Archive for September, 2012

The Sky Is Falling! The Sky Is…

Posted on September 28, 2012. Filed under: KBR |

18th in the series The Great Cluster Fu…   A treatise on questionable journalism and pre-litigation practices.

MY SHOW AND TELL ON SPARKY’S SITE HAS BEEN PULLED.  IN ITS PLACE IS THE STATEMENT “THIS VIDEO IS PRIVATE.”  AFTER…   WHAT?  2 YEARS OR SO?…   OF PUBLIC DISPLAY, WHAT SHOULD NEVER HAVE LEFT ATTORNEY’S CHAMBERS IN THE FIRST PLACE  IS SUDDENLY A PRIVATE VIDEO?  TOO CLOSE TO COURT APPEARANCE?  JUDGE MIGHT CONSIDER IT AN UNETHICAL TACTIC…   OR JURY TAMPERING?

Your word for the day:

  • panic = be or make somebody suddenly extremely afraid, often without good cause (Windows XP dictionary) 

Poor Chicken Little.  Unlike its human counterpart, Sir Isaac Newton (the gravity guy, not the cookie cook) Fowl Little did not have the luxury of time to sit around waiting for inspiration to explain Nature’s vagaries.  While going about the daily routine it was designed to do — you know, barnyard ground-scratching and pecking — it got conked on the head, said conk arriving from above.  Nothing up there but the blue sky.  Down there at the bottom of the food chain*, thinking is a time waster.  Instant reaction is where it’s at.  Conk on head + only blue sky above + run-now-pray-later instinct = sound the alarm and run like hell.  What alarm?  Well, duh!  Obviously, the freaking sky is falling.  Spread the word!  Spread the word!

Young Lee, a KBR employee, is not a chicken.  But, in pursuit of the M-O-N-E-Y, Super Dan was in need of more mud to fling on the faceless, high-profile corporation, KBR.  In keeping with his theme of unconcern about the health of employees and everyone within 50 miles of Qarmat Ali, the Dynamic Duo (Spark-Igor and Franken-Raiznor) needed someone who refused to be Chicken Little…   in Raiznor’s little fairy tale, someone who failed to blow the whistle on alleged corporate foot-dragging.  The best he could do was an email by Young Lee allegedly alluding to knowledge of the subject chemical spill.  (I had planned to zoom in on the thing for details when writing this article, but I waited too long and the Dynamic Duo pulled their “evidence.”)

Not a chicken, but a fully functional member of the species Homo sapiens sapiens (he is neither “fowl” nor “Neanderthal”), Mr. Lee is quite capable of assessing where his responsibilities are.  Super Dan must have been asking Lee stupid questions for quite some time (cut out of the on-line version of the deposition) judging from Lee’s apparent irritation.  The only gist and question Raiznor had was whether Mr. Lee did not feel  it was his responsibility to alert everyone in the Mid-East about a danger that was only evident after the fact.  Super Dan, in effect, implies that Lee should have immediately jumped up from his desk, ran to his supervisor shouting, “We are being poisoned, we are being poisoned !!!!!  From there, out into the parking lot, into the field of operations, telephone calls to the pentagon, carrier pigeons delivering the news to every commander in the Iraqi theater of operations, tweeting to Facebook and whatever.  His failure to do all that, Raiznor seems to imply, was criminal inaction…    or litigation fodder.

Would Raiznor have been happy if one of his subordinates, outside of assigned job duties and area of expertise, and with only indirect knowledge of a matter, went around shouting, “Super Dan is going on a smear campaign against KBR before trial even begins, Super Dan is sliming KBR !!!”  NO.  And, he would have taken punitive action against such an employee for stepping outside the recognized, and, contracted for, area of expertise.

Young Lee knew his level in the corporate hierarchy.  He knew his duties.  His email may well have alluded to “chemicals” even though he had nothing to do with searching, discovering, or reporting them.  His work responsibilities would require him to consider the impact of information learned even through second-hand sources.  But, the Army contract is very specific.  There was a prescribed channel of information flow between KBR and the Army, often referred to as a chain of command.  Young Lee was not in the “notification” chain as specified by contract.  He reported to his supervisor, who reported to his supervisor, who reported to…   The Army would take a dim view of anyone usurping its operational authority in a combat zone.  Army command would notify its subordinates of anything they thought the subordinates should know whenever it thought subordinates should know.  I did not see a military uniform on Mr. Lee during his inquisition.

Here, I offer another toast…   you know which wine:

  • To Mr. Young Lee for his valiant show of inner strength;  you did not get up and bitch-slap the living daylight out of someone very much in need of it.  Bravo!

*There is a 99.99999% chance that Chicken Little would eventually play the part of entrée at a chicken dinner.

Next up:  Mary L. Wade, Lady of the Contracts

Series references:  KBR, Mary L. Wade, Ms. Sparky, Doyle Raiznor, Qarmat Ali, litigator

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Those Ever Popular “Missing Files”

Posted on September 27, 2012. Filed under: KBR |

17th in the series The Great Cluster Fu…   A treatise on questionable journalism and pre-litigation practices

WHOA!  LOOK AT SPARKY’S SITE.  THE PHONEY DEPOSITION VIDEO HAS BEEN PULLED WITH THE ANNOUNCEMENT “THIS VIDEO IS PRIVATE.”  CURRENT COURT DATE IS OCTOBER 9, 2012.  WHAT’S UP, DOYLE?  GETTING THE MUD OFF YOUR SHOES BEFORE THAT COURT APPEARANCE?

Your words for the day:

  • missing = not present in an expected place
  • critical = absolutely necessary for something
  • jump to a conclusion = to form an opinion or judgement hastily

Raiznor’s goal here is to instill the idea of cover-up and lying about what was at SADDAM HUSSEIN’S water plant. 

Therefore, it is important to Raiznor that some unidentified, preferably unidentifiable, files be missing so he can claim that they are critical.  But, if they are in fact missing, how can he know whether they are critical?  If he doesn’t know what they are, how can he subpoena them?  No need to bother your jury-minded self about that; he “said” they are critical, so they “must be” critical.  Ergo, WE GOT A COVER UP IN PROGRESS !!

DON’T BUY IT.  IT’S ANOTHER SMOKE SCREEN.

The set-up:  K. T. (maybe that’s K.Y. – Sparky has shown she can’t get all the facts straight) Tseng testified that he went to SADDAM’S water plant several times in ’03, and, in keeping with his job duties, sent in reports.  The reports that KBR provided to refresh his mind for the deposition session made him “happy with what I saw.”  In the several times he went to SADDAM HUSSEIN’S water plant, he saw no chemicals, nor did he see evidence of chemicals.

Doyle’s query:  “Were you shown all the files you sent in?”  K.T.’s response:  “No.”

DOYLE’S UNCALLED FOR and SPLICED-IN claim:  “KBR is still missing critical files.”

The hot button inference:  KBR is hiding/destroying/withholding files needed to prove negligence (i.e., a delay in reporting SADDAM HUSSEIN’S spill), much like those financial scam principals who diligently (allegedly) set about destroying files.

Here are questions Raiznor DID NOT ask, so Tseng couldn’t answer them.  NOT TO WORRY.  I’ll ask them…   and answer them for Tseng:

  • What other reports did you send in?  (Other crap.)
  • What files were you not shown?  (Other crap.)
  • Why did they not show them to you?  (They…   ?!  …did not fit the parameters of your subpoena !??)
  • Were those un-shown files pertinent to what I am asking about?  (???   …what part of “other crap” do you NOT understand?)
  • Were you shown all the files that my subpoena said you were going to be questioned about?  (As far as I know.)

Super Dan then asked the loaded, highly presumptive, and speculative question, “Was there any legitimate reason why those files were not maintained?”  Now, K. T. did not say that those files were not maintained; simply that he was not shown all the reports that he sent in.  Danny boy them glibly penciled in “files were missing,”  “files were critical,”  “files were not maintained,” referring to his own editorial descriptors as though they were sworn testimony.  There was ample opportunity here for K.T. to walk right into that trap and say something Super Dan could further twist to his advantage.  But, K. T. rose to the challenge and delivered a super answer that ol’ Doyle didn’t bother to pursue.

So, here, I offer a toast to K. T. (or K. Y.) Tseng for shutting Super Dan’s mouth (using, of course, a red wine from Georgia — the country, not the state):

  • To K. T.’s super answer, an off-handed, and, by now, disinterested, “I DID NOT ASK!”  Bravo, K. T.

One thing not brought out in the so-called deposition is the real nightmare involved in maintaining and retrieving files from the archives of a global corporation such as KBR.  To get an idea, lets use the example of your purchase of a vehicle on a three-year contract.  The vehicle cost, with interest for the loan period, is $25,000.  With gasoline, repair costs, regular maintenance costs, and insurance costs you have put in about $45,000 for your 3-year contract.  For this you have amassed somewhere around 750 documents (some with multiple pages) for all your expenses, policies, contract terms, claim forms, proof of insurance, etc.  It doesn’t sound like a lot of documents to file, but — for comparison — SADDAM HUSSEIN’S water plant contract was around 1 billion dollars.  That kind of money will get you about 22,300 vehicles like yours, each generating that 750 documents over the contract term.  That comes to about l,500,000-plus documents you  have to process and file to your archive.

That 1.5 million documents does not include certification documents from each sub-contractor involved in building, maintaining and financing your vehicles, as KBR would have been required to have.  Nor does it include weekly expense or use reports  (with duplicates of previously mentioned receipts) from the operators of the vehicles.  [Let’s see;  11,000 reports per week (we’ll assume that half of those vehicles are in the motor pool at any one time), 156 weeks = WOWWW!  An additional 1.7 million documents.

Total document guesstimate:  3.2 million documents just for one 1-billion dollar contract.  KBR lives by contracts and has many such during a single year.  For archiving purposes, think Indiana Jones:  Raiders of the Lost Ark, final scene:  a large warehouse filled with  stacked pallets of file boxes.

Now, if Super Dan (or one of his ilk) should ask you 5 years after you have stashed all that paper for a few documents from a specific time period, would you be surprised if you didn’t locate some of those documents?  Neither would Super Dan, but he’ll sure make hay out of it.

Next up:  The sky is falling!  Chicken Little, where are you?

Series references:  KBR, Mary L. Wade, Ms. Sparky, Doyle Raiznor, Qarmat Ali, litigator

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