RPT-KBR, Halliburton hit by ex-worker’s rape charges

RPT-KBR, Halliburton hit by ex-worker’s rape charges

Thu Dec 20, 2007 7:24am EST

By Anna Driver

HOUSTON, Dec 19 (Reuters) – Major Pentagon contractor KBR Inc and former parent Halliburton Co  are facing rising political heat from a lawsuit filed by a woman who says she was gang-raped by fellow employees of a KBR unit in Iraq.

The complaint by Jamie Leigh Jones accuses the companies of tolerating abusive behavior and sexual harassment, creating a dangerous place to work for women in Iraq.

KBR, the Pentagon’s largest private contractor in Iraq, has already drawn scrutiny from auditors, lawmakers and the U.S. Justice Department for its billing claims related to services provided to troops in that country.

Jones, who went public to draw attention to her case, is suing KBR and Halliburton for compensatory and punitive damages in federal court in Houston.

Her allegations have won big play on TV, provided fodder for anti-war bloggers and caught the attention of politicians.

Jones testified about the incident on Wednesday before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee at a hearing on the enforcement of laws to protect Americans working in Iraq.

The investigation of the attack, initially undertaken by KBR security personnel, was turned over to the government at the government’s request, KBR said.

Now lawmakers are demanding answers and accountability.

"The individuals who assaulted Jamie must be rounded up and tried," Ted Poe, a Republican congressman from Texas, said in his statement at the hearing. "Nonfeasance by civilian contracting companies cannot be tolerated."

Companies that hire civilian contractors in Iraq have an obligation to provide a safe place to work, he said.

Other politicians who have called for action include New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, who is a seeking to become the first woman U.S. president, and Rep. John Conyers, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

FALLOUT

Halliburton, which spun off KBR into a separate company earlier this year, says it has been improperly named in the action and expects to be dismissed from the lawsuit.

In an e-mail statement, a KBR spokeswoman said it was improper to comment on pending litigation, but the safety and security of employees was the company’s top priority.

"Clearly from a public relations standpoint, this is doing absolutely no good for the companies," said Sheryl Willert, past president of defense lawyer group DRI and a labor and employment attorney with Williams Kastner in Seattle.

"It certainly does not do much for their reputations."

According to Jones, she was drugged and raped by KBR employees working as firefighters in Baghdad after only four days in Iraq.

The attack was so vicious, she said in legal documents, that it displaced her breast implants and required the repair of her torn pectoral muscles.

Jones alleges that after the attack, KBR held her under armed guard for 24 hours, and the results of a medical examination documenting the attack that were given to company security workers have now disappeared.

No criminal charges have been filed.

KBR and Halliburton have argued in court papers that the matter be settled in arbitration rather than by a jury.

But lawyers said both methods carry risks.

"If the allegations are in fact true, I think even the coldest arbitrator might award substantial damages to a victim of that sort of conduct," Seth Chandler, a professor of law at the University of Houston.

Trials can also pose a risk because juries are unpredictable, and Texas juries have in the past given huge punitive awards, Willert said.

© Reuters 2007. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.

RPT-KBR, Halliburton hit by ex-worker’s rape charges

RPT-KBR, Halliburton hit by ex-worker’s rape charges

Thu Dec 20, 2007 7:24am EST

By Anna Driver

HOUSTON, Dec 19 (Reuters) – Major Pentagon contractor KBR Inc and former parent Halliburton Co  are facing rising political heat from a lawsuit filed by a woman who says she was gang-raped by fellow employees of a KBR unit in Iraq.

The complaint by Jamie Leigh Jones accuses the companies of tolerating abusive behavior and sexual harassment, creating a dangerous place to work for women in Iraq.

KBR, the Pentagon’s largest private contractor in Iraq, has already drawn scrutiny from auditors, lawmakers and the U.S. Justice Department for its billing claims related to services provided to troops in that country.

Jones, who went public to draw attention to her case, is suing KBR and Halliburton for compensatory and punitive damages in federal court in Houston.

Her allegations have won big play on TV, provided fodder for anti-war bloggers and caught the attention of politicians.

Jones testified about the incident on Wednesday before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee at a hearing on the enforcement of laws to protect Americans working in Iraq.

The investigation of the attack, initially undertaken by KBR security personnel, was turned over to the government at the government’s request, KBR said.

Now lawmakers are demanding answers and accountability.

"The individuals who assaulted Jamie must be rounded up and tried," Ted Poe, a Republican congressman from Texas, said in his statement at the hearing. "Nonfeasance by civilian contracting companies cannot be tolerated."

Companies that hire civilian contractors in Iraq have an obligation to provide a safe place to work, he said.

Other politicians who have called for action include New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, who is a seeking to become the first woman U.S. president, and Rep. John Conyers, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

FALLOUT

Halliburton, which spun off KBR into a separate company earlier this year, says it has been improperly named in the action and expects to be dismissed from the lawsuit.

In an e-mail statement, a KBR spokeswoman said it was improper to comment on pending litigation, but the safety and security of employees was the company’s top priority.

"Clearly from a public relations standpoint, this is doing absolutely no good for the companies," said Sheryl Willert, past president of defense lawyer group DRI and a labor and employment attorney with Williams Kastner in Seattle.

"It certainly does not do much for their reputations."

According to Jones, she was drugged and raped by KBR employees working as firefighters in Baghdad after only four days in Iraq.

The attack was so vicious, she said in legal documents, that it displaced her breast implants and required the repair of her torn pectoral muscles.

Jones alleges that after the attack, KBR held her under armed guard for 24 hours, and the results of a medical examination documenting the attack that were given to company security workers have now disappeared.

No criminal charges have been filed.

KBR and Halliburton have argued in court papers that the matter be settled in arbitration rather than by a jury.

But lawyers said both methods carry risks.

"If the allegations are in fact true, I think even the coldest arbitrator might award substantial damages to a victim of that sort of conduct," Seth Chandler, a professor of law at the University of Houston.

Trials can also pose a risk because juries are unpredictable, and Texas juries have in the past given huge punitive awards, Willert said.

© Reuters 2007. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.

Estulin: Elitists Consider Assassinating Ron Paul

Estulin, whose information has unfortunately proven very accurate in the past, went public with the bombshell news during an appearance on The Alex Jones Show today.

"I am getting information from my sources that there are people involved from a higher level of the American establishment who are seriously considering – this has not been confirmed – but assassination is definitely on the agenda and I pray to God that this is not the case," said Estulin.

Estulin, an award winning investigative journalist, said that he was given the information from a source that has been reliable for over a decade in providing accurate projections of future events based on what the elite were discussing in their own circles and that assassination was a serious option should the Ron Paul Revolution continue to pick up steam.

Estulin, author of the global bestseller The True Story of the Bilderberg Group described the concept as a "trial balloon from the inner core within the inner core – it hasn’t gone beyond that but it is obviously on the table because I think needless to say they are very much concerned," he added.

Ron Paul himself has stated on a previous occasion that he is aware of the dangers of being such a bold icon for freedom and understands that political assassinations have occured in the past.

In a June appearance on The Alex Jones Show, Congressman Paul acknowledged that such a threat is "real," agreeing with a number of historical examples where leaders were killed or attacked for successfully standing up to the system. "That’s right. They’ll do it," Paul said, making reference with Alex Jones to upstarts like Andrew Jackson, "The Kingfish" Huey Long, Bobby Kennedy, George Washington and even George Wallace.

Estulin pointed out that his past predictions about global events were very accurate because of the solid information provided to him from within Bilderberg and the elite. Over 18 months ago Estulin correctly made the call that the Iran war had been delayed and was probably off the table, which is looking to be exactly the case after the release of the recent National Intelligence Estimate. Estulin in featured at length in Alex Jones’ film Endgame, in which he is also filmed making the prediction based on his sources.

Estulin said his sources were from within the intelligence community and they were telling him that "the people of the highest levels of government – not related in any way at least visually to George W. Bush – the first initial conversation of what might happen if we were to do this," has taken place.

"The Ron Paul phenomenon has galvanized an entire nation," said Estulin, adding that both the people who discovered the plot and its potential protagonists are terrified at the consequences of what such an action will be because of the difficulty in judging just how severely the general public will react.

Estulin said that the conspirators, which he described as a "small circle of intimates," were discussing what the effect would be if Congressman Paul was "removed" – they are being very careful to use the word "remove" rather than more volatile terms, but Estulin was told directly that "remove" was a euphemism for assassinate.

Estulin said he may be able to be more specific on exactly who is discussing such an action in future, but warned that Ron Paul’s staff should be aware of the issue.

Click here to listen to the MP3 interview with Daniel Estulin.

Catholic bank caught investing on immoral shares.

Contraceptive pill

The Catholic Church is staunchly against the use of the pill

A Roman Catholic bank in Germany has apologised after admitting it bought stocks in defence, tobacco and birth control companies.

Der Spiegel newspaper discovered the bank had invested 580,000 euros (£495,310, $826,674) in British arms company BAE Systems.

It also invested 160,000 euros in American birth control pill maker Wyeth and 870,000 euros in tobacco companies.

The bank apologised for behaviour “not in keeping with ethical standards”.

Pax Bank has previously advertised ethical investment funds, specifically claiming to avoid arms and tobacco companies along with organisations that do not adhere to Catholic beliefs.

The Catholic Church has historically condemned the use of contraception, for breaking the link between sex and procreation – a view emphatically upheld by current Pope Benedict XVI.

In the past he has called birth control a “grave sin”.

A spokesman for Pax Bank said: “We will rectify the mistakes immediately without negative consequences for our clients.

“Unfortunately in a few internal reviews, the critical investments in question were overlooked – we deeply regret this.”

The spokesman thanked journalists for bringing the controversial investments to its attention.

FEMA NATIONAL LEVEL MARTIAL LAW EXERCISES 7-27-09

FEMA NATIONAL LEVEL MARTIAL LAW EXERCISES 7-27-09 Foreign soldiers will be utilized in a joint intelligence operation

Firearm confiscation in region VI

prepare , you’re not going to hear about this on mainstream media…it is on FEMA.GOV

Source: FEMA Website http://www.fema.gov/media/fact_sheets/nle09.shtm

Revolutionary Espresso Book Machine launches in London

It’s not elegant and it’s not sexy – it looks like a large photocopier – but the Espresso Book Machine is being billed as the biggest change for the literary world since Gutenberg invented the printing press more than 500 years ago and made the mass production of books possible. Launching today at Blackwell’s Charing Cross Road branch in London, the machine prints and binds books on demand in five minutes, while customers wait.

Signalling the end, says Blackwell, to the frustration of being told by a bookseller that a title is out of print, or not in stock, the Espresso offers access to almost half a million books, from a facsimile of Lewis Carroll’s original manuscript for Alice in Wonderland to Mrs Beeton’s Book of Needlework. Blackwell hopes to increase this to over a million titles by the end of the summer – the equivalent of 23.6 miles of shelf space, or over 50 bookshops rolled into one. The majority of these books are currently out-of-copyright works, but Blackwell is working with publishers throughout the UK to increase access to in-copyright writings, and says the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

“This could change bookselling fundamentally,” said Blackwell chief executive Andrew Hutchings. “It’s giving the chance for smaller locations, independent booksellers, to have the opportunity to truly compete with big stock-holding shops and Amazon … I like to think of it as the revitalisation of the local bookshop industry. If you could walk into a local bookshop and have access to one million titles, that’s pretty compelling.”

From academics keen to purchase reproductions of rare manuscripts to wannabe novelists after a copy of their self-published novels, Blackwell believes the Espresso – a Time magazine “invention of the year” – can cater to a wide range of needs, and will be monitoring customer usage closely over the next few months as it looks to pin down pricing (likely to be around the level of traditional books) and demand. It then hopes to roll it out across its 60-store network, with its flagship Oxford branch likely to be an early recipient as well as a host of smaller, campus-based shops.

The brainchild of American publisher Jason Epstein, the Espresso was a star attraction at the London Book Fair this week, where it was on display to interested publishers. Hordes were present to watch it click and whirr into action, printing over 100 pages a minute, clamping them into place, then binding, guillotining and spitting out the (warm as toast) finished article. The quality of the paperback was beyond dispute: the text clear, unsmudged and justified, the paper thick, the jacket smart, if initially a little tacky to the touch.

Described as an “ATM for books” by its US proprietor On Demand Books, Espresso machines have already been established in the US, Canada and Australia, and in the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt, but the Charing Cross Road machine is the first to be set up in a UK bookstore. It cost Blackwell some $175,000, but the bookseller believes it will make this back in a year. “I do think this is going to change the book business,” said Phill Jamieson, Blackwell head of marketing. “It has the potential to be the biggest change since Gutenberg and we certainly hope it will be. And it’s not just for us – it gives the ability to small independent bookshops to compete with anybody.”

Revolutionary Espresso Book Machine launches in London

book machine

It’s not elegant and it’s not sexy – it looks like a large photocopier – but the Espresso Book Machine is being billed as the biggest change for the literary world since Gutenberg invented the printing press more than 500 years ago and made the mass production of books possible. Launching today at Blackwell’s Charing Cross Road branch in London, the machine prints and binds books on demand in five minutes, while customers wait.

Signalling the end, says Blackwell, to the frustration of being told by a bookseller that a title is out of print, or not in stock, the Espresso offers access to almost half a million books, from a facsimile of Lewis Carroll’s original manuscript for Alice in Wonderland to Mrs Beeton’s Book of Needlework. Blackwell hopes to increase this to over a million titles by the end of the summer – the equivalent of 23.6 miles of shelf space, or over 50 bookshops rolled into one. The majority of these books are currently out-of-copyright works, but Blackwell is working with publishers throughout the UK to increase access to in-copyright writings, and says the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

“This could change bookselling fundamentally,” said Blackwell chief executive Andrew Hutchings. “It’s giving the chance for smaller locations, independent booksellers, to have the opportunity to truly compete with big stock-holding shops and Amazon … I like to think of it as the revitalisation of the local bookshop industry. If you could walk into a local bookshop and have access to one million titles, that’s pretty compelling.”

From academics keen to purchase reproductions of rare manuscripts to wannabe novelists after a copy of their self-published novels, Blackwell believes the Espresso – a Time magazine “invention of the year” – can cater to a wide range of needs, and will be monitoring customer usage closely over the next few months as it looks to pin down pricing (likely to be around the level of traditional books) and demand. It then hopes to roll it out across its 60-store network, with its flagship Oxford branch likely to be an early recipient as well as a host of smaller, campus-based shops.

The brainchild of American publisher Jason Epstein, the Espresso was a star attraction at the London Book Fair this week, where it was on display to interested publishers. Hordes were present to watch it click and whirr into action, printing over 100 pages a minute, clamping them into place, then binding, guillotining and spitting out the (warm as toast) finished article. The quality of the paperback was beyond dispute: the text clear, unsmudged and justified, the paper thick, the jacket smart, if initially a little tacky to the touch.

Described as an “ATM for books” by its US proprietor On Demand Books, Espresso machines have already been established in the US, Canada and Australia, and in the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt, but the Charing Cross Road machine is the first to be set up in a UK bookstore. It cost Blackwell some $175,000, but the bookseller believes it will make this back in a year. “I do think this is going to change the book business,” said Phill Jamieson, Blackwell head of marketing. “It has the potential to be the biggest change since Gutenberg and we certainly hope it will be. And it’s not just for us – it gives the ability to small independent bookshops to compete with anybody.”

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