Thursday, October 11, 2012

Oregon National Guardsmen still fighting for justice after Iraq

While they were sure they were willing to face the risks of combat in Iraq, they had no clue they had to fear something else happening to them by a company paid by their own country.

National Guardsmen’s suit accusing Iraq War contractor KBR of concealing toxic danger begins
By Associated Press
Published: October 10

PORTLAND, Ore. — A war contractor knew a critical southern Iraq oilfield plant was riddled with a well-known toxin but ignored the risk to soldiers while hurrying the project along, firing a whistleblower and covering up the presence of the chemical when faced with exposure, the soldiers’ attorney said in opening arguments Wednesday in a federal civil suit.

An attorney for the contractor, Kellogg, Brown and Root, fired back in his opening salvo of a trial expected to last weeks that the soldiers’ injuries weren’t a result of their exposure to the toxin, called sodium dichromate. Geoffrey L. Harrison argued that the company had no knowledge of the chemical’s presence at the plant and when they found it, they promptly and repeatedly warned the military of the danger.

A jury of six men and six women will decide whether the company is culpable for 12 Oregon National Guardsmen’s exposure to the toxin, a known carcinogen, and whether that exposure led to their ongoing respiratory illnesses. The soldiers will also try to show that the fear of future illnesses is causing them to suffer emotional distress.
read more here

Iraq contractor seeks appeal from law suit

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