12.10.2007

those pesky rape kits, they're always disappearing

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.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court against Halliburton and its then-subsidiary KBR, Jones says she was held in the shipping container for at least 24 hours without food or water by KBR, which posted armed security guards outside her door, who would not let her leave.

"It felt like prison," says Jones, who told her story to ABC News as part of an upcoming "20/20" investigation. "I was upset; I was curled up in a ball on the bed; I just could not believe what had happened."

Finally, Jones says, she convinced a sympathetic guard to loan her a cell phone so she could call her father in Texas.

"I said, 'Dad, I've been raped. I don't know what to do. I'm in this container, and I'm not able to leave,'" she said. Her father called their congressman, Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas.

"We contacted the State Department first," Poe told ABCNews.com, "and told them of the urgency of rescuing an American citizen" -- from her American employer.

Poe says his office contacted the State Department, which quickly dispatched agents from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad to Jones' camp, where they rescued her from the container.

According to her lawsuit, Jones was raped by "several attackers who first drugged her, then repeatedly raped and injured her, both physically and emotionally."

Jones told ABCNews.com that an examination by Army doctors showed she had been raped "both vaginally and anally," but that the rape kit disappeared after it was handed over to KBR security officers.

My heart goes out to Jamie Leigh Jones. I was her age when I was raped. I offer her my most heartfelt thanks and admiration for coming forward without anonymity.

Thanks to Allan for the story tip.

5 comments:

M@ said...

The story is sickening -- even more so when one imagines how many Iraqi women must have suffered similarly in the almost five years of insanity there.

Pro-war types keep saying it'll get worse if the Americans leave. I still wonder how it possibly could.

Then again, it would be of course wrong to suggest that this government would try to cover anything up.

L-girl said...

even more so when one imagines how many Iraqi women must have suffered similarly in the almost five years of insanity there.

Indeed. Thanks for saying so.

Pro-war types keep saying it'll get worse if the Americans leave.

Worse for Halliburton and KBR, for sure.

But even so, the only answer there is the Iraqis want the US to leave, and it's their say that counts, not pro-war Americans'.

Scott M. said...

Disgusting. I can't believe there isn't a huge hue and cry over this story in the States.... could you imagine how much outrage there would be if this happened in Canada?

L-girl said...

"could you imagine how much outrage there would be if this happened in Canada?"

It would be massive news. In the US, it barely cracks the surface.

James said...

I can't believe there isn't a huge hue and cry over this story in the States

Apparently, in the US, destroying videotapes of torture sessions to "avoid legal liability" doesn't count as destroying evidence, as the recent CIA adventure seems to be demonstrating. So who knows how bad something would have to be to be actually actionable...