Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Whistleblower


Sometimes a movie can make me so angry I just want to shout to the heavens, enough! This is one. It’s the true story (compressed and rearranged for dramatic purposes, as all these things are) of Kathryn Bolkovac, a cop from the Midwest who took a job policing for the UN in Bosnia after the wars. But she didn’t actually work for the UN, she worked for one of those “independent contractors,” in this case DynCorp, but it could also be Halliburton, Blackwater, any of the hundreds and hundreds of bottom feeders who send people to do jobs soldiers used to do. She expects to be a part of a well-trained police force, but finds that she’s working with some real scum. Nobody really monitors these companies, and they can get away with practically anything. No questions asked, just write the check. In the case of DynCorp, three billion yearly, 96% coming right out of your federal taxes, ladies and gents.

She starts to investigate sex slavery of young women from mostly ex-USSR countries, lured with promises of jobs and then horribly abused and forced into prostitution. And even worse, she finds that some of her fellow employees are not only visiting the whorehouses—nasty, but nothing unusual, I guess—but actually buying and selling the girls.

There’s a lot of tension in the story here, and it’s all well-done and very well-acted by Rachel Weisz and other pros, and she succeeds in exposing the sex trafficking ring. She’s fired for her efforts, and later sues in Britain, and wins. Everybody’s happy, right?

Well, no. The sex trafficking is still going on. She can’t do a thing to stop it, it’s a Bosnian matter. And as for the UN mercenaries … well, they have diplomatic immunity, don’t you see? The Bosnians can’t prosecute them, assuming they would want to, and it’s pretty much impossible to prosecute them back in their home countries. In this case, the US. No one has been taken to court.

Whose bright idea was this? Why, who else? The great out-sourcers George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rummy. (Yeah, okay, they weren’t in office in 1999, but they took a small-scale operation and turned it into a way of waging war with no rules, because these were independent companies, and they had diplomatic immunity.) These companies can do literally anything in the countries where they work, and the worst that can happen to them is they get fired and sent home. Murder, mayhem, rape, buggery of young children … all protected, just like parking tickets in New York City. Somehow, I thought that idea was to protect diplomats from harassment by a foreign government, not to cover up crimes against humanity. And it’s still going on, and getting bigger every day.