That uncanny eldritch screech you hear is the sound of Halliburton’s wallet finally getting pried open. Dick Cheney’s former company — whose logo once charmingly sported the tagline “Unleash the energy” — has finally (and begrudgingly) agreed to pay a measly $1.1 billion for destroying the Gulf of Mexico back in 2010, when the oil rig they built exploded.
Jeez, Halliburton, all you had to do was not use crappy cement! The Deepwater Horizon oil spill is the worst disaster of its kind in history, and that’s saying a lot: Industry analyst Kathy Werre writes that since 1978, 34 underwater oil spills were caused by “faulty cement processes.”
CBS reports that if U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier approves the offer — and why wouldn’t he, America’s judges love socialized risk and privatized profit these days — Halliburton will be off the hook for all future lawsuits except for damages claimed by state governments.
Is this writer crazy, or does $1.1 billion seem like chump change for all the damage Halliburton’s wreaked on the environment, countless marine flora and fauna, Gulf economies via the fishing and tourism industries, and all that time and money spent scrubbing oil-slicked creatures with Dawn dish liquid?
Has anybody asked about all those underpaid, uninsured contract workers who helped with the cleanup, and now can’t file any legal claims? Even though exposure to chemicals has greatly increased their risk of cancer? Oh, and by the way, 11 people died on that rig, though the other 110 managed to escape the explosion.
Can $1.1 billion even begin to make these human and non-human victims of Halliburton’s negligence whole?
What F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote about his characters Tom and Daisy in “The Great Gatsby” could just as easily apply to Dick Cheney and his pals at Halliburton:
“They were careless people […] they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together and let other people clean up the mess they had made.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald,
But what can one expect from a company that was once run by Dick Cheney? The man looks — and acts — like a creepy cartoon personification of the word “EEEEEEE-villlle.”
And in the 1990s and 2000s, Halliburton and its subsidiaries raked in the big bucks from all those wars their fearless leader Cheney helped create. Here are just a few choice tidbits from Wikipedia that make Halliburton an ideal candidate for the title of Evil Incarnate:
- While Americans were busy hanging yellow ribbons and “support the troops” signs during Operation Desert Storm, back in the early 1990’s, Cheney and his pals at Halliburton were busy violating U.S. federal trade barriers while selling oil drilling equipment and pulse neutron generators to Iraq and Libya. For this, Halliburton forked over $1.2 million in fines, and another $2.61 million in penalties.
- In 1995-2002, Halliburton Brown & Root Services Corp. raked in at least $2.5 billion to build military bases in the Balkans — often at “undisclosed locations” and without going through the inconvenience of the normally required bidding process.
- In 2001, Halliburton spun off a subsidiary with offices in Tehran, Iran, and incorporated the company in the tax-sheltered Cayman Islands to avoid paying taxes. Although “Halliburton Products” shared the same logo and corporate identity as its parent, Halliburton claimed it was a “foreign” corporation.
- In 2005, former KBR (AKA Kellogg, Brown & Root) employee Jamie Leigh Jones testified at a Congressional hearing that up to seven co-workers gang-raped her while they were in Iraq, and then locked her up in a shipping container for over 24 hours with no food or water. An astonishing 38 other female KBR employees reported similar experiences.
- In 2006, Halliburton subsidiary KBR won a $385 million contract to build “temporary detention and processing facilities” (internment camps, for which Guantanamo Bay “may have” served as a model) from the Department of Homeland SecurityCheney’s puppet President George W. Bush had created.
- In 2013 Halliburton was fined a measly $200,000 for destroying damning evidence related to the Deepwater Horizon spill.
Halliburton grudgingly offers paltry $1.1 billion settlement.
Here’s the report from WDSU News.
Featured image: Composite.