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Thursday, March 20, 2008

U.S. soldiers in Iraq electrocuted: KBR to blame?

I have a new column up at at E&P which opens thusly: "The mother of a U.S. soldier killed in Iraq this past January filed a lawsuit yesterday in a Pennsylvania state court against KBR, the defense contractor that was in charge of inspecting the wiring at the base where Sgt. Ryan Maseth died -- from electrocution. This has brought to attention a 11 other fatal electrocutions in Iraq, leading to both a congressional investigation and a Pentagon inquiry.

"Recently, at her request, I had passed along to Maseth's mother the names of other soldiers officially listed as electrocution victims since 2003.

"This came after I wrote a story in January about Maseth's death for Editor & Publisher and the family's initial reaction, which ranged from disbelief to anger (see below). Maseth apparently had died in a bathroom or shower stall. His mother, Cheryl Harris, contacted me then, asking if any others had died in this manner. Now her lawsuit has arrived."

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