(Halliburton, the oil services giant once headed
by Vice President Dick Cheney, has done business
in Iran, Iraq and Libya for years despite US embargoes,
according to documents released by a lawmaker.
A letter from Representative Henry Waxman, obtained
Tuesday, said Halliburton's dealings with countries
cited by Washington as state sponsors of terrorism
or members of the so-called "axis of evil"
dates back to the 1980s.
The dealings "appear to have continued during
the period between 1995 and 2000, when Vice President
Cheney headed the company; and they are apparently
ongoing even today," said Waxman, a Democrat
and frequent critic of President George W. Bush's
Waxman, who has previously expressed concern about
Halliburton's multimillion dollar contracts for
postwar Iraq, made his latest comments in a letter
April 30 to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
"Halliburton has recently been awarded a
leading -- and lucrative --- role in the US war
against terrorism," Waxman wrote.
"Yet there is also evidence from press accounts
and other sources that indicates that Halliburton
has profited from numerous business dealings with
state sponsors of terrorism, including two of
the three members of President Bush's 'axis of
The "axis of evil" first cited by Bush
in early 2002 included Iraq, prior to the US-led
war, as well as Iran and North Korea.
Waxman stopped short of saying Halliburton's actions
violated US laws that prohibit business dealings
in certain countries, but maintained that Halliburton
"appears to have sought to circumvent these
restrictions by setting up subsidiaries in foreign
countries and territories such as the Cayman Islands."
Some of the involvement of Halliburton is detailed
in company documents including its annual reports.
Halliburton spokesman Wendy Hall did not dispute
the Waxman allegations, but said the company operates
within the law while trying to remain competitive
with US and foreign rivals.
"Putting politics aside, we and our affiliates
operate in countries, to the extent it is legally
permissible, where our customers are active as
they expect us to provide oilfield services support
to their international operations," Hall
said in a written statement.
"Where the United States government has mandated
that United States companies refrain from commerce,
we comply, often to the advantage of our international
competitors. We do not always agree with policies
or actions of governments in every place that
we do business and make no excuses for their behaviors."
As for the actions of Halliburton offshore subsidiaries,
Hall said, "The company believes that the
operations of its subsidiaries are in compliance
with US laws. These entities and activities are
staffed and managed by non-US personnel."
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