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Thread: DynCorp - the Balkan child traffickers punish whistleblower

  1. #1

    Default DynCorp - the Balkan child traffickers punish whistleblower

    I know this story has been posted here before by Magda. But....

    What the UN Doesn't Want You to Know

    In 1999, Kathryn Bolkovac went to Bosnia as part of a UN mission. She discovered terrible wrongdoing - and refused to stay silent about it. She tells Nisha Lilia Diu her incredible story, now the subject of a film starring Rachel Weisz.


    Nisha Lilia Diu4:42PM GMT 06 Feb 2012


    'Do you want coffee? Baileys? Coffee and Baileys?’ Kathryn Bolkovac pours a dash of liqueur into a black onyx mug. 'That’s what I’m having.’
    She’s just home from work on this icy Friday evening in a small city near Amsterdam.
    She has lived in Holland, with her Dutch husband, ever since her life was transformed by events so extraordinary they have been made into a film, The Whistleblower, starring Rachel Weisz.
    Before going on a UN peacekeeping mission to Bosnia 13 years ago , Bolkovac, 51, was a police officer in Nebraska. She specialised in sex crimes, was nicknamed Xena: Warrior Princess, and had a 95 per cent conviction rate.
    'It was actually higher than that,’ she corrects me, settling on an L-shaped chocolate suede sofa. I tell her that in Britain the rape conviction rate is more like 6 per cent. She laughs, amazed.
    'You have to get confessions. That’s the trick – knowing how to interview people.’
    But with 10 years on the street and two failed marriages behind her, it was time for a change.
    She signed up with DynCorp, the private contractor providing American personnel for the UN mission in Bosnia. The war was only recently ended and the country’s legal infrastructure was in disarray.
    Bolkovac thought of 'all the good, meaningful work I was going to do’, training Bosnian police officers and re-establishing law and order.
    The first of several nasty shocks came before she’d even left: among the recruits at DynCorp’s training week in Texas was a man from Mississippi. He’d been to Bosnia before and had had such a good time he was going again.
    He told them all how scenic it was, adding, 'and I know where you can get really nice 12- to 15-year-olds’. Bolkovac was baffled, believing she’d misheard.
    In Bosnia, where there were so many dead the Olympic football stadium had been turned into a cemetery, she threw herself into her work.
    Soon Madeleine Rees, the head of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, had recruited her to run a pilot project on violence against women.
    While there, working in a police station with a hole in the floor for a lavatory, Bolkovac secured Bosnia’s first conviction for domestic violence.
    Then one day the body of a skimpily dressed Ukrainian girl came floating down the River Bosna. Soon after, a Moldovan girl was found wandering the river banks.
    Bolkovac attempted to interview her but only understood one word, 'Florida’, the name of a nightclub where she’d often see UN vehicles parked.
    When she arrived the club was deserted. She found stacks of American dollars and foreign passports in a safe and, behind a locked door, seven girls. 'Sheer terror,’ says Bolkovac of the looks on the girls’ faces. 'It was exactly as you see in the film: 'they’re huddled, they’re holding each other, they’re on these bare, stained mattresses.’ They were too afraid to talk. One of them pointed to the river outside. 'We don’t want to end up floating.’
    Dozens of girls began turning up at Bolkovac’s station with 'eerily similar’ stories:
    They’d taken a job abroad as a waitress or cleaner or nanny - often at the insistence of their own families - but during the journey everything had gone wrong.
    They were taken somewhere else altogether, forcibly stripped and sold to someone who humiliated, beat and raped them into dead-eyed submission. Now they were imprisoned in brothels in Bosnia.
    'People ask me what’s true,’ says the film’s director, Larysa Kondracki. 'But it’s barely scratching the surface. We had to tone it down.’
    The problem was so widespread, says Rees (now secretary general of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom), 'Kathy ended up having time to deal with nothing but trafficking.’
    Girls who escaped were frequently found – sometimes grabbed outside safe houses – and brutally punished by their pimp, with the others made to watch. But that wasn’t the only reason they wouldn’t testify.
    'They didn’t expect [the police] to help them,’ says Bolkovac.
    She discovered numerous individuals in the Bosnian and UN police (which was made up of some 1,800 officers from 45 countries) who were not only using trafficked prostitutes but were on the traffickers’ pay-roll.
    They were paid to give warnings on raids, return girls who escaped or, when rescued girls were repatriated ('dumped somewhere on the border’, according to Bolkovac), let the traffickers know where they could collect them so they could be 'recycled back into the system.
    'Free access to the girls was an added perk.’
    Bolkovac is fresh-faced and young-looking, with a thick ponytail of light-blonde hair, but she seems tired.
    'I found it intolerable,’ she says. The more she investigated, the more her UN colleagues turned against her.
    'She’d been very popular and one of the lads,’ says Rees. 'And you could see she was getting increasingly isolated in the cafeteria; people weren’t sitting with her.’
    Bolkovac’s files went missing, her superiors pulled her cases, people warned her to back off.
    Eventually, she wrote an email detailing everything she’d learnt and sent it to 50 senior mission personnel, with the subject 'Do not read this if you have a weak stomach or a guilty conscience’.
    Four days later she was demoted, and a few months after that DynCorp fired her for falsifying her timesheets.
    But Bolkovac had kept copies of all her files; her mantra, she says, has always been 'document, document, document’. She successfully sued DynCorp for unfair dismissal for making a protected disclosure – legal-speak for whistleblowing.
    The tribunal stated, 'It is hard to imagine a case in which a firm has behaved in a more callous manner.’
    Within hours of the ruling DynCorp settled a second whistleblowing case against it, offering an undisclosed sum to an aircraft mechanic from Texas called Ben Johnston, who had evidence of UN personnel buying and selling girls elsewhere in Bosnia.
    Johnston signed a gagging order. 'It was very disappointing,’ says Bolkovac with a sigh.
    Most disappointing of all was what happened next: several men were sent home, but none was punished further. No future employer will ever know what these men were guilty of.
    I asked DynCorp if its guidelines had become more stringent since 2001 and was sent its code of ethics.
    It states that 'engaging in or supporting any trafficking in persons […] is prohibited. Any person who violates this standard or fails to report violations of this standard shall be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.’
    So nothing has changed.
    DynCorp continues to win multimillion-dollar military contracts with the American government in Iraq, Afghanistan and Haiti among other places.
    This is despite paying a $155,000 settlement to a contractor in Iraq in January 2012 and, in June 2011, $7.7 million to the US State Department itself over charges of filing false paperwork.
    Unlike those who had been quietly sent home, Bolkovac’s professional record was blighted by her dismissal and she’s been unable to find work in international law enforcement since.
    She currently works at an auctioneers which deals in industrial and agricultural equipment, as well as consulting and speaking at universities and NGOs in her own time.
    The UN mission in Bosnia finished in January 2003 but the abuses did not end there.
    In fact, Jacques Paul Klein, the head of the UN mission in Bosnia, went on to lead the UN mission in Liberia, where he presided over similar scandals.
    He has now 'dropped off the face of the earth’, says Bolkovac.
    He was retired from the UN after allegedly having an affair with a woman who was taking his UN secrets to the Liberian dictator, Charles Taylor. 'You couldn’t make it up, could you?’ says Rees.
    Recent years have seen allegations of sexual exploitation by UN peacekeepers in the Ivory Coast, the Congo, Columbia… The list goes on.
    But UN personnel have hitherto been protected by diplomatic immunity – meaning they can’t be prosecuted in their mission country – and political expediency. Once they're home governments often have little desire to highlight their troops' bad behaviour.
    As a result of Bolkovac’s revelations, however, the UN set up a conduct and discipline unit in 2007.
    Susana Malcorra, who heads it up, tells me the UN can waive immunity if needs be: 'It does not cover personal misconduct.’
    More usually, the UN kicks people off its missions and hands the investigation and punishment over to the member state.
    'We go back to member states quarterly to remind them of cases they still have open,’ says Malcorra. 'We will not give up on following up on every single case that is pending in our file.’
    Have there been prosecutions? 'In the most horrible cases I have seen jail for significant periods.’
    Nevertheless, Bolkovac believes trafficking is still not taken seriously. '
    You should see the amount of money that’s put into training for anti-terrorism and gun-smuggling,’ she says. 'But when it comes to human trafficking and violence against women you don’t see the same resources being generated.’
    Sex trafficking is not, unfortunately, confined to areas with a military presence.
    The New York-based Somaly Mam Foundation, set up by a Cambodian woman who was trafficked as a child, estimates there are 2.7 million people enslaved globally, 85 per cent of whom are women and girls in forced prostitution.
    The most recent figure for England and Wales is 12,000, which Abigail Stepnitz of the British anti-trafficking organisation Poppy Project, calls 'a tip-of-the-iceberg number’.
    'For me the idea is to go after the demand end, to stop focussing on the victims,’ says Bolkovac. 'We have to focus on prosecution of the perpetrators.’
    This is starting to happen.
    Joseph Yannai, an author based in New York State, was convicted last June of trafficking girls from Europe, tricking them with adverts seeking editorial assistance. He’s facing a sentence of up to 80 years.
    Also last year, a Romanian father and son operating a huge forced prostitution ring in Britain were given 21 years.
    And, as Ariel Siegel at the Somaly Mam Foundation says, 'Men have to realise that the women they have encounters with might not be willing, despite appearances.’ In Britain it is illegal to pay for sex with someone who is being coerced.
    The Whistleblower was recently screened at UN headquarters in New York (though not before an internal memo was leaked showing that some officials wanted to ignore its release).
    Bolkovac has since been invited by the UN to hold a signing of her book, a riveting, fast-paced account of her time in Bosnia, also called The Whistleblower. 'I’ve followed up twice to set a date,’ she says. 'No response whatsoever.’
    No one within the organisation, or at DynCorp, has yet apologised to Bolkovac for the treatment she received, much less praised her for going after wrongdoing and attempting to raise the standard.
    Not yet.
    The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
    Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14

  2. #2

    Default

    No one jailed. No one lost their job or had it on their file except for the whistleblower. No contracts lost or fines imposed. No shame. No. Just business as usual.
    "I think it would be a good idea." Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization.

    The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Karl Marx.

    "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963, replied Ms Rice Davies when the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her.

  3. #3

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    It's a shit world these days Magda. The asylum's been taken over by the inmates. Business can do no wrong - they are the Masters of the Universe. So many people and entities turn their bottoms to them, pols, cops, you name it. It's truly sickening.
    The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
    Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14

  4. #4

    Default US security contractors & child sex allegations: US War Crimes Tribunal investigation #7

    US security contractors & child sex allegations: US War Crimes Tribunal investigation #7

    Posted on April 20, 2013 by admin





    US officials were asked to cover up evidence of child abuse by contractors in Afghanistan – leaked diplomatic cables revealed that US officials were complicit. DynCorp — a defense contracting firm that claimed almost $2 billion per year in revenue from U.S. tax dollars — threw a party for Afghan security recruits, featuring boys purchased from child traffickers for entertainment. DynCorp had already faced human trafficking charges (see end of article) before this incident took place. See below for more….

    (This report is part of a series of investigations for a proposed US War Crimes Tribunal. There is one more report to follow, plus a Summary report. Here are investigations #1 (Iraq War atrocities – part 1 ), #2 ( Iraq War atrocities – part 2 ), #3 ( Guantanamo Bay atrocities ), #4 ( Afghanistan atrocities ), #5 ( Dulci et decorum est pro patria mori ) and #6 ( Iraq War and perverting the course of justice ).)
    The proposed tribunal could take place in parallel with the so-called trial in June of Bradley Manning, the US soldier being prosecuted for passing on information about US war crimes.



    Foreign contractors employed to train Afghan policemen took drugs and paid for young “dancing boys” (see video at top of this article) to entertain them in northern Afghanistan. But the scandal was leaked and the Afghan interior minister requested that the US embassy to “quash” the story, according to a US embassy cable released by WikiLeaks. Hanif Atmar, the interior minister, warned that the story would “endanger lives”. He was also worried about a video of the incident might be made public. DynCorp was the US company whose employees were involved in the incident in the northern province of Kunduz.
    There is a long tradition of young boys dressing up as girls and dancing for men in Afghanistan, which is an activity that can occasionally lead to crosses child abuse, with some Afghans keeping the boys as ‘possessions’.
    Two Afghan policemen and nine other Afghans were arrested as part of the subsequent investigation.
    An article was published in July 2010 by the Washington Post about the incident, which made little of the affair, saying it was an incident of “questionable management oversight” in which foreign DynCorp workers “hired a teenage boy to perform a tribal dance at a company farewell party”. In fact, the episode was causing palpitations at the top of government, including in the presidential palace.
    The cable records: “Atmar said that President Karzai had told him that his (Atmar’s) ‘prestige’ was in play in management of the Kunduz DynCorp matter and another recent event in which Blackwater contractors mistakenly killed several Afghan citizens. The President had asked him ‘Where is the justice?’”
    In a meeting between Atmar and the assistant ambassador Joseph Mussomeli, the US diplomat said he was deeply upset by the incident and that the embassy was considering Afghan demands that the US military should beginning overseeing the DynCrop operations.
    Note.. DynCorp, together with another US security contractor, Halliburton, were also involved in sex trafficking allegations re their time in the Balkans. Ben Johnston, a DynCorp aircraft mechanic for Apache and Blackhawk helicopters in Kosovo, filed a lawsuit against his employer. The suit alleged that that in the latter part of1999 Johnson “learned that employees and supervisors from DynCorp were engaging in perverse, illegal and inhumane behavior [and] were purchasing illegal weapons, women, forged passports and [participating in] other immoral acts.” The suit charges that “Johnston witnessed coworkers and supervisors literally buying and selling women for their own personal enjoyment, and employees would brag about the various ages and talents of the individual slaves they had purchased.” “DynCorp is just as immoral and elite as possible, and any rule they can break they do,” Johnston told Insight magazine. He charged that the company also billed the Army for unnecessary repairs and padded the payroll. “What they say in Bosnia is that DynCorp just needs a warm body– that’s the DynCorp slogan. Even if you don’t do an eight-hour day, they’ll sign you in for it because that’s how they bill the government. It’s total fraud.”
    "I think it would be a good idea." Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization.

    The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Karl Marx.

    "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963, replied Ms Rice Davies when the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her.

  5. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by David Guyatt View Post
    It's a shit world these days Magda. The asylum's been taken over by the inmates. Business can do no wrong - they are the Masters of the Universe. So many people and entities turn their bottoms to them, pols, cops, you name it. It's truly sickening.
    In these kind if institute we already know that business is considered as a comprehensive works due to the some policy. However, these kind of human trafficking can cause of disadvantages like some of the victims are facing the problem such us, inferiority complex.




  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Coby Brendon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by David Guyatt View Post
    It's a shit world these days Magda. The asylum's been taken over by the inmates. Business can do no wrong - they are the Masters of the Universe. So many people and entities turn their bottoms to them, pols, cops, you name it. It's truly sickening.
    In these kind if institute we already know that business is considered as a comprehensive works due to the some policy. However, these kind of human trafficking can cause of disadvantages like some of the victims are facing the problem such us, inferiority complex.



    Sorry Coby, but I don't really understand what you're trying to say?
    The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
    Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14

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