Posts from July 2001

DynCorp Mercenaries Participated in Sex Trafficking, DynCorp Tries to Cover Up

Yet another reason to hate DynCorp’s guts: the United States-based multinational mercenary contractor has now been working to cover up its officers role in international sex trafficking. DynCorp holds a contract to provide UN police forces for Bosnia-Hercegovina. When DynCorp hired Kathryn Bolkovac to combat sexual abuse and sex trafficking of women from Eastern Europe to NATO and UN outposts in Bosnia, legalized brothels in Western Europe, etc., she began finding evidence that DynCorp officers were involved in this sexual slave trade. When she brought this evidence to the attention of DynCorp and the UN, DynCorp fired her. And, surprise surprise, it turns out that there was a prior suit filed by an air mechanic who says he was fired after he uncovered evidence of DynCorp’s officers being involved in trafficking in women and gun-running.

The thing about mercenary corporations like DynCorp is that they are pretty much totally unaccountable to anybody, since they are not directly affiliated with any national government. This is why the Feds love sending them in to situations like Colombia, because even though the troops are American and paid for by US tax money and almost always discharged US armed forces troops, when horrendous human rights violations come up or they are killed in firefights the government can still say that no American servicepeople are getting involved in Colombia’s Civil War. This is the same outsourcing strategy that companies like Nike use to artificially distance themselves from the brutal practices of the sweatshop bosses they contract with.

And this is holding true in the sex trafficking case as well: despite clear participation of US and British troops in the sexual enslavement and slave trade in women’s bodies, DynCorp is moving to cover up, and nobody from DynCorp has ever been prosecuted for these crimes. Even though the suit is exposing DynCorp, you can be sure that the governments of the US and UK, or the UN administration in Bosnia, will catch no serious flak for it. But this kind of government involvement is now the rule rather than the exception: organized traffickers and pimps in the Russian mafia and other criminal organizations have either bought off the government or become the government in many of the primary sources for trafficking such as the Ukraine, Russia, and Southeast Asia. Official complicity with traffickers is nothing new; this UN case is merely exposing it at new levels.

Kissinger Ignores Subpoena from Chilean Court concerning Human Rights Violations; U.S. Press Buries Story

The ongoing international investigation of Henry Kissinger’s role in the Pinochet’s regime has now led to a Chilean court drawing up a list of questions about his role in the 1973 murder of American journalist Charles Horman by pro-Pinochet forces. The story has been reported in the Guardian (United Kingdom) and in El País (Spain), but is conspicuously absent from the international pages of the Washington Post or the New York Times. What a surprise–a member of the Washington power elite is being shielded by newsmedia censorship. Surely this has never happened before… Oh, wait, it happened about this time last month when US newsmedia refused to report on Kissinger being summoned by a French court [FAIR] for questioning about French nationals who disappeared under Pinochet.

Parallels Between Technological Privacy Movement and Early Environmental Movement

Steve Lohr highlights some interesting parallels between the emerging technological privacy movement and the early days of the environmental movement in the 1960s [NY Times]. A couple of brief notes:

  • Who says that there has been no book on privacy with the impact of Silent Spring? After all, there are few political books as well known and as shattering as George Orwell’s 1984, a book which is in large part about the destruction of privacy through State technological surveillance and control.
  • It’s worth noting that a deeper parallel between the two movements rests in their mutual fears of technology being turned into an instrument of exploitation and control: for the environmentalists, of nature; for the privacy advocates, of individual people. They both come out of a strong background of populism and autonomous self-government.
  • For hands-on information on protecting your privacy online, check out Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Privacy Now! campaign, security.tao.ca — oriented towards leftist / anarchist activists doing political work online, and SafeWeb — an online anonymizer.