Vice, new film on Bush’s vice president Cheney

This 3 October 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

VICE Official Trailer (2018) Christian Bale, Amy Adams Movie HD.

On 3 March 2019, I saw the new film Vice, on George W Bush‘s vice president Dick Cheney, in a packed cinema.

In the beginning, the film says that most people in the USA have to work harder and longer for less and less money. So, in their less and less spare time, they don’t have much time to analyze politics.

That may be a reason why the film, though it deals with very serious subjects like millions of people killed in wars, has many comedy style elements, making it easier to digest.

Halfway in the film there is a ‘distancing effect‘, similar to Bertolt Brecht’s plays. The Republican party lost a presidential election. Cheney is out of the federal government. The cinema screen shows credits of which actors play Cheney, his wife and other roles. Then, the movie resumes.

According to the film, Cheney at first did not want to become Bush’s vice president, as that office traditionally has little power. However, then he considered the low intelligence of Bush; and realized that he could in fact become the most powerful man in the most powerful country behind the scenes, while not being president officially.

Cheney saw 9/11 as an opportunity to start war on Iraq (which had nothing to do with it).

The film also mentions Dick Cheney shooting a fellow hunter, thinking he was a quail; and the cover-up of that.

Cheney and his wife told their eldest daughter Liz Cheney to throw her lesbian younger sister Mary under the bus to win votes of homophobes. Liz did that in a Fox News interview. When Mary reacted in tears to that betrayal, Liz called her ‘hysterical’.

In the third scene before the end of the film, Cheney defends his policies, claiming his wars, massive spying on American citizens, etc. were supposedly for keeping people safe.

Then, the penultimate scene shows how much profits Dick Cheney’s business Halliburton made from Cheney’s Iraq war.

Finally, the last scene has a Brechtian distancing effect again. It shows a focus group discussing the film, with Donald Trump supporters getting into a fight with Trump opponents.

A review by David Walsh and Joanne Laurier says it is a good film, though it lacks criticism of warmongering Democrats, apart from one shot of Hillary Clinton supporting the Iraq war. Like it shows present Vice President Mike Pence doing as well.

Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, formerly Bush administration Secretary of State Colin Powell‘s Chief of Staff, mentioned in Vice, says the film is not critical enough of Cheney.

Trump’s Interior Secretary’s Halliburton corporation scandal

This video from the USA says about itself:

19 June 2018

Exclusive: Zinke linked with real estate deal with Halliburton president

From the League of Conservation Voters in the USA today:

The internal watchdog at the Department of the Interior just launched a formal probe into a real estate deal between Ryan Zinke and the chairman of [George W Bush‘s Vice President Dick Cheney‘s] Halliburton, one of the country’s largest offshore drilling companies.

This is just the latest in a long list of Zinke’s scandals. With reports of him skirting campaign finance laws, violating the Hatch Act, and spending on the taxpayer’s dime, he must be held accountable — just like Pruitt was.

This is our chance to shine a light on Zinke’s ethical lapses. We’re pushing to hold him accountable for his shameful attacks on our public lands. Right now a major donor is triple-matching every contribution — we need your help.

We got Pruitt out — we can hold Zinke accountable too, but only if we can go big with this. We need every LCV member to step up.

While this scandal shines light on how unethical Zinke is, it’s nothing in comparison to the destruction he’s done in his first sixteen months at the helm of the Interior Department.

He’s gutting protections from Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments … Moved to auction off nearly all of America’s coastlines to offshore drilling … Expanded regulatory loopholes to benefit Big Polluters. His damage will take decades to undo.

I want you to know this is a fight we can win, Lola. We’ve already seen members of Trump’s cabinet leave the administration after public outcry over corruption and cronyism. Just last month, former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt resigned in disgrace after facing an unprecedented 55 anti-secrecy lawsuits and a barrage of bad publicity over his lavish expenses on the taxpayers’ dime. And before that, there was HHS Secretary Tom Price.

Thank you for standing with us.

Gene Karpinski
League of Conservation Voters

The scandals are piling up for Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

PRUITT’S SECURE PHONE BOOTH USED ONCE Former Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt used his secure, soundproof phone booth, which costs $43,000 to install, just once during his entire tenure. [HuffPost]

Halliburton, Rolls-Royce, other corporations’ corruption scandal

Unaoil corruption map

From the Huffington Post in the USA:

There’s A Huge New Corporate Corruption Scandal. Here’s Why Everyone Should Care.

Bribery fuels political instability — and it’s a propaganda tool for terrorists.

03/30/2016 07:04 am ET

Most people remember that the Arab Spring started with a guy who lit himself on fire. What they don’t remember is that he did it as a protest against corruption: Mohamed Bouazizi, a Tunisian fruit vendor, decided he’d been shaken down by police officers one too many times.

Bouazizi’s death set in motion the biggest political upheaval of the 21st century. The Arab Spring was “mostly about corruption,” said FBI Special Agent George McEachern, one of the leading investigators of global graft. “Corruption leads to failed states, which leads to terrorism< which leads [sic] to national security.”

Thats what makes the corruption revealed in a new trove of confidential emails from a mysterious Monaco-based company called Unaoil so significant.

On Wednesday, The Huffington Post and its Australian partner, Fairfax Media — led by reporters Richard Baker and Nick McKenzie — published the results of a months-long investigation of Unaoil, an obscure firm that helps big multinational corporations win contracts in areas of the world where corruption is common.

Hundreds of major international corporations — including Halliburton,

The corporation of Dick Cheney, vice president of the USA during George W Bush’s presidency

its former subsidiary KBRRolls-Royce and Samsung — counted on Unaoil to secure lucrative contracts in Iraq, Kazakhstan, Libya, Syria, Tunisia, and other countries in Africa, the Middle East, and the former Soviet Union, tens of thousands of internal emails and documents reveal. It’s common for large multinational corporations to partner with smaller firms with local expertise to win contracts. But in many cases, Unaoil wasn’t winning contracts because of its expertise — it was winning them by paying millions of dollars in bribes to corrupt officials.

Most of the companies that worked with Unaoil denied involvement in corrupt activities. …

By aiding the corruption of already-distrusted regimes and accelerating the flow of money and resources out of poor countries, Unaoil and its partners were risking far more than fines and criminal penalties. They were creating political instability, turning citizens against their governments, and fueling the rage that would erupt during the Arab Spring — and be exploited by terrorist groups like al Qaeda and the Islamic State [ISIS].

Companies and individuals pay at least $1 trillion in bribes to public sector officials annually, according to an estimate by Daniel Kaufman, a governance expert with the World Bank Institute.

The Unaoil emails don’t show corrupt third-world kleptocracies shaking down helpless western corporations. They show the opposite: Unaoil, working for western companies, is seen slowly corrupting foreign officials, starting off with small gifts and shopping sprees and eventually hooking them on major graft.

“There is always somebody who pays,” the billionaire hedge fund magnate George Soros has said, “and international business is generally the main source of corruption.” That’s part of the story that terrorists have long told local populations to justify jihadist insurgency. In many of the cases uncovered here, it happens to be true.

Based in Monaco but incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, Unaoil says it provides “industrial solutions to the energy sector in the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa.” It was founded in 1991 by Ata Ahsani, an Iranian-born millionaire who left the country after the 1979 revolution. The company’s work, Ahsani told HuffPost and Fairfax Media, is “very basic. What we do is integrate western technology with local capability.” Two of Ata Ahsani’s sons, Cyrus and Saman, are deeply involved in the company’s day-to-day operations.

Here’s how Unaoil’s schemes often worked. During the time frame covered by the documents — most of which date from the end of 2003 to the middle of 2011 — Unaoil’s practice was to ask its partners for a percentage of the revenue from any contracts Unaoil helped them win. Once Unaoil made sure it had a stake in its client’s business, it would sometimes use a portion of its cut to bribe government officials — and keep the rest for itself.

In one 2005 email to his colleagues, Basil Al Jarah, a Unaoil executive, described a September meeting in Paris with Laurent Poidevin, then a sales and marketing VP for FMC Technologies, an American equipment firm. Al Jarah bragged that he had convinced FMC to hire Unaoil to obtain a contract to install between four and six new loading arms at a major port in Kuwait. Here’s an excerpt:

I secured a commitment of 10% to be made in writing by close of business today. I requested FMC provide three letters as follows:

1% To [another company] for making the introduction.

7% To Unaoil which we will show to the big cheese in Kuwait.

2% To Unaoil which can be split internally.

Mr. Laurent had no problems with that as long as it is not made out in individual names. He will run this by his CEO when he gets to the office and send the commitment email at once to be followed by a consultancey [sic] contract which both parties are expected to sign….

…[Another intermediary] is handling the big cheese in Kuwait and to decide what portion of the 7% should go to that man.

Poidevin is now the president and general manager of FMC, according to his LinkedIn profile. “FMC Technologies has a culture of accountability and compliance and competes on the strength of its technology, service, and execution excellence,” an FMC spokeswoman said in an email. “Employees are expected to uphold our core value of integrity and are trained to report concerns. We thoroughly investigate all issues that are raised and take appropriate action. This is a long-standing commitment FMC Technologies has made everywhere we operate.”

Did Unaoil bribe public officials? “The answer is absolutely no,” Ata Ahsani said.

If it did — and the emails suggest as much — the companies that hired Unaoil could face criminal sanctions or enormous fines. In the U.S., a federal law, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA, prohibits companies from working with any entity that they know — or should know — bribes foreign government officials. Even offering to pay a bribe is forbidden. Most rich countries, including Australia, Canada, and the U.K., have similar laws. And U.S. prosecutors can and do apply the U.S. law to foreign firms, especially ones that do business in the U.S or issue stocks on U.S. exchanges. Eight of the 10 largest FCPA settlements in history, all of them over $100 million, were with firms based outside of the U.S.

Not all of the companies that Unaoil worked with necessarily knew what it was doing. That may not matter: The FCPA allows for fines and criminal penalties for companies that fail to properly investigate whether their partners are paying bribes. It’s what the law calls “deliberate ignorance” or “willful blindness,” explained Andy Spalding, a law professor at the University of Richmond who runs a leading blog on the subject. “Historically what a lot of these companies would do is hire these intermediaries,” he added. “The company might think it’s protected by the statute because it doesn’t know what the intermediary was doing. But if there are red flags and the company does not investigate, that can also [create] liability.”

Red flags surrounded Unaoil. Just the fact that the company is based in a tiny tax haven like Monaco should have made its partners nervous, argued Richard Bistrong, the CEO of Frontline Anti-Bribery, a consultancy. “Right away just having an agent in Monaco is going to give you pause for due diligence,” said Bistrong, who cooperated with an FBI bribery investigation, served 14 months in federal prison for an FCPA violation, and now advises companies on how to avoid following in his footsteps. Unaoil’s business — the energy industry — is also “risky,” Bistrong said. “It would warrant a very robust and in-country level of due diligence.” Being incorporated in the British Virgin Islands is a “big” red flag, too, he said.

But some of Unaoil’s partners were not particularly concerned. In one egregious example, Kelsey Kalinski, the president of a Canadian fracking firm called Canuck Completions, emailed his colleagues and a Unaoil employee, Foroohar Farzadnia, to ask about a deal in Libya. “What we are curious about is to what type of Baksheesh is needed to present to these men in order to get work started,” Kalinski wrote, using a common slang term for improper payments. “I believe this is common practice in Libya, but we are not sure how to handle this. Is this something that needs to be done after work hours one on one? A added value amount to the ticket for them, or a flat fee a month, we are not sure. What are your thoughts on this?” (TMK Completions, which absorbed Canuck Completions several years ago — and where Kalinski now works — declined to comment or make him available for comment.)

A few emails later, Saman Ahsani followed up with an email to Farzadnia and several others. “I don’t know what kevin [sic] means by bakhsheesh,” Ahsani wrote. “May i remind everybody of our Group’s code of conduct and zero tolerance of any facilitation activities. He needs a talking to.”

Bribery is illegal for a litany of reasons, but one in particular — the idea that corruption fuels political instability and strengthens the enemies of free-market democracies — has underpinned U.S. anti-bribery efforts for decades. When the U.S. passed the FCPA in 1977, “the concern was that U.S. companies paying bribes overseas was going to weaken the position of the west in the Cold War,” said Spalding, the Richmond law professor. Corruption, U.S. lawmakers realized, weakens western-friendly governments and makes them easy targets for insurgencies.

Like their communist predecessors, jihadists have long recognized the power of anti-corruption narratives to help them win popular support. “Corruption is a tool that terrorism uses,” said Roger Cook, a corruption expert with the City of London Police. “It causes terrorism.”

Jihadists make the case that religious purity is not merely an end in itself, but a means to a righteous government. In 2004, Osama bin Laden, in a propaganda video sent to Al Jazeera, warned the Middle East that the Bush administration was occupying Iraq “with a new puppet to assist in the pilfering of Iraq’s oil”; he loved to decry the “pride, arrogance, greed and misappropriation of wealth,” of the Gulf states. Kim Barker, writing for the Chicago Tribune in 2008, noticed the phenomenon in Afghanistan. “Corruption is turning more people toward the fundamentalist Taliban, which is seen as clean in comparison,” Barker reported from Kabul. “The Taliban may be remembered for its harsh rule, but it also is remembered for enforcing that harsh rule. No one took bribes.”

In Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya, jihadists focused much of their propaganda on the irredeemable corruption of Hamid Karzai, Nouri al-Maliki, Bashar Assad and Muammar Gaddafi. One of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s first orders of business after proclaiming himself caliph, in 2014, was to promise to return property that al-Maliki, then the Iraqi prime minister, had illegitimately appropriated. “It’s part of their narrative, that it’s an impure state, that democracy is synonymous with corruption,” said a senior Iraqi government official who wasn’t authorized to speak on the record. …

Because insurgents thrive when Western-friendly governments become corrupt and weak, they are especially pleased when the U.S. and Western corporations undermine governance by enabling corruption. As Soros said, somebody has to pay the bribes. Corruption in Afghanistan and Iraq, for example, has only gotten worse since the U.S. invaded, bringing western corporations and money with it. Between 2003 and 2015, Iraq fell from 113th on Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index to 161st. “We’ve learned our lesson kind of the hard way,” said Keith Henderson, who evaluated Iraqi anti-corruption efforts for the State Department in 2008 and now teaches at American University’s law school. “If you don’t do something to abate or address corruption in state institutions, one of the very probable outcomes is civil unrest and possible insurgency.”

In Afghanistan, “the sheer quantity of international aid flowing into the country since 2002 has created enormous incentives for graft,” Aaron O’Connell, a military historian at the U.S. Naval Academy, wrote last year. Between 2005 and 2015, it fell from 117th on the corruption index to 166th, ahead of just North Korea and Somalia.

Sarah Chayes witnessed the damage that flood of western money — and the accompanying corruption — did in Afghanistan. When U.S. forces entered Kabul to oust the Taliban, Chayes was a reporter, covering the invasion for National Public Radio. She decided to stay and help rebuild, eventually opening a cooperative that produced soaps and body oils. She was one of very few Americans over the last 15 years who lived and worked with the Afghan people rather than behind the razor wire.

After just a few months, Chayes noticed people she thought of as moderate, normal folks expressing sympathy for the Taliban. She soon realized what was happening: the corruption that had been rampant at all levels since the U.S. invasion was fueling anger and unrest.

Chayes later began working for the U.S. military in Afghanistan, waging an internal war to persuade policymakers to focus on corruption. The issue ultimately reached the desk of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who largely dismissed it in a 2010 memo that remains classified.

Westerners might perceive insurgencies in Muslim-majority countries as fundamentally about the role of Islam in society, Chayes says. But insurgents also take advantage of widespread discontent over how their countries are run. People fed up with corruption tend to look for leaders who are perceived to be incorruptible. “At the top of the list of reasons cited by prisoners for joining the Taliban was not ethnic bias, or disrespect of Islam, or concern that U.S. forces might stay in their country,” Chayes wrote in Thieves of State, her book on the threat corruption poses to global security. “At the top of the list was the perception that the Afghan government was irrevocably corrupt.” Afghans, she added, “hold Washington responsible for the Karzai government’s behavior.”

The role of the western companies in aiding corrupt foreign behavior has long been obscured. But the Unaoil emails make clear just how complicit some firms are in foreign corruption – and how eager others are to turn a blind eye towards it.

Consider the case of Dhia Jaffar al Mousawi, the man codenamed “Lighthouse” in the emails. When Unaoil started dealing with Dhia Jaffar, who currently serves as Iraq’s deputy oil minister, he was still an official at the South Oil Company, Iraq’s most important state-owned energy firm. “When Prime Minsters [sic] visit Basrah, he accompanies them first and holds private sessions with them,” Al Jarah wrote of Dhia Jaffar in 2008. At the time, Al Jarah and Unaoil were focused on gradually plying him with small bribes.

The emails and documents contain dozens of examples of payments to government officials involving different Unaoil employees. But Al Jarah was consistently one of the company’s least discreet correspondents. He described his efforts to woo Dhia Jaffar in an email:

We haven’t done much for [Dhia Jaffar] really, but here is a list:

1) Took him clothes shopping on two occasions (around $1-2K each time)

2) Related sub agent got $30k for assistance with al Kassim order.

3) Gave his son a 2 week English course in Dubai. Arranged interviews to employ the son in Adnan’s company, but the boy found alternative work.

4) For the past 8 months working on getting him a UAE residency visa, but without success.

That’s it.

“Lighthouse” paid Unaoil back, providing inside information and tipping the company off to potential customers. “In general discussion with Mr. Lighthouse this evening, it transpired that TPIC” — Turkish Petroleum International Company — “is close to winning an order of $325m for drilling 45 wells in south of Iraq,” Al Jarah wrote in a August 2009 email to Ata and Cyrus Ahsani. “He says they applied openly and he is not aware of any special connection to an Iraqi entity pushing their bid forward. I immediately requested Lighthouse to hold processing anything until he hears from me. We need to move urgently to reach this company and give them the full works that Unaoil can make their life easier in the Ministry, SOC.”

Until she retired in December, Debra LaPrevotte was one of the FBI’s top special agents investigating global oil industry corruption. The Unaoil playbook to ease officials into corruption is familiar. “It’s the modus operandi,” she said. “Give them a rug, and then a car, and then a Rolex and then it escalated to, we can pay your children’s tuition.”

“The money they have to throw at things allows them to do things like, ‘Let us send your family on a vacation. Let us get you tickets to World Cup soccer, to the Super Bowl,’ to things you’d like to go to but maybe you couldn’t afford,” LaPrevotte added.

The Obama administration has belatedly acknowledged the idea that corruption is a national security threat. “Corruption is a radicalizer because it destroys faith in legitimate authority,” Secretary of State John Kerry said at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this year, singling out Iraq, Syria, Libya and Nigeria as examples. “It opens up a vacuum which allows the predators to move in. And no one knows that better than the violent extremist groups, who regularly use corruption as a recruitment tool.”

Lukman Faily, Iraq’s ambassador to the United States, says the government has learned its lesson. Informed of the allegations of corruption connected to Unaoil, Faily said Iraq’s new prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, is chairing a new committee that will review all major contracts within the ministries. He also said the country has banned middlemen, at least for military contracts. In the defense sector alone, he claimed, cutting out the middlemen has saved roughly $2 billion.

Unaoil is still hard at work in Iraq. “We have recently become aware of some… claims that Unaoil has bribed its [International Oil Company] clients as well as [National Oil Company] clients and Government officials in order to win work,” Saman Ahsani wrote in a 2015 memo to employees titled “Lies About Unaoil In Iraq.” The timing, Ahsani added, “is not coincidental – as many of you know, we are close to securing some major new awards from IOCs.  We will shortly be reporting other new wins outside Iraq as well.”

In July, Unaoil declared victory. “Sulzer Rotating Equipment FZCO, a joint venture between Unaoil and Sulzer Pumps operating in North Rumaila, Iraq, has been awarded a three-year pump maintenance contract by Basra Gas Company,” it bragged in a press release. The contract could be worth millions.

Akbar Ahmed, Richard Baker, Zach Carter, Blair Guild, Nick McKenzie and Jessica Schulberg contributed reporting. Map by Alissa Scheller.

U.S. Oil Industry Giant Paid Millions To A Company At The Center Of Huge Corruption Scandal. While KBR was being investigated for bribery in Nigeria, it was partnering with a company that bribed officials in Kazakhstan: here.

BP, Halliburton polluters accuse each other, 2011

Pelican polluted by BP-Halliburton oil

From Associated Press:

BP accuses Halliburton over Gulf of Mexico oil spill

US contractor destroyed evidence about possible problems with cementing of Macondo well before disaster, allege court papers

Tuesday 6 December 2011 07.41 GMT

BP has accused Halliburton of destroying damaging evidence relating to last year’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

In a court filing, BP has alleged that the US oil services firm of intentionally destroying evidence about possible problems with its cement slurry poured into the deep-sea Macondo well about 100 miles (160 km) off the Louisiana coast. An oil well must be cemented properly to avoid blowouts.

Also in the documents filed in a New Orleans federal court, BP accuses Halliburton of failing to produce incriminating computer modelling evidence.

BP asked a US judge to penalise Halliburton and order a court-sponsored computer forensic team to recover the modelling results.

Halliburton has told media outlets that the accusations are untrue.

The allegations in the 310-page motion add to a showdown among BP and the contractors Halliburton and Transocean over blame in the Deepwater Horizon blast in April 2010, which killed 11 workers and led to 206m US gallons (780m litres) of crude oil escaping into the Gulf of Mexico. So far, BP, the majority owner of the Macondo well, has footed the bill for the emergency response and cleanup.

Also involved are Anadarko Petroleum and Cameron International.

The first trial over the disaster is scheduled to start 27 February in New Orleans. It is expected to last three months and determine the liability of each company involved in drilling the Macondo well. There will be other phases over cleanup costs, punitive damages and other claims.

US federal and independent investigations into the disaster have found fault in Halliburton’s cementing because it failed to properly plug the well. The firm used a foamy cement slurry.

In Monday’s court filing, BP alleges that Halliburton employees discarded and destroyed early test results they performed on the same batch of cement slurry used in the Macondo well during an internal investigation into the disaster.

BP said Halliburton’s chief cement mixer for Gulf projects testified in depositions that the cement slurry seemed “thin” to him but that he chose not to write about his findings to his bosses out of fear he would be misinterpreted.

“I didn’t want to put anything on an email that could be twisted, and turned,” Rickey Morgan, the Halliburton cement expert, said in depositions. He worked at a laboratory in Duncan, Oklahoma.

“Upon reviewing these latest testing results, Halliburton employees destroyed records of the testing as well as the physical cement samples used in the testing,” BP alleged.

This video from the USA says about itself:

Wilkerson on the Real “Vice” – Cheney’s BP Disaster (2/4)

Cheney’s support for pro-industry “regulators” created massive damage to America – says Larry Wilkerson, depicted in the film VICE and former Chief of Staff to Sec. State Colin Powell – a REPLAY of a 2010 interview by Paul Jay.

HSBC bank scandal, Dick Cheney and corruption

This video from the USA is called Cheney Charged With Bribery, Criminal Conspiracy. It says about itself:

2 December 2010

Nigerian officials said Thursday they will charge former US vice president Dick Cheney over a massive bribery scandal related to his time at the helm of oil services giant Halliburton.

Halliburton unit KBR pleaded guilty last year in the US to bribing Nigerian officials to the tune of 180 million dollars in return for six billion dollars worth of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) contracts in the oil hub Bonny Island.

Halliburton denied involvement in the offences dating back to 1995-2005, but a top company official and other staff were summoned by Nigeria’s anti-graft agency following raids last week on company offices in Lagos.

Prosecutor Godwin Obla said joint charges would be filed by Tuesday at a high court in the capital Abuja against Cheney, the former and current leadership of Halliburton, and the consortium they partnered with.

“As the CEO of Halliburton, he has the responsibility for acts that occurred during that period,” Obla told AFP, adding that Cheney would face conspiracy charges and an arrest warrent from Interpol would be sought.

A spokesman from the anti-graft agency, Femi Babafemi, confirmed the imminent charges, which follow an investigation into the construction of the LNG plant in southern Nigeria.

Companies in the TSKJ consortium involved in the plant included France’s Technip, Snamprogetti (formerly a subsidiary of a company owned by Italy’s Eni), Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR), and Japan’s JGC.

KBR is a former subsidiary of Halliburton, where Cheney served as CEO before becoming vice president under George W. Bush following elections in 2000.

US authorities said last year that Halliburton and KBR had agreed to pay 177 million dollars to settle charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States.

KBR agreed to pay a further 402 million dollars to settle criminal charges brought by the US Justice Department.

In October, a Nigerian court charged a personal aide to ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo in a related probe, and earlier this week, Nigeria’s anti-corruption authorities summoned a top local official from Halliburton.

Authorities also raided Halliburton’s office in Lagos last week and detained 10 people — eight Nigerians and two expatriates — who have since been released, as investigations continue.

Officials seized documents during the raid.

Nigeria is one of the world’s largest oil producers, but corruption remains deeply entrenched. Non-governmental organisations consistently rank the country as one of the world’s most corrupt.

Babafemi’s agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, was established to probe corruption allegations and has carried out a series of high-profile prosecutions.

Cheney, 69, one of most powerful and controversial US vice presidents, who was a driving force behind Bush’s “war on terror,” has a long history of heart trouble and was last operated on in August.

By Solomon Hughes in Britain:

Bribes and prejudice

Friday 20th February 2015

Contrary to popular belief, the best place to start looking for corrupt crony capitalism is not the developing world but London, says Solomon Hughes

Ten years ago I broke a story in Britain about how Halliburton — the firm formerly run by US vice-president Dick Cheney — was funnelling millions in bribe money for African politicians through an office on West Green Road, a shabby street in Tottenham, north London.

Halliburton led a consortium of companies that wanted to win contracts building a liquid natural gas plant on Bonny Island in Nigeria.

Halliburton and co were willing to spend millions bribing Nigerian politicians to win the work.

Its agent for the bribes was a lawyer called Jeffrey Tesler who worked from a dusty storefront office next to a north London newsagent.

The Halliburton consortium used Tesler to pay $182 million of bribes to win the deal up to 2003.

It was an interesting story because it showed Cheney had run a major corporation involved in corruption.

It showed that the vice-president who went on to drive the Iraq war and US torture programmes was always close to crime.

When the case broke, Nigeria actually indicted Cheney over the bribes, but dropped its attempt to prosecute him when Halliburton paid a multimillion-dollar settlement.

I found out about it because a French judge, Renaud van Ruymbeke, was investigating the case — one of the firms in the consortium was French.

Halliburton used its British subsidiary to run the scheme and the bribes went through a British lawyer.

The British government actually subsidised Halliburton on the Bonny Island scheme by offering “export credit” insurance as an “export promotion.”

But British authorities did little to break the corruption.

Peter Mandelson, who was minister in charge of export promotion, had opposed rules which said firms backed by government “export credits” must reveal the names of their agents as an anti-bribery measure.

It was blindingly obvious that “agents” were used by British firms to bribe developing world politicians, but Mandelson did not want to cause companies any inconvenience.

Tesler was finally extradited from Britain to the US, where he was tried and imprisoned in 2012. Even when the scandal was exposed, Britain left it up to another country to prosecute.

The reason I am returning to the story is because the recently leaked HSBC files reveal the bent bank’s Swiss branch held Tesler’s accounts.

The bribe money was shifted through HSBC Switzerland. The same bank also held the accounts for the companies that were used to transfer the bribes and the Nigerian politicians who took the bribes.

Not only that, but HSBC kept holding accounts for Tesler and his family years later.

HSBC could have known all about Tesler’s involvement with the bribe scandal in 2004 by simply reading my original story in the Independent. But it kept his accounts open until 2007 and beyond.

Tesler paid some of the bribes in cash.

In one case a million dollars was left in a pilot’s briefcase in a Lagos hotel. Another time a car with half a million dollars was left outside another hotel.

How Tesler got such huge sums of untraceable cash was a bit of a mystery — one that now seems to be solved.

HSBC Switzerland happily handed out millions of dollars in notes without question. The bank was, quite simply, involved in organised crime on a massive scale.

So a future vice-president runs the US firm that runs a multimillion-dollar bribe scheme.

The bribe money runs through a bank run by a future British trade minister. Sometimes people talk about “crony capitalism” and “endemic corruption” and sleazy politics when they talk about Nigeria.

But if you want to find crony corrupt capitalism, the best place to start is London.

HSBC should face UK criminal charges, says former public prosecutor. Lord Ken Macdonald QC says HMRC’s decision not to prosecute bank over Swiss revelations was ‘seriously legally flawed’: here.

BP polluters get just slap on the wrist

This is called Wildlife Apocalypse: Video of Gulf birds, fish caught in BP oil spill.

By Greg Palast in the USA:

US court cuts price for BP´s plunder

Monday 15th September 2014

BP got off very lightly in the US judgement over its Deepwater Horizon disaster, says GREG PALAST

Forget Stephen King. If you want scary, read US District Judge Carl Barbier’s 150-page findings of fact released Thursday in the Deepwater Horizon case.

Although the judge found BP liable for “gross negligence,” some US media failed to mention that Barbier let BP off the hook on punitive damages. And that stuns me, given that the record seems to identify enough smoking guns to roast a sizeable pig.

Here’s a standout example. Every rig operator knows that, before a rig can unhook from a drill pipe, the operator has to run a “negative pressure test” to make sure the cement has properly sealed the drill pipe.

If the pipe is safely plugged, the pressure gauge will read zero. The amount of pressure BP measured at 5pm on April 20, 2010, the day of the explosion? 1,400 psi (see the findings, pages 62-65).

1,400 psi is not zero. Stick a balloon in your mouth with zero pressure and nothing happens except that you look silly. Replace the balloon with a hose delivering a 1,400 psi blast and it’ll blow your skull apart.

So, how could the company record zero? Answer — BP’s crew reran the test measuring the pressure in something called the “kill line,” which is definitely not the drill pipe.

By reporting that the pipe had no pressure and all was safe, BP could begin to unhook the Deepwater Horizon from the pipe — and sail away.

Why would BP do that? In my view, there were three motives — money, money and money. It costs BP a good half million dollars each extra day the rig stays on top of the drill hole. It seems that BP wanted the rig gone and quickly.

So instead of halting the disconnection process, BP appears to have lied and recorded the pressure reading as “zero.” The rig’s owner, Transocean of Switzerland, went along with BP’s actions.

So how did BP get away with mere “gross negligence” as opposed to the more serious claim of fraud? Because the court found that the blowout, explosion, fire and oil spill were caused by “misinterpretation of the negative pressure test.”

Misinterpretation? If a woman says “thanks” when you say she’s dressed nicely and you think she wants a kiss, that’s “misinterpretation.” But on the Deepwater Horizon, the drill pipe gauge read 1,400 psi and BP picked a different pipe that gave the company the magic zero. That’s not, I contend, “misinterpretation.”

Maybe the judge thought he was pretty tough by calling out BP for “gross” negligence (rather than plain-vanilla negligence, the finding against Transocean and contractor Halliburton). But, in fact, it seems Barbier fell for the Three Stooges defence.

Throughout the 150-page decision, the judge cites one instance after another of bone-headed, buffoonish, slapstick decisions, and plenty of pratfalls and banana-peel slips by BP, Transocean and Halliburton.

You have to wonder how these schmucks even found their drill hole. It was a corporate Larry-Moe-and-Curly-Joe routine that would provide a lot of belly laughs if 11 men hadn’t died as a result.

I’ve seen the Three Stooges defence before in federal court. In 1988, the corporate owner and the builder of the Shoreham nuclear plant were on trial on accusations they bilked their New York customers out of $1.8 billion (£1.11bn) . In court, they pleaded stupidity and incompetence as a defence against deliberate deception.

As the government’s investigator, I didn’t buy it — billion-dollar corporations can’t be that stupid — and neither did the jury. The racketeering charges were settled after trial for $400 million (£245m).

And here is a new set of Stooges — BP plays Larry, Transocean puts on Moe’s wig and Halliburton makes “nyuk! nyuk! nyuk!” sounds like Curly Joe.

Halliburton, the judge found, failed to test the final cement mix and BP bitched about it — “[Halliburton engineer Jesse Gagliano] isn’t cutting it any more,” reads an email between two BP managers on the rig — but BP went ahead and used the bad cement anyway (Findings, paragraphs 227-228).

When the pressure in the drill pipe read 1,400 psi, BP and Transocean managers should have stopped the rig departure immediately. They didn’t.

Nevertheless, other systems should have prevented a blowout. According to Barbier, other safety systems were messed with to save a penny here, a penny there (or, a million here, a million there).

Example: BP used leftover cement (Findings, paragraphs 209-211) that contained chemicals that destroyed the integrity of the new cement, because using the old stuff saved some serious cash.

And this leads to the question of punitive damages.

Barbier had the power to levy a fine big enough to make BP plc, BP America’s London-based parent corporation — a company with revenue of a quarter of a trillion dollars a year — go “ouch.”

But to slam BP with a fine that would hurt, the judge needed to hear from the Justice Department about corporate-wide perfidy. He pointed out that the case would have to be made against BP plc, the international parent, if he were to level a fine that would punish the company.

Against BP there is evidence aplenty. For years BP plc has played fast and loose with safety — from Asia to Alaska. Chasing BP across five continents, I’ve found that “gross negligence” could be BP’s corporate motto.

In 2010, I was arrested in Azerbaijan hunting down evidence of another BP/Transocean offshore blowout that occurred 17 months before the Deepwater Horizon explosion.

The cause of the Caspian blowout was the same as in the Gulf disaster — mishandling of “foamed” cement. Had BP not covered up the prior blowout off the coast of Azerbaijan, the deaths in the Gulf, I’m certain, would have been avoided.

Yet on this and other examples of BP’s transcontinental penny-pinching negligence, the Justice Department was silent.

The ugly truth is that the US State Department knew of the Caspian disaster and kept its lips sealed. Our own government wasn’t going to admit that in the Deepwater Horizon trial.

Furthermore, the US government can’t tag BP as an endemically rogue, dangerous operator without casting doubt on the administration’s recent grant to the corporation of new deep tracts to drill in the Gulf of Mexico.

So maybe it was not the judge but the public that was blinded by the government and media crowing about a possible $18 billion (£11bn) fine for gross negligence.

Eighteen billion dollars may sound like a lot to us mere mortals, but to a trillion-dollar behemoth like BP, it is not a punishment, but a reasonably priced permit for plunder.

Iraq war culprits run away from responsibility

This video from the USA is called Rand Paul [US Republican Party politician, like Dick Cheney] Says Cheney Pushed Iraq War For Halliburton Profit.

By Joseph Kishore in the USA:

Democracy and the debacle in Iraq

23 June 2014

Over the past two weeks, the Obama administration and the foreign policy establishment in the United States have moved rapidly to exploit the crisis in Iraq to intensify military operations throughout the Middle East. Hundreds of US military “advisors” are on their way back to Iraq even as the American ruling class plans air strikes against Syria and maneuvers aimed at undermining Iran.

The propaganda that emanates from the political establishment, uncritically reflected in the media, is sickening in its cynicism and hypocrisy. While divided over tactics in the pursuit of global power, the different factions of the state and military apparatus are united on at least one issue: they bear no responsibility for anything.

Obama’s secretary of state, John Kerry, dispatched to the Middle East to plot with US allies and threaten adversaries, summed up the general sentiment when he declared at a press conference in Cairo (where he met with US-backed Egyptian dictator Abdel Fattah al-Sisi): “The United States of America is not responsible for what happened in Libya, nor is it responsible for what is happening in Iraq today.”

According to Kerry’s interpretation of history, the American military “shed blood and worked hard for years for the Iraqis to have their own governance.” While the United States selflessly promoted democracy, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria “crossed the line from Syria.”

ISIS, Kerry continued, “have attacked communities and they are the ones marching through to disrupt the ability of Iraq to have the governance it wants.”

As always, American government officials speak as if no one knows anything and they can peddle blatant lies without consequence. But Kerry’s narrative is contradicted by facts that have found their way into even the media’s coverage of events.

First, while the US may have been caught off guard by the rapidity with which the Iraqi state has disintegrated over the past several weeks, it is by no means unfamiliar with ISIS. The Islamic fundamentalist group has received funding from the US and its autocratic Gulf allies as part of the imperialist-backed insurgency against President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Once again, the United States is reaping what it has sowed.

Moreover, ISIS’s advance in Iraq is certainly seen by sections of the American (and Israeli) ruling class as a positive development to the extent that it undermines the influence Iran exerts over the government of Iraq and its current prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki.

Despite Kerry’s protestations, it is understood throughout the world that the United States is principally responsible for the catastrophe that threatens to plunge the entire region into generalized civil war.

The complete absence of any accountability for the crimes of American imperialism has been on graphic display over the past week in the political reemergence of former Vice President Dick Cheney, the criminal mastermind behind the Bush administration’s foreign policy.

Cheney appeared Sunday on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” to agitate for the reinvasion of Iraq. Criticizing the Obama administration for not moving quickly enough, Cheney declared, “When we’re arguing over 300 advisers when the request had been for 20,000 in order to do the job right, I’m not sure we’ve really addressed the problem.”

Cheney added that a “broad strategy” was needed, including “helping the resistance up in Syria, in [the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s] back yard, with training and weapons and so forth,” and intensifying the military campaign in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Seeking to deflect suggestions that he had anything to do with the present crisis, Cheney said, “If we spend our time debating what happened 11 or 12 years ago, we’re going to miss the threat that is growing.”

Nothing testifies so clearly to the dysfunctional state of American democracy than the fact that Cheney is still paraded before the public as a distinguished authority on foreign policy. He exemplifies the absence of any real legal or political accountability for the crimes committed by the ruling oligarchy. Even in the midst of a major foreign policy disaster, there has been no call for even the formality of congressional hearings into the history of the US intervention in Iraq and the so-called “war on terror.”

It should be recalled that in the midst of the Vietnam War, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a series of hearings between 1966 and 1971, referred to collectively as the Fulbright hearings. These hearings took testimony from a wide range of expert witnesses, including prominent opponents of the war. Kerry himself took part, as a veteran advocating an end to the war. At that point in American history, there still existed a certain conception that the public had some right to know how foreign policy was made.

Nothing of that remains today. Foreign policy is carried out exclusively behind the backs of the people. It is decided by a criminal cabal that operates with full knowledge that there will be—at least from within the political establishment—no consequences for its actions. These are the features of a political system thoroughly corrupted by unrestrained militarism and extreme social inequality.

There is an urgent need for the creation of a new mass movement against imperialism and war. Such a movement can develop only on the basis of the political mobilization of the working class. …

A renewed antiwar movement can succeed only to the extent that it is rooted in the independent interests of the international working class, armed with a socialist program, with the aim at wrenching power out of the hands of the financial oligarchy and its cast of political conspirators.

The United States’ Tragic Role in Iraq, by Stephen Zunes: here.

Now we see how Tony Blair’s doctrine turns enemies into ‘allies’. Assad’s enemies, whom Blair’s bombing of Damascus would have helped, now threaten Iraq: here.

Don’t be sucked into war with Iraq, again: here.

Halliburton destroyed Gulf oil spill evidence

This video from the USA is called Gulf Oil Spill Effects On Wildlife.

After its issues of gang rape in Iraq, poisonous drinking water for soldiers in Iraq, corruption in Nigeria, etc., Halliburton, the corporation of Dick Cheney, ex Vice President of George W Bush in the USA, is in trouble again.

From USA Today:

Halliburton admits destroying Gulf oil spill evidence

Michael Winter, USA TODAY 8:57 p.m. EDT July 25, 2013

Company will plead guilty to a criminal charge in Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Halliburton has admitted destroying evidence in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and will plead guilty to a criminal charge, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

Under the plea agreement, which requires court approval, Houston-based Halliburton will also face three years’ probation, pay the maximum fine of $200,000 and continue to cooperate in the Justice Department’s criminal investigation of the April 2010 explosion and fire on the drilling platform, which killed 11 rig workers off Louisiana.

The Justice Department said it would not pursue further criminal charges against Halliburton or its subsidiaries.

Separately, Halliburton made a $55 million “voluntary contribution” to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

The spill was the largest in U.S. history: Nearly 5 million barrels of crude oil poured into the Gulf before the sea-floor gusher was capped three months later.

Halliburton’s energy-services subsidiary designed and built the well for BP. In early May, the company began an internal investigation to determine whether the number of “centralizers” — metal collars that help keep the well pipe centered — played a role in the blowout. Halliburton recommends installing 21, but BP chose to use just six.

Halliburton ran 3-D computer simulations in May and June 2010, and both times the results indicated there was little difference between the two scenarios. Employees were then directed by unidentified individuals to destroy the simulations, the Justice Department said.

The Deepwater Horizon Task Force was unable to recover the computer simulations.

Halliburton and BP have blamed each other for the cement job that failed to seal the Macondo well.

See also here.

Halliburton will earn what it takes to pay off Gulf oil spill fine in just 23 seconds: here.

On Tuesday a gas rig located 55 miles off Louisiana’s coast in the Gulf of Mexico suffered a blowout and fire that continued to burn until Thursday afternoon: here.

The oil spill from a leaked pipeline in Thailand has reached one of the country’s popular tourism islands, officials have said: here.

Oil, energy and capitalism: An unpublished talk by Barry Commoner: here.

Why Do Protesters Against Egregious Environmental and Financial Misconduct Get Arrested, Not Corporate Perpetrators? Here.

KBR poisons soldiers, taxpayers paying

This video from the USA says about itself:

Jan 9, 2009

Vice President Dick Cheney is asked about how former Halliburton subsidiary KBR knowingly exposed members of Indiana’s National Guard to cancer causing chemicals at a water treatment plant in Iraq.

Sign IAVA’s petition here–

Read more about it here–

From the blog of Ryan J. Reilly in the USA:

KBR, Guilty In Iraq Negligence, Wants Taxpayers To Foot The Bill

Posted: 01/09/2013 9:37 am EST

WASHINGTON — Sodium dichromate is an orange-yellowish substance containing hexavalent chromium, an anti-corrosion chemical. To Lt. Col. James Gentry of the Indiana National Guard, who was stationed at the Qarmat Ali water treatment center in Iraq just after the 2003 U.S. invasion, it was “just different-colored sand.” In their first few months at the base, soldiers were told by KBR contractors running the facility the substance was no worse than a mild irritant.

Gentry was one of approximately 830 service members, including active-duty soldiers and members of the National Guard and reserve units from Indiana, South Carolina, West Virginia and Oregon, assigned to secure the water treatment plant, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Sodium dichromate is not a mild irritant. It is an extreme carcinogen. In November 2009, at age 52, Gentry died of cancer. The VA affirmed two months later that his death was service-related.

In November, a jury found KBR, the military’s largest contractor, guilty of negligence in the poisoning of a dozen soldiers, and ordered the company to pay $85 million in damages. Jurors found KBR knew both of the presence and toxicity of the chemical. Other lawsuits against KBR are pending.

KBR, however, says taxpayers should be on the hook for the verdict, as well as more than $15 million the company has spent in its failed legal defense, according to court documents and attorneys involved with the case.

KBR’s contract with the U.S. to rebuild Iraq’s oil infrastructure after the 2003 invasion includes an indemnity agreement protecting the company from legal liability, KBR claims in court filings. That agreement, KBR insists, means the federal government must pay the company’s legal expenses plus the verdict won by 12 members of the Oregon National Guard who were exposed to the toxin at the Qarmat Ali water treatment plant.

The military disagrees. A U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contracting officer told KBR in November 2011 that litigation costs “are not covered by the indemnity agreement.”

The public doesn’t know what the indemnity agreement actually says because the military considers it classified. Until recently, the veterans exposed to the toxin couldn’t know either, nor could attorneys at the Department of Justice, who were left battling the contract in the dark, according to a source there.

Michael Doyle, a Houston-based lawyer who helped the successful suit against KBR, told The Huffington Post the military declassified the indemnification agreement on Dec. 21 and gave it to him under a protective order that banned him from sharing the language to parties not involved in the case. John A. Elolf, a spokesman for KBR, confirmed the declassification of the agreement and said the contractor also was prevented from providing a copy. HuffPost has requested the document under the Freedom of Information Act from the Corps of Engineers.

Doyle said the agreement may mean a taxpayer “bailout” for KBR. “It’s basically saying that no matter if we’re guilty of — willful misconduct, poisoning soldiers — taxpayers have to pay to cover us as well as whatever we decide to pay on lawyers at whatever rates and all these fees,” Doyle said. “That’s a pretty good bailout.”

It’s unclear how many defense contractors have secret indemnification agreements with the military. Under the law, most government agencies are banned from entering open-ended indemnification agreements, but the Pentagon and a handful of other agencies were exempted in an executive order signed by President Richard Nixon in 1971.

KBR originally claimed it didn’t know about the deadly toxin until the spring of 2003. Documents produced in the lawsuit, however, revealed that KBR knew the chemical was being stockpiled and used in massive quantities at the water treatment facility as early as January of that year. Prior to the U.S. invasion, Iraqi workers would treat water at the plant with sodium dichromate before injecting it under pressure into the ground, driving oil to the surface. Sodium dichromate helped increase the life of pipelines and pumps by preventing corrosion.

Soldiers assigned to guard the facility said the chemical dust came from bags stacked both inside and outside the plant, which some soldiers would sit on or use for protection from the wind. Wind spread the orange powder from the thousands of 100-pound bags. Gentry estimated the dust covered about half the plant’s area.

“There were soldiers that actually brought it up, asked what it was, and they were told it was a mild irritant at first,” Rocky Bixby, 45, a plaintiff in the Oregon National Guard suit that bears his name, told HuffPost.

“They had this information and didn’t share it,” Gentry said in a deposition two days before his final Christmas, in 2008. “I’m dying now because of it.”

Another soldier, Larry Roberta, now 48, was exposed to the chemical after a gust of wind blew it into his eye and into a chicken patty he was eating. After washing his face and mouth, he tried washing the chicken, because it was the only food he had left for the day. “It tastes like a mouthful of nickels,” Roberta said. “I just kept washing my mouth and I couldn’t get that taste out.”

Roberta said he now requires an oxygen tank because he has less than 60 percent of his lung function and gets migraines stemming from the eye that was exposed to the chemical. He had surgery to fix the muscle at the top of his stomach that prevented food from coming back up. “I can’t throw up, I can’t even burp,” Roberta said. “You know, when you can’t burp, the air has to come out the other end, which makes me the stinky dog that nobody wants to let in the house.”

Roberta said he doesn’t think U.S. taxpayers should have to pay for KBR’s mistakes.

“The United States Army Corps of Engineers is not in the business of restoring oilfields, therefore they hired KBR as their subject expert,” Roberta said. “KBR was paid a good sum of money to do a job and unfortunately it didn’t get done well. … The end results were okay, but they made some mistakes along the way.”

Gentry’s wife said the “bailout” fits a KBR pattern.

“Whether it’s morally, ethically or even fiscally, there was no accountability then and there is no accountability now,” LouAnn Grube Gentry told The Huffington Post. “In fact, they continue their negligence and indifference. And just as an example of that is they continue to overbill the government for the legal fees. And to me that in itself proves that they are profit-mongering and their sole motivation is profit.”

Gentry said her husband initially declined to get involved in the litigation because of his loyalty to the National Guard and the Army. Gentry even praised KBR’s work during his second tour in Iraq, calling company safety measures “top grade” during a deposition. He decided to join the litigation late in his life because he felt KBR was being dishonest about what it knew about the chemical.

“Once KBR denied accountability, denied knowing, my husband became very angry,” Gentry said.

A federal jury in Oregon found on Nov. 2 that KBR negligently exposed troops to the toxic dust and ordered the company to pay $85 million in noneconomic and punitive damages to the Oregon National Guard members. A separate suit against KBR on behalf of national guardsmen from both Indiana and West Virginia, as well as troops from the U.K., is pending in federal court in Houston. That case awaits a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals on whether the case can proceed with claims based on wartime activity.

Bixby, who said he was at the water treatment plant for as many as five days, said it makes no sense for taxpayers to pick up the bill for KBR’s mistakes.

“I think it’s fraudulent and I think it’s criminal on their part to do this,” Bixby told HuffPost.

Secret indemnity agreements shouldn’t be a problem in the future, because of a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 pushed by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). The act requires the Pentagon to disclose indemnification clauses that hold military contractors harmless and to justify the agreements to Congress.

“What KBR received — and Oregon soldiers and the American taxpayers may be stuck paying for — is a get out of jail free card that no one outside of the Pentagon had any say in giving them,” Wyden said in a statement last month. “Thanks to that plum deal, KBR could be let off the hook after negligently exposing Oregon servicemembers to toxic chemicals. Some indemnification agreements are justified, but many are not, and the Pentagon should have to justify these agreements to Congress.”

Report: US troops exposed to chemical agents in Iraq are dying — and the Pentagon is covering it up: here.

BP’s criminal pollution fine

This video from the USA is called BP Oil Spill Effect on Wildlife.

From the BBC:

15 November 2012 Last updated at 14:45 GMT

BP to get record US criminal fine over Deepwater disaster

BP is set to receive a record fine of between $3bn and $5bn (£1.9bn-£3.2bn) to settle criminal charges related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, the BBC has learnt.

It will be the biggest criminal penalty in US history, BBC business editor Robert Peston says.

The settlement with the Department of Justice involves BP pleading guilty to criminal charges.

It is thought that up to four BP staff may be arrested, Robert Peston says.

Details of the settlement are expected to be confirmed by the Washington-based Department of Justice later.

Earlier, BP said it was in “advanced discussions” with US agencies about settling criminal and other claims.

BP said that any deal would not include a range of other claims including individual and federal claims for damages under the Clean Water Act, and state claims for economic loss.

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster killed 11 workers and released millions of barrels of crude into the Gulf of Mexico over 87 days.

The settlement is much bigger than the largest previous corporate criminal penalty assessed by the Department of Justice, the $1.2bn fine imposed on drug maker Pfizer in 2009.

The oil giant has been selling assets worth billions of pounds to raise money to settle all claims. The company is expected to make a final payment of $860m into the $20bn Gulf of Mexico compensation fund by the end of the year.

Other companies involved included Transocean, the owner of the rig and responsible for the safety valve known as the blowout preventer, and Halliburton, who provided cementing services.

BP is yet to reach a settlement with these firms. A civil trial that will determine negligence is due to begin in New Orleans in February 2013.