We have written about the electrocution deaths of U.S. Military personnel in Iraq in previous issues. An Army investigation has called the electrocution death of a U.S. soldier in Iraq a “negligent homicide” caused by military contractor KBR Inc. and two of its supervisors. The Associated Press obtained copies of documents that reveal how Staff Sgt. Ryan Maseth was killed. According to an Army criminal investigator, the death of Sgt. Maseth was changed from “accidental” to “negligent homicide.” This was because the contractor failed to ensure that “qualified electricians and plumbers” worked on the barracks where Sgt. Maseth died, according to the Associated Press.
Sgt. Maseth, a Green Beret assigned to the 5th Special Forces Group at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, died of cardiac arrest on Jan. 2, 2008. He was electrocuted while taking a shower in his barracks in Baghdad. The document obtained by the AP, dated December 16th, said the case was under legal review at Army’s Criminal Investigation Command headquarters at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. The Army’s investigation is not over and hopefully will result in wrongdoers being brought to justice. Last year, Sgt. Maseth’s parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit in a U.S. Court against KBR. The suit alleges that KBR allowed U.S. troops to continue using electrical systems “which KBR knew to be dangerous and knew had caused prior instances of electrocution.”
Sgt. Maseth’s mother, Cheryl Harris, has testified on Capitol Hill about electrical problems in military facilities. Since her testimony, the Army has made changes such as creating an electrical code for U.S. facilities in Iraq. At least 18 deaths of U.S. service members and contractors have been under investigation as possible electrocutions. KBR was previously owned by Halliburton Co., the oil services conglomerate that former Vice President Dick Cheney once led. For a long time, Congressional Democrats have been complaining that KBR has benefited from its ties to Cheney. While that may not be entirely true, KBR and Halliburton surely have done well financially in Iraq over the past 8 years. It might just be a coincidence.
Source: Associated Press
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