Welcome Kathryn Bolkovac, and Host RJ Hillhouse, author/journalist

[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book.  Please take other conversations to a previous thread. - bev]

The Whistleblower: Sex Trafficking, Military Contractors, and One Woman’s Fight for Justice

RJ Hillhouse, Host:

On April 11, 2010, private US military contractor DynCorp threw a party at its US-taxpayer funded Kunduz Regional Training Center where its employees train Afghan police. DynCorp’s employees allegedly took drugs and paid young “dancing boys” to entertain them.

The Washington Post described this incident last summer: “expatriate DynCorp employees in Afghanistan hired a teenage boy to perform a tribal dance at a company farewell party and videotaped the event.” Because of the incident, Dyncorp discharged four of its senior managers and revised its ethics policy.

Firing four supervisors and revising an ethics policy seems a bit harsh for hiring a boy to perform a tribal dance—something that could even be interpreted as culturally competent. What the Washington Post glossed over was that this tribal dance was a wide-spread Afghan tradition known as Bacha bazi. Bacha Bazi translates from Dari as “boy play.”

[B]acha bazi is a pre-Islamic Afghan tradition that was banned by the Taliban. Bacha boys are eight- to 15-years-old. They put on make-up, tie bells to their feet and slip into scanty women’s clothing, and then, to the whine of a harmonium and wailing vocals, they dance seductively to smoky roomfuls of leering older men.

After the show is over, their services are auctioned off to the highest bidder, who will sometimes purchase a boy outright. And by services, we mean anal sex: 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.)

In December 2010, WikiLeaks released a cable providing us with the back story of the Washington Post piece.  The WikiLeak cable described a meeting between the Assistant US Ambassador and the Afghan Minister of Interior. The Minister of Interior urged the US to quash any news stories related to the DynCorp incident and he was particularly concerned about possible release of the video. He informed the ambassador of the arrests of two Afghan police and nine other Afghans, including some Regional Training Center translators.

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. He said he would use the civil code and that, in this case, the institution of the ANP 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 Afghans requested that the US military provide oversight to DynCorp. The author of the cable commented:

(Note: Placing military officers to oversee contractor operations at RTCs is not legally possible under the current DynCorp contract.)

In the fog of private war contracting, there is no clear line of accountability aside from the government contract monitor, who often restricts their monitoring to the review of the contractor’s own reports and very rarely a site visit.

Private military contractors have been implicated in torture, murder of civilians, protection rackets with the Taliban, and trafficking in:

* drugs,
* illegal weapons,
* boys,
* girls
* and women.

The $100 billion dollar plus private military industry operates largely outside international law and is only loosely overseen by overburdened contract monitors. And the ability of corporations to control the behavior of their personnel seems to have very little impact upon the awarding of contracts. The State Department renewed DynCorp’s portion of its $10 billion Worldwide Protective Services contract. It also renewed the poster child for contractor unaccountability — Blackwater (a.k.a. Xe Services a.k.a. International Development Solutions.)

And in December 2010, the Army renewed DynCorp’s contract to train Afghan police.

Although the US inspector general’s investigation of the dancing incident found no criminal activity, it is a relief to know that the US government took the rare action of banning two contractors from Afghanistan in January 2011. Their offense: stiffing their Afghan subcontractors. (The military explained that failing to pay local vendors negatively impacts the counter-insurgency strategy.)

DynCorp’s supervisors pimping of Afghan boys is chillingly familiar.

Flashback to 1999 when Kathryn Bolkovac , our guest today and author of Whistleblower, was at an informal social gather at DynCorp’s training for a State Department contract in support of the UN peacekeeping mission in Bosnia. She writes:

“Hi y’all!” Jim called. “Don’t start the party without me… He tromped straight to the beer, then splashed his way into the pool, all the while telling us that he had already been on one peacekeeping mission in Bosnia and had liked it so much he was signing on for another year. Then, in the same sentence in which he described how scenic Bosnia was, he said, “And I know where you can get really nice twelve- to fifteen –year-olds.”

When she answered DynCorp’s help wanted ad tacked to a local police bulletin board in Nebraska, Officer Kathryn. Bolkovac never imagined that she would unravel an international cover-up of DynCorp employees buying and selling young girls for the sex-trade.

107 Responses to “FDL Book Salon Welcomes Kathryn Bolkovac, The Whistleblower: Sex Trafficking, Military Contractors, and One Woman’s Fight for Justice”

Kathryn Bolkovac February 6th, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Good afternoon, I am logged in
Kathryn

BevW February 6th, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Kathryn, Welcome to the Lake and for staying up late for us.

RJ, Thank you for Hosting this Book Salon.

Kathryn Bolkovac February 6th, 2011 at 1:59 pm

You are welcome and my pleasure.

dakine01 February 6th, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Good afternoon Kathryn and RJ and welcome to FDL this afternoon.

Kathryn, I have not had an opportunity to read your book but the story you are telling is horrifying, all the more so that it is seemingly countenanced by the US Government.

I worked for a bit as a QA Specialist for the Defense Logistics Agency and QA was the group that “signed” to accept goods and services. I actually feel sorry for the contract monitors and technical representatives as they catch a lot of the blame for things they have no control over, including the lack of staffing for oversight.

What can we do to address these issues?

RJ Hillhouse February 6th, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Hi Kathryn, I greatly enjoyed your book. Thank you so much for joining us on Superbowl Sunday! You’re book details your investigation into trafficking in women by, among others, your former colleagues at DynCorp. Could you start us out by describing some of the activities of your former colleagues? Did American contractors actually buy young girls?
F/U What laws governed the behavior of the employees of the UN Mission, including those of DynCorp?

Kathryn Bolkovac February 6th, 2011 at 2:02 pm

I think the most important thing is look at very specific law changes that must be made to ensure not only accountability of funds, but prosecutorial jurisdiction that applies overseas.

dakine01 February 6th, 2011 at 2:04 pm

As a technical note, there is a “Reply” button in the lower right of each comment. Pressing the “Reply” will pre-fill the commenter name and comment number being replied to and makes it easier for folks to follow the “conversation”

Note: Some browsers do not like to let the Reply work correctly if it is pressed after a page refresh if the page has not completed loading

RJ Hillhouse February 6th, 2011 at 2:04 pm

The incidents you invesigated happend a dozen years ago. What changes have occurred legally to prevent reoccurences?

Kathryn Bolkovac February 6th, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Yes, American DynCorp employees were involved in many forms of perpetuating the sex trafficking and sex trade in general. This not only included extensive use of brothes where young girls were being held captive, but the outright purchase of these girls to take home as play things during the mission.

RJ Hillhouse February 6th, 2011 at 2:06 pm

I was particularly struck by a DynCorp employee named Carl who gave you a ride home and nonchalently talked about the girl he had bought. Can you tell us about this?

dakine01 February 6th, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Are the DynCorp employees you interviewed and dealt with US citizens? Is there any way to publicize their actions and shame them in front of the “home town” folks?

Kathryn Bolkovac February 6th, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Unfortunately not much has changed legally to ensure number 1 that contractors are accountable. The military extraterritoral jurisdiction act was expaned somewhat to cover DOJ and DOD contractors in some ways, however contract that fell under the DOS, like the one I worked under for DynCorp are still running rampant. An attempt was made last year to introduce a bill S2969 called the Civilian Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act. It never made it out of committee before the congressional term ran out.

Elliott February 6th, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Thank you for coming
and thank you for telling this most important story

Scarecrow February 6th, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Welcome, Kathryn. Terrifying stories.

Who is responsible for (1) approving the contracts and (2) evaluating compliance with applicable laws? Whom in government should be held accountable for these crimes, beyond the contractors?

Kathryn Bolkovac February 6th, 2011 at 2:13 pm

In answer to both of your questions, yes these were American’s. The most perverse thing is soem were even current or former law enforecment officers back in the States. The book goes into several specific cases which I certainly hope will be a wall of shame. The names of the the men who are named in my tribunal court case were not changed, as there names were made public during the trial.

CTuttle February 6th, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Aloha, Dr. RJ…! Long time no see…! *g*

Mahalo Nui Loa to you and Kathryn for all your endeavors…! 8-)

Kathryn Bolkovac February 6th, 2011 at 2:15 pm

As for Carl… I changed his name as no trial or other publicity was done with reagard to his case, other than the UN claiming he was duped and it was actually a love story….

RJ Hillhouse February 6th, 2011 at 2:15 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 16

Goood to me back! And nice to *see* you again!

greenwarrior February 6th, 2011 at 2:18 pm

If you hit the “Reply” button at the lower right of whomever’s comment you are responding to, we will know which comment you are answering.

Thanks and thank you very much for being here.

Kathryn Bolkovac February 6th, 2011 at 2:18 pm

I do not know all the legal procedures used in handing out contracts to DynCorp. I am of the understanding that the Department of State or whatever agency needs work done, puts these contracts out to bid and ultiimately claim DynCorp in many cases is the most cost effective and best equipped to do the job. I would argue that cost effecitive and size of the company may not be the best match. Especially with regard to International Police Contracts. Our reputation is certainly worth more.

RJ Hillhouse February 6th, 2011 at 2:18 pm

And as I understand your story of Carl, you were in the car with him and the dude was complaining about having paid 6000 DM for her and she ran away and took his cell phone. Did he really think authorities would help him get her back like he was requesting?

Kathryn Bolkovac February 6th, 2011 at 2:20 pm
In response to greenwarrior @ 19

With regard to oversight it is probably the General Accouting Office GAO.

RJ Hillhouse February 6th, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Almost all of the contracts are put out for bid (RFPs.)

There are only so many players that have the logistics and expertise to fulfill these contracts, so it’s not like the government has a lot of choice. Actually in terms of quality, DynCorp is near the middle of the pack. A little farther ahead when it comes to police training. There are far worse players.

RJ Hillhouse February 6th, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Since it was a Department of State (DoS) contract, there should have been DoS contract monitors? Did you ever encounter one?

Kathryn Bolkovac February 6th, 2011 at 2:23 pm
In response to RJ Hillhouse @ 21

No I am pretty sure he was not looking for any help in getting her back. He was just aimlessly lamenting over his lost bride. This goes to show the mentality of some of the person recruited by DynCorp as international law enforement trainers.

RJ Hillhouse February 6th, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Describe how the trafficking in women worked. How were they recruited? How were they sold? How were they kept? And what officials had to cooperate in order to make this system work?

CTuttle February 6th, 2011 at 2:25 pm
In response to RJ Hillhouse @ 18

Are ya still in the Aina…? Working on any new books, a lot has happened since you wrote Outsourced…? ;-)

~~~Mod Note: Please do stay on the topic of Ms Bolkovac’s book~~~

PeasantParty February 6th, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Thank You for being here.

I get the impression that some of these government contracts are like fee paid, all in vacations for some of these companies. Other than, a contract amount or fee, do these companies continually charge for lodging, food, transport while they are overseas?

Kathryn Bolkovac February 6th, 2011 at 2:26 pm
In response to RJ Hillhouse @ 24

No I never encountered anyone who monitored the contracts. However these people if they existed would have been in contact with the DynCorp managers, not the monitors working in the field for the UN, who were representing the U.S. State Departemt. They did not wear a uniform, and were not part of the UN staff. The contractor managers are paid only throught the company.

ThingsComeUndone February 6th, 2011 at 2:26 pm

So the Anti Gay Bush Administration the same one that had Laura Bush bragging about all the Progress Afghanistan was making in Women’s Rights now that we took over was paying for little boys?
This is how we buy support against Ossama? This is the way we do business? Is there any moral or ethical lines we have not crossed in this war?

hackworth1 February 6th, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Austerity Measures are required on the homefront so America can continue to fight the endless GWOT – The Dyncorp Blackwater Dancing Boy Way.

What are the chances of this book making CSPAN Book TV? And breaking through to the Mainstream Media?

Teddy Partridge February 6th, 2011 at 2:29 pm

That American tax dollars were spent to perpetrate this outrage on young boys in Afghanistan is something you might expect the religious right, with all their fixation on non-Catholic youth predation, to focus on — and yet we don’t see many of the right-wing’s pet Congresscritters willing to dig into these events, do we?

Kathryn Bolkovac February 6th, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Human trafficking for forced prostitution follows the money. Internationals who swarm into mission areas around the world are what feeds teh trade. Many men, lots of money, and various organized crime syndicates who simply supply the demand.

RJ Hillhouse February 6th, 2011 at 2:30 pm
In response to PeasantParty @ 28

Most of these are cost plus contracts which basically means the companies costs are reimbursed plus an agreed profit margin. The amount of the contract is usually set, but in some cases overages are allowable. Really varies contract to contract.

RJ Hillhouse February 6th, 2011 at 2:31 pm

So describe the “Arizona Market.”

Kathryn Bolkovac February 6th, 2011 at 2:32 pm

This is not a political issue at all, this is an organized crime issue. It spreads across both sides of the isle. The Clinton regime was certainly no better at putting in any kind of stop gaps.

hackworth1 February 6th, 2011 at 2:32 pm

Facts indicate that the Christian-Center-Right wants to hide this under the rug with David Vitter’s diapers.

ThingsComeUndone February 6th, 2011 at 2:33 pm

The State Department renewed DynCorp’s portion of its $10 billion Worldwide Protective Services contract. It also renewed the poster child for contractor unaccountability — Blackwater (a.k.a. Xe Services a.k.a. International Development Solutions.)

I take it Bush never read Machiavelli on Mercs

Mercenaries and auxiliaries are useless and dangerous; and if one holds his state based on these arms, he will stand neither firm nor safe; for they are disunited, ambitious and without discipline, unfaithful, valiant before friends, cowardly before enemies; they have neither the fear of God nor fidelity to men, and destruction is deferred only so long as the attack is; for in peace one is robbed by them, and in war by the enemy. The fact is, they have no other attraction or reason for keeping the field than a trifle of stipend, which is not sufficient to make them willing to die for you. They are ready enough to be your soldiers whilst you do not make war, but if war comes they take themselves off or run from the foe; which I should have little trouble to prove, for the ruin of Italy has been caused by nothing else than by resting all her hopes for many years on mercenaries, and although they formerly made some display and appeared valiant amongst themselves, yet when the foreigners came they showed what they were.

http://www.constitution.org/mac/prince12.htm

Outsourcing war in whole or in part to Mercs is a stupid idea but sex traffic with kids even Machiavelli didn’t warn us about Mercs being that vile.

Kathryn Bolkovac February 6th, 2011 at 2:34 pm

What I see is not much credible action from either side.

mzchief February 6th, 2011 at 2:34 pm

{ Welcome Kathryn, RJ and salon attendees. }

From what I just read, you’ve just described slavery.

Kathryn Bolkovac February 6th, 2011 at 2:36 pm

The Arizona market… started out as a way to bring the different ethnic groups together in a form of free market at the norhter border. It became the most notorious place to buy and sell trafficked women from other East European countries.

hackworth1 February 6th, 2011 at 2:36 pm

Wasn’t kosher to discuss. Machiavelli ignored what he knew. They don’t call Prostitution – the World’s Oldest Profession for nothing.

RJ Hillhouse February 6th, 2011 at 2:37 pm

And ironically it was started by an American UN general, you point out in your book!

PeasantParty February 6th, 2011 at 2:38 pm

When writing and publishing the book did you have any problems or government interference? Some people have complained that the Pentagon or State Dept thugs would require blackouts of certain portions, etc. Did you have those types of attempts to silence you?

Kathryn Bolkovac February 6th, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Yes this is definitely slavery. In the worst form.

ThingsComeUndone February 6th, 2011 at 2:39 pm

Fine who in government had oversight of these corporations selling kids the Army, the State Dept? Also when did this start becoming a huge problem rape is a problem in any war but having a corporation buy women and kids just when did that start and why?

CTuttle February 6th, 2011 at 2:39 pm

Isn’t it sad that the latest SIGAR report to Congress could only ‘identify’ $49.2 million…

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), Arnold Fields, today released an audit report that identifies $49.2 million of U.S. reconstruction funds in Afghanistan at serious risk of waste.

RJ Hillhouse February 6th, 2011 at 2:40 pm

So how old were the women bought and sold in the Arizon market? Where did they end up? How were they kept so they couldn’t run away?

RJ Hillhouse February 6th, 2011 at 2:41 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 47

Only $49.2 million wasted?? Not bad…

Kathryn Bolkovac February 6th, 2011 at 2:41 pm

No I have had no attempt to blackout any parts of my book. It was legally vetted and most everyting in the book is backed up by court documents and tape recordings.
DynCorp on other hand continues to prepare damaage control press releases to their own employees and to the press when I am interviewed.

RJ Hillhouse February 6th, 2011 at 2:43 pm

And, of course, we can assume they have staff who will review this transcript.

mzchief February 6th, 2011 at 2:43 pm

I am now wondering if there are women of Chinese descent likewise being trafficked from Mexico through Arizona (please see the citations in unnumbered comment, January 17th, 2011 at 12:25 am).

Kathryn Bolkovac February 6th, 2011 at 2:45 pm

No one had control with regard to Department of State employees ie: the oontractors and employees of those contractors. That has been the problem. Lack of a jurisdictional authority to investigate and prosecute. They fall outside of military laws, and outside of Department of Defense and Department of Justice.
Congress needs to pass a specific law, which will create a body to just this.

Kathryn Bolkovac February 6th, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Gosh I hope so…

ThingsComeUndone February 6th, 2011 at 2:46 pm

The allegedly abused children of Portugal represent a fraction of a global industry. Its annual revenues were estimated in 2003 to exceed half a trillion dollars globally. This is twice the value of all United States currency currently in circulation at any given time, more than the annual gross national products of many countries.

An American aid agency worker said: “Lookit, the bar owners who bought these girls like to keep them nice and quiet. So they buy drugs from some of the UN medics to do so. When a girl has finished her shift, she is taken to her room by a bar man and given a shot. When she wakes up she is ready for her next shift”.

This is Arizona Market. Officially established by the peacekeeping forces to foster trade between Serbs, Croats and Muslims, today its five square miles is the epicenter of Bosnia’s booming sex-slaves trade.

http://www.canadafreepress.com/2006/thomas100806.htm

The UN has a problem.

PeasantParty February 6th, 2011 at 2:47 pm

We all know that DynCorp is not the only one, but do you have suggestions for the American public in ways we might have a voice or prevention technique?

Kathryn Bolkovac February 6th, 2011 at 2:49 pm
In response to PeasantParty @ 28

I do not know how the actual billing process works with regard to contractors. I know that overbilling is problem.

RJ Hillhouse February 6th, 2011 at 2:50 pm

Kathryn, did you investigate any cases in which women purchased at the Arizon market were murdered?

ThingsComeUndone February 6th, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Paul Holmes, of London’s Metropolitan Police Vice Squad, has estimated that 80% of all women working in the brothels of Britain’s capital are from the Balkans. His own investigations concluded that the traffic in women had made their owners at least US $75 million since the start of the Third Millennium.

http://www.canadafreepress.com/2006/thomas100806.htm

Lots of cash how can we stop this governments around the world are broke raiding rich crooks and taking all their cash would be more popular than raising taxes and if we get the banks to cooperate we could get many of these guys.

Ann February 6th, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Human trafficking has been addressed by the United Nations for some time now. Do you think that increased international pressure will make a significant difference?

Kathryn Bolkovac February 6th, 2011 at 2:53 pm
In response to PeasantParty @ 56

Yes please make phone call write a letter to your congressman and ask them to support the CEJA bill which is outlined in the last chapter of my book. If a bill similar to this is not passed then nothing can be done to government employees who commit felonies in overseas mission in many cases. Of course the military has their own justice system to deal with problems if they choose. But civilians are a completely different animal and still have a form of diplomatic immunity when employed by the UN or State Department contracts.

CTuttle February 6th, 2011 at 2:53 pm

*heh* The Lake is already on many ‘hit lists’ of the Alphabet Soup that is our MIC/Intel Apparatchik…! ;-)

ThingsComeUndone February 6th, 2011 at 2:53 pm

Any signs Congress wants to create such a law? Also can’t the UN or somebody step in if America won’t prosecute international borders are being crossed after all.

Kathryn Bolkovac February 6th, 2011 at 2:56 pm
In response to RJ Hillhouse @ 58

Determining which women actually came in through the Arizona Market was difficutl unless a raid happed to be conduced in that area. Most of the victims would not have had the presence of mind to know where they had been taken. They are beaten, blindfolded, raped and tortured into submission. The one case I worked which involved a women being killed, was most likely of Ukranian descent according to the autopsy medical examiner.

wavpeac February 6th, 2011 at 2:57 pm

Have you, or anyone you know of, done a history in regard to child pornography and child prostitution related to any power group. My interest revolves around the Franklin Credit Union controversy in which it was alleged back in 1990 that children were being recruit, runaways, to be used at big political parties. At the time George H. Bush was mentioned by one of the kids. The scandal was “put to bed” basically because none of the children were believed and because it all happened in Nebraska. The main investigator died in a plane accident, Spence died of suicide and was connected to the case. Then you take into account, the Page scandal during Bush administration and the fact that his child pornagraphy administrator was caught red handed in a sting, along with the torture allegation and stories like this. My suggestion here is that with power comes these types of fetishes…greed, drugs, and sex. The more powerful, the more the addiction to sex, the more it escalates to socially unacceptable sex. I am a therapist who was working at the hospital where the children were taken when the whole story came out.

Kathryn Bolkovac February 6th, 2011 at 2:58 pm

Sounds like an excellent idea and one I also believe in. We never go after the right people. Usually the women are deported or jailed for not having proper work permits for example. The best thing about human trafficking is that people, not guns or drugs will actully talk. That is if anyone cares to ask the right questions.

RJ Hillhouse February 6th, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Kathryn, how did other nationals of the UN Mission respond to evidence that UN personnel were frequenting brothels where women were trafficked? Were they supportive of your investigation?

Kathryn Bolkovac February 6th, 2011 at 3:00 pm

No the UN can not step in. This complicated and may people are mis-informed about the power and authority of the UN.

Suzanne February 6th, 2011 at 3:04 pm

thank you for writing this book and shining light on these atrocities. why can’t the UN step in?

*waving to dr hillhouse — nice to see your fonts at the lake again*

Kathryn Bolkovac February 6th, 2011 at 3:06 pm

Firstly, there were many internationals and many American workign in the mission who where extemeley supportive of my work. I was not the only one who was working on these issues. I just happened to be the one who would not shut up when I was told to. Many countries responded in the same way the U.S. did with regard to monitors who did wrong…. they just threw the reports away, buried any potential evidence and then sent the guys home. Some were transferred to another mission.
Most were not supportive of the investigations into uncovering international involvment. This was seen as bad PR. The general attitude that was pervasive throught the mission management and ranks was the they were “just prostitutes”.

RJ Hillhouse February 6th, 2011 at 3:06 pm
In response to Suzanne @ 69

Hey, Suz!

RJ Hillhouse February 6th, 2011 at 3:09 pm

What was DynCorp’s oversight of its Bosnia operations? Did executives in corporate offices London or Texas have knowledge of the inner workings of the Bosnia mission? Did they know about the corruption? If so, what did they do? Did any of this come out during your litigation against DynCorp?

Kathryn Bolkovac February 6th, 2011 at 3:11 pm

The UN is as guilty as anyone else. They were right in the mix of the corruption and had several highlevel officials visitin brothels. Additionally organized East European mafia has also infiltered the UN at all levels. The UN is not a law enforcement body. They do not have active police they just utilize the services of nationla police from all over thew world and allow those countries to disciplien their contingents as they see fit.

CTuttle February 6th, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Was the UN mission centered out of NYC or Geneva…? I ask because there’s a significant schism between the two…! 8-(

Kathryn Bolkovac February 6th, 2011 at 3:14 pm
In response to wavpeac @ 65

I remember and read about this as well. Perversion can indeed come with power and money. This is also why getting laws passed to correct this in osme cases is almost impossible. It takes more than a few good guys.

Kathryn Bolkovac February 6th, 2011 at 3:16 pm
In response to CTuttle @ 74

The Department of Peacekeeping Mission is in New York at the UN building I believe. The Geneva connection is the headquarters for many offices of the high commissoner for human righs. It is one big bureucratic mess. I am not a fan of the UN system as it currently works.

gigi3 February 6th, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Do you know if the activities that were uncovered about the Franklin Scandal were connected to the White House call-boy ring reported in a series of articles by The Washington Times in the summer of 1989? It seems these sexual predilections by the power elite have been around for quite some time.

Kathryn Bolkovac February 6th, 2011 at 3:21 pm
In response to RJ Hillhouse @ 72

Oversight with regard to the DynCorp mission in Bosnia was a joke as far as I could tell. There was some guy who was an liaison to the Department of State who danced around between the Embassy and the DynCorp office in Sarajevo. Once or twice I overheard things from the logisitc manager that State was doing an audit checking timesheets that were supposed to be turned in by monitors ….. that was the only time DynCorp would as for our timesheets to be updated. I guess these timesheets were needed to verify how many monitors were actually working every day.

Kathryn Bolkovac February 6th, 2011 at 3:23 pm
In response to gigi3 @ 77

I have no idea. Been pretty embroiled in my own mess with the UN to get involved in another one. Sorry… but it sounded pretty scary … Maybe RJ should write a book about it.

RJ Hillhouse February 6th, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Do you belive the execs Stateside knew their guys were buying and selling little girls? Forging passports to facilite trafficking in them?

CTuttle February 6th, 2011 at 3:23 pm

I fully agree it’s a total mess, and, sadly it’s devolved into a virtual civil war between the two bodies…! It seems every significant investigation conducted by Geneva is subsequently; ignored, rejected, and/or diluted into meaningless language which is utterly worthless…! 8-(

RJ Hillhouse February 6th, 2011 at 3:24 pm

;) Thanks, but I don’t do windows or domestic politics…

Kathryn Bolkovac February 6th, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Yes they knew. I have my own embassy releases sent directly to Secretary of State and her right hand guys. Once again my time is the mission was during the Clinton regime. Sex knows no boundaries… especially in the White House back then.

Rayne February 6th, 2011 at 3:27 pm

Unfortunately, oversight continues to be a problem, as Prof. Hillhouse already knows.

There’s been no public reporting of the numbers of subcontractors working under federal contracts, although the House Oversight Committee asked for an accounting in November 2009. There was at least one closed door session, the results of which then-committee chair Ed Towns took as acceptable — but still no numbers.

I don’t know if part of this obstruction isn’t designed to prevent a backwards audit trail, preventing accountability to the contractors.

And thanks to both you and R.J. for being here today. Greatly appreciated, feel much honored.

mzchief February 6th, 2011 at 3:28 pm

Excellent exchange of information. Thank you Kathryn, RJ and salon attendees.

RJ Hillhouse February 6th, 2011 at 3:29 pm

Did you ever have evidence disappear? Can you describe an incident of DynCorp/UN officials hindering your investigation into the trafficking of women?

Kathryn Bolkovac February 6th, 2011 at 3:29 pm

I would say that would be pretty good reason.

RJ Hillhouse February 6th, 2011 at 3:33 pm
In response to Rayne @ 84

I don’t know if part of this obstruction isn’t designed to prevent a backwards audit trail, preventing accountability to the contractors.

I think it’s more the case that the sheer size of the contracts and the number of contracting agencies makes it a near impossible task — particularly when you thow in the secret stuff. The overwhelming majority of CIA staff are contractors and I doubt anyone there can account for all of them.

The system has grown faster than contract monitoring and oversight can keep up. It’s not intentional–just a mess. And besides, if there were an overarching contracting oversight authority, it would most definitely be run by contractors. Pls. pass the Booz…

CTuttle February 6th, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Btw, about that Bosnian ‘mission’ didn’t Milosevic/Karadzic actually step up their Muslim genocide during the onset…? I was serving in Korea during the ‘invasion’…

Kathryn Bolkovac February 6th, 2011 at 3:36 pm

I can describe many cases. The book is a page by page road map of this.
Additionally, the Human Rights Watch Report of 2002 is another good source to read. This has documented cases that even I was not aware of. In my case investigations were blocked or stopped completely with now questions asked.
The best cases of evidence disappearing were those cases then the victims and the prepetrators disappeared. No witness, no victim, no prepetrator + no investigation and no possibility of any country being able to prosecute. Of course all of the files I turned over to Internal affairs with photographic evidence and witness statements were conveniently lost. One Irish field commander, came into the IA office one day and just took the files out of the office. He told the IA officer that it was all just a misudnerstading in the field. The UN did nothing to stop this type of abuse.

RJ Hillhouse February 6th, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Were you ever threatened? Were you afraid for your life?

bgrothus February 6th, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Did you have copies of the files, or was it all lost??

Kathryn Bolkovac February 6th, 2011 at 3:41 pm
In response to RJ Hillhouse @ 88

hmm.. I disagree with this. I think that oversight and management with regard to these type of mission would be an easy task. We had to fil out paperwork for every damn thing we needed. Especially money, equipemnt, and transportation. These records are abused and the conveniently lsot. DynCorp and contractors just need some onsight accountants, not ex-military men dressed up in business suits who do not have a clue. And yes it seems the CIA may very well be a part of the contractor system. So keeping thinks screwed up and messy is a really nice cover for them as well.

Kathryn Bolkovac February 6th, 2011 at 3:43 pm
In response to bgrothus @ 92

Copies….. document document document. This is why DynCorp folded with regard to my wrongful termination suit. I also had tape recordings of some of their bullying threats.

RJ Hillhouse February 6th, 2011 at 3:44 pm

If contracting were the size it was when this happened in Bosnia, I would agree. But it’s now a $100 billion plus business with several hundred thousand contrators including a gazillion third country nationals.

There can always be better contract oversight, but creating a system now the genie is out of the bottle is a formidible task, to say the least.

Kathryn Bolkovac February 6th, 2011 at 3:46 pm

I was verbally threatened many times. Even have one nice incident on tape that is described in the book. The elevator scene…..
Although I was afraid, it seems many of my colleagues were more concerned about my safety than I was and really are the ones who convinced me it was time to leave. I made very good friends all over the world and am still connected to them today.

RJ Hillhouse February 6th, 2011 at 3:48 pm

What do you suggest could be done to prevent such abuses of women and children by contractors? What structures could be put into place? Frequent rotation of staff so they don’t get too comfortable with local authorities? What factors such as staffing shortages work against this from happening?

Kathryn Bolkovac February 6th, 2011 at 3:49 pm
In response to RJ Hillhouse @ 95

I just cannot buy that excuse. There are plenty of multi-billion dollar companies, that work in international enviroments. They have to be accoutable. … This is all about two things. The government being inefficient and contractors taking advantage of that fact.

Kathryn Bolkovac February 6th, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Actually the exact opposite with regard to rotation of staff. These need to be long term positions which will then increas accountability. The more the turn over the less continuity of mission struture and the less effective the training processes become. Becoming comfortable and building professonal rapport is and should be part of a peace keeping mission.

RJ Hillhouse February 6th, 2011 at 3:54 pm

It’s not an excuse. It’s an observation based on knowledge of the players, particularly the clandestine ones.

I agree they have to be accountable. I don’t realistically think it will happen. Look, the Obama administration just renewed DynCorp’s police training contract in Afghanistan–the same one whose funds were used to pimp little boys. There isn’t even the political will to hold them accountable on the micro level by the contracting agency, so I doubt if government wide effort would have a chance. The DoD and Intelligence communities can barely account for their budgets–kinda, sorta.

BevW February 6th, 2011 at 3:55 pm

As we come to the end of this Book Salon,

Kathryn, Thank you for stopping by the Lake and spending the afternoon with us discussing your new book and experiences.

RJ, Thank you very much for returning to the Lake and for Hosting this important Book Salon.

Everyone, if you would like more information:
Kathryn’s website and book

RJ’s website / books

Thanks all,
Have a great week!

Kathryn Bolkovac February 6th, 2011 at 3:56 pm

Thank you

CTuttle February 6th, 2011 at 3:57 pm

It’s not that the Guv is inefficient, it’s because it’s co-opted completely…! Oversight and regulations are mere ‘quaint’ notions these days…! *gah*

RJ Hillhouse February 6th, 2011 at 3:57 pm

And thank you all for having me back! Great to take a dip in the Lake now and then!

PeasantParty February 6th, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Thank you both for being here and discussing these very important issues. I am happy that someone is writing and blowing the whistle. Please continue your good work.

CTuttle February 6th, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Mahalo Nui Loa, Kathryn and Dr. RJ for this excellent Book Salon…!

Please don’t be strangers…! *g*

Elliott February 6th, 2011 at 4:00 pm

What a great salon, thank you.

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