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Primary Sources: Workers’ Contracts from Iraq/Afghanistan

This week, on The New Yorker’s “News Desk” blog, I offer a brief summary of the alleged abuses many foreign workers face on U.S. bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with several annotated labor contracts provided to me by Pentagon subcontractors.  I focus on some of the primary source material used in my “Invisible Army” story, including the surreal contract signed in Iraq by one of the protagonists of my article, Vinnie Tuivaga.  As I write in the post:

It’s a strange document, requiring Vinnie to attest:

I am willingly and of my own free will have decided to go and work in Iraq and I declare that no one in Fiji or out of Fiji has approach [sic] me to work in Iraq.

But the basic terms of the deal—wages, hours, vacation time—are relatively standard, based on the dozens of other labor contracts I’ve examined from Pentagon subcontractors over the course of the past year or so. For instance, one worker’s contract for a “head chef” position with Najlaa International Catering Services, a Kuwait-based company, includes this clause:

In case of employee performing any strike or stop working the employee will pay an amount of 2500 USD for disrupting the work.

Read more and see the workers’ contracts at:

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