Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Criminal Side Of KBR/Halliburton

It's been obvious for a while now that many corporations don't care about people, laws or anything else -- except money. That is especially true of Halliburton and its subsidiaries like KBR. Halliburton got a sweetheart deal from the White House to reap windfall profits from the Iraq war, and they're not about to let anyone or anything interfere with those profits.

In 2005, a young lady from Conroe, Jamie Leigh Jones, was working for KBR in Iraq. At that time, KBR was still a subsidiariy of Halliburton. In July of that year, Ms. Jones was drugged and raped repeatedly by a group of KBR and Halliburton firefighters.

When she tried to go to the authorities, the company locked her in a shipping container without food, water or medical help. Who knows what would have happened to her if one of the company guards hadn't felt sorry for her and let her use his cell phone.

She called her father, who called his congressman, Ted Poe. Poe called the State Department and demanded they rescue her. The State Department sent investigators, who rescued her and got her medical treatment, where a doctor verified she had been raped.

Now, Halliburton could have done the right thing. They could have reported the crime and gotten Ms. Jones medical help. They could have seen the rapists were apprehended and punished. But they chose not to do that. They were afraid that might interfere with their windfall profits.

In May, Ms. Jones filed a federal lawsuit against Halliburton and KBR. These companies are still acting to protect their unending supply of government money. They are now trying to force her to submit to a secret arbitration hearing, rather than an open trial in federal court. They claim her contract calls for arbitration. I have a feeling that arbitration for was civil disputes with the company -- not criminal action by the company.

I hope Ms. Jones has an excellent attorney. An attorney good enough to get this case into open court where the truth can be heard, and where she can be adequately compensated by a jury for the companies' actions.

And where has the federal government been for the last two years? They know who the rapists are, so why haven't they been arrested and punished? The companies are also guilty of crimes -- kidnapping and trying to cover up a crime. Why hasn't the government taken action against Halliburton and KBR?

Is the Bush administration trying to protect Halliburton and KBR?

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