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Halliburton hired for storm cleanup

Houston Chronicle | August 1, 2005

Days ago we jokingly suggested that Bush would give his cronies at Halliburton no-bid contracts to rebuild Iraq New Orleans and lo and behold, the federal government is doing just that.

The Navy has hired Houston-based Halliburton Co. to restore electric power, repair roofs and remove debris at three naval facilities in Mississippi damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

Halliburton subsidiary KBR will also perform damage assessments at other naval installations in New Orleans as soon as it is safe to do so.

KBR was assigned the work under a "construction capabilities" contract awarded in 2004 after a competitive bidding process. The company is not involved in the Army Corps of Engineers' effort to repair New Orleans' levees.

Navy Turns to Halliburton for Help

New York Times | August 4, 2005

Facing extensive damage by Hurricane Katrina to naval installations in Mississippi , the Navy turned immediately to the Halliburton Company's KBR subsidiary for tasks like restoring electricity, repairing roofs and clearing debris at bases that are urgently needed for response efforts.

It is a familiar role for KBR, which under longstanding contracts has delivered the engineering equivalent of first aid to the Navy and other military and government agencies after natural disasters for more than 15 years. This time, the Halliburton unit's performance is likely to be watched especially closely, as its work under separate contracts in Iraq has come under extensive criticism in the past two years.

The Naval Facilities Engineering Command turned to Halliburton after the hurricane under terms of a five-year contract worth up to $500 million, renewed in 2004 after competitive bidding, that calls on the company to provide immediate services on demand after natural disasters, in humanitarian crises or in military conflicts. Last year, the Navy invoked the same contract after Hurricane Ivan hit Florida .

Although Halliburton has not yet been asked to work on installations around New Orleans, it said on Friday that it would begin performing damage assessments there "as soon as it is deemed safe to do so."

The Navy faces urgent problems repairing installations such as the Naval Construction Battalion Center at Gulfport, Miss., which was heavily damaged and has become a crucial staging point for recovery operations in the coastal area hit hardest by the hurricane.

Almost all the base's personnel were evacuated before the storm, and there were no military casualties reported, but many buildings were damaged, power and communications were out, and roads were blocked or flooded.

But even as the Halliburton contract was being announced on Friday, the base was getting back in business, feeding 1,200 personnel each day, sheltering 350 Federal Emergency Management Agency employees in a warehouse, preparing to build a tent city for FEMA, supporting 1,000 employees of Mississippi Power, and deploying Seabees into nearby communities.

Even as it prepared for new jobs in the disaster area, both under its military contract and in its broader civilian role as a major engineering and construction company involved in ports and oil services, Halliburton and its employees faced problems of their own from the storm.

The company said on Friday that it had 3,000 employees working in the affected region and that "many have suffered devastating losses with many homes and vehicles flooded and some with a total loss of all of their belongings." The company, headed by Dick Cheney before he became vice president, has close ties to the Bush administration, and earlier this year confirmed that it had hired Joseph M. Allbaugh as a consultant on issues including disaster relief and homeland security. Mr. Allbaugh was the director of FEMA during the first two years of the Bush administration.

FEMA Outsourced N.O. Disaster Plans To Politcal Cronies/Donors

Wayne Madsen | September 4 2005

FEMA privatized hurricane disaster recovery planning for New Orleans and Southeastern Louisiana. The firms that received the contract are big GOP contributors. Adding to the controversy regarding the Army Corps of Engineers diverting $250 million from the SELA (Southeast Louisiana) Urban Flood Control Program to Iraq and Halliburton reconstruction projects, is the revelation that FEMA outsourced hurricane recovery planning to the Baton Rouge-based consulting firm Innovative Emergency Management (IEM), Inc. to develop a "Catastrophic Hurricane Disaster Plan for New Orleans & Southeast Louisiana." The award was announced on June 3, 2004 on the firm's web site but was taken down just as Hurricane Katrina's winds and waves first started pounding New Orleans. It would now appear that the hurricane plan IEM and its team developed wasn't worth a damned thing.

IEM's team partners for the more than $500,000 contract are Dewberry of Arlington, VA, URS Corporation of San Francisco, and James Lee Witt Associates. Witt was FEMA Director under Bill Clinton. IEM's president is Madhu Beriwal. The company was founded in 1985. Dewberry and URS are engineering firms. IEM is also a Defense Department contractor and has contracts with the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) along with team members Booz Allen Hamilton and Lockheed Martin.

Now for the interesting background on Ms. Beriwal. She is a big-time contributor to the GOP. She's given thousands of dollars to Republicans, including Louisiana Sen. David Vitter, Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan, Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, Louisiana Rep. Bobby Jindal, Rep. Richard Baker of Louisiana, the National Republican Congressional Committee, former Arkansas Sen. Tim Hutchinson. Vitter was the largest recipient of funds from Beriwal.

The Chairman of Dewberry Sidney Dewberry, the Vice Chairman, Barry K. Dewberry, and Secretary of the firm, Michael Dewberry have been substantial contributors to George W. Bush, Virginia Sen. John Warner, the National Republican Congressional Committee, Sen. Shelby, "Every Republican is Crucial" Political Action Committee, Rep. Virgil Goode of Virginia (also fingered in the Duke Cunningham MZM, Inc. scandal), Virginia Sen. George Allen, Virginia Rep. Frank Wolf, Virginia Rep. Tom Davis, Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor, Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte, the Republican National Committee, and the Federal Victory Fund of Annandale, VA controlled by Tom Davis. The Dewberrys have also contributed to the financially-tainted Democrat from Virginia's 8th District, Jim Moran.

URS's board of directors includes Richard Blum, the husband of California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein and retired General Joseph Ralston, the former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and current Vice Chairman of the Cohen Group (former Defense Secretary William Cohen's firm). Ralston also served as a director of the Timken Company, the firm of current US ambassador to Germany William Timken, a big time contributor to George W. Bush.

Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco has announced that she is hiring Witt to assist in the hurricane recovery. Just a minute here. His firm (which includes retired Gen. Wesley Clark) was part of the IEM team that came up with the non-existent $500,000 FEMA New Orleans-Southeast Louisiana Catastrophic Hurricane Disaster Plan. Why pay this guy again for his incompetence? Republicans + Democrats = Partners in Crime .


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