Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Other Items

A Halliburton subsidiary charged the Iraqi government as much as $25,000 per month for each of as many as 1,800 fuel trucks that were to deliver gasoline to Iraq after the 2003 invasion, but the trucks often spent days or weeks sitting idle on the border, says a report released yesterday by an auditing agency sponsored by the United Nations.
The agency said in a statement that the auditing firm it hired had found that some of the contract costs that had been questioned earlier seemed to be justified. But the agency said the findings raised new questions about hundreds of millions of dollars billed by the company under a $2.4 billion contract that the Army awarded on the eve of the conflict to KBR, the Halliburton subsidiary formerly known as Kellogg Brown & Root.
The new audit gives the first detailed picture of how the company incurred many of those costs.
The audit said the Kuwaiti government had set the price of its gasoline at $1.13 a gallon. But with the delivery charges, the effective cost of the gas was calculated to be much higher, about $8 a gallon, according to a participant in a meeting in Paris last week at which the audits were presented to the auditing agency and the Iraqi government.

The above is from James Glanz' "Cost of Taking Fuel to Iraq Is Questioned in New Audit" in this morning's New York Times and if you read it and remember the 2003 'discussion' on this topic that took place on public television, try to remember who the 'moderator' was that was so 'balanced' he sided with the hack (in military dress) who insisted there was no corruption, none at all! Which was treated as gospel, end of story. Time rarely provides the cover that TV personalities do.

The US military today announced: "A Multi-National Division -- Baghdad Soldier died at approximately 10:40 p.m. Monday from wounds he received after the vehicle he was riding in was struck by an improvised-explosive device in northwest Baghdad." This brings to 19 the number of US troops killed in Iraq this month. In addition, Reuters reports: "A British soldier was killed during an attack on an army base in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, the Ministry of Defence said on Tuesday." This would bring to 121 the number of British troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war. (ICCC notes 120 currently; however, they don't reflect the death just announced in their count.)

For those who are wondering, "British? Basra?" It's long been a hot spot for the British where two soldiers were arrested when they were found in disguise and with bombs. The response was to send in British tanks and attack. Mortar rounds have been among the causes of death for British soldiers there and most recently, October 30th, the British consulate there was evacauated:

This also comes as the British consulate in Basra is being 'evacuated.' Thomas Harding reported the evacuation in The Telegraph of London noting: "Despite a large British military presence at the headquarters in Basra Palace, a private security assessment has advised the counsul general and her staff to leave the building after experiencing regular mortar attacks in the last two months." [Polly noted that yesterday.] David Sanderson (Times of London) reports that: "Civilian employees will be moved to the airport, eight miles outside the city" and that the evacuation will not include "the Counsul-General and other staff from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department for International Development". This follows the August 24th 'evacuation' of the British military base in Amara (also due to mortar attacks).

That was last week. And, though you wouldn't know it yesterday or today to read most of the US daily papers, chaos and violence continue in Iraq. Some of the violence that Reuters is reporting includes three dead and eight wounded in Falluja from a roadside bomb, two corpses "and a decapitated head" discovered in Mahmudiya while ten corpses were discovered in Baghdad, a police officer shot dead in Kirkuk, and four employees of the Civil Defence Centre were kidnapped (two have been released).

Also remember that US war resister Ivan Brobeck will turn himself in today at the Quantico Marine Base in Quantico, VA.

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