Monday, October 10, 2005

Supporting exploitation

Here's an investigative article from the Chicago Tribune that shows your tax dollars at work:

American tax dollars and the wartime needs of the U.S. military are fueling an illicit pipeline of cheap foreign labor, mainly impoverished Asians who often are deceived, exploited and put in harm's way in Iraq with little protection.

Part 1: Desperate for work, lured into danger

The journey of a dozen impoverished men from Nepal to Iraq reveals the exploitation underpinning the American war effort. Read the story >>

Part 2: Into a war zone, on a deadly road

A worker's chilling call home: 'I am done for'.

Read the story >>

The findings

* To fill a need for cheap labor in Iraq, the U.S. military and its contractors have tapped an illicit human pipeline that exploits and endangers workers.

* The U.S. and its main contractor in Iraq, KBR, leave every aspect of the hiring and deployment of foreign laborers to Middle Eastern subcontractors.

* Some subcontractors and brokers employ the same tools of fraud and coercion condemned by the U.S. when practiced in other countries.

* Several nations, including Nepal, have banned or restricted citizens from work in Iraq, but KBR allows people from these nations to work under its contract anyway. Read the story >>

We need to demand accountability somehow. But how? That's the question. It seems our public servants can't be counted on to behave responsibly and ethically.

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