Working for Change – 2004-08-17 23:36:08
Just Say “No” to No-Bid Contract for Company Involved in Abu Ghraib Abuse
The images of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib, abused and humiliated at the hands of American service men and women, will not soon be forgotten. However, the Department of Defense seems to have no bounds to its arrogance.
Even as uniformed soldiers were being court martialed for their misconduct at Abu Ghraib, the US Army announced that it had awarded a no-bid contract worth up to $23 million to CACI International Inc., a private contractor that employed an interrogator cited for involvement in the sexual humiliation of Iraqis at the notorious prison. The purpose of the contract — to provide private interrogators in Iraq!
Secretary of State Colin Powell, himself a retired Army general, who must represent the United States to the rest of the world, should condemn this shameful contract and call on the Army to cease working with CACI unless the company and its employees are fully exonerated from current charges of participation in the Abu Ghraib abuse.
As reported in the Los Angeles Times, the Army awarded the contract without competitive bidding claiming that CACI’s interrogators were already on the ground.
However, an internal Army investigation found evidence of serious abuse of prisoners by both US military personnel and private contractors. In fact, the report found that a CACI employee “clearly knew his instructions equated to physical abuse.” The report recommended that this employee be fired for his actions. Shockingly, CACI has not terminated a single employee in connection with this scandal.
Urge Secretary of State Colin Powell to condemn the CACI International Inc. contract and work to halt it before additional prisoners are put at risk of abuse and the reputation of the United States is further damaged.
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Help Servicewomen who Have Been Sexually Assaulted
NARAL Pro-Choice America
Each year, between three and six percent of women in the military report being sexually assaulted. Women serving our country should never have to face a sexual assault, but if they do, they should — at a minimum — be able to receive timely care and support regardless of their ability to pay. But today servicewomen don’t even have the same right Medicaid recipients do to public support for abortion care in cases of rape or incest.
Present law bars the Department of Defense (DoD) from providing abortion services except in cases of life endangerment, rape or incest. However, in cases of rape or incest, the woman must bear the cost of the procedure herself. Even the very restrictive Medicaid law provides federal funding for abortion services for low-income women in cases of rape or incest, in addition to life endangerment. Military women shouldn’t have to suffer this indignity any longer.
Between three and six percent of active-duty women in the military report having been sexually assaulted, unreported rapes may be much more frequent, and the problem may be getting worse.
The number of reported rape cases has risen from 356 in 1999 to 469 last year in the Army alone. Another study found that 30 percent of female US military veterans report having been raped or suffered a rape attempt during their military service.
Sens. Boxer and Snowe succeeded in persuading the Senate to reverse this policy. But anti-choice lawmakers want to strip it out of the DoD bill. We need as many members of Congress as possible to talk to Department of Defense authorization conferees in support of the provision.
Call to Action
Urge your representative to work to persuade Department of Defense authorization conferees to keep the Boxer-Snowe provision to support servicewomen’s access to adequate medical services in the event of a sexual assault.
The Senate has already approved language, authored by Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), to change the policy, but the provision may be stripped after the August recess. Urge your representative to work to persuade Department of Defense authorization conferees to keep the Boxer-Snowe provision to support servicewomen’s access to adequate medical services in the event of a sexual assault.