April 1, 2013 |
Two weeks ago, on the 10th anniversary of the Iraq war, I wrote a column that laid out the losers in the conflict. I argued there were still no clear winners. One reader responded that there are obvious winners: the private civilian contractors who provided security and supplies for the war effort, and were paid tens of billions of dollars by the U.S. government. A hefty chunk of those billions was wasted due to overbilling, shoddy work, and fraud. The reader was correct (although I disagree with his assertion that we began the war in order to fuel the military-industrial complex)
June 21, 2011 |
HOUSTON - A Texas woman tearfully told jurors yesterday that she was "scared to death" and held against her will by her employer after being drugged and sexually assaulted in Iraq at the hands of co-workers for military contractor KBR Inc. Jamie Leigh Jones, 26, is one of several women who worked for KBR and former parent Halliburton Co. who say they were sexually assaulted or harassed while working for the companies in Iraq. Jones says she was raped in 2005 while working for KBR at Camp Hope, Baghdad.
April 6, 2011 |
U.S. soldiers living on military bases in Iraq had no expectation that they were protected by Pennsylvania law instead of Iraqi law, a lawyer for a Houston-based defense contractor argued yesterday in Pittsburgh federal court. KBR Inc. wants U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer to use Iraqi law in the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of Sgt. Ryan Maseth, 24, of Allegheny County, against the company. Maseth was electrocuted Jan. 2, 2008, while showering at a military base in Baghdad.
February 7, 2009
After questioning military officials for a year, a Pennsylvania mother has finally received something approaching the truth about her son's death in Iraq. An Army investigator told Cheryl Harris that the death of her son, Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth of Pittsburgh, has been reclassified as a "negligent homicide. " The finding implicates military contractor KBR and two of its employees for failing to ensure the safety of electrical work in the barracks where Maseth died. No one has been charged.
August 4, 2008
The death of Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth in Iraq could have been prevented if the Army and a defense contractor had done their jobs. Maseth, who grew up outside Pittsburgh, was electrocuted Jan. 2 while taking a shower in his quarters near Baghdad. A water pump that hadn't been grounded properly sent electrical current through the pipes. A fellow soldier who discovered his body also was badly shocked. The Army at first told Maseth's grieving mother that her son had taken a small appliance into the shower.
July 30, 2008
SUPPORT FOR the troops? More like contempt. Contempt is the only word to describe the tolerance for incompetence and dishonesty that allowed the deaths of at least 16 U.S. soldiers in Iraq from electrocution - as well as 283 electrical fires, some fatal, attributed to shoddy electrical work. Injuries from electricity are the No. 1 noncombat hazard in Iraq - and, unlike bombs and insurgent ambuses, most are preventable. Except they weren't prevented and, even when reported, they weren't repaired.
June 27, 2008 |
Derrick Z. Jackson writes for the Boston Globe It took five years, the deaths of 4,100 U.S. soldiers, and the wounding of 30,000 more to make Iraq safe for Exxon. It is the inescapable open question since the reasons given by President Bush for the invasion and occupation did not exist - neither the weapons of mass destruction nor Saddam Hussein's ties to al-Qaeda and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The New York Times reported that several Western oil companies, including ExxonMobil, Shell, Total, BP and Chevron, are about to sign no-bid contracts with the Iraqi government.
September 28, 2005 |
QUICK ethics quiz: What's the difference between a crony and a criminal? A crony is one who gets by with a little help from his friends in high places. A criminal is a crony whose finds that his friends are in places too high for him to reach when he comes to trial. David H. Safavian, who rode his connections to become the Bush administration's procurement chief, may find that those important numbers he has on speed dial have been changed just when he needs them most. He was just a crony until federal agents treated him like a criminal this week.
July 23, 2004 |
Three former employees of Halliburton said at a House committee hearing yesterday that the defense contractor's spending in Iraq was wasteful. Top company executives strongly denied the accusation. The former employees told the Government Reform Committee that the Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root had charged the government $45 for cases of soda, submitted $100 bills for laundry, put up personnel in five-star hotels, and abandoned $85,000 trucks on roadsides because of flat tires.
June 15, 2004 |
Halliburton Co. paid high-priced bills for soda, laundry and hotels in Iraq and Kuwait, then passed the inflated costs along to taxpayers, according to several former employees and a Pentagon internal audit. Democrats in the House, who are feuding with Republicans over whether the spending should be publicly aired at a hearing today, released signed statements yesterday by five former Halliburton employees recounting the spending. Halliburton, which was headed by Vice President Cheney from 1995 to 2000, is already under fire for allegations of overcharging the Pentagon for fuel and soldiers' meals in the Iraq war. The latest allegations center on whether Halliburton properly keeps track of its bills from smaller subcontractors, Pentagon auditors said in a month-old report released yesterday by Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D., Calif.