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Hullabaloo


Monday, December 10, 2007

 
The Pirates of Mesopotamia

by digby

So, apparently Halliburton isn't just pillaging the treasuries of Iraq and the US. Their mercenaries are allegedly raping their own female employees, with no repercussions. From Jane Hamsher:

No doubt it was just a few "bad apples":

Jamie Leigh Jones, now 22, says that after she was raped by multiple men at a KBR camp in the Green Zone, the company put her under guard in a shipping container with a bed and warned her that if she left Iraq for medical treatment, she'd be out of a job.

"Don't plan on working back in Iraq. There won't be a position here, and there won't be a position in Houston," Jones says she was told.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court against Halliburton and its then-subsidiary KBR, Jones says she was held in the shipping container for at least 24 hours without food or water by KBR, which posted armed security guards outside her door, who would not let her leave.

"It felt like prison," says Jones, who told her story to ABC News as part of an upcoming "20/20" investigation. "I was upset; I was curled up in a ball on the bed; I just could not believe what had happened."

Finally, Jones says, she convinced a sympathetic guard to loan her a cell phone so she could call her father in Texas.

"I said, 'Dad, I've been raped. I don't know what to do. I'm in this container, and I'm not able to leave,'" she said. Her father called their congressman, Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas.

Nothing like this has ever happened before. Except for maybe when the drunken Blackwater employee killed a bodyguard for the Iraqi vice president and the State Department helped whisk him out of the country before anyone could investigate.


And except for this:

Middle-aged men having sex with 12- to 15-year-olds was too much for Ben Johnston, a hulking 6-foot-5-inch Texan, and more than a year ago he blew the whistle on his employer, DynCorp, a U.S. contracting company doing business in Bosnia.

According to the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) lawsuit filed in Texas on behalf of the former DynCorp aircraft mechanic, "in the latter part of 1999 Johnston learned that employees and supervisors from DynCorp were engaging in perverse, illegal and inhumane behavior [and] were purchasing illegal weapons, women, forged passports and [participating in] other immoral acts. Johnston witnessed co-workers and supervisors literally buying and selling women for their own personal enjoyment, and employees would brag about the various ages and talents of the individual slaves they had purchased."

Rather than acknowledge and reward Johnston's effort to get this behavior stopped, DynCorp fired him, forcing him into protective custody by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) until the investigators could get him safely out of Kosovo and returned to the United States. That departure from the war-torn country was a far cry from what Johnston imagined a year earlier when he arrived in Bosnia to begin a three-year U.S. Air Force contract with DynCorp as an aircraft-maintenance technician for Apache and Blackhawk helicopters.




It's not like we didn't know ahead of time that the "contractor thing" was a very bad idea. I posted about that DynCorp case back in April of 2003. And the issue then, as now, was the fact that private military contractors don't fall under any legal jurisdiction.

It's a feature, not a bug.


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