Item 3 of Naomi Wolf’s “Fascist America in 10 easy steps” involves the development of a thug caste:
The years following 9/11 have proved a bonanza for America’s security contractors, with the Bush administration outsourcing areas of work that traditionally fell to the US military. In the process, contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars have been issued for security work by mercenaries at home and abroad. In Iraq, some of these contract operatives have been accused of involvement in torturing prisoners, harassing journalists and firing on Iraqi civilians. Under Order 17, issued to regulate contractors in Iraq by the one-time US administrator in Baghdad, Paul Bremer, these contractors are immune from prosecution.
Existing outside the law, they can do what they like, and (so it would appear) there’s nothing anybody can do about it. Not even when one of their own is gang-raped by her fellow employees:
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. Jones described the container as sparely furnished with a bed, table and lamp.
No charges have been laid in the two years since the incident occurred (as the victim testified before Congress last month, she is still undergoing reconstructive surgery), and the Pentagon isn’t interested in pursuing the matter “because the Justice Department still considers the investigation into Jones’ case open.”
Jon Swift makes light of the some of the Right blogosphere’s demonising of Jones, but surely the carte blanche afforded to paramilitary organisations like KBR and Blackwater strengthen the case for regime change (the democratic way) in the US?