The Iraq contractor Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR), a private company and former subsidiary of Dick Cheney’s Halliburton, has been found in “serious noncompliance” of its US Military contract by the Pentagon’s Defense Contract Management Agency, for neglecting to conduct adequate inspections of electrical wiring at US bases all over Iraq.
Tragically, KBR’s neglect has been linked to the accidental deaths of at least 18 American troops, who have died from being electrocuted due to sub-standard wiring.
Though KBR denies having anything to do with these deaths, Pentagon officials report that PDCMA recently issued the company KBR a “Level III Corrective Action Request”—an extremely serious reprimand that is just short of suspending or terminating their contract with the US Military.
Some officials believe the KBR violation should be more than enough for the US government to terminate its contract altogether, if not take criminal action against the company. Unfortunately, because KBR currently plays such a large role in the operations in Iraq—a $24 billion role, in fact, which is paid for by American taxpayers—the US government is stuck between a rock and a hard place. It can’t fire the guys in charge of everything.
Twenty four year-old Sgt. Ryan Masseth, a decorated Green Beret of Pittsburgh, PA, was killed on January 2, 2008 when he was electrocuted in his shower. The efforts of his mother, Cheryl Harris, to determine the root cause of her son’s death played a large role in prompting the Congressional oversight hearings that lately been investigating the electrocutions on US bases in Iraq.
“I want KBR to be exposed. More than anything, I just want them to step up and take care of what they’re being paid to take care of, and to do the work that they are contracted to do. More than anything, let’s put the security and the safety of our troops first,” Harris said.
Because the US government is unwilling to demand accountability from KBR, families of the soldiers who’ve been killed are taking matters into the own hands, and personally filing lawsuits against KBR to find out once and for all what part the company’s negligence played in their loved ones’ deaths.