KABUL BLAST KILLS 2 FROM U.S.
By JOHN OTIS
Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN - A powerful car bomb shattered the offices of a private U.S.-based security firm in downtown Kabul on Sunday, killing at least seven people, including two Americans. Afghan authorities blamed the attack on terrorists trying to disrupt the country's first direct presidential election Oct. 9.
"Two Americans, three Nepalese and two Afghan nationals, including a child, have been confirmed dead," said a statement by the office of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
The explosion, in Kabul's Shar-e Naw district near the offices of several humanitarian aid agencies, ripped open a 3-foot-wide crater at the entrance of a walled compound of DynCorp Inc., an American firm that provides bodyguards for President Karzai and trains the Afghan national police [...]
DynCorp, a division of Computer Sciences Corp. of El Sugundo, Calif., was a victim even though the company had recently bolstered its own security in Kabul.
Many DynCorp employees are former members of the U.S. Green Berets, Napalese Gurkhas and other elite military units. In recent weeks, workers have built concrete barriers at the front of the DynCorp compound while guards patrolled the streets leading past the building.
FLASHBACK: Sex-slave whistle-blowers vindicated
DynCorp, a private military powerhouse, fired two employees who complained that colleagues were involved in Bosnian forced-prostitution rings. The employees went to court -- and won.
By Robert Capps Aug. 6, 2002
Two former employees of DynCorp, the government contracting powerhouse, have won legal victories after charging that the $2 billion-a-year firm fired them when they complained that co-workers were involved in a Bosnia sex-slave trade.
The court actions -- one in the United Kingdom, the other in Fort Worth, Texas -- suggest that the company did not move aggressively enough when reports of sexual misconduct among its employees began to emerge in 1999. The tribunal in the U.K. found that DynCorp employee Kathryn Bolkovac "acted reasonably," but that the company did not.
"DynCorp is an enormous operation, with strong ties to the U.S. government," Bolkovac's legal representative, Karen Bailey, said in a prepared statement. "She took on the big guns and won. The plight of trafficking victims is appalling and I'm glad that Kathryn's case has gone some way to bringing it to wider attention."
The tribunal found that DynCorp Aerospace UK Ltd., a subsidiary of DynCorp Inc., violated the U.K.'s whistle-blowing statute -- the Public Interest Disclosure Act of 1998 -- when the company fired Bolkovac. A separate hearing is scheduled for October to determine what damages DynCorp should face.
DynCorp did not respond to calls seeking comment on Monday. But in remarks to the Associated Press, DynCorp spokesman Chuck Taylor said the company was considering an appeal. "We're very disappointed in the tribunal's ruling and can only reinforce that DynCorp's decision to dismiss Ms. Bolkovac was based solely on the grounds of gross misconduct because of time-sheet fraud," Taylor said.
Click here to comment on this article
FLASHBACK: Alleged Human Rights Violations and Fraud
by Pratap Chatterjee, Special to CorpWatch
April 9th, 2003
The company [Dyncorp] is not short on controversy. Under the Plan Colombia contract, the company has 88 aircraft and 307 employees - 139 of them American - flying missions to eradicate coca fields in Colombia. Soldier of Fortune magazine once ran a cover story on DynCorp, proclaiming it "Colombia's Coke-Bustin' Broncos."
US Rep. Janice Schakowsky, an Illinois Democrat, told Wired magazine that hiring a private company to fly what amounts to combat missions is asking for trouble. "DynCorp's employees have a history of behaving like cowboys," Schakowsky noted.
"Is the US military privatizing its missions to avoid public controversy or to avoid embarrassment - to hide body bags from the media and shield the military from public opinion?" she asked.
Indeed a group of Ecuadoran peasants filed a class action against the company in September 2001. The suit alleges that herbicides spread by DynCorp in Colombia were drifting across the border, withering legitimate crops, causing human and livestock illness, and, in several cases, killing children. Assistant Secretary of State Rand Beers intervened in the case right away telling the judge the lawsuit posed "a grave risk to US national security and foreign policy objectives."
What's more, Kathryn Bolkovac, a U.N. International Police Force monitor filed a lawsuit in Britain in 2001 against DynCorp for firing her after she reported that Dyncorp police trainers in Bosnia were paying for prostitutes and participating in sex trafficking. Many of the Dyncorp employees were forced to resign under suspicion of illegal activity. But none were prosecuted, since they enjoy immunity from prosecution in Bosnia.
Earlier that year Ben Johnston, a DynCorp aircraft mechanic for Apache and Blackhawk helicopters in Kosovo, filed a lawsuit against his employer. The suit alleged that that in the latter part of 1999 Johnson "learned that employees and supervisors from DynCorp were engaging in perverse, illegal and inhumane behavior [and] were purchasing illegal weapons, women, forged passports and [participating in] other immoral acts."
The suit charges that "Johnston witnessed coworkers and supervisors literally buying and selling women for their own personal enjoyment, and employees would brag about the various ages and talents of the individual slaves they had purchased."
"DynCorp is just as immoral and elite as possible, and any rule they can break they do," Johnston told Insight magazine.
He charged that the company also billed the Army for unnecessary repairs and padded the payroll. "What they say in Bosnia is that DynCorp just needs a warm body -- that's the DynCorp slogan. Even if you don't do an eight-hour day, they'll sign you in for it because that's how they bill the government. It's a total fraud."
Meanwhile, policing post-Saddam Iraq may be more than Dyncorp bargains for. Iraqis say the exercise of bringing in foreign police is fraught with danger.
"People do not like Saddam, but they do not want a colonizing army," one young man told the Independent of London. "In the area where I live there was an older man, a retired soldier ... When he heard the Americans were coming he went and got his gun. When people asked why, he said it was because he did not want to be invaded."
Click here to comment on this article
Now let's look at contibutions to the political parties:
The Contributions: $226,865 (72 percent to Republicans)
Total to President Bush: $7,500
Computer Sciences Corp. (acquired DynCorp March 7)
The Contributions: $276,975 (74 percent to Republicans)
Total to President Bush: $10,250
The Contract: The U.S. State Department awarded DynCorp, now a unit of Computer Sciences Corp., a multimillion-dollar contract April 18 to advise the Iraqi government on setting up effective law enforcement, judicial and correctional agencies. DynCorp will arrange for up to 1,000 U.S. civilian law enforcement experts to travel to Iraq to help locals "assess threats to public order" and mentor personnel at the municipal, provincial and national levels. The company will also provide any logistical or technical support necessary for this peacekeeping project. DynCorp estimates it could recoup up to $50 million for the first year of the contract.
Comment: What is a company with a history like this even doing in Afghanistan? Well, if you sling a lazy half a million dollars to political campaigns, it can't hurt... Obviously, a "private security firm" is newspeak for a "mercenary firm". While these companies are subcontracted for the purposes of defense by DoD and other entities, the buck falls way short of Washington - which is a convenient out for those at the top. Also consider this "private security firm" is the 13th largest DoD contractor. Are those at the top in some way complicit or responsible in passport forgery, sex slave trading, illegal arms activities and (sanctioned) widespread pesticide spraying similar to the widespread use of agent orange in the Vietnam war?
Meanwhile the Ambassador to Iraq is attempting to shift $3.37 billion of the US rebuilding funds from basic utilities such as water and electricity into the more profitable area of "security"...