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More KBR-Halliburton Fraud: Poisoning US Troops
by SUE ARRIGO, MD
Case 22A: Were US Troops in Iraq Fed Poisonous Beverages on Purpose?
(July 7, 2008) While I was investigating why the US troops were not getting the beverages they needed, I came across 2 troubling memos. Both memos directed personnel to hold the beverages for "inspection".
That puzzled me because what kind of inspection could already sealed cans of soda need? Inspection for insect infestation? Clearly, not. They needed to be delivered on time.
So, why were they held for weeks to months in Iraq and Afghanistan while the troops needed them? Was it to allow them to be "stolen" and sold on the black market? That was my starting premise.
I asked the intelligence officer (see Case 17) who had already been shot out twice to go to a specific warehouse in Iraq to look into it. This was not at the port where he had already determined that ships were arriving with empty crates.
Halliburton-KBR was charging high costs for the shipping of items. This warehouse was inland, near Basra, if I remember correctly.
It was supplied by trucks from factories where brand named sodas were
made by adding water to imported concentrates. Those factories had their own
quality control programs and inspections of the fluids which went into the cans.
The CIA officer reported to me that no further sampling and testing of the beverages were done at that "warehouse" site. He said that the sodas were not stored in a warehouse. They were in a large fenced in lot where the truck's metal container shells sat in the hot sun in row upon row.
When he had asked about why the beverages were required to sit there, he had been told, "They are getting their heat treatment". He asked how long that took. He was told by the foreman of the lot that it takes at least a week of sitting in the sun in hot weather and in the winter it could take a few months. The foreman had his clipboard record of the daily temperatures. He said that he was not allowed to release the beverage shipments until they had been in the sun for at least 7 days of hot weather (over 90 degrees F), or a month’s worth of days of warm weather (over 78 degrees). He said that was to ensure their sterility.
That made no sense to me. If the cans were contaminated with germs, then heating them days later in the sun would yield putrid beverages. That would be true whether or not they were sterilized later by the heat.
I asked the CIA officer to measure the temperature of sodas in the crates as I doubted that they got up to temperatures needed to sterilize them. It was about June when he was there. He measured the temperature of cans at the top, the sides and about a meter into a crate about an hour after noon on a day that it was about 90 degrees F outside in the shade.
The temperatures were about 140 degrees F average. At the top of the stack the temperature was over 160 degrees which was enough to slowly cook a steak. But in the middle of the stack the temperatures were only about 110-120 degrees.
In short, in June even a month of such treatment could not sterilize the cans in the middle of the shipment. The protocol did not make any sense whatsoever from a public safety point of view. The cans had to be sterile when they were sealed, no if ands or buts, to have a useful product.
The first thing I did after that was call up the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to find out if they were seeing diseases from improperly canned sodas. The man I spoke to was an expert in beverage contamination and said that he had not had any such problems come across his desk.
Then he added, "But in Iraq if a person gets sick it is likely due to bad water. Even touching it might make a person sick later because some parasites can burrow through skin. I then explained the situation with the beverage shipments more throughly. He said that there should be an off taste if the cans were not properly sterilized in the first place.
I then tried to figure out why those memos had been written. I did not yet have the theft rates from the fenced compound as it would take time to wait for them to be stolen. The first memo came from Rumsfeld’s office.
I had to be at the Pentagon periodically anyway. I walked into Rumsfeld’s area and asked to speak to the official who had written that particular memo. I had unearthed it originally in the CIA’s document room for Pentagon records. Rumsfeld’s citadel of offices had its own security personnel, as if he needed to protect himself from the US military. I had picked a time to make the appointment while one of my former students was a guard at the door.
The secretary looked at me like I was trouble and then went into Rumsfeld's office to ask what to do with me no doubt. In the time she was in Rumsfeld’s office, I had found the memo writer’s name on a door just a few doors down inside of Rumsfeld's suite of offices. So, I had knocked on it. He was in. After telling him that I wanted information on that memo, I set up a time to meet with him.
Then I returned to her desk to wait for her official reply. She came back out and said, "That man does not work here anymore." I had to laugh at that ploy of Rumsfeld's.
I met with the official in the cafeteria about 2 hours later. He said that he was just following orders when he wrote the memo. Then he pulled out the memo from Halliburton-KBR to show me.
He had indeed faithfully copied it almost word for word, though he had made it conform to military style. I asked him why he had duplicated a private contractor’s memo and made it into a military order. He acted like I was mentally deficient and said, “Look at the signature”. I had, it was Dick Cheney’s. But the memo was not on White House stationery, so I again asked him why. He said, "That is the way things are done around here now."
I asked him why he didn’t insist on getting a proper US govt. memo to follow. He said, "Liability complications. This is secret. No one is supposed to know about this Halliburton memo. But it is my neck on the line. I want you to know that this plan did not originate with me. It was never my idea."
I asked him who else knew about it. He said, “Well, obviously Rumsfeld and Cheney.” I asked him about Rice and Bush. He said he didn’t know that for certain but had heard that Rice had approved it. When I asked him how much he had been paid to write that memo he shook his head sadly and said, “Maybe money isn’t everything.”
I later was able to give the GAO a copy of the bank transaction which put about $20,000 into a hidden account for him the day after he wrote the memo. The money came from a KBR account.
KBR listed the $20,000 payment on their books as a "consulting fee".
Then he fled back up to Rumsfeld’s citadel of offices.
Because it was in his interests not to be seen as the originator of that memo, he had left me a copy of the Halliburton-KBR memo. I handed it over to the GAO to prove that Cheney was still running Halliburton-KBR.
About a month later, the CIA officer in Iraq reported to me that he had not been able to document any thefts of the sodas. Instead he had uncovered a drug smuggling operation through that same yard. He had determined that it was another CIA operation and then decided to stay out of its way. But in the process he had made friends with one of the CIA operatives.
That man had told him "Don’t drink that soda. In fact, don’t drink soda in Iraq. That stuff is bad for you. Real bad." He was not sure whether his new friend was just against sugar, while for illegal drugs, so he let it ride. When he later saw his new friend eat a second jelly donut, he asked him "What about the sugar?" His friend said, “It ain’t the sugar in the sodas I am worried about. I hear that they are putting oil in them.”
That still did not make any sense. But it was possible that crude oil had contaminated the water either while in the aquifer or in a river.
By now, I was giving up on the theft hypothesis. Since the CIA was running illegal drugs through that yard, they were not going to let the security be lax on it. From within the CIA I was able to verify that the CIA was running drugs through that “warehouse”. In the process of that I came across another curious fact; there was a memo to those CIA operatives warning them not to drink the ‘ripe sodas because of contamination with oil byproducts’.
I wanted to know if all the factories in Iraq making the beverages had the problem, or just some of them. And I wanted to know who was drinking those beverages. I decided to be bold and called the VP at Halliburton I knew. We chitchatted for a few minutes. Then I asked him what the point of holding those sodas in the sun was. There was dead silence in response. About 30 seconds later he hung up. Well, clearly he knew that there was a big problem and that he would be in trouble if he told me the truth.
Next, I called Cheney up and asked him. He started swearing at me. Then his swear words turned to threats. He said that I had better back off “or else”. So, he knew that holding those sodas in the sun was a topic he wanted to kill me for, if I exposed it.
Immediately, I called Bush. I knew that they would both be in at that time, I had just left a party at the White House with Tenet. I also knew that they had both had enough to drink that their tongues might be looser than normal. Bush had slightly slurred speech. We talked for a few minutes about the party and then another matter of CIA importance, which was why he and Cheney had taken my calls. Then I asked him if he liked to drink hot sodas. He said, “No, that is not good for you. You have to keep them cold, even before they get to you.” I asked him about the reason for heating it in Iraq.
He said, “Well, we are just having some fun.” Since when was poisoning others with petroleum derivatives fun?
Then realizing that he had said too much he added "It foams better when it is hot." I asked him who they were serving it hot to in Iraq. He said, "I guess Al-Queada would be drinking it”. I said, “I would like it to be released to the soldiers before it sits out there for months. Would you please write an order for that.”
He said, “I couldn’t do that. I would get in trouble, if I did that.” I asked him “What will David Rockefeller do to you, if he finds out?” as it was my opinion that that was where the idea had really originated. He replied, “I am not so worried about David. It is Cheney I am most worried about. He becomes President if anything happens to me. Do you think I am in any danger?” I asked him, “What keeps you from getting a different Vice President?” He said, “Boy, that is not the answer I wanted to hear from you. I was hoping you would say that I was not in danger. David would not be happy if I told Cheney to leave. He would not at all be happy. I can’t talk about this anymore. I have to go now....”
I sent both tapes over to the GAO for the investigation of why the troops were not getting those beverages when they needed them. But was there a deeper significance to those sodas sitting in the sun by decree of Cheney?
The rest of these many pages are relevant to that question. I apologize that they are more a heap of information than a coherent book.
Can you solve the mystery?