Saturday, May 01, 2010

Death to 'Corporate Comrade' Halliburton

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

Halliburton, for whom George W. Bush hijacked the US military to wage war and perp capital crimes against the people of Iraq, may be and should be subject to severe penalties, perhaps death, as a result of the 'personhood' granted them recently by the US 'Supreme' Court. If Halliburton is a 'person', then Halliburton must be charged with multitudinous crimes, tried, found guilty and 'put to death' but not before it is literally 'fined' out of existence for the monetary damages it has inflicted upon the world environment.
The oil well spewing crude into the Gulf of Mexico didn't have a remote-control shut-off switch used in two other major oil-producing nations as last-resort protection against underwater spills.

The lack of the device, called an acoustic switch, could amplify concerns over the environmental impact of offshore drilling after the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon rig last week.

The accident has led to one of the largest ever oil spills in U.S. water and the loss of 11 lives. On Wednesday federal investigators said the disaster is now releasing 5,000 barrels of oil a day into the Gulf, up from original estimates of 1,000 barrels a day.

U.S. regulators don't mandate use of the remote-control device on offshore rigs, and the Deepwater Horizon, hired by oil giant BP PLC, didn't have one. With the remote control, a crew can attempt to trigger an underwater valve that shuts down the well even if the oil rig itself is damaged or evacuated.

The efficacy of the devices is unclear. Major offshore oil-well blowouts are rare, and it remained unclear Wednesday evening whether acoustic switches have ever been put to the test in a real-world accident. When wells do surge out of control, the primary shut-off systems almost always work. Remote control systems such as the acoustic switch, which have been tested in simulations, are intended as a last resort.

--Leaking Oil Well Lacked Safeguard Device
Let's clear up an important point at the outset. No corporation has an inherent 'right' to exist. Since their inception as 'Royal Charters', corporations have been and remain 'artificial creations' and, as such, have no rights whatsoever but the 'privileges' that are extended to them by the 'sovereign! In the U.S., the 'sovereign' is the 'people' collectively. SCOTUS is wrong. Corporations have no rights whatsoever!

I might not oppose 'corporate personhood' if corporations were held to the same laws as are 'real people'. But ---clearly ---they are not and never have been. No corporation committing murder has ever been put to death by electrocution, hanging or the current 'fashion': the lethal needle.

Either the law applies equally or it does not. If not then the resulting inequities are unjust and, by common law, render the inequitable laws moot! Ergo: if corporations are to be considered people, then, by law, they should be subject to the same penalties and sentences that are exacted of real people for the same crimes! Clearly --the Supreme Court had no such intention. Clearly --the Supreme Court had precisely the opposite outcome in mind. Clearly the high court ruled unjustly, not upon law but upon prejudices, their preference for the corporate position, corporate rule.

Moreover --the 'privileged' position presently enjoyed by corporations violates the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which guarantees 'Equal protection' under the law! In other words --no person (real or otherwise) is either exempted or singled-out. Justice applies equally or, by definition and the 14th amendment, it does not apply at all!

Halliburton's latest outrage lies just offshore in the Gulf of Mexico where due to indifference and/or incompetence, an oil spill threatens marine life throughout the gulf, the southern coast of the United States from Florida to Brownsville, TX, and the eastern coast of Mexico.
The leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico did not have a remote-control shut-off switch used in two other major oil-producing nations as last-resort protection against underwater spills, reports The Wall Street Journall.

The article, which is available today on the Journall's Web site, states that the lack of the device, called an acoustic switch, could amplify concerns over the environmental impact of offshore drilling after the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon rig last week.

Some 5,000 barrels a day are now estimated to be leaking from the well, Coast Guard officials said Wednesday night. Officials had been saying for days that it was 1,000 barrels a day.

The resulting slick on the Gulf surface is expected to touch the southern tip of Louisiana as early as Friday afternoon. If it hits Mississippi, it will likely do so over the weekend.

--Leaking oil well lacked safeguard device, reports Wall Street Journal
As a 'corporate person' Halliburton should be tried for crimes that when 'real' people commit them are charged, tried and when found guilty locked up or, in cases of murder, executed!

The US 'adventure' in Iraq was inspired and urged by Dick Cheney whose 'Energy Task Force' met to 'carve up the oil fields of the middle east'. As this 'war of aggression' had nothing whatsoever to do with 911, the attack violates US Codes, Title 18, Section 2441 which requires the death penalty.
TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 118 > §2441. War crimes (a) Offense.— Whoever, whether inside or outside the United States, commits a war crime, in any of the circumstances described in subsection (b), shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for life or any term of years, or both, and if death results to the victim, shall also be subject to the penalty of death.
The 'corporate person' Halliburton conspired to seize the oil fields of Iraq. The 'corporate person' Halliburton and Halliburton in the 'person' of Dick Cheney urged and/or advised the sitting President of the United States, George W. Bush, to order the attack and invasion; therefore: Halliburton must be charged with murder for each Iraqi death at the hands of any US soldier.

The 'corporate person' --Halliburton --resides in Texas where 'persons' convicted of murder are given the 'lethal needle'. For the many deaths resulting from Halliburton --now a person residing physically in Texas --I demand that the corporate person Halliburton be arrested, charged, tried and when found guilty of mass murder and war crimes in Iraq be given the 'lethal needle'.

That means the corporation cease and desist all corporate operations immediately upon being found guilty. That means that Halliburton cease to exist as a legal and/or business entity in any form whatsoever. It means that all contracts entered into are made null and void upon conviction except those Halliburton liabilities to be paid by the complete liquidation of all 'corporate' assets. It means that culpable, convicted decision makers be imprisoned on Texas death row until they can be executed for murder.Those those having guilty knowledge and benefiting most by the capital crimes committed by Halliburton are to be charged as co-conspirators or accessories and tried.

Now --about conspiracies. Don't even think about telling me that they do not exist. Secondly, if you don't think they exist, I suggest you visit Findlaw or the Cornell University Law Library online. You will find hundreds if not thousands of cases of 'conspiracy' case law. In fact, almost all crimes of any significance are conspiratorial. One person alone has difficulty robbing a convenience store. Who will drive the get-away car if not a co-conspirator? Conspiracies exist!

Dare we hope that the idiots on the high court outsmarted themselves? Dare we suppose that the right wing criminals in charge are fallen into their own trap? Dare we suspect that the gang of fascists, liars and criminals who have seized power in the United States have tripped themselves up?

Last year, Halliburton was implicated for its cementing work prior to a massive blowout off the coast of Australia, where a rig caught fire and spewed hundreds of thousands of gallons into the sea for ten weeks.

In that incident, workers apparently failed to properly pump cement into the well. That's according to Elmer Danenberger, former head of regulatory affairs for the US Minerals Management Service, who testified to an Australian commission probing that accident.
Giant oil-services provider Halliburton may be a primary suspect in the investigation into the oil rig explosion that has devastated the Gulf Coast, the Wall Street Journall reports.

Though the investigation into the explosion that sank the Deepwater Horizon site is still in its early stages, drilling experts agree that blame probably lies with flaws in the "cementing" process -- that is, plugging holes in the pipeline seal by pumping cement into it from the rig. Halliburton was in charge of cementing for Deepwater Horizon.

"The initial likely cause of gas coming to the surface had something to do with the cement," said Robert MacKenzie, managing director of energy and natural resources at FBR Capital Markets and a former cementing engineer in the oil industry.

The problem could have been a faulty cement plug at the bottom of the well, he said. Another possibility would be that cement between the pipe and well walls didn't harden properly and allowed gas to pass through it.

The possibility of Halliburton's culpability was first reported Monday by HuffPost's Marcus Baram.

According to a lawsuit filed in federal court by Natalie Roshto, whose husband Shane, a deck floor hand, was thrown overboard by the force of the explosion and whose body has not yet been located, Halliburton is culpable for its actions prior to the incident.

--Halliburton May Be Culprit In Oil Rig Explosion
The war against the people of Iraq was fought for the benefit of Dick Cheney's Halliburton, the world's second largest oil field services corporation. Subsidiary KBR was given no bid contracts.
Do we all remember the Cheney Energy Task Force? That was at the beginning of the regime, when The Bush Grindhouse became an Energy Jamboree, so evil were the wheeling-and-dealing, so many hands were stained with the payola, that they went to court to suppress having any of the information of the meetings see the light of day

A few years later, we got a glimpse' Papers Detail Industry's Role in Cheney's Energy Report
In all, about 300 groups and individuals met with staff members of the energy task force, including a handful who saw Cheney himself, according to the list, which was compiled in the summer of 2001. For six years, those names have been a closely guarded secret, thanks to a fierce legal battle waged by the White House. Some names have leaked out over the years, but most have remained hidden because of a 2004 Supreme Court ruling that agreed that the administration's internal deliberations ought to be shielded from outside scrutiny.
--Cheney, Baby Cheney

Among many reasons to smash up the biggest corporations and deny them 'personhood' is this: urged by then V.P. Dick Cheney, Congress granted Halliburton a BIG LOOP HOLE excluding Halliburton from the Clean Water Drinking Act. This has placed Halliburton above the law. As a result, Halliburton may pollute the environment at will.
Yet, in 2005, at the urging of Vice President Dick Cheney, Congress created the so-called "Halliburton loophole" to the Clean Water Drinking Act (CWDA) to prevent the US Environmental Protection Agency from regulating this process, despite its demonstrated contamination of drinking water. (In 2001, Cheney's "energy task force" had touted the benefits of hydrofracking, while redacting references to human health hazards associated with hydrofracking; Halliburton, which was previously led by Cheney, reportedly earns $1.5 billion a year from its energy operations, which relies substantially on its hydrofracking business.)[4]

--Halliburton, Polluting the Environment, and the "Halliburton loophole"
As Congress placed Halliburton above the law, SCOTUS was busy turning mere legal abstractions into people, granting 'corporations, rights to include free speech. But should real persons pollute the waters --as Halliburton is licensed to do --the 'real person' would be arrested and prosecuted! 'Real persons' would be locked up! So --is Halliburton a real person or not? SCOTUS, and the co-conspirator Halliburton, want it both ways.

These exceptions have created and given official blessings to an unacceptable and utterly repugnant 'two-tiered' system of justice in which the business community may ravage the environment, cheat its customers, purchase the services of the government and the MIC for the purposes of looting foreign nations, seizing their natural resources, torturing their citizenry for daring to oppose our corporate aggressions! Revolutions have begun for much, much less. In a stroke, SCOTUS confirmed the fascist nature of the American 'state'.
The Deepwater Horizon oil rig that exploded last week was not outfitted with a safety device that might have prevented the massive oil spill now nearing the US Gulf Coast. The device, known as an acoustic switch, is a last-resort protection against underwater spills, and is required by regulators in Norway and Brazil. Unfortunately, the US has no such regulation for oil wells operating off of its shores.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, an acoustic switch is a remote control device that a crew can use in an attempt to trigger an underwater valve that shuts down a well that’s damaged. The switch is meant as a last resort, as the primary shut-off systems almost always work on wells when they are out of control. It can be triggered from a lifeboat if an oil platform has to be evacuated.

According to the Journal, U.S regulators did consider requiring the acoustic switch on offshore wells, but drilling companies resisted because of its cost, and questions about its effectiveness. To be fair, the switches have never been tested in real-world situations, only simulations. US regulators also maintain they are prone to causing unnecessary shutdowns.

Still, while US regulators and some oil producers have doubts about the acoustic switch, a spokesperson for Norway’s Petroleum Safety Authority told the Journal the switches have a good track record in the North Sea. In addition to mandates in Norway and Brazil, some oil producers, including Royal Dutch Shell PLC and France’s Total SA, sometimes use the device even when it’s not required, the Journal said.

Industry critics cite the lack of the device as a sign US drilling policy has been too lax, and say it shows the oil industry has too much say in what regulations are adopted here.

A spokesperson for the US Minerals Management Service told the Journall that the agency ultimately decided against requiring acoustic switches because it determined most rigs already had back-up systems of some kind.

BP, which leases the Deepwater Horizon rig from TransOcean Ltd, has had no success using such back-up systems to stem the oil leaking from that well. As a result, the well is now spilling as much as 5,000 barrels of oil a day into the Gulf of Mexico. The oil spill is moving closer to shore, and could hit the coast tomorrow. An environmental disaster of epic proportions may be in the offing.

--Could Additional Safety Device Have Prevented Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill?
This is utterly and without exception unacceptable in a 'free' society, a 'Democracy' as we were once told America was. Now --even the crassest liars seem embarrassed when they try to tell us that the United States is 'free', that it is a 'Democracy', that the government is subject, as are all of us, to the 'rule of law'! How utterly hollow those words seem now!
When a corporation commits a crime, nobody goes to jail. When wars come, they don’t fight, they simply rake in cash. When children are poisoned or workers are killed, they seldom even pay a fine. However, when they want something, billions in tax money for “bail outs” or fat contracts or special laws, they have always gotten it. It has been a battle to control corporations for 140 years. Sometimes the American people have lost, sometimes they have won. Our greatest presidents are the ones who reined in corporate power and kept the influence of money over humanity in check. Think of Theordore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower and John Kennedy.

--Veterans's Today, Call for Immediate Arrest of 5 Supreme Court Justices
As Albert Speer said of Hitler's Third Reich, we must now say of the US government that it is built upon utterly 'meaningless platitudes'!

At the end of a revolution in which 'real people' require power to assert the 'sovereignty' that was stolen from them, it would be irresponsible of the provisional tribunal to let stand an idiotic decision of an incompetent, criminal 'supreme' court. At the end of a real revolution, the slate is wiped clean and no precedents written or influenced by Antonin Scalia, Roberts, Alito et al remain to pervert future generations.

There are no guarantees. Things will surely get worse, decisions more absurd, the economy more inequitable (if that's possible), futures even bleaker! That and more will happen before anything is or can be done. The entrenched power not only has all the money (or some 99.9999 percent of it) and all the guns. Kent State proved that --yes --civilians daring to exert their rightful power over 'their' government will be fired upon and killed. It is the price that the few have paid for the freedoms of the many.


Stephen Kriz said...

Amen, Len. Halliburton is a traitor and a war criminal and needs to be summarily executed. This vile corporation has caused more human misery, death and suffering than perhaps any corporation (or person) in history.

Unknown said...

Stephen Kriz said...

Halliburton is a traitor and a war criminal and needs to be summarily executed.

Thanks, Stephen. I, for one, am sick of their shit! There must be millions more who would be willing to work toward the END of Halliburton, an artificial person we can do without. In the meantime, to Halliburton we say: WHO FUCKIN' NEEDS YA?

Bruce Lindner said...

A classic example of why Citizens United is crap... this "person," Haliburton, can rape, murder, and plunder the earth, and the very worst that can happen is a financial setback. Haliburton should be synonymous with the Cheney/Bush debacle. Everything that was wrong with the last decade is due to their meddling in domestic and foreign affairs, and they should be held accountable for it ALL... every environmental mess they made, every unnecessary death in Iraq (virtually ALL of them), and every dime they cost our economy. Fascist assholes, pure and simple.

Unknown said...

Bruce Lindner said...

A classic example of why Citizens United is crap... this "person," Haliburton, can rape, murder, and plunder the earth, and the very worst that can happen is a financial setback

And for them it's a 'write off'. Nothing changes, nothing is learned; hence: CORPORATE DEATH PENALTIES. Put these evil fuckers out of business while we still have an EARTH to live on.

savannah43 said...

Halliburton moved its headquarters to Dubai several years ago. In anticipation of an event like this, I wonder?

LanceThruster said...

When John Bolton was on Bill Maher, he said that whether oil platforms or coal mines, shit happens and people just need to get used to these being dangerous industries as if safety practices played no part.

It is said, the power to tax is the power to destroy. Tax the f*ck out of every corporation (as well as the board of directors and other key officers) guilty of such criminal negligence or overt criminal acts. It's not like they're paying much in taxes anyway. Have that IRS "Scarlet Letter" follow them wherever they go. Electrocuting Marines with shoddy electrical contracting should have put good ole Dick Cheney in the 99% tax bracket if not in the electric chair himself.

Unknown said...

LanceThruster said...

It is said, the power to tax is the power to destroy. Tax the f*ck out of every corporation (as well as the board of directors and other key officers) guilty of such criminal negligence or overt criminal acts.

I agree, Lance.

Electrocuting Marines with shoddy electrical contracting should have put good ole Dick Cheney in the 99% tax bracket if not in the electric chair himself.

No doubt, Dick Cheney shares Bush's guilt, specifically violations of U.S. Codes, Title 18, Section 2441 which specifies the penalty of death for violations. Bush, Cheney, Rummie, Rice and many others inside that administration are guilty and should be tried NOW!

LanceThruster said...

One of the things that occurred to me regarding the utterly nonsensical claim of corporate personhood is that aside from being theoretically immortal (the longevity aspect being one of the advantages of incorporation in the first place), they are also essentially shapeshifters.

That is to say, whenever they eff up so royally that they permanently tarnish their identity, they merely go through some superficial rebranding. A once widely recognized corporate name morphs into some amalgamation of letters or invented or hybridized word cluster (Homer Simpson named his e-business “CompuGlobalHyperMegaNet”).
Should they be too notorious, their board can slip away quietly and reconstitute their unholy alliance elsewhere while blending into the background. This way, they can continue the parasitic cycle of reaping obscenely huge profits (all the more so as externality costs of pollution, social costs to the host nation such as outsourcing, union busting, flouting safety laws, having their own lobbyists draft the measures they want enacted, election rigging and politician purchasing, false advertising, outright theft and destruction on a global scale of entire economies, and pensions, and savings, and investments, and the like are never factored into the true cost) until they ripped off everyone connected there is to rip off and leave a gutted shell in its wake, the long term cost of its dysfunctional capitalism such as toxic waste clean-up, product liability settlements, etc., are left for someone else (always the same "someone" btw, i.e. taxpayers) to foot the bill.

In last night’s PBS Frontline (“College, Inc”) they showed how student loan defaults might be the next bubble and that their selling their educational services at highly inflated prices mirrors the sub-prime “liar loans” of the mortgage industry. Frontline even mentioned that some of these firms fall into the “too big to fail” category. They are currently lobbying heavily against any type of regulation or oversight as it might prevent them from continuing in their current crapulence. And btw, Wall Street is on board with their business model in the same way they were for WorldCom and Enron and the derivatives market.

As they are multi-national, they have no interests to the people of any nation ('dual" loyalty doesn't even factor in), use the global village as a hideout for their crimes and loot, while disdainfully rejecting any notion of obligation to those countries making their plunder possible on such a grand scale in the first place. Think Halliburton moving headquarters to Dubai, most likely to shelter records that could have otherwise been confiscated to establish criminality. It makes De Niro's character, Jimmy, in "Goodfellas" look downright generous in comparison.

I think an appropriate model of corporate rapaciousness is the creature from John Carpenter' "The Thing". It lives among us, blending in until that time it seeks to press its advantage for our ultimate demise. The consumer is no longer a market to be catered to for mutual benefit, but a disposable resource to be fleeced as rapidly as possible in order for the predator to move onto the next group of victims. The hobbling of our economic well-being in tantamount to loggers clear cutting or overfishing by industrial fishing fleets. It is obviously not in their long-term interests to wipe out the purchasing power of the middle class, yet they operate in that fashion nonetheless.

Even knowing they're out there, and their intent is not enough on its own to ensure our safety. The best defense is a good offense. How do we take it to these bast*rds? They seem to be holding most the cards at the moment.

Unknown said...

LanceThruster said...

they [corporate persons] are also essentially shapeshifters. That is to say, whenever they eff up so royally that they permanently tarnish their identity, they merely go through some superficial rebranding.

Good point! I have urged everyone to incorporate in Delaware. Hey --real people can be real people too! If EVERY real person in the U.S. becomes a corporation, then ALL income can be put on the corporate books and your EVERY expenditure a legal deduction. Check with your cro...uh...good lawyer first. Surely, there are enough deductions such that your corporation shows NO income, perhaps even a loss. How's that for a nationwide protest of this idiocy.