Report: Wikileaks cables show Texas company "helped pimp little boys to stoned Afghan cops"

In the Houston Press, an extensive blog post untangling an alarming story from the state department cables: "another horrific taxpayer-funded sex scandal for DynCorp, the private security contractor tasked with training the Afghan police," and apparent proof that the company procured male children for bacha bazi ("boy-play") parties.

The story boils down to this: this company, headquartered in DC with Texas offices, helped pimp out little boys as sex slaves to stoned cops in Afghanistan:


For Pashtuns in the South of Afghanistan, there is no shame in having a little boy lover; on the contrary, it is a matter of pride. Those who can afford the most attractive boy are the players in their world, the OG's of places like Kandahar and Khost. On the Frontline video, ridiculously macho warrior guys brag about their young boyfriends utterly without shame.

So perhaps in the evil world of Realpolitik, in which there is apparently no moral compass US private contractors won't smash to smithereens, it made sense for DynCorp to drug up some Pashtun police recruits and turn them loose on a bunch of little boys. But according to the leaked document, Atmar, the Afghani interior minister, was terrified this story would catch a reporter's ear.

He urged the US State Department to shut down a reporter he heard was snooping around, and was horrified that a rumored videotape of the party might surface. He predicted that any story about the party would "endanger lives." He said that his government had arrested two Afghan police and nine Afghan civilians on charges of "purchasing a service from a child" in connection with the party, but that he was worried about the image of their "foreign mentors," by which he apparently meant DynCorp. American diplomats told him to chill. They apparently had a better handle on our media than Atmar, because when a report of the party finally did emerge, it was neutered to the point of near-falsehood.

Read the whole post.

Frontline covered the phenomenon earlier this year—I watched the documentary when it first aired in the US. It was hard to watch. The notion that an American company enabled the sexual and physical abuse of kids like this is nauseating. Video embedded below, may be geo-blocked for folks outside the USA.

(via Dave Winer)


  1. This is exactly why we need to classify information!

    I am glad to know our government and our contractors are acting on our behalf, and are preventing us from knowing these hard facts.

    The real problem is reporting on this kind of thing. It’s unseemly, and it hurts America.

    1. Damageing to America? Maybe in the short term, but in the longterm a bit more Honesty and less of this “hush, hush.. Business as usual..” will go a lomg way in makking the “free World” really free

    2. just close your eyes and continue living your live where everything is nice and good and there’s no evil in the world :), after all, even the ignorant ppl and the puppets are necesary in this world :D

  2. And there you go. In one post Wikileaks has become completely justified for the leaks in my mind.

  3. …..and some people are still in denial mode and have audacity to say that no corruption has been exposed from the leak.

    1. Hasn’t that been the safest default mode since 9/11? You’re asking questions about the government? You must be a pinko-commie-terrorist! Hopefully the flag-sucking orgy is about to end and finally we can see the ugly truth.

  4. Keep fighting the good fight and don’t let the bastards scare you into keeping the truth at bay. The world has always been a horrid place but the Internet and the people who use it wisely can always expose the basterds until they shut us down. Use it, support it, or lose it.

  5. I won’t be holding my breath for our “free” White House Press Corps to ask about this.

    This is the same press corps who sat through an entire press conference with the President of the United States today and seemed unable to ask him one question about Wikileaks. Not one. I’m sure they weren’t coached or anything.

  6. Things like this justify the leak, but there are definitely things that were leaked that should’ve been kept private.

    1. I as sorry but to say that would lead us right back here in a horrible way with damage and injury to other people.
      We have to strive for total transparency on many of these abuses
      or the horrific story would never be told truthfully.And repeat.
      There is no in between because in the next sentence,the next room
      is lieberman! lookout boingsters!- -lieberman,say it real slow_
      its kinda funny after the 4th time.
      Be sure to keep this story in mind when I tell you..
      we are dealing with pure-true-evil and they have been practicing
      for a very long time.Experts in torture…

  7. I express absolute disgust towards my government and governments it allies with, governments that villainize other nations for committing similar practices that it committed throughout it’s existence. I find my government to be an evil institution that I can’t escape, and thus I share the blame. Classified information is only classified to protect the willfully blind from acknowledging that their right hand is infected and needs to be cut off, and thus it protects the right hand.

    1. “The middle east appears to be very confused about their sexuality.”

      Actually, it looks like you are very confused about middle eastern sexuality. Can you really say that the US, with its ongoing crisis of masculinity and cultural anti-femaleism, is any less confused?

  8. I’m not sure how to comment on this without coming off like I condone the practice. Let me be clear: it is absolutely abhorrent and is absolutely sexual slavery. I loathe and despise pedophiles and do not in any way wish to advocate for the right for them to practice their despicable acts.

    But… Is this an example of privileged Westerners (and a few Western educated locals) condemning a practice that has gone on since the beginning of time? Are we being culturally arrogant by viewing this through the magnifying glass of Euro-American morals? Do these boys have any other way to support their families, who may be starving? They seem to be pretty well taken care of, other than the sex, and pederasty is an ancient and semi-respectable phenomenon in the near and mid east that carries no shame for the men or the boys (and without the shame, do they suffer the same crippling life-long problems that sexually abused children in our culture do?). They’re probably not getting beat, that would reduce their value. It seems like that, if this is any of our business at all, it might be more prudent to start with harm-reduction programs- vaccinations, regular medical check-ups, medicine, condoms, safer sex education, maybe shelters for boys who seek to escape the life. It’s going to be impossible to change a culture that has this so deeply rooted in its power structure. Meddling like that is a big part of what drives extremists to hate us in the first place.

    I wonder what happens to these kids after they start growing facial hair? Do they have opportunities to go on into positions in the government through their “benefactors”, or do they have to become teachers for the next generation, or what?

    Also, keep in mind that boys that young live on or almost on the streets in every major American city and ply the same trade in far more dangerous situations. Where’s the outrage about that?

    1. 1. The Taliban banned this practice when they were in power, so the argument that it’s Western cultural elitism doesn’t hold water;

      2. Even if that argument was valid, it doesn’t justify a US government contractor using US dollars to arrange for this to happen. It’s bad enough the US looks the other way.

      1. Good points. Although, the current Afgan government seems to be banning the practice as well and you see how that’s working out. The biggest point, and I absolutely agree, is that American money should not be funding those kinds of things, whether or not there is an “absolute” moral reason to put a stop to it entirely.

      2. “1. The Taliban banned this practice when they were in power, so the argument that it’s Western cultural elitism doesn’t hold water;”

        The Taliban banned shaving, and music, and dancing, and smoking hashish, and just about anything that was “fun”; just because the Taliban banned it doesn’t mean that there aren’t an awful lot (even a healthy majority) of Afghans who don’t have a problem with it. The Taliban were the exception, not the rule, to what goes on in Afghan culture.

        What’s the logic here? It isn’t “Western cultural elitism” if Muslim extremists also happen to agree with us? Something faulty with that line of thinking. Of course we wouldn’t be having this conversation in the first place if we didn’t have an imperialist foreign policy trying to “nation build” in places with very different values from our own. This kind of corruption is inevitable – so good on Wikileaks for exposing it, but, frankly, I doubt that this is the very worst thing that Western contractors have done in Afghanistan.

    2. You know edwinx2, this is an issue about which I’m entirely comfortable being mistaken for a Western Cultural Elitist.

      1. So should we try and stop child weddings in India? Maybe.

        This whole thing just smells like a sleazy political wangle to me.

        All I’m saying is it’s unconscionable that pubescent and adolescent boys in Portland or Miami are going through the same, and worse, in a culture that explicitly *doesn’t* approve of it and you just don’t hear any uproar about it.

        Would you believe that there was a stately Victorian row house on “O” street NW in DC that has held at least the equivalent of if not actual “bacha bazi” for visiting foreign nationals, with taxpayer money, for years? That was the rumor back in the late ’90s and I see no reason to doubt it.

        Can we do something about the beam in our own eye first? You shouldn’t be allowed to say you are a cultural elitist if you are only imposing your righteousness on *other* cultures and ignoring the same problems in your back yard.

        1. I don’t understand your complaint. What beam in our eye? There is an opportunity to fuel this story about DynCorp which has a good chance of making the events described less common. This is low-hanging fruit. Pull the meme-lever for a good and quick result.

          I find it hard to become outraged over the Washington rumour you mention, and I don’t know anything about the boys in Portland and Miami. Is there a similar angle to exploit for their benefit which has a realistic expectation of gaining more traction than this DynCorp/bacha bazi one?

          Because if not – then that isn’t a productive story to be focusing upon right now, you know?

          1. You’re right, of course. There is concrete evidence of a corrupt American corporation funding reprehensible activities overseas and that needs to be dealt with swiftly and with little mercy.

            However, I don’t think it’s incompatible with justice or wisdom to question whether the practice itself is any of our business when it, to all appearances, seems to be a working (if distasteful) solution to several problems in an alien culture. Especially when we haven’t dealt with the analogs of those problems in our own.

            My bottom line is: our duty is to make sure our country and corporations are not materially participating in any of this nasty business, and advocate for harm reduction campaigns in the affected areas. We also have a responsibility to our own kids who find themselves on the streets in our own country.

        2. I wouldn’t doubt that there are sleazy places in the US where this sort of thing happens too. And yes, something needs to be done about that.

          One of the prerequisites for doing something, however, is evidence that it’s going on at a specific location or in a certain group of people. Do you have any concrete ideas about how to obtain that information?

          Regardless, just because something is happening in one place doesn’t mean we can’t also be upset that it’s happening in another place. Humanity is capable of being angry about more than one thing simultaneously.

          1. It’s not too hard to find street kids in any city, but it’s really easy to ignore them or assume they are somehow morally faulty for getting themselves into that situation. They are all in need of help, and it just doesn’t sit well with me to worry about tribal customs half a world away when we have so much on our plates here.

            If I did have any such information, don’t you think it would be just as dangerous to divulge it here as it would be in Afghanistan? Like the man said, “I love my life, too.” A good safe example would be to visit any Asian “special” massage parlor in the US if you want to meet some sex slaves.

            I concede that humanity in general can be angry about multiple subjects; I just have trouble with trendy outrage that occludes problems we haven’t dealt with on our native soil yet.

            Nail DynCorp to the wall; let the Afghanis (and the UN, if they are invited to the party) figure out what to do with their boy-brothel problems. Or should we install *another* corrupt government there to try and fix things up again?

    3. There are these points, I think:

      First, not that the US should unilaterally try to change someone’s culture, more that US taxpayers’ money shouldn’t go to slave owners as “entertainment, misc.” on somebody’s expense report.

      Second, that if the multiple nations comprising the UN have put together a group within the UN that is geared towards eliminating these practices, then it isn’t just a few Western educated locals.

      Children running away and being manipulated into prostitution, as is the typical case in the US and other more ‘modern’ countries, is a lot different than them being sold off by their parents in order to make more money for the family. While it may be a time-honored tradition in some places, it is also still just sick.

      1. I agree with your first point.

        I’m not a conspiracy nut, but there are clear reasons to doubt the motivations of the UN. They are, in fact, basing its policy on the word of Western educated locals and backing that up with Western morals. The supporters may or may not have agendas of their own in causing unrest in the unstable and flawed Afghani government pecking order. Let me hear from some of the boys that have been “liberated” and who have no family to protect by lying and then I’ll get behind it being a problem we have a responsibility to intervene with.

        Your third point does not make sense. You cannot take the position that being sold into slavery at 13 is worse (or better) than running away from an abusive household at 13; both result in degradation in the name of survival and the American variant usually leads to a brief, desperate life of addiction and crime. Both options are “sick”, but at least one keeps your kid sister from starving to death. You got any better ideas for little Abdul to pay for his mom’s penicillin?

        1. Even if you are right, then the best policy would be open discussion about the issues and a reasoned decision.

          Allowing self-interested military contractors to make decisions like this while dealing in money and people, while preventing journalists from reporting on the issues: not such a great model.

    4. “The bacha bereesh, between the ages of 14 to 18 (though 14 seems to be the preferred age), are dressed in special women’s clothing, with bells tied to their feet, and paraded out to dance at parties and weddings.”

      “Large halls provide the venues for the weekly parties where the boys’ owners, invite their friends to watch them dancing. Several different types of dances are popular, Daad says, and if the boy refuses to dance or performs badly, his master beats him with a long stick.
      “We have to do that,” explains Daad. “We spend money on these boys, so they have to dance.”
      Later into the night, once the dancing is over, the boys are frequently shared with close friends, for sexual favors. And by the end of the evening it is not at all uncommon for the boy to have a new owner, as the parties often provide the opportunity for buying and selling.”

      So yeah. This is male sex slavery and they also get beaten. No shame to denounce that. (Article from 2007!)

      1. Great article, and I concede the point that pimps the world over get violent with their chattel. The article goes on to give a couple interviews with boys, the majority of whom seem to be well treated by their owners, to the point of inheritance of their fortunes or positions and marriage to their daughters. It is sad to see the circumstances of some of the kids, but, again, what are their other options to support their families? It’s no-win.
        An interesting point brought up was that some feel the practice is due to the strict segregation of men and women in Islam. That would make the practice a form of specialized institutional homosexuality, like in prisons. Is that the problem? Are we to suggest that child abuse can be stopped by putting an end to a fundamental tenet of their faith?

    5. I agree that this culture needs to work out how it should deal with this practice for itself, but
      do you really think there is “no shame” in this practice?

      For one thing, homosexuality is a capital offense under Islamic law; did you notice how the one young man said that his family and friends, “didn’t have to know” about what he was doing?
      That would be two indications of painful shame, contradictions with religious norms, and hiding, involved in the practice for those Afghani young men involved.

      Finally, powerlessness is inherently shameful. Some of these young men are not in the position of mistresses, or even prostitutes, from the information given in this report, but rather gang-rape victims.

  9. ay yi yi… isn’t this where Colonel Kurtz gets the big red marker and scrawls “Drop the Bomb Kill them All” across his paper?

    I don’t agree with everything he says and I think he has an agenda, but Thomas Friedman summarizes some things well in this op-ed piece about wikileaks and American policy in general:

    All I can say is imagine if the money used to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan was applied to alternative energy development.

    1. “All I can say is imagine if the money used to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan was applied to alternative energy development.”

      If that money had been applied to orbital solar power collection we would have a fleet of working satellites and the robot ground to orbit vehicles to maintain them. along with the ground based infrastructure to collect the power and dump into the existing grid.

  10. Slightly OT, but I think that the right image to use in the article would not be pedobear, but shotacat.

    Don’t ask me how I know. Just… ugh. Don’t.

  11. So, in Turkey having sex with a man as long as you’re giving isn’t gay, but receiving is. In Southern Afghanistan, having male child lovers is totally not gay and it is expected.

    I just feel like [the western definition of] gay sex in the middle east must be so common that no one thinks twice about it.

    At the same time, aren’t these muslims? Don’t they have strict rules against gay sex?

  12. Interesting, I guess they were not pushing Western Values down the throats of these Afghanis and using the mores of the culture to make things happen and assimilate with the local culture. The moral relativity crowd should say that this is a good thing.

    So I assume that those that are abhorred by this dispatch have a sense of right and wrong and that there is some type of moral code to follow.

    It’s not good by Western moral values and legal tradition to attempt to bribe or partake those of other traditions, which some might say is imperialist whereas I would say good, hold these a-holes accountable.

    Or this is just part of the back of forth score keeping for the wikifanboys vs. Assagne-haters, ignore the bad, celebrate the good. The ends justify the means.

    I mean, nobody died yet right? Only “critical infrastructure” has been revealed so far and trusted sources and ‘off the record’ conversations have been burned.

  13. “All I can say is imagine if the money used to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan was applied to alternative energy development.”


  14. Another Wikileak that just seems to be confirming what anyone with a basic grasp of world events and a healthy sense of cynicism already suspected.
    I think it was a commenter here who said last week “we haven’t learned anything new, we’re just angrier now we can prove it”

    1. Okay, let’s delve into that:

      From what I can see, all the facts point to the US being an imperialist power, governed by its own military industrial complex and the banking cartels. We torture people, lie, kill people, and force countries to buy our weapons. We protect our own war criminals, even to the point of preventing other countries from prosecuting them. We lie to our own citizens. We employ contractors in our wars, at several multiples of the cost of our own military, which avoids legal entanglements and a draft while funding companies who support our political leaders. Those contractors kill innocent civilians and conduct illegal activities on a regular basis.

      If I understand you correctly, what you’re saying is: since all the facts already point to those things being true, it’s not worth reporting on any instances of them taking place. It’s not worth pointing to the graft, corruption, murder, illegal activities that stem from those things, because they are generally already known.

      Am I getting that right? It is hard for me to believe, but it seems like that’s what you’re saying. I’m actually curious, not being sarcastic.

      1. I’m suspicious that the reportage coming out of wikileaks so neatly dovetails with what disaffected middle-class bloggers want to hear. Is there genuinely unexpected stuff that isn’t being publicised because it would just be too unbelievable or would it not be interesting to us?

        1. The other day, I was trying to think of a conspiracy theory that, if proof came out about it, would really get people to stop, en masse, and demand change.

          The problem is, the ones I could think of have already been done, and no one cares:

          Government contractors stole mass amounts of cash. Done.
          US Government kills and/or tortures innocents. Done.
          US Government lies. Done.
          Banking industry rules the world. Done.
          Federal elections were rigged. Done.
          Random corporation sacrifices people for money. Done all the time.
          US Government tortures its own innocent citizens. Done.
          US Government kills a whistleblower. Done.
          US Government spies on its citizens. Done.
          Politicians are paid to vote against the citizen’s interests. Done, daily.

          I mean seriously, try to think of something the government hasn’t done, or been convincingly accused of (we’ll leave the debates out of it). And what are people doing? They sure aren’t marching. What would make them revolt?

          I had the thought today that revolutions don’t happen unless people are hungry or otherwise put out. People who have enough to eat and who are not seriously inconvenienced will simply ignore even their own idealism. Ideals are not enough for a revolution, in other words. It’s the big lie. Believing in it means you have to do something, so everyone just ignores it.

          If you got some ideas what kind of revelation would cause serious change in the US – meaning that Americans pay more attention to it than who wins the World Series – then I’m all ears. UFOs, maybe? It would have to be photogenic evidence. And celebrity issues don’t count.

          1. Wow, man, that’s some serious truth right there. What *could* our country do that would cause real civil unrest? I think a draft might do it, these days, but maybe not even that…

          2. Yeah – draft puts people in harms way though and is a lifestyle change. I’m talking information only.

            Funny thing about lifestyle change is that it wouldn’t even take a draft. You’d see an uprising tomorrow if you raised gas prices to $6.00/gallon. People don’t want to change their lifestyle. Meanwhile, they will accept massive, horrific, oil spills in which the companies responsible all clearly neglected their duties, without even widespread demand for new regulation. And they will ignore even worse ongoing oil spills in Africa, despite the fact that they cause the deaths of thousands, because it’s not fun to think about.

            It really is odd. What we think we will act on and what we actually act on are two very different things.

          3. It wouldn’t have to be something that could topple governments, just something that didn’t align neatly with the worldview of Daily Show viewers.
            e.g. anything at all complimentary about George W Bush, surely there’d be a few people in diplomatic postings who might have something nice to say about their boss?
            If I saw a cable in which someone described how GWB gave them that nagging final crossword answer, I’d know the cables weren’t being cherry picked to push an agenda.

          4. You mean, like a cable about a mundane interaction between Nicolas Sarkozy and his son in Sarkozy’s office? The cables are being cherry picked by the media organizations who have them because there’s a lot of just basic boring crap. This is why we have the argument that the US classifies too much data.

          5. I’ve been thinking the same thing. Having resided on the far left of the spectrum since the early 80s I have to say I’m a bit jaded in my lowered expectations of American’s ability to even process the idea of injustice let alone do anything about it. Having said that, and I am no 9-11 conspiracy buff, revelations of government involvement in it is about the ONLY thing I can think of that MIGHT, just maybe, snap the withered shopping mall that is America out of it’s slumber.
            America is a very poorly educated country. We can see this in the confusion and incoherence of the Tea Party movement. They are rightly angry but have no intellectual or informed basis to channel their fear and anger. They know nothing of the labour struggle. They elect people who give tax cuts to plutocrats while zombie-chanting “socialism’s bad, mmmkay?”
            The second thing I then think about – and as far as I’m concerned this might be the most pressing question in years to come – will the US military fire on it’s own people en mass? We already know cops will, but if the shit hits the fan will the military?

          6. America is a very poorly educated country. We can see this in the confusion and incoherence of the Tea Party movement. … They elect people who give tax cuts to plutocrats while zombie-chanting “socialism’s bad, mmmkay?”

            I’m educated. I’m for limited, constitutional government and chant socialist is bad all day long.

            There are people who think that $250,000/year are plutocrats. Anybody that is a wage earner, even those making 250K are not plutocrats.


  15. the mind does indeed boggle. These facts have been floating around for a while and it is deeply disturbing to see just how involved the powers the were where they providing the funding. These slimballs we are dealing with here. Without Wikileaks many people would never even know about this.

  16. I just don’t see how this would ever benefit the US in any way. So now you have some police recruits with a slightly sympathetic bent towards the US. So what? Aren’t there easier and less morally reprehensible (to those back home) ways to go about currying favor?
    What is the end game for DynCorp here?
    It all just makes no sense.

  17. Rad. no wonder Julian Assange was so cool in court today. This is the shit really hitting the fan. Genius!!

  18. Report: Wikileaks cables show Afghan cops like boy sex slaves; US commitment to multiculturalism remains intact
    There, I fixed the headline for you.

  19. Just a point to everybody who wrote some variation of “this makes the whole wikileaks thing worthwhile” in the comments.

    Read closely and you will notice this line:

    “Frontline covered the phenomenon earlier this year”

    Maybe you saw that there was a video included as well. I’m not saying that there won’t be greater or renewed attention on this due to wikileaks, I’m just saying that this information was already out there so it should not be used to justify the release of the rest of the information.

    1. Absolutely not. Frontline covered the cultural phenomenon of “bacha bazi,” NOT that a US company was procuring child prostitutes in that tradition for Afghan officials.

      1. I stand corrected on the difference as the contractor support is a significant difference that my sleep deprived brain overlooked. I think my posting was an instinctive reaction against the “just one” type of logic. What I dislike is when people essentially claim that “this one thing” justifies everything else.

        Until everything disclosed is analyzed and the good v. bad outcomes of the wikileaks information is known that can’t be said. Although I highly doubt it in this case, there is the chance that there could be more harm caused in the end. There is plenty of room even now for debate over the level of transparency government should have (can/should we really ban all private internal deliberation at the State Department? Doesn’t policy matter more than analysis? etc.).

        If I posted statements along the lines of, “If just one terrorist is stopped then all of this groping and radiation will be worth it” or “There was lots of collateral damage but we got that one bad guy so all of those dead civilians were worth it” I would be pounced upon and rightfully so. My point was meant to be that I think there is an equivalency to the argument regarding this specific release sanctifying the release of the entire cache of documents.

  20. It makes me sick to live in a generation that dot stand up to say how horrible it it that out money supports this horror.
    seriously. i dont care what tradition it is or how old its wrong to slave children for sex.
    western societies had and have still some pretty nasty traditions. i dont get over bullfighting, i have to live up with some religions that make me sick, but i think that in a common sense we try to end abuse and prejudice.

    so..i just wish we could make some good out of it

  21. Can the government be specific what is so threatening, because NO ONE DIED by the cables released. People did die because the same amount of money did go to Foreign Affair as to public health care.

    We NEED proper steering mechanism to survive the global society we created with technology. Transparancy/involvism is needed. It’s urgend, at this moment our society has an obsolete 200 years old steering mechanism. How can a few wise leaders understand these complex global issues pending ?

    Would we have gone to Iraq over Weapons of mass destruction is we were part of the diplomatic cable discussion ?
    Better of with more transparency ? Credit Crises / Cable gate shows governments are not so much in control of the global society. Wasn’t it work of the press to tell us the truth ?

    At least the cork out of the bottle. Fact is that secrets are harder to keep anno 2010. Shutting down is naive. Discuss it is the only option.. If democracy fails, the only solution is MORE democracy!. Fill the streets and discuss where the press fails.

  22. Of course the whole Wikileaks this is wrong and harmful. Can’t you see how important it is that powerful, rich and important people are not embarrassed by the things they say and do that they don’t want people to know about.

    1. Because corps can do shady things the military can’t, and if acts are uncovered, military can claim ignorance and slap the corp on the wrist.
      Also, corps support politicians! Everybody wins! Oh wait.

  23. edwinx2 manages, in a few paragraphs, to demonstrate every single thing I find repellent about cultural relativism.

    I’m as liberal, as aware as anyone of the damage the West can do to another culture, but there is no way I can agree that it is ever OK to molest children. Or (in another example I have also seen from similar arguments) suggest that because it is “how it has always been in sub-saharan africa” that the West should not try to stop the practice of female circumcision.

  24. Ever since Reagan there have been extremely persistent rumors of this exact kind of thing going on in Washington, DC. Supposedly there are several places where the wealthy supply little boys and girls to the powerful, and supposedly that is why this country is ruled entirely by the ultra-right-wing plutocrats regardless of who gets elected.

    Somehow there’s never any evidence. You can find prematurely aged 21-year-old prostitutes downtown who will laugh knowingly and tell you that they got too old for the fancy trade, but nobody listens to them.

    Thank god for wikileaks. Now you know why the wealthy are so afraid of it.

  25. Their headquarters are in Falls Church, VA.

    Any DC area boingers want to put on a Pedobear costume outside their HQ to send a message?

  26. I dont care if the little boys are from Pluto…this is wrong… I cant even think right this is so infuriating. Think about all the diseases and health problems these young boys have to endure. Not to mention the psych issues that are either present now or that will set in later. These little boys are going to be full of hate, I would hate the whole world if the only childhood I ever had a chance to have consisted of sexual encounters with grown men and I was made to believe it was ok…One of these lil boys gonna grow up to be a dictator and blow the whole world up…things like this dont just stop at one generation…

  27. I am not taking a position that one form of child prostitution is somehow “better” than the other from the point of view of the person finding themselves in the circumstance.

    The runaway falls into a tragic circumstance based on a series of misfortunes, that is bad.

    But this bacha bazi thing appears to happen as part of a plan, like being sent off to boarding school, with the assent of the parents and the implicit support of the community.

    Sorry, mom needs to find another way to pay for the penicillin and feed little sister: that is just crazy.

  28. Let’s try this one out for size:

    The notion that an American company enabled the sexual and physical abuse of kids is a logical outcome of “the cause justifies the means” where cause is money+power and the means are everything else.

    Companies are structured to eliminate compassion and human-ness for the sake of profit. This is normal.

  29. I’d like to hear from the Washington Post journalist who covered this event. If you start with the original cable, then read the Guardian write-up, the Houston Press blog post, and finally the Boing Boing summary of what occurred, each iteration is more lurid than the last. In July of 2009 the Washington Post wrote that DynCorp workers “hired a teenage boy to perform a tribal dance at a company farewell party.” Seventeen months later the Houston Press is writing that Dyncorp drugged up some Pashtun police recruits and turned them loose on a bunch of little boys. Now Boing Boing is congratulating the Houston Press for “untangling an alarming story from the state department cables.” The cables are short on details and people are projecting their own worst imaginings onto what happened at this party. Let’s hear from the journalist who was actually there.

  30. I agree with the person that said that just this already justifies the leaks. This is absolutely disgusting. Sadly, I cannot say that I am surprised. Think about how much deeper corruption like this goes.

  31. Blah blah blah cultural relativism, blah blah blah cultural imperialism.

    I’m normally pretty much down with the relativism thing, and pretty much opposed to the imperialism thing. But I draw the line at slavery and sexual exploitation of children.

    I think most cultures will survive having those two things expunged. Any culture that will not deserves to be annihilated.* Seriously.

    That said, I’m acutely and painfully aware that, while I feel this is firmly beyond the pale, others may judge practices that I think should be left alone in the same way, and I can’t think of an objective way of drawing the line. I think the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a good starting point, but that may not get us the whole way.
    *No, not calling for killing all the people in that culture.

        1. I object to a) children being sexually exploited and b) anyone being enslaved. If either or both are happening to the Culkins, I object. If that’s happening to Keyser Söze, I object.

          I can’t object to what I don’t know about. I just found out about the boys in Afghanistan. You must know something about what’s going on with Abigail Breslin and the Culkin boys that I don’t, because I don’t know anything about them that rises to that level (well, Macaulay Culkin was economically exploited by his father, but I never heard that he wanted to quit, or that he was put out in a car while 25 different men came out one by one and fucked his preadolescent ass).

          What are you talking about?

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