"The Middle east would be the seat of our operations," said Lesar. "As we invest more heavily in our Eastern Hemisphere presence, we will continue to build upon our leading position in the North American gas-focused market through our excellent mix of technology, reservoir knowledge and an experienced workforce."And by the way, I completely agree with Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont (quoted here)…
He said the opening of a headquarters in Dubai was the next step in a strategic plan announced in 2006 to focus on expanding Halliburton customer relations with national oil companies.
"This is an insult to the U.S. soldiers and taxpayers who paid the tab for their no-bid contracts and endured their overcharges for all these years," said judiciary committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat.Update: Good for HRC!
I don’t want to say that the conduct of these companies is almost past the point of outrage, because that could be interpreted as an excuse to do nothing, and that is the last thing in this world that I intend to communicate.
However, this is yet another cautionary lesson teaching us this simple moral: Dubya and the rest of Bushco are nothing but pirates. They are out to take a profit, no matter the consequences (and anyone who thinks the “invisible hand” of Dick Cheney isn’t present surely must think that Roger Ailes actually earned the journalism award I mentioned earlier).
And with profit in mind, Halliburton is moving to cozy up even more to our old buddy Vlad Putin (I guess ol’ Dick subscribes to the notion “out of sight, out of mind”).
I noted briefly in the post on slain journalist Anna Politkovskaya last week that Putin’s ascension in Russia has been marked by murderous ruthlessness against his enemies, but also by an economic resurgence of sorts in the country built on oil. These have contributed to Putin’s popularity within Russia as a “strong leader” (versus the economic chaos marked by Boris Yeltsin’s administration, to say nothing of Yeltsin’s personal baggage from that period).
However, as Politkovskaya noted (and the link to the Specter article in The New Yorker has expired, by the way)…
In today’s Russia…stability is everything and damn the cost. Yes, stability has come to Russia…It is a monstrous stability under which nobody seeks justice in courts that flaunt their subservience and partisanship. Nobody in his or her right mind seeks protection from the institutions maintaining law and order, because they are totally corrupt. Lynch law is the order of the day, both in people’s minds and in their actions. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”And this shows how Russia has learned how to flex its newly-acquired energy muscle in ways other than raising that country’s decrepit standard of living somewhat and silencing anyone who opposes its “strong leader” (as Specter notes)…
The Kremlin recently provided a particularly audacious example of how it sees its role as an “energy superpower”: Royal Dutch Shell, which had invested billions of dollars to develop the world’s largest oil-and-gas field, Sakhalin II, in the Russian Far East, was forced by the government to sell its controlling stake in the project. The company had endured a year of regulatory harassment – including ludicrous threats that the pipeline would not meet’s Russia’s environmental standards. The moment Shell surrendered to Gazprom (the huge Russian oil interest, a Halliburton equivalent of sorts in terms of exerting its influence on the government), however, those environmental concerns vanished. And what was Shell’s response after its holding in the project was reduced from fifty-five percent to twenty-five? “Thank you very much for your support,” the company’s chief executive, Jeroen van der Veer, told Putin at a meeting three weeks ago. “This was a historic occasion.”I would imagine that what Putin did with van der Veer was the corporate equivalent of throwing a wad of twenties at a “business girl” and telling her to go call a cab for herself (sorry, but that's an appropriate metaphor for these people).
And, as noted here, Putin is also working on alliances with other Muslim countries, including Qatar. And my guess is that a move like that is what has spurred Halliburton into making the Dubai move; they know Putin and Russia are the big dogs, and they want to be part of the pack too.
So David J. Lesar wasn’t really lying in his explanation. He and Halliburton aren’t stupid.
But, as pointed out by Patrick Leahy’s remarks, no one will ever accuse them of having a conscience either.