An extraordinarily brave Jamie Leigh Jones testified before the House Judiciary Committee today. Not-so-brave was the Justice Department — they were supposed to send a representative, but none showed up.
"He handed me the drink and said ‘don’t worry, I saved all my Roofies for Dubai," or words very similar to that. I thought he was joking and felt safe with my co-workers. I believed that we were all on the same team. I took two sips from the drink and don’t remember anything after that."
It really is consistent with a larger narrative — we’re not all on the same team. "We" are supposedly fighting terrorists, or weapons of mass destruction, or the evil-doers, or whatever they’re packaging it as today, but in the end the corporate cons are just out for the corporate cons and everybody else is just supposed to pay the freight. There really is no "we."
Once I returned home, I sought medical attention, both psychiatric and physical. I was originally sent to a psychiatrist of KBR’s choosing. The first question asked was, "are you going to sue Halliburton." My mother and I walked out.
Jamie Leigh says she has been contacted by 11 other women who have also been assaulted by contractors in Iraq. When she talked to the US Attorney in Florida, and wanted to know who they should contact, the Attorney said "don’t refer them to my office."
John Conyers was quite righteously indignant about the failure of the Justice Department to show:
I’m embarrassed that the Department of Justice can’t even come forward. I want (Mukasey) to start talking about these questions that we’re asking the witness…We’ve got tens of thousands of people over there, goodness knows how many people have preceded Ms. Jones in this tragedy…This is an absolute disgrace. The least we could do was have people from the Department of Justice and Defense over here talking about how we’re going to straighten out the system right away. You don’t even need a hearing to do that. They should have responded to their Congressman Poe immediately, and said let’s clean this up right away. Did they do that? No.
The bipartisan outrage of the committee members seemed real, but there’s one way to find out. If the committee is willing to go to the mat to compel testimony from the Justice Department, that’s one thing. If the Republicans start acting like a bunch of toadies for KBR, that’s another.
In the mean time, the courage and class shown by Jamie Leigh Jones is inspirational. What a fighter.