Joined up thinking for the Irish Left
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NAMA Wine Lake >>
How Our Money Goes to Support the Slave Trade (pt. 2)
When we think of American contractors in times of war we think of recent conflicts. Private contractors are not new, but the recent phenomenon regarding the extent to which private contractors are currently utilized is well known. There are famous/ infamous companies, depending on which is being discussed, though it seems many of the big names all have scandal attached to them. However, they all seem to maintain their lucrative US taxpayer funded contracts, funded most often unknowingly by people from my country the USA.
The first big name to have been talked about in terms of contractors here in the states was no doubt Halliburton. The name was spread across the front pages of American periodicals, internet news media and the blogosphere due to its affiliation with former Vice President Dick Cheney. Up until being selected by George W Bush to be a running mate for the 2000 presidential elections Cheney was the CEO of the company. When it came to light that when the decision was made to invade Iraq Halliburton received a no bid contract for most of the logistics and more, many voters became incensed.
When it came to light they had been overcharging us for their services Americans became even angrier. After running ads on television for months about how committed they were to this nation and the cause of the war, the pressure from investigations stemming from overcharging apparently became too much and they relocated to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates to avoid prosecution.
That was the beginning of the myriad blips showing up on the radar screens of the American public warning us of the inherent hazards and corruption of these contractors and what they do with our money. We learned of everything from laundry services costing far more than could seem reasonable to contractor provided potable water endangering the lives of our men and women when it was found to have parasites squirming around in it. We also learned of torture and murder at the hands of contractors that went unpunished because they were protected by US laws. When there are people getting access to vast quantities of taxpayer cash with no accountability the environment for kickbacks, revolving doors between public and private employment and other forms of corruption becomes fertile – unfortunately.
Perhaps the worst yet, and certainly the most abhorrent example of military contractor corruption is their involvement in human sex trafficking. In Bosnia, brave whistleblowers recounted harrowing tales of children that had their passports purchased by men working for a Texas based company called DynCorp. (http://dir.salon.com/story/news/feature/2002/06/26/bosn....html) (http://news.change.org/stories/rachel-weisz-trafficking...ation) It was not uncommon for these children to be 12 years of age or even younger.
The contractors there were mostly aircraft mechanics. The men working for DynCorp commonly paraded the children around at company functions and bragged about the fact they frequented or owned them for sexual purposes. DynCorp also has had employees caught trafficking in humans for the purposes of sex in Iraq. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/04/29/us-military-co....html)
Afghanistan has been no exception. There DynCorp has been revealed to have been involved in trafficking sex slaves also. (http://news.change.org/stories/wikileaks-reveals-us-tax...istan) Here it was children, but instead of girls and women, boys. In Afghanistan there is apparently an age old practice called ‘bacha bazi’ first brought to the attention of the American public through the ‘The Kite Runner’. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Kite_Runner) In the practice men pay money for sex from the children or even purchase boys outright to live with them for the purposes of essentially raping them.
However, this is no movie, and ‘Kite Runner’ never mentions American contractors’ involvement. In a Wikileaks document DynCorp employees were found to have funded a party where these sex slave children were the entertainment. A document “(dated June 24, 2009) discusses a meeting between Afghan Interior Minister Hanif Atmar and US assistant ambassador Joseph Mussomeli. Prime among Atmar's concerns was a party partially thrown by DynCorp for Afghan police recruits in Kunduz Province.
“Many of DynCorp's employees are ex-Green Berets and veterans of other elite units, and the company was commissioned by the US government to provide training for the Afghani police. According to most reports, over 95 percent of its $2 billion annual revenue comes from US taxpayers. And in Kunduz province, according to the leaked cable, that money was flowing to drug dealers and pimps. Pimps of children, to be more precise. […] The State Department has called bacha bazi a ‘widespread, culturally accepted form of male rape.’ (While it may be culturally accepted, it violates both Sharia law and Afghan civil code.)” (http://blogs.houstonpress.com/hairballs/2010/12/wikilea...d.php)
An article from change.org states, “the evidence linking DynCorp to bacha bazi was so damning, Afghan Minister of the Interior Hanif Atmar tried to quash the story. Upon hearing a journalist was investigating DynCorp and the U.S. government's funding of the sex trafficking of young boys in Afghanistan, Atmar warned any publication of the story would "endanger lives," and requested the U.S. suppress the story.” (http://news.change.org/stories/wikileaks-reveals-us-tax...istan)
Regarding the afore mentioned journalist, Atmar also requested, “that the U.S. quash the article and release of the video. [Afghani Assistant Ambassador] Mussomeli responded that going to the journalist would give her the sense that there is a more terrible story to report.” The ambassador continued saying the Afghan National Police “will be protected, but he worried about the image of foreign mentors. 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?’” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/us-embassy-cables-docum...13720)
When the US started catching heat Julian Assange got suddenly brought up on sex charges, yet addressing Wikileaks why didn’t Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discuss the many crimes brought to light committed by DynCorp? Don’t children matter?
That our government has been lax, to say the least, in keeping an eye on where our tax dollars have been flowing with regards to military spending and cut backs on defense spending, has been a matter seriously discussed recently. There are so many good reasons to look at cutting expenditures and our overreach regarding the US military and its impact across the globe that to not do so makes no sense. When American tax dollars are going to support slavery through what has become a large bloated spending apparatus, we know the time has come to review our priorities.
For example, what are we still doing with so many troops in Europe and why aren’t our contractors more accountable to US laws? Why is sex slavery a part of our military culture? If our stated military goal across the globe and mission is to spread freedom, liberty and democracy what are we telling the people of the countries we have bases in when we show a face that supports and spends money on child sex slavery? Is that the face of the US people?
This is not something like mere bad accounting at the commissary we are talking about. We are talking US dollars spent on supporting, and not preventing the slave trade. Why are we doing it?
We have over 700 bases stretched out over the world, yet when the recent tsunami struck Japan we immediately needed to send six large navy vessels in addition to the vast equipment and 35,688 troops already stationed in Japan (http://siadapp.dmdc.osd.mil/personnel/MILITARY/history/...2.pdf) and that’s not including the 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea. (http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2009027,0....html) We hear we need to increase spending and maintain or increase our base levels around the Middle East, yet when a dictator like Gadhafi, that actually has sponsored terrorism against America (unlike Saddam Hussein), has and is killing and torturing thousands of his people our generals openly say they’re afraid we can’t handle the fight.
We hear the reason we have so many troops abroad is to “secure our strategic interests.” The ‘strategic interests’ are US companies there with factories that don’t hire Americans and/ or oil companies that have few Americans working for them there if any. They pay no taxes on those places as they are not located here and, using loopholes and offshore dummy corporations, they escape most if not all the taxes they are required to anyway.
If we try to get away with that we get sent to jail. So what the heck are we doing with so many troops and bases? What and why? The more the questions are asked the more the answers seem to defy logic.
To read about my inspiration for this article go to www.lawsuitagainstuconn.com