The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Tuesday, June 01, 2004  

Halliburton Bills for Shipping “Sailboat Fuel”

Can there any longer be any doubt that Halliburton Co. is anything other than a criminal enterprise?

Seth Borenstein reports in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer (“Truckers Question Risky Job”):

Empty flatbed trucks crisscrossed Iraq more than 100 times as their drivers and the soldiers who guarded them dodged bullets, bricks and homemade bombs.

Twelve current and former truckers who regularly made the 300-mile resupply run from Camp Cedar in southern Iraq to Camp Anaconda near Baghdad said they risked their lives driving empty trucks while their employer, a subsidiary of Halliburton Inc., billed the government for hauling what they derisively called “sailboat fuel.”

Defense Department records show that the subsidiary, Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR), has been paid $327 million for “theater transportation” of war materiel and supplies for U.S. forces in Iraq, and is to be paid $230 million more. The convoys are a lifeline for troops in Iraq, hauling humvee tires, boots, filing cabinets, tools, engine parts, and even an unmanned Predator reconnaissance plane. […]

KBR’s contract with the Defense Department allows the company to pass on the cost of the transportation and add 1 percent to 3 percent for profit, but neither KBR nor the U.S. Army Field Support Command in Rock Island, Ill., which oversees the contract, was able to provide cost estimates for the empty trucks. Trucking experts estimate each round-trip costs taxpayers thousands of dollars.

KBR and the Army denied that trucks made round-trips empty, and KBR said one-way empty runs were standard trucking practice. […]

In addition to interviewing the drivers, the Inquirer Washington Bureau reviewed KBR records of the empty trips, dozens of photographs of empty flatbeds, and a video showing 15 empty trucks in one convoy.

The 12 drivers, interviewed separately over the course of more than a month, told similar stories about their trips through hostile territory. […]

KBR, the Army, and the truckers gave different reasons for the empty-truck runs. Some of the truckers contended that KBR was billing the Pentagon for unnecessary work. KBR described the empty-truck runs as normal, given the large number of trucks it has delivering goods throughout Iraq. Army officials said longer convoys might provide better security.

Sounds like there’s easy money to be made by someone over there. Halliburton, I mean. Not the truckers.

The Rittenhouse Review | Copyright 2002-2006 | PERMALINK |