Follow the Leader: Halliburton Rape Case Reflects Bush Ethos

I was about to write on this story from ABC (Victim: Gang-Rape Cover-Up by U.S., Halliburton/KBR), but Scott Horton beat me to it. Here's an excerpt from his piece:

Another angle of the contractor immunity phenomenon is exhibited in a report carried by ABC’s chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross this evening.

    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. 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.

Sounds like a serious crime to me. Or rather, several: Assault. Rape. False imprisonment. All crimes which the DOJ is empowered to prosecute if they occur in Iraq and involve contractors. It’s the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, or MEJA.

But in the eyes of the Bush Justice Department, contractors functioning in Iraq have complete immunity for whatever crimes they choose to commit. The U.S. issued a decree preventing the Iraqis from prosecuting. And the Justice Department isn’t going to do a thing about them. As one assistant attorney general explained to me in the corridors of the Rayburn Building, “we simply don’t have the resources or time to deal with this sort of thing.” Of course. When you dedicate 58 FBI agents (one of them recalled from Iraq just for that purpose) to a raid on a law office whose principals are under strong suspicion of raising money for Democratic presidential candidates and reimbursing staffers who make donations, then it only stands to reason that you have no resources to deal with the rape of a woman from Texas, or a group of Blackwater guards who needlessly murder 17 civilians at Nisoor Square. Or when you spend over $5 million on a bogus political prosecution of a Democratic governor, using evidence which is (as we will discover in the next two weeks) completely false.

Of course, it's not just a matter of diverting Justice Department resources from law enforcement to partisan repression. The Bush Regime would not want to prosecute them good old Halliburton boys in any case; after all, they were only doing to this young woman what their paymasters on the Potomac have been doing to the entire country of Iraq year after year after year after year. Like the infamous guards at Abu Ghraib, like the American soldiers who raped, murdered and burned 15-year-old Abeer Qasim Hamza, or the Bush-backed, American-armed Iraqi security forces who abducted and raped young Sabrine Al-Janabi, the Halliburton attackers were carrying out on a smaller scale the very essence, ethos and aim of George W. Bush, Richard B. Cheney, and all of their enablers in both parties, in the press, and throughout the American Establishment: the violent imposition of their barbaric desires.

***