09 September 2006

Supporting the Troops

For U.S. soldiers in Iraq, the Superbowl is a BYOT event.
(Bring your own tacos.)

So far, the U.S. Government have spent over 300 billion
taxpayer dollars
to finance the war in Iraq.

Where does it all go?

Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root
charged millions to the government for
recreational services never provided to U.S.
troops in Iraq, including giant tubs of chicken
wings and tacos, a widescreen TV, and cheese
sticks meant for a military Super Bowl party,
according to a federal whistle-blower suit
unsealed Friday.

Instead, the suit alleges, KBR used the
military's supplies for its own football party

Filed last year in U.S. District Court in
Washington, D.C., by former KBR employee
Julie McBride, the lawsuit claims the giant
defense contractor billed the government for
thousands of meals it never served, inflated
the number of soldiers using its fitness and
Internet centers, and regularly siphoned off
great quantities of supplies destined for
American soldiers.

McBride was hired by KBR in 2004 as a "morale,
welfare and recreation" coordinator at Camp
Fallujah, a Marine installation about 35 miles
west of Baghdad. She was fired the next year
after making several complaints about KBR's
accounting practices, the suit says, and was
kept under guard until she was escorted to an
airplane and flown out of the country.

* * *

McBride is not the first Halliburton employee
to allege fraudulent billing practices. The
company has steadfastly denied wrongdoing.

Rory Mayberry, who worked for KBR in 2004,
testified from Iraq via videotape to a group of
Democratic members of Congress
investigating contractor fraud.

As food manager at another military camp in
Iraq, Mayberry said he witnessed KBR
employees serving spoiled food to American
troops, including food from trucks that had
been bombed and shot at. Workers were told
to pick out the shrapnel, and then serve the
food, Mayberry testified.

He also claimed KBR charged the government
for meals it never served.

In July 2004, former KBR planner Marie
DeYoung testified before the House Committee
on Government Reform. She said she witnessed
"significant waste and overpricing" while
working for the contractor in Kuwait, including
paying a subcontractor $100 per 15 pounds of
laundry, costs which were passed on to the

Halliburton, which holds more than 50 percent
of rebuilding contracts in Iraq, was headed by
Dick Cheney before he took office as vice
president. He has denied any government
favoritism toward his former company.