Saturday, July 28, 2007

Slave Labor at the US Iraq Embassy?

State Department officials are strongly disputing charges that slave labor has been used to build the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. Rory Mayberry, a former subcontractor for First Kuwaiti testified during Thursday's Congressional Oversight Committee hearing on the US Embassy in Iraq. He claimed Filipino workers were taken to Iraq against their will, at gunpoint, and forced to work in unsafe conditions to build the U.S. Embassy.
Let me spell it out clearly: I believe these men were kidnapped by First Kuwaiti to work on the US Embassy. They had no passports because they were confiscated at the Kuwait airport. When the airplane touched down in Baghdad they were loaded onto buses and taken away. Later I found out that they were smuggled into the Green Zone. They had no ID, no passports, and were being smuggled past US security forces.

I had a trailer all to myself on the Green Zone, but they were packed twenty-five to thirty a trailer. And every day they went out to work on the construction of the Embassy without proper safety equipment. I went out on the construction site to watch. There were a lot of injuries out there because of the conditions these men were forced to work in. It was absurd. I'd been hired because of my experience with OSHA guidelines and compliance, and saw guys without shoes, without gloves, no safety harnesses, and on scaffolding thirty feet off of the ground, their toes wrapped around the rebar like a bunch of birds. One guy was up there, intoxicated on painkillers, and I had to yell and scream for ten minutes until they got him down....

h/t BoingBoing


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