Anyhow, a couple years ago, a young woman by the name of Jamie Leigh Jones went to Iraq to work for KBR. What happened there is astonishing.
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.So, to recap: Jones is gang-raped, and then imprisoned in a storage container, and told if she reports the incident, she'll be fired.
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.
Things get better, of course. Jones' father contracted Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, who got the state department involved in rescuing an American being held prisoner by Americans. The U.S. Embassy in Iraq took her from the container, and conducted an examination, which yields a moment of complete insanity:
According to her lawsuit, Jones was raped by "several attackers who first drugged her, then repeatedly raped and injured her, both physically and emotionally."Which begs the question: what in the wide world of sports was the U.S. Embassy doing turning evidence of a crime over to the perpetrators?
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.
Well, frankly, it doesn't really matter. The contractors, like their Blackwater brethren, were beyond the law:
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.Given that Jones' attackers won't see the inside of a jail cell, she's trying for justice the only way she can: by suing KBR and Halliburton. They are, of course, reacting helpfully and working on a fair settlement. Kidding! No, actually, they want to force the case into arbitration, where proceedings will be confidential and where the arbitrator rules for KBR 80 percent of the time.
"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."
In his interview with ABC News, Rep. Poe said he sided with Jones.It's the last thing she should have to expect, but sadly, it isn't even surprising, is it? Pump up a bunch of guys, tell them they're accountable to nobody, that they're in a land of inhuman infidel, then put them to work in what's considered man's work? Some of them are going to act like there are no barriers to what they can take and who they can hurt. We saw it with Blackwater and their gunmen, blazing away at Iraqi citizens who were fleeing for their lives. It shouldn't surprise us that we see it with other American men, turning on women as they so often have done. And until we root out the idea that women are put on Earth to provide entertainment for men, placed here for the taking, we'll continue to be unsurprised, over and over again.
"Air things out in a public forum of a courtroom," said Rep. Poe. "That's why we have courts in the United States."
In her lawsuit, Jones' lawyer, Todd Kelly, says KBR and Halliburton created a "boys will be boys" atmosphere at the company barracks which put her and other female employees at great risk.
"I think that men who are there believe that they live without laws," said Kelly. "The last thing she should have expected was for her own people to turn on her."