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John Cornyn, the Senator from KBR/Halliburton

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McCamy Taylor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 10:07 PM
Original message
John Cornyn, the Senator from KBR/Halliburton
Edited on Wed Jan-21-09 10:12 PM by McCamy Taylor
I. John Cornyn is the Senator from KBR/Halliburton.

According to Source Watch:

Halliburton is one of the largest energy company contributors to both Republican and Democratic candidates for Congress. These contributions total $150,514 to the 110th US Congress (as of the third quarter), the largest of which has been to Rep. John Cornyn(R-X) for $10,000. Rep. Cornyn, for his part, has consistently voted with the coal industry on energy, war and climate bills.

Today, Sen. Cornyn (R-Texas) has vowed to obstruct the nomination of Eric Holder to be the next U.S. Attorney General until Holder vows not to prosecute U.S. citizens for torture.

"Part of my concern, frankly, relates to some of his statements at the hearing in regard to torture and what his intentions are with regard to intelligence personnel who were operating in good faith based upon their understanding of what the law was," said Cornyn.

However, if you look at Cornyns history, his reason for being in Washington is to protect the interests of energy companieslike former Vice President Dick Cheneys Halliburton and KBR. I believe that Cornyn is less worried about intelligence agents than he is about private contractors who committed atrocities in Iraq in the name of greed, not national security.

Corynyn and Halliburton go way back. When John Cornyn was Texas Attorney General he refused to intervene when Halliburton shredded documents which had been subpoenaed in a lawsuit. Cheney and Co. made no bones about the fact that they shredded the documents rather than turn them over to the court.

In a traditional civil lawsuit, judges have wide latitude to impose sanctions against a defendant for destroying evidence. They can tell a jury to assume that the information was extremely damaging to the defense. They can impose fines. They can find for the plaintiff and toss out the rest of the case to punish the other side, regardless of how strong the case was.
But when Pennington later went before the Halliburton arbitrator, the arbitrator dismissed his case, saying he had failed to produce sufficient evidence to support his claims, which, of course, was difficult to do after Halliburton had shredded part of his personnel file. The arbitrator made no mention of the evidence destruction. Wall protested the evidence destruction to the Texas Attorney General, Republican John Cornyn, who is now a U.S. senator, but Wall says Cornyn's office never investigated and no one was ever held accountable for it.

II. The Case Against KBR/Halliburton for Torture and Human Rights Abuses

If Attorney General Eric Holder were to pursue a case against Dick Cheneys company KBR and its former owner Halliburton for torture and other human rights abuses, he would find plenty of people willing to testify.

July 27, 2004
More Indian workers are returning from Iraq with distressing tales of torture and human rights violations in the military camps of the United States.
"It is slavery there in the American camp. We are being treated worse than animals," Peter Thomas, a native of Mavelikkara in Kerala, who did odd jobs such as cleaning and laundry works in an American army camp, told

It gets worse.

According to the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles, the Nepalese workers were recruited in 2004 in their home country by KBR and its Jordanian contractors, Daoud & Partners, to work as kitchen staff in a luxury hotel in Amman. Once they reached the Jordanian capital, however, their passports were taken from them and they were sent to Iraq. While travelling in an unprotected convoy, the Nepalis were kidnapped and later executed.
The lawsuit says that, after the 12 men were kidnapped, the sole survivor, Buddi Prasad Gurung, was forced to work for 15 months against his will in a warehouse at the al-Asad air base before his passport was finally returned. The plaintiffs allege the "illicit trafficking scheme - from their recruitment in Nepal to their eventual employment in Iraq - was engineered by KBR and its subcontractor".
The lawsuit was brought under a new human trafficking law that allows foreign citizens to sue the US government, military or corporations over human rights abuses committed in their countries.
Earlier this year, the US Department of Labour ordered Daoud to make a payment of $1m (500,000) to be split between each spouse and set of parents of the murdered 12 Nepalis. The company has so far failed to comment on the lawsuit.

Thats human trafficking, slavery and murder.

After Jamie Leigh Jones was gang raped by fellow KBR employees, her superiors threatened her, incarcerated her and tried to cover up the crime.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court against Halliburton and its then-subsidiary KBR, Jones says she was held in the shipping container for at least 24 hours without food or water by KBR, which posted armed security guards outside her door, who would not let her leave. Jones described the container as sparely furnished with a bed, table and lamp.

"It felt like prison," says Jones, who told her story to ABC News as part of an upcoming "20/20" investigation. "I was upset; I was curled up in a ball on the bed; I just could not believe what had happened."
Finally, Jones says, she convinced a sympathetic guard to loan her a cell phone so she could call her father in Texas.

The State Department had to free her from imprisonment and get her a rape exam. However, the evidence of that exam later disappeared.

And this was not an isolated case.

Nelson is right to be disappointed, especially since Jones assault may not be an isolated case.
Former Halliburton/KBR employees have described an atmosphere of rampant sexual harassment. Poe has also confirmed that his office has heard from multiple other women who were victims of sexual assault while working for KBR in Iraq. /

Over the course of the next few years, 38 other women would come forward to report that they too had been raped at KRB. The Bush DOJ would do nothing.

Mukasey obligingly decided to deny these women justice, however, Eric Holder may not be so friendly to Big Business.

Is this the kind of torture prosecution that Sen. John Cornyn is afraid of? Never mind the whole issue of the no-bid contract and the overcharges for work done in Iraq and the poisoned National Guards from Indiana. Maybe Cheney showed some foresight when he decided to move corporate headquarters to Dubai.

If Cornyn has his way, Holder will have to promise never to indict anyone , including people like the ones at KBR who tortured, abused and murdered for money before he can become our Attorney General. And that just is not right.

III. Money Makes Cornyns World Go Round: Republican Attorney General Association

Lets go back in time a little to before Cornyn went to Washington. He was in Texas state government, as the Attorney General, when W. was the governor. Cornyn helped found something called the Republican Attorney General Association which has been called a slush fund to which corporations, especially those guilty of wrong doing, contribute money, so that they can buy the favor of Attorney Generals in states where they are being sued. Cornyn started it in Texas, after Democrat Dan Morales started the landmark tobacco lawsuit that got him targeted by the Bush DOJ.

These two documents describe the corporations (like Enron and Halliburton) which have donated money to the fund in exchange for favors.

The primary method of contributing money to RAGA is to become a member. Membership costs from $5,000 to $25,000, with increasing levels of access to attorneys general depending on the donation amount.
Unfortunately, knowing the full details of the contributions RAGA receives is very difficult since all money received by RAGA is passed to the Republican National Committee without any public links, especially money received from direct solicitation by attorneys general.
Internal fundraising documents obtained by The Washington Post show that Republican state attorneys general were asked to solicit contributions from corporations and trade groups subject to lawsuits and regulations by their states. The companies solicited include Shell Oil, Brown & Williamson, Pfizer Inc., MasterCard Inc., Eli Lilly and Co., Anheuser-Busch Cos., Citigroup Inc., Amway Corp., U.S. Steel Corp., Nextel Communications Inc., General Motors, and Microsoft Corp. The documents state that company officials would be allowed to meet, participate in conference calls, and socialize with the attorneys general.

This is nothing but a shakedown. You want the state to back off on a case that is costing your business money? Give the Republicans the money instead.

Is John Cornyn throwing roadblocks up in the confirmation hearings in order to advertise his latest money making venture? If your company does not like a bill up for consideration---say a environmental bill that would cost your company money----all you have to do is give him a bribe---oops, donation---and he will arrange an obstructive maneuver like the one he is staging right now for KBR/Halliburton. I find this pretty easy to imagine, because the only thing John "Senator Invisible" Cornyn has ever stood for is the financial best interest of the folks who can pay him the most.

IV. But wait! There is More! Attorney General John Cornyn Worked With Abramoff to Shut Down an El Paso, Texas Casino, Too!

If there was a financial scam out there, you can bet that John Cornyn was up to his eyeballs in it. When Jack Abramoff was playing the Christians against the Native American Casinos, Cornyn was glad to oblige.
As Texas Attorney General, Cornyn led the campaign to shut down the Tigua Indians Speaking Rock Casino and Entertainment Center in 2001. Speaking Rock was closed in February, 2002, after the U. S. Supreme Court agreed with Cornyns charge that the casino violated Texas anti-gambling laws.
A state report has indicated that losing the casino will cost this area 2,200 jobs and at east $60 million in payroll at a time when El Paso is already hard hit by the loss of 14,000 jobs since 1995 because of military base closings, global competition and the economic slowdown.
When John Cornyn ran for the U. S. Senate, lobbyist Jack Abramoff contributed $1,000 to his campaign, the maximum amount legally allowed. Cornyn also received $6,250 in contributions from Las Vegas casino interests who opposed Indian gaming, some of which were made at the same time Cornyn was pushing to close the Tigua's casino in El Paso.
Although Cornyn denies any ties to convicted lobbyist Abramoff, the public record clearly reflects that Abramoff certainly had ties to Cornyn. Abramoff, along with his partner Michael Scanlon, pleaded guilty to multiple federal charges, including allegations of defrauding six Indian tribes of about $80 million between 2001 and 2004.
Former Christian Coalition director Ralph Reed claimed in a 2001 e-mail to Abramoff that he choreographed John Cornyn's efforts as Texas attorney general to shut down two Texas Indian tribes casinos.

Here is more on the cover up to protect Cornyn, who was much too valuable to Bush-Cheney and the corporate interests they represent to be prosecuted along with Abramoff.

Cornyn claims he doesn't know Abramoff-- making him virtually the only Republican in America who doesn't (if you believe him)-- but he does confess to knowing Reed. He also claims, according to Gamboa, that "he did not remember receiving a letter from Young or Reed, or providing a letter to Young." In a move to protect Cornyn's "good name," fellow Republican senator John McCain, head of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, which is investigating this scandal, blocked out Cornyn's name in the released e-mails. That fooled no one at all, thanks to sloppy work on the committee and no is now denying that all the references were to Cornyn.

Maybe the new Attorney General needs to look more deeply into Jack Abramoffs criminal activity, especially his dealings with the former Texas Attorney General?

V. All Texas Republicans are Corrupt, But Cornyn Is In a Class WithPhil Gramm

I live here. Though I have not voted for the man even once, I guess I share some kind of collective guilt for him. It was not as if we were not warned. Look at how he described himself in 2002 when he was running for office.

State Attorney General John Cornyn says he'll continue the legacy of retiring three-term Sen. Phil Gramm, a fellow Republican.

The same article also mentions that Cornyn received almost $200,000 from Enron, a sure sign of political corruption.

VI. Did Cornyns Criminal Attorney Tell Him He Had Better Become a Darling of the Right Wing In Order to Gain Political Coverage Before the New Justice Department Decides to Indict Him for One of the Crimes that the Bush Administration Has Been Ignoring?

You have to consider the possibility. Why else would someone this dirty decide to become high profile at a time like this? Better to be a thorn in the side of the Obama administration than a notch on Eric Holder's belt.

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stillcool Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 10:11 PM
Response to Original message
1. How many lawyers are they going..
to obstruct?
Cornyn phone number 202-224-2934
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DCKit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 10:19 PM
Response to Original message
2. Damn fine work. K&R n/t
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SharonAnn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 10:27 PM
Response to Original message
3. I prefer LBJ, the original BR senator (Brown & Root the predecessor of KBR or Kellog, Brown & Root)
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-09 12:29 AM
Response to Reply #3
18. Interesting history there . .. !!!
Vietnam . . . !!
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Ranting_Wacko Donating Member (216 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 10:34 PM
Response to Original message
4. K&R - He's not my Senator.
He may run my district, but he doesn't represent me. I'd call and tell them to knock off this petty BS if I thought it would do a lick of good. And thanks to the DLC not extending the 50-state strategy to Texas, we've got six more years of this idiot... assuming we can't find something to convict him on that can stick.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 10:36 PM
Response to Original message
5. Deleted message
Message removed by moderator. Click here to review the message board rules.
Initech Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 10:40 PM
Response to Original message
6. Thank god that the US government is no longer a...
Wholly owned subsidiary of KBR / Halliburton. Thank fucking god.
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TexasObserver Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jan-21-09 11:09 PM
Response to Original message
7. He's horrible, and has been in every office he has held.
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starroute Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 12:05 AM
Response to Original message
8. Cornyn was also tight with William Pryor -- and with Karl Rove
Pryor was the Alabama attorney general who started the investigation of Don Siegelman -- just a few weeks after he was elected governor -- that ultimately led to his conviction on trumped up charges. There was bad blood between the two of them over the tobacco lawsuits -- like Cornyn, Pryor had done everything he could to keep his own state out of them. Cornyn and Pryor founded RAGA together, and when the Senate refused to confirm Pryor's nomination for a federal judgeship because of questions over RAGA's fundraising, Cornyn accused them of anti-Catholic bigotry.

I find this in my files, from a Dallas News story that is no longer online:
Sen. John Cornyn angrily accused Democrats on Thursday of trying to "smear" Alabama's top lawyer a federal appeals court nominee with questions about the fund-raising tactics of a Republican attorneys general group Mr. Cornyn once helped lead. . . .

The group drew attention in March 2000 for a two-day retreat near Austin. Mr. Cornyn played host as donors and GOP attorneys general mingled with Karl Rove, chief strategist to George W. Bush, who was governor then.

Karl Rove is another name I don't see in the OP -- but in a speech to the Republican National Lawyers Association in 2006, Rove called Cornyn "my friend. ( ) I also find something in my notes which suggests that Rove was behind Cornyn's election to the Texas Supreme Court in 1990.

My guess would be that Cornyn might be acting as Rove's surrogate in his current obstructionism. What's less clear, though, is what Rove would have to gain from it.

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McCamy Taylor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 01:33 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. It goes without saying that Rove was involved, since Cornyn was tight with Enron.
Ken Lay owned Rove, W, Cheney, Cornyn, Gonzo, Gramm and all these people--before they killed him. He put them all in office in Texas and then in gov't in DC.
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D-Lee Donating Member (457 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 07:36 AM
Response to Original message
10. Thanks for this informative post and putting this information together
Another great post ...
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Gman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 12:33 PM
Response to Original message
11. Also don't at all forget that
Edited on Thu Jan-22-09 12:33 PM by Gman
Cornyn as Texas AG was very close with Alberto Gonzales who was Chief Justice of the TX Supreme Court. And, don't forget Cheney was CEO of Halliburton which was then based in Houston before they ran for the border and relocated to Dubai a couple of years ago. There's some very thick ties among all of them.
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midnight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 12:47 PM
Response to Original message
12. It is amazing the amount of criminal knowledge that is known, but
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McCamy Taylor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 04:27 PM
Response to Original message
13. Oops. Forgot about the electrocutions in the shower. Army wants them prosecuted.
As "negligent homicides".

WASHINGTON -- An Army investigation called the electrocution death of a U.S. soldier in Iraq a "negligent homicide" caused by military contractor KBR Inc. and two of its supervisors, according to a document obtained by The Associated Press.

An Army criminal investigator said the manner of death for Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth, 24, of Shaler, has been changed from accidental to negligent homicide because the contractor failed to ensure that "qualified electricians and plumbers" worked on the barracks where Sgt. Maseth died, according to the document.

Heather L. Browne, a spokeswoman for Houston-based KBR, said in an e-mail that the company maintains that its activities in Iraq did not play a role in Sgt. Maseth's death.

That is murder of US troops in Iraq.
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McCamy Taylor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 04:33 PM
Response to Original message
14. And KBR has much to fear from an investigation of what went wrong at Walter Reed.
Here a link to get started. I think what was done to the soldiers being treated there qualifies as torture.
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defendandprotect Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-09 12:32 AM
Response to Reply #14
19. Go Waxman... And ALL of these "contracts" and the performances must be . . .

We've enriched these criminals making it possible for them to buy more of government

and legislators -- stolen elections!

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DFW Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 05:13 PM
Response to Original message
15. Halliburton moved its world HQ to Dubai
With any luck Cornyn will follow them.
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pleah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 05:21 PM
Response to Original message
16. K&R
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Virginia Dare Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-22-09 05:22 PM
Response to Original message
17. I'd give my eye teeth to know what Hillary said to him...
what a hypocritical asshole he is.
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whistle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-09 04:28 PM
Response to Original message
20. The senator bought and paid for by corporate America
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