• US Diplomat Enslaved Woman; Sadly, Not Uncommon Except in the Extreme

    October 11, 2012

    Tags: , , ,
    Posted in: Democracy, Embassy/State, Iraq

    Next time Hillary cranks up the PR machine to talk about women’s rights and the rights of workers, somebody might clear their throat and ask her to look inside her own State Department before opening her mouth in public.


    According to court documents, a U.S. Department of State diplomat (LinkedIn photo above) and her husband tricked an Ethiopian woman into accompanying them as their domestic servant to Japan, where they held her virtually as a prisoner in their home and forced her to work for them for less than $1 per hour and where the husband repeatedly raped the woman with his diplomat wife’s consent. A Virginia federal judge awarded the victim $3.3 million in damages on a default judgment against the couple. The diplomat retired from the State Department with full pension and then fled the country.

    The victim, identified only as “Jane Doe,” told the court she was hired by the Howards in 2008 as a live-in housekeeper at the couple’s home in Yemen, where Linda Howard worked at the U.S. embassy. Doe says she agreed to move with the couple to Japan after Linda Howard was transferred to the embassy there and that she was promised wages of $300 per month, time off each week, health insurance and a safe place to live and work.

    Once in Japan, Doe says, Russell Howard repeatedly raped her, forced her to perform oral sex and sexually assaulted her. Doe says Linda Howard was complicit in her husband’s sexual abuse, telling Doe that she should gratify her husband and make him happy. Doe, who speaks little English and no Japanese, says the Howards also used nonphysical force, such as isolation and threats of deportation, to coerce her into servitude.


    After five months in Japan, Doe says, she fled the Howards’ home in the middle of the night. She says that after she reported the abuse, the State Department removed Linda Howard from her overseas post and launched an investigation into the Howards.

    Once back in Washington and while the so-called investigation took place, Howard, according to her LinkedIn profile, worked among other places as a recruiter and assessor for people seeking jobs with the State Department. She tells us on LinkedIn that she received a Superior Honor Award, with cash bonus, from State in June 2011, which would have been well after any investigation commenced. Her LinkedIn profile also references Cleared Connections, an employment site for government workers, suggesting she retained her security clearance from State.

    Linda Howard acted in bad faith by telling the court that she was unaware of any upcoming overseas job-related travel and then two weeks later retiring and leaving the country, the magistrate judge said. She also refused to appear for a deposition as ordered by the court and refused to communicate with Doe’s attorneys to facilitate discovery as ordered by the court, Magistrate Judge Jones said.

    Now, a question: if the allegations are true– and a Virginia court says they are– Mr. and Mrs. Howard committed felonies on federal property. Mr. Howard is an Australian citizen, so maybe it is a huge guess to wonder if they are outback there. Has the FBI been called in by State, as the FBI has jurisdiction over crimes on federal property (that why they are the lead investigators in Libya now)?

    Or is Julian Assange the only Australian the State Department cares about bringing to justice?

    U.S. Embassy Prostitution

    Unfortunately the story above is not an isolated incident. America’s diplomats are allowed by both U.S. and most foreign laws to import and employ domestic help pretty much without oversight. The workers are typically from Third World countries, and often do not speak the local language. Lacking friends, social contacts and legal protections, State’s diplomats are free to treat their household help pretty much any way their conscience allows. Most are fair and decent, but there is little safety net underneath when things go bad.

    For example, the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo has had its share of problems. In the early part of this decade, the embassy paid-for-dormitory for domestics (so they did not have to live with their diplomatic masters) was found full of women not connected with the embassy, some of whom were prostituting themselves on and out of U.S. government property. The public restroom just outside the dorm was a known quickie spot for night time taxi drivers looking for sex. Things were handled nice and quietly by State and the story stayed out of the news and out of the taxpayers’ attention.

    Economic Enslavement?

    A bit further back, one Tokyo embassy U.S. diplomat identified here as Thurmond Borden, had domestic troubles. The story is that in 1993, 40 year-old Lucia Martel was working as a domestic in Manila. In March of that same year, Mr. Borden was visiting the Philippines on vacation with his Filipino wife, and the couple was looking for a woman. Mr. and Mrs. Borden offered Lucia a monthly wage of about Y30,000 (USD300). To comply with the Japanese immigration regulations, a written contract was signed that contained very different language. The contract stated her working conditions as six days/week, eight hours/day, a monthly salary of Y150,000 (USD1500), and an overtime pay of 125%. The contract papers were submitted both to the U.S. Embassy and to the Japanese Immigration Bureau.

    Lucia started working at Borden’s residence October 16, 1993. Despite her contract, she was forced to work from six in the morning to ten in the evening, and was not allowed to rest even on Christmas and New Years according to reports.

    On May 22, 1994, reports were that Lucia complained to Mrs. Borden and the latter confiscated Lucia’s original contract, return air-ticket and Alien Registration Certificate. This Certificate is very important for expatriates in Japan. It must be carried at all times and if caught without it, one may end up being taken into custody by the police. Lucia went to the Naka-ward municipal office to have a new card issued. The shocked office staff who heard her story contacted the police. A cop officer visited the Borden’s residence to take Lucia’s Registration Certificate back from Mrs. Borden. Mr. Borden, returning from his work, was said to have become enraged. He allegedly shouted, “Go back to the Philippines!” to Lucia. Lucia feared that she might be assaulted. She fled the residence taking none of her belongings except the clothes she was wearing.

    Lucia eventually tried to sue the Borden’s, and organized protest marches outside the U.S. embassy. The State Department, however, claimed diplomatic immunity on Borden’s behalf and the Japanese legal system dropped the case. State Department records list Borden now as the head of the Consular Section in Jakarta where, among other tasks, he has responsibility for issuing maid visas to U.S. diplomats’ domestic help bound for the U.S.

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  • Recent Comments

    • Lafcadio said...


      While I’m here,I might as well pile on.

      Let’s do that by remembering former DS agent Harold Countryman and his esteemed wife Kimberly. Countryman is a former DS agent because he pled guilty to visa fraud. He falsified supporting documents on a visa application to bring his domestic slave err worker to the U.S.

      Once the domestic worker got to the U.S., wife Kimberly abused the living shit out of the lady. Kimberly was sentenced to six months in prison, 2 months home detention and 2 years probation. Harold “got off” with 2 years probation. As a couple, the Countryman’s forfeited $50,000.00 in restitution to their former domestic and 50k to the USG.

      It’s said that one of the reasons the Howard’s weren’t prosecuted is that Russell is an Australian national who has virtually no contact with the U.S., and all the criminal acts occurred in Yemen and Japan. The abuse didn’t become evident until the couple reached Japan.

      To top it off, Russell Howard is a retired diplomatic courier, retired from the Australian foreign service. It issaid he knows Asia like the back of his perverted hand. The Howard;s are probably settled in Laos or Burma right now, looking for new hired help.



      10/12/12 12:23 AM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      note to self..file under

      ..”People I’d personally love to beat within an inch of their life and then some”,,,

      unfortunately, the list filled my second 1T D drive…labeled Bankers.

      10/12/12 12:59 PM | Comment Link

    • Meloveconsullongtime said...


      “Has the FBI been called in by State, as the FBI has jurisdiction over crimes on federal property(?)”

      In my personal experience, the FBI do not investigate – nor take any measures toward prosecution of – US Federal felonies committed in US Consulates, at least not when (as in the case concerning me as an American victim of such a felony) the foreign felon has close personal relations with US Consular staff. In my experience, this is so even when the foreign felon comes to reside in the USA with a Green Card, such Green Card being in part a result of the foreigner’s felony.

      In terms of my particular case, involving a Russian national who committed a (documented) felony at a US Consulate in Russia – and who subsequently has remained shielded from investigation or prosecution by the State Department AND the FBI – I just keep wondering:

      “WHY does the US government shield this Russian woman from investigation and prosecution for a documented US Federal felony? (The ten year statute of limitations for it will not expire for another five years.) Is it because they believe she is an asset for US intelligence organs?
      OR is it because while she was living in her country, Russia, and constantly socialising with US Consular staff in Russia, perhaps she compromised one or more of them?”

      In either case, it stinks like a cesspool. Any way you slice it, it stinks like a sh-t sandwich.

      10/12/12 5:55 PM | Comment Link

    • Daniel said...


      I was in Tokyo when this happened. I wonder how many years this, and similar events had been going on with Management and DS ignoring the signs or (per the usual DoS response) attacking the messenger who reports it with “You just don’t like him/her!” Pathetic!

      10/15/12 3:26 AM | Comment Link

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