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Dissecting DynCorp’s statements about the “Dancing Boy”

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The April 11, 2009 incident of DynCorp and their “dancing boys” was fist published by The Washington Post in July 2009. It wasn’t until Wikileaks published a State Department cable (PDF) between U.S. Assistant Ambassador Mussomeli and Afghanistan Minister of Interior (MoI) Hanif Atmar that things started getting ugly for DynCorp. After the State Department memo was made public, The Guardian in the UK was the first to publish anything on it.  Based on that article MsSparky.com we published a post on Dec 3. David Isenberg published his article in the HuffingtonPost on Dec 6. After that point the main stream media and other bloggers jumped on board and started publicizing this highly offensive behavior.

I guess I’m not surprised that DynCorp has steadfastly denied any wrong doing and just chalked it up to “poor judgment” on the part of their employees regarding their “dancing boy” incident in Afghanistan. To top it all off, the State Department has jumped into the prevarication with them.

I totally understand that DynCorp Corporate can not have total control over every decision their managers make around the world. Managers are going to make poor decisions. It just happens. What aggravates me and what most people find disturbing are the attempts to  “spin” the facts of the incident into something totally innocuous.

Below is an email communication from DynCorp Chief Compliance Officer Joe Kale to DynCorp employees. I’m going to point out the “spin” in Mr. Kale’s communication. My comments are in bold BLUE italics.

Message from Chief Compliance Officer Joe Kale (DynCorp)

December 16, 2010

By now you may have seen internet rumors (Rumors? It’s discussed in a State Department cable. I’d say it’s fact!) concerning an incident involving DynCorp International personnel in Afghanistan that occurred more than 20 months ago. (20 months ago? What difference does that make other than you almost got away with it!) These rumors (Proven to not be rumors!) – sensational and inaccurate – continue to appear despite the fact that they are baseless (Baseless? We have the Cable!).  It is important for you to know the facts. This also serves as a reminder about the commitments that we have all made to behave ethically, exhibiting our shared values, and embracing our social contract. (Why make this statement if claims are baseless, sensational and inaccurate?)

Here are the facts:  In April 2009 (April 11, 2009) a 17-year-old local Afghan dancer, who performed at local events such as weddings and other celebrations, was hired to perform a traditional Afghan dance at an employee’s going away party. (A 17 year old boy? This statement is trying lead the reader to believe that because he is almost of legal age by US standards it’s not big deal. I ask, at what age was this 17 year old sold into the bacha bazi industry? Probably around 5-7 years old. Mr. Kale would also lead you to believe these Afghan weddings and celebrations are similar to US celebrations. Not true. It is culturally unacceptable for men and women to mingle or assemble together in Afghanistan. This 17-year old performer only performs for men at these functions. According to the WP Article  the boy wore jeans and a T-shirt, with a long scarf tied around his waist, as he moved around a DynCorp employee sitting on a single chair in a courtyard. That sounds awfully similar to a personal dance to me. He was a bacha bazi boy! This is a Trafficking In Persons (TIPs) violation and a violation of the FAR and DFARs which are federal laws!) A site manager stopped the performance after recognizing that the situation was culturally insensitive and inappropriate, and a thorough investigation was conducted. (KUDO’s to this site manager, but how did it get this far? Culturally insensitive, try illegal in Afghanistan. From the Cable Atmar states: “The crime he was pursuing was “purchasing a service from a child,” which in Afghanistan is illegal under both Sharia law and the civil code, and against the ANP Code of Conduct for police officers who might be involved.”)

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9 Comments

  1. Comment by An old friend:

    From what I have heard. Dyncorp is on its way out of the Afghan region. I do know they have lost the contract on a few bases. I think that it is time that they clean house of these companies that do not do over site on their employees. The cover ups are not cover ups we always find out. You think people would realize this by now.

    • Comment by What!:

      All rumor, my friend. No one is on their way out except the U.S citizens who are losing their jobs to illegal foreign workers who are not authorized to work in the country of Afghan – see CENTCOM Directive Concerning the Illegal Employment of Filipinos/Nepalese workers who are not authorized to work in Afghanistan. In fact, concerning the ANP contract, just keep your eyes open for the press release concerning the award of contract. DI has retained or “won” it for a period of two years. The news will be coming out on a news loop anytime now. I believe the reason they’re waiting on the official word is because of all the bad press that’s been swirling around. If they release it as close to the long weekend break no one will pay any attention until next year. Watch it to be announced anytime between today, 21 Dec -23 Dec; point to DI…someone should write about why a company working on a DoD Contract continues to violate the top commander’s directive concerning unauthorized foreign nationals or OCNS/TCNs and the deadline for them to leave the country. Flour and DI are direct violators.

      • Comment by Sparky1224:

        I had the “pleasure” of being a transient employee of Dyncorp the last time I was in Afghanistan, 02/2010 through 09/2010 and got to witness many violations concerning the care, custody, and control of these workers. From doing laundry in the showers, to unsanitary food conditions, overcrowding in living quarters, huge mounds of refuse scattered all over South Park transient living areas, risks of disease, and injury.
        I myself, being an expat employee, was not issued a laundry bag and therefore not able to do my laundry at the Camp Hicks facility, I was not issued a meal card and therefore had to eat the same food and be exposed to the same unsanitary conditions, unless my SF friends invited me to their facility. I addresed these issues with management on Camp Hicks, only to recieve the treatment any troublemaker would be given.

    • Comment by Sparky1224:

      It is about Dyncorp management practices and the management staff they choose to operate in theater. I have been witness to fraud, waste, abuse, intimidation, non- compliance, human trafficking, you name it. It seems to be the norm for Kandahar and all points south in Afghanistan. These management types that seem to feel there is no accountability for their daily actions, processes, and systems of behavior, have no concept of what it takes to care for our service members in theater.
      It can be labeled, for lack of a better word, “LOGCAP Syndrome”. I feel it is time to implement a proposed idea that civilian contractors be hired by a unit directly, travel with said unit, and have the support of said unit. This way all the waste, fraud, and abuse will be cut out, those who really want to help our service members will be allowed to do so without a group of moronic supervisors standing in their way. It is time Kandahar, Leatherneck, and southern Afghanistan were managed by ability, instead of ego and the “Good Ole Boy” system. Walk into Camp Hicks on Kandahar and you will see what I am refering to.

  2. Comment by justice4all:

    Dyncorp can spin anything to look like the innocent company that is being “picked on” Your comments nail it, I really like this portion of Joe Kales statements with your commentary:
    DynCorp International is committed to conducting business with uncompromising integrity and professionalism, and we take any instances of wrongdoing seriously. As part of that commitment, we clearly define expectations, train employees according to those expectations, and hold people accountable for their behaviors. We also act swiftly and consistently if shortcomings are identified. (This is just corporate blah blah blah! You all say it, but few mean it. Your level of commitment seems to be directly proportional to the amount of $$$ at stake.)

    You are soooo right, it is always about the money. Whether it is about dancing boys, fraud, injury & deaths of employees – Dyncorp lacks accountability at ALL costs (especially if it will cost them money).

  3. Comment by David Isenberg:

    Love it. Who knew that DynCorp’s PR people studied Orwell’s famous book 1984?

    Talk about being multilingual!
    I had no idea they were fluent in NewSpeak

  4. Ping from Dissecting DynCorp's statements about the "Dancing Boy" | The PMSC Observer:

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  5. Comment by whatdoudo:

    My suggestion- make Afgahnistan the pit hole prison of the world. Take all the pedifiles,slave traders, rapists… that you find on the pedifle map–take every one of them and dump them in Afghanistan and not ever allow them return. Then take all the women and children out of Afghanistan. How can we as a nation believe that we are going to influence moral vlues, when our own prison system is mostly made up of drug dealers while the molestors and pedifiles and rapists are free to live among us? What ARE WE doing within our own country to make changes and care enough to post and make comments on this subject matter. What are WE doing as cititzens to demand change within our own mucked up system? Not much. So, if we are just going to point fingers and blame money–ok. But, what good does it really do? Our own system of how to deal with the sickened criminals is really no different than that of the mindset of the country we are talking about right now. Look at the prison statistics, then go online and look at all the sickos living outside of that prison system-that have freedoms and living in your neighborhood. What kind of nation says “its ok to rape my daughter, but my son that has an addiction to drugs needs to spend 10 years in prison?” (OUR nation does)….and nobody minds, or even raises notice to it. And then you except for our nation to stand by good moral judgement and be accountable when dealing with the same mindset of basically an entire nation of men? come on! If our own thought process as a nation, is that its better to lock up people with drug addictions than it is with sickened sexual addictions- you really think we give one hoot about the children and people being abused in other countries? Our goverment makes more money off of our prison system than any dyncorp is making off of a government contract.

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