Friday, March 14, 2003

The Military Industrial Complex, Circa 2003 and, Freedom of the Press 

Major Barbara provides a peek into the military industrial complex, and consequently, we spot Dick Cheney's shadow:

The first business deal Halliburton announced after Dick Cheney was named CEO was to form an "alliance" with top oilfield firefighters -- the ones who put out the well fires in Kuwait.

Cheney ascended to CEO of Halliburton in October, 1995. The press deal announcing the new business venture with International Well Control -- a company started up by guys who used to work for Red Adair -- was dated October 27.

Three significant points:

1) The "alliance" was intended to give Halliburton "a total solution for well control on a global basis." It was the first time that Halliburton had moved to sew up oilfield firefighters with contracts -- i.e., the first time the company had so prepared to exploit a possible conflagration (in, say, Iraq).

2) The deal, signalling a whole new direction at Halliburton, probably didn't happen overnight. Cheney must have brought some nascent version of the deal with him to the company, in a bid to better equip Halliburton for that "total solution."

3) While CEO of Halliburton, Cheney began actively advocating invading Iraq -- at least as early as 1997.

Starting to connect the dots?

Cheney's deal helped assure Halliburton the first position in Iraqi oil fields after a war: fighting the fires. By sewing up the "newly formed company comprised of the renowned firefighters of the Red Adair Company," Cheney began cornering the market on the talent that put out the Kuwait fires. Once the alliance was in place, Halliburton would be positioned to service the ruined wells of post-invasion Iraq, no matter who wound up owning the oil. Firefighting services gave Halliburton unique leverage in profiting from flaming Iraqi oil fields. They'd be first on the scene, if and when an invasion was mounted, with complete control of the situation.

The spoils of war are very different in these post-modern times.

They come in the form of government contracts -- and the best ones have limited review -- and blank checks attached."

posted by Major Barbara | 5:39 AM

Also, and finally, an admission by a journalist, and redemption for all those who suspected the press has been eating doggie biscuits in the White House: BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS

"Poynter.Org is well known among journalists as a place to keep themselves updated about the latest best practices and inside information about the media. It is a site with a lot of integrity. In quality, it's many cuts above most of the journalism it covers.

Which brings us to an astounding admission by a Washington Post writer who revealed the truth to Poynter.Org columnist Jim Romenesko: White House reporters have to have quotes that they publish, after "background" interviews, approved by the Stalinist censors in the Rove/Fleischer office of White House Communications. Not only do the so-called reporters have to get approval before including the quotes in an article, the White House can alter the quotations and demand that they be printed as though they were the original quotations.

As a strategy, Rove and Fleischer have White House Staff provide many interviews on "background" so that then they can force the reporters to submit to the White House censors any quotations that they want to actually print."

I don't know about you, but the smell of this dirty laundry sure is sweet.