Was listening to Mike Papantonio today when he was covering for Ed Schultz’ radio show and he reminded us of one of the more gruesome examples of the GOP’s War on Women in recent years. This one was serious and sickening and has yet to be resolved, but no one has talked about it since it was in the news back in 2009 and we need to discuss it now.
Her name is Jamie Leigh Jones. she began working for KBR as an administrative assistant when she was 19 and started working in Iraq on July 24, 2005.
According to Jones, on July 28, 2005, one of her fellow KBR employees offered her a drink containing a date rape drug, although a subsequent blood test did not detect anything. Jones says that while she was unconscious, several men engaged in unprotected anal and vaginal gang-rape on her. She says that “when she awoke the next morning still affected by the drug, she found her body naked and severely bruised, with lacerations to her vagina and anus, blood running down her leg, her breast implants ruptured, and her pectoral muscles torn – which would later require reconstructive surgery. Upon walking to the rest room, she passed out again.” The doctor who examined Jones gave the rape kit used to gather evidence from Jones to KBR/Halliburton security forces, and three hours later they turned the kit over to the U.S. government. According to Jones, in early 2007 a spokesperson at the State Department told her that photographs and doctor’s notes were missing from the kit.
Jones says that KBR officials locked her in a trailer after she informed them of the rape and would not permit her to call her family. After approximately one day, says Jones, a sympathetic guard gave her a cell phone and she called her father, who in turn contacted U.S. Representative Ted Poe (R-TX) who contacted the State Department. Agents were dispatched and removed Jones from KBR custody. A 2006 EEOC investigation claimed that Jones was not locked in a trailer by KBR but placed in a “secure location” before being returned to Texas.
Because the crime occurred in a foreign country by contractors working for the US and laws were in place that essentially gave immunity to Halliburton for such acts, no criminal charges could be filed. The Bush Administration refused to take any criminal or civil action against Halliburton citing a clause in Jones’ contract with Halliburton stating that all “disputes” must be dealt with via arbitration. To the Bush Justice Department, all disputes include criminal allegations of gang rape and false imprisonment. Jones filed a lawsuit against the United States, Halliburton and a firefighter/contractor she alleged was involved in the rape. Despite a motion from Halliburton to have the civil case heard by corporate arbitration per the contract, the case did go to trial and Halliburton paid their attorneys well over $2 million dollars.
Their attorneys were good. Despite the injuries she endured, they painted the victim as a troublemaker who tried to get out of her contract and had “consensual” sex resulting in her injuries. Even though there was evidence consistent with rape, it was all turned all of it over to Halliburton’s security, who somehow lost it. The jury bought it and Jones’ case was dismissed. Then Halliburton went after Jones for compensation for their legal costs of $2 million.
Jump forward to 2009 and the Senate debating the Defense Appropriations Bill with an amendment from Senator Al Franken. It was a fairly straight forward and reasonable amendment. The amendment would prohibit the United States Government from giving funds to contractors, who include clauses in employment contracts that prohibit employees from bringing claims against the companies for sexual harassment, sexual assault or discrimination. The amendment was put forth after he learned of the case against Halliburton brought by Jaime Leigh Jones. The Amendment passed, but a remarkable 30 Republicans voted against it, instead siding with companies like Halliburton. All the votes against the amendment came from Republicans.
So what do we have here? First of all, it would seem that the Bush Justice Department, as well as Halliburton were then, as the GOP is now, stating that rape isn’t always rape. There appears to be caveats to it. Despite her injuries and subsequent reconstruction of those injuries, from their view, the sex act was consensual. They victimized the victim.
The reputation of Halliburton and her male employees are far more important than the reputation of a young women working for them in a foreign country. They belittled and demeaned a person that any reasonable person could see was clearly a rape victim and set up a system where those responsible would not be held to account and the victim would be victimized more as time went on.
Then when an amendment is introduced to protect potential victims of this sort of behavior, 30 Republican Senators voted to side with the Corporate Personhood over the reputation and well-being of any potential victim. Business is Business and Rape isn’t always Rape. Who were the 30 Senators who don’t give a damn about keeping and holding corporations accountable to protect the people who work for them?
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-NC), 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)
Some of them are already gone, Kyl is retiring, but many still remain and we shouldn’t forget their vote on this amendment that placed corporations over women’s rights. Many of them, as with most GOP continue with their war on women. Denying them the ability to control their own bodies, to have equal pay, healthcare at the same cost as men.
The facts are clearly out there, this group of GOP do not think women are of equal importance to men, nor to corporations. Our government is supposed to be of The People despite what the Supreme Court and GOP want to twist it into. If they can’t recognize that, they should all be voted out at our first opportunity.