Protecting Halliburton’s Honor…..

First off for the fucking record:  KBR was a subsidiary of Halliburton.  Halliburton = the parent; KBR = incorrigible child.  KBR was the “contracting, engineering and construction unit” part of Halliburton until April 5, 2007.  They then became “separate and independent of each other.”  Prior to that date in 2007, KBR had been part of Halliburton for some 44 years.

Jamie Leigh Jones was employed by Halliburton/KBR in 2005 when she was gang-raped by fellow employees.   Halliburton was privy to no-bid contracts – ‘major defense contracts’ for which the FBI began an investigation in 2004.

In a formal whistleblower complaint filed last week, Greenhouse alleged the award of contracts without competition to KBR puts at risk “the integrity of the federal contracting program as it relates to a major defense contractor.”

See the connection?  “The federal contracting program as it relates to a major defense contractor.”  KBR/Halliburton received federal contracts, albeit no-bid ones.  They are (and were) considered a “major defense contractor.”

Are you following the logic here?  Call me if I lose ya…. ‘kay?

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So the 2010 Defense Appropriations bill is up in the Senate, and the good senator from Minnesota proposed an amendment calling for employee redress affecting those who seek contracts with the federal government.  Specifically – military and/or defense contracts.  So the Franken Amendment appears to be an appropriate fit.

Here’s the entirety of Senator Al Franken’s amendment – statement of purpose:

To prohibit the use of funds for any Federal contract with Halliburton Company, KBR, Inc., any of their subsidiaries or affiliates, or any other contracting party if such contractor or a subcontractor at any tier under such contract requires that employees or independent contractors sign mandatory arbitration clauses regarding certain claims. Continue reading

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Mining Accidents Continue Unabated

Via Al-Jazeera:

At least 28 miners have been killed and 12 others remain missing, after a coal mine explosion in Indonesia’s Sumatra island, officials say.

Rescuers working overnight and into Wednesday morning pulled bodies from the mine in Sawahlunto regency, after what is suspected to have been an explosion caused by leaking methane gas on Tuesday.

Miners still trapped have been underground for more than 30 hours, officials said.

It has also been reported that those trapped are likely dead due to the gases leaking.  This was a locally owned and smaller mine, so it’s unimaginable that it would be required to meet any kind of standard in relation to worker rights, worker safety.

More here via localized news media.

Trial of Mining Giant W.R. Grace & The People of Libby, Montana

While the Crandall Creek odyssey was unfolding, I happened upon the documentary ‘Libby, Montana.’  The most shocking as touted by Earl Lovick during deposition, as manager of the mine for the W. R. Grace corporation, that the “the dangers of vermiculite” were considered to be “common knowledge.”   The documentary also enjoyed a stint on PBS on the series P.O.V.

U.S. V. GRACE

“Most extensive environmental criminal trial in U.S. history’ begins Monday”

“A Missoula federal court is the setting for a showdown between the federal government and W.R. Grace, which stands accused of deliberately concealing the dangers of tremolite-tainted vermiculite from the people of Libby Montana.” Continue reading

‘Criminal’ Update for Miner Bob

“Through its investigation of the tragic accidents last year at Crandall Canyon, MSHA determined that the operator and its engineering consultants demonstrated reckless disregard for safety,” said Richard E. Stickler, acting assistant secretary of labor for MSHA. “MSHA has referred this case for possible criminal charges.”

Saw this item very early one morning last week and made a mental note to remember it. Then got sidetracked with home-front issues.  Now, I’m not sure just how ‘brave’ this might be considered on the part of MSHA.

The two cave-ins or ‘product of seismic activity ‘ that, as Miner Bob preferred to name them,  resulted initially and most likely in the immediate deaths of six miners: Kerry Allred, Don Erickson, Luis Hernandez, Carlos Payan, Brandon Phillips, and Manuel Sanchez.  Their bodies have yet to be recovered, if in fact they ever will.  Rescue efforts were suspended a week later (Aug. 17th) when another explosion killed three rescue workers: MSHA inspector Gary Jensen, miners Dale Black and Brandon Kimber. Six others were injured during that sad time on August 17th.

A quote that has stayed with me is this one because I could just visualize it.  The illusion is in the belief you can do almost do something to stop it by just reaching further, pushing harder . . . .

“I don’t think I’m going too far to say the mountain is collapsing in slow motions,” Lee Siegal, a spokesman for the university, told The Associated Press. Continue reading

Some News on Crandall Canyon Mine

coalminer.jpgIt seems to me Bob Murray should be up and testifying SOME time SOON about his role, as well as that of Murray Energy, in the mining disaster at Crandall Canyon last August.

There is, however, this bit of news on a $400K plus fine from MSHA for the flagrant violation of safety precautions. There’s a four-page PDF from MSHA giving the citation information. (The Salt Lake Tribune has an article also.)

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has assessed $420,300 in fines against Andalex Resources Inc. for violations relating to potential fire and explosion hazards at the Aberdeen Mine in Price, Utah. Two citations issued Oct. 26, 2006, and June 20, 2007, were assessed as “flagrant violations” under the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response (MINER) Act based on the operator’s repeated violation of the same safety standard. Robert E. Murray controls Andalex Resources Inc., which operates the mine.

October of 2006, 10 months prior to the collapse at Crandall Canyon; June 2007 – some six weeks prior to the collapse. Continue reading

Miner Bob’s Testimony Postponed

Mea culpa….forgot to pass this along –

miner-bob.jpgMiner Bob’s testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee was postponed due to a scheduling conflict.

According to the office of Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., the subcommittee’s top Republican, no new date has been set, but some Senate sources said Dec. 14 could be the new date. The staff of Subcommittee Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, was on a staff retreat and could not be reached.

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Miner Bob Gets Summoned

 

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The Senate Appropriations Committee, apparently weary of dancing around with Bob Murray issued a summons to appear before the Labor, Health, and Human Services subcommittee on December 4th.

A U.S. senator is forcing Crandall Canyon Mine owner Bob Murray to tell the truth, and nothing but the truth before Congress.

So, where has Bob been for the past two months? In a sanitarium somewhere maybe, getting some rest? Well, we shall see. He’s resisted appearing in the past citing illness. More than likely an extension of that illness that overtook him while in Price, Utah at the Crandall Creek Mine.

After a second collapse during the rescue attempt on Aug. 16, Murray’s health deteriorated and he was not seen for several days.

The company has pointed out that Murray worked himself to exhaustion during the 23-day rescue effort, and spared no expense or effort in attempts to rescue the miners.

Poor thing. ‘HobagFromEmery’ (isn’t that quite the name) has penned a song for Miner Bob. I told them I was stealin’ it: Continue reading