Fear And Loathing In Iraq, Halliburton Style

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[Beating Dead Horses]
Theft, hookers, melting down Iraqi gold to make cowboy spurs—all in a day's work for private military contractors in Iraq?

Allegations of widespread mismanagement and corruption among private contractors in Iraq are nothing new; if anything, tales of cronyism, over-billing, and embezzlement have become so frequent that our national tolerance for them seems only to have increased as the Iraq War has drawn on. Even so, the testimony earlier this week of three whistleblowers before the Senate's Democratic Policy Committee (DPC) stands out for the sheer outrageousness of their accusations—namely that U.S. private contractors looted Iraqi palaces and ministries, stole military equipment, fenced supplies destined for U.S. troops, and even operated a prostitution ring that may have contributed to the death of fellow contractor. Yet despite its focus on such salacious matters as sex and corruption, the session earned little media attention.

The first to testify was Frank Cassaday, a former KBR employee who worked as an ice plant operator in Fallujah in 2004 and 2005. "Ice was a very valuable commodity in Iraq that was regularly stolen and bartered for other goods," he told the committee. He recalled how a convoy of U.S. Marines, in preparation for an operation that would take them outside the wire for several days, requested 28 bags of ice to keep their food fresh in the desert heat. They received only three. "The ice foreman was cheating the troops out of ice at the same time that he was trading the ice for DVDs, CDs, food, and other items at the Iraqi shops across the street," Cassaday said. "This foreman would change the ice tally sheets at the distribution area I worked in to make it seem as though we had handed out more ice to the Marines than we actually did."

Cassaday said he later observed his colleagues returning to KBR's camp with equipment they had stolen from the U.S. military, including refrigerators, artillery round detonators, two rocket launchers, and about 800 rounds of small arms ammunition. After he informed the KBR camp manager of the thefts, Marines searched the camp with dogs to recover the stolen property. For his trouble, Cassaday said, KBR security officers jailed him in his tent for two days. He then spent another four days in "protective custody" before being transferred, against his will, to work in a laundry.

The practice of stealing equipment and supplies destined for the U.S. military was so pervasive that KBR employees invented a slang term to describe it: "drug deals." But thefts were not limited to military supplies, said Linda Warren, another former KBR employee who testified at the hearing. Upon her arrival in Baghdad in 2004, she was shocked by the number of contractors involved in criminal activity. "KBR employees who were contracted to perform construction duties inside palaces and municipal buildings were looting," she said. "Not only were they looting, but they had a system in place to get contraband out of the country so it could be sold on eBay. They stole artwork, rugs, crystal, and even melted down gold to make spurs for cowboy boots." Like Cassaday, when she complained to her superiors about the thefts, she was punished. She said her vehicle was taken away, her movements were closely monitored, and her access to phones and the Internet were cut off. Eventually, she was transferred out of Baghdad.

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whiners grow up
Posted by anonymous on 2008-05-04 15:43:04
Did the poster claim to have written it himself? Or try to take credit for anything? (IMO) They just copy pasted it for you to be able to read without going to another page, and included the link as the source.
Posted by Pile on 2008-05-04 19:42:24
I did post attribution... notwithstanding the whining from the little asshats
 

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