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DoD, DoJ & DoS on Human Trafficking TIPs & tricks

Two recent press releases indicate that once again the DoD and the DoJ are standing on their collective soapboxes and taking a stand against human trafficking.

Excuse me while I yawn at their anemic attempts to truly combat this problem.

How many headlines have to hit the news? How many lawsuits have to be filed?  How many people have to come forward before they actually do something more than simply push paper and provide lip service on this issue?

Don’t even get me started on the DoS, whose annual reports admonishing foreign governments for their failures in mitigating the problem and yet they never touch on the fact that as the international “watchdog”  they keep hiring notorious contractors who create international incidents and embarrassments on a regular basis.    Not to mention the nefarious individuals who not only participate, promote or otherwise condone trafficking in persons of foreign national workers on government installations overseas and when they get a some time off from work they hop on a plane to head to the nearest brothel for a little sex tourism.

KBR's H- Site Managers John Reddy (Left); Gordon Wohlfeil (Center); Bruce Chirinko (Right) slamming shots in Thailand, more than likely at Reddy's Hotel/Bar the Towne Lodge

Speaking of the State Department I have unconfirmed reports from my readers that Bruce Chirinko, pictured left, is currently in Baghdad working on the LOGCAP IV project supporting the State Department.

When a contractor employee does take a stand for his foreign national workers, they are threatened by their managers such as KBR’s Mike Land.  For his efforts, Land received a letter of reprimand (pdf) from KBR, telling him that if he didn’t “refrain from further involvement regarding the working and living conditions of the sub-contract workers,” he could be fired.

Chirinko’s name has come up numerous times.  His signature is on the letter of reprimand (Project Manager), referenced above.  He has also been named in at least one lawsuit.

When I contacted the Towne Lodge, Chirinko’s name was given to me as a reference, along with several other high level KBR managers working on LOGCAP, including Michael Peck, who according to LinkedIn was “Corporate Legal Counsel-Baghdad and Middle East at KBR Middle East/Central Asia CSC”.

Here is an excerpt from a post I did in 2009:

Read the remainder of this entry »

Hearing: Are Government Contractors Exploiting Workers Overseas? or Does the end justify the means? (updated 11-2-2011)

Stack of "Get Away Guest House of Pattaya" business cards with former KBR manager Donald Vannoy's name on them

Panel I
Ms. Liana Wyler, Senior Analyst Congressional Research Service
Mr. David Isenberg, Independent Analyst and Writer
Mr. Nick Schwellenbach, Director of Investigations, Project on Government Oversight
Mr. Sam W. McCahon, Founder McCahon Law

Panel II
The Honorable Kenneth P. Moorefield, Deputy Inspector General for Special Plans & Operations U.S. Department of Defense
Mr. Michael P. Howard, Chief Operation Officer Army and Air Force Exchange Service
Ms. Evelyn R. Klemstine, Assistant Inspector General for Audits U.S. Department of State
Ms. Linda Dixon, Combating Trafficking in Persons Program Manager, U.S. Department of Defense

On Wednesday November 2, 2011 at 10:00 AM EDT, the Subcommittee on Technology, Intergovernment Relations and Procurement Reform will hold a hearing on US Government contractors who exploit foreign national workers at US facilities overseas.  I hope Congress doesn’t think human trafficking is a new issue. I’ve been blogging about the exploitation of foreign national workers in Iraq and Afghanistan since I started this blog nearly four years ago.

The Trafficking in Persons (TIPs) of workers is a clear violation of the FAR and DFARS and therefore a violation of US law and many international laws as well . Yet, this most egregious crime against humanity goes mostly unchecked by many Defense Department, State Department and USAID contractors and their subcontractors. Why is that? Does the US Government feel the end justifies the means?

The US Government, in all their infinite wisdom (sarcasm), have adopted the philosophy it is more cost effective to award contracts to those who hire labor brokers to fill most labor positions in countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan. These labor brokers in turn go to destitute third world countries such as India, Nepal, Uganda and The Philippines to hire tens of thousands of both male and female workers. The recruits are promised the moon and charged a hefty recruiting fee for this “once in a lifetime” opportunity. Many recruits are blatantly lied to and have no idea they are heading to a war zone. Many know they are going to a war zone but end up in over crowded, unsanitary living conditions with far less pay than what they were promised. Some of these conditions are experienced on US Military installations, some in staging facilities outside the “wire” with little protection from the insurgency. Read the remainder of this entry »

LOGCAP II Dyncorp prostitution movie released

Rachel Weisz Thriller So Intense One Woman At Premiere Faints

Roger Friedman – September 14th, 2010 – By the time I finished watching Rachel Weisz in her new thriller, “The Whistleblower,” I wanted all my money back from those UNICEF cartons.

This exciting film debuted at Toronto on Monday afternoon and I mean, it really got wild cheers and people going crazy at the end to meet Weisz, the filmmaker, and the woman upon whose experiences the film was based.

Larysa Kondracki has made a film certainly inspired by and as good as “Silkwood,” “Erin Brockovich,” “Norma Rae” or “Klute.”

Weisz–in a non-stop, gripping performance– plays Kathy Bolkovac, a Nebraska cop who went to Bosnia as part of a peacekeeping team and wound up the head of the UN’s Gender Relations division there.

Bolkovac uncovered a massive human trafficking scandal involving the UN and a frightening real life company called DynCorp in Bosnia. When she went public she was threatened, fired, harrassed.

She lives in the Netherlands now, and has been essentially blacklisted from working in international positions.

The depiction of what DynCorp employees in Bosnia allegedly did to young women who’d been (again, allegedly) kidnapped or bought by them for sex was so intense that a woman at yesterday afternoon’s screening left the theater and immediately fainted out front.

The movie is that intense. Read the remainder of this entry »

KBR mandates “no more pimping, pandering or brothels” for LOGCAP employees

I think I worked with the guy on the right!! LOL

Earlier this month, KBR management put together an informative power point presentation regarding compensation and benefit changes for those transitioning from LOGCAP III to LOGCAP IV in Iraq. I would assume their intention was to ease employee concerns and squelch any rumors that are bound to arise in a transition such as this. Not an unreasonable management approach.

As I read through the presentation the changes seemed in line with what I already knew. On pages 5 & 6 under “Additions to Employment Agreement” I was glad to see this statement:

Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act – Under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (MEJA) persons employed by or accompanying the U.S. Armed Forces outside the United States are potentially subject to prosecution for certain criminal acts, including such acts occurring outside the United States. MEJA applies only to those crimes punishable by imprisonment for more than one year if committed within United States jurisdiction. The law applies to individuals accompanying a contractor for the US armed forces, which may include a dependent of a DOD contractor or subcontractor employee. This law authorizes DOD law enforcement personnel to arrest suspected offenders in accordance with applicable international agreements and specifies procedures for the removal of accused individuals to the US.

It also authorizes pretrial detention and the appointment of counsel for accused individuals. See Army Field Manual 3-100.21,Contractors on the Battlefield and DoD Instruction 5525.11, Criminal Jurisdiction Over Civilians Employed By or Accompanying the Armed Forces Outside the United States, Certain Service Members, and Former Service Members.

I like this. No longer will rapists and other criminals be allowed to hide behind “I’m not in the Military, the Military has no jurisdiction, the worst that will happen to me is I will get fired!” Then I get to page 7. What the hell?? Again, listed as “Additions to Employment Agreement”:

Prostitution –The Company has adopted a “zero tolerance policy” regarding employees who engage in prostitution and other related activities, including, but not limited to, pimping, pandering, or maintaining brothels. Failure to comply with this policy will result in disciplinary action up to or including removal from the Assignment Location and/or termination of employment in accordance with standard procedures and applicable laws or regulations in the host country.

“The Company has adopted….what?? For USG contractors or their employees to participate in prostitution in ANY manner, in any location even if it is legal in that location is a Trafficking In Persons (TIPS) violation and therefore a violation of the Federal Acquisitions Regulation (FAR) and Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations System (DFARS). These FARS are not recommendations or guidelines. They are Federal Law and compliance is REQUIRED in order to participate as a USG contractor. So every time an employee goes to Thailand and procures a “girlfriend” for a week or two is violating federal law. Technically, I think KBR is required to self report every time someone comes back bragging about their Thailand exploits.

Subpart 22.17 of the FAR and Subpart 222.17 of the DFARS outline the REQUIREMENTS that Contractors MUST adhere to in order to combating Trafficking In Persons.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld issued a memorandum in September 2004 which stated “trafficking in persons will not be tolerated”. The FAR and DFARS were officially amended in April 2006 to included the Subparts 22.17 and 222.17.

Isn’t KBR a little late to this party? This has been very enforceable all along. They could have fired John Reddy and his minions for participating in his Towne Lodge brothel in Thailand. They still could fire those who participated and are still employed. Will they? Highly unlikely. What about Donald Vannoy and his brothel in Pattaya? KBR doesn’t have to adopt a “zero tolerance policy” to enforce federal law. So why the big public appearance on this. Are they trying to appease DoD investigators?

As always, if you have any information regarding KBR or USG contractor involved in prostitution activities in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Dubai, Thailand, the Philippines etc please let me know. I am especially interested in any past or present prostitution activities at the DFAC’s at FOB Marez in Mosul.

Ms Sparky

KBR’s LOGCAP managers capitalize on captive clientele

If you’ve been reading MsSparky.com very long you know I have previously blogged about KBR managers who have purchased, in whole or part, hotel/bar businesses in Thailand.  And then blatantly and arrogantly hand out business cards and fliers in an effort to solicit clientele for said business.

Below is just one example, the business cards of a KBR TTM (Transportation) Manager named Donald Vannoy and his Get Away Guest House in Pattaya, Thailand. When I started asking around about this specific manager and hotel I received this anonymous email: Read the remainder of this entry »