Halliburton ambush in Iraq caught on video
21 Sept., 2006
WASHINGTON, Sept. 21 (HalliburtonWatch.org) -- HalliburtonWatch has obtained the first video of an ambush against a Halliburton convoy in Iraq that resulted in the deaths of three truckers who worked for the company's KBR subsidiary. ###
Watch the video by clicking this link. (Video is available only in RealPlayer version 10.)
The video, shot on Sept. 20, 2005 by KBR truck driver Preston Wheeler, shows what initially appears to be a routine convoy of sixteen-wheeler trucks delivering supplies to U.S. troops.
But the convoy enters tiny Iraqi towns along the highway and children begin throwing rocks at the trucks.
KBR's drivers are heard on the radio communicating with each other:
"KBR just took two rocks [on the] right side, no glass broke," one driver reported.
"It's raining rocks," another driver exclaims.
Wheeler, the trucker videotaping the ride, hits a power line above the road. "I took out some of their power lines," he says for the camera. "It'll give them something to fix, won't it?" he asks.
It later becomes apparent that the convoy is on the wrong road because the road map provided by KBR and the military was incorrect.
"We made a wrong turn. Our military took us the wrong way," Wheeler tells his camera. A soldier is heard on the radio saying, "My map is evidently wrong." So, the convoy was forced to turn-around and head back through the same town that greeted the convoy with "raining rocks" only a few minutes earlier. "We're going back through hell," Wheeler laments. He nervously comments on the danger that awaits him and his fellow truckers by saying, "This is gonna be one good video right here, boy ... it's gonna be good."
In Iraq for Sale, Robert Greenwald's new film, a widow of one of the dead
drivers in another convoy massacre in 2004 complained that KBR drivers are not given road maps. Another widow said, "These men went to do the right thing [and] they were totally taken advantage of ... [Halliburton] knew, they knew, that there was more than a good chance that they would be killed." And one of the drivers who survived said, "It's about contracts ... fulfilling the contract and replacing us if we died."
But KBR and the military prepared for troop safety and logistics matters like road maps only after the fall of Baghdad, according to a KBR executive.
Apparently, flawed maps used in Wheeler's convoy played a role in causing the Sept. 20, 2005, massacre.
After the convoy began retracing its route to find the correct road, Wheeler's ominous prediction of imminent danger was proven correct by erupting gunfire and exploding bombs, proving resistance fighters prepared for the convoy's return through the town.
Suddenly, a bomb explodes and a bullet hole is seen in Wheeler's windshield. "God damn, IED on the left side!" he reports to the military on the radio, referring to improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that have claimed hundreds of American lives. Small arms fire is heard again. "Jesus Christ!" Wheeler cries. "Help us all, Lord!"
One of the truckers on the radio can be heard saying, "I'm hit, I'm hit!"
As gunfire pounds the convoy, a soldier is heard on the radio confidently saying, "Keep moving guys! Get out of the kill zone!"
Wheeler proclaims "I got it on video, by God!" Again, he says, "God, help us all, Lord!"
Moments later, Wheeler calls for help because enemy fire has forced his truck to stall. In fact, the entire convoy is stalled and taking pot-shots by the resistance. An IED has caused a truck to overturn ahead of Wheeler's truck. "I am down!" Wheeler screams into the radio. Small arms fire continues. "Truck Five cannot move!" he says. "Please help me! I'm taking fire!"
Despite the threat to his life, Wheeler is relatively composed and able to deal with the harrowing situation. He even continues holding the camera and videotaping the unfolding massacre.
As the military fails to offer aid, he angrily screams into the radio for help: "I'm fixing to get killed, God dammit! I cannot move! Truck Five cannot move! Copy? I am getting shot! Someone get their ass back here now, please!"
Other drivers in the crippled convoy can be heard on the radio imploring the military for help and screaming "Gun truck! Gun truck! Gun truck!" But the gun truck fails to arrive.
"Sir, I have no gun back here and ... I am by myself," Wheeler, hoping the military will hear his plea, reports into the radio. (KBR employees are forbidden to carry weapons.)
Realizing no help is coming as enemy fire continues, Wheeler narrates for his camera, saying, "You're damn right I'm scared! I'm going home when this shit's done! When this shit's done, I'm fucking out of here!"
As small arms fire intensifies against the truck ahead, Wheeler witnesses the killing of a fellow driver ahead of him. He screams into the radio, "They just killed him! Oh Jesus! Oh, my God!"
The video ends.
Three KBR truck drivers were killed that day. They are Keven Dagit, 42 (in truck 3), of Jefferson, Iowa; Christopher Lem, 40, (in truck 1) of Lyndon Station, Wisconsin; and Sascha Grenner-Case (in truck 4) of Sierra Vista, Arizona. Wheeler, who lives in Arkansas, was shot and barely survived. Two other drivers, including Terry Steward (in truck 2) of Idaho, were also injured.
Watch the short version of the ambush video
Watch the long version of the ambush video
Watch the military's Predator drone video shot after the ambush
To view the video, you'll need RealPlayer Version 10 (or later) on your computer. Download the latest version of RealPlayer onto your computer at this link.