| Much has been written about the Halliburton
Corporation because Vice President Cheney once ran the company, and it has been
under scrutiny after being awarded no-bid contracts plus the company is in the
middle of an over-billing dispute with the US Government. The criticism has
primarily been politically motivated, but it all pales in comparison to the
press release the company issued Sunday, March 11, 2007, in which Halliburton
Corporation announced they will move their corporate headquarters from Houston,
Texas, to Bahrain.
Sure, the Halliburton
announcement will have some obvious repercussions including that the move will
allow Halliburton and its executives to dodge both corporate and individual US
taxes, people will demand that Halliburton contracts to feed American troops
and other work in Iraq be cancelled because they are no longer a US company, as
well as complaints of how dare a company that grew because of American
contracts run away. Instead of focusing on the emotional arguments, we have to
look beyond the surface and think about the issues which may appear to be less
pronounced, yet are more significant to the US and its allies.
First, the announcement was made on a Sunday, a day
which is not considered a business day in the Christian-based society of the
US, yet is a regular working day in the Islamic-based society in Bahrain. While
the announcement could have easily waited until the next day, the choice of day
shows the company is specifically paying more homage to the Islamic culture
than to our own.
Second, Halliburton has been a
defense contractor. Regardless of how many precautions are taken, the move will
result in secrets going oversees as the brain-pool of Halliburton staff and
executives can not be suddenly erased.
for a NASA contractor, I had to pass a background check even if not a full
security clearance. I could not help but overhear some secrets that I will
never reveal because I do not have authority to, nor would I because I value
and respect this great nation. By announcing they are leaving the US,
Halliburton essentially announced they no longer pledge allegiance to the flag
of the United States of America, thus Halliburton executives may potentially
give secrets to their new country of allegiance.
Congress therefore needs to pass a law allowing the FBI to step in and seize
any and all documents and data related to defense contacting (including
project, implementation, scheduling and budget) in order to prevent such
information from leaving US soil in the Halliburton move. If you have ever been
worried about what one spy can give to foreign governments, imagine what
Halliburton can potentially transport oversees to a country where there is no
Third, by moving to a country that is
signatory to the Arab boycott of Israel, Halliburton executives are saying they
no longer stand to protect US foreign-policy interests. Congress enacted the
Export Administration Amendments of 1977 which states that no foreign nation
may impose their foreign policy on the U.S. therefore no U.S. persons may
engage in official boycotts of foreign nations aimed at nations friendly to the
U.S. By moving to Bahrain, Halliburton will be subject to comply with official
Arab League member nation policies. This can significantly affect international
business contracts because Halliburton is thumbing its nose at the United
States and our Congress by adopting and implementing Arab League foreign policy
in their US business dealings by virtue of its new allegiance.
The Arab boycott of Israel is a topic which was
forgotten about until I started writing extensively about it on the Boycott
Watch (www.boycottwatch.org) and Divestment Watch (www.divestmentwatch.org)
websites. The ABI topic has been picked up recently by other writers and became
the issue which ultimately broke the Dubai Ports World deal. Potential illegal
requests to comply with the ABI will become an important business factor with
all future Halliburton dealings now that it is based in an Arab nation. US
companies even thinking about doing business with Halliburton now need to
become familiar with US anti-boycott laws and reporting requirements.
Fourth, several news reports have revealed that
Halliburton has had business dealings with Iran in direct violation of a US law
banning "the direct or indirect exportation of U.S.-origin goods, services, or
technology to Iran or the Government of Iran."
speculate Halliburton executives may be making this move to avoid potential US
Halliburton executives surely know that
they may lose key US government contracts that have made their company
profitable, yet by moving to Bahrain, they will retain world-wide oil
exploration contracts and protect themselves.
people never heard of Halliburton until Dick Cheney was announced as the Vice
Presidential candidate. The company was regarded as the quintessential American
success story, but now it is the quintessential American nightmare.
Fred Taub is the President of
Boycott Watch (www.boycottwatch.org)
which monitors and reports about consumer boycotts, and Divestment Watch (www.divestmentwatch.com) which
exposed why the Arab boycott of Israel and its subsidiary divest-from-Israel
campaign violate US laws and are an impediment to peace.