Halliburton: We're not running away. Really.

Halliburton, the company which has become synonymous with "profiteering and fraud," is having its annual shareholders meeting May 17. But instead of toasting the millions in profits they've raked in from disasters from Iraq to the Southern Gulf from their usual perch in Houston, this year they'll be meeting in Duncan, Oklahoma. And it has nothing to do with the fact that their Texas meetings in recent years have been overrun with demonstrators:

Halliburton Co., the U.S. company that has been the target of bitter protests for its work in Iraq, has moved its shareholders meeting from its Houston headquarters to the Oklahoma town where it was founded.

The annual meeting usually draws hundreds of protesters and are often marred by violent clashes with police around the Houston hotel where Halliburton management meets with investors. [...]

But the oil services company, which was formerly headed by Vice President Dick Cheney and maintains close Bush administration ties, denied the protests were behind its decision to move the May 17 meeting to Duncan, a city best known as a stop on the Chisholm Trail, a cattle artery of the Old West.

"Absolutely not. We are holding our meeting in Duncan because we are a company that values our tradition and spirit of innovation."

Which is why they haven't had a meeting there since 1972. The distant location will likely cut down on protests, but not everybody will be deterred:

"I would doubt the number (of protesters) would be equivalent to what it has been in Houston, but I can't speak for the folks who might want to form a posse and chase them down on the Chisolm Trail," said Charlie Cray, the co-editor of HalliburtonWatch.org, a Web site devoted to tracking the company's controversies.