Glory, Glory Halliburton

From POLITICO:

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) offered an amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill that would withhold defense contracts to companies who prevent victims from filing lawsuits against sexual assault and harassment.

Franken proposed the amendment after hearing the story of Jamie Leigh Jones, who alleges that she was brutally raped while working a contractor for Halliburton/KBR in Iraq.

But Jones was unable to press charges in court because her defense contract stipulated that any such allegations can only be heard in private arbitration.

Franken’s amendment, which passed 68-30, received the support of 10 Republican senators. However, most Republicans opposed the amendment because it went against the wishes of the Defense Department, and argued it gave Congress too much influence in altering defense contracts.


Original cover

Those concerns, however, are immaterial to Democratic strategists, who believe the vote will be politically costly to the two Republican senators facing competitive races – Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.).

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee pounced after the vote, putting out a statement attacking Vitter “for choosing special interests over justice and the interests of the American taxpayers.”

…snip…

Republicans point out that the amendment was opposed by a host of business interests, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and applies to a wide range of companies, including IBM and Boeing.

“This misleading, partisan attack makes clear yet again just how out of touch Democrats in Washington are with the serious issues facing average Americans,” said National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brian Walsh.

From THINK PROGRESS:

In 2005, Jamie Leigh Jones was gang-raped by her co-workers while she was working for Halliburton/KBR in Baghdad. 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. KBR argued that Jones’ employment contract warranted her claims being heard in private arbitration — without jury, judge, public record, or transcript of the proceedings. After 15 months in arbitration, Jones and her lawyers went to court to fight the KBR claims. Yesterday, a court ruled in favor of Jones.”

From THE HUFFINGTON POST:

I think that all homo sapiens can understand how the mere thought of an organization that receives government money through contract mechanisms being tangentially involved in setting up a fake tax shelter for a fake pimp and his fake prostitution ring of fake prostitutes [ACORN] can justifiably lead to lawmakers going absolutely cross-eyed with white-hot, impotent rage. But what happens when a similarly taxpayer-endowed contractor attempts to cover up employee-on-employee gang rape by locking up the victim in a shipping container without food and water and threatening her with reprisals if she report the incident? Somehow, it doesn’t engender the same level of anger!

Credit new Senator Al Franken however, for introducing an amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill that would punish contractors if they “restrict their employees from taking workplace sexual assault, battery and discrimination cases to court.” You’d think that this would be a no-brainer, actually, but that didn’t stop Jeff Sessions from labeling Franken’s effort a “political attack directed at Halliburton.” Franken, of course, pointed out that his amendment would apply broadly, to all contractors [...]

…snip…

Franken’s amendment ended up passing, 68-30. Here’s a list of the Senators who [voted] against it:

Alexander (R-TN)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Bond (R-MO)
Brownback (R-KS)
Bunning (R-KY)
Burr (R-NC)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)
Graham (R-SC)
Gregg (R-NH)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johanns (R-NE)
Kyl (R-AZ)
McCain (R-AZ)
McConnell (R-KY)
Risch (R-ID)
Roberts (R-KS)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)
Wicker (R-MS)

That means these are the 10 who voted for the amendment:
Bennett (R-UT)
Collins (R-ME)
Grassley (R-IA)
Hatch (R-UT)
Hutchison (R-TX)
LeMieux (R-FL)
Lugar (R-IN)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Snowe (R-ME)
Voinovich (R-OH)

31 Comments

Filed under Congress, David Vitter, Defense Department, Dick Cheney, Halliburton, humor, Iraq War, Justice Department, movies, parody, politics, Republicans, Senate, snark, Wordpress Political Blogs

31 responses to “Glory, Glory Halliburton

  1. writechic

    Ms. Jones’ account of the gang rape was one of the worst I’ve ever read. The attackers (scratch that) animals managed to tear away the muscles under her breasts disfiguring her permanently. She was assaulted vaginally and anally….THEN she was imprisoned, denied treatment, and threatened.

    How is crime, any crime, allowed to be arbitrated privately? I know these rules were instituted under Bush, and I suppose that answers my question.

    I think about these lip-service Christian Senators. It’s disgusting. A true Christian ethic necessitates protecting the “one,” the vulnerable. These senators are just fucking depraved. Even Cornyn in Jones’ own state. At least Hutchison stepped up

    • wtf is going on with the chamber of commerce? i remember a time when they were a respectable organization. now, they can’t wait to take away rights from victims like this poor young woman as well as medical malpractice victims.

      i thought it was telling that all the rethug women in the senate voted for the amendment. how any woman will ever be able to vote any of those who voted no is beyond me. these are the people who supposedly support the troops? they should all burn in hell.

      • writechic

        I have to wonder if the women senators knew it could be them or their daughters. Pfft, though I get really cynical trying to attribute the powers of introspection to any conservative.

        Here’s the ABC 20/20 report:

        • it would be interesting to be able to read their minds on this one. did they have a truly sympathetic impulse, or were they thinking that they could never defend a vote against this.

  2. jeb

    This is beyond appalling. I’d never heard of this case before reading this. However, there used to be a time when Federal Contracting regulations required adherence to all criminal law by contractors. This is just another example of the damage caused by Bu$hco opening the Federal Treasury to their contractor buddies. And Halliburton was the first and fattest hog at the trough.

    Arbitration is an internal process for settling workplace disputes. To claim at any level that a corporation can codify it to supplant the protection of individuals from attack and violence should not even be a consideration. Everyone involved, including those who covered up the crime, should be standing before the bar answering for their crimes.

    I would have liked to see one of the Administration’s first acts to be a Federal Commission formed to review all contracting rules and realign things to the way they were supposed to be. This is only the tip of an iceberg that is the damage to our nation caused by eight years of corporate greed and profit driven politics.

    There should be a special place in Hell for anyone who voted against this amendment.

    • jeb!!!! :D

      i was wondering where you’ve been!

      i agree with everything you said. this is just shameful, and every single person who voted against it should have it shoved in their faces when they run for reelection.

  3. You know, one of the reasons why I first began to question my membership in the GOP was that I was in North Carolina when they were debating the spousal rape law … it was legal to rape one’s wife until 1993. The explanations given by NC Republicans were quite repulsive.

    This is very much the same kind of thing. Rape is supposed to be taken seriously. Yes, private arbitration allows multi-million-dollar corporations to perform damage control.

    I don’t think that that should be a main focus for the legislature.

    I’ll be honest … I’m not a big fan of Al Franken or his style of commentary. I’ve generally considered him a liberal version of Sean Hannity. However, he has impressed me as a Senator. And this is, inarguably, a feather in his cap.

    That my Senator, Judd Gregg, chose the pro-rape position just reinforces my happiness that he said he’s not running for reelection next go-round.

    • wickle,
      gregg doesn’t even have to worry about running for reelection, and he still voted against the amendment. he’s one of the biggest cowards in the senate. good riddance to him.

      al franken is wicked smart, and i honestly believe he’s a good guy. i remember hearing him read a portion of one of his books. it was about his father on his deathbed. al was alternately in tears and laughing (as was i). it was so sweet and so touching. if he didn’t have sympathy and empathy, he never could have written what he did the way he did. i think he’s successfully switched hats and serves in the senate with the dignity it calls for.

      • You might be right. I haven’t had that much experience with him … having heard his radio show a time or two (but not much more than that) I generally thought relatively little of him.

        The only reading of his I heard was from “Lies and the Lying Liars …” at the book fair with Bill O’Reilly. There, it looked like they were both 3rd graders having a fight.

        However, he’s definitely doing a good job as a Senator. I’m big enough to admit when I’m wrong … and I was about him.

  4. Wow, these guys must want to be on the wrong side of history very badly.

  5. Al Franken grills a KBR official:

    • I’m livid too.
      KBR Halliburton should be prosecuted AND lose the lucrative contract, and give these Women a hefty restitution for their pain & suffering.
      Jones needed reconstructive surgery?
      This went beyond rape, and into the realms of assault & battery.
      Sick!

      • arbitration is crap. people get screwed every day under erisa laws, and arbitration is what was included in erisa to protect the insurance companies. i would tell you more, but i’m under a gag order (which, by the way, i was not even told about until after the papers were signed).

        the bottom line is that we have to completely reassess corporate power in this country. that’s the source of 99.99% of our problems.

        • A big part of that is because the corporations fund the arbitrators, and the corporate contracts are what keep these arbitrators in business.

          To imagine that they’re even almost unbiased requires a stronger imagination than I have.

    • thanks for posting that, fran. i’m in tears, but i’m furious. this is what happens when a fresh voice gets into public office. none of the niceties, just getting down to the nitty-gritty. i hope mr. debernardo never has a good night’s sleep for the rest of his life.

  6. i hope that when the campaigns kick up — those 30 senators who voted pro-rape (htank you john mccain) – see MANY ads targeting women and just what these complete warts on humanity have done

    • i hope they’re smacked in the face (verbally) everytime they go out on the campaign trail. women should be screaming the question at them–are corporations really more important to you than rape victims?

  7. Me

    This stuff is a direct effect of the culture in Iraq. You have to be in Iraq to experience it but it’s there. KBR know’s it happens but their managers and supervisors who are so eager to follow in Cheney’s footsteps will do everything in their power to suppress it. I sincerely believe that the guys at the top really have no clue. I also believe that the women who find themselves in these situations try so hard to show what they went through that they yell pretty loud and sometimes seem unbelievable. They are just victims of a weird sexual culture that everyone that works at KBR in IRAQ knows exist.

    I have worked with KBR in Iraq and have just returned two months ago. Unfortunately the problems stem from Supervisors, senior management and the women themselves. Aside from some senior managers moving their wives and other family members to their site which is a whole different set of problems. I can tell you for a fact that many of these guys engage in sexual relations with female members in their direct and indirect chain of command. I have been to sites where all the better looking women all work in one building. To be honest, most women catch on pretty quickly that they can use their looks to get promoted. The women to men ratio in IRAQ assures that this will happen. Those that engage in this sort of thing make it bad for those that don’t, but many do use it to their advantage until it gets out of hand. I know of many women and men that even engage in open relationships even though they are married to someone back home. The number is very high for both married men and women. I am not guessing this. I personally know many people who are doing this – married people, with both military and non military personnel. I would never let my wife or husband head to Iraq based on what I know. This is the truth and it is even known that the married people in Iraq are way more aggressive when it comes to doing or saying whatever to get the person that they have eyes on. My direct supervisor was one of those people. He was married with three kids back home. When I ran into him leaving a female’s room at four-thirty in the morning on my way to the gym he tried to justify it to me. I told him that It was not my business and that it was between him and his wife which did not go over too well. Other people were talking about his extra marital activity including one of the women who he was sleeping with – making comments about his size. Thinking that I was the only one that actually saw him in the act, he tried everything in his power to have me fired. Believe me when I tell you that these guys are experts on covering their ass and because most of the management engage in this sort of thing themselves, getting justice is almost impossible. I got so tired of going to HR and trying to avoid situations that I had nothing to do with, that I just decided to leave. LOGCAP needs to be restructured with clear rules on how senior managers and supervisors are supposed to behave. Too many problems originate from these guys abusing their so called power and their need to either control people or to be promoted. KBR needs and Independent party investigating these things.

    • thanks for your perspective, me.

      while the problem may begin with the supervisors and managers, i still think that those at the top remain ignorant only by their own design. they choose to turn a blind eye, and when they can no longer ignore what’s going on, they keep everything under wraps so that new recruits won’t know what’s really going on. you can’t control every employee’s behavior, but you can warn others of the dangers and punish the ones you know to be guilty of bad behavior.

      i will take issue with you on one thing you said, that it is the fault of the women themselves. i won’t accept that, no matter what the circumstances. while some women might use their sexuality as a way to get ahead with male superiors, it does not excuse rape. jamie leigh jones was not a willing participant. she was drugged and gang raped while unconscious. i don’t give a shit if some of the women are running around naked. the men need to learn how to control themselves. there is never a good excuse for sexual harassment or rape. period.

  8. Yeah, but it’s Haliburton! It’s ACORN that’s the real problem!

  9. Pingback: Gangrapists Have a Friend in the GOP « WriteChic Press

  10. Tommy Tyler

    And Americans wonder why they’re not well liked throughout the world. America who is supposed to champion for human rights and democracy. Things like this just excerbates the problem and the world view of them.

    • hello tommy tyler,
      welcome to the raisin! :D

      one of hillary’s biggest goals is to promote women’s rights and highlighting women’s issues. having 30 senators (including one who was a presidential candidate last election) siding with a corporation that treats women just as badly as some of the worst regimes doesn’t give the u.s. much credibility.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s