Monday, December 10, 2007

Texas Girl Alleges Gang Rape By Contractors In Iraq (Updated)

By Cernig

Updated below with some mind-boggling Rightwing reactions.

Wow. The ABC headline is "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".

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.

...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.
Go read the whole thing and let me know what you think.

If there's substance to this story - and her congressman confirms that she was found in the container under guard - then this has to be the final straw on contractor lawlessness in Iraq. Let's not wait months and then send a classified letter expressing misgivings this time, eh Nancy and Jane? Get your asses in gear with some legislation and an investigation of State's involvement, pronto! Earn the votes you were given.

Update The wingnuts are already on the sliming trail, like the slugs they are.

Jawa Report:
combine gang rape + cover up + corporate malfeasance + political intrigue and you have the perfect story. Throw in a crusading lawyer using civil law to find justice when criminal courts have let the victim down and you have the perfect John Grisham book.

Now name KBR, Haliburton, Bush, & set the story in Iraq and you have more than a blockbuster movie pitch-- you also have the perfect conspiracy.

What could be more salacious than this? I can't think of a single thing.

It's perfect. Too perfect.

The kind of story the Left can rally around. The kind of story we aren't allowed to question because, well, questioning the veracity of the claims made by a rape victim makes one worse than pond scum. Automatically.
Ace of Spades:
I can't say this is nonsense, but it does all seem a bit hard to believe. And very convenient in terms of a multimillion dollar lawsuit against a very deep-pocketed corporation against whom a significant portion of the public is willing to believe literally anything at all.
Flopping Aces:
Tooooo perfect. They even have a beautifully done website and a foundation all set up.

This part of the story raised my suspicions a bit:
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.
I'm sorry, I don't buy that at all. Why in the world would the Army hand over criminal evidence to the company involved in the crime? Doesn't make sense.
If the idiot at Flopping Aces had bothered to read the "beautifully done" website he would have found that:

The website was designed for free by one of the industries best graphic designers after he met Jamie.

The rape kit, which had gone missing, was actually later recovered (something ABC didn't mention) and does indeed show she was raped.

Her husband is a Navy aviation mechanic.

Nice way to support the troops and their families there, guys...

Update 2 Over at Red State, Chris Jones at least believes Jamie Leigh...but what he says next takes the breath away.
I have been a strident defender of allowing contractors to be immune from prosecution in Iraq. I don't really lose any sleep over Blackwater having to shoot one or more people for whatever reason.

Immunity for "contractor on Iraqi" crime is one thing, but I never considered that immunity would extend to "contractor on contractor" crimes. Or more specifically "American on American" crimes. Shooting an Iraqi in a war zone is one thing, but American contractors gang-raping a 20-year old American woman is f*cking outrageous.
Oh, the crimes of Empire!

Thanks to Ben Domenech, also at Red State, for showing the rest of the wingnuts how the compassionate thing is done:
The story of the rape of Jamie Leigh Jones, filed by ABC's Brian Ross on this weekend's 20/20, is a sad tale indeed. It is tragic, and it is moving.

But for anyone who knows any woman who has worked in the green zone, either under the protection of the Department of State, or as a contractor, it is not at all surprising.

I personally know three young women who have worked in this environment - not even including my sister, who has experienced it as well. The stories they have told me of conditions for females in the green zone are disturbing at best. There are universal similarities in what they describe: a dominant boy's club atmosphere; a fraternity but with guns and more men desperate for an outlet; so few women and many of them young, attractive, and unattached; flimsy locks on their quarters; and in many circumstances local nationals walking unescorted (but don't you dare complain to the embassy, we all know what happens then).
Although admittedly Domeneich is silent on the pros and cons of letting contractors murder innocent Iraqis at will.