The Whores Of War – And DynCorp

“A year ago, there was nothing sexy about being a government contractor,” said Charlene Wheeless, spokeswoman for DynCorp, “Today, we’re very sexy.”
DynCorp, with 17,500-plus employees, over 550 operating facilities around the world and annual revenues of more than $1.3 billion, is a particularly massive entity. One of the Pentagon’s largest contractors, DynCorp’s services are also integrated into the Drug Enforcement Agency, Department of Justice, Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Communications Commission, Internal Revenue Service and Treasury Department.
DynCorp is a master-of-all (information technology)-trades. One of the largest employee-owned high-tech companies in the nation, DynCorp offers technical, managerial, and professional services to customers ranging from the Drug Enforcement Agency to the United Nations. Its Technical Services branch accounts for about half of sales; DynCorp also provides enterprise management and information and engineering technology. Contracts range from providing the State Department with support services in Kosovo to supplying Kuwait with repair and maintenance of military aircraft. The US government, DynCorp’s biggest client, accounts for about 95% of sales.
DynCorp has seen their fortunes rise in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, as investors are riding the wave of increased federal spending on defense projects.
One thing is certain for DynCorp CEO Paul Lombardi these days: It’s been busy.
“We don’t carry the guns, but we support the logistics, supply chain, we fuel base camps, build roads, run telecommunications,” Lombardi says. “We’re all over the place in the [Persian] Gulf states.”
Dyncorp has set up telecommunications systems in war zones throughout Africa. It has contractors flying missions over the cocoa fields of Columbia, destroying the plants that produce cocaine. It refuels and runs ground support for the Air Force One fleet, and services all the telecom for the State Department.
http://washington.bcentral.com/washington/stories/2001/10/29/newscolumn8.html
Since the terrorist attacks, Dyncorp has been asked to take the government emergency telephone system completely wireless. It has been asked by many defense agencies to help come up with contingency plans if there is another attack. Dyncorp provided the crews for the civilian transport ships that cruised into New York Harbor the day of the attacks. The company runs the border stations with Mexico for the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and has been asked to tighten security there.
DynCorp’s role in Columbia
Officially, the employees are engaged in providing pilot training and technical support for the Colombian National Police’s illicit-plant eradication effort in southern Colombia. But several reports suggest DynCorp personnel are actively involved in counterinsurgency in the south, which is controlled by the Colombian insurgents FARC.
DynCorp personnel at the San Jose del Guaviare military base in southern Colombia are under strict orders not to speak with the press.
The Buenos Aires daily Clarin reported that DynCorp employed 20 to 30 Vietnam vets in Colombia.
DynCorp’s role in DOJ Asset Forfeiture
In 1996, The Asset Forfeiture Fund at DOJ had about $450 million dollars of total forfeitures, including the tail end of the BCCI seizure. About $140 MM was real property at an average value of $149,000 per real estate sale. This indicates seizures of HUD-type homes, rather than of drug lords. The DOJ has refused to disclose Asset Forfeiture Fund financials since 1996.
DynCorp only did knowledge management and systems and administrative support. They did not do any of the servicing, selling, disposition, management of assets, etc.
The company is already well established in the peacekeeping market. Founded in 1946, the company was taken private in a 1987 buyout. It provided support services for famine aid in Somalia in 1992, and has been supporting UN peacekeepers in Angola since December 1997.
DynCorp also had a contract with the State Department to provide the U.S. contingent of cease-fire verifiers in Kosovo. That contract was suspended with the commencement of the NATO bombing of the Balkans. The de-mining of Bosnia has been contracted out to DynCorp. The International Police Task Force that is training the native police in Bosnia & Haiti are DynCorp employees. Many of the “U. N. peacekeepers” in Kosovo are civilian DynCorp employees.
Five workers have been killed so far in Angola — four in two separate C-130 aircraft crashes, and one in an ambush.
The Myth of "America"

Monday 12 October 2009

by: Dahr Jamail and Jason Coppola, t r u t h o u t | Feature

To read story with photo click here


Happy Columbus Day

Columbus sailed the ocean blue in Fourteen Hundred and Ninety Two ...

May the spirit of adventure and discovery always be with you.

Wishing you a great Columbus Day

- Columbus Day greeting card


To mark Columbus Day In 2004, the Medieval and Renaissance Center in UCLA published
the final volume of a compendium of Columbus-era documents. Its general editor,
Geoffrey Symcox, leaves little room for ambivalence when he says, "This is not your
grandfather's Columbus.... While giving the brilliant mariner his due, the
collection portrays Columbus as an unrelenting social climber and self-promoter who
stopped at nothing - not even exploitation, slavery, or twisting biblical scripture
- to advance his ambitions.... Many of the unflattering documents have been known
for the last century or more, but nobody paid much attention to them until recently.
The fact that Columbus brought slavery, enormous exploitation or devastating
diseases to the Americas used to be seen as a minor detail - if it was recognized at
all - in light of his role as the great bringer of white man's civilization to the
benighted idolatrous American continent. But to historians today this information is
very important. It changes our whole view of the enterprise."

But does it?

****

"They ... brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things,
which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks' bells," Christopher Columbus
wrote in his logbook in 1495. "They willingly traded everything they owned.... They
were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features.... They do not bear arms,
and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut
themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane....
They would make fine servants.... With fifty men we could subjugate them all and
make them do whatever we want. Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending
all the slaves that can be sold."

Catholic priest Bartolome de las Casas, in the multi-volume "History of the Indies"
published in 1875, wrote, "... Slaves were the primary source of income for the
Admiral (Columbus) with that income he intended to repay the money the Kings were
spending in support of Spaniards on the Island. They provide profit and income to
the Kings. (The Spaniards were driven by) insatiable greed ... killing, terrorizing,
afflicting, and torturing the native peoples ... with the strangest and most varied
new methods of cruelty."

This systematic violence was aimed at preventing "Indians from daring to think of
themselves as human beings. (The Spaniards) thought nothing of knifing Indians by
tens and twenties and of cutting slices off them to test the sharpness of their
blades.... My eyes have seen these acts so foreign to human nature, and now I
tremble as I write."

Father Fray Antonio de Montesino, a Dominican preacher, in December 1511 said this
in a sermon that implicated Christopher Columbus and the colonists in the genocide
of the native peoples:

"Tell me by what right of justice do you hold these Indians in such a cruel and
horrible servitude? On what authority have you waged such detestable wars against
these people who dealt quietly and peacefully on their own lands? Wars in which you
have destroyed such an infinite number of them by homicides and slaughters never
heard of before ..."

In 1892, the National Council of Churches, the largest ecumenical body in the United
States, is known to have exhorted Christians to refrain from celebrating the
Columbus quincentennial, saying, "What represented newness of freedom, hope, and
opportunity for some was the occasion for oppression, degradation and genocide for
others."

Yet America continues to celebrate "Columbus Day."

That Americans do so in the face of all evidence that there is little in the
Columbian legacy that merits applause makes it easier for them to avoid taking
responsibility for their own actions, or the actions of their government. Perhaps
there is good reason.

***

In "Columbus Day: A Clash of Myth and History," journalist and media critic Norman
Solomon discusses how historians who deal with recorded evidence are frequently
depicted as "politically correct" revisionists while the general populace is
manipulated into holding onto myths that brazenly applaud inconceivable acts of
violence of men against fellow humans.

For those of us who are willing to ask how it becomes possible to manipulate the
population of a country into accepting atrocity, the answer is not hard to find. It
requires normalizing the inconceivable and drumming it in via the socio-cultural
environment until it is internalized and embedded in the individual and collective
consciousness. The combined or singular deployment of the media, the entertainment
industry, mainstream education or any other agency, can achieve the desired result
of convincing people that wars can be just, and strikes can be surgical, as long as
it is the US that is doing it.

Never has this process been as blatant and overt as in recent years when the time
has come for America to legitimize the idea of global domination. A Department of
Defense report titled Joint Vision 2020 calls for the US military to be capable of
"full spectrum dominance" of the entire planet. That means total domination and
control of all land, sea, air, space and information.

That's a lot of control.

How might this become accepted as "Policy" and remain unquestioned by almost an
entire population?

The one word key to that is: Myths. The explanation is that the myths the United
States is built upon have paved the way for the perpetuation of all manner of
violations.

Among the first of these is that of Christopher Columbus. In school we were taught
of his bravery, courage and perseverance. In a speech in 1989, George H.W. Bush
proclaimed: "Christopher Columbus not only opened the door to a New World, but also
set an example for us all by showing what monumental feats can be accomplished
through perseverance and faith."

Never mind that the monumental feats mainly comprised part butchery, part
exploitation and the largest part betrayal of host populations of the "New World."

***

On their second arrival in Hispaniola, Haiti, Columbus's crew took captive roughly
two thousand local villagers who had arrived to greet them. Miguel Cuneo, a literate
crew member, wrote, "When our caravels ... were to leave for Spain, we gathered ...
one thousand six hundred male and female persons of those Indians, and these we
embarked in our caravels on February 17, 1495.... For those who remained, we let it
be known (to the Spaniards who manned the island's fort) in the vicinity that anyone
who wanted to take some of them could do so, to the amount desired, which was done."

In 1500, Columbus wrote to a friend, "A hundred castellanoes (a Spanish coin) are as
easily obtained for a woman as for a farm, and it is very general and there are
plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten (years old)
are now in demand."

Such original "monumental feats" as were accomplished by our nation's heroes and
role models were somewhat primitive. Local inhabitants who resisted Columbus and his
crew had their ears or nose cut off, were attacked by dogs, skewered with pikes and
shot. Reprisals were so severe that many of the natives committed mass suicide and
women began practicing abortions in order not to leave children enslaved. The
population of Haiti at the time of Columbus's arrival was between 1.5 million and 3
million. Sixty years later, every single native had been murdered.

Today, "perseverance and faith" allow us to accomplish much more and with far
greater impunity. The US continues to liberate Iraq and Afghanistan with 2,000-pound
bombs in civilian areas and purge Pakistan via drone attacks on weddings.

Neither case is of isolated whimsy. It was and remains policy.

In "A People's History of the United States," celebrated historian Howard Zinn
describes how Arawak men and women emerged from their villages to greet their guests
with food, water and gifts when Columbus landed at the Bahamas. But Columbus wanted
something else. "Gold is most excellent; gold constitutes treasure; and he who has
it does all he wants in the world, and can even lift souls up to Paradise," he wrote
to the king and queen of Spain in 1503.

Rather than gold, however, Columbus only found slaves when he arrived on his second
visit with seventeen ships and over 1,200 men. Ravaging various Caribbean islands,
Columbus took natives as captives as he sailed. Of these he picked 500 of the best
specimens and shipped them back to Spain. Two hundred of these died en route, while
the survivors were put up for sale by the archdeacon of the town where they landed.

Columbus needed more than mere slaves to sell, and Zinn's account informs us, "...
desperate to pay back dividends to those who had invested, (he) had to make good his
promise to fill the ships with gold. In the province of Cicao on Haiti, where he and
his men imagined huge gold fields to exist, they ordered all persons fourteen years
or older to collect a certain quantity of gold every three months. When they brought
it, they were given copper tokens to hang around their necks. Indians found without
a copper token had their hands cut off and bled to death.

"The Indians had been given an impossible task. The only gold around was bits of
dust garnered from the streams. So they fled, were hunted down with dogs, and were
killed."

As a younger priest, the aforementioned De las Casas had participated in the
conquest of Cuba and owned a plantation where natives worked as slaves before he
found his conscience and gave it up. His first-person accounts reveal that the
Spaniards "thought nothing of knifing Indians by tens and twenties and of cutting
slices off them to test the sharpness of their blades. They forced their way into
native settlements, slaughtering everyone they found there, including small
children, old men, pregnant women, and even women who had just given birth. They
hacked them to pieces, slicing open their bellies with their swords as though they
were sheep herded into a pen. They even laid wagers on whether they could manage to
slice a man in two at a stroke, or cut an individual's head from his body, or
disembowel him with a single blow of their axes. They grabbed suckling infants by
the feet and, ripping them from their mothers' breasts, dashed them headlong against
the rocks. Others, laughing and joking all the while, threw them over their
shoulders into a river, shouting: 'Wriggle, you litle perisher.' They slaughtered
anyone on their path ..."

***

Full Spectrum Dominance

In a letter to the Spanish court dated February 15, 1492, Columbus presented his
version of full spectrum dominance: "to conquer the world, spread the Christian
faith and regain the Holy Land and the Temple Mount."

With this radical ideology, Las Casas records, "They spared no one, erecting
especially wide gibbets on which they could string their victims up with their feet
just off the ground and then burned them alive thirteen at a time, in honour of our
Saviour and the twelve Apostles."

About incorporating these accounts in his book, Zinn explained to Truthout, "My
point is not to grieve for the victims and denounce the executioners. Those tears,
that anger, cast into the past, deplete our moral energy for the present ... but I
do remember a statement I once read: The cry of the poor is not always just, but if
you don't listen to it, you will never know what justice is."

****

Author journalist Chris Hedges believes that glorification of (the atrocities of)
Columbus is one of several myths that sustain the illusions that justify the
imperial visions of the United States.

In conversation with Truthout, he said, "It's really easy to build a holocaust
museum that condemns Germans. It's another issue to build a museum that confronts
our own genocide, the genocide that was perpetrated by our own ancestors towards
Native Americans or towards African-Americans. I am all for documenting and
remembering the [World War II] Holocaust, but the disparity between the reality of
the [World War II] Holocaust or the reality of the genocide as illustrated in the
[World War II] Holocaust museum and the utter historical amnesia in the Native
American museum in Washington is really frightening and shows a complete inability
in a public arena for us to examine who we are and what we've done."

Noam Chomsky holds a similar view. "We have [World War II] Holocaust museums all
over the place about what the Germans did," Chomsky told Truthout. "Do we have one
about what we did? I mean about slavery, about the Native American population? It's
not that the people involved didn't know about it. John Quincy Adams, a great grand
strategist, who had a major role in these atrocities, in his later years when he
reflected on them, referred to that hapless race of North Americans, which we are
exterminating with such insidious cruelty. They knew exactly what they were doing.
But it doesn't matter. It's us."

Explaining how the mythology of a country becomes its historic reality, Chomsky
stated, "If you are well-educated, you can internalize that and it. That's part of
what a good education is about, enabling people to live with those contradictions.
And you see it very consistently. In the case of, say, the Iraq war, try to find
somebody who had a principled objection. Actually you can, occasionally, but it's
suppressed."

Historical revisionism and amnesia are critical for nation-building, opines Paul
Woodward, the writer and author of the blog "War In Context". He elaborates, "Every
nation is subject to its own particular form of historical amnesia. Likewise,
imperial powers have their own grandiose revisionist tendencies. Yet there is
another form of historical denial particular to recently invented nations whose
myth-making efforts are inextricably bound together with the process of the nation's
birth ...

"Whereas older nations are by and large populated by people whose ancestral roots
penetrated that land well before it took on the clear definition of a nation state,
the majority of the people in an invented nation - such as the United States or
Israel - have ancestry that inevitably leads elsewhere. This exposes the ephemeral
link between the peoples' history and the nation's history. Add to that the fact
that such nations came into being through grotesque acts of dispossession and it is
clear that a psychological drive to hold aloft an atemporal exceptionalism becomes
an existential necessity. National security requires that the past be erased."

Robert Jensen is an author and teaches media law, ethics and politics at the
University of Texas. In an essay where he justifies his decision to not celebrate
Thanksgiving as a holiday, he says, "Imagine that Germany won World War II and that
a Nazi regime endured for some decades, eventually giving way to a more liberal
state with a softer version of German-supremacist ideology. Imagine that a century
later Germans celebrated a holiday offering a whitewashed version of German/Jewish
history that ignored that holocaust and the deep anti-Semitism of the culture.
Imagine that the holiday provided a welcomed time for families and friends to gather
and enjoy food and conversation. Imagine that businesses, schools and government
offices closed on this day. What would we say about such a holiday? Would we not
question the distortions woven into such a celebration? Would we not demand a more
accurate historical account? Would we not, in fact, denounce such a holiday as
grotesque?"

Of course we would.

But our story is different, and once again this year, on October 12, we will once
again "Hail Columbus."

    ---------

Bhaswati Sengupta contributed to this report.

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