MEDIA ROOTS- Perhaps one of the most abhorrent aspects of US foreign policy in the 21st century is the privatization of the US military and the government’s outsourcing of military jobs to corrupt war contractors.
Despite Obama’s early campaign rhetoric about scaling down the use of contractors, he has increased their presence– they now make up approximately 50% of the total military force in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
Military contractors are murderous thugs-for-hire who act above the law and hold zero allegiance to any constitutional body. Blackwater’s sordid slew of contemptuous behavior and criminal actions during the Iraq war might have cast a negative light upon them, but it didn’t stop the Obama administration from awarding their criminality with a quarter billion dollar contract to continue working in US war zones.
This unaccountability for criminal acts is not unique to Blackwater. Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root (KBR) is a private security company that employs more US private contractors and holds larger contracts with the US government than any other firm in Iraq.
In 2007, a KBR employee named Jamie Leigh Jones claimed that she was gang raped by multiple KBR workers at a camp in Iraq’s Green Zone. After she reported the rape, she was reportedly locked in a shipping container and threatened with her job if she took further action. Appallingly, KBR has turned the case around and is now suing Jones for making “frivolous claims”, demanding $2 million in damages.
“They have beaten us and now they are attempting to crush us,” her lawyer, Todd Kelly, told the Wall Street Journal. “This is an attempt by KBR to chill other people from bringing claims against them.”
It’s shameful that these corporations have essentially no oversight from the US government– the Crime Victims Office at the Department of Justice was unable to investigate the incident because of a lack of jurisdiction over private contractors in Iraq.
Now it’s Jones’s word against KBR, and it doesn’t look like she has much of a chance to win against the monolithic corporation. Let’s just hope she can walk away without having given them a dime.
Written by Abby Martin
Photo by flickr user wenews