into squalor. The U.S. is addicted to cheap oil, and shows no inclination to wean itself off it. Washington officialdom is hooked on the easy money Riyadh offers in the world of consultancies and think tanks when they retire. The Saudi royal family, meanwhile, has its own addictions. It depends on the U.S. arms industry, of which it is the biggest foreign customer.

Brian Whitaker, The Guardian

For centuries, pillage by invading armies - was a normal part of warfare.... Nowadays, at least in more civilized countries, we do not let armies rampage for booty. We leave the pillaging to men in suits, and we don't call it pillaging anymore. We call it economic development.

The Defense Policy Board, an internal Pentagon think tank, provided a chorus of support for the invasion, with its members appearing regularly on television to make the case. And who could blame them? Their members stood to profit handsomely from the war. Members of the Defense Policy Board include Newt Gingrich, Ken Adelman (who promised that the war would be a "cakewalk), Richard Perle, Dan Quayle, and Bechtel senior vice president General Jack Sheehan. As the Center for Public Integrity reported, nine of the thirty Defense Policy Board members have ties to companies that have won more than $76 billion in defense contracts in 2002.


In an administration that has taken a pledge of allegiance to enrich its billionaire buddies, one crony capitalist trumps them all: Vice President Dick Cheney.

Cheney, secretary of defense under Bush 1, spent his years in the wilderness as CEO of Halliburton, one of the world's largest oil services and defense contractors. In September 2003, Cheney boldly declared on Meet the Press, "I have no financial interest in Halliburton of any kind and haven't had now for over three years .

Cheney's statement was false. Halliburton is paying Cheney roughly $165,000 per year in deferred compensation through 2005, not to mention his more than $400,000 in stock options. All of which constitutes a clear financial interest, according to the Congressional Research Service.

To Cheney, the $60 million in salary that he drew from Halliburton between 1995 and 2000 was simply fair compensation for his long hours at the office. When -vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman observed during their 2000 debate that Cheney had done well for himself at Halliburton, Cheney replied, "I can tell you, Joe, the government had absolutely nothing to do with it."

Oh, really? As columnist Molly Ivins notes, "Mr. Cheney led Halliburton into the top ranks of corporate welfare hogs, benefiting from almost $2 billion in taxpayer-insured loans from the U.S. Export-Import Bank and the Overseas Private Investment Corp. Mr. Cheney also specialized in getting government contracts for the firm. During his five years as CEO, Halliburton got $2.3 billion in contracts, compared with $1.2 billion in the five years before he took over.

Halliburton, which made campaign contributions of $708,770 between 1999 and 2002-95 percent went to Republicans-has been reaping a handsome return on its investment .

Like Bush's patron, Ken Lay at Enron, Cheney proved better at extracting public money than at accounting for it. Under his watch, Halliburton inflated profits by $234 million over a four-year period, spawning more than a dozen lawsuits for the "accounting irregularity. '148 That's a cheery euphemism for lying and stealing, but if we called it that, you might be shouting for people like Cheney to be put in jail like other thieves.

Maybe I'm just old-fashioned, but I have a problem with lying about $234 million. Remember the Whitewater scandal? That was the one where Republicans spent $60 million investigating a real estate scandal in which the Clintons lost $46,000. The newspapers and right-wing pundits are still flogging that.

Where's the outrage when it comes to Bush's crony-in-chief'?

Iraq has been Cheney's own personal piggy bank ever since he led the Pentagon during the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Following that war, Cheney commissioned Brown & Root, a Halliburton subsidiary, to study military outsourcing---the practice of paying private companies to do jobs previously done by the military. The Pentagon subsequently chose Brown & Root to implement its own outsourcing plan. Halliburton later hired-who else?-Dick Cheney to run its affairs and open the spigots for public money to flow its way.

Cheney's outsourcing brainstorm has been a windfall for Halliburton and other private companies. It is estimated that a third of the $4 billion monthly cost of the Iraq occupation is going to private contractors.

Not that the vice president doesn't have his scruples. just ask him. Following the 1991 Gulf War, Cheney railed against those who would profit from dealing with the Iraqi dictator. And he later told Sam Donaldson, "I had a firm policy that I wouldn't do anything in Iraq."

Alas, that policy was about as firm as an oil slick. Under Cheney, Halliburton "held stakes in two firms that signed contracts to sell more than $73 million in oil production equipment and spare parts to Iraq," The Washington Post revealed.

Even with its Iraqi windfall, Halliburton nearly went bankrupt in 2001 because of its fraudulent accounting practices-and because of Cheney's ill-advised acquisition of Dresser Industries, which was laden with asbestos liabilities. But as soon as Dick Cheney got hold of the government purse strings as vice president, help was on the way. The "war on terror" has been a cash cow for Halliburton, which quickly became the single biggest government contractor in Iraq.

Halliburton's whopping tally: more than $5 billion in contracts from the U.S. government during the war on Iraq, as of January 2004.

And that's only the beginning. Halliburton stands to make hundreds of millions of dollars in a no-bid contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to rehabilitate Iraq's oil wells. In March 2003, Halliburton was awarded a no-bid contract to put out fires at Iraqi oil wells. Contract value: up to $7 billion.

Two years earlier, Halliburton had secured an unprecedented ten-year deal from the Pentagon known as the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP)-a contract that will send Kellogg, Brown & Root anywhere on earth to run military operations for a profit. Value to date: about $830 million.

Halliburton's bounty has been so big that in August 2003, even the Bechtel Group-itself no slouch at profiteering from the war-withdrew from bidding on $1 billion worth of oil projects in Iraq, complaining that Halliburton had an inside track."

That inside track has dramatically improved Halliburton's fortunes. The company turned a $26 million profit in the second quarter of 2003. This contrasts with a $498 million loss in the same period a year earlier. From mid-2002 till mid-2003, while the stock market sank, the value of Halliburton's shares rose by 50 percent.

The Bush administration has ensured that Halliburton and its ilk can plunder Iraq with impunity. In May 2003, President Bush signed an executive order that provides oil industry companies and only oil companies-unprecedented immunity against contractual disputes or lawsuits resulting from discrimination, labor law abuses, environmental disasters, and human rights violations.

"In terms of legal liability," says Tom Devine, legal director of the Government Accountability Project, "the executive order cancels the concept of corporate accountability and abandons the rule of law. It is a blank check for corporate anarchy, potentially robbing Iraqis of both their rights and their resources."

All this wasn't enough for the Texas oil services behemoth. In December 2003, a Pentagon audit revealed that Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root may have overcharged the Army $61 million for gasoline that it was providing in Iraq. In the same week that it was revealed that Cheney's old company was gouging American taxpayers, President Bush announced that no Iraqi contracts would go to France, Russia, Canada, Germany, or any other country that opposed the invasion of Iraq-ensuring that Bush's political contributors could continue to corner the Iraqi business.

Defending his decision to maintain Iraq as an exclusive preserve for U.S.-based multinational corporations, Bush explained why the victor is entitled to the spoils of war. "It's very 11 simple , he said. "Our people risked their lives and therefore the contracting is going to reflect that, and that's what the U.S. taxpayers expect."

The Cheney Index

* Cheney's 2000 income from Halliburton: $36,086,635

* Number of Halliburton stock options Cheney still owns: 433,333 Size of his retirement package (not including the stock options): $20 million

* Increase in government contracts while Cheney led Halliburton: 91 percent

* Minimum size of "accounting irregularity" that occurred while Cheney was CEO: $234 million

* Number of the seven official U.S. "state sponsors of terror" that Halliburton contracted with: three out of seven (Iran, Iraq, Libya)

* Pages of Energy Plan documents Cheney refused to give congressional investigators: 13,500

* Amount the energy sector gave to Republican candidates for 2000 elections: $50 million

* Number of energy corporations identified that helped Cheney's Energy Task Force shape national energy policy:

Sources: Center for Responsive Politics, Center for Public Integrity,, U.S. Department of State

[John] Ashcroft warned the Senate Judiciary-Committee on December 6, 2001

"To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists, for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to America's enemies, and pause to America's friends."

As the American Civil Liberties Union explains, the USA PATRIOT Act

* Expands terrorism laws to include "domestic terrorism," which could subject political organizations to surveillance, wiretapping, harassment, and criminal action for political advocacy.

* Expands the ability of law enforcement to conduct secret searches, gives them wide powers of phone and Internet surveillance, and access to highly personal medical, financial, mental health, and student records with minimal judicial oversight.

* Allows FBI agents to investigate American citizens for criminal matters without probable cause of crime if they say it is for "intelligence purposes.

* Permits non-citizens to be jailed based on mere suspicion and to be denied re-admission to the U.S. for engaging in free speech. Suspects convicted of no crime may be detained indefinitely in six-month increments without meaningful judicial review.

The assault on civil liberties doesn't end with the USA PATRIOT Act. President Bush decided that he can declare an American citizen an "enemy combatant" who can be locked up, denied counsel, and tried before a military tribunal instead of a regular court. The United States can send these prisoners into a legal netherworld on Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

Whose warped vision of America is this?

Asked to explain how the "enemy combatant" clause works, concerned federal prosecutor confided recently to my brother: "This means that when we don't have the goods on someone, we can just export them to a kind of Constitution-free zone. Then we can do what we like with them. It makes a mockery of our entire legal system."

Michael Ratner, head of the Center for Constitutional Rights and an attorney for Guantanamo detainees, observes, "It is as if Guantanamo is on another planet, a permanent United States penal colony floating in another world."

... the INS did issue student visas to two ... hijackers - six months after they died crashing planes into the World Trade Center.

Amy Goodman paage

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