Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Problem: Your employees are being gang-raped and held captive, escaping only when using a cell phone to call for help. Solution: Ban cell phones

I want to apologize in advance, because this story is super-depressing.

Here's a basic synopsis of the situation. Two years ago, a employee of defense contractor KBR was drugged and gang-raped by her coworkers. When she woke up, she had "severe injuries on her, including the following: (1) disfigurement of the chest, (2) bruised thighs, (3) bruised chest, (4) bleeding between legs." She went to a US Army physician and gathered evidence of the crime in a rape kit. The rape kit was then given to KBR/Halliburton security forces, and it disappeared. Immediately following that, KBR imprisoned her in a shipping container denying her food, water or medical treatment. After a day, she persuaded a sympathetic guard to let her borrow a cell phone and she called her dad. Her dad called their congressman and they were able to generate enough public attention to get her out of there.

So far, there has been no criminal prosecution of any of the rapists, or KBR, or Halliburton or anything. The rape kit "disappeared" for two years, and when it was finally recovered by the State Department, it was missing photographs, notes, and all DNA evidence.

And on top of all of this, this weekend KBR announced that it has banned the use of personal cell phones by its employees in Iraq. Maybe they think that banning cell phones will prevent any future American victims of rape and imprisonment from escaping and telling the media.

Here's the links to the stories:

http://thinkprogress.org/2008/08/04/after-rape-victim-used-cell-phone-to-call-for-help-kbr-bans-personal-phones-in-iraq/

http://firedoglake.com/2007/12/19/kbr-gang-rape-survivor-says-11-more-women-like-her/

http://www.examiner.com/a-1518633~Defense_contractor_KBR_bans_personal_cell_phones.html

So here's what I have to say about this, in terms of honor and ethics:

Where has America's honor and ethics gone? Where has justice gone? The rape kit just disappeared? Bullshit. First of all, the crime in itself was unspeakable. But the response from the contractors/Army was even more disgusting, which is saying something. From the people who raped her, to the people who locked her up, to the people who destroyed the evidence afterwards, to the people in power who refuse to hold any of the aforementioned groups of people responsible, all of them seem strangely complicit. I'm not one to believe in "conspiracy theories," so the only explanation that I can put forth is that we as a people have somehow managed to erode even the most basic sense of integrity and ethics. These aren't even "American values" we're talking about, these are basic human values. I simply cannot comprehend what could possibly be going through any of these people's minds.

1 comment:

O said...

Now KBR through its wholly owned subsidiary BE&K is building the new hospital at Duke. Do you think they will ban cellphones there so that employees can't report gang rape? KBR is being investigated in Iraq for the electrocution of up to 16 soldiers due to faulty wiring in KBR's installations. One soldier was electrocuted in the shower! Does anyone dare take a shower in the new Duke Hospital? How about that KBR is being investigated for providing contaminated food to soldiers in Iraq and ice that was contaminated with human remains and body fluid? Yummy... I can't wait for some of that food at the new hospital.