Archive for November, 2012

A Martyr For The Looting Cause

Posted on November 7, 2012. Filed under: KBR | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

24th in the series The Great Cluster Fu…   A treatise on questionable journalism and pre-litigation practices.

Your words for the day (Yeah! MY definitions):

  • martyr = someone who dies so someone else can cash in
  • death = life’s other bookend — everybody gets one at birth (which is the first bookend)

Take any group of 1,000 people, and over a span of 5 years several of them will have died or be in the process of dying, succumbing to either accident or disease, the causes of which may be self-evident while some may be vaguely indefinable.

Take any group of 1,000 soldiers who have spent time in one of the recent tropical combat zones and over a span of 5 years a number of them will exhibit various sets of symptoms, and, be afflicted with vague, maybe debilitating or chronic maladies, and, yes, even death.  These veterans are provided medical care for disabilities for years after contraction.

These veterans can rightfully feel that their conditions are “not my fault.”  Yet, most of them accept that it follows from their commitment to serve their country in the military.  And, they know that war is unforgiving:  their mission is to kill, capture, and destroy, and, that means running the risk of injury, maiming, death or capture.  It is a contract between them and their government that they honor.

Civilian contractors sharing the same environment with those soldiers are subject to the same types of risks in performing their service to that same government.  Just as the soldiers are no longer playing war games under controlled conditions in the backwoods of Tennessee, the contractors are no longer doing business in the ordered environment of the good old USA, looking for ways to appease the gods of EPA and OSHA.  For both types, civilian and soldier, an entirely new set of rules apply:  survive the day, while making the military high command happy.

Ms. Sparky claims that a field grade national guard officer was poisoned by chemicals at Qarmat Ali.  (I am fairly certain that Ms. Sparky is not a licensed medical doctor and is simply and gleefully following the litigator’s lead.)  Doyle Raiznor is apparently representing that officer and several national guard units in a suit against KBR.  That officer has physical problems that Raiznor is attributing to chemicals at Qarmat Ali.  In a last interview by Raiznor (according to a sympathy-inducing dialogue card inserted into the video, the officer has since died) the colonel, at Raiznor’s prodding — and prepping, no doubt — states that the KBR employees had it easy because they had armed soldiers with them at all times.  The insinuation is that the soldier, standing in the same place as the civilian, had a much harder time…   than…   the civilian…   standing in the same place…   as the…   soldier?…    Huh!  If an RPG exploded within 15 feet of the civilian, that civilian would have exactly the same amount of protection with or without the soldier nearby.  You know…   NONE.

Let it be noted that there are a host of other soldiers and civilians who were NOT at the water plant who are also plagued with vague and serious physical maladies.  Viet Nam, the first Gulf War, Afghanistan, Iraq — all producing their shares of afflicted personnel.  There is obviously a general medical downside to crawling around in the tropics and the Mideast at any time, with or without a civilian contractor to scapegoat.

Playing the exposure game.  How come Raiznor has only one body to tout if he has hundreds of clients claiming exposure and injury?  How come that one body is that of a desk jockey (who rarely ventured from the comfort of the office) and not that of a combat grunt who spent days and weeks trampling around with the civilians in a supposedly toxic environment?  (I did my military service at several Army headquarters; I know where the brass hangs outIt isn’t in the foxholes.)

Raiznor’s martyr ploy is as weak as his “it didn’t happen in war” ploy and his phony “rebuttal witness” ploy.  But, in spite of all that, his quest for the spoils of war will continue, win or lose this round.  After all, his website touts him as a giant-corporation killer:  “Bring me your COPD, your hangnails, and irritable skin and I will get you some mo’ M-O-N-E-Yat very reasonable attorneys fees.”  Just watch for Sparky to revive the “shocking deposition” video after the current trial is over.

Next up:  FINALLY!  The summation

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

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Just Your Head, Jack

Posted on November 6, 2012. Filed under: KBR | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

23rd in the series The Great Cluster Fu…   A treatise on questionable journalism and pre-litigation practices.

Your words for the day (redux):

  • witness = (verb) to see first hand; (noun) one who saw first hand
  • first-hand = one is on the scene to witness an occurrence
  • weasel = be evasive or try to mislead

And what about Weasel #2, ol’ head of security Jack Alvarez?  He showed up for this KBR roast as directed by the subpoena.  Doyle  turned on the camera, shoved a “document” into his hands, asked him to read it, and then asked Jack to speculate on what he just read.  Now, we don’t know what the paper had on it.  Doyle keeps secrets; we obviously are to assume  it is some hush-hush communique from within KBR.  In response to those questions from Doyle, Jack cautiously said “this looks like KBR might have  known before hand about the bad chemicals.”  Doyle also asked, “IF KBR knew, what reason would it have to delay reporting the problem to the Army.”  Jack offered, “Well, they might lose incentive  money for finishing before a certain date, and clean-up operations could cause them to shut down the work until it was done.”  (I paraphrased that stuff.)

Be it noted that Jack acts very tentative about what he is saying.  Why?  Because he doesn’t know anything about the water plant task order.

Here we go again with the flim-flam.  Doyle is trying to whiz two things right past our ears:

  • KBR is working on a COST-PLUS basis.  The more things they can find to do in fulfilling the army’s requirements, the more they get paid.  The deadlines they are working toward are the Army’s operational time lines.  Dragging their feet on HAZMAT would be counter-productive and gain them nothing.
  • The reason someone from “security” is being questioned on contract fulfillment.  It is not established that Jack was at the water plant or exactly what kind of security he was the “head” of:  Document security?  Gate Security?  Motor pool security?  Office supplies security?  Yeah, I know.  He shows up in this video only because he was the Head of Something at KBR, and Doyle thought he could pass him off as an authority by shading what he answered in a negative tint toward KBR.

The KBR personnel testified straightforwardly without a hint of uncertainty, confident of their actions and knowledge.  Doyle attempts to refute them with dialogue cards, his own monologue, and a slovenly looking former “manager” (whom he tried to pass off as the head of a corporate department) who could only repeat speculation and rumor.   Poor ol’ Jack was maneuvered into analyzing a document he had never seen before and putting it in the context of a matter about which he had no first-hand knowledge.

Yeah, ol’ Super Dan has some big salt shakers…   but, I think this litigious entrée he has carefully served up is just a bit too salty to ingest.  One can only hope the eventual jury panel at trial is carefully watching its intake of salt.

Next up:  What price martyrdom?  (Honest, folks!  Just 2 more of these things)

Series references:  KBR, Mary L. Wade, Qarmat Ali, Doyle Raiznor, Ms. Sparky, sued, deposition, litigation, cluster

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You Can Only Testify To What You Know

Posted on November 5, 2012. Filed under: KBR | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

22nd in the series The Great Cluster Fu…   A treatise on questionable journalism and pre-litigation practices

Your word vocabulary list for the day (mostly from MS Word Dictionary):

  1. witness = (verb) to see first hand;  (noun) one who saw first hand
  2. first hand = one is on the scene to experience an occurrence
  3. hearsay = one was not on the scene, but, allegedly, heard about the alleged occurrence from another
  4. rebut = to deny the truth of something, especially by presenting arguments that disprove it
  5. whistle-blower =  (a Raiznor-implied hot-button) = informant; someone in the know who exposes wrongdoing, especially in an organization.
  6. turncoat = a traitor; someone who abandons a group or a cause and joins its opponents
  7. traitor = someone who is disloyal or treacherous
  8. evasive = not giving a direct answer to a direct question, usually in order to conceal the truth
  9. weasel = (1) sly or underhanded person;  (2) be evasive or try to mislead

Super Dan relies so much on the HOT BUTTON CRUTCH that he could qualify for a “Handicap Parking Permit.”  Six hours of testimony (according to Sparky) boiled down to a 10-minute video which includes 5 minutes of Doyle Raiznor doing monologues or flashing dialog cards, so, all he got was 5 minutes of KBR words that he thought he could paint in a negative tone. 

Doyle’s crutch is hot buttons.  Mine is sarcasm.  In keeping with that , I will characterize his “rebuttal” dudes as “weasels” (see word 9 above).  Why would I do that?  B’cawz neither of ’em is a witness (and, therefore, cannot be a whistle-blower) to the events they are touted to have information about.  The best Super Dan could get out of six hours of testimony is one smirking retelling of a rumor and one stammering stab at speculation.     …and, a lot of camera time for himself.

Elucidation you demand, elucidation I remand (not an exact usage, but it does rhyme).  One of the ploys arising from Super Dan’s epiphany was to remove the water plant incident from that infernal combat theater to the placid, conniving realm of corporate USA.  Our boy Ralph (Weasel #1) fills the bill for location, but, is he believable?  Well, if he is highly placed in the organization, then, ostensibly, he would have access to “privileged” information.  We are not told what Ralph’s position was in KBR, but, Doyle’s slick dialogue places him in the Health, Safety, and Environment Department from which K. Tseng worked — at corporate headquarters in Houston.  Sparky and Doyle  use different approaches to his title, but, both slide in the word “manager,” one with the capital M and the other, a lower case m.  Neither uses the definitive articles “a” and “the” but, the implication is clear.  Without saying so, the dynamic duo is letting the viewers conclude that Weasel Ralph is THE head of H-S-E department.  This should make his rumor believable to the unquestioning public…   so long as they don’t question.

This is the essence of Doyle’s questions to Ralph, the manager of something or other in Houston:

  • Now, Weasel #1, did KBR back in Houston know about the chemicals there before Tseng went on his assessment?  (Smirk) Oh, yeah!
  • Well, Weasel #1, before he left for Iraq, did Tseng make a list of those chemicals?  (Smirk) He didn’t have to (smirk).  He already knew.
  • Good boy, Weasel #l.  So, it was Tseng’s job to make a list of chemicals to check?  “Oh, yeah…   as I understand it.”

As…   I…   understand…   it…   !!?????????  What part of eye-witness are we having trouble with, Doyle?

Middle management!  That was Ralph.  How do I know?  Well, Doyle is leaving it up to my imagination to figure all this out.  My imagination proposes:

  • Ralph doesn’t know anything about the water plant;  he was stuck in Houston.
  • H-S-E consists of 3 different disciplines, hence 3 different sections to the department.
  • You got your Top Dog (i.e., THE Manager), 3 Section Chiefs, numerous unrelated middle managers.  And, Tseng.
  • Top Dog would KNOW what was going on in each section.  A Section Chief would KNOW what was going on in his section, but, not necessarily what other sections were doing.  A Middle Manager would KNOW what he and his subordinates were doing, but, not necessarily what other sections and associated middle managers were doing.
  • Ralph DOESN’T KNOW what Tseng was doing.  ERGO:  Ralph IS NOT the Top Dog, Section Chief, or even Tseng’s manager.
  • RALPH IS SPECULATING AND PASSING ON RUMOR OF SPECULATION.  HE JUST DOESN’T KNOW ANYTHING.

But, just showing up and moving your lips while Doyle writes the music to your words makes you thirsty.  In one frame, Ralph has no water.  An instant later, a half-consumed bottle of water shows up in front of him.  Magic?  Or proof of the old saw that lying will make your mouth dry?  Hey, Doyle’s the one who left me alone with my imagination and cynicism.  It’s not my fault if I’m overly abusive critical.

Next up:  Doyle wanted only his  head

Series references:  KBR, Mary L. Wade, Qarmat Ali, Doyle Raiznor, Ms. Sparky, sued, deposition, litigation, cluster

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