Sunday, October 16, 2005

What's A Little Human Trafficking Among Friends?

Cheap labor flows to Iraq -- Page 1 --
"The United States has long condemned the practices that characterize this human trade as it operates elsewhere in the Middle East. Yet this very system is now part of the privatization of the American war effort and is central to the operations of Halliburton subsidiary KBR, the U.S. military's biggest private contractor in Iraq.


Some U.S. subcontractors in Iraq -- and the brokers feeding them -- employ practices condemned by the U.S. elsewhere, including fraud, coercion and seizure of workers' passports.

The State Department has long expressed concerns about the treatment of foreign workers in the same Middle Eastern nations the United States relies on to supply labor for bases in Iraq. In June, the department added four of these nations -- Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates -- to the top tier of its human trafficking watch list for not undertaking 'significant efforts to combat forced labor trafficking.'

U.S. law calls for sanctions in such cases. But last month, citing Kuwait's and Saudi Arabia's efforts in the 'global war on terror,' President Bush waived the sanctions against them. This allowed more than $6 billion in combined military sales to go forward. One reason laborers from developing countries are sought for work in Iraq is the U.S. military fears that hiring Iraqis would allow insurgents to infiltrate its bases.


The U.S. military has outsourced vital support operations in Iraq to KBR at an unprecedented scale, a deal that has cost U.S. taxpayers more than $12 billion. KBR, in turn, outsources much of that work to more than 200 subcontractors, many of them based in the Middle East.


Asked what it was doing to stop the flow of workers from these nations or to monitor its subcontractors, KBR said questions "regarding the recruitment practices of subcontractors should be directed to the subcontractor."

The U.S. Army, which oversees the contract, said much the same. "Questions involving alleged misconduct toward employees by subcontractor firms should be addressed to those firms, as these are not Army issues."

An estimated 10,000 Nepal citizens are now in Iraq despite policies restricting such work."

Our taxes are being used to subsidize international wage slavery; now that's capitalism!

This article really made me angry. The whole "plausible deniability" stance of KBR and the military, along with Bush letting it slide with his friends the Saudi's, etc. really turns my stomach. Privatization is one thing, outsourcing is another, and human trafficking is virtual slavery. These people have got to be stopped, that's all there is to it.

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