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Cheney Profits from Iraq Deals

  • While denouncing Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, Dick Cheney secretly has been cutting deals behind the scenes with the "outlaw" Mideast country.
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By Martin Mann

Campaigning for the presidency, Gov. George W. Bush has urged the "rollback" of so-called "rogue states" -- a thinly veiled commitment to arrange the overthrow or the assassination of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. But behind the scenes his running mate, Richard Cheney, has made millions in under-the-table business deals with this blacklisted Arab government.

A confidential survey by the UN Sanctions Committee of Western corporations suspected of having evaded the harsh economic embargo imposed on Iraq after the Gulf War recently noted that before being named as the Republican vice-presidential candidate, Cheney served as chairman and CEO of Halli bur ton, the world's largest petroleum engineering outfit.

The report revealed that on Cheney's orders Halliburton bought a controlling interest in two smaller European oil-service firms, Dresser-Rand and Ingersoll-Dresser Pump, in the early fall of 1998.

Cheney then used these overseas front companies as a covert conduit to sell Saddam Hussein more than $50 million worth of oil exploration and pumping equipment.

The discovery that the number two man of the GOP presidential team, whose hard-line foreign-policy advisers such as Richard Perle want to issue U.S. weapons to opposition groups plotting to murder the Iraqi president, is surreptitiously in business with the leader he publicly denounces as an "evil dictator" comes at a time when Saddam Hussein appears to be turning the tables on his enemies.

"In a time of sky-high gasoline prices, people are more aware than ever of the need for uninterrupted energy supplies from the oil-rich Gulf," said petroleum analyst Lee Ambrose. "What they don't know is that Iraq is still America's second-largest provider of Gulf oil -- and now Saddam has turned off the spigot."

In the view of experts, the suffocating economic embargo clamped on Iraq is unraveling rapidly. In the UN Security Council, France, Russia and China now openly oppose it, and recently Secretary General Kofi Annan has begun to talk of the need to "loosen" the stranglehold of these onerous sanctions.

The Kingdom of Jordan, whose "moderation" is financed by hefty CIA subsidies, has recently joined other Arab states in initiating regularly-scheduled passenger flights to Baghdad in defiance of the UN's prohibition.

Syria and Iraq, bitter enemies for 20 years, have recently decided to renew their long-interrupted diplomatic and commercial relations.

"Hussein has survived the war waged against it by the elder Bush," said Ambrose. "He will likely survive the next U.S. administration, whether Bush the younger or Gore happens to head it."