Monday, August 06, 2007

For Contractors Only?

A recent posting on an adult web site is causing a stir in the Iraq War Zone. And no, this isn't another example of a military member who's posed nude for a skin mag, or turned up in a porn film. Rather, it's an offer for military contractors who might want a little "R&R" in the coming months--for a price.

According to the posting "Tori of Atlanta" will be offering her (ahem) "services" to private contractors deployed to Iraq. The message, which appeared on the Erotic Review website, indicates that Tori will soon embark on a three-month "Middle East Tour," including a stint in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone.

"I am in a unique position of entertaining from a secured compound," she writes, encouraging contractors to visit her site for details, and make arrangements for a "taste of home" during their stint in Iraq. According to the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot (which broke the story in the MSM), Tori's "entertainment sessions" will be limited to contractor personnel. Military members need not apply:

"My apologies but at this time I am UNABLE to plan any meetings w/ACTIVE DUTY MILITARY. (*The members of PMC community has an exclusive arrangement during this visit*) Kisses, Tori."


Tori limits her invitation to contractors who are registered with the Private Security Company Association of Iraq, a Baghdad-based trade group that, according to its Web site, represents about 50 companies, including Moyock, N.C.-based Blackwater USA. The trade association's logo is reproduced at the bottom of the posting.

A spokesman for the trade group told the Pilot that his association does not, nor will ever condone the type of activity suggested. An investigation into the announcement is underway, and the association has threatened to expel any member involved in "promoting, condoning, or participating in those activities."

We're guessing that Tori's claims are nothing more than a publicity stunt, although it's surprising that anyone in that dubious business would want to attract attention (after all, vice cops surf the internet, too). As a result, Tori may have a few (non-paying) visitors at her house in the coming days. With the latest "D.C. Madam" gaining headlines--not to mention possible book and movie offers--perhaps "Tori's" "Middle East tour" is aimed at garnering media attention, hoping to land a similar deal.

Besides, there's the real question of how the Atlanta escort would actually get into Iraq, and set up shop at her "bullet-proof" villa in the Green Zone. Officially, the State Department discourages "unnecessary" travel to Iraq (for obvious reasons). For Americans willing to make the trip, there are now passport and visa requirements; foreigners planning to stay for more than 10 days must also obtain a residency stamp from the Iraqi police, which requires proof of employment and results of an HIV test, among other documentation. The days when an American could simply fly into Baghdad and get a visa at the airport are over. Similar requirements exist in other countries that may be included on her "tour."

But that's not to say that a well-financed (and possibly, well-connected) entrepreneur like Tori couldn't secure the required documents. Indeed, there's the possibility that employees of one of the security firms helped "orchestrate" the tour, placing her on their list of Iraq-bound employees, and provided assistance in obtaining the necessary documents, arranging travel and providing accommodations. Wonkette, who was the first with this "item" in the blogosphere, claimed that Tori was supposed to deploy this week, suggesting that her travel arrangements were already complete.

While Tori's arrival might do wonders for contractor morale, it would come with a serious downside for any sponsoring company. In theory, the U.S. or Iraqi governments could suspend or terminate the contract of any firm that sponsored or condoned illegal activities, including prostitution. We say "in theory," because there's been much controversy about the lack of accountability among contractors in Iraq. In many cases, the federal government has been willing to look the other way, provided that the controversy isn't too serious, and the contract is being fulfilled. However, they'd probably draw the line at allowing an "escort service" to entertain clients at any location within the Green Zone.

At this point, we're guessing that Tori's little Middle East Tour is under some high-level scrutiny--assuming it was actually planned in the first place. Morale concerns aside, no defense contractor wants to be identified as a "pimp" for an escort service, and the U.S. and Iraqi governments don't want that sort of enterprise operating in the Green Zone. It's a safe bet that U.S. and Iraqi officials, along with officials from various contractor firms, are scrutinizing lists of recently-arrived or in-bound personnel, looking for anyone who might fit Tori's profile.

Not that this sort of thing hasn't happened before. Prostitutes have long been part of the "camp followers" that inevitably accompany an army into a war zone. The days of brothels next to a post have long since passed (at least in the U.S. military), but for those interested that type of "professional" can still be found, even in middle eastern countries with strict laws against prostitution. Since the first Gulf War, plenty of working girls have set up shop in Bahrain, catering to a western military and contractor clientele. In fact, some of the hotels on the island are described as little more than brothels, so Tori might have some cut-rat ecompetition if she stops in Manama.


An e-mailer who alerted us to the story wondered if the website (and the announcement) might be part of a "sting" operation. However, another e-mail indicates that Tori's website looks like "the real deal," with a complete list of her services. If we had to guess, we'd say that she's "in the business," although her publicity efforts have likely derailed the Middle East tour, or at least, the Baghdad leg of her trip.

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