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Electrocutions/Shocks Archive

SSG Ryan Maseth

Rich Lord – (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) – March 30, 2012 – Staff Sgt. Ryan Douglas Maseth’s death in a shower in Iraq stemmed from U.S. Army decisions that can’t be questioned by courts, lawyers for a top defense contractor argued in court today.

Or maybe they were the result of Mr. Maseth’s own risky decisions, attorneys for Kellogg Brown & Root Services Inc. told U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer, in oral arguments supporting their motion to dismiss the four-year-old lawsuit pursued by the sergeant’s parents and estate.

The hearing became an hours-long debate that vividly depicted the cold calculus of wartime decision making, showing that Army officials — and maybe KBR — knew troop showers were death traps, but opted for what military planners called “the least-bad option.”

Mr. Maseth, whose parents live in the North Hills, was 24 at the time of his Jan. 2, 2008, electrocution on the U.S. base at Radwaniyah Palace complex in Baghdad. KBR had a contract for maintenance of buildings there.

Mr. Maseth was assigned to a building that initially was not considered fit to house troops, but was later deemed by the Army to be adequate despite an ungrounded electrical system, said attorney Lawrence S. Ebner, representing KBR. The Army knew for four years prior to Mr. Maseth’s death that the building was ungrounded, as were many buildings in Iraq, he said.

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NEIL GORDON and JAKE WIENS – (POGO) – March 1, 2012 – Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Jim Webb (D-VA) have introduced the Comprehensive Contingency Contracting Reform Act of 2012 (S. 2139), a bill that will greatly enhance transparency, sustainability, and accountability in overseas contingency operation contracting by the Department of Defense (DoD), the State Department, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The bill is a response to the recommendations of the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan (CWC), which submitted its final contingency contracting report to Congress in August.

Here’s a look at several of the good-government and contingency contracting reforms in the bill:

Inspectors General

The bill requires that the Chair of the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) select one of three current Inspectors General (IG)—DoD IG, State IG, and USAID IG—to lead oversight of contingency operations. That IG would be responsible for resolving conflicts of jurisdiction between the IGs, authorizing the employment of temporary auditors and investigators, and submitting to Congress a bi-annual report containing detailed information about its activities and the activities of the agencies engaged in the contingency operation. The bill would improve oversight of contingency operations by IGs, but it is less ambitious than the CWC’s recommendation for a permanent IG for contingency operations. Rep. John Tierney (D-MA) has introduced legislation that is closer to the CWC’s recommendation.

Suspension and Debarment

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Court Revives Suit Over Electrocuted Guardsman

Posted March 1, 2012 By Ms Sparky

Larraine Mcgee holding a photo of her son SSG Chris Everett during a hearing about Iraq electrocutions

Cameron Langford – (Courthouse News) – March 1, 2012 – A defense contractor may be liable under Iraqi law for the electrocution death of a National Guardsman, the 5th Circuit ruled.
     
Sgt. Christopher Everett of the Texas Army National Guard was electrocuted at Camp Taqaddum in Iraq on Sept. 7, 2005, while using a power washer to clean a Humvee.
     
The Army attributed the 23-year-old’s fatal accident to an improperly grounded wire on the generator that supplied the power washer with electricity. It relayed these conclusions to Everett’s parents, Larraine McGee and Patrick Everett, in December.
     
Everett’s parents filed suit in Texas state court against contractors Arkel International, KBR Technical Services and Kellogg, Brown & Root Services in August 2008. They claimed to have only learned four months earlier about the alleged involvement of Arkel, a Baton Rouge-based company that maintained the generator at Everett’s base.
     
By September 2008, the couple filed identical claims in Louisiana state court.
     
Both cases were removed to federal courts, but the Louisiana case was stayed pending a ruling in the Texas proceedings.
     
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Risk Safety, Have Govt Contract Fees Reduced

Posted February 28, 2012 By Forseti

Tish Kraft – (Courthouse News) – WASHINGTON – February 28, 2012 –  The Department of Defense may reduce or deny award fees to government contractors found to jeopardize the health or safety of government personnel, under an interim rule now adopted as final.

This rule also modifies the requirement that information on the final determination of award fee be entered into the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System.

Specifically, the DoD employee must: “Include in the evaluation criteria of any award-fee plan, a review of contractor and subcontractor actions that jeopardized the health or safety of government personnel, through gross negligence or reckless disregard for the safety of such personnel, as determined through-(1) Conviction in a criminal proceeding, or finding of fault and liability in a civil or administrative proceeding …; or (2) If a contractor or a subcontractor at any tier is not subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. courts, a final determination of contractor or subcontractor fault resulting from a DoD investigation.”

Also: “In evaluating the contractor’s performance under a contract that includes the [reduction or denial clause], the contracting officer shall consider reducing or denying award fees for a period if contractor or subcontractor actions cause serious bodily injury or death of civilian or military government personnel during such period. The contracting officer’s evaluation also shall consider recovering all or part of award fees previously paid for such period. (Click HERE for original article)  (Click HERE this regulation and others)

We want our $60 billion back!

Posted February 13, 2012 By Ms Sparky

After four years of fighting the good fight and spending countless hours at my computer documenting the rampant Fraud, Waste and Abuse of U.S. tax dollars in the hands of DoD contractors, I have submitted a petition on We the People.

We the People was set up by President Obama to take action on important issues facing our country.  I think lying and stealing from the taxpayer is an important issue.  Harming our troops in the name of profit is an important issue. I believe violating the FAR/DFAR is an important issue.  I think the powers that be, need to get off their collective asses and hold someone accountable.

If you agree with the contents of the petition, I ask that you please sign it. I believe MsSparky.com readers are as fed up and disgusted with this as I am.  If the petition meets the signature threshold of 25,000 signatures in 30 days,  it will be reviewed by the Administration and an official response will be issued.  Here is the link (Click HERE).

If you are not already registered with We The People, there is a VERY short registration required before you can sign or generate petitions. While you are there, please peruse the list of other petitions and sign those that are important to you and if you have an issue, by all means generate a petition. My petition is below:

We petition the Obama Administration to:

Enforce the law by prosecuting the corporations & criminals who have stolen $60 billion from the U.S. taxpayer

The Commission on Wartime Contracting estimates waste and fraud have amounted to as much as $60B during operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Defense contractors have subjected US military personnel to substandard services, shoddy work and chemical exposure resulting in permanent injury and death.

While the Pentagon may deem egregious behavior as satisfactory and indemnify this negligence as a cost of doing business, we the people do not. We call upon our government to hold accountable the corporate entities and individuals responsible for the heinous acts committed against the citizens of the United States and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.

War profiteering has never been so profitable for the wrongdoer and so dangerous for our troops and the taxpayer. (SIGN HERE)

We want out $60 Billion back! And if someone ended up going to jail for it, that would be nice too!

~Ms. Sparky