Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Haliburton/KBR Slime Jamie

This is a story I keep coming back to revisit, because it keeps getting worse.  The last time I talked about Jamie was here.

jamieleighjones In 2005, Jamie Leigh Jones was gang-raped by her co-workers while she was working for Halliburton/KBR in Baghdad. The attack occurred while she was out with a “small group of Halliburton firefighters,” just four days after her arrival in Iraq. After taking a few sips of her drink, she later woke up in the barracks, “naked” and “severely beaten.” Her “breasts were so badly mauled that she is permanently disfigured.”

In an apparent attempt to cover up the incident, the company then put her in a shipping container for at least 24 hours without food, water, or a bed, and “warned her that if she left Iraq for medical treatment, she’d be out of a job.” Even more insultingly, the DOJ resisted bringing any criminal charges in the matter.

Jones tried to sue the company for failing to protect her, but KBR argued that Jones’ employment contract — created for the company under the tenure of then-CEO Dick Cheney — warranted her claims being heard in private arbitration, without jury, judge, public record, or transcript of the proceedings. Basically, KBR argued that Jones’ brutal rape was a workplace injury — nothing more. But in September, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Jones. “Jones’ allegations do not ‘touch matters’ related to her employment, let alone have a ’significant relationship’ to her employment contract,” wrote the court.

war criminal2 KBR is now petitioning the Supreme Court to reverse the ruling. The contractor is personally going after Jones’ integrity to argue that she shouldn’t have a fair and open hearing. Stephanie Mencimer from Mother Jones reports:

On Jan. 19, it petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals decision allowing Jones to press her case in a civil court rather than in arbitration. Among its many arguments in favor of a high court hearing: that Jones is a relentless self-promoter who has “sensationalize[d] her allegations against the KBR Defendants in the media, before the courts, and before Congress.” … KBR also suggests that much of Jones’ story is fabricated. The company says in a footnote, “Many, if not all, of her allegations against the KBR Defenandants are demonstrably false. The KBR Defendants intend to vigorously contest Jones’s allegations and show that her claims against the KBR Defendants are factually and legally untenable.”

The Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2010 signed into law by President Obama in December contained an amendment by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) — inspired by Jones’ story — that prohibits defense contractors from restricting their employees’ abilities to take workplace discrimination, battery, and sexual assault cases to court… [emphasis original]

Inserted from <Think Progress>

I’m not going to vent my anger over this case at you today.  You’ve seen it several times before.  But I want you to consider something.  Given Al Franken’s heroic role in this affair, how good a chance do you think he will have in 2014 when ChickenHawk Cheney’s corporate criminal cronies are allowed to take vengeance against him by pouring $millions into ads against him?


Lisa G. said...

Al will survive that vote - at least he got that asshole Norm Coleman out. I think the people of MN will do the right thing. Except for the 6th district - those people are batshit crazy.

Tom Harper said...

I posted on that same thing, Halliburton asking the Supreme Court to dismiss Jamie Leigh Jones' lawsuit. Halliburton and the Supreme Court -- something about a fox and a henhouse comes to mind.

Lisa G. said...

Halliburton/KBR and all its sordid subsidiaries should be banned, in perpetuity, for even being alleged to have committed these crimes against Ms. Jones from any future contracts with the US government. And not some BS Executive Order either - passed by the Congress and signed into law.

$10 bucks says that the Supremes will deny to hear the case - I don't even think that scumbag Scalia has the stomach for this. Let the Appeals Court ruling stand, and Jones sue the shit out of Halliburton/KBR and bankrupt the mother fuckers. Then the poor girl could afford some plastic surgery and counseling (she'll never be the same again, but this would go a long way towards helping her recover) and we put an evil company out of business forever. And good for her for standing up to these assholes - not everyone has the stomach for this - she's extremely brave for going through all of this. All good.

Lisa G. said...

And as a bonus to bankrupting Halliburton, Cheney's stock becomes worthless - bwahahahaha!

Hill said...

The Supremes appointed Dubya.

This so does not surprise me.

Disgusts me, yes. Surprises me, no.


Suzan said...

Nice ideas, but you know Halliburton moved out of the country for a reason several years ago.


I believe it's in Dubai.

Hard to sue them there.


TomCat said...

Lisa, I'm not sure that he would. I agree about Halliburton and KBR, but a ban on foreign corporate advertising would shut them up... temporarily.

Great minds fall in the same ditch, Tom. :-)

Glenda, I hear you.

Suszan, I see we think alike on this. I wrote an article at the time on the previous incarnation of PP.