American Culture

Halliburton: We don't just rape countries and economies, we rape employees too

By Martin Bosworth

Imagine it. You’re a patriotic Army bride who goes overseas to support the war in Iraq, only to be drugged and brutally raped and assaulted.

Imagine being locked in a container for days with no food or water or contact with the outside world after you reported this horrible crime, your only avenue being a cellphone lent to you by a sympathetic guard.

Imagine being sent home and having to get extensive surgery for your wounds and counseling for your scars, only to be told you would lose your job if you went home, and that you could seek no legal recourse because of the arbitration clause in your contract that prevents you from taking anyone to court.

Now imagine that this all happened at the hands of employees of Halliburton, one of the biggest war-profiteering companies in the world, and its subsidiary Kellogg, Brown, & Root (KBR). On second thought, don’t imagine it–just read the story of Jamie Leigh Jones, because this horror actually happened to her–and she’s fighting back.

Jamie Leigh is telling her story to all who will listen, relating the awful chronicle of how her rape kit disappeared, eliminating the most damning physical evidence from her story. How no federal agency is investigating her case, and how it will, in all likelihood, disappear into the black hole that is the war frontier of Iraq, where lawlessness, corruption, and depravity reign.

This is beyond terrible or tragic. This is atrocity. This is abomination. But what do you expect from Dick Cheney’s personal money-printing machine? A company literally built on breaking the law and earning profits in blood? A company whose subsidiary KBR was literally retained to build prison camps–excuse me, detention centers–for “dissidents?”

And think about this–what if Jamie Leigh hadn’t been pretty and blonde, with a father who could get a hold of a Congressman, and the sheer toughness and intestinal fortitude needed to get her story out to the public? What if she’d been black or (gasp) Muslim? Would we have heard about this at all? How many times has this happened since we invaded? How many women and men have been brutalized at the hands of black ops mercenaries who kill for money and ruin lives for sport?

Hubris Sonic and Lower Manhattanite at the Group News Blog have it right–our moral authority is gone. We have cast off the pretensions of moral righteousness and act as a decaying empire does–seeking power for its own sake, perpetuating our own existence, and playing with the lives of others like they were toys.

As long as Jamie Leigh Jones and her fellow plaintiffs are denied the chance to gain justice for the wrongs done to them, we should be ashamed to call ourselves Americans. No, scratch that–we should’ve been ashamed the moment we condoned torture, and prison camps, and invading countries for no reason other than for oil and profit. But we’ve gone on, committing the worst crimes imaginable and excusing them–or in some cases, not even excusing them, but simply pretending they don’t exist.

Imagine it. Imagine what our country has become because of these rapacious parasites, and then take a good look in the mirror. No imagination needed–you can see it for yourself.

3 replies »

  1. Harper’s Magazine printed up and reviewed the contract that Blackwater employees have to sign. ( – Contract with America) Since I subscribe, I’ll get a hold of the PDF and post it. All of these merchendary outfits have arbitration clauses that their employees have to sign.

    This clause is slipping into everyday life, as this Mother Jones expose reveals:

  2. Djerrid,

    No arguments here. I’ve written several pieces about the insidious mandatory arbitration clause and how you can find it in everything from cellphone contracts to mortgage agreeements. I never thought I’d see it used for anything as low as this.