By Owei Lakemfa
RICHARD Dick Cheney the immediate past Vice President of the United States (US) is an international crook who should be in jail in his country, Iraq, Netherlands, Afghanistan, Britain, Azerbaijan or in Nigeria where last week, a sixteen-count charge was filed against him. But unfortunately, the scales of justice are not balanced, so he will escape justice with his loot.
Another reason he will go free is that the US does not allow courts outside its jurisdiction including the International Criminal Court to try its citizens even if they commit mass murders like the mercenaries of Blackwater did in Baghdad’s Nissor Square in September, 2007.
Being an old man who is not too good in health, the greatest benefactor of the fabulous wealth he has amassed from his exploits is his daughter, Liz who has made a career of defending her father’s undignified past.
The charges in Nigeria which is Cheney’s complicity in a $180 million bribe-for-contract scandal by Halliburton is just one of his chain of crooked deals, corporate bribery and fraud, war mongering and crimes against humanity for which he deserves multiple life sentences.
The case against Cheney in Nigeria is generally a concluded one as American and French courts have already found his agents guilty, and Swiss banks and the British authorities have provided needed information on the transactions and the conduit pipe for the bribes. Basically, Haliburton under the leadership of Cheney used $180 million to pay bribes through its subsidiary, Kellog Brown and Root(KBR) in order to secure a $10 billion contract for the construction of the Liquified Natural Gas(LNG) export plant on Bonny Island. KBR chief executive, Albert Stanley who was directly appointed by Cheney, pleaded guilty in an American court on September 3,2008 to the bribery charges.
Mr. Stanley who had been suspended by KBR when $5 million was found in his Swiss bank account had with other company officials met top ranking Nigerian officials on at least four occasions to arrange the bribe payments. Some of the bribes went to the notorious General Sani Abacha. French authorities had confirmed that the bribes were routed through Jeffery Tesler, a small-time British lawyer with offices in a run- down street in Tottenham, North London.
Cheney was American Secretary of Defence for four years from 1989 during which he gave KBR (yes, the same company he later used for the Nigerian bribes) a multi -million dollar contract to suggest ways the American military can be privatised and made profitable. The contract was so well executed that during the Gulf War in 1991, ten percent of the American military personnel deployed, were “private contractors” the new elegant tag for mercenaries.
Haliburton became the largest US defence contractor, getting huge contracts during the Balkan wars of the 1990s and the Kosovo war in 1999. In that year, Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld became prominent members of the New American Century group which put pressure on then President Bill Clinton to overthrow the Sadam Hussein regime in Iraq.
Cheney who received a $33 million “severance pay” when he left Haliburton to contest the Vice Presidency in 2000, faces a law suit instituted by the Judicial Watch in Washington for allegedly overstating the Haliburton profits by $445 million between 1999 and 2000 thereby misleading investors and committing securities and stock fraud. He had also done a promotional video for accounting firm, Anderson vouching for their professionalism and integrity; it turned out that Anderson was a fraudulent company which grossly overstated the profits of Enron.
When George Bush Jnr replaced Clinton as president, the warmongers and large weapons manufacturers completely took over the American presidency. Cheney became Vice President, Rumsfeld the Defence Secretary, Pete Aldridge of Aerospace was Under Secretary of Defence, Gordon England of General Dynamics became Navy Secretary, his counterpart in Army was Thomas White of the notorious Enron, and the Air Force Secretary was James Roche of Northrop Grumman, a leading military aircraft manufacturer.
The quite tragic 9/11 attacks was like a god-sent excuse; Afghanistan was quickly invaded and a $100 billion war contract was on. But their target was Iraq; they wanted “regime change” and a big war theatre, but most importantly, Iraq had huge oil reserves which can pay the bills and contracts for the war and can also be exploited for purely private gains.
The problem was that Iraq had no connections with the 9/11 hijackers and was antagonistic to Osama Bin Laden. So an excuse to invade Iraq had to be manufactured; that job was taken up mainly by Cheney. He began a lie on the CNN which he told “This(Sadam) is a man of great evil… And he is actively pursuing nuclear weapons at this time” In August 2002 at the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention, Vice President Cheney falsely proclaimed “ Simply stated, there is no doubt that Sadam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction.
There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us” Having repeated these lies, a fake document was circulated claiming that Iraq had sought uranium from Niger Republic to build nuclear weapons. Cheney’s office demanded that this be authenticated, so retired Ambassador Joseph Wilson was sent to Niger and he returned to report that the claims were false. An angry Cheney tried to rubbish Wilson by leaking to the media that his wife, Valerie Plame was a CIA agent who had secured her husband a paid holiday to Niger Republic. So the Bush government continued to use this lie as a reason to invade Iraq.
Before the Iraqi invasion, the Bush-Cheney government without going through competitive tender, awarded contracts to Haliburton/KBR to rebuild Iraqi oil wells. By 2004, the contracts awarded to Haliburton in Iraq was over $9 billion. Then the company was investigated by the Pentagon among other things, for overcharging petrol deliveries by more than $61 million!
Anywhere Cheney surfaces, scandals are bound to surface. The Nigerian government has shown some courage for bringing charges against Cheney, but the old crook will never stand trial.