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Contracting Oversight Hearings: KBR Electrocution Deaths - AmericanNewsProject Video

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: KBR, Kellogg Brown and Root, Halliburton, kills soldiers, electrocution, deaths, Senate oversight hearings, war contrators, Afghanistan, American News Project, ANP, Army, Dorgan, Everett, Halliburton, Hanbury, Iraq, Maseth, Petraeus )

- 4026 days ago -
At July 11th Senate hearing, mothers of 2 electrocuted soldiers placed the blame for sons' deaths with KBR, world's largest defense services company. 2 ex-KBR electricians described mismanagement, inadequate equipment & good old boy network that put life


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LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (82)
Saturday July 12, 2008, 10:34 am
That mom is really very well documented. Please listen to her (and the other mom) - this is too heartbreaking to believe !

Criminal negligence, with the stress on 'criminal' !

Here is a write-up :

The biggest US military contractor in Iraq, KBR, was steeped in another scandal Friday as lawmakers, families and experts accused it of recklessly causing the electrocution deaths of US soldiers.

"While I had always been prepared to hear that one of my sons died by way of a firefight or a roadside bomb, I was dumbstruck to hear that my son was electrocuted while taking a shower in his living quarters," said Cheryl Harris, mother of army Staff Sergeant Ryan Maseth, who died in January.

Maseth's "burnt and smoldering" body was found under still-running, electrically charged water by a fellow soldier who kicked down the door of the bathroom at an army base in Baghdad, Harris told a hearing of the Senate Democratic policy committee.

KBR, a former subsidiary of the Halliburton energy firm which was once led by Vice President Dick Cheney, was contracted to maintain facilities at the base and had been informed of electrical problems in the building where Maseth died.

But, said Harris, KBR showed "extreme recklessness and a total disregard for public safety" by failing to fix the problem as well as others that have caused at least 13 electrocution deaths among soldiers and civilian contract workers in Iraq.

Larraine McGee also lost her son, National Guard Staff Sergeant Christopher Everett, to electrocution at another facility maintained by KBR, which won the "elephant contract" for Iraq, under which it is tasked with providing and maintaining housing for US forces.

"On September 7, 2005, Chris was power-washing a Humvee... when he was instantly killed by an electrical shock," his mother said.

The army had been aware that the generator supplying energy to the power washer was not properly grounded, and several soldiers had reported receiving electrical shocks from the equipment prior to her son's death, said McGee.

Still grief-stricken at the loss of her son, McGee also feels anger towards KBR, she told AFP.

"How can they stand there, an American company, and say they're supporting our troops?" she said as tears moistened her eyes.

"They are not supporting our troops. They're undermining our efforts. I don't know that I want to go so far as to say they're murdering our troops, but in essence if you take something that is so easy to fix but you don't even though you know there's a problem, that is homicide, in my mind," she said.

Debbie Crawford, who worked as an electrician for KBR in Iraq, drew a grim picture of incompetence, lack of accountability, poor leadership and poor workmanship by KBR.

"Qualified electricians found it difficult to deal with the complacency, the lack of leadership, the lack of tools and materials, and the lack of safety... Time and again we heard, 'You're in a war zone, what do you expect?' and 'If you don't like it you can go home,'" she said.

Although it was aware of the problems that caused the deaths of Everett and Maseth, KBR did not make repairs that could have spared the lives of US soldiers, said Crawford.

"KBR has claimed that its contract did not cover fixing potential hazards, only repairing items after they broke down," she said.

"It saddens and angers me that 11 American soldiers and two civilian contractors have died due to electrocution. Not in combat but at camps and bases where they should have felt the safest," she said.

Senator Byron Dorgan alluded to an official, high-level cover-up to shield the company.

"It seems to me that the largest contracts by far went to Halliburton and its former subsidiary KBR, and it also seems to me that very serious questions have resulted in allegations of improper misconduct" on the part of KBR, Dorgan said.

"We read about these things in the paper and then we don't hear about it any more," he said.

"Soldiers are losing their lives to fundamental mistakes by contractors and lack of oversight by the Pentagon. We have a responsibility to make sure someone is held accountable," said Dorgan.

The hearing was the 17th held by the policy committee into contractor malpractice in Iraq.

Halliburton and KBR were invited to the hearing but did not attend, Dorgan said.

Jim Phillips (3247)
Saturday July 12, 2008, 12:57 pm
Halliburton and KBR should be held accountable for contractor malpractice and sued.

TY, Jill.


LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (82)
Saturday July 12, 2008, 1:08 pm

I think they should be hung...but I may be a little extremist about this !
When those moms explain how these problems existed prior to their sons' deaths and how company management had been alerted to them, not once, not twice, but many times, and then, did nothing to make the necessary is mind-boggling !

Jim Phillips (3247)
Saturday July 12, 2008, 1:47 pm
Here is a petition requesting that the multitude of abuses KBR has been accused of, the U.S. Department of Justice has yet to hold them accountable.

Send an e-mail to the DoD's Chief Financial Officer, Tina Jonas, telling her not to give KBR a single penny until the Department of Justice completes a full, public investigation of KBR's abuses.

Cut KBR Off!
Despite the multitude of abuses KBR has been accused of, the U.S. Department of Justice has yet to hold them accountable. Meanwhile, the Department of Defense continues to funnel a ludicrous amount of tax dollars KBR's way. In fact, KBR remains the #1 profiting private contractor in Iraq.

Is this how you want your tax dollars to be spent? Contaminated water for our troops? Rape cover-ups? Tax-dodging and fraudulent timesheets, billed to the U.S. government? It's time for American taxpayers to speak out and demand that the DoD stop forking over money and contracts to these criminals. Send an e-mail to the DoD's Chief Financial Officer, Tina Jonas, telling her not to give KBR a single penny until the Department of Justice completes a full, public investigation of KBR's abuses.


Dear Ms. Jonas:
The Department of Defense has hired private contractors to support the activities of our military in Iraq. You are in the respectable position of funding these contracts. KBR has proven over and over again that they are not fulfilling the primary responsibility of these contracts: to support the military. As a taxpayer, I don't want my money going to fund KBR and their many abuses against our troops. While the Department of Justice continues to drag its feet in prosecuting KBR, I am asking you to withhold payment of KBR's contracts until they prove that they deserve the billions of taxdollars that they receive through their contracts. Don't pay KBR until the Department of Justice completes a full, public investigation of KBR's abuses.

It is an on-line petition/letter or you can use your own words if you like:


TY, Jill.


Past Member (0)
Saturday July 12, 2008, 2:16 pm

Thanks, Jim. Let's make that petition link clickable:

Thank you for posting, Jill. The problem with privatization is the same problem with fascism/corporatism, putting profits first and having no regard for life.


LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (82)
Saturday July 12, 2008, 4:02 pm

Thank you, Jim, for the petition -and Mark for the link- This IS important.
They shouldn't get a cent more !

Elainna Crowell (174)
Monday February 15, 2010, 1:27 am
My youngest grandson is due to be deployed to Afghanstan in March. It breaks my heart to
have him sent into harms way. I am horrified by the corruption of these private contractors and infuriated by the DOD willingness to hire them and the Justice Department's failure to investigate. These are our childrens' children we are putting at risk!
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