- The Bechtel Group, one of the world's biggest engineering and construction companies, has dropped out of the running for a contract to rebuild the Iraqi oil industry, as other competitors have begun to conclude that the bidding process favors the one company already working in Iraq, Halliburton.
Worried that this sort of thing might cause legal problems for Dick Cheney's old firm (which, by the by, is still paying him millions of dollars in delayed compensation)? Don't be; they're protected from far more than that:
- An executive order signed by President Bush more than two
months ago is raising concerns that U.S. oil companies may have been
handed blanket immunity from lawsuits and criminal prosecution in
connection with the sale of Iraqi oil.
The Bush administration said this week that the immunity wouldn't be nearly so broad.
But lawyers for various advocacy organizations said the two-page executive order seemed to completely shield oil companies from liability -- even if it could be proved that they had committed human rights violations, bribed officials or caused great environmental damage.
So, unfair trade practices ought to be a slam dunk.
Dubya's folks are very concerned with proper law enforcement. It's a potential threat to doing business...