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The Halliburton Agenda: The Politics of Oil and Money (Social Science) Hardcover – 28 May 2004

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 290 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (28 May 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471638609
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471638605
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 2.7 x 23.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 46,238 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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traces the business and political history of the company s founders. ( Lloyd s List, 5 th November 2004)

If you want to get your blood boiling, don t bother sitting out in the sun. Read this book instead. (CFO Europe, July 2004)

he [Briody] is a skilled story teller. (Financial Times, 13 May 2004)

Following hard on the heels of The Iron Triangle, an examination of international consultants the Carlyle Group, Briody turns his considerable investigative skills to the rise of the Halliburton Corp., its subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root and the transformation of the U.S. military establishment. With a blunt matter–of–fact tone, Briody describes the rise of the two companies from the dusty oil fields of west Texas to the marbled corridors of power in Washington, D.C. Briody contends that Halliburton and KBR have literally bought politicians, manipulated the contracting process and ridden the current wave of small wars to record profits. Small, detailed moments of intense private pressure and unscrupulous backroom deal–making dominate this story. While Briody seethes with indignation, there is a grudging respect for the skill with which the executives and politicians ply their trade and a bitter resignation at the reality of the ways of government contracting. Central to the Pentagon s post Cold War strategy is outsourcing nonmilitary tasks to private contractors. One of the chief architects of this plan was Dick Cheney, defense secretary for the first President Bush. Briody argues that with Cheney now vice–president and Halliburton awarded a huge no–bid contract to reconstruct Iraq s oil fields, public outrage has grown. As the controversy simmers, Briody raises an important question: with Americans and Iraqis dying by the day, have military matters become so efficient and profitable for companies like Halliburton that war itself is easier to wage? At times the book is repetitive and has the feel of being rushed to press, but this urgency lends the book a certain gravity. Briody has his own agenda brilliantly illuminating the increasingly crucial nexus of public need, private profit and war making. Agent, Daniel Greenberg. (May) (Publishers Weekly, May 5, 2004)

traces the business and political history of the company s founders. ( Lloyd s List, 5 th November 2004)

If you want to get your blood boiling, don t bother sitting out in the sun. Read this book instead. (CFO Europe, July 2004)

he [Briody] is a skilled story teller. (Financial Times, 13 May 2004)

From the Inside Flap

During the 2000 vice presidential debate, when Dick Cheney was asked about his financial success as Halliburton’s CEO, he responded that the government had played no role in it. But even Cheney himself couldn’t really believe that. Halliburton has taken the idea of the military–industrial complex to a level never before seen. And in its seemingly unstoppable march to becoming the vendor of choice for the United States military, Halliburton continues to court controversy.

In The Halliburton Agenda, Halliburton and its subsidiary, Kellogg Brown & Root, form the foundation of an intriguing story of cronyism and conflict of interest that has only increased in momentum over the last decade.

Award–winning journalist and bestselling author Dan Briody cuts through the veil of secrecy that cloaks this controversial company, and reveals how the confluence of business and politics has led to questionable deals as well as financial windfalls for Halliburton, its executives, and its subsidiaries.

The Halliburton Agenda digs deep to expose:

  • A pattern of cost overages by the company dating as far back as World War II and extending forward through Vietnam, Somalia, and Bosnia
  • How Halliburton has been doing business with terrorist states such as Libya and Iran for decades and why the company continues to do so
  • The questionable legality of the U.S. government’s contracts with Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root, including LOGCAP the government’s contract to provide logistical support to the Army and the contract for the work in rebuilding Iraq’s oil infrastructure
  • Why the company paid a $2.4 million bribe to a Nigerian tax official, acquired $4.4 billion of asbestos liability, and changed its accounting procedures without notifying its shareholders an action that has led to an ongoing SEC investigation
  • The current allegations against Halliburton for overcharging the U.S. government for gas in Iraq

Halliburton’s inextricable links to politicians and the United States military, its dealings with countries known to sponsor terrorism, and its controversial $2 billion government contract to rebuild Iraq are only the tip of the iceberg. The Halliburton Agenda untangles a complex web of political power plays and deceptive deals revealing how a company with the right connections can finesse its way to success.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. E. Robinson on 20 Aug. 2004
Format: Hardcover
Did I get the wrong book from The book is advertised to be a book about Cheney and Halliburton - it is about Halliburton but not Cheney. For example, pictures of Cheney appear on both the front and back covers of the book jacket. But that is very misleading. The book is not about Cheney per se; there are in fact only a dozen or so pages dealing with Cheney near the end of the book and he plays only a minor role; he finally appears on page 191 of the 237 added seemingly as an afterthought. Surprisingly, the dominant politician in the book is the former president and Texas native Lyndon Baines Johnson or LBJ. By my estimate and it is confirmed by looking at the index, LBJ takes up three times as much space in the book as Cheney, and furthermore he plays a much more important role in setting any "agenda" at Brown & Root - a subsidiary of Halliburton. Even though the book even if falsely promoted it is still an interesting read about two old US companies and their eventual merger; but at just 237 pages long in medium font is not a 5 star effort, just 3.5 stars, maybe only 3 stars at best.
The first company described is the oil well services company Halliburton started in approximately 1920 by Erle Halliburton in Oklahoma. Erle Halliburton died in 1957 leaving a successful and financially strong and independent business enterprise as his legacy. The second company is Brown & Root (B & R) that developed from being a Texas road construction company that was started around 1917 to become a major defense contractor.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 8 May 2006
Format: Hardcover
Author Dan Briody has written a book that goes beyond pundit finger-pointing over the controversial "no-bid" contracts relationship between Halliburton and Vice President Dick Cheney. This is a serious examination of the high-octane blend of profit and politics that fuels the Bush administration's agenda. Briody begins with an extensive history of two Texas companies, Halliburton and Brown & Root (now KBR). He deftly portrays how they made their fortunes despite Great Depression hardships, World War II and political intrigues aplenty. Briody pulls no punches while maintaining a reportorial (if not totally objective) tone, although people who hold different political views might argue with his opinions and conclusions. We recommend this saga to anyone looking for a deeper understanding of the ongoing tryst between corporate America and its politicians. While this book is not presented as a smoking gun, it portrays insider politics that smolder like an oil fire you can't quite extinguish, leaving sort of an ugly haze.
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By alan thomson on 7 Dec. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
brill, excellent read
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 19 reviews
31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
It's who you know? 24 May 2004
By Robert M. Logan - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Regardless of your political persuasion, I recommend The Halliburton Agenda. Author Dan Briody follows Erle Halliburton's career from the oil fields as a driver in the early 1900's to the boardrooms where in the 1920's Halliburton was already a millionaire. During the same era brothers, Herman and George, founders of Brown & Root, the predecessor of the modern day Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) that is now a subsidiary of Halliburton, began as road builders and garbage haulers in Texas and graduated to dam builders and became a major government contractor as they learned to work the political system.
The ties between the Brown brothers and politicians, most notably Lyndon Johnson, are revealed in some detail. It is a fascinating view. The ups and downs of KBR are followed through the decades as the construction firm lands contract after contract.
Early on, author Briody makes a strong effort to keep his opinions - if not his perspective - off the pages. Unfortunately later in the book, he does not stick to the facts, but occasionally opines. An example of this editorializing is found on page 211 when discussing Dick Cheney Briody states "Either way, he's not the man I want bending the president's ear on a daily basis." I would have preferred coming to that conclusion on my own.
Overall, the book has a good deal of balance with Briody giving space to others praising Halliburton's while raising questions about the LOGCAP (Logistics Civil Augmentation Program) design and bidding process.
I like timelines, charts and pictures. Unfortunately, this book has none. A timeline of the successes and failures with a listing of the contracts would be a nice addition to the book. Also, photographs of the major players and construction projects would add flavor.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Political back scratching and war profiteering... 18 Jun. 2005
By C. Middleton - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Political cronyism has been part and parcel of western democracy since the hay days of the Roman Empire. It is extremely naïve to believe otherwise, "jobs for the boys"; political portfolios for the "mates", and lucrative contracts for family members are an unfortunate aspect of the system, which has not changed, and will not change, in the foreseeable future. Moreover, another unfortunate reality is that war is good business. One only has to look back at the Civil War, those "damn Yankee carpet baggers", filtering down from the north at the end of the war and exploiting the defeated Southerners, in the name of "reparations". Many made a fortune from the defeated south, just as a few companies are currently making millions from the spoils of the Iraqi war. What Briody calls in this book, the "iron triangle", the collusion of government, military and corporations, he targets the Halliburton Corporation and its subsidiary, Kellogg, Brown & Root, describing a long history of political back scratching, war profiteering, illegal campaign contributions, and a long and lucrative relationship with key political figures, such as Lyndon B. Johnson and currently, Vice President Cheney, which is making a few individuals extremely rich, unjustly, from the hard earned tax dollars of the American people.

Most of the book is devoted to illustrating the business history of Halliburton and Brown & Root, providing a long and entrenched business practice of political back scratching through illegal campaign contributions, in this case, the long and successful relationship between Lyndon B. Johnson and the Brown brothers through the 40's 50's, 60's, turning Brown & Root into one of the most successful construction companies in American history. The evidence of this collusion between the company and Johnson is without question. But the current relationship between Halliburton and Vice President Cheney, once CEO of this lucrative corporation, to my mind, is even more ethically devastating, as their relationship continues today, while the company has sole contractual rights with the government, supporting the military and "rebuilding" the war torn country of Iraq.

Why has Halliburton been given these lucrative contracts while other companies are pushed out of the bidding process? One can say that they have a proven track record of getting the job done, but there is also evidence of over charging (gas supplies to Iraq) that is currently under investigation. It is also well know that Halliburton has done business with known terrorist countries such as Libya, and manage to wriggle out of the legal spotlight. One would have to be a blind man not to see the connection between the Bush administration and these companies, no matter how many times Cheney denies the relationship exists in present time. As an ex CEO, he continues to be on their payroll and is in possession of numerous stock options. These facts should certainly raise a few red flags.

This book illustrates the political and corporate machinations that go on behind the scenes, and that "jobs for the boys" is an unfortunate reality of our system, and war, regrettably, is a profitable business option.

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Digs deep! 17 May 2004
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Briody has done an excellent job of proving a full accounting of Halliburton and it's subsidiary, Kellogg Brown & Root, to uncover the dark side of capitalism and democracy -- where there is no competition and all the benefits of democracy accrue to one company. That the public, politicians, and even the Pentagon haven't seen the dangers here is baffling. Hopefully this book will help open more eyes.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
An Unholy Trinity Revealed 18 May 2004
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Who could believe the clandestine relationships betweeen big business, politics and the armed forces could exists to this degree outside of a Tom Clancy novel, but Briody reveals through careful research that indeed it does. This book was a real eye opener!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Was Dick Cheney the Wizard in the Clock during GW's Administration? 23 April 2012
By Herbert L Calhoun - Published on
Format: Paperback
What's More Expensive than War? Answer: the Military Outsourcing Business. At least that's the conclusion this author comes to as he tells us that at least since Vietnam, Haliburton, now the mother ship of Kellog, Brown & Root, (KBR) has been in the lucrative business of providing military support. This book chronicles KBR/Haliburton's meteoric rise from a mid-sized Texas construction company to a corporate giant sitting at the very center of America's gargantuan military industrial complex. Haliburton, with its tentacles in everything from "putting out oil fires," weapons procurement and maintenance, to the training and feeding of troops and providing "military logistics," is precisely what President Eisenhower warned us about in his now famous farewell address.

Using its political clout to gain access to multi-billion dollar sole-source government contracts, Haliburton, like its counterpart, the bankers on Wall Street, has become yet another case of the (corporate) tail wagging the (political) dog. When its President/CEO, Dick Cheney, became GW Bush's Vice President, and threw several billion dollars worth of contracts out the White House window where his Haliburton friends could catch them before they hit the ground, Haliburton had finally reached the very pinnacle of political power in the U.S. - the same exalted status of unaccountable political influence that the Wall Street Bankers had already achieved. And arguably, Haliburton was now in a position to potentially lead to the same kind of disastrous consequences on our economy as those engineered by the Wall Street banksters.

As the author shows, reaching this apex is no mean trick for a mid-size Texas company. In many ways, at least until Richard Cheney took over the helm of the company, KRB and Haliburton's evolution was not at all sinister and under the table. For KBR's power and influence was achieved naturally, incrementally over several decades and usually within the bounds of U.S. legality. However, this situation changed radically when one Richard Cheney became CEO of Haliburton.

What we discover here is that just as Cheney could find only one candidate qualified to be GW's VP (himself!) when he was put in charge of the President's VP search committee. Similarly, when as CEO of Haliburton, he was asked to find a contractor for a multi-billion dollar multi-year umbrella contract to provide a wide assortment of logistical support to the military (a contract called Logcap, to be award to a single firm), guess who that firm was? You got it: Cheney's own company, Haliburton. The Logcap plan was drawn up by Cheney and "let" or awarded to himself, and on a recurring five year basis on less!

Cheney's insider position allowed him to maneuver Haliburton into a position so that it "got in on the ground floor" of a multi-billion dollar recurring multi-year sole source contract. And this was done at the same time that Cheney himself was helping to "down-sized" the very military whose responsibilities his company would be assuming and taking over? And while everything he did may have been technically legal, political maneuvering around the borders of immorality does not get much more Machiavellian than that.

Cheney's Machiavellian maneuvering has several potential long-term negative consequences for our democracy. The very preponderance of its cumulative corporate and political weight tilts the calculus too far away from Congressional accountability. This means, among many other things, that a company CEO - as was the case with Cheney's Vice Presidency -- can have sufficient political clout and influence within the office of the executive that he is no longer accountable to anyone, including the President himself. He thus is not required to take orders from the President, but instead can dictate orders to him? Thus the impression left with the American public that Dick Cheney had had himself self-appointed Vice President, and then immediately began calling the shots on U.S. energy policy, (while GW amused himself with baseball), was not all just fanciful mocking of GW, or conspiratorial illusion; but according to this author was effectively an astoundingly embarrassing reality for the US government.

The real upshot of Cheney's Machiavellian maneuvering in addition to creating an imbalance of accountability is that the U.S. all volunteer military, also has now become completely dependent upon the services of a single gigantic contractor, one that is now so entrenched within the military-industrial bureaucracy that it cannot be easily dislodged or replaced. And thus, like the Wall Street banks, Haliburton is now much "too valuable to the U.S. Military mission to get rid of." Or said another more familiar way: Haliburton is now too big to fail." Hmmm, I wonder if old Tricky Dick Cheney had this in mind from the very beginning? Three stars
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