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Dana Liebelson – (POGO) – November 2, 2011 – U.S. taxpayers are inadvertently funding human trafficking and worker abuse because of the federal government’s poor oversight of contractors in war zones, POGO Director of Investigations Nick Schwellenbach told a Congressional panel today.
Hearing: Are Government Contractors Exploiting Workers Overseas? or Does the end justify the means? (updated 11-2-2011)
Ms. Liana Wyler, Senior Analyst Congressional Research Service
Mr. David Isenberg, Independent Analyst and Writer
Mr. Nick Schwellenbach, Director of Investigations, Project on Government Oversight
Mr. Sam W. McCahon, Founder McCahon Law
The Honorable Kenneth P. Moorefield, Deputy Inspector General for Special Plans & Operations U.S. Department of Defense
Mr. Michael P. Howard, Chief Operation Officer Army and Air Force Exchange Service
Ms. Evelyn R. Klemstine, Assistant Inspector General for Audits U.S. Department of State
Ms. Linda Dixon, Combating Trafficking in Persons Program Manager, U.S. Department of Defense
On Wednesday November 2, 2011 at 10:00 AM EDT, the Subcommittee on Technology, Intergovernment Relations and Procurement Reform will hold a hearing on US Government contractors who exploit foreign national workers at US facilities overseas. I hope Congress doesn’t think human trafficking is a new issue. I’ve been blogging about the exploitation of foreign national workers in Iraq and Afghanistan since I started this blog nearly four years ago.
The Trafficking in Persons (TIPs) of workers is a clear violation of the FAR and DFARS and therefore a violation of US law and many international laws as well . Yet, this most egregious crime against humanity goes mostly unchecked by many Defense Department, State Department and USAID contractors and their subcontractors. Why is that? Does the US Government feel the end justifies the means?
The US Government, in all their infinite wisdom (sarcasm), have adopted the philosophy it is more cost effective to award contracts to those who hire labor brokers to fill most labor positions in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan. These labor brokers in turn go to destitute third world countries such as India, Nepal, Uganda and The Philippines to hire tens of thousands of both male and female workers. The recruits are promised the moon and charged a hefty recruiting fee for this “once in a lifetime” opportunity. Many recruits are blatantly lied to and have no idea they are heading to a war zone. Many know they are going to a war zone but end up in over crowded, unsanitary living conditions with far less pay than what they were promised. Some of these conditions are experienced on US Military installations, some in staging facilities outside the “wire” with little protection from the insurgency. Read the remainder of this entry »
You can’t even imagine how it pains me to say this, but I hope KBR wins this suit filed by Iraqi American Development Corp, known as IADCO to those of us who have worked with them. If it were just about money, I would say I hope IADCO wins and puts the screws to KBR for another $14 mil. But it isn’t. IADCO smuggled Filipino workers into Iraq, brought them into the Green Zone to work on the Palace Rewire Project. When things started going bad with the contract IADCO just didn’t show up to work to finish the job. I don’t have any particulars on that so don’t ask. What I do know about is that IADCO abandoned it’s Filipino workers in the Green Zone with no passports, food, water or the ability yo get out of the country. KBR employees took care of them until the Filipino Embassy intervened and was able to get the workers home. IADCO was known for not taking care of their Filipino workers from the beginning. Many of us bought food for them and delivered cases of water. The KBR Contract Administrators knew about this mistreatment of the Filipinos because they were told over and over again. And, I did report IADCO to the Department of State Inspector General in person in July 2008.
I read IADCO’s complaint. Most of it is pretty laughable to me. All you “Palace Rewire Electrician’s” can click HERE to read it and decide for yourself. And don’t think I am just jumping on this anti-IADCO bandwagon. I first blogged about them a year ago HERE.
So, if you ever wondered if there was a contractor out there worse than KBR….in my opinion it’s IADCO!
KBR Sued by Subcontractor
The Blog of LegalTimes
July 31, 2009
Global engineering and construction firm KBR is being sued by a former subcontractor, which claims it is still owed payment for work it did four years ago in Iraq.
Iraqi American Development Corp., a subsidiary of Nevada-based Iraqi American Media, filed its $14 million suit Tuesday at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. According to the complaint, KBR, then a Halliburton subsidiary, hired the company in 2004 to rewire Iraq’s Presidential Palace.
The subcontractor brought in more than 125 workers for the project, which was scheduled to finish in 2004. But according to the complaint, problems began almost immediately. Because of KBR’s “pending financial situation” (it was placed under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2003, and didn’t emerge until 2005), it was unable to obtain a necessary letter of credit to pay for equipment and materials, leaving the subcontractor to cover the costs. The complaint also alleges that KBR failed to make work areas available or to provide adequate security, and missed monthly payments. The resulting delays set the project’s end date back to November 2005.
At that point, the complaint states that KBR let the contract expire, confiscated the subcontractor’s equipment, computers and records used in the project and finished a minimal amount of work itself.
The complaint states that in 2007 KBR agreed to pay the full $14 million owed on the original contract. It has yet to make the full payment, the complaint says, and has not compensated the subcontractor for its extra costs.
Neither KBR nor the subcontractor’s attorney, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton partner John Fornaciari, returned calls for comment. No lawyers have entered an appearance for KBR.
KBR has had its fair share of legal travails over recent years. In February, the company pleaded guilty to bribing Nigeran officials. It has been sued by female employees claming sexual abuse, families former workers who say they were illegally trafficked to Iraq, and soldiers who say it served them spoiled food.
Posted by Jordan Weissmann on July 31, 2009 at 03:07 PM in D.C. Courts and Government (click HERE for the original post)
This is your chance to make a difference!! Do you have any DoD or KBR emails just hanging out in your inbox or saved to a thumb drive? They might be able to help someone in their legal battle against KBR or they just might be able to help a Congressional Committee bring KBR and the DoD to task!! I want you to forward them to me. But, if I were to just post my email address here, the spammers would have a freakin’ hayday!! So, to get an email address click HERE and send me a message telling me what you have. If you do not want an email trail, save them or print them and mail them to:
PO Box 1278
Battle Ground, WA 98604
If you are not comfortable with either one of those methods let me know and I will try to work out something that is comfortable for you.
I am looking for emails, information, Corrective Action Requests (CAR’s) and Corrective Action Plans (CAP’s) from 2002 to Present regarding KBR in Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Dubai etc.
- Any emails from DoD about KBR or a KBR subcontractor
- Any emails from KBR Management
- Any emails from KBR Legal
- Any emails from KBR consultants
- Any emails or information regarding KBR Code of Business Conduct failures
- Any incorrect or inappropriate email responses from KBR
- Any emails regarding the Navigant Tiger Team
- Any emails or information relating to any water treatment issues
- Any emails or information relating to any electrical system failures. Especially anything relating the to the death of SSG Ryan Maseth, SSG Christopher Everett or any other Soldier or Civilian that has died or may have died from electrocution.
- Any emails or information relating to the death of Robert Jones at Camp Falcon
- Any emails or information relating to the death of any KBR employee
- Any emails or information relating to any Dining Facility (DFAC) issues
- Any emails or information relating to living container (CHU’s/Hooches/Trailers) issues
- Any emails or information relating to Sub-Contract Workers (SCW/TCN/FN) and Human Trafficking
- Any emails or information relating to “Task Force SAFE” in Iraq
- Any emails or information relating to “Task Force Power” in Afghanistan
Any Emails from:
- William Utt
- William Jonas
- Bill Walter
- Tom Crum
- Chris Heinrich
- Jill Pettibone
- Navigant Consulting
- David Brenner
- Bruce Stanski
- Robert Peter Bennett
- Thomas Tagle
- Karen Chillcott
- Kristine Burnell
- Any Project Manager (PM) or Deputy Project Manager (DPM)
- Any others that might admit to or document problems
Any info on the following subcontracts:
- La Nouvelle
- First Kuwaiti
- American General Trading
- Eagle Global
- Prime Projects International
- Any Dining Facilities (DFAC)
- Iraqi American Development Company (IADCO)
- Iraqi American Telecom Company (IATEL)
- Fly America Act Violation
- Freight America Act Violations
- Internal Audits
- Board of Directors Minutes
If you have information that is not on this list that you know needs to be investigated or reported…send it and I will do the best I can to get it where it needs to go.
The things I saw in Iraq with regards to labor contractors such as PPI and the treatment of the Third Country Nationals was horrific. KBR’s contract administrators were notified. KBR WAS notified that their labor contractors were mistreating these people horribly. The living conditions were deplorable. I and others were repeatedly told there was nothing they could do. I personally took water and bought food for Filipino workers brought to Iraq Illegally by Walid Al-Omar and the Iraqi American Development Company (IADCO) to work on the Palace Rewire Project in the Green Zone. Many of us also took food from the Dining Facilities to feed these people risking our own termination. When IADCO stopped working on the multi million dollar rewire Project for whatever reason, the Filipinos were left stranded in the Green Zone without their passports, food, clean water or money. The Philippine Embassy was finally contacted and they helped these people get back home.
The Palace Rewire Project was a State Department project. And PPI supported State Department and Defense Department contracts. A clear case of ineffective if not non-existent oversight.
I ask this question…Does knowing that atrocities are being committed against fellow human beings and not doing anything to stop it and actually profiting from it make you complicit?
So, as you read this article below, do not think it is an isolated incident. Read the remainder of this entry »