First off for the fucking record: KBR was a subsidiary of Halliburton. Halliburton = the parent; KBR = incorrigible child. KBR was the “contracting, engineering and construction unit” part of Halliburton until April 5, 2007. They then became “separate and independent of each other.” Prior to that date in 2007, KBR had been part of Halliburton for some 44 years.
Jamie Leigh Jones was employed by Halliburton/KBR in 2005 when she was gang-raped by fellow employees. Halliburton was privy to no-bid contracts – ‘major defense contracts’ for which the FBI began an investigation in 2004.
In a formal whistleblower complaint filed last week, Greenhouse alleged the award of contracts without competition to KBR puts at risk “the integrity of the federal contracting program as it relates to a major defense contractor.”
See the connection? “The federal contracting program as it relates to a major defense contractor.” KBR/Halliburton received federal contracts, albeit no-bid ones. They are (and were) considered a “major defense contractor.”
Are you following the logic here? Call me if I lose ya…. ‘kay?
So the 2010 Defense Appropriations bill is up in the Senate, and the good senator from Minnesota proposed an amendment calling for employee redress affecting those who seek contracts with the federal government. Specifically – military and/or defense contracts. So the Franken Amendment appears to be an appropriate fit.
Here’s the entirety of Senator Al Franken’s amendment – statement of purpose:
To prohibit 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.
Here’ s Sen. Franken on the floor of the Senate.
As has been demonstrated by the case of Jamie Leigh Jones and numerous other employees of contractors and subcontractors who have been the victim of crimes at the hands of other employees, there is now some redress. While in Iraq contractors were given immunity from prosecution for crimes committed while in Iraq; it was signed by J. Paul Bremer. Remember?
L. Paul Bremer, then the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, the initial occupation government of Iraq, issued CPA Order 17 in June 2004, the day before the CPA ceased to exist. “Contractors,” it says, “shall not be subject to Iraqi laws or regulations in matters relating to the terms and conditions of their Contracts.”
As pointed out here, “[T]the men that raped Jones had a free get out of jail ticket.”
That’s what it’s about. Accountability. In a case that surely epitomizes the insane lack of accountability and the definite need for redress, the case of Jamie Leigh Jones acutely ‘ demonstrates the need in holding contractors, subcontractors, & their employees responsible for crimes they commit. It just so happens, Ms Jones’ case is about rape – gang-rape, vicious misogynist crimes. These are American companies with American employees, paid by the American government (the American taxpayers), working for the American government, and yet are not subject to American law. Really?
Kevin Richert thinks that Senators Crapo and Risch are being painted as being ‘pro-rape.’ What I want from them is to EXPLAIN their votes because to me it’s all about protecting Halliburton and KBR. It’s about protecting the corporate interests of big-ass business. It’s not about protecting those Americans who are employed by these companies. That was the point behind Jon Stewart’s piece a few weeks ago regarding Sen. Franken’s amendment. As Jon Stewart said: “If, to protect Halliburton you have to side against rape victims, you might want to rethink your allegiances.” Substitute the word ‘rape’ for ‘crime’ if so desire, or ‘murder’ or …..
In his piece in the Idaho Statesman, Mr. Richert says both Senator Crapo & Risch plead ignorance regarding the connection between Halliburton & KBR. Bullshit. Please refer to the first paragraph above.
Lastly, the vote was 68-30. There were 10 Republicans who also voted ‘aye’ on Mr. Franken’s amendment. The four women in the senate who are Republicans – each voted ‘aye.’ The remaining six are men, three of whom I would call ‘oscillators’ in bipartisanship. I find it incredible that BOTH senators from Utah, BOTH Republicans, voted ‘aye.’ Utah, The Beehive State. While our own voted ‘nay.’
McClatchy has this from North Carolina where Sen Burr (R) voted ‘nay’ – “North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall noted that Burr was one of 30 Republican senators ….” I think what will come to light with this vote is that which has been bubbling ‘to the top’ since this new administration took office. Call it obstructionism, blatantly impeding, encumbrances, unwilling to help others . . . whatever fits. The interests of the American people are the primary concern of our legislators, not the protection of corporations and other such entities that compromise values and reward criminality.
These 30 white guys need to explain their vote to their constituents who want answers from them. The two whom I’m primarily interested in hearing from are Sen. Mike Crapo and Sen. Jim Risch.