Saturday, October 13, 2007

DynCorp and Sex Slaves

UN personnel in Bosnia-Herzegovina patronized and even facilitated the sex slave trade there, in some cases going so far as to purchase sex slaves and become part of the corruption preventing the girls and women who had been enslaved from escaping. I present here excerpts from the transcript of a Congressional subcommittee hearing from 2002 into this matter, with a focus on the allegations of one American regarding the involvement of other Americans.

I have left the typos in without drawing attention to them. I fixed some of the formatting, and added double-space between paragraphs. Numerals appearing centered are page numbers from the transcript. From the pdf THE U.N. AND THE SEX SLAVE TRADE IN BOSNIA: ISOLATED CASE OR LARGER PROBLEM IN THE U.N. SYSTEM?:

APRIL 24, 2002
Serial No. 107–85


Washington, DC.

The Subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 2:20 p.m. in Room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen presiding.

Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. The Subcommittee will come to order.

"To serve and protect." When we hear these words, we are immediately reminded of the ever-present commitment of police officers to the citizenry of their precint, their state, their country.

When evaluated within the context of a United Nations mission, the role of the policing force is to restore civility to war-torn regions; to restore trust in the rule of law and law enforcement officers; to afford human beings who have been victimized a sense of security to rebuild their lives. When this trust is broken, as it was in Bosnia, it begins to erode the foundation on which the future of those emerging nations will be built. Indeed, we cannot let the actions of a few taint the image and discredit the work of thousands of others from multiple countries whose commitment to what is right and just has helped restore hope to Bosnia and other places.

As a 21-year-old university student in Sarajevo, Nezira Samardzic, has said,

"I cannot imagine peace without them. I am afraid that talk about only the bad side might prompt somebody to think the U.N. mission in Bosnia should be terminated,"

or as some U.N. officials have underscored, that it would generate further opposition to broader peacekeeping efforts in other regions.

I certainly do not support engaging in vast generalizations and broad indictments. Nevertheless, when such egregious human rights violations are being committed, when women and girls are being sold as chattel to then be used as sex slaves, even if it is just one victim we must stand up and defend them. We must condemn the traffickers and all who actively, or by omission or complacency, allow these deplorable acts to go unpunished.

As the Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights, it is this body's moral obligation to investigate the allegations raised against DynCorp by a courageous American, Mr. Ben


Johnston, and ensure that DynCorp, a major U.S. government contractor, is taking the necessary steps and implementing strict safeguards to ensure that what happened in the Balkans with DynCorp employees does not ever happen again anywhere. We, too, are here to protect and serve.

It is this Subcommittee's responsibility to exert oversight over the functions of the U.N. bodies and operations and address reports that U.N. officials sought to stymie investigations and cover up the involvement of the International Police Task Force in trafficking of human beings. As David Lamb, one of our witnesses today, has repeatedly stated, he and his colleagues routinely forwarded evidence of wrongdoing to the U.N. missions internal affairs unit, only to be told

"not to look too deep. It was just incredible to see the resistance we got. . . . I was trying to root out the corruption, but I could not get any support."

U.N. officials during a recent briefing asserted that allegations of sex trafficking by the international policing force in Bosnia were found to be false. However, in the same statement they admitted that members of the force were found to have been involved in the use of young girls' services and that sometimes the children were unwilling participants. As advocates for Human Rights Watch have said regarding the situation in Bosnia,

"Rape is a crime in any jurisdiction."

As Members of the U.S. Congress, we would also be neglecting our duties if we did not address the participation of U.S. nationals in such activities and the response from our government agencies. One would hope that we would not need to tell American contractors that they cannot buy and sell women. Unfortunately, it appears that we must do a better job of sending an unequivocal message that this behavior will not be tolerated.

[snip - to pg 27]

Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. [snip] Mr. Johnston?


Mr. JOHNSTON. Yes, ma'am. My name is Ben Johnston. I am from Texas, and I am just going to tell a little bit of my story about what exactly happened to me while I was in Bosnia. I heard people speak earlier about the zero balance, you know, zero tolerance for anything going on over there and what is going on now, but I can assure you that the only zero tolerance DynCorp had was anybody that tried to stop them from doing the stuff that they were doing they got rid of because they had zero tolerance for anybody that would stand in their way of slavery.

First of all, I have been doing aviation all my life. I have been fixing aircraft. I was in the military. I got an honorable discharge. I got out of the military. I was making $25,000 as a noncommissioned officer, and I was so trained that even when I joined the military they did not make me go to any aviation school; I just went to basic training and straight in. I have had the talent all my life. Then I went from $25,000 a year that I was making for the Army, and DynCorp said, here, come to Bosnia. You can make $120,000 doing the exact same thing I was doing.

I then went to Bosnia, and I saw that I was one of the less than a handful of the 30 or 40 people there that had an ANP license, which is a Federal license to work on the aircraft. So it concerned me some. And then I started seeing old men or just men with younger girls, and it was very, very obvious because I have had people ask me, how do you know they were below 18? Well, you just know. If a girl looks like a child, like a small boy, then you know she is under age.

Ms. MCKINNEY. Of if it is just an old man who is with a young girl.

Mr. JOHNSTON. Like now, I know of a 50-something-year-old man to this day that is a lead man for DynCorp in Bosnia that has a— she was a teenager just a year or so ago when I was there. He still owns her. He still owns her to this day. And the reason I know that, he lives right across the street from my wife, which my wife is a Bosnian. He lives right across the street from my wife. I have heard people say that they are getting married or he is engaged, and then when my lawyer asked about it, it was what is her father's name? I do not know. How do you spell her last name? I do not know. What date did you set? You know, he does not know. And he told me and others that he paid 10,000 marks for this girl because he bought her while I was in Bosnia, and he still owns her today.


So I do not know what this zero tolerance we were talking about earlier, but I have seen no zero tolerance, and I have not been debriefed or anything else concerning any of these issues from the State Department or anybody else.

There is my supervisor, the biggest guy there with DynCorp, videotaping having sex with these girls, girls saying no, but that guy now, to my knowledge, he is in America doing fine. There was no repercussion for raping the girl. I do not know if because he is in Bosnia Americans do not hold him accountable, we say, oh, that is okay, but when I was there as a soldier, and I was there as a soldier before I was there as a civilian, and I was there with IFOR—it was before SFOR. And while I was there I remember driving down the road, and I would see just the Bosnians raise their hand, and they would be so happy to see us.

And my wife tells me that when we first got to Bosnia that the joy was overwhelming, and then after DynCorp infestated it, all the people—because DynCorp lived off post, so they lived in the civilian houses whereas the soldiers did not. So DynCorp employees are living off post and owning these children and these women and girls as slaves. Well, that makes all Americans look bad. I believe DynCorp is the worst diplomats our country could ever want overseas.

I have had the community in Bosnia tell me that they were going to shut the road down going to Comanche Base and Main and stuff because they were just so sick of what Americans were doing to that culture. I had Bosnians that needed the money so bad that they had no money come to me and say, you know, I need the money, but I cannot have my family around that old guy and that child. I just cannot do it. It is so bad defending such a great country, and they just assumed that since the majority of DynCorp was involved in it, they think the majority of Americans do stuff like that, but that is not the case.

And then I went to my peers. I went to my supervisor and said, look, we have got to stop this. I told my supervisor, and he was the site supervisor—I told him I did not want to see the government van parked in front of another brothel. He did nothing. He still parked it there.

Ms. MCKINNEY. A U.S. government van?

Mr. JOHNSTON. Yes. I do not know if they leased it from the government, but it had U.N. big as—on the side of it. It was parked in front of the brothels and whatnot. It was such a boys' club because these guys are making so much money, and the economy— my wife's father was like an engineer in a coal mine, and he made 150 marks a month, which is like 75 dollars, and then these guys are making ten, $15,000 a month, and they are just polluting the whole society. But I never saw any zero tolerance for anything, never saw any honesty over there.

It was just a big boys' club. We had guys over there that did not know how to fix aircraft. The slogan for DynCorp, hangar talk, as we say, is you need a warm body. There was mechanics over there that would leave washers on top of helicopters, spin up the blades, the washers fly into the blades, destroy the blades worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, throw into buildings, which could have killed somebody. Those guys are still working there.


They fired me, though. They fired me for only—the only reason they fired me was because I told on them, and I broke up their little boys' club. That is the only reason. My performance evaluations are excellent. My work was excellent. I have been in aviation since I was handing up a wrench to my dad since I have been a child. In fact, I still live on an airport. But there is just big, big problems over there. I hear a lot of people saying, oh, we are doing this, and we have zero tolerance for this, and this is like this, but I just do not see it. In the depositions in my case I hear a guy say, ‘‘Oh, yeah, I have got my girl, but she was a waitress at the brothel. She was not actually a prostitute,’’ whereas just a year before, in a sworn statement to CID, he said he met her while she was touring Bosnia. And this is a big lead man for DynCorp that still works there right now. He lied on a sworn statement, or he lied in his deposition about this girl that he paid—but he is still there, and she is still there.

So it is just real confusing to me what we are doing. That is really all I have to say unless you all have any questions.

[The prepared statement of Mr. Johnston follows:]


This is only a very short piece of a very long and arduous time in my life. My name is Benjamin D. Johnston and Dyncorp employed me for around one year and a half. I’ve been asked by congress of the United States of America to relay some of my experience and the knowledge I have regarding the sex slave trade in Bosnia and the unfortunate participation of Americans in that field. During that time, I witnessed some of the most atrocious things I’ve ever seen. Dyncorp was involved in slave trading of young girls as well as a number of fraudulent acts.

The same day I received my Honorable Discharge from the United States Army I started working for Dyncorp. I was approached by Dyncorp while I was still in the Army and they knew quite well of my excellent military record as well as my talent in aviation. I left Illisheim, Germany for Tuzla, Bosnia where I was to work doing the same thing as I did so well for the military, aircraft maintenance. When I arrived in Bosnia after a short time I noticed some strange behavior from my Coworkers. I would see young girls walking around the town with older guys I worked with. These men would have their hands on these girls as they walk. The longer I stayed in Bosnia the worst these men acted. Finally one day I heard a something to the effect of DynaCorp employee brag that his girl wasn't a day over twelve. I reported this all to the CID of the Army. I also reported the problems to my supervisors and co-workers, but all stayed the same in DynCorp’s little Bosnian Boys Club. For going to the CID I was fired, put in protective custody and have had my name thrashed by Dyncorp. The military is doing a wonderful job over in Bosnia looking very professional and getting the job done. Dyncorp on the other hand gives us an example of the worst diplomats our country could possibly have overseas. The companies van would be outside the whorehouses every night, Dyncorp personnel had young children living with them for sex and house choirs. Many Dyncorp employees would brag of their sex escapades. My own sight supervisor was deeply involved in all of this.

There is no way I can write all of this down for you, there is to much to mention. The United States of America can no longer let these types of actions go unpunished. I believe the military is doing a wonderful job around the world and I hope we can stop companies like Dyncorp from giving this great country a bad name.

Mr. SMITH [presiding]. Mr. Johnston, thank you very much.

I encourage you to do an internet search on DynCorp (often Dyncorp in the press) and its sex scandals in the Balkans.

Quick update:

No sooner did I post this, and I went to Angel's blog. Keep in mind Mr. Johnston's comments contrasting the despicable conduct of these contractors with his perception of our military. With very few but well-publicized exceptions, our military has a sense of honor and decency, and serves our country well. See Angel's tribute to our uniformed personnel.


WomanHonorThyself said...

wow..."when women and girls are being sold as chattel to then be used as sex slaves, even if it is just one victim we must stand up and defend them."..........this is why I love ya!...what a stunning expose of a horrific cancer known as the UN..thank u for it all my friend!!!!!

mark@aspect4security said...

Cancers are old news being posted as new. Lastly there are many bad people out there and MANY very good people. Lets talk about the 1000s and yes I mean THOUSANDS of dedicated law enforcment officers and diplomatic security that are doing the right thing. If you look at ANY normal agency or company there are ALWAYS a couple of rotten apples. Why dont you do something for your world and go to one of these 3rd world or war torn places. Then come back and talk.

Yankee Doodle said...

Thanks, Angel!

Thank you for your comment, Mark, which I think is very much "on the mark" -- ;)

Anyone who has read significant parts of my blog knows, although it is worth restating, that I do not mean to deny or disparage the contributions of the decent people in any community.

Although I have a focus on FBI corruption, it is with utmost respect for the many FBI agents who risk their lives to serve honorably and well.

Although I have a focus on corruption in politics, it is with utmost respect for the dedicated public servants who really do seek elected office to help their communities, and not themselves.

Although I have a focus on Islamic imperialism, it is with utmost respect for the decent people in the Islamic world who truly view their faith as one of peace, and who honestly disavow the violence and seek to spread their faith peacefully.

Similarly, although I have a focus in this post on disgusting practices among American security contractors, it is with utmost respect for those Americans who do their job honorably and well. Many of them served our country in uniform, and now serve it in a civilian capacity doing a job very similar to what they did in uniform. Typically, they make significantly more money as a civilian, and in principle, I do not have a problem with that.

Having said all that, there are corrupt FBI personnel and corrupt politicians whose conduct can only be described as treasonous. There are terrorists and narcotraffickers who make great profit by spreading their vision of Islam. And, there are "defense contractors" and "private security personnel" who are mercenaries, in every bad sense of that word that has ever existed.

Funny you should begin your comment with the word "cancers" because that's not a bad word to use.

Our country has been crippled by cancers of profiteering and corruption, every bit as much as the Islamic world has been riddled with the cancers of hatred and violence.

They're all connected.

When I go back and post historical information like I did here, I have a very good reason for doing so.

These criminals who did these things are the small, relatively insignificant fish in the vast ocean of corruption that has flooded not just Washington, but the world.

I do have bigger fish to fry, and this post is just one small step along the road to frying them.

Thank you for your comment. :)

anticant said...

I do wish that your super-patriotic co-blogger Angel would remove her rose coloured spectacles occasionally.

"A horrific cancer known as the UN". What utter rubbish! This post is clearly about the criminal misdeeds of American citizens who were employees of DynCorp -"a major American government contractor". The only UN link is that they carried out their criminal activities whilst working nominally under UN auspices, and had the gall to use UN vehicles for some of their nefarious deeds.

I'm sure Angel is a very nice and well-meaning lady, but I do wish she would just occasionally pay some attention to the faulty beams in the US eye and not be so quick to cast aspersions upon all and sundry she disagrees with.

WomanHonorThyself said...

humbly sir Anticant...there is NOTHING positive to report re: the Useless Nations...they are a bunch of thugs who have long lost their value if ever they had one.

anticant said...

I wouldn't subscribe to it myself, Angel, but your comment is a very precise description of how a growing number of people around the world perceive the US of A.

When you recall the near-universal global sympathy for you folk immediately after 9/11, this is very sad. Someone has blundered!

Yankee Doodle said...

"When you recall the near-universal global sympathy for you folk immediately after 9/11, this is very sad. Someone has blundered!"

And we discuss that at this blog all the time. Even more than Islamic terrorists, I expose those who deliberately did what was in their own best interests, sacrificing this nation's security, among many other things.

"I wouldn't subscribe to it myself, Angel, but your comment is a very precise description of how a growing number of people around the world perceive the US of A."

Personally, I'm not concerned about that. I am very used to the hate-America-first crowd, especially in Europe.

Anticant, who funds the UN? And, what good are they?

Angel, name me two times that the UN worked as it should have, because there are two very good examples.

The UN is a bigger problem in this world than you, Anticant, want to admit, and the US pays much of their bill. All they do is condemn Israel when it defends itself against its neighbors' attacks. And regarding UN sex scandals, wherein UN personnel take advantage of local underage girls, among others, this isn't even the tip of the iceberg.

The UN does actually have a use, Angel, but it is infested with substantially the same problem that has taken over Washington, just in a different form.

falcon_01 said...

I'm an ex-AF Capt and now Contractor doing a similar job to what I had on active duty. I know there are many of us, as you said, who served honorably, and later become contractors. Most of us are good people who wish to keep serving and make a bit of money while we're at it. However, when any bad person gets an opportunity to abuse power- they will. Look at some Churches. Look at Congress. Heck, look at some former occupants of the White House... Point is there are bad people everywhere, but the good people need to stand up and make their presence known wherever they are.

Should I ever uncover any sort of dishonorable practice with children let me reassure you I would go down fighting to put a stop to it rather than sit idly by. I got angry beyond measure just reading the story and had to stop. Countless others must feel the same and would be willing to do something instead of leaving a child to suffer even a moment longer. When we go abroad, we should bring freedom with us, not take part in slavery and abuse. Anyone abusing a child needs stopped, immediately. When a child sees an American, they should see hope-never fear. When an American sees a child-slaver, they should see a target- nothing less.

anticant said...

I entirely agree that the UN is a problem. Why should I not 'want' to admit it? But what is the alternative? There has to be an international forum of some sort = which is an entirely different issue to the topic of your post, and I still think that Angel's blast against the UN was an unnecessary and irrelevant red herring.

And I am getting tired of repeating that I am NOT one of the 'hate America first' brigade. If you studied them more closerly, you would know that I am as far to the Right of them as you and Angel are to the Right of me.

The problem as I see it is that many Americans are still so traumatized by 9/11 that they resent any outside criticism, however friendly, and this makes sensible discussion near-impossible.

Yankee Doodle said...

Hey, Falcon, I know the vast majority of our military -- percentage-wise, more of our military than of our civilians -- have honor and integrity, and just can't stand so much as the thought of something like that happening. To have it happen and then the perpetrator gets away with it, that just eats our side.

And I know many of our contractors are former military. Their job is hopefully a little easier than it was when they were in uniform -- sometimes not -- and they're getting paid more, hopefully. Even fairly mundane jobs in the military have their trials and tribulations, so when our folks get a chance to have things a little better, and still contribute to the security of our nation, that's great.

I know also that many contractors are not former military, but that they do a good job and show America in a positive light.

But, as has been said, there are bad people anywhere -- I think there are fewer in our military than outside our military, because our military members have at some point heard words like "honor", "duty" and so on. Like you point out, it is infuriating when something like that happens, and on top of it a shadow is cast over all of us Americans, and on top of that, the dirtbag gets away with it.

Sometimes I get pretty irritated with what I find myself having to write here, too.

Thanks again to Mark for the opportunity to address the fact that it is a small minority that does these things.

I don't know, Anticant -- I just know that when I look left, I see the hate-America-first crowd, and I seem to see you, too. I guess I can't tell how far apart you and they are, sometimes. Maybe my depth perception is off. ;)