We have a short memory here in the old US of A. Not long ago DynCorp was accused of providing Afghan police with drugs and child prostitutes. For the most part, the story was ignored in the US but, after being leaked by Wikileaks, it was reported by the UK Guardian in 2010:
“A scandal involving foreign contractors employed to train Afghan policemen who took drugs and paid for young “dancing boys” to entertain them in northern Afghanistan caused such panic that the interior minister begged the US embassy to try and “quash” the story, according to one of the US embassy cables released by WikiLeaks.”
“There is a long tradition of young boys dressing up as girls and dancing for men in Afghanistan, an activity that sometimes crosses the line into child abuse with Afghans keeping boys as possessions.”
“The story had been held back after the warning that it would “endanger lives.” The Afghan government asked the US to military to maintain oversight over its mercenary forces only to find that that would violate their contract.”
Corpwatch has long been critical of DynCorp:
“The world’s premier rent-a-cop business runs the security show in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the US-Mexico border. They also run the coca crop-dusting business in Colombia, and occasional sex trafficking sorties in Bosnia. But what can you expect from a bunch of mercenaries?”
“Indeed a group of Ecuadoran peasants filed a class action against the company in September 2001. The suit alleges that herbicides spread by DynCorp in Colombia were drifting across the border, withering legitimate crops, causing human and livestock illness, and, in several cases, killing children. Assistant Secretary of State Rand Beers intervened in the case right away telling the judge the lawsuit posed “a grave risk to US national security and foreign policy objectives.”
“What’s more, Kathryn Bolkovac, a U.N. International Police Force monitor filed a lawsuit in Britain in 2001 against DynCorp for firing her after she reported that Dyncorp police trainers in Bosnia were paying for prostitutes and participating in sex trafficking. Many of the Dyncorp employees were forced to resign under suspicion of illegal activity. But none were prosecuted, since they enjoy immunity from prosecution in Bosnia.”
“Earlier that year 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 of 1999 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.” –Corpwatch, 2005
I am providing all this history to contextualize the news that the Obama administration has hired Dyncorp at a tax payer price of 48 million dollars to train 110 advisors and to “provide logistics” support to the Haitian Police. The Center for Economic and Policy Research provides the following warning:
But the awarding of the contract to DynCorp is also problematic given the company’s terrible track record in the same exact program areas where they will now operate in Haiti.
In Bosnia in the late ‘90s, DynCorp was contracted by the State Department to provide “peacekeepers” for the U.N. police there, just as in Haiti now. One employee, Kathryn Bolkovac, was eventually fired after blowing the whistle to her superiors at DynCorp on the participation of her colleagues in sex trafficking, among other abuses. The case was the basis for the 2011 Hollywood movie, The Whistleblower.
Additionally, DynCorp has a history of waste, fraud and abuse, including under U.S. government contracts to provide police training in Afghanistan and Iraq, similar to their program in Haiti. In 2010, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction issued a report which found that the State Department and DynCorp could not account for $1 billion dollars spent training the Iraq police. At the time, Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) said “[INL has]been managing this contract in Iraq since 2004 and, according to this report, they have no idea where any of the money went… What’s even worse is that these are the same people responsible for police training in Afghanistan, so I don’t have any confidence that they’re doing a better job there.”
Sure enough, in 2011 DynCorp was slammed by a joint audit from the State Department and Department of Defense over their work training the Afghan police. It wasn’t the first time. Also In 2011, according to the Project on Government Oversight’s Contractor Misconduct Database, DynCorp paid $7.7 million to settle a False Claims Act lawsuit after a whistleblower alleged that the company had inflated claims under a “contract with the State Department to provide civilian police training in Iraq.”
Back in the days of earlier scandals, US Rep. Janice Schakowsky, an Illinois Democrat asked a question that I think answers itself:
“Is the US military privatizing its missions to avoid public controversy or to avoid embarrassment – to hide body bags from the media and shield the military from public opinion?”