It is already unnacceptably outrageous that the mercenary monster corporations Halliburton, Kellogg, Brown and Root, and Blackwater literally get away with murder in Iraq because they are beyond the prosecution powers of any government with their State department-sponsored immunity. These ghastly inequities are doing irreparable damage to the USA’s stature internationally, searingly so in the Islamic world with its one billion adherents. Raping a 14 year old Iraqi girl, and then shooting her in the face, then killing her whole family: all of this results in barely a slap on the wrist for the US Army killers who perpetrated that crime. Hardly any different for the Blackwater massacre of 17 civilians a few months ago.
Now, a new twist on the "immunity" for American mercenaries in Iraq: they have thus gotten away with a gang rape of another American, Jamie Leigh Jones, a former Conroe, Texas, resident, who has filed a lawsuit. In her lawsuit, Jones said she was drugged and gang-raped while working at Camp Hope,Baghdad, in 2005. She was held for more than a day without food, drinking water or the ability to contact the outside world. Jamie's lawyer, Todd Kelly, stated that "those employees believed they were beyond the law."
The suit states that “immediately following her physical examination, she was placed in a trailer with a bed, a shower, and a sink, but without a television, and was refused phone calls to her family despite repeated requests, which amounted to a false imprisonment.”
In a new memo circulated to his employees, the head of government contracting firm KBR says allegations by an ex-employee contain "inaccuracies." KBR "disputes portions of Ms. [Jamie Leigh] Jones' version and facts," reads the memo from Bill Utt, KBR's CEO. "Attacking the victim is the oldest trick in the book," said Jones' lawyers Stephanie Morris and Todd Kelly. "What is inconsistent is KBR's...statement that it takes the safety and security of its employees very seriously, then locks away the women who report violations."
In a March 2006 legal filing, the company -- then owned by Halliburton -- laid out a version of events based on interviews with Halliburton/KBR employees, which differs from Jones' on several points. Notably, the company says one of its employees tended to Jones following the incident, provided her with food and helped her contact her family, and took a statement after Jones asked to give one.
On one unassailbe point, Halliburton/KBR and Jones agree: the Army doctor who administered a rape evidence kit to Jamie after her alleged assault handed the kit to Halliburton/KBR security personnel. Halliburton/ KBR's account did not mention the fate of the rape kit. It noted the company "did not interfere with the State Department's criminal investigation." The State Department referred its investigation of Jones' case to the Department of Justice, which declined comment on the matter. According to Jamie, the kit was later found, missing photos of the bruises and the doctor’s notes.
Presidential Candidates Clinton and Obama ask for further investigation"
These claims must be taken seriously and the U.S. government must act immediately to investigate Ms. Jones' claims," Sen. Clinton wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Attorney General Michael Mukasey.
Obama, along with Sens. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, and Jon Tester, D-Mont., said they sent letters to Attorney General Michael Mukasey and the inspector generals of the Defense and State departments. "With tens of thousands of American contractors operating in Iraq, we will not tolerate abuse and misconduct, and these contractors must be held accountable to American criminal law," Obama said in the release. Obama introduced legislation earlier this year making contractors subject to criminal law.
Jamie’s own comments dated May 16, 2007-“I wrote every senator in the United States to bring awareness to the fact that after approximately two years, I hadn’t had one day in court or any movement with my criminal case. I became astutely aware of the jurisdictional loopholes in our justice system, including the fact that before going to Iraq, employees actually sign immunity from Iraqi law. I was also informed that contractors cannot be held accountable under the Uniformed Code of Military Justice. Through the next two months, I received a number of letters stating none of them had jurisdiction to look into the matter.”
Brave lady! Jamie, hang in there! You may yet eventually see something resembling the justice that thousands of dead Iraqis will never see. Maybe writing to your entire Congressional Delegation could lead in phasing out these infernal mercenaries:
From their website: “KBR has built a proud history and a leading market position in the government and infrastructure (G&I) sector by being a low-cost, high-efficiency and absolutely reliable service provider. Not only is KBR the largest contractor for the United States Army and a top-ten contractor for the U.S. Department of Defense, it is currently the world’s largest defense services provider."