By Catherine Austin Fitts
R. J. Cutler’s documentary, The World According to Dick Cheney, is worth watching. Along with Ferguson’s No End in Sight this is very good footage documenting Dick Cheney’s role as Vice President in the second Bush Administration.
There are important unanswered questions surrounding Cheney that this new documentary does not answer.
It is clear that Cheney invented a series of lies to justify the US invasion of Iraq. The question is why? Theories abound. Was it because the Project for the New American Century had decided the US must assert control over the middle east oil and gas deposits? Was it because such control was essential to managing the oil price to control China’s role in the global economy? (See the excellent interviews with Jim Norman on his book the Oil Card on the Solari Report) What role did the effort to assert control over important Iraqi antiquities play?
One of the most interesting parts of Cutler’s documentary is the description of Cheney tricking Dick Armey to support the invasion. It was like watching a scene from Netflix’s new second season from House of Cards, with Kevin Spacey ’s character Frank Underwood engineering a move from his leadership role in Congress to become the Vice President. Underwood has colleagues assassinated and dirty tricked along the way. The lies are endless.
After the Iraq invasion I was asked by Dennis Bernstein of Flashpoints to do a radio show about the Halliburton contracts (through subsidiary KBR) involved in the war. To my surprise, my calculations showed that at that time, a significant portion of Halliburton’s stock market valuation was driven by the profit from the Iraqi contracts. Cheney had been the CEO of Halliburton after serving as Secretary of Defense under George H. W. Bush and before joining the George W. Bush presidential ticket.
Do I think that government contracts were the reason for going to war? No, but wide-ranging financial incentives were part of building a coalition for the invasion.
The question remains. Why did Cheney fearlessly package and promote lies, again and again, to ensure that the US invaded Iraq? The question has yet to be answered.
One of the reasons I find the effort to bring transparency to Cheney’s history of interest is for a personal purpose. I became convinced during ten years of litigation with the federal government, as I searched for a political solution to a process in which numerous parties treated the law as if it was irrelevant, that Richard Cheney was a big part of my problem.
The question is why? There are a number of possibilities. One comes back to the private prisons that Halliburton (again through subsidiary KBR) was constructing when Cheney was the head. (See my article on private prison company Cornell Corrections)
To this day, one of the questions I would like answered is whether or not Cheney was double dipping. Was he personally investing in offshore equity vehicles that were financing the private prison companies that Halliburton was working for or the related real estate? What about in Iraq and related oil and gas investments? Was Dick Cheney double dipping on private equity plays related to KBR’s government and government related activities? Was he using his enforcement and intelligence contacts to steer contracts to KBR while he was double dipping on related equity in ways that Halliburton’s board and shareholders could not see?
One interesting scene in The World According to Dick Cheney describes the vetting process for his appointment to the presidential ticket. Cheney would only allow his personal financial statements to be seen by George W. Bush. No one else was permitted to see them.
How much money does Dick Cheney or members of his family have in offshore vehicles and tax havens? And how did those investments relate to the policies and government spending and contracts he influenced?
Someone was afraid of something. After Cheney’s assistant Scooter Libby was indicted in October 2005, Halliburton spun its government contracting and infrastructure construction subsidiary KBR out in 2006-07 and moved its corporate headquarters to Dubai in 2007 as the separation with KBR was complete.
Richard Cheney has made many enemies. As you watch The World According to Dick Cheney you can begin to count more than a few. I suspect if Cutler had tried to include them all, he would have had to make a multi-season series at least as long as the 26 episodes of House of Cards.
House of Cards is still going. But then, so is Dick Cheney.