Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Senate Passes An Amendment Despite Concerted GOP Opposition To Prevent KBR & Halliburton From Getting Away With Raping Employees (Literally)


Today the Senate "debated" the Department of Defense appropriations bill passed by the House (H.R. 3326) for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010. Republicans added frivolous amendments all day, starting with one of the Wyoming clowns, John Barrasso trying to prohibit the use of funds for the Center on Climate Change and National Security of the Central Intelligence Agency. That one failed 60-38, all Democrats-- even Nelson and Lincoln-- voting "no" and all but two Republicans-- the Maine gals-- voting for it. Coburn and McCain had similarly obstructionist amendments rejected and sensible amendments by Inouye and Bond were passed. But the amendment du jour came from Al Franken D-MN).

And what a doozy it is! S. Amend. 2588 simply prohibits "the use of funds for any Federal contract with Halliburton Company, KBR, Inc., any of their subsidiaries or affiliates, or any other contracting party if such contractor or a subcontractor at any tier under such contract requires that employees or independent contractors sign mandatory arbitration clauses regarding certain claims." The "certain claims" have to do with sexual assault.

I might have phrased it differently myself-- like "prohibits any member of the executive team and Board of Directors of Halliburton and KBR from ever getting out of prison for any reason whatsoever" or something like that. But my amendment probably wouldn't have gotten many votes, unlike Franken's which passed 68-30, every Democrat being joined by 9 Republicans. (Does anyone know if LeMieux has to call Charlie Crist and get his OK before he votes?)

Franken offered the amendment because a KBR employee, Jamie Leigh Jones, age 19, was raped by a bunch of KBR workers in Iraq and then locked up in a crate when she tried reporting them. After she was rescued and returned to America she was informed that she couldn't take KBR to court because there was some fine print in her-- and everyone else's-- contracts that don't permit any such thing.

KKK Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, an especially corrupt member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was the key spokesperson for the GOP against the legislation which he called unfair to Halliburton, one of the biggest Republican Party contributors in history. This is what Republicans mean when they whine about regualar people having the right to sue. To them, this is a crime.

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At 5:28 PM, Blogger Chris J. said...

My understanding is that arbitration would only apply to civil suits. While it sounds great, this amendment actually does nothing to punish the actual wrongdoers. Your suggestion wouldn't help much either, since no one has gone to jail over it. With all your anger against Republicans in general, it is interesting to note that the congressman (Ted Poe) who got Jamie Leigh Jones out of Iraq was a Republican.

At 7:44 PM, Blogger Bob In Pacifica said...

Chris, if KBR is sued for fifty million dollars for condoning and covering up a rape, that would certainly put a crimp in the corporation.

As for prosecuting someone for the actual rape, that's what criminal courts do. The fair thing would be to turn the individuals and the evidence over to a court in Iraq. Considering all the ill will KBR has generated there, I'm sure it would make for an interesting trial.

Congressman Poe had been contacted by Jones' father while she was being held captive by KBR. To have the embassy free her after her rape was the least that anyone could do. I'm glad that Rep. Poe acted like a human being, but I wouldn't crow that he did it because he was a Republican.

At 9:13 PM, Blogger Chris J. said...

No argument on lawsuits hurting the corporation, but the corporation is not the original wrongdoers. Suing the company does not put the rapists in jail, which is what should happen, correct?
I'm sorry, you lost me on the last sentence. What are you talking about? I just pointed out something as "interesting", I don't know where you got the "because" part.

At 9:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

chris, the point would seem to be that there's immunity language in Halliburton's contracts that allowed these rapists to get off scott free.

Ergo, no one was going to go to jail but perhaps corporations won't be able to use this kind of trick anymore so that future rapists et al will indeed be punished instead of swept under the rug to protect profits.

And I take my hat off to you for an incredible feat: you found a Republican who acted like a human being.

At 10:01 PM, Blogger yomamaluvsu said...

$50 nillion isn't even a drop in the bucket for this giant company. This is the same company that bought a Vice President and at least one President too. It may not get to the criminals but it is a start. Thank you Al Franken. And thank you to Poe for getting Jones out. Rape, electrocution, withholding food and supplies from the soldiers, slavery and who knows what else? This company and it's branches are getting away with murder. Anyone that votes against curbing their appetite needs to be investigated themselves. This company is guilty for not bringing these criminals to justice themselves.

At 5:59 AM, Blogger Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

i took a 'bidness law' course one time, and i'm pretty sure i read that Corps can be held liable for crimes committed by employees if the Corps are deemed to have been negligent in supervision, etc, which could have interfered with or prevented the criminal behavior....

I think that it might even have been on the test...

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