Pentagon has yet to ban contractors from using forced labor
December 27, 2005 4:09 PM   Subscribe

Pentagon has yet to ban contractors from using forced labor
"A proposal prohibiting defense contractor involvement in human trafficking for forced prostitution and labor was drafted by the Pentagon last summer, but five defense lobbying groups oppose key provisions and a final policy still appears to be months away, according to those involved and Defense Department records." ...this is "zero tolerance" ?
posted by specialk420 (42 comments total)

 
Gotta love it when lobbyists take precedence over human rights.
posted by p3on at 4:12 PM on December 27, 2005


Can we get our people on capitol hill on record on this one...?
Each and every one of the sons of bitches that claim Iraq was justified on humanitarian grounds..
posted by specialk420 at 4:16 PM on December 27, 2005


We're hairy and horny and ready to shack/
We don't care if you're yellow or black/
Just take off your clothes and lie down on your back/
'Cause we're the Cops of the World, boys/
We're the Cops of the World/
--Phil Ochs, writing a generation ago
posted by orthogonality at 4:18 PM on December 27, 2005


Slavery is the new Rendition. Discuss.
posted by delmoi at 4:24 PM on December 27, 2005


I'm sorry, this is just hilarious. Kiddnapping, then torture, then domestic wiretapping, and now Slavery? I'm agog. What's next, cannibalism?
posted by delmoi at 4:27 PM on December 27, 2005


I'd love to see the text of the contractors' representatives to the proposed prohibition.
posted by kenko at 4:30 PM on December 27, 2005


Is there a reg free link?
posted by mosk at 4:34 PM on December 27, 2005


mosk - i dont think i was logged in? are you in the USA?
posted by specialk420 at 4:39 PM on December 27, 2005


Man, it's a good thing there's a Christian president in the Whitehouse whose main concern is values and morality, or who knows what would happen?
posted by signal at 5:06 PM on December 27, 2005


The U.S. government uses slavery??

Seriously, where the flying fuck in strawberry sauce are the fucking media? Release this...make sure everyone knows exactly what's going on, especially every descendent of slaves.
posted by Kickstart70 at 5:08 PM on December 27, 2005


"mosk - i dont think i was logged in? are you in the USA?"

Remind me again - aren't we fighting to keep mosks out of the USA?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:08 PM on December 27, 2005


No login required
posted by caddis at 5:09 PM on December 27, 2005


I'm waiting for the FPP linking to a video of the President raping a nun while stabbing a puppy with a chainsaw. I'm also expecting at least three or four people to explain why it was a necessary, proper, legal, and entirely constitutional action for the Commander-In-Chief to take.
posted by EarBucket at 5:22 PM on December 27, 2005


or perhaps GWB in a bouffant wig stating "Let them use slaves." non-chalantly.
posted by Kickstart70 at 5:35 PM on December 27, 2005


I'm also being asked to register, and I am in the U.S. (not sure why that should matter..).
posted by odinsdream at 5:58 PM on December 27, 2005


When you gonna wake up?
posted by EarBucket at 6:28 PM on December 27, 2005


The US is pretty much a write-off. Sooner you realize that, the better off you'll be.
posted by nightchrome at 7:12 PM on December 27, 2005


This is reprehensible. They mention that the defense contractors are worried about several provisions - are these 'tack on' clauses or are they pretty central to the idea of prohibiting human trafficking?

(But, but... are they white slaves?!)
posted by PurplePorpoise at 7:21 PM on December 27, 2005


Earbucket, I woke up in the early 1970's after reading Philip Agee's book on CIA intervention in South America. I never looked back. If the U.S. wants democracy and freedom all over the world, the first thing it needs to do is choke the life out of covert action networks. Choke them dead. U.S. and other.
Anytime any country decides it needs to subvert the democratic processes of another country it has lost all right and reason to influence said country. Die freedom and democracy choking assholes. Just wander off and die. No one wants you, no one needs you, you are not a wonderous and beautiful thing. You are what makes any freedom loving country cancerous and hypocritical.
posted by mk1gti at 7:23 PM on December 27, 2005


Ahem. I would suggest that "forced labor" is much less an issue than is "prostitution". In other words, is the government demanding sworn statements from prostitutes that they are willingly and happily prostitutes, before the contractor can allow their personnel to use their services?

I say this because the government has tried such nonsense with the military over and over again, trying to "protect" "our boys" from those filthy foreign women who try to corrupt their moral fiber.

And, I might add, that when the government tries to do this, it invariably does it in the stupidest, and most conniving ways possible.

General MacArthur's solution to the Korean prostitution problem was to prohibit the issuing of condoms. That lasted a month, until the VD stats came through.

For some reason, the very idea of government employees having, gasp!, SEX with foreign women just freaks out these nasty nellies.

And, if you think that these prostitutes are somehow different, how many prostitutes working in the US would say that they were "forced" to be prostitutes? Hey, everybody is "forced" to do something.
posted by kablam at 7:26 PM on December 27, 2005


nightchrome: That's not a healthy attitude for an American to take. It's our responsibility to work against these problems -- we cannot write ourselves off.

As for the rejection of the bill, I'm not trying to defend anyone, just trying to play devil's advocate, when I ask if there were any other, unrelated, provisions in that bill that could have doomed it?
posted by JHarris at 7:42 PM on December 27, 2005


If the US is going to invade a country in order to liberate it, it only makes sense that they would open the door to using slave labor to further freedom.

That sound you hear is Orwell spinning in his grave.
posted by clevershark at 7:55 PM on December 27, 2005


I don't think it's that they really need forced labor, but that the U.S. army is so over-extended and dependent on contractors that they don't want to have to take responsibility for what any of those contractors do. Depressing to think how dependent we're becoming on an essentially lawless army of contractors.
posted by destro at 8:12 PM on December 27, 2005


Depressing to think how dependent we're becoming on an essentially lawless army of contractors.

How different are consultants for Blackwater (and other "security companies" in Iraq) from the much-reviled Prussian mercenaries that George III sent to America to control its population?
posted by clevershark at 8:30 PM on December 27, 2005


The North will rise again!
posted by Citizen Premier at 8:36 PM on December 27, 2005


"DynCorp

Private security contractors have become the fastest-growing sector of the global economy during the last decade--a $100-billion-a-year, nearly unregulated industry. DynCorp, one of the providers of these mercenary services, demonstrates the industry's power and potential to abuse human rights. While guarding Afghan statesmen and African oil fields, training Iraqi police forces, eradicating Colombian coca plants, and protecting business interests in hurricane-devastated New Orleans, these hired guns bolster the security of governments and organizations at the expense of many people's human rights.

DynCorp's fumigation of coca crops along the Colombian-Ecuadorian border led Ecuadorian peasants to sue DynCorp in 2001. Plaintiffs argued that DynCorp knew--or should have known--that the herbicides were highly toxic.

In 2001, a mechanic with DynCorp blew the whistle on DynCorp employees in Bosnia for rape and trading girls as young as 12 into sex slavery. According to a lawsuit filed by the mechanic, "employees and supervisors were engaging in perverse, illegal and inhumane behavior [and] were purchasing illegal weapons, women, [and] forged passports." DynCorp fired the whistleblower and transferred the employees accused of sex trading out of the country, eventually firing some. None were prosecuted."

nice people.
posted by specialk420 at 8:55 PM on December 27, 2005


The more I hear about the United States of Mercenaries and Subcontractors the more I want to projectile vomit. Preferably right into my congresscritter's and senatecritter's face. If only they had one instead of the reptilian visage that they possess.
posted by mk1gti at 9:14 PM on December 27, 2005


JHarris: But that's just it, you're not working against your problems. Your problems are running the country as we speak. With no signs whatsoever that it will change anytime soon. Or that it can change. Like I said, it's a write-off. You're better off just leaving.
posted by nightchrome at 10:42 PM on December 27, 2005


Companies that are publicly traded and nasdaq listed, so, i think its more than just the USA that isnt doing anything about human trafficing. How about delisting anyone thats linked to criminal activities? Oh wait....
posted by IronWolve at 11:05 PM on December 27, 2005


What do we expect with mercenaries from former apartheid South Africa, from Pinochet's army in Chile, etc?
Let's not call them contractors but what they really are: mercenaries.

There's nothing inherently wrong with slavery, even sex slavery of small children, in the ultimate fascist corporate world. Your 401k investments in these corporations are paying off nicely, aren't they?

Tom Delay has been bragging since 1995 about how HIS lobbyists write the laws and he merely presents them to be voted on. The best government money can buy! Lobbyists representing corporations are the new super citizens, the only people with a real voice in government.
posted by nofundy at 5:25 AM on December 28, 2005


Shakespeare was right: First thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.

After that, any non-lawyer lobbyists go into the meatgrinder.
posted by mephron at 6:50 AM on December 28, 2005


Perhaps one should note who it was, exactly, that said the line about killing all the lawyers. And why.
posted by Justinian at 7:06 AM on December 28, 2005


kablam, I think you're honestly misunderstanding what the issue is. The issue is not whether U.S. citizens and companies are paying prostitutes for sex, though they might be, and this might be a separate problem.

The issue is whether U.S. contractors, like Kellogg Brown & Root, are relying on slaves (sex slaves or otherwise) for labor.

What's going on is KBR opens up an operation in Iraq, and decides they want to hire locals. Naturally, KBR isn't doing the hiring themselves, they're relying on subcontractors, who are usually locals themselves, to supply their labor.

These subcontractors get their labor by, in some cases, holding people as slaves by threatening their family, or taking them forcefully from their homes far away, or holding young girls as sex slaves. These companies then pass this labor base on to KBR, who uses it without asking any questions, apparently.

So, whether Soldier Joe Average decides to go out and have some fun one night with the local ladies is completely beside the point.
posted by odinsdream at 7:06 AM on December 28, 2005


The issue is whether U.S. contractors, like Kellogg Brown & Root, are relying on slaves (sex slaves or otherwise) for labor.

A seperate issue - with all the money we and future generations are giving to the defense department - you wouldn't think they would need to be giving American taxpaying jobs to capitives of the drug war for pennies an hour?
posted by specialk420 at 7:41 AM on December 28, 2005


And, if you think that these prostitutes are somehow different, how many prostitutes working in the US would say that they were "forced" to be prostitutes? Hey, everybody is "forced" to do something.

I think by 'forced' they mean 'forced at gunpoint' Or perhaps 'forced to work without pay'.
posted by delmoi at 8:10 AM on December 28, 2005


Thanks to specialk420 and odinsdream for concrete examples of the abuses in question. When I first read the article, I understood it to mean there's a problem in passing legislation against trafficking, not that there're subsidized trafficking operations in progress all over.

Still, if the contractor is in a country where corruption is the norm, and they need to hire locals, and those locals are involved in other lines of business, how do you hold the contractors responsible?
posted by creeptick at 8:40 AM on December 28, 2005


Don't you Americans get sick of all the evil bullshit your government does in your name?

Ferchrissakes, do something about it already.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:49 AM on December 28, 2005


I agree five fresh fish.

The invasion of Canada commences in 5 ... 4 ... 3 .... 2
:-)
posted by nofundy at 12:30 PM on December 28, 2005


That'd be Canada invading the USA, forcing some semblence of good manners and playing-nice on your fear-driven, violence-worshipping regime?
posted by five fresh fish at 1:44 PM on December 28, 2005


Well, Harper did say that he wanted to spread Canadian values and ideals by increasing military force if he was elected...
posted by PurplePorpoise at 3:10 PM on December 28, 2005


Speaking of fear. Ugh.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:24 PM on December 28, 2005


In some respects this is the new privilege/reward amongst those who have a good deal money and power. One can make moral exceptions for certain groups which both bind them to you because of their nature and allow them a greater latitude of power without challenging real power in any way.
Haven’t any of you considered why this might be allowed?
The benefits are obvious.

That I understand that does not, of course, mean I condone it.

PMCs have always beennihilistic.
But there used to be more emphasis on the government than the corporate aspects.
Mercs occupy that bad guy niche reserved for stormtroopers or goons. Kill as many as you want as brutally as you can, you still don’t feel bad about it. Tie a child slaver’s intestines to the back of your car and drag him around and really, not a lot of outrage ensues.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:02 PM on December 29, 2005


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