Slave labour, dodginess in US Baghdad embassy construction

In this Associated Press video, a rocket hits near the United Nations chief in Baghdad, in the Green Zone.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was unharmed as he ducked behind the podium after a rocket landed near the prime minister’s office Thursday while the two men were holding a news conference.

From the Washington Post in the USA:

Construction Woes Add to Fears at Embassy in Iraq

By Glenn Kessler
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 5, 2007; Page A01

U.S. diplomats in Iraq, increasingly fearful over their personal safety after recent mortar attacks inside the Green Zone, are pointing to new delays and mistakes in the U.S. Embassy construction project in Baghdad as signs that their vulnerability could grow in the months ahead.

A toughly worded cable sent from the embassy to State Department headquarters on May 29 highlights a cascade of building and safety blunders in a new facility to house the security guards protecting the embassy. The guards’ base, which remains unopened today, is just a small part of a $592 million project to build the largest U.S. embassy in the world.

The main builder of the sprawling, 21-building embassy is First Kuwaiti General Trade and Contracting Co., a Middle Eastern firm that is already under Justice Department scrutiny over alleged labor abuses.

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