As Gods: Spreading American Values Across The World

Stunning green eyes, golden hair, and a sweet, carefree smile, Jamie Leigh Jones looks as though her picture would be at home on a magazine cover.  One can imagine the Houston native’s accent, the “yalls” and the slow drawls, as well as the sun filtering through her blonde curls as she sips on ice tea, her biggest worry at this time of year perhaps making sure that she had covered everyone on her Christmas list.

Jamie Leigh Jones

Unfortunately, behind that pretty face lurks a much darker story, one that should shock, but strangely, fail to surprise.

At the heart of my personal disdain for those who are so quick to claim that we are winning in Iraq is how shallow the assertion is, how blindly ambitious it is to make light of our disastrous presence there that it seeks to ignore everything but the most rudimentary of metrics in Iraq.  Iraq war cheerleaders complain about how so much of the news coming from Iraq is negative, and suggest (or more accurately, demand with blustering abandon) that we should focus only on the good that comes out of our adventure in Mesopotamia.

It is a surface diagnosis, one that smells of national arrogance.  It is a fool’s folly to focus so intently on the good that mistakes are not corrected, wrong paths are not followed, and those who are proud of America no matter what she does allows it to slip into a darkness that those who love America more realistically loathe, not only for the ill we do in the world, but because such things erode that ideal of America that is worth being proud of in the first place.

In the case of Ms. Jones, there is an air of the old chicken or egg argument about it.  This past September, for instance, the world beheld the actions of the private mercenary firm, Blackwater, and how simple it was to avoid the rule of law, or justice in any guise for that matter.  Though contractors for the company opened fire upon Iraqi citizens without provocation, killing at least seventeen, we would later learn that the long arm of the law did not exactly reach these hired guns.

Though most Americans would take that long to realize that Blackwater was not required to answer to the law of either Iraqis or Americans until the aftermath of that fateful incident, in truth, that is how it has always been.  No bid contractors operating in the chaos we created without any kind of regulations or restrictions to ensure that they uphold the highest standards of service, professionalism, and outright human behavior.

Disgusted, I think, is the proper emotion I felt when the only standards the company had to meet where its own recycled press release that it held its employees to high standards.  This an eerily scary mirror of Kellog, Brown & Root’s answer to Jamie’s story, “The safety and security of all employees remains KBR’s top priority…  Our commitment in this regard is unwavering.”

It’s the cookie cutter corporate response; a meaningless blurb about how much the company cares standing as contradiction to the actual situation considering such a statement would not need to be made in the first place if they actually stood by it.

And what exactly happened to Ms. Jones that has KBR on its heels?  According to Ms. Jones, she was drugged, gang raped, and held in a guarded container after being threatened that informing authorities of her rape would result in her not being able to get a job anywhere.  Especially in the wake of the Duke debacle, one is initially cautious to lay blame without the courts which stand as the cornerstone of our legal system, but there are two aspects that might prove troublesome here.

The first is the circumstances of Jones’ release from her captors.  According to the ABC report, Jones was able to convince a sympathetic guard to loan her a cel-phone that she used to call her father.  Her father then called his representative, who then contacted the State Department.  It was State who rescued her from her prison which, if you cast aside all accusation of rape, still leaves the question, what was she doing there in the first place?

The second thing to understand is that Ms. Jones’ case will likely never be heard in court.  Two years after the incident, KBR’s standing puts it out of reach of federal statutes, leaving a civil suit the only path that Ms. Jones has available to her for justice.  Only, apparently her employee contract also prevents this, requiring instead arbitration that omits juries, judges, even transcripts.

Further, it is useful to note that KBR has won about 80% of its arbitrations.

And so for the second time in less than a month, we are brought to our national conscience a moment where a woman was forced to endure the terror of rape, and the tragic aftermath wherein justice is not only cast aside, but made a mockery.

As I read about Ms. Jones’ story, I was forced to recall another story that occurred in Saudi Arabia.  There a Shia woman of only nineteen years of age was gang raped by six armed men, but because she and her lawyer protested their rather light sentence, she was herself ordered 200 lashes, twice what she was already being sentence for committing the crime of being raped.

I can’t imagine the brutality that Ms. Jones suffered, who could that has not undergone that same nightmare themselves.  But for me, for some reason, the more tortuous contemplation is what it must have felt like in that container.  Already hurt, already scared, and now being punished for committing the terrible crime of being raped.

And I don’t get it.  I don’t get an America where we actually have to have people stand up and say that rape is bad, and those who commit rape should be punished, or worse, punishable by law.  I don’t even get how there has to be an uproar that those acting under the flag themselves have to be held accountable to the law at all times.

It makes no sense, but it sends a message.  It tells the world that our government, and those it chooses to knight, are as gods.  That for those lucky few, the law is a pleasantry, optional.  Meanwhile, for women like the young Saudi who was punished for being a victim, like Du’a Khalil Aswad who was stoned to death for falling in love, for the women and children forced to sell their bodies on the streets to make a living, and for Jamie Leigh Jones, justice is a commodity that remains permanently out of reach.

In our latter day excursions of Manifest Destiny, our leaders talk much of spreading those principles of America throughout the world; freedom and democracy.  But rarely will you find Bush adding justice to that package.  You see, we would have to practice it first.

Others Blogging (per memeorandum, and there aren’t enough out there blogging it): Discussion: Crooks and Liars, The Carpetbagger Report, Liberty Street, The Atlantic Online, Shakespeare’s Sister, All Spin Zone, Don Surber and Greatscat!

Thanks to Isabel of Bastard Logic for linking in, and as Matt points out, the Canooks (sp?) are on this story as well.

17 Responses to “As Gods: Spreading American Values Across The World”

  1. Fred says:

    americans are FUCKED.

  2. Wow! That’s bleak but…

    sigh.

  3. You caught me just as I was about to thank Isabel for the link.

  4. matttbastard says:

    Heya, Berlynn–I should have known FPN would weigh in on this.

    Prole @ A Creative Revolution picked up the story, too–so have other less enlightened souls, as I note in comments @ ACR. Beware, the Malkin Monkeys are flap-flap-flapping Duke Lacrosse-stylez quicker than you can type “ZOMG AL QAEDA IN IOWA???!!!1 UPDATE 77!!!1″

  5. That’s why I mentioned the Duke Lacrosse deal. I meant, I’m a huge fan of the innocent until proven guilty thing, ‘course, that all goes out the window when there won’t even be a fucking trial. Oh, yes, and there’s also the whole having to be rescued from a container thing.

  6. Red state says:

    What a pathetic excuse for a human being you are. You want to bemoan what happened to this one young lady while you rail against the President or ‘Great Liberator’ as history will know him, who is trying to free millions of oppressed people in a barbaric part of the world that treats women as property. I’d like to see you wrapped up in a burqua and given a clitorectomy. Stupid fool, you can’t see the forest for the trees.

  7. matttbastard says:

    Am assuming that’s a spoof.

    Regardless, one would hope that even faux-wingnut trolls would have the decency to refrain from hammering an all-too-familiar discordant note on ye olde mighty wurlitzer.

    Decency. Yeah, and a pony.

    Fucking assholes.

  8. Aaron Kulkis says:

    I just got back from a year in Baghdad…and something about her story doesn’t make sense — specifically: Why would the hospital entrust the rape kit to Halliburton?

    In theater, sensitive materials are not delivered by contractors — they are put into the U.S. postal service as registered mail (return receipt with signature), which in Iraq is handled by U.S. military (Army, Navy and/or Air Force) postal units, until either being delivered in theater, or custody of the mail is given to U.S. Post Office civilians (NOT CONTRACTORS) for delivery out of theater.

    Lastly…the claim that STATE DEPARTMENT personnel came over to rescue her???
    BULLSHIT. KBR personnel are unarmed — which means that wherever KBR peopl are working, there’s U.S. MILITARY around. And EVERY BASE in and around BAGHDAD not only has soldiers on it, but MP’s. It would be THEIR JOB to rescue her from the connex, not some jabber-jaw tongue-wagging refugee from Foggy Bottom.

    These glaring problems lead me to question the whole story.

    We have a lot of people REALLY wacky people on the loony left, and I wouldn’t be surprised to find one motivated enough to go through all the hassle of going to Iraq just to give grounds for such an accusation.

    It will be interesting to find out what groups she was involved with in college. If it turns out that any of them are leftist/democratic-party affiliated, then I’ll bet my life savings that the accusation was planned out before she ever left the states.

    There is a possibility that her accusation is true… I met a lot of KBR employees, and they are almost all ex-military, and wouldn’t even dream of such a thing. I can imagine ONE bad apple slipping through the cracks…but enough for a GANG RAPE…and all working on the same base, and living in the same area, and all off duty at the same time, and being in the same area at the same time?

    Too many coincidences…WAY too many coincidences…and unbelievable inconsistancies to accept this accusation at face value. My gut feeling from my experiences in theater is that the probability of this being a well-planned hoax is over 98%.

    My feeling that the reason that NOBODY is willing to make even the slightest comments on this story (State Department, her congressman, etc) is because NOBODY HEARD OF IT until recently.

    This smells like the Duke Lacrosse team story all over again — media wanting so badly for a story to hit one of their most hated targets that they don’t ask the most basic questions (or like Dan Rather and the Air National Guard physicals “letters” story — which to any military veteran is unbelievable in so many ways that it never held any water).

  9. Oh dear, the “bad apple” thing again.

  10. xranger says:

    Nice going, Kyle. You take a sensational story, that has not been vetted or investigated yet, and turn it into some sort of neocon rape world tour. And then your newfound canadian idiot savant buddies here jump on the chance to castigate America (undoudtedly out of envy).

    You go from one well-thought-out post to kook drivel every other day.

    sad, really.

  11. Luv2eatsushi says:

    This whole story has no much misinformation. She was not raped nor was she drugged. The assault was investigated and her allegation was found to have no merit. Ted Poe and Embassy agents did not rescue her …..what a crock. She is simply looking for a financial wind fall here. In real life she is nothing more than white trash!

  12. pat garrett says:

    shes hot and stupid.maybe now she will give up on war and republicans.boyh will get you fucked in the ass.

  13. Ashley Jones says:

    This is the women that helped Jamie Leigh Jones and introduced her to Attorney Stephanie Morris Tracy brought Jamie to the case Tracy and Galen were dumped 6 hours after arbitration from Miller. Tracy was denied Justice by Congress and screwed over by the attorneys abused and not allowed to testify Jamie Jones submitted her witness statements and Tracy was never given a chance to see or view filings before they were submitted to court. Tracy was the military wife when she went to Iraq someone misinformed the press and said Jamie was the miltary wife she was not even married. This makes me furious I want to bring this to the attention of the public. No one should be abused like this. Tracy never came through Jamie or any foundation that is a lie!
    Tracy was drugged raped and put in a shipping container her witness statements were submitted under Jones w out her knowledge and the National guard was in tracys case Kevin Rodgers who was in Basra Jamie submitted his affidavit to the press as hers Jamie has never been to Basra she was in Baghdad
    The Silencing of Tracy K. Barker: Sexually Assaulted by State Department Official, Raped by Halliburton/KBR Supervisor in Iraq, Denied Justice
    http://womensspace.wordpress.com/2008/05/04/the-silencing-of-tracy-barker-sexually-assaulted-by-still-employed-us-state-department-official-and-raped-by-halliburtonkbr-supervisor-in-iraq/

    Tracy Barker, former Halliburton/KBR Employee

    by Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff, Women’s Space, May 4, 2008

    Introduction

    Last January I blogged about Jamie Leigh Jones, a Halliburton/KBR employee in Iraq who was brutally gang-raped by co-workers after having had her drink surreptitiously drugged. She was so badly injured in the attack, she required surgery. She was seen by a doctor and a rape kit documented the rapes (though part of the rape kit mysteriously disappeared while in the “care” of Halliburton employees). After the rapes, Jones was imprisoned in a container for several days, deprived of basic necessities of life and was guarded by Halliburton/KBR employees to prevent her escape. She managed to gain access to a cell phone, called her father in Texas, and her father contacted a Republican legislator, Ted Poe, who secured Jones’ release and return to the U.S. Jones was in Iraq for only four days. Upon her return she retained attorneys, but Halliburton/KBR maintains, and Courts have so far agreed, that Jones must submit her claims to binding arbitration rather than filing a civil lawsuit because she signed a “binding arbitration clause” hidden in an 18-page employment contract she signed before she left for Iraq. Unlike civil and criminal court proceedings, arbitrations are private and confidential, not disclosed to the public.

    Jones testified about the rapes before a Congressional investigatory committee (Youtube video of her testimony can be viewed at the link above to my January post.) The Department of Justice was subpoenaed to testify before the committee as well but declined to appear. As things stand, women employees of defense contractors in foreign countries may be, and are being, sexually harassed, sexually assaulted, battered and raped with impunity and their only recourse is private arbitration with their employers once they manage to escape what often amounts to captivity and are back in the U.S.

    After I blogged about Jamie Leigh Jones, I began receiving e-mails and comments from relatives of another woman, Tracy Barker, who had also been employed by Halliburton/KBR, and who had also been raped in Iraq. Barker’s story seemed complicated and the e-mails and comments I received were sometimes hard to follow. I wasn’t sure what to make of what I was reading and knew I needed to do some investigation. I spent time today, finally — having yesterday received another comment to my blog on behalf of Tracy Barker – investigating the claims of those who have loved and supported her. I pulled up U.S. District Court dockets from the Southern District of Texas and the Eastern District of Virginia, read all of the relevant and substantive pleadings and viewed all of the exhibits attached to the pleadings. I read the comparatively few articles I could find online about Barker, a New York Times article, (also posted on Truthout), an article on People’s Speak Radio, a post written by another American woman blogger raped in Iraq, and the few comments to the posts, which I believe included comments by counsel retained by Halliburton. Barker’s story resonated and rang true to me, and I am convinced that she and her family members are reporting events which deserve as much public attention as can be gathered on her behalf. Barker, her husband and her family strike me as decent, honest and hardworking citizens who have repeatedly been shocked and stunned, as they should be, by the treatment Barker has received from her employer, government officials, attorneys, arbitrators, courts, corporate executives, HR personnel and news media they believed they could trust.

    For the most part Barker has been silenced, prevented from telling her story. She was summoned to the same Congressional hearing to which Jamie Leigh Jones was summoned but was not permitted to testify. She had only two hours’ notice that she needed to board a flight to attend the hearing. She had just given birth to twins who were born prematurely and were in intensive care. Nevertheless, she traveled to Washington D.C. at her own expense of $1,300. In the Youtube video below, a somber Barker is visible seated behind the podium where Jamie Leigh Jones is speaking. Having traveled all that way immediately post-partum, she never got the chance to speak for herself before the assembled Congressional committee.

    Tracy Barker is the daughter of a Vietnam veteran and the wife of a career Army soldier, Galen Barker, who has served on the Golden Knights Parachute Team for 24 years. She is the mother of five children.

    Sexually Harassed and Threatened by Supervisors in Baghdad

    Barker began working for Halliburton in 2004 in the “Green Zone” in Baghdad.

    Shortly after her arrival in Baghdad, her supervisors, Crystal Daniel and Barron Marcee, began to sexually harass and threaten her. She observed that they were also threatening and sexually harassing Iraqi women who would at times cry and approach her for help. At one point one of these supervisors choked an Iraqi woman, “Sunni”, in a conference room as though attempting to kill her. Shocked and outraged, Barker reported these events through what she believed was a confidential program allowing employees to make complaints through Halliburton employees in Houston. But Barker’s complaints were not kept confidential; instead they were forwarded on to her supervisors, who then retaliated by stepping up the threats and sexual harassment. When she resisted, just as with Jones, Barker was imprisoned in a container where supervisors attempted to force her to sign a false statement that she was guilty of bad conduct and where she was denied any contact with the outside world, including her husband. She was not allowed to even use the bathroom except under the surveillance of Halliburton/KBR employees.

    Pornography Papering Basra Office Walls

    Barker was then transferred to Basra. When she arrived, a number of men were present and waiting for her. She was told by a manager the men were there to see how “good looking” she was. She shared a working space with several men. The walls and halls throughout were completely covered with pornography, including photographs of male coworkers visiting brothels in Thailand, as they frequently did, and photographs of animals copulating. Copies of these images on the wall above her desk are attached as exhibits to documents in the lawsuit she filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, and I saw them. One of them depicted a supervisor in bed with the caption, “We try to get you into bed.”

    “What Happens In Basra, Stays in Basra”

    There was no HR department in Basra, so Barker complained about her supervisor, Sherman Richardson, to someone she understood to be an HR employee working for the State Department, Charles Hermanen. Hermanen said the woman Barker was replacing had complained of the same problems and had left because of them, and that other employees had complained about Richardson as well, but that “Sherman will be Sherman.” This was Barker’s introduction to the oppressions and abuses she would experience in Basra, where the motto, it was said, was “What happens in Basra, stays in Basra.”

    At one point private meetings were held by the State Department in conjunction with Halliburton where women– soldiers, contractors and State Department employees — were told they were not safe in Basra because of the men’s behavior. They were warned NEVER to go anywhere alone. They were told of break-ins into women’s quarters, theft of undergarments, and peeping Toms. They were also told if they reported these meetings, they would lose their jobs.

    Sexual Harassment by Basra Camp Manager Craig Grabein

    As time passed, Basra Camp Manager Craig Grabein, a married man in his 40s from Texas, began sexually harassing Barker, knocking on her door at all hours of the day and night, telling her he would protect her from all of the other predators there if she would have sex with him.

    Scared, Barker determined to get to Kuwait to report these events to the Halliburton/KBR HR office there. Every time she was scheduled to go, however, her name would be removed from the manifest at the last moment, so she couldn’t leave. When she was finally able to leave, she was followed, threatened, then left alone in a staging area in Iraq in the middle of a war zone. She hitched a ride to Kuwait on a food truck driven by a British soldier and rode 19 hours through a war zone, aghast as she passed starving children and insurgents all along the way. She arrived in Kuwait only to be told by Halliburton employees to return to Basra and to say nothing.

    She returned to Basra and found that all of her belongings had been removed from her room.

    She began talking daily by phone with a woman employee of Halliburton/KBR, but she was not allowed to travel.

    Attempted Rape by U.S. Embassy Official Ali Mokhtare

    Barker’s job in Basra was to see to it that equipment was functioning properly at the Basra camp or to see to it that it was replaced. One evening Ali Mokhtare (below), Deputy Regional Coordinator for the U.S. Regional Embassy Office in Basra, Iraq, the second highest ranking representative of the United States Government there, told Barker he was having trouble with his air conditioner.

    Barker went to his quarters to investigate, but when she arrived, Mokhtare didn’t mention his air conditioner. Instead, he asked whether she would like to join him in having a Jack Daniels and Coke. Barker tasted the drink and found it very strong. Barker spoke with Mokhtare about other job opportunities for herself and her husband. But then, Mokhtare grabbed Barker’s blouse, told her he had been trying to see what was under her blouse all day, and attempted to kiss her. She fought him, and he wouldn’t allow her to leave his room. Instead he told her stories about “chop chop square” in Saudi Arabia where people lost their limbs and tongues and told her about a Filipino woman he heard of who had been raped repeatedly by a Saudi prince. The woman had killed herself when no one believed her story.

    Barker was able finally to flee in terror with Mokhtare in pursuit, yelling at her in Farsi. A woman who saw what was happening and who spoke Farsi told Barker Mokhtare was threatening her.

    Paraded Before Male Employees of Halliburton

    Barker reported the attempted rape to Halliburton/KBR and State Department security and was again locked up for three days in a container and allowed no contact with anyone. When she snuck out and used a pay phone to call her husband, who was trying to contact someone he knew from Black Water who might be able to rescue her, she was caught and forced to stay in the container for another day. She spent her days in the locked container crying, pleading for help, and hiding under a bed holding a knife.

    After she had been in the container three days camp supervisors forced her to put on the clothes she had been wearing when Mokhtare attacked her — a shirt, vest and trousers — and to parade through a common area filled with men so they could determine whether the men found her clothing sexually provocative.

    Barker was consistently refused medical care and was not allowed to leave Basra.

    Meanwhile, Mokhtare had been questioned by security personnel about the incident. This is what he said about the incident, taken directly from a Diplomatic Security Service Memorandum dated June 25, 2005, and filed as an exhibit in Barker’s Southern District of Texas lawsuit:

    Subject [Mokhtare] stated that he and Barker had some initial job related discussions and the remainder of their conversation was professional. Subject said that Barker wore a buttoned vest with a white undershirt underneath. He claimed the vest and the shirt had plunging necklines. Subject further stated that Barker continually pulled at her vest and shirt as if to expose her breasts. Subject admitted that he pulled her vest and shirt opened (sic) and said to Barquer (sic) ”What do you have behind there?” [Investigator] asked subject if he thought Barker was interested in an advance or some type of romantic or sexual contact. Subject repolied in the negative. Upon further questioning… Subject said, “I admit it was an inappropriate move.” He also said, “I made a mistake and it was stupid.”

    … Subject claimed he conveyed several stories about briefings he received of Saudi misconduct and observations of ”chop/chop square” where punishments such as cutting out tongues and chopping off limbs took place. Subject further stated that he told Barker a story abot a Saudi Prince who allegedly raped a Philipino woman who later committed suicide because no one believed her story….

    [Investigator] asked what happened upon Barker’s departure. Subject said that as Barker got up to leave he stood and they hugged at which point he kissed her cheek. Subject further stated that Barker turned her hed towards his mouth giving him the impression that she wanted to be kissed. Subject admitted that Barker put her hand over her mouth and said no. Subject said he released the hug at that point and offered to walk her back to her accommodation trailer.

    In other words, Mokhtare admitted he had attacked Barker and blamed her for his attacks. It is interesting– when Barker recounted the events of that night, she remembered touching the pendant on a necklace given to her by her husband that she wore all of the time, the kind of thing we do as women when we are scared and are attempting to comfort ourselves.

    Mokhtare is still employed today by the State Department.

    Raped by Camp Manager Craig Grabein

    Hearing that a doctor had been stranded at the base, Barker contacted him, told him what happened, and ignoring the orders of her supervisors that she stay in Basra, the doctor placed her on a manifest to leave the next day. She was given sleeping pills. That night camp manager, Craig Grabein, the man who had been continually sexually harassing her, demanding sex from her in exchange for his “protection,” entered her room and raped her. She woke up to find him on top of her. She immediately reported the rape to the doctor and to authorities*. She left Basra the next day.

    Silenced at Home

    When Barker returned to the United States, she was told by a State Department investigator, Lynn Falango, that Mokhtare would be stripped of his security clearance and prosecuted. He never was. Later Falango called Barker to tell her what had happened to Barker in Iraq was being covered up and that Barker should hire an attorney. Falango said she had been told not to contact Barker again and that the case had been taken from her when she tried to get Mokhtare prosecuted.

    A few months later Barker was surprised when she began receiving calls and correspondence from other women Halliburton/KBR employees who had also been raped in Iraq. These women said Falango had given them Barker’s name and number as someone who had gone through the same thing and might be able to help, apparently since no one else could! The inference is that one of the women who contacted Barker was Jamie Leigh Jones, although Jones’ name is not specifically mentioned in court documents as one of these women.

    State Department Hush Money

    In November of 2005, Barker received a phone call from Attorney Advisor, Henry Norcom, who worked with the Civil Rights Office of the State Department. He offered her $3,500 to drop the allegations against Mr. Mokhtare. Barker refused and was then told her case was closed.

    EEOC Finds in Favor of Barker

    Barker had filed charges of discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation with the Houston Office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission once she got back to the U.S. I read the EEOC reports and they found in favor of Barker, and stated that Halliburton retaliated against Barker following her good faith report of sexual harassment, and that instead of addressing Barker’s complaint, they tried to orchestrate her termination. **

    Civil Suits Dismissed

    Barker filed a civil suit against Halliburton/KBR, Mokhtare, and others in the U.S. District Court for both the Eastern and Southern Districts of Texas. Her case was first moved from the Eastern to the Southern District, then was ultimately dismissed for lack of jurisdiction because of the “mandatory arbitration” clause Barker had signed with Halliburton/KBR. In issuing his order on August 16, 2007, Judge Gray H. Miller wrote:

    All of these arguments address the wisdom of arbitration as a whole and more specifically arbitration of sexual harassment claims. Whether it is wise to send this type of claim to arbitration is not a question for this court to decide. District courts are bound to follow the precedents set by higher courts. And, that precedent is quite clear: Barker’s claims are included within the ambit of claims proper for arbitration. Sadly, sexual harassment, up to and including sexual assault, is a reality in today’s workplace. …Although Congress has expressly exempted certain types of employment claims from the reach of the Federal Arbitration Act, it has not addressed sexual harassment claims. …Therefore, unless and until Congress tells the courts that binding contracts to arbitrate do not include these types of claims, Barker’s policy arguments cannot prevail. For all of the foregoing reasons, Barker’s claims must be arbitrated pursuant to the arbitration provision of her employment contract. (Bolds mine).

    I noted that within the past month, a motion for consideration (basically an appeal of the judge’s decision) brought by Barker’s attorneys was denied.

    Judge Miller severed the complaints against Mokhtare and transferred them to the Eastern District of Virginia. Mokhtare attempted there to be granted “certification,” which would exempt him from prosecution based on the fact that he was acting as an employee of the State Department and hence was immune from prosecution. A couple of weeks ago, the Virginia judge denied Mokhtare this certification. The case continues.

    Silenced

    In the meantime, Tracy Baker has been all but silenced. She was not allowed to tell her story to the Congressional investigatory committee. She was not allowed to tell the most important parts of her story to ABC’s 20/20.*** She has been told by a Texas judge that her only option is mandatory, private arbitration with Halliburton/KBR, the company that allowed and ignored her rape, battering, imprisonment and abuse for over a year. Hillary Clinton refused to help her because, said Clinton, Barker wasn’t a resident of the state of New York. She is being told that having been sexually assaulted by a top-ranking State Department official, raped by a Halliburton camp manager, and continually sexually harassed, imprisoned and tormented throughout her employment in Iraq are employment “grievances” to be resolved by arbitration. She suffers post-traumatic stress disorder and cannot work.

    Conclusion

    I don’t know why Jamie Leigh Jones, who spent only four days in Iraq, has received the amount of publicity and support she’s received, compared with Barker who spent over a year there in both Baghdad and Basra. I can’t help but wonder whether it is because, as Barker was told, “Gang rape sells, not sexual assault or ‘just’ rape.” I wonder whether it might be, in part, because Barker is French Basque/Spanish and is hence a woman of color, therefore not the kind of complainant the blonde American Jamie Leigh Jones is, or because Jones’s father was the kind of man who could gain the immediate attention of a Republican legislator with a quick phone call, securing his daughter’s release within three days of the attacks on her. I wonder if it might be, in part, because Barker is a mother of five, instead of a young woman in her 20s with no children. I wonder whether it was because Barker saw too much, knew too much, including about the attacks of Halliburton employees on Iraqi women as well as Halliburton employees. I wonder if, despite Mokhtare’s own admissions, Barker going to his room – even though as part of her job, it was up to her to address the problem he said he had with his air conditioner — made her claims less interesting or credible somehow. I suspect, in part, it might be because at times, Barker has seemed to castigate and blame herself, to express guilt and remorse for being unable in her drugged exhaustion to fight Craig Grabein off when he raped her, in the way, women often blame ourselves, as though it is up to us to keep men from raping us, instead of up to men to stop raping women.

    Whatever the reason, the silencing of Tracy Barker is an outrage. Her story must be heard, and she must receive justice. To that end, I have written this post. Please, spread the word.

    Tracy K. Barker’s website

    ______________________________________________

    * When the doctor, Dr. Pakkal, who rescued Barker, was later questioned, he said he had seen so many women who had been raped in Basra, he couldn’t remember Barker specifically.

    ** The EEOC found that Barker’s supervisors in Baghdad were abusive to both men and women in their charge and so they did not find that the supervisors’ abuse was on the basis of Barker’s sex.

    *** Both the State Department and Halliburton/KBR declined to discuss Barker’s case with 20/20.

    Sources for this article:

    Documents, pleadings and original source documents filed as exhibits and attachments, in Tracy K. and Glen D. Barker v. Halliburton Company d/b/a KBR (Kellogg, Brown & Root) Services Company, Inc.; KBR Technical Services, Inc.; Ali Mokhtare; Services Employees International, Inc.; and the United States of America, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas (Beaumont Division), Case No. 4:07-cv-02677;
    Documents filed in Tracy K. and Glen D. Barker v. Halliburton, et al., U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria, Case No. 1:2007cv01231

  14. Concerned American says:

    There should be a law against media reporting inaccurate data especially on one Jamie Jones. Many media and Internet news seems to copy and paste their stories without any research. There have been many victims unfortunately and it goes deeper then this. It is scary to think that this editor is barely scratching the surface and still gets everything wrong; it is obvious to me that this editor did not do their homework. Though I will not do your research for you, one area would be to read her story on http://www.tracykbarker.com but even so you need to really go back pull court documents between Jamie Jones and Tracy Barker especially when at a time they once had the same lawyers which my guess would be Mrs. Barker retained the attorney Morris first due to dates of incidents. You will see that much of what Jones reports in her case is off of a camp in Basra where Tracy K Barker was drugged and raped. Evidence does exist if you do your research. Mrs. Barker was in Baghdad from July 04 to March 05 enduring catcalls; Mrs. Barker transferred to Basra in March 05 and remained their sexually assaulted, drugged and raped, left in the Iraqi desert for 19 hrs. Ms. Jones could not have possibly had so much happen in a 4-day span in Baghdad. Though I do not call Ms. Jones a liar perhaps what happened to her does exist, but it is unfortunate that when Americans should stick together Jones has used evidence from Basra and stories coming out of Mrs. Barkers case. Though I have not researched other victims its scary to think how far someone will go to hurt another victim a fellow American by taking what happened to them and claiming it to be theirs. I find that extremely vulgar. The media eats this up without even reading a map and comparing dates this is apples and oranges and I cant understand how someone could think incidents against one victim in Basra could back up a victim in Baghdad. What is our country coming to??? Stealing ones identity, rapping someone on foreign soil and our government saying “Oh Well” especially when it is other Americans. Bailouts and jobs over seas. Promoting you off the back of another victim just for fame and media attention. Congress ignoring one victim but helps another. What is going on here people? Have media and editors become so lazy that they don’t read and do a through research. Documents filed are made public knowledge you just have to take a moment to pull them and read. There is a true story here ready to be told but this one is not it as this editor reports inaccurately only because someone was way to lazy to read. During a time when our country needs to pull together as ONE instead people like this continues that vicious circle out of greed. Perhaps it is because Jones was white and Barker was not. Sadly it appears that not only racism continues in today’s society but continues all the way up to the top. Best of Luck to you Mrs. Barker I hope you do find justice and you are able to one-day get your full story out there. You truly deserve justice Tracy K Barker. God Bless.

  15. Nitro says:

    Yuck you call that cute and careferee she is ugly and has a chin like a pelican her eyes are green like the grinch! Is that a hair piece and glued eyelashes? It doesnt look like the first media photo….

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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  5. Prayer For Justice » Comments from Left Field - [...] wasn’t even two months ago when the terrible story of Jamie Leigh Jones broke nation wide.  The young woman …

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