Home » Senate & House Committee Hearings » Archive for category 'Senate DPC Hearings' (Page 2)

Senate DPC Hearings Archive

In the latest of the twists and turns in the hexavalent chromium lawsuit brought by Oregon National Guard troops against mega defense contractor KBR,  the U.S. Court of Appeals-Ninth Circuit declined to review Judge Papak’s rulings in the Oregon case.

In an unusual legal maneuver last September, KBR attorneys asked the U.S. District Court in Oregon for permission to appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit even before the trial started let alone after a verdict had been rendered.

In a 19-page memorandum, attorneys for KBR argued that the case raises unique issues and they should be resolved prior to discovery and trial.

In October Judge Papak agreed the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit should review his decision.

Today, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied KBR’s petition and dismissed the appeal. This case will stay in the trial court.

This is a huge victory for the Oregon National Guardsmen and others who were allegedly poisoned at the hand of KBR at the water treatment plant in Qarmat Ali, Iraq.

This case has exposed the little known practice of contract indemnity given by the Pentagon to defense contractors who have been awarded multi-million dollar contracts. KBR’s “classified” Restore Iraqi Oil (RIO) contract in Iraq has such a clause. Basically, even if KBR is found negligent and the Oregon National Guard and others are awarded damages, the DoD and therefore the taxpayer will pick up the tab!

We have been following this story since the Senate Democratic Policy Committee held their first hearings on this in 2008. We will continue to follow this story all the way to the end.

HERE’s a link to Mike Doyle’s post at Doyle Raizner

Ms Sparky

Updated: December 15, 2010:

From Julie Sullivan’s article in the Oregonian:

KBR issued a statement: “This is a procedural ruling with which we are disappointed. Regardless, this ruling does not change the facts of the case. KBR’s position remains that no soldier was injured nor has any soldier demonstrated an injury. The medical evidence confirms these facts.”

Thou shalt not lie! Someone needs to tell the Pentagon!

Posted November 2, 2010 By Ms Sparky

Anatomy of a Pentagon Lie

Kelley B. Vlahos – November 1, 2010 – Antiwar.com

It shouldn’t startle anyone to find that the Pentagon has blatantly ignored a congressional mandate to start reducing its use of burn pits at U.S. bases overseas.

It was only a year ago that Pentagon officials openly doubted that the black hellfire released from tons of burning hazardous waste in the open air could possibly have any long-term health effects on anyone unlucky enough to be breathing it in everyday.

“When we look at respiratory effects on a population-wide basis,” said Dr. Craig Postlewaite, director of DoD’s force readiness and health assurance, in an interview last September, “we’re not seeing a cause for concern.” The DoD’s official view has so far not changed. So, even as more and more service members come home sick – some of them irreparably, terminally – it would seem the Department of Defense has gone into classic default mode: stall until it becomes impossible to stall any longer.

That may buy the DoD ten years at least, and by then it’ll be the Veterans Administration’s problem.

The DoD Shuffle.

“They hold with the lie until they are caught so red handed they just can’t lie about it any longer,” says Deb Crawford, who spent time as a civilian electrician in the Green Zone from 2004 to 2006. She now publishes Ms. Sparky.com, a popular watchdog site, and recently spoke with Antiwar.com. “If anyone in the Pentagon were to claim they didn’t think the burn pits were an inherent health hazard to civilians and troops, I would have to call them a bold face liar.” Read the remainder of this entry »

Pages: 1 2 3 4

David Isenberg: Qarmat Ali AND KBR, Redux

Posted October 23, 2010 By Ms Sparky

Holy KBR, Batman. Will this fiendish clown prince of corporate cupidity ever cease and desist?

Excellent question, Boy Wonder. I fear that as long as there is a U.S. taxpayer supported government LOGCAP program to be plundered KBR will always be with us.

Well, okay, Adam West never really had that exchange with Burt Ward. And, after my post yesterday on KBR I really didn’t intend to write on KBR again.

But that was before I saw today’s press release from the Senate Democratic Policy Committee. Read the remainder of this entry »

Defense Cover-Up Management Agency (DCMA) – Part 2

Posted September 8, 2010 By Keven L. Barnes

US Air Force MSgt Keven L. Barnes

This is Part 2 in a series of original articles to be published on MsSparky.com by former QAR discussing his personal experiences with the oversight of ’s LOGCAP III contract. Defense Cover-Up Management Agency (DCMA) – Part 1 can be read HERE.

The next Statement of Procedure (SOP) I was to turn my attention to was the Water. The concern about the water in the Green Zone was elevated after laundry operations went down for 17 days because the laundry machines became contaminated with diesel fuel. In addition, I had several complaints from military personnel that their showers “smelled like diesel fuel”. I heard that same complaint nearly every week. I told our DCMA commanders about these concerns and they laughed it off. No action was taken to locate the cause of the fuel smell by either Col Miles or his replacement, U.S. Army Col McQuain.

The State Department and US Embassy personnel became very upset about the laundry being shut down (no dry cleaning services) and I was told to find out the cause. Now I have have clients of the LOGCAP contract informing me their shower smells like diesel fuel and the laundry goes down for 17 days because of fuel contamination. I felt the next logical step was to perform an inspection of the KBR Water Operations to assess their compliance with the Statement of Procedure. I informed KBR of the impending Water Operations inspection and gave them a week to prepare. To that date, KBR’s Water Operations in the Green Zone had never been inspected by DCMA. I questioned on a daily basis what the previous DCMA Quality Assurance Representative (QAR) were doing? The Statement of Procedure for Water Operations stated the requirements for super chlorinating, daily inspections and logbooks. I was to find that none of these requirements were being adequately performed, if at all. Read the remainder of this entry »

Pages: 1 2 3

Carrie Johnson – The U.S. government has spent more than $770 billion on private contractors in Afghanistan and Iraq since the war began.

And the Justice Department is following the money — aggressively targeting corruption, and even sending investigators into the war zone to build criminal cases.

But the prosecutions are raising some practical difficulties.

Shackled, Handcuffed And Flown To Virginia

One story begins in April 2009, on a rainy day in Afghanistan. Contractor Raymond Azar waited in a cafeteria with a co-worker for a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officer to come discuss a project.

Instead, a group of federal agents came. Azar’s lawyer Jim Hibey described what happened next.

“So they shackle his feet, they handcuff him at the waist, with a chain around the waist,” Hibey said. “I should say before they do that, they do a full body strip search. Not only is he naked, but when I say full body I mean full body cavity search.”

Azar was charged with bribing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The feds hustled Azar onto a plane, where he set off, hooded, on a 17-hour flight to Virginia.

Hibey says that Azar, who’s from Lebanon, spoke little English at the time, surely not enough to understand a Miranda warning. “They claim that they advised him of his rights,” Hibey said. “The guy can’t speak English but they advised him of his rights? He doesn’t know a right from his left.”

The amount of the bribes? Not much more than $100,000.

Azar traveled on a chartered plane, was held for the next several months in U.S. custody, and eventually pleaded guilty late last year. So did his American-born co-worker and her sister, a retired contracting officer for the Army Corps in Afghanistan.

Azar returned home to his family a few months ago.

Read the remainder of this entry »