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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Drivers say Halliburton ignored dangers in Iraq: "Sept. 18, 2006, 11:35PM
Halliburton ignored dangers, drivers say

Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Halliburton Co. officials knew a highway intersection near Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison was fraught with danger hours before the deadly ambush of a truck convoy known as the Good Friday Massacre, former company truck drivers told Democratic senators Monday.
And the Houston-based contracting giant may have tried to shield itself from lawsuits by including a clause in an application for a Defense of Freedom Medal, in which survivors would sign away their rights to sue, according to a document unveiled by the panel Monday.
'That is almost an unbelievable piece of paper,' said Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-S.D., chairman of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee.
Asked about the clause, Halliburton spokeswoman Cathy Mann said: 'It was never KBR's intention to utilize any such release to preclude claims by current or former employees against the company. And we have no intention of doing so in the future.'
Appearing before Dorgan's panel of Democrats, former workers accused Halliburton subsidiary KBR of sending unarmed civilians into an area they had been warned was the site of attacks by insurgents.
'One question haunts me: Why would KBR/Halliburton knowingly send unarmed noncombatant civilians in military tankers down a closed road where there was an ongoing battle?' said Ed Sanchez of Silver City, N.M., who survived the Good Friday Massacre.
Six KBR truck drivers and two soldiers were killed in that ambush. Another driver and one soldier are still listed as missing.
The leader of the convoy, Tommy Hamill, was kidnapped. He later escaped.
Mann said Halliburton's 'priority has always been the sa"


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