CHENEY AND WAR PROFITEERING:
From 1995 to 2000, Dick Cheney was CEO of Halliburton during which time he substantially increased the company’s government contracts. While Cheney quit his job at Halliburton to become Vice President in 2000, Cheney has $18 million-worth of unexercised stock options from Halliburton and received $178,437 from the company according to his 2003 tax returns.
Halliburton has been the subject of intense scrutiny during the occupation of Iraq having won $3.9 billion, 680% more than in 2002. Cheney’s relationship with Halliburton has been the target of criticism over the past year, especially with the award (and later withdrawal) of a no-bid contract to Halliburton as well as the dramatic increase in government contracts. Even in the past day, Democratic members of the House of Representatives have called for an investigation of Cheney’s links to Halliburton after an email was published that appears to directly link the White House with Halliburton’s receipt of a contract to Halliburton to rebuild Iraq’s oil industry.
In conjunction with Halliburton’s recent shareholders meeting, Corpwatch and Global Exchange released a new study on Halliburton–“Houston, We Have a Problem” that looks at Halliburton and their status as the number one financial benefactor of the invasion of Iraq despite being under investigation by the Department of Justice, having been accused of overcharging $61 million for fuel and $24.7 million for meals, and confirmed kickbacks worth $6.3 billion. The study documents Halliburton’s history of corruption, fraud, and waste, in addition to looking at the quality of work done by Halliburton.
CHENEY AND THE INVASION OF IRAQ:
Vice President Dick Cheney was one of the major advocates of a “pre-emptive” invasion of Iraq, an invasion which was later acknowledged to be illegal by neo-conservative Richard Perle. While the invasion was clearly illegal, there has also been a recent debate about possible war crimes by the United States at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad (also worth noting is that Cheney, as Secretary of Defense in 1992, was warned that US interrogation methods may be illegal). This is not the first time that questions of war crimes have surrounded Cheney–Cheney was accused of war crimes in the Gulf War–certainly the killing of 9,300 Iraqi civilians in an illegal war would fit under the rubric of “war crimes.”
Throughout the lead-up to the war Cheney deliberately distorted information on the Iraq, claiming that Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat, raising the specter of Iraq’s “reconstituted nuclear” program, and claiming that Iraq had ties with Al-Qaida. Even after the invasion, Cheney continued to claim that new ties between Iraq and Al-Qaida were being found despite a lack of information, and Cheney still claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction despite information to the contrary. For those who are seeking a more in depth chronicle of Cheney’s lies on Iraq, “Iraq on the Record: The Bush Administration’s Public Statements on Iraq” chronicles 51 lies and misleading statements.
CHENEY’S ENERGY TASK FORCE:
Another area in which Cheney has been criticized is with his National Energy Policy Development Group. The Energy Police Development Group began in 2001 and was touted as an effort to create an improved energy police for the country, but it became the subject of intense criticism when it was learned that many of the meetings included energy industry lobbyists and CEOs, and furthermore, when the White House announced that the meetings were secret and nothing about them would be publicly revealed.
Many have charged that the National Energy Policy Development Group is indicative of the Bush administration’s close relationship with corporations, as well as its willingness to provide government access and beneficial legislation to corporations. While the Bush administration claimed that the energy policy would prevent a repeat of the “California Energy Crisis of 2001,” Cheney has documented ties to Enron and the energy crisis, while companies involved in his energy task force are currently facing criminal indictments for their role in the crisis.
JudicialWatch has taken a lawsuit to the Supreme Court seeking disclosure, while preliminary efforts have secured the release of some documents, including a map of Iraqi oil fields reviewed by the task force in 2001. In spring of 2002, under order of a federal judge, the U.S. Department of Energy released 13,500 pages of documents to the National Resources Defense Council and an analysis of their findings is available online.
MONEY AND POLITICS:
Vice President’s Cheney’s last visit, a June 2003 fundraiser, garnered $500,000 in donations to the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign. The campaign has raised at least $204 million during this election — surpassing a previous record set by Bush. With massive amounts of money being spent on elections, candidates from both parties accept money from lobbyists, although the Bush-Cheney campaign has taken nearly four times as much from lobbyists as the Kerry Campaign.
However, it is not just lobbyists that influence policy — it is the dispropotionate influence gained by those who have money to donate. Opensecrets.org tracks money and the elections, allowing for searches of major donors by area.
CHENEY AND THE USA PATRIOT ACT
“The Patriot Act was carefully written to protect the civil liberties that have long defined American democracy.” — Dick Cheney, June 1, 2004
One of the recurring themes in Dick Cheney’s campaign speeches has been the importance of the USA PATRIOT Act in the so-called “war on terror.” Cheney has been consistently defending the USAPATRIOT Act, as well as misrepresenting the dangers that it poses to civil liberties. The USA PATRIOT Act has come under increasing criticism from both left and right wing organizations, and four states and 321 cities and counties, including Grand Rapids MI, have passed resolutions in opposition to it. And yet, despite ample evidence to the contrary, Cheney continues to claim that the USA PATRIOT poses no threat to civil liberties.