"All the World's a Stage We Pass Through" R. Ayana

Tuesday, 27 December 2005

PM's Son, Halliburton & NUKE WASTE

PM's Son, Halliburton & NUKE WASTE


JUST before 10am, a young man emerges from a nondescript office building in Arlington, Virginia, for his caffeine fix.

But this is no ordinary building and, despite his all-American casual attire, he's no ordinary worker.

This is the beating heart of the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign, and he is Richard Howard, youngest child of the Prime Minister.

Howard, 23, who arrived in Washington earlier this year, politely declines an interview. "I'm keeping a low profile," he tells The Weekend Australian.

The law student and top University of NSW debater has kept his head down since snaring a spot at Bush-Cheney headquarters, located on a busy thoroughfare just across the Potomac River from Washington DC.

John Howard, who is embroiled in his own election battle, has said that his children grew up interested in politics. Now his son is learning from the masters.

Dressed in an open-necked shirt, light chinos and sneakers, Richard Howard picks up his coffee and returns straight to work in a section dealing with polls and fashioning campaign messages.

At lunchtime, with his sleeves rolled up, Howard leaves the office alone to buy lunch at a cafe around the corner from the office.

The area throngs with young office workers dining together but Howard, carrying a brown paper bag and a drink, is back at work in five minutes.

There is no evidence that the 10-storey building with tinted windows is home to the re-election effort.

There are no Bush-Cheney signs, and the security presence yesterday was discreet.

But the street lights dotted across the property double as security cameras and a glance inside offices on the ground floor reveals Bush campaign paraphernalia and the odd Texas flag.

And the fruits of the labour of the 160 men and women who work there are highly visible on news channels, with campaign spokesmen making regular appearances to spread the Bush-Cheney message or muddy the efforts of the John Kerry team.

Howard arrived earlier this year, missing a May celebration of his father's 30 years in politics. On his arrival, he was reportedly granted a 30-minute audience with the President in the Oval Office. He is expected to stay until the November 2 election.

When his father visited in June, Richard Howard and mother Janette had breakfast with first lady Laura Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell's wife Alma at the White House.

Howard is not the only offspring of a world leader to set foot inside the campaign headquarters. The Bush twins, Jenna and Barbara, shared an office in July before hitting the campaign trail for their father.

The Australian - 2004


Railroaded up the bulldust track

by Alan Ramsey, November 19, 2005

“…..And there's the rub. Does the Howard Government have an eye on the future when it starts building federal nuclear waste "facilities" in the Northern Territory?

After all, it does have that spanking new $1.3 billion Darwin to Alice Springs railway line nobody felt could ever be economic.

Think about it. And think about the giant American corporation Halliburton, and its engineering subsidiary [Kellogg Brown Root – KBR] that built the railway. Think, too, of the Halliburton chief executive who came to Australia in the second half of the 1990s to negotiate the railway deal with the Howard Government and the South Australian Liberal government of John Olsen, who Howard would later send to a cushy diplomatic post on the US West Coast.

Can Australians trust their Government when it so often says one thing and then slithers 180 degrees into something else? Like Howard's "never, ever" pledge on a GST nine months before he became Prime Minister and three years before he introduced one?

Or all that duplicitous twaddle about why our Government was taking Australia into Iraq?

Dick Cheney, Bush's Vice-President, was Halliburton's chief executive when the company lodged its successful bid to build, own and operate, for 50 years, the Darwin to Alice railway. Cheney was instrumental in the Halliburton subsidiary, Kellogg Brown and Root, succeeding in its bid. Halliburton has billions in US contracts in rebuilding Iraq.

As for Australia, imagine a railway line that runs from a new high-security port in Darwin down to Alice Springs and right past each of the three potential sites for the Howard Government's new nuclear waste facility. How useful that could be if ever we got into the nuclear power cycle or began taking high-level waste, at a price, from overseas. It isn't all that fanciful.

Bob Hawke, after all, is only one who thinks it's a good idea. As Hawke told the ABC TV's Maxine McKew on September 29: "We have a real issue in the world of nuclear waste being stored in unsafe places. The bonus for Australia is that we would revolutionise the economics of [this country]. Forget the current account deficit problem. As far as you could see in the future, Australia would be earning billions of dollars making the world safer and doing the world a great turn. We are talking about billions and billions of dollars a year …

"Progress is about facing up to challenges, facing up to prejudice, facing up to emotion, and putting national interest on the table. That's what good policymaking and leadership is about."

Don't think it couldn't happen.” – Alan Ramsey, Sydney Morning Herald, 19 November 2005

Images - http://www.treehugger.com/us-import-radioactive-waste.jpg

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