Archive for December 19th, 2007

By- Suzie-Q @ 9:00 PM MST

From Think Progress

Last week, Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) said on CNN that he did not believe that gang rape in Iraq of former Halliburton/KBR employee Jamie Leigh Jones was “an isolated case of assault.” Poe then encouraged “other victims” to notify his office.

In his prepared testimony for the House Judiciary Committee today, Poe said that his office had been contacted by three women other than Ms. Jones about sexual assaults they sustained while working for KBR in Iraq:

Since Jamie has gone public with her experience, my office has heard from 3 other women. Of course, my office will furnish the names of these women to the Judiciary Committee if needed.

Poe named one of the women, Tracy Barker, “who says that she was sexually assaulted in Iraq by a State Department employee who still works at the State Department today.” ABC News identified the State Department employee as Ali Mokhtare, whom the Justice Department “declined to prosecute,” despite “a recommendation from the State Department that he be charged.

Regarding the other two women, Poe said that “they both report sexual assaults and sexual harrassment by their coworkers.” He also said that one of the women asserted that KBR not only protected an accused rapist, but also punished her for contacting Army MPs about the situation:

The 2 other women are also former KBR employees. They both report sexual assaults and sexual harassment by their coworkers in Iraq and neither woman has seen any federal law enforcement action. One of the women informed my office that she was molested several times and raped once by her KBR coworkers. When she reported the crime to her immediate supervisor, she was told that they would take care of it. She returned to work two days later and found her rapist working alongside of her. She panicked and called Army MPs, who escorted the rapist off of the base. However, she was subsequently fired. It seems that, unfortunately, Jamie’s case is not unique.

In her testimony today, Jones said that her job had also been threatened. KBR supervisors told her there was “no guarantee of a job,” either in Iraq or back in Houston, if she didn’t “stay and get over it.”

The Gavel has some video clips from the hearing here.

UPDATE: The Justice Department “refused to send a representative to answer questions” today, which Judiciary Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) called “an absolute disgrace.”

UPDATE II: Jamie Leigh Jones says she has been contacted by 11 other women who have also been assaulted by contractors in Iraq.


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Evening Jukebox… Happy Christmas (War Is Over)

By- Suzie-Q @ 8:30 PM MST

The Corrs- Happy Christmas (War Is Over)

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GEF @ 11:50 AM MST

In keeping with our previous story by Sudhan, What are they hiding ? (In regard to the White House visitor logs) Look at what all of a sudden shows up in the news…

What was inside Cheney’s office ? Were there visitor Logs conveniently stored there ? What else ?

Fire Controlled at White House Compound

WASHINGTON (AP) – Thick black smoke billowed from a fire Wednesday in Vice President Dick Cheney’s suite of offices in the historic Eisenhower Executive Office Building next to the White House. Cheney’s office was damaged by smoke and water from fire hoses, White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said. The vice president was not in the building at the time; he was in the West Wing of the White House with President Bush.

More than 1,000 people who work in the building were evacuated. The fire broke out on the second floor of the building around about 9:15 a.m. and was under control within a half hour, District of Columbia fire department spokesman Alan Etter said.

Afterward, Bush and Cheney appeared on West Executive Avenue, between the White House and the damaged building, to thank District of Columbia firefighters. A fire tanker nearby still had its ladder extended to a window on the blackened second floor.

The blaze was located in Cheney’s suite of ceremonial offices. His working office is in the West Wing. Secret Service spokesman Darrin Blackford said the building was evacuated as a precaution. District of Columbia firefighters poured water on the blaze, broke windows and moved furniture onto a balcony.

There were no reports of serious injuries, Etter said. A U.S. Marine stationed at the building smashed a fifth-floor window to escape from the smoke and had to be rescued from the ledge, he said. The man suffered a minor cut to his hand.

The building remained evacuated while firefighters ventilated the smoke, Etter said. The displaced employees were sent to other offices or went home.

The extent of water, fire and smoke damage was unclear.

Investigators were working to determine the cause of the blaze, Etter said. The smoke appeared to come from an electrical closet on the building’s second floor.

The Executive Office Building, a commanding structure with a granite, slate and cast iron exterior at the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 17th Street, houses the Office of Management and Budget and staff of the National Security Council and other agencies.

Originally built for the State, War and Navy Departments between 1871 and 1888, the building was renamed in honor of President Dwight Eisenhower during the Clinton administration.

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

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What are they hiding?

Sudhan @16:40 CET

RINF.com, December 19, 2007

A federal judge has taken a significant step in dismantling the wall of secrecy the Bush administration has needlessly built around the White House.

Judge Royce Lamberth ruled that White House visitors logs were public records and that the public had a right to see them.

The logs, maintained by the Secret Service, had been public until 2006, when the Bush administration, which adheres to the principle that its business is nobody’s but its own, declared that the logs were presidential records and thus exempt from the Freedom of Information Act under the doctrine of executive privilege.

Executive privilege is intended to protect the confidentiality and candor of the advice the president receives. The logs say only who visited the White House, when and for how long; they contain nothing about the substance of the visits.

It might shed light, however, on White House political machinations.

The White House says it will appeal, using that as an excuse not to comment on the legal setback. One day, it is to be hoped, Congress and the courts will throw open the doors and windows of the Bush administration and the sun will shine in. Unfortunately, it is likely to be long after it has left office.

Scripps Howard News Service

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Sudhan @16:25 CET

By Tim Grieve | Salon.com, December 19, 2007

The White House has been doing its best to distance itself from the potentially illegal destruction of videotapes of CIA interrogations of al-Qaida suspects, but it looks like the New York Times threw a wrench in those works on Wednesday. The Times reports that more Bush administration lawyers were involved in discussions about whether the tapes should be destroyed than previously acknowledged, and that administration officials may even have actively lobbied in favor of the plan.

Before Wednesday, only former White House counsel Harriet Miers had been reported to have taken part in discussions about the tapes, but the Times says the circle was wider. It includes former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales — who participated when he was White House counsel — David Addington, now Vice President Dick Cheney‘s chief of staff, and John Bellinger, formerly the senior lawyer at the National Security Council.

Continued . . .

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