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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Barbecued


By Jeremy Scahill

The Department of Defense paid former Halliburton subsidiary KBR more than $80 million in bonuses for contracts to install electrical wiring in Iraq in 2007-2008. The award payment was for the very work that resulted in the electrocution deaths of US soldiers, according to Department of Defense documents revealed today in a Senate hearing. More than $30 million in bonuses were paid months after the death of Sgt. Ryan Maseth, a highly decorated, 24-year-old Green Beret, whose January 2008 electrocution death has been classified by DoD investigators as a “negligent homicide.” Maseth’s death had originally been labeled an “accident.” All of the bonuses were paid to KBR after DoD investigators had officially expressed concerns about the quality of KBR’s electrical work.

This information was revealed at a hearing of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee. According to the committee’s chair, Sen. Byron Dorgan, the rewards KBR received under its LOGCAP contract were supposed to be for work of the “highest quality” with “no deficiencies” or problems. Dorgan said KBR’s work was “shoddy” and “unprofessional.” Some 18 US soldiers have died since 2003 as a result of KBR’s “shoddy work,” according to Sen. Frank Lautenberg. KBR/Halliburton, the “former” company of Dick Cheney, has been the single largest corporate beneficiary of the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It continues to operate globally on US government contracts.

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