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Fox News produces video valentine for Halliburton

27 April 2005

WASHINGTON, April 27 (HalliburtonWatch.org) -- The Fox News Channel joined Halliburton's latest advertising campaign today with a fluff piece glorifying the company's dining facilities in the Middle East. Fox reporter Gregg Kelly walked through a dining room in Taji, Iraq, interviewing soldiers impressed with KBR, the Halliburton subsidiary which manages the facility and prepares the food.

"The company has been rocked by accusations of overcharging the Pentagon," the Fox reporter says. "Here, however, there's no controversy about the food's quality. In fact, some worry that all the eats might make them fat when they're at war. It all stifles that ancient military pastime - complaining about the chow."

The report, which looked like a television commercial, coincides with Halliburton's new advertising campaign initiated this month entitled "Halliburton Proud."

In February, Halliburton issued a press release congratulating itself for donating a mere 12 laptop computers to an entire brigade of the Army National Guard. "You have no idea of the magnitude of this donation," a military official was quoted as saying.

In the Fox report, Chief Warrant Officer Joshua Gunter is seen eating a meal. He eagerly proclaims, "KBR does an extremely good job." The food is so good, he says, that "we've been trying to hide it from our wives." "I was talking to my wife the other day," he said. "I was like, 'Baby, it's pretty rough over here.' I said they only have 9 flavors of Baskin Robbins (laughs)."

An unidentified and non-uniformed woman is heard describing the food as "pretty unbelievable."

The Fox reporter added to the glory of KBR's food, saying, "You know, some of this looks like a brunch, you know, at a Marriott hotel or something like that. It's pretty elaborate."

The dining facility contains "probably one of the few pastry chefs ever deployed to a combat zone -- Chef Denzel from India," the reporter explained. But there was no information on one of Chef Denzel's Indian compatriots who said working in KBR's dining facilities is "hell." An Indian newspaper described the facilities as "slave camps." KBR reportedly pays Indian workers $200 per month for cooking food and cleaning toilets, a puny wage that helped double Halliburton's stock price since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

Halliburton CEO David Lesar reported to investors last week that KBR will be sold after it returns to profitability over several quarters. He also wants to settle numerous overcharging complaints from the Pentagon before offering the subsidiary for sale. In addition, KBR announced the completion of its no-bid Iraqi oil contract one-year earlier than planned, an indication that it wants to reduce work in the war-torn country because of the unrelenting violence.

In the 12 months following the fall of Saddam Hussein, KBR had built 64 dining facilities in Iraq and Kuwait. The facilities are managed by Halliburton under the Army's LOGCAP contract. The U.S. government recently settled most allegations of overcharging for food, but has expressed its desire to terminate Halliburton's contracts because of poor performance -- something not mentioned in Fox's fluff report.

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