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Posts Tagged ‘Dick Cheney’

Bush Sr., James Baker Instrumental in Getting Nigeria to Drop Bribery Charges Against Cheney

Posted by Admin on December 26, 2010

Global Research, December 18, 2010

Former President George H.W. Bush and ex-Secretary of State James Baker were part of a negotiating team that convinced Nigerian government officials to drop bribery charges against Dick Cheney and Halliburton, the oil services firm he led prior to becoming vice president.

Bush and Baker, whose law firm was hired by Halliburton in 2004 to handle the bribery allegations, participated in conference call discussions with senior Nigerian government officials, including the country’s attorney general, Mohammed Adoke, last weekend on behalf of Cheney in an attempt to work out a settlement, according to a report published by an African news agency.

The negotiations took place in London and included Halliburton represenatives.

On Friday, Femi Babafemi, a spokesman for Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the agency that filed the 16-count indictment last week, said the case against Cheney, Halliburton and several other current and former executives has been “formally dropped.”

Earlier this week, Babafemi said Halliburton agreed during negotiation talks to a “plea bargain” and to “pay $250 million in fines in lieu of prosecution.” He said the Nigerian government accepted the terms of the settlement.

Last week, after the indictment was filed in Abuja, Nigeria’s capitol, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “We do not believe that there will be a basis for further action (requiring Cheney to respond to the charges), but we will look into it.”

Moreover, Johnnie Carson, the US Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairstold reporters during a conference call last week that the US government was closely following the case against Cheney and had already engaged in discussions about it with Nigerian authorities.

As Truthout previously reported, the charges revolve around $180 million in bribes executives who worked for Halliburton’s former subsidiary, Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR) paid to Nigerian government officials between 1994 and 2004 in exchange for $6 billion in construction contracts for the Bonny Island natural gas liquefaction plant. Nigeria is Africa’s largest crude oil producer. [Click here for a complete timeline.]

KBR, which also has handled lucrative US government support contracts for US troops in Iraq and elsewhere, was spun off from Halliburton in 2007 into a separate company. Nigerian officials had also charged KBR in the bribery case.

The bribes allegedly went to the notoriously corrupt Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha and some of his subordinates and were allegedly laundered through UK lawyer Jeffrey Tesler, who served as a consultant to KBR after it was formed in a 1998 merger that Cheney engineered between Halliburton and Dresser Industries. Tesler was hired in 1995 as an agent of a four-company joint venture that was awarded four engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts by Nigeria LNG Ltd., (NLNG). Tesler was indicted last year by the Department of Justice, which has been conducting its own probe into the matter, and he is fighting extradition to the US.

Baker’s alleged involvement in the settlement talks is not surprising given that his law firm, Baker Botts, was hired by Halliburton in 2004 to conduct an internal probe into the bribery scandal. During the investigation, James Doty, a partner at Baker Botts who led the probe, “discovered” notes written by former KBR employees indicating the firm “may” have bribed Nigerian government officials in exchange for lucrative contracts. Doty, served as general counsel of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) under Bush senior.

More recently, the SEC had questioned Cheney during its two-year-long probe of Halliburton’s accounting irregularities and concluded that he should not be held responsible for what went on behind the scenes at the company he ran between 1995 and 2000.

Truthout was unable to reach spokespeople for Bush and Baker. A Halliburton spokesperson declined to comment.

The payment to the Nigerian government will bring an immediate end to the bribery and corruption charges against Halliburton, Cheney and several of the company’s current and former executives.

Babafemi added that the payment consists of $120 million in penalties and the repatriation of $130 million “trapped in Switzerland,” and he expects Adoke to approve of the deal as early as today.

Earlier this month, the Justice Department announced that Tesler’s associate, Wojciech J. Chodan, the former vice president to KBR’s UK subsidiary, pleaded guilty to violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) for in his role in the bribery scandal.

Chodan, who was extradited to the United States from England, is scheduled to be sentenced in February and faces a maximum five years in federal prison.

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Albert “Jack” Stanley, who Cheney had named chief executive of KBR in 1998, was also named in the indictment filed by Nigerian anti-corruption officials. Charges against him have also been dropped.

Stanley was a close associate of Cheney’s. The former vice president promoted him in 1998 to head KBR and told the Middle East Economic Digest in 1999 that having Stanley at the helm of the Halliburton subsidiary “has helped us tremendously.”

In September 2008, Stanley pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud to settle charges related to a separate kickback scheme and for conspiring to violate FCPA in connection with bribery case.

According to the DOJ’s plea agreement, Stanley started paying bribes in 1995, the year Cheney was named chief executive of the corporation, and ended when Stanley was fired in 2004.  Stanley faces seven years in prison and nearly $11 million in restitution payments. He remains free on bail pending a sentencing hearing scheduled for January.

Last year, KBR pleaded guilty to violating FCPA and admitted that it paid $180 million in “consulting fees” to Tesler and a Japanese trading company for use in bribing Nigerian government officials. KBR paid a $402 million fine and Halliburton paid $177 million in civil penalties as part of its plea deal, which was handled by Baker’s law firm.

Nigerians Condemn Settlement

While Nigeria government officials may be satisfied with the settlement agreement, the same cannot be said for some of the country’s citizens and activists who had hoped to see the former vice president respond to the charges.

“I would have loved to see Dick Cheney in chains in our court and facing justice in our prisons,” said Celestine AkpoBari, program officer at Social Action Nigeria. “That would have been a very big point that would have lifted Nigeria out of its woes.”

In a statement, Emmanuel Ulayi, executive director of the Civic Duties Awareness Initiative (CIDAI), an organization that ensures “Nigerians adhere to their civic responsibilities, comdemned the decision.

Uliya said the settlement is evidence that “the fight against corruption is dead and have never been real in Nigeria.” He said if the Nigerian government was serious about rooting out corruption “it would not have reach this kind of understanding.”

Owei Lakemfa, a columnist for Nigeria’s Daily Vanguard, said Friday Cheney “is an international crook who should be in jail in his country, Iraq, Netherlands, Afghanistan, Britain, Azerbaijan or in Nigeria…But unfortunately, the scales of justice are not balanced, so he will escape justice with his loot

Global Research Articles by Jason Leopold
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American Hypocrisy: Destruction of the Constitution, Collapse of the Rule of Law

Posted by Admin on November 17, 2010

Seal of the Central Intelligence Agency of the...
Covert Interventionist

Agency

by Paul Craig Roberts

Global Research, November 15, 2010

Ten years of rule by the Bush and Obama regimes have seen the collapse of the rule of law in the United States. Is the American media covering this ominous and extraordinary story?  No the American media is preoccupied with the rule of law in Burma (Myanmar).

The military regime that rules Burma just released from house arrest the pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. The American media used the occasion of her release to get on Burma’s case for the absence of the rule of law. I’m all for the brave lady, but if truth be known, “freedom and democracy” America needs her far worse than does Burma.

I’m not an expert on Burma, but the way I see it the objection to a military government is that the government is not accountable to law.  Instead, such a regime behaves as it sees fit and issues edicts that advance its agenda.  Burma’s government can be criticized for not having a rule of law, but it cannot be criticized for ignoring its own laws. We might not like what the Burmese government does, but, precisely speaking, it is not behaving illegally.

In contrast, the United States government claims to be a government of laws, not of men, but when the executive branch violates the laws that constrain it, those responsible are not held accountable for their criminal actions.  As accountability is the essence of the rule of law, the absence of accountability means the absence of the rule of law.

The list of criminal actions by presidents Bush and Obama, Vice President Cheney, the CIA, the NSA, the US military, and other branches of the government is long and growing.  For example, both president Bush and vice president Cheney violated US and international laws against torture. Amnesty International and the American Civil Liberties Union responded to Bush’s recent admission that he authorized torture with calls for a criminal investigation of Bush’s crime.

In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, the ACLU reminded the US Department of Justice (sic) that “a nation committed to the rule of law cannot simply ignore evidence that its most senior leaders authorized torture.”

Rob Freer of Amnesty International said that Bush’s admission “to authorizing acts which constitute torture under international law” and which constitute “a crime under international law,” puts the US government “under obligation to investigate and to bring those responsible to justice.”

The ACLU and Amnesty International do not want to admit it, but the US government shed its commitment to the rule of law a decade ago when the US launched its naked aggression–war crimes under the Nuremberg standard–against Afghanistan and Iraq on the basis of lies and deception.

The US government’s contempt for the rule of law took another step when President Bush violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and had the National Security Agency bypass the FISA court and spy on Americans without warrants. The New York Times is on its high horse about the rule of law in Burma, but when a patriot revealed to the Times that Bush was violating US law, the Times’ editors sat on the leak for one year until after Bush was safely re-elected.

Holder, of course, will not attempt to hold Bush accountable for the crime of torture. Indeed, Assistant US Attorney John Durham has just cleared the CIA of accountability for its crime of destroying the videotape evidence of the US government’s illegal torture of detainees, a felony under US law.

Last February Cheney said on ABC’s This Week that “I was a big supporter of waterboarding.” US law has always regarded waterboarding as torture. The US government executed WW II Japanese for waterboarding American POWs.  But Cheney has escaped accountability, which means that there is no rule of law.

Vice president Cheney’s office also presided over the outing of a covert CIA agent, a felony. Yet, nothing happened to Cheney, and the underling who took the fall had his sentence commuted by president Bush.

President Obama has made himself complicit in the crimes of his predecessor by refusing to enforce the rule of law. In his criminality, Obama has actually surpassed Bush. Bush is the president of extra-judicial torture, extra-judicial detention, extra-judicial spying and invasions of privacy, but Obama has one-upped Bush.  Obama is the president of extra-judicial murder.

Not only is Obama violating the sovereignty of an American ally, Pakistan, by sending in drones and special forces teams to murder Pakistani civilians, but in addition Obama has a list of American citizens whom he intends to murder without arrest, presentation of evidence, trial and conviction.

The most massive change brought by Obama is his assertion of the right of the executive branch to murder whomever it wishes without any interference from US and international law. The world has not seen such a criminal government as Obama’s since Joseph Stalin’s and Hitler’s.

On November 8, the US Department of Justice (sic) told federal district court judge John Bates that president Obama’s decision to murder American citizens is one of “the very core powers of the president.” Moreover, declared the Justice (sic) Department, the murder of American citizens is a “political question” that is not subject to judicial review.

In other words, federal courts exist for one purpose only–to give a faux approval to executive branch actions.

If truth be known, there is more justice in Burma under the military regime than in the USA. The military regime put Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest in her own home.
The military regime did not throw her into a dungeon and rape and torture her under cover of false allegations and indefinite detention without charges. Moreover, the military “tyrants” released her either as a sign of good will or under pressure from international human rights groups, or some combination of the two.

If only comparable good will existed in the US government or pressure from international human rights groups had equal force in America as in Burma.

But, alas, in America macho tough guys approve the virtual strip search of their wives and daughters by full body scanners and the grouping by TSA thugs of three-year old children screaming in terror.

Unlike in Burma, where Aung San Suu Kyi fights for human rights, the sheeple in Amerika submit to the total invasion of their privacy and to the total destruction of their civil liberties for no other reason than they are brain dead and believe without any evidence that they are at the mercy of “terrorists” in far distant lands who have no armies, navies, or air forces and are armed only with AK-47s and improvised explosive devices.

The ignorant population of the “Great American Superpower,” buried in fear propagated by a Ministry of Truth, has acquiesced in the total destruction of the US Constitution and their civil liberties.

Sheeple such as these have no respect anywhere on the face of the earth.

Paul Craig Roberts is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Paul Craig Roberts

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