"Redneck Mafia" in Iraq?

According to a story broadcast on the left-wing radio show Democracy Now! on 3/30/05, some of the Iraq field operations of Halliburton subsidiary Kellog, Brown and Root are dominated by a brutal and racist “Redneck Mafia” – a group of employees recruited from the area of Leesville, Louisiana – which recently gang-beat a Latino employee, Ronald Lee Chavez – http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=05/03/30/1544247. Chavez is now in intensive care in a military hospital at Camp Anaconda. His father is complaining to the Justice Department. Chavez’ only offenses (according to his father) were to complain about insufficient security at the airport and agitate to move his company’s Baghdad operations into the U.S.-military-controlled zone for safety reasons. (He also complained about the Iraqi government taking money from the U.S. for airport security and then not giving it to the security contractor, Globe Security. “The money is probably in a Swiss account somewhere. These people are the most corrupt bunch I’ve ever seen. Everyone is on the take.”) KBR will make no comment other than that it is “investigating the situation”; three KBR employees have been sent back to the U.S. (with no criminal charges filed against them).

I think this is worthy of debate because it’s apparently not an isolated incident. Iraq is a place where the new government is corrupt and ineffectual, and the American corporations supposedly rebuilding the country (partly at the American taxpayers’ expense) are equally corrupt and seem to think (correctly) that they can do whatever the fuck they want without being held accountable. From a rush transcript of the broadcast, statement by Pratap Chatterjee of Corpwatch.org (http://www.corpwatch.org/):

The situation is further complicated by uncertainty over what government, if any, has jurisdiction over these matters, and who has standing to prosecute or to sue. (We discussed this in a recent thread about Custer Battles, a reconstruction contractor that’s being sued for massive fraud, and which is raising the defense that the Coalition Provisional Authority, which it allegedly defrauded, was not an agency of the U.S. government and, in fact, never had any legal existence – http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=304863.) Of course, we can’t expect the Iraqi government to do anything about a situation from which some of its members are, apparently, personally profiting. And, of course, we can’t expect the Bush Administration to do anything about a situation from which some of its friends and supporters are personally profiting.

What can we do about this? :mad:

Sorry, the thread title should, of course, read “Redneck Mafia,” not “Reneck Mafia.” :o Mods, could you please correct that? :slight_smile:

Aside from drawing more attention to the matter and making a ruckus to demand a full investigation and prosecution (if necessary), I’m not sure what we ordinary folks can do about this.

And given the total lack of progress regarding something as alarming as the Valerie Plame leak, I doubt we’ll be seeing any satisfactory resolution to this mess any time soon.

Cool! I’ve got a Mafia now. :smiley:

[jeff foxworthy]

If you have ever fixed the outcome of a tractor pull, you might be in the Redneck Mafia! :slight_smile:


Here’s something I didn’t know: Ronald Lee Chavez’ father, Eli Chavez, was the Democratic candidate for Congress for New Mexico’s 1st District in 2004. [UPDATE] Halliburton Employee Gang-Beaten by Baghdad Co-Workers

Did the KBR workers who beat up Ronald Lee know that, I wonder?

Eli is also a veteran of the 82nd Airborne, former DEA special agent, and former CIA agent decorated for his work in the Philippines and Laos. LP: Exclusive: Halliburton Employee Says He Was Gang-Beaten By Co-Workers at Baghdad Airport Not a guy you’d want to piss off. :wink: