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David Isenberg – (Huffington Post) – January 20, 2012 – Some things just seem to go together: day and night, bread and butter, Romeo and Juliet, Abbott and Costello, Crosby and Hope, Batman and Robin, Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, Cheech and Chong, Sonny and Cher, Beavis and Butthead and sharks and suckerfish (remora) for example. In light of that last pair, another symbiotic pair is private military and security contractors and lawyers.
When historians try to calculate the various benefits that the past decade of privatized contingency operations has brought, one hopes they won’t forget to include the huge number of billable hours that various law firms representing various plaintiffs and defendants have amassed. Firms like KBR, Blackwater and DynCorp alone have doubtlessly enabled scores of lawyers to pay for their children’s education all the way up through doctorates.
For example, earlier this month the security company once known as Blackwater, now Academi, agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by six victims or their families in the Sept. 16, 2007 shootings in Baghdad’s Nisoor Square, an incident that remains a lightning rod over the use of private contractors in war.
According to Charlotte, North Carolina law firm Lewis & Roberts, who represented the victims in this case, the lawsuit was the “last active civil suit stemming from the incident,” in which five Blackwater guards were accused in 14 deaths of civilians.
Also this month the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), announced that DynCorp International, a Falls Church, Va.-based private military contractor and aircraft maintenance company, will pay $155,000 and furnish other significant relief to settle a sex-based harassment and retaliation lawsuit.
Contractors to the Congo
While security and defense contracting in Africa is nothing new, the awarding of another multi-million dollar contract by the US State Department to a controversial private security operation is perhaps indicative of just how thinly stretched the US military is becoming. This does not bode well for either oversight or accountability.
Jody Ray Bennett – (ISN Insights) – December 1, 2011 – From the outsourcing of security functions to widespread mercenary activity, contracting on the African continent is nothing new. For decades the continent has been a playground for private third parties involved in everything from the training of militaries to the toppling of governments, to the legitimate and illicit arms trades. That an impressive volume of literature and documentary evidence exists on the private involvement of individuals and companies in the shaping of the African security economy speaks to this.
KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghanistan is expected to sign a formal agreement with the United Nations on Sunday to stop the recruitment of children into its police forces and ban the common practice of boys being used as sex slaves by military commanders, according to Afghan and United Nations officials.
The effort by Afghanistan’s international backers to rapidly expand the country’s police and military forces has had the unintended consequence of drawing many under-age boys into service, the officials conceded.
Stung by Afghanistan’s inclusion on the United Nations’ blacklist of countries where child soldiers are commonly used, like the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda, government leaders are expected to sign an undertaking with Radhika Coomaraswamy, the secretary general’s special representative for children and armed conflict, during her visit to Kabul on Sunday, the officials said.
With the agreement on an action plan to combat the problem, the government will for the first time officially acknowledge the problem of child sex slaves. As part of the Afghan tradition of bacha bazi, literally “boy play,” boys as young as 9 are dressed as girls and trained to dance for male audiences, then prostituted in an auction to the highest bidder. Many powerful men, particularly commanders in the military and the police, keep such boys, often dressed in uniforms, as constant companions for sexual purposes. Read the remainder of this entry »
Mercs Win Billion Dollar Afghan Cop Deal…..Again.
By Spencer Ackerman
December 21, 2010
The solution for Afghanistan’s endlessly troubled police force? According to the Army, the same contractors that have trained them for the past seven years.
Danger Room has confirmed that DynCorp, one of the leading private-security firms, has held on to a contract with the Army worth up to $1 billion for training Afghanistan’s police over the next three years. With corruption, incompetence and illiteracy within the police force a persistent obstacle to turning over security responsibilities to the cops by 2014, NATO has revamped much of its training efforts — except, apparently, the contractors paid lavishly to help them out.
The details: DynCorp will provide security personnel to train the Afghan cops at 14 different locations across the country. Those trainers will support the NATO training command run out of Kabul by Lt. Gen. William Caldwell in getting the police into an “independently functioning entity capable of providing for the national security of Afghanistan,” the Army’s Research Development and Engineering Command says in the award. The contract runs for two years and earns DynCorp $718.1 million, but an option to re-up for a third year brings the total price to $1.04 billion. Read the remainder of this entry »
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. Read the remainder of this entry »