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Wednesday, December 03, 2003  

Lies

Early Lies
Dick Cheney was accused of doctoring evidence to support an invasion of Iraq. No, I don't mean in 2003--13 years earlier, when he was Secretary of Defense under the first Bush. From the Christian Science Monitor, September 06, 2002.

When George H. W. Bush ordered American forces to the Persian Gulf--to reverse Iraq's August 1990 invasion of Kuwait--part of the administration case was that an Iraqi juggernaut was also threatening to roll into Saudi Arabia.

Citing top-secret satellite images, Pentagon officials estimated in mid–September that up to 250,000 Iraqi troops and 1,500 tanks stood on the border, threatening the key US oil supplier.

But when the St. Petersburg Times in Florida acquired two commercial Soviet satellite images of the same area, taken at the same time, no Iraqi troops were visible near the Saudi border – just empty desert.

"It was a pretty serious fib," says Jean Heller, the Times journalist who broke the story.
The White House is now making its case. to Congress and the public for another invasion of Iraq; President George W. Bush is expected to present specific evidence of the threat posed by Iraq during a speech to the United Nations next week.

But past cases of bad intelligence or outright disinformation used to justify war are making experts wary. The questions they are raising, some based on examples from the 1991 Persian Gulf War, highlight the importance of accurate information when a democracy considers military action....

That [Iraqi buildup] was the whole justification for Bush sending troops in there, and it just didn't exist," says Heller. Three times Heller contacted the office of Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney (now vice president) for evidence refuting the Times photos or analysis – offering to hold the story if proven wrong. The official response: "Trust us." To this day, the Pentagon's photographs of the Iraqi troop buildup remain classified....

"My concern in these situations, always, is that the intelligence that you get is driven by the policy, rather than the policy being driven by the intelligence," says former US Rep. Lee Hamilton (D) of Indiana, a 34-year veteran lawmaker until 1999, who served on numerous foreign affairs and intelligence committees, and is now director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington. The Bush team "understands it has not yet carried the burden of persuasion [about an imminent Iraqi threat], so they will look for any kind of evidence to support their premise," Mr. Hamilton says. "I think we have to be skeptical about it."


Lies about ties to Halliburton
Some folks were worried that a Secretary of Defense who becomes the CEO of a defense contractor and then becomes the Vice President might present a conflict of interest--particularly if he was still on that contractor's payroll. Not to worry, said Cheney, I'm off the clock. Except that he wasn't. From a Boston Globe report on September 9, 2003:

"Since I left Halliburton to become George Bush's vice president, I've severed all my ties with the company, gotten rid of all my financial interests. I have no financial interest in Halliburton of any kind and haven't had now, for over three years."

Within 48 hours, Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey pointed reporters toward Cheney's public financial disclosure sheets filed with the US Office of Government Ethics. The sheets show that in 2002, Cheney received $162,392 in deferred salary from Halliburton, the oil and military contracting company he ran before running for vice president. In 2001, Cheney received $205,298 in deferred salary from Halliburton.

The 2001 salary was more than Cheney's vice presidential salary of $198,600. Cheney also is still holding 433,333 stock options.

Flushed into the open, Cheney spokeswoman Catherine Martin said the vice president will continue to receive about $150,000 a year from Halliburton in 2003, 2004, and 2005. If President bush wins a second term, that means Cheney will make at least $800,000 from the company while sitting in office.

Martin said the payments did not represent a lie. She said Cheney had already earned that salary. She said Cheney took out an insurance policy that would guarantee the money would be paid to him no matter what happened to the company.


Lies about Halliburton’s activities
Another fact that would seem particularly embarrassing to an administration who made such a show of the evil of Saddam Hussein was the revelation that Dick Cheney was doing business with him at Halliburton. Of course, he was embarrassed to admit it was true, so he lied and said it wasn't. It was. From a report by Counterpunch, March 19, 2003.

During the 2000 presidential campaign, Cheney adamantly denied such dealings. While he acknowledged that his company did business with Libya and Iran through foreign subsidiaries, Cheney said, "Iraq's different." He claimed that he imposed a "firm policy" prohibiting any unit of Halliburton against trading with Iraq.

"I had a firm policy that we wouldn't do anything in Iraq, even arrangements that were supposedly legal," Cheney said on the ABC-TV news program "This Week" on July 30, 2000. "We've not done any business in Iraq since U.N. sanctions were imposed on Iraq in 1990, and I had a standing policy that I wouldn't do that."

The Washington Post first reported Halliburton's trade with Iraq in February 2000. But U.N. records obtained by The Post two years ago showed that the dealings were more extensive than originally reported and than Vice President Cheney has acknowledged.

posted by Jeff | 8:04 AM |
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