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Monday, April 14, 2003

Law and Order: Private Justice Squad

Boy, those police states are just awful. I'm sure glad we liberated the Iraqis from a regime that would do things like this:

...[he] 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."

...[they were] engaging in perverse, illegal and inhumane behavior [and] were purchasing illegal weapons, women, forged passports and [participating in] other immoral acts."

...women and girls were handed over to bar owners and told to perform sex acts to pay for their costumes.The women who refused were locked in rooms and withheld food and outside contact for days or weeks. After this time they are told to dance naked on table tops and sit with clients. If the women still refuse to perform sex acts with the customers they are beaten and raped in the rooms by the bar owners and their associates. They are told if they go to the police they will be arrested for prostitution and being an illegal immigrant."

It is so nice that the United States has arrived to set things right.

Oh, wait a minute. These are things that were done by our All American Dyncorps Rent-a-cops in Bosnia. And guess what? We're gonna send 'em to Iraq! I'm sure they'll have some juicy stories to swap with those Ba'athist secret police we've also hired to "restore order."

Dyncorp Wants You

That plan appears to be almost ready. Half a world away from the bedlam in Iraq, just outside of Forth Worth, Texas, police recruiters are currently manning the phones for Dyncorp, a multi-billion dollar military Contractor. For Dyncorp the turmoil that is emerging in Iraq could mean a boom in business.

"When the area is safe, we will go in. Watch CNN. In the meantime fax us a resume if you want a job," Homer Newman, a Dyncorp recruiter told Corpwatch. But Chuck Wilkins, a company spokesman in Virginia, said: "The contract hasn't yet been awarded."

Yet a website has been offering Dyncorp jobs to "individuals with appropriate experience and expertise to participate in an international effort to re-establish police, justice and prison functions in post-conflict Iraq." The company is looking for active duty or recently retired cops and prison guards and "experienced judicial experts." Applicants must be US citizens with ten years of sworn civilian domestic law enforcement. The site even has a toll free number and a "cops.recruiting@dyncorp.com" email address for applicants.

The website explains that recruits will help "establish police stations and monitor activities determining the selection, screening and training processes for police officers, demonstrating police practices and techniques used by democratic societies advising local police on criminal investigation methods and monitoring their progress working side-by-side with police officers from around the world reporting humanitarian violation."

Cool, huh? Too bad about those unfortunate allegations of Human Rights Violations and Fraud

The company 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."

And then there was all that unpleasantness about slavery and prostitution:

What you have here is a Lord of the Flies mentality. Basically you've got a bunch of strong men who are raping and manipulating young girls who have been kidnapped from their homes. Who's the bad guy? Is it the guy who buys the girl to give her freedom, the one who kidnaps her and sells her or the one who liberates her and ends up having sex with her? And what does it mean when the U.S. steps up and says, 'We don't have any jurisdiction'? That's absurd."

Rummy meant it when he said freedom meant people were free to commit crimes. "Course, you're especially free to commit crimes if you are a private cop working for a defense contractor who has immunity from prosecution.

I sure hope our Iraqi friends don't choke on those big old whiffs 'o freedom we're giving them.