defense base act

Victory for Bunny Greenhouse

It seems like an eon since I first learned of Bunny Greenhouse's work on the Defense Base Act. Most Americans best know her as the whistleblower who blew the lid off of KBR/Halliburton no-bid contracts in the run up to the Iraq War.

Few know that she is responsible today for ushering in significant reforms the Defense Base Act, the equivalent of workers compensation for overseas contractors. Over the years, I wondered if her work with the Defense Base Act played a part in the retaliation she faced. For too many insurance companies, the Defense Base Act was a cash cow.

Victory for Bunny Greenhouse
Press Release, Web Wire, July 26, 2011

Today, the National Whistleblowers Center announced that the United States District Court in Washington D.C. gave its final approval of a settlement between Bunnatine "Bunny" Greenhouse and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. After a six year legal battle, the Army Corps agreed to pay Ms. Greenhouse $970,000 representing full restitution for lost wages, compensatory damages and attorneys fees. Ms. Greenhouse was notified that she was going to be removed from her position as the Army Corps chief contracting and procurement executive after being demoted out of the Senior Executive Service when she strongly objected, during the award of a secret contract granting Halliburton subsidiary, Kellogg Brown & Root (“KBR”), a no-compete, sole source, cost-plus $7 Billion contract as the invasion of Iraq was about to commence.

Her work with the Defense Base Act will over time save the American taxpayer billions of dollars.

Additional Reading

Iraq, Contingency Contracting and the Defense Base Act
By Susie Dow, ePluribus Media, March 4, 2007


Americans Missing in Iraq as of August 2010

Cross posted at the Missing Man

There are currently 7 American men publicly known to be missing in Iraq. Those men are:

Kirk von Ackermann
Timothy E. Bell
Aban Abdel Malek Mahmoud Elias (also Aban Elias)
Radim Sadeq Mohammed Sadeq (also Dean Sadek)
Jeffrey Ake
Spc. Ahmed Qusai al-Taayie (also Ahmed K. Altaie)
Maj. Troy L. Gilbert (deceased)

Based on news reports, as many as an additional 10 Americans may also be missing. Attached below is a chart showing the incident date, name and status of those Americans known to be missing and/or held hostage in Iraq in table format.

Thank You - A Sliver of Justice

Back in March of 2007, ePluribus Media published the first article in a three-part series which I wrote, Iraq, Contingency Contracting and the Defense Base Act. In part, the article highlighted the situation of the von Ackermann family and the lack of insurance benefits they received after Kirk von Ackermann, a civilian contractor, disappeared in Iraq in October of 2003. (Kirk von Ackermann is now the longest missing American in Iraq today.)

Von Ackermann's employer at the time, Ultra Services of Istanbul Turkey, did not carry Defense Base Act insurance, similar to workman's compensation for overseas contractors. The Defense Base Act pays benefits if a contractor is killed, injured or missing. Claims under the Defense Base Act are administered by the Department of Labor.

As a result of that series, an attorney retired from the Department of Labor contacted me with questions about the article and in particular, the plight of the von Ackermann family. I pointed him to the Missing in Iraq blog and as Megan has noted at her blog, he went on to eventually take on their case. 

Contractors and Overseas Clinics

Contractors Using Military Clinics
By Walter Pincus, Washington Post,

 MayMilitary clinics and field hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan have supplied more than $1 million a month in health-care services to civilian contractors during the past two years without seeking reimbursement from their employers, as provided by law, according to a new audit by the Defense Department inspector general.
 7, 2009
The report, issued Monday, noted that all costs associated with both emergency and primary medical care are reimbursable to the government and are the responsibility of the contingency contractor personnel, their employer or their health insurance provider.

The United States desperately needs to overhaul its entire health care system and just provide care for everyone.

Injured Iraq Contractors Struggle for Care

Bumped and promoted. Originally posted 2009-04-17 19:05:32 -0500. -- GH

A great new series of articles and investigations from T. Christian Miller, author of Blood Money: Wasted Billions, Lost Lives, and Corporate Greed in Iraq, on the failure of the Defense Base Act to provide care for injured contractors after they return from Iraq.

Injured War Zone Contractors Fight to Get Care From AIG and Other Insurers
By T. Christian Miller, ProPublica and Doug Smith, Los Angeles Times - April 16, 2009

Civilian contractors died like soldiers. They were injured like soldiers. But back home, the U.S. government consigned the wounded and their families to a private insurance system that shunted them to substandard treatment and delayed their care as they suffered from devastating injuries, an investigation by the Los Angeles Times, ABC News and ProPublica has found.

Injured war zone contractors fight to get care
By T. Christian Miller and Doug Smith Los Angeles Times, April 17, 2009

Civilian workers who suffered devastating injuries while supporting the U.S. war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan have come home to a grinding battle for basic medical care, artificial limbs, psychological counseling and other services.

Bailed-Out AIG Pampers Execs While Denying, Delaying Claims of Contractors Injured in Iraq
By Brian Ross and Avni Patel, ABC News, April 17, 2009

Insurance giant AIG, the same company that rewarded its executives with millions in bonuses and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a spa retreat at an exclusive California resort and private jets, has been nickel and diming employees of private contractors injured in Iraq, with a pattern of denying and delaying their claims, a joint investigation between 20/20, the Los Angeles Times and the non-profit group ProPublica has found.


Defense Base Act Conference - Part I

US Department of Labor $copy; 2008 TH(ePluribus Media)

Defense Base Act Conference Washington DC October 23 – 24, 2008

In cooperation with the Department of Labor, Office of Worker's Compensation, the Loyola Law School of New Orleans, LA held a two day conference in Washington D.C. on October 23 and 24, 2008. The conference coincided with the publication of a new and unique guide, the Defense Base Act and War Hazards Compensation Act Handbook from Lexis Nexis.

Susie Dow reports from the conference for ePluribus Media in Part I of Defense Base Act Conference.


Class Action Suit Filed against KBR - casualties result of poor training

The law firm involved is very small and has never filed a class action suit before. The focus of the suit is very narrow according to the attorney, "Our claims are specifically for Americans put into situations where they were put at risk by lack of training, and the failure of their supervisors to handle that issue." Their client alleges KBR failed to provide adequate training. He lost the use of his hand when his co-worker mis-operated the wreckers machinery, crushing his hand in the mechanism.

The suit lists KBR and 9 subsidiaries it uses to pay contractors.

This lawsuit is worth keeping an eye on.

Hearing on Defense Base Act

originally posted 2008-05-26 08:09:49, bumped

On May 15, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing on the Defense Base Act. As some of you know, the DBA is a subject near and dear to my heart, that is, if such a thing could be possible.

Committee Holds Hearing on Defense Base Act Insurance

The hearing examined allegations of waste and abuse in the procurement of Defense Base Act (DBA) insurance, the workers’ compensation insurance required for all federal contractors working overseas. Contractors obtain DBA insurance from private insurance companies, and these costs are included in the price of the contract and passed on to taxpayers.

Several items of note below the fold.