Monday 20th of May 2024

Halliburton Iraq Overcharges Hidden In Australia?

As Halliburton-KBR is accused of massive construction overcharges in Iraq I wonder how much the Adelaide office has been involved.  For around five years this building was the Halliburton/KBR's Global Headquarters for Infrastructure (sorry, I'm not a good signwriter).  As this was in the period before and after the Coalition's occupation of Iraq, you'd have to assume that a lot of the contentious paperwork would have passed through this building on its way from Iraq to Houston.

KBR_global_hq.jpg Photo: Adelaide Indymedia

A report released last week by the US Special Inspector-General for Iraq Reconstruction.  The International Herald Tribune has reported that

The highest proportions of overhead were incurred in oil-facility contracts won by KBR, the Halliburton subsidiary formerly known as Kellogg, Brown & Root, which has been challenged often in Congress and elsewhere because of its problems with projects in Iraq.

What happened, according to the report was that the US sent KBR and other infrastructure contractors to Iraq before they were able to carry out any work.  There the men and machinery sat and waited.  "The government blew the whistle for these guys to go to Iraq and the meter ran," said Jim Mitchell, a spokesman for the inspector general's office. "The government was billed for sometimes nine months before work began."

The report also states that the actual costs for many projects could be even higher than the estimates, the report says, because the United States has not properly tracked how much such expenses have taken from the $18.4 billion of taxpayer-financed reconstruction approved by Congress two years ago.  

The IHT also says that "The report does not explain why KBR's overhead costs on those contracts, for about $296 million, were more than 10 percent higher than any of the other companies audited. "

Perhaps the Inspector-General's office should be asking for paperwork held at the Greenhill Road  office to be handed in for auditing?  They'll have to be quick though, as President Bush last week abolished this particular mechanism for discovering infrastructure overcharging.

Through the presence of the Infrastructure G-HQ Australia may have a larger role in this tale of international overspending than we care to admit.  However, it's possible that in the same way that Halliburton used its Cayman Islands office as a forwarding office to its Houston Headquarters, paperwork flowing to and from Iraq only passed through Adelaide as a matter of corporate convenience.


Water on the brain?

From the right winged ABC

Turnbull seeks privatisation of city water supplies
The parliamentary secretary for water, Malcolm Turnbull, has told a Melbourne conference the privatisation of Australia's water supply will solve city water shortages.

Mr Turnbull told the conference the water industry must be opened to full private investment and ownership.

He says that will allow for the provision of as much water as the cities want.

"Even those people who are opposed to private sector involvement in water on some ideological basis have got to expect that the systematic stand is broken and is not working," he said.

"I mean it makes no sense to big cities, that can have as much water as they can pay for, to be rationing water."


Gus: Why not privatise the governments altogether, and go user-pay only for anything like militias and armies... and since I do not need the Aussie armies/Navies (now all privatised), I'd save all the money the present government is squandering in Iraq. And I do not wish to pay for services I do not use, like schools since I do not use any. Blimey, I'm saving heaps of money! And what about the sewage? I don't want that either... Let's dig holes in the backyard and have dunnies again... Parks and recreation areas? Have turnstiles with a gold coin per quarter turn... Swimming pools? Hey, I don't swim... waste of money! Sport? I hate organised sport! All these Aussie athletes groomed at my expense in the AIS... gone! Magic! I did not know life was so cheap! taxes down to zero!...

Gees, Forget it Malcolm... got water on the brain? Privatise bottle water if you wish, but leave the H2O stuff in the hands of public concern even if we do not manage it as well as it should be... Anyway I'm going to put water-tanks for a rainy day... And that will be my own "private" water... Let the South Australians yank their own water away from Halliburton: otherwise, In the end the water will cost more, like privatised green slips...

Mr Turnbull's retirement package...

. ... would no doubt be exceedingly comfortable even without a Halliburton kickback.   These mongrels want to sell everything we have.

You can only sell off all the resources once...  we're definitely spending the kids' inheritance.