BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Monday, January 31, 2005

Shenanigans

You know, I was so busy dancing and clapping yesterday (re: the Iraqi elections) that I forgot to mention:

"Halliburton to End Iran Operations"

Iraq?

"No. IRAN."

You don't say.
HOUSTON — Halliburton Co. will pull out of Iran after its current contracts there are wound down, its chief executive said Friday.

"The business environment currently in Iran is not conducive to our overall strategy and objectives," Chief Executive Dave Lesar said in a conference call.
Pulling out before the bombing, eh?

Wait, what?
The Houston-based company, formerly headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, has been criticized for its work in Iraq, where it is the largest private contractor with revenue totaling more than $10 billion.

Halliburton said in July that it had received a subpoena seeking information about operations in Iran of its Cayman Islands subsidiary, Halliburton Products & Services Ltd.

The company has argued that using a Cayman Islands subsidiary EXEMPTS IT from a U.S.-imposed trade embargo against Iran, which is accused of seeking nuclear arms and funding terrorist networks.
So, what you're saying is...If you set up a subsidiary in the Caymans --

"You don't have to worry about RULES. You know, the stupid rules that US companies have to deal with. But the best part? You don't have to pay taxes."

Really?

"Yeah. All you gotta do is, you know, show up every once in awhile, play golf, have a couple of drinks. Golf. Girls, maybe. It's awesome."

I bet
Halliburton provided no details on when its current contracts in Iran would be completed or on the value of the work. The company generated about $80 million in revenue in Iran in 2003.
Axis of evil? Axis of money!

Hey, speaking of money, check out this headline from the Guardian:

"Audit: $9 Billion Unaccounted for in Iraq"

D'oh!

Back to the bad, B-movie.
WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. occupation authority in Iraq (the CPA) was unable to keep track of nearly $9 billion it transferred to government ministries, which lacked financial controls, security, communications and adequate staff, an inspector general has found.

The U.S. officials relied on Iraqi audit agencies to account for the funds but those offices were not even functioning when the funds were transferred between October 2003 and June 2004, according to an audit by a special U.S. inspector general.

The inspector general said the (CPA) disbursed $8.8 billion to Iraqi ministries "without assurance the moneys were properly accounted for.''

U.S. officials, the report said, ``did not establish or implement sufficient managerial, financial and contractural controls.'' There was no way to verify that the money was used for its intended purposes of financing humanitarian needs, economic reconstruction, repair of facilities, disarmament and civil administration.

Some of the transferred funds may have paid "ghost'' employees, the inspector general found.
That old trick? Come on, people. Think outside the box!
CPA staff learned that 8,206 guards were on the payroll at one ministry, but only 602 could be accounted for, the report said. At another ministry, U.S. officials found 1,417 guards on the payroll but could only confirm 642.
U.S. officials, including former CPA head Paul Bremer, are denying the conclusions of this report.
Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said Sunday the (CPA) was hamstrung by ``extraordinary conditions'' under which it worked throughout its mission.

``We simply disagree with the audit's conclusion that the CPA provided less than adequate controls,'' Whitman said.
You're kidding.

CUT TO:

EXT. IRAQI SOMETHING MINISTRY, GREEN ZONE - NIGHT

PRIVATE SECURITY FORCES (employees of "American Eagle Security") stand by as an armored vehicle backs up the loading dock of the old Iraqi Treasury Building, located in the middle of Baghdad's "Green Zone." An IRAQI OFFICIAL, wearing semi-military garb, jumps out of the passenger seat. He begins to bark orders the IRAQI SOLDIERS who are waiting on the dock's main platform. The doors of the armored vehicle swing open.

The soldiers begin to load the vehicle with large, unmarked crates.

The Iraqi official nods at LT. JAKE PILEDRIVER, the commander of the Private Security forces. Lt. Piledriver smiles and extinguishes his cigar on his left arm.

LT. PILEDRIVER - Move 'em out!

The soldiers close the doors of the armored vehicle. The Iraqi official jumps back into the passenger seat and gives a "thumbs up" to Lt. Piledriver. The armored vehicle moves away from the loading dock and speeds away into the night.

CUT TO:

EXT. BAGHDAD AIRPORT - NIGHT

The armored vehicle drives straight into a (heavily guarded) transport plane on the outskirts of the Baghdad airport.

INT. TRANSPORT PLANE - MOMENTS LATER

The Iraqi official gets out of the truck and is greeted by an Iraqi MILITARY OFFICER. The two men hug.

MILTARY OFFICER - What took you so long?

IRAQI OFFICIAL - The traffic on the 405 was a nightmare.

The cargo doors of the gigantic transport swing shut, and the plane pulls away from the hangar.

CUT TO:

INT. FIVE STAR HOTEL - BEIRUT - NIGHT

A myserious LEBANESE BUSINESSMAN, an IRAQI GENERAL and an AMERICAN OFFICIAL are smoking cigars on the deck of the "Presidential Suite." A number of bikini-clad woman are lounging around the hotel's massive, tropical-themed pool. The Iraqi General leans over the balcony and points toward a tall, naked blonde...swimming in the pool.

IRAQI GENERAL - Now that's what I'm talking about, dog.

The men share a laugh. The American official grabs a giant glass of brandy from a female SERVANT in a French maid's outfit.

AMERICAN OFFICIAL - Gentlemen, a toast.

The men raise their glasses.

AMERICAN OFFICIAL - A toast...to opportunity.

ALL - To opportunity!

The men drink and we...

CUT TO MORE LATER.




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