In late August 2003, medical testing of KBR employees at Qarmat Ali found elevated levels of total chromium in their blood. Total chromium is comprised of trivalent chromium—an essential and naturally occurring nutrient—and hexavalent chromium, the cancer-causing industrial component of sodium dichromate. In order to adequately determine if its workers were poisoned by sodium dichromate, KBR needed to separate out hexavalent chromium from the blood tests—a difficult and time-consuming process that usually requires a special laboratory.
Continue reading TOO BIG TO FAIL: The KBR-AIG Dream Team
No Contractor Left Behind is a series chronicling how a toxic time bomb followed three Army National Guard units home from Iraq. It reveals how a notorious military contractor exposed American soldiers to a cancer-causing carcinogen on the battlefield and how the Pentagon tried to downplay the consequences. And it describes how Congress has relegated its investigation to a toothless forum that lacks the political clout and oversight powers to ensure effective accountability.
The Indiana Guardsmen from Charlie Company. Photo courtesy of Russell Kimberling.
Continue reading No Contractor Left Behind Part I: KBR, the Pentagon and the Soldiers Who Paid
When word of the World Trade Center attacks reached the airport, panic spread throughout the complex. The FAA ordered Dulles locked down; no one could enter or leave. FBI agents and Immigration and Naturalization agents were swarming. “I am standing by the glass doors we have just shut near the East Checkpoint,” Ed Nelson recalls. “This FAA guy runs by me and says there are several more planes in the air ready to do mass destruction. He yelled, ‘We just got word that one was on its way from Dulles en route to the White House.’ Within a minute later the Pentagon is hit. There are seven more planes in the air to go to different destinations. Minutes later Pennsylvania is hit . . .”
Civilian and military personnel inspect the damage to the Pentagon on September 12, 2001. Photo by the US Government
Continue reading Unsafe At Any Altitude Part IV: Chaos and Cover Up
Everything seemed routine on American Airlines Flight 11 as it took off from Boston bound for Los Angeles. Captain John Ogonowski and First Officer Thomas McGuinness got the Boeing 767 off the runway at 7:59 AM. They were joined by nine flight attendants even though there were only eighty-one passengers on board. A quarter hour later Flight 11 had climbed to twenty-six thousand feet on its way to its assigned altitude of twenty-nine thousand. About the time the seat belt signs were turned off in preparation for breakfast service, the Al Qaeda team went into action.
Photo by Baloba
Continue reading Unsafe At Any Altitude Part III: Hell Over Earth