Socialist Worker

Rewards for traffickers

Issue No. 1829

DYNCORP is one of George Bush's favourite corporations. DynCorp backed Bush's election bid and gets most of its work from the US government. The company has been chosen to replace US special forces as the bodyguards for Afghan leader Hamid Karzai.

Last week DynCorp was ordered to pay £110,000 to Kathryn Bolkovac by an employment tribunal. She was hired by DynCorp to work for the United Nations, cracking down on sexual abuse and forced prostitution in Bosnia. She found that many of her fellow officers were involved in trafficking young women from Eastern Europe as sex slaves.

'When I started collecting evidence from the victims of sex trafficking it was clear that a number of UN officers were involved from several countries, including Britain,' said Bolkovac. 'When I told the supervisors they didn't want to know.' DynCorp sacked her.

DynCorp staff were involved in shooting down a plane carrying US missionaries in Peru. The aircraft had been wrongly identified as a drug smuggling plane. In 2001 one of the company's employees working on the supposed drug eradication Plan Colombia was accused of trying to smuggle a heroin derivative into the US. New Labour is now poised to award a £60 million contract for a firing range to DynCorp.

Losing your warhead

PRIVATISATION isn't serving the Ministry of Defence too well. Its privatised research arm, QinetiQ, lost a pallet of deadly anti-tank warheads and mines recently. QinetiQ was supposed to destroy the warheads in a controlled explosion near Weston-super-Mare earlier this year.

The company left them overnight at mudflats on the Bristol Channel. Strong spring tides tore the pallet and its explosive cargo from its moorings. None of it has been seen since. The Carlyle group owns QinetiQ. The head of Carlyle's European operations is former Tory prime minister John Major.

THE bigotry of many of those on September's Countryside Alliance march was exposed in a recent court case. A pro-hunting supporter, Peter Smith, was fined for cracking a bugle horn over an Asian man's head during the march.

Smith singled out Imran Khan who was protesting against the Countryside Alliance and holding an anti-foxhunting banner. Smith yelled racist abuse as he hit Imran Khan over the head.

Waiting for truth to appear

TWO GIANT car firms are being investigated for their role in handing over trade unionists to Argentina's military junta during the years of its dictatorship between 1976 and 1983.

In October DaimlerChrysler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, was forced to announce an investigation into accusations that the firm handed over 14 union activists to the Argentinian military. Reports allege that factory managers handed over the names and addresses of the trade unionists to the junta.

DaimlerChrysler denies the claims. The Argentinian authorities are also investigating a subsidiary of the Ford motor company.

A former Ford Argentina worker, Pedro Norberto Troiani, has told a court that a secret military detention centre was set up inside one of the firm's factories on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. He said he was one of 25 workers detained at the plant in the 1970s. Thousands of people 'disappeared' during the years of the military dictatorship.

Taking from the enemy

DONATIONS TO the firefighters are flooding in, even from unexpected quarters. John Prescott's wife got a cab recently in Hull. On hearing who she was, the driver overcharged her by £3, drove to the nearest picket line and promptly put it in the collection bucket.

Labour favourite loses his case

READERS may have seen the case of company director Kate Bleasdale. She won a record £2.2 million for sexual discrimination. She complained of 'bullying' and 'sexist' behaviour from her fellow directors and chairman. The chairman was Sir Tim Chessels.

Chessels is a key figure in Labour's drive to privatise huge sections of the NHS through PFI schemes. He remains chair of Catalyst, a firm that runs hospitals in Halifax and Worcester. He is also on the board of Care UK, a private firm which runs residential homes in Hillingdon in west London.

Fine town for the homeless

STUDENT Marianne Schmitt was stunned when she recently received a court letter with a £40 fine in the French city of Bordeaux. Her 'crime' had been to sit talking to a group of homeless people in the city centre.

She explained, 'Suddenly police arrived and demanded our papers.' The city has passed a barbarous 'anti-camping' law, targeting homeless people in a bid to drive them off the streets of the city centre. This is very similar to the laws that Tony Blair is trying to pass in Britain. The town's mayor is Alain Juppé, a former Tory prime minister and now a key figure in the party of France's president Jacques Chirac.

Things they say

'PRINCE Philip always goes out of his way to show that he loathes us. He snarled in my face and was terribly rude to my wife. He tried to trip her up by deliberately standing on the hem of her dress.'
Former Greek Ambassador

'HE BRINGS a stature to it, which is important. He brings historical perspective, which I think is equally important. And I think that he has a wide-ranging experience, which is relevant. It is a very good choice.'
Sandy Berger, Bill Clinton's National Security Adviser, on the appointment of war criminal Henry Kissinger to head the investigation into the intelligence failure surrounding 11 September

'OLDER members recall the internal triumph over sectarianism and wonder whether it was worth it, as a new sectarianism takes hold - one defined by the combination of a perceived neo-Thatcherite economic policy with a quasi-liberal social policy.'
Labour MP Peter Kilfoyle, one of the key figures in driving Militant out of the Labour Party in the 1980s, on New Labour

'A-LEVELS aren't worth the paper they're written on.'
Iain Duncan Smith to a meeting of 2,000 sixth formers. They booed him

'FIFTY PERCENT of the public don't know what the term 50 percent means.'
Trade secretary Patricia Hewitt insulting half of the population

'IT WAS a statement about love and what I feel this world and its leaders are lacking.'
Pop singer Shakira on her new show which shows Death using George Bush as its puppet

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Article information

Inside the System
Sat 7 Dec 2002, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1829
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