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KBR sues US Army after losing case to Oregon National Guardsmen

The US Army resists KBR’s attempt to “gobble” up more taxpayer dollars as KBR cries “fowl” and sues the US Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) after they refuse to indemnify the “turkey’s” [KBR’s] legal fees from exposure of Oregon National Guard troops and others to sodium dichromate at Qarmat Ali, Iraq. If I were the Army, I would be saying “Stick a fork in ‘em [KBR], they’re DONE!” (OK….that’s all the Thanksgiving cliche’s for now.)

On November 2, 2012, an Oregon federal jury ruled that KBR must pay $85 million to 12 Oregon National Guard members who allegedly suffered emotional distress after the company exposed them to sodium dichromate at Qarmat Ali.

Each guardsman was awarded $6.25 million in punitive damages after the jury determined that KBR “acted with reckless and outrageous indifference to a highly unreasonable risk of harm and conscious indifference to the health, safety and welfare of others,” as well as $850,000 in non-economic damages. Read the remainder of this entry »

KBR May Have Knowingly Poisoned U.S. Soldiers in Iraq, But It Won’t Pay a Penny

"Where Community Matters" (photo from POGO Website)

Dana Liebelson – (POGO) – April 5, 2012 – Lawyers representing U.S. soldiers poisoned at a water treatment plant in Iraq have presented strong evidence that contractor Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) knew personnel stationed there would be exposed to a carcinogenic chemical, according to The Associated Press. But as POGO reported earlier, KBR’s contract with the U.S. Army contains a classified provision that lets KBR off the hook for damage, injury, and death occurring at its worksites–so even if KBR is proved to be at fault, U.S. taxpayers will be footing the bill. Read the remainder of this entry »

Complaint says KBR knew of Iraq toxin (updated with docs)

Post updated on 4-5-2012 with links to docs-see below

Nigel Duara – (Associated Press AP) – PORTLAND, Ore. – April 4th, 2012 – A document uncovered by attorneys for soldiers sickened at an Iraqi water treatment plant shows a military contractor knew a deadly toxin was being stockpiled and used in massive quantities at the facility, despite the contractor’s repeated denials that it had knowledge of the toxin’s presence until soldiers fell ill.

The document, an environmental assessment that Kellogg, Brown and Root completed for the U.S. government before the invasion of Iraq, was finalized in January 2003- a full five months before the company said it had found evidence of the toxic material, sodium dichromate.

The documents show KBR knew Iraqis ordered 8 million pounds of sodium dichromate to keep pipes from corroding, and that the company expected lax environmental maintenance and “lamentable” conditions.

Phone messages and emails left Wednesday for KBR were not immediately returned.

Sodium dichromate is an anticorrosive compound that can cause skin and breathing problems and cancer.

Read the remainder of this entry »

Lawmakers Secure Provision in NDAA to Bring Transparency to War Contracting Process

Blumenauer, Wyden, Schrader, Merkley Secure Provision in NDAA to Bring Transparency to War Contracting Process

Thursday, 15 December 2011 17:57

Amendment A Legislative Response To Classified Immunity Deal For Contractor KBR That Exposed Oregon National Guardsmen To Toxic Chemicals In Iraq

WASHINGTON – Today, Congress sent a version of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2011 to President Obama that included an amendment championed by Oregon Reps. Earl Blumenauer and Kurt Schrader and Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley bringing greater transparency to the war contracting process. The amendment requires the Secretary of Defense to notify the Congressional defense committees when the Pentagon enters into indemnification agreements with contractors connected to U.S. military efforts abroad and explain why such a provision is necessary.

The legislative victory culminates a process that began during the last Congress to reform how the Pentagon does business with defense contractors. The push was sparked by the stories of 34 members of the Oregon National Guard who are suing KBR after exposure to the lethal carcinogen hexavalant chromium during their 2003 tour in Iraq while protecting the Qarmat Ali Water Treatment Facility.  The Qarmat Ali site, contracted to KBR for reconstruction, left Oregon troops with chronic medical problems.

The lawsuit revealed the existence of a classified indemnification clause in the KBR contract that could absolve the company from liability and shift the cost of unlimited damages, health costs and court fees onto the Department of Defense and, by extension, U.S. taxpayers. That contract was fully declassified this week as the Iraq war came to an official close. Read the remainder of this entry »

Defense Department Inspector General says KBR and the military failed to respond quickly to health risks posed to Oregon soldiers

Sodium dichromate has been linked a range of illnesses

…Minutes of a June 14-15 meeting between TF RIO, KBR, and Iraqi State Company for Oil Projects representatives noted that “chemical treatment should [be] selected based on widely available nontoxic commodity chemicals.” However, e-mails between KBR personnel in late June indicated a decision from corporate headquarters in Houston to keep using “chromate” and other chemicals used previously. Three TF RIO witnesses we interviewed supported the conclusion that sodium dichromate was not used at Qarmat Ali after TF RIO and KBR personnel arrived… ~ Part II – Exposure to Sodium Dichromate at Qarmat Ali Iraq in 2003

Mike Francis – (The Oregonian) – September 28, 2011 – The Defense Department and contractor Kellogg, Brown & Root failed to act as quickly as they should have to protect those exposed to a carcinogenic chemical at an Iraqi water treatment plant in 2003, according to a report Wednesday by the Defense Department’s Inspector General.

The report was hailed as a victory for Oregon soldiers by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., who was one of a group of senators who sought the IG’s evaluation, and by Oregon National Guard troops who are among those suing KBR. They accuse the contractor of knowingly exposing them to sodium dichromate, an anticorrosive compound that can cause skin and breathing problems and cancer. Read the remainder of this entry »