Tag Archives | privatization

America’s Nuclear Bomb Facility Shut Down After 82-Year-Old Nun Breaches Security

The task of keeping the government compound safe is handled by a private company–global security giant G4S, also known for a bungling job at the ongoing London Olympics. Via Reuters:

The U.S. government’s only facility for handling, processing and storing weapons-grade uranium has been temporarily shut after anti-nuclear activists, including an 82-year-old nun, breached security fences, government officials said on Thursday.

WSI Oak Ridge, the contractor responsible for protecting the facility at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, is owned by the international security firm G4S, which was at the center of a dispute over security at the London Olympic Games.

Officials said the facility was shut down on Wednesday at least until next week after three activists cut through perimeter fences to reach the outer wall of a building where highly enriched uranium, a key nuclear bomb component, is stored.

Ellen Barfield, a spokeswoman for the activists who called themselves “Transform Now Plowshares,” said three were arrested and charged with vandalism and criminal trespass.

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Protest Criminalized At ‘Pepper Spray University’

Via the New Statesman, on the Davis Dozen, who face ten year prison sentences for peacefully protesting the bank that paid for control over their school:

Sometime in July, eleven students and one professor at the University of California Davis will stand trial, accused of the “willful” and “malicious” act of protesting peacefully in front of a bank branch situated on their University campus.

There has been in recent months a great deal of online coverage of the brutality of public order policing at Davis. The treatment of the Davis Dozen, however, promises more longstanding injury. If found guilty, each faces charges of up to eleven years in prison and $1 million in fines.

As the collapse of the US banking sector caused the State of California to withdraw its funding for its public Universities, those same Universities turned to the banking sector for financial support. On 3 November 2009, just two weeks before riot police would end a student occupation at UC Berkeley by firing rubber bullets and tear gas at the students and faculty gathered outside, the University of California Davis announced on its website a new deal with US Bank, the high street banking division of U.S Bancor, the fifth largest commercial bank in the United States.

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Kellogg Brown & Root May Become Part Of Police Forces In Britain

Guantanamo_captives_in_January_2002In areas of the U.K., policing is being partially privatized for the first time ever, and Texas-based former Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root is on the short list of candidate companies, the Guardian reports. Does the public really want the kind of experience KBR brings?

A US Pentagon contractor that was involved in building Guantánamo Bay is on a shortlist of private consortiums bidding for a £1.5bn contract to run key policing services in the West Midlands and Surrey.

The Texas-based Kellogg Brown & Root, which was sold off by the controversial Halliburton corporation in 2007, is part of a consortium which has made it to the final shortlist for a contract that will see large-scale involvement of the private sector in British policing for the first time.

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Private Prison Corporation Offers To Buy 48 States’ Prisons

3557791151_885f645d7eThis snippet bears repeating: “The company is asking for an assurance that the prison would remain at least 90 percent full.” Via Huffington Post:

A Wall Street giant, Corrections Corporation of America, the nation’s largest operator of for-profit prisons, has sent letters recently to 48 states offering to buy up their prisons as a remedy for “challenging corrections budgets.” In exchange, the company is asking for a 20-year management contract, plus an assurance that the prison would remain at least 90 percent full, according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Huffington Post.

Corrections Corporation has been a swiftly growing business, with revenues expanding more than fivefold since the mid-1990s. The company capitalized on the expansion of state prison systems in the ’80s and ’90s at the height of the so-called ‘war on drugs’. During the past 10 years, it has found new opportunity in the business of locking up undocumented immigrants, as the federal government has contracted with private companies in an aggressive immigrant-detention campaign.

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Wall Street Corporations Rent Their Own NYPD Unit From The City Of New York

wallstreetDid you know that for a measly fee of $37 an hour per officer, you can rent uniformed, on-duty NYC cops as easily as ordering a sandwich? Then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani created the “Paid Detail Unit” in 1998 and Goldman Sachs and the New York Stock Exchange among others have been frequent customers recently. Counterpunch reveals:

The Paid Detail Unit allows the New York Stock Exchange and Wall Street corporations, including those repeatedly charged with crimes, to order up a flank of New York’s finest with the ease of dialing the deli for a pastrami on rye. The corporations pay an average of $37 an hour for a member of the NYPD, with gun, handcuffs and the ability to arrest.

New York City gets a 10 percent administrative fee on top of the $37 per hour paid to the police. The City’s 2011 budget called for $1,184,000 in Paid Detail fees, meaning private corporations were paying wages of $11.8 million to police participating in the Paid Detail Unit.

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‘Kids For Cash’ Judge Gets 28-Year Prison Sentence

ap_Mark_Ciavarella_nt_110818_wgPennsylvania Judge Mark Ciavarella jailed teenagers for minor offenses (e.g. satirizing a teacher on Myspace) in return for over $1 million in kickbacks from the area's for-profit youth prison. Mother Sandy Fonzo alleges that Judge Ciavarella is only "the tip of the iceberg" in a practice that is occurring across the country. Fonzo's star-wrestler son, whom Ciavarella sentenced, committed suicide after spending six months imprisoned among violent offenders as punishment for being caught with a marijuana pipe. In her words, "Judge Ciavarella is proof that for-profit incarceration cannot happen." The Kids For Cash scandal involved more than 30 state and local government officials and contractors, says ABC News.
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The Pentagon’s Invisible Third-World Army

iraqWhen enlistment is down, what’s the military to do? Outsource. Seventy thousand of the people in the Pentagon’s war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan are not U.S. soldiers, but “third-country nationals” — Filipinos launder our soldiers’ uniforms, Bosnians repair electrical grids, Indians serve up iced lattes. Many say they are being held in conditions resembling indentured servitude by subcontractors who operate outside the law, the New Yorker reports:

In the morning of October 10, 2007, the beauticians boarded their flight to the Emirates. They carried duffelbags full of cosmetics, family photographs, Bibles, floral sarongs. More than half of the women left husbands and children behind. In the rush to depart, none of them examined the fine print on their travel documents: their visas to the Emirates weren’t employment permits but thirty-day travel passes that forbade all work, “paid or unpaid”. And Dubai was just a stopping-off point. They were bound for U.S.

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How Two Bumbling Stoner Kids Became The Pentagon’s Favorite Arms Dealers

efraimdiveroli00_guns_local_embedded_prod_affiliate_56It sounds like the plot of a John Hughes ’80s teen comedy. Efraim Diveroli and David Packouz were a pair of underachieving kids from Miami (interests: football, “whisky”, and “chilling with the boyz”) until, as part of the privatization effort, they somehow landed a $300 million contract from the Bush administration to provide ammunition for U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.

Then things soured: greed pitted the friends against one another, all they could give the military were defective, Chinese-made munitions from Albania, and now Diveroli is in jail. Rolling Stone has the barely-believable saga:

Reassured by the e-mail, Packouz got into his brand-new blue Audi A4 and headed home for the evening, windows open, the stereo blasting. At 25, he wasn’t exactly used to the pressures of being an international arms dealer. Only months earlier, he had been making his living as a massage therapist; his studies at the Educating Hands School of Massage had not included classes in military contracting or geopolitical brinkmanship.

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Mass Privatization Can Kill

Source: BBC/The Lancet

Source: BBC/The Lancet

The BBC reported in January of 2009:

The rapid mass privatisation which followed the break up of the Soviet Union fuelled an increase in death rates among men, research suggests.

The UK study blames rapidly rising unemployment resulting from the break-neck speed of reform.

The researchers said their findings should act as a warning to other nations that are beginning to embrace widespread market reform.

The study features online in The Lancet medical journal.

The researchers examined death rates among men of working age in the post-communist countries of eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union between 1989 and 2002.

They conclude that as many as one million working-age men died due to the economic shock of mass privatisation policies.

Following the break up of the old Soviet regime in the early 1990s at least a quarter of large state-owned enterprises were transferred to the private sector in just two years.

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