A three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a federal judge in , who last year threw out the lawsuits brought against KBR, a former Halliburton Corp. subsidiary. You may remember that Vice-President Dick Cheney was the CEO of Haliburton.
More than 60 lawsuits allege that KBR's practice of dumping tires, batteries, medical waste and other materials into open burn pits created harmful smoke that caused neurological problems, cancers and other health issues in more than 800 service members. The lawsuits, which were filed in multiple districts around the country and then consolidated, also alleged that at least 12 service members died from illnesses caused by the burn pits.
During arguments before the 4th Circuit last month, Susan Burke, a lawyer for the service members, argued that KBR repeatedly violated the terms of its contract with the military to handle waste disposal. She said KBR also disobeyed a military directive against burning hazardous materials.
The panel found that the military had unrestricted control over KBR so that KBR's decisions on waste management and water services were "de facto military decisions" not appropriate for judicial review.
It seems these corporations are untouchable and unaccountable.