“The Boat Must Be Rocked” – Congresswoman Slaughter on KBR Rape Case

Congress members are finally demanding accountability for the actions of US contractors in Iraq and around the world.

Spurred by the lack of charges in the recent case of Jamie Leigh Jones, who was gang raped by fellow KBR employees while working as a contractor in Iraq, Reps Louise M. Slaughter (NY-18), Jan Schakowsky (IL-9), and Ted Poe (TX-2) have drafted letters to Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. The letters deliver, Slaughter says, a much needed “wake-up call” to the White House. Over 110 members of Congress have signed the letters.

In a special posting on Feministing, Slaughter writes

Yesterday, I, and over 100 of my colleagues, took a serious step to breaking the dangerous “boys will be boys” attitude that has been allowed to fester for far too long among United States government contractors in Iraq and around the world.

…it appears that the Departments of Justice, State, and Defense would prefer that the American public forget what happened to Jamie Leigh Jones.

It appears they do not want to rock the boat.

But this boat must be rocked. Because what happened to Jamie Leigh Jones was not an isolated incident.


It is increasingly apparent that there are many women working for United States government contractors that are regularly subject to sexual harassment, assault, and rape. And what is even more apparent, the perpetrators of these heinous acts are not held to account and justice is almost never served.


We will not rest until these answers meet our satisfaction and there is a guarantee that criminal offenders are punished to the letter of the law and that contractors, getting rich on massive taxpayer funded contracts, are held to account.

It must be the Bush Administration’s unequivocal position that individuals working as United States government contractors, whether at home or abroad, have the same rights to treatment, services, and proper legal recourse when they are victims of a violent crime.

The letters demand that DoD and the DoS detail their efforts to maintain the safety of Americans working for US contractors abroad.

Further Reading:

The Jamie Leigh Foundation – Jones’ non-profit is “dedicated to helping United States citizens and legal residents who are victims of crime while working abroad for government contractors and subcontractors.” Also lots of info on her case.

Jone’s testimony to a House Judiciary Committee.

(The comment board is unfortunately peppered with “well-intentioned” comments that drop phrases like “hot” and “understandable” and “asking for it.” The most surprising is the commenter who is shocked to have offended, believing to have simply offered up a compliment.)

ABC Coverage of Jones’ Case.

Take Action:

Sign a petition urging the Senate to promptly pass H.R. 2740 – The MEJA Expansion and Enforcement Act of 2007, (or the Clarification of the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act.) This expands culpability to all US contractors outside US boarders and requires the FBI and Department of Justice to track and report on related criminal activity. NOTE: Bill has passed in the House, use form for Senate only.

Speak out to the Department of Defense and the State Department.


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