This is not a pretty blog today. The content is ugly and the story is not pretty.
We have a VERY serious problem. AMERICAN women are just another casualty in Bush's war on terror. In all the drama, the constant dribble of horrific stories we hear every day, the constant numbing down that we all feel, we are missing a VERY serious serial
problem with one company in particular. Halliburton/KBR
... They force employees to give up their civil rights in order to be employed. That means you
as a woman have the right to be raped by your fellow workers.
No, I am not kidding. And YES, the Government is complicit. From ABC news, On December 12, 2007: Victim: Gang-Rape Cover-Up by U.S., Halliburton/KBR
KBR Told Victim She Could Lose Her Job If She Sought Help After Being Raped, She Says
ABC news reported the following on December 14, 2007 Another KBR Rape Claim Brings Scrutiny
A Houston, Texas woman says she was gang-raped by Halliburton/KBR coworkers in Baghdad, and the company and the U.S. government are covering up the incident.
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.
"We contacted the State Department first," Poe told ABCNews.com, "and told them of the urgency of rescuing an American citizen" -- from her American employer.
Poe says his office contacted the State Department, which quickly dispatched agents from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad to Jones' camp, where they rescued her from the container.
According to her lawsuit, Jones was raped by "several attackers who first drugged her, then repeatedly raped and injured her, both physically and emotionally."
Jones told ABCNews.com that an examination by Army doctors showed she had been raped "both vaginally and anally," but that the rape kit disappeared after it was handed over to KBR security officers.
A spokesperson for the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security told ABCNews.com he could not comment on the matter.
Over two years later, the Justice Department has brought no criminal charges in the matter. In fact, ABC News could not confirm any federal agency was investigating the case.
Legal experts say Jones' alleged assailants will likely never face a judge and jury, due to an enormous loophole that has effectively left contractors in Iraq beyond the reach of United States law.
"It's very troubling," said Dean John Hutson of the Franklin Pierce Law Center. "The way the law presently stands, I would say that they don't have, at least in the criminal system, the opportunity for justice."
Congressman Poe says neither the departments of State nor Justice will give him answers on the status of the Jones investigation.
Congress is asking questions about another ex-employee of government contracting firm KBR who claims she was raped in Iraq.
Letters to the Pentagon and the Justice Department today from Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. underscore congressional concern about a second alleged assault, this time of a woman from Florida who reportedly worked for a KBR subsidiary in Ramadi, Iraq in 2005.
In particular, Nelson expressed concern that in the case of Jamie Leigh Jones, the U.S. Army doctor who examined her turned over the rape examination kit, thought to contain useful evidence, to KBR officials. In the letter, Nelson also asked for an investigation to determine how many rape examinations were performed by U.S. military doctors in Iraq, and what was being done to ensure the cases were prosecuted.
In a separate letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Nelson asked why there has been no criminal prosecution in the case of the alleged Florida victim. The woman, reportedly now 41, has alleged she was raped in her living quarters. She has sued KBR and Halliburton in civil court, but the judge ordered the case into private arbitration.
Boldface mine. Last night I came across the following story. I finally snapped. ALSO from ABC news:Sex Assault Suit Vs. Halliburton Killed
Alleged Sexual Assault Victim's Case Forced Into Secretive Arbitration
A mother of five who says she was sexually harassed and assaulted while working for Halliburton/KBR in Iraq is headed for a secretive arbitration process rather than being able to present her case in open court.
A judge in Texas has ruled that Tracy Barker's case will be heard in arbitration, according to the terms of her initial employment contract.
Barker says that while in Iraq she was constantly propositioned by her superior, threatened and isolated after she reported an incident of sexual assault.
Barker's attorneys had argued that Halliburton/KBR had created a "boys will be boys" atmosphere at their camps and that sort of condition is not the type of dispute that she could have expected to be within the scope of an arbitration provision.
District Judge Gray Miller, however, wrote in his order that "whether it is wise to send this type of claim to arbitration is not a question for this court to decide."
"Sadly," wrote Judge Miller, "sexual harassment, up to and including sexual assault, is a reality in today's workplace."
Barker says it was a reality at Halliburton/KBR. From the moment she arrived at the Halliburton/KBR camp in Basra, Iraq, she says she was treated like a sex object.
"When I arrived in Basra, there were about five men that worked on the camp for the company I worked for and they were waiting for me," Barker told ABC News in an exclusive interview that aired last December.
It doesn't (or shouldn't) matter to me WHAT
kind of contract you sign, if you are raped or sexually assaulted on the job, as a woman, here in AMERICA, you should be able to have your case heard in court. From The Equal Opportunity Employment Commision:
Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies and to labor organizations, as well as to the federal government.
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual's work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.
What we have here are judges who are bending to the wills of a company that encourages raping women by turning a blind eye to the civil rights act. What we have here is a company that has a government contract --- and that is KEY -- who allows for the rape and assault of women. They allow it by trying to shut these women up. They allow it by the very fact that they have a contract that takes away a woman's right for a civil and public trial if they are raped or assaulted.
These are only three brave woman who have chosen to speak out. For every three, I am more than sure, there are many others who will not. I cannot understand WHY for the life of me why any company would have a clause in a hiring contract that takes away a persons right to claim publicly that their civil rights were denied. These woman were sexually abused, and they don't get a civil trial. Hell they aren't even seeing a Criminal case. NO ONE HAS BEEN CHARGED.
Did you get that? There are NO criminal charges pending in ANY of these cases.
No one is being held responsible, and no one is being punished (well, with the exception of these women, who are not getting their day in court).
The government is not doing all it should to prevent or to stop this from continuing. Halliburton/KBR are allowed to continue this behaviour with no worries. That makes the government complicit in allowing our sisters, mothers, wives, daughters, partners and lovers to be raped and assaulted while the company that employs them keeps on getting a paycheck from, ultimately, you and I.
Why is this company still allowed to do work for the government? Is it just another one one of those freedoms clearly stated in the constitution that we have to give up to be secure?
It's a tragedy that American Women are subjected to this in this day and age. It is a tragedy that the Department of Justice and the Pentagon and ALL of the people who say they are fighting this war to protect America from the bad guys are letting this happen to our own... it is a tragedy that it is happening to them, our sisters, BY OUR OWN
OH... in case you were wondering about Tracy Barker and Jamie Jones? The DoJ has decided they will not investigate KBR on these allegations. (Background on Tracy Barkers case here.
and And the Pentagon's decision regarding Jamie Jones.
.) So, if you have ovaries, welcome to back to the bad old days when being a Woman meant being a second class citizen in the United States of America, where Terror rules, and all your vaginas belong to them
Women deserve better than this treatment. Too many of our mothers and grandmothers and great grandmothers fought too hard for this to still be happening. I don't care if we have a woman president... I don't. These woman were terrorized while they were employed for a company allegedly assisting in the fight on the War on Terror.
:peace: and :heart: