Date: Tue Dec 19, 1995 10:33 pm CST From: snet l EMS: INTERNET / MCI ID: 376-5414 MBX: email@example.com TO: * David Beiter / MCI ID: 635-1762 Subject: The Wackenhut Corporation (fwd) - [1/4] ----Forwarded---- From: Orlin Grabbe
Newsgroups: alt.conspiracy Subject: The Wackenhut Corporation Date: Tue, 12 DEC 95 23:30:48 -0500 Message-ID: INSIDE THE SHADOW CIA by John Connolly SPY Magazine - Sept 1992 - Volume 6 ============================================================================ What? A big private company - one with a board of former CIA, FBI and Pentagon officials; one in charge of protecting Nuclear-Weapons facilities, nuclear reactors, the Alaskan oil pipeline and more than a dozen American embassies abroad; one with long-standing ties to a radical ring-wing organization; one with 30,000 men and women under arms - secretly helped IRAQ in its effort to obtain sophisticated weapons? And fueled unrest in Venezuela? This is all the plot of a new best-selling thriller, right? Or the ravings of some overheated conspiracy buff,right? Right? WRONG. -- In the WINTER OF 1990, David Ramirez, a 24 year-old member of the Special Investigations Division of the Wackenhut Corporation, was sent by his superiors on an unusual mission. Ramirez a former Marine Corps sergeant based in Miami, was told to fly immediately to San Antonio along with three other members of SID-a unit, known as founder and chairman George Wackenhut's "private FBI," that provided executive protection and conducted undercover investigations and sting operations. Once they arrived, they rented two gray Ford Tauruses and drove four hours to a desolate town on the Mexican border called Eagle Pass. There, just after dark, they met two truck drivers who had been flown in from Houston. Inside a nearby warehouse was an 18 -wheel tractor-trailer, which the two truck drivers and the four Wackenhut agents in their rented cars were supposed to transport to Chicago. "My instructions were very clear," Ramirez recalls. "Do not look into the trailer, secure it, and make sure it safely gets to Chicago." It went without saying that no one else was supposed to look in the trailer, either, which is why the Wackenhut men were armed with fully loaded Remington 870 pump-action shotguns. The convoy drove for 30 hours straight, stopping only for gas and food. Even then, one of the Wackenhut agents had to stay with the truck, standing by one of the cars, its trunk open, shotgun within easy reach. "Whenever we stopped, I bought a shot glass with the name of the town on it," Ramirez recalls. "I have glasses from Oklahoma City, Kansas City, St. Louis." A little before 5:00 on the morning of the third day, they delivered the trailer to a practically empty warehouse outside Chicago. A burly man who had been waiting for them on the loading dock told them to take off the locks and go home, and that was that. They were on a plane back to Miami that afternoon. Later Ramirez's superiors told him-as they told other SID agents about similar midnight runs-that the trucks contained $40 million worth of food stamps. After considering the secrecy, the way the team was assembled and the orders not to stop or open the truck, Ramirez decided he didn't believe that explanation. Neither do we. One reason is simple: A Department of Agriculture official simply denies that food stamps are shipped that way. "Someone is blowing smoke," he says. Another reason is that after a six-month investigation, in the course of which we spoke to more than 300 people, we believe we know what the truck did contain-equipment necessary for the manufacture of chemical weapons-and where it was headed: to Saddam Hussein's Iraq. And the Wackenhut Corporation-a publicly traded company with strong ties to the CIA and federal contracts worth $200 million a year-was making sure Saddam would be geting his equipment intact. The question is why. In 1954, George Wackenhut, then a 34-year old former FBI agent, joined up with three other former FBI agents to open a company in Miami called Special Agent Investigators Inc. The partnership was neither successful nor harmonious-George once knocked partner Ed Dubois unconscious to end a disagreement over the direction the company would take-and in 1958, George bought out his partners. However capable Wackenhut's detectives may have been at their work, George Wackenhut had two personal attributes that were instrumental in the company's growth. First, he got along exceptionally well with important politicians. He was a close ally of Florida governor Claude Kirk, who hired him to combat organized crime in the state; and was also friends with Senator George Smathers, an intimate of John F. Kennedy's. It was Smathers who provided Wackenhut with his big break when the senator's law firm helped the company find a loophole in the Pinkerton law, the 1893 federal statute that had made it a crime for an employee of a private detective agency to do work for the government. Smathers's firm set up a wholly owned subsidiary of Wackenhut that provided only guards, not detectives. Shortly thereafter, Wackenhut received multimillion-dollar contracts from the government to guard Cape Canaveral and the Nevada nuclear-bomb test site, the first of many extremely lucrative federal contracts that have sustained the company to this day. The second thing that helped make George Wackenhut successful was that he was, and is, a hard-line right-winger. He was able to profit from his beliefs by building up dossiers on Americans suspected of being Communists or merely left-leaning-"subversives and sympathizers," as he put it-and selling the information to interested parties. According to Frank Donner, the author of "Age of Surveillance", the Wackenhut Corporation maintained and updated its files even after the McCarthyite hysteria had ebbed, adding the names of antiwar protesters and civil-rights demonstrators to its list of "derogatory types." By 1965, Wackenhut was boasting to potential investors that the company maintained files on 2.5 million suspected dissidents-one in 46 American adults then living. in 1966, after acquiring the private files of Karl Barslaag; a former staff member of the House Committee on Un-American Activities, Wackenhut could confidently maintain that with more than 4 million names, it had the largest privately held file on suspected dissidents in America. In 1975, after Congress investigated companies that had private files, Wackenhut gave its files to the now-defunct anti-Communist Church League of America of Wheaton, Illinois. That organization had worked closely with the red squads of big-city police departments, particularly in New York and L.A., spying on suspected sympathizers; George Wackenhut was personal friends with the League's leaders, and was a major contributor to the group. To be sure, after giving the League its files, Wackenhut reserved the right to use them for its clients and friends. Wackenhut had gone public in 1965 ; George Wackenhut retained 54 percent of the company. Between his salary and dividends, his annual compensation approaches $2 million a year, sufficient for him to live in a $20 million castle in Coral Gables, Florida, complete with a moat and 18 full-time servants. Today the company is the third-largest investigative security firm in the country, with offices throughout the United States and in 39 foreign countries. It is not possible to overstate the special relationship Wackenhut enjoys with the federal government. It is close. When it comes to security matters, Wackenhut in many respects *is* the government. In 1991, a third of the company's $600- million in revenues came from the federal government, and another large chunk from companies that themselves work for the government, such as Westinghouse. Wackenhut is the largest single company supplying security to U.S. embassies overseas; several of the 13 embassies it guards have been in important hotbeds of espionage, such as Chile, Greece and El Salvador. It also guards nearly all the most strategic government facilities in the U.S., including the Alaskan oil pipeline, the Hanford nuclear-waste facility, the Savannah River plutonium plant and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Wackenhut maintains an especially close relationship with the federal government in other ways as well. While early boards of directors included such prominent personalities of the political right as Captain Eddie Rickenbacker; General Mark Clark and Ralph E. Davis, a John Birch Society leader, current and recent members of the board have included much of the country's recent national-security directorate: former FBI director Clarence Kelley; former Defense secretary and former CIA deputy director Frank Carlucci: former Defense Intelligence Agent director General Joseph Carroll; former U.S. Secret Service director James J. Rowley; former Marine commandant P. X. Kelley; and acting chairman of President Bush's foreign- intelligence advisory board and former CIA deputy director Admiral Bobby Ray Inman. Before his appointment as Reagan's CIA director, the late William Casey was Wackenhut's outside legal counsel. The company has 30,000 armed employees on its payroll. We wanted to know more about this special relationship; but the government was not forthcoming. Repeated requests to the Department of Energy for an explanation of how one company got the security contracts for neariy all of America's most strategic installations have gone unanswered. Similarly, efforts to get the State Department to explain whether embassy contracts were awarded arbitrarily or through competitive bidding were fruitless; essentially, the State Department said, "Some of both. " Wackenhut's competitors-who, understandably, asked not to be quoted by name-have their own version. "All those contracts;" said one security-firm executive, "are just another way to pay Wackenhut for their clandestine help. And what is the nature of that help? "It is known throughout the industry," said retired FBI special agent William Hinshaw, "that if you want a dirty job done, call Wackenhut." We met George Wackenhut in his swanky, muy macho offices in Coral Gables. The rooms are paneled in a dark, rich rosewood, accented with gray-blue stone. The main office is dominated by Wackenhut's 12-foot-long desk and a pair of chairs shaped like elephants- "Republican chairs," he calls them-complete with real tusks, which, the old man says with some amusement, tend to stick his visitors. The highlight of the usual collection of pictures and awards is the Republican presidential exhibit: an autographed photo of Wackenhut shaking hands with George Bush (whom Wackenhut, according to a former associate, used to call "that pinko") as well as framed photos of Presidents Reagan, Nixon and Bush, each accompanied by a handwritten note. The chairman looks every inch the comfortable Florida septuagenarian. The day we spoke, his clothing ranged across the color spectrum from baby blue to light baby blue, and he wore a iot of jewelry-a huge gold watch on a thick gold band, two massive goid rings. But Wackenhut was, at 72, quick and tough in his responses. Near the end of our two-and-a-half hour interview, when asked if his company was an arm of the CIA, he snapped, "No!" Of course, this may just be a matter of semantics. We have spoken to numerous experts, including current and former CIA agents and analysts, current and former agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration and current and former Wackenhut executives and employees, all of whom have said that in the mid-197O's, atter the Senate Intelligence Committee's revelations of the CIA's covert and sometimes illegal overseas operations, the agency and Wackenhut grew very, very close. Those revelations had forced the CIA to do a housecleaning, and it became CIA policy that certain kinds of activities would no longer officially be performed. But that didn't always mean that the need or the desire to undertake such operations disappeared. And that's where Wackenhut came in. Our sources confirm that Wackenhut has had a long- standing relationship with the CIA, and that it has deepened over the last decade or so. Bruce Berckmans, who was assigned to the CIA station in Mexico City, left the agency in January 1975 (putatively) to become a Wackenhut international-operations vice president. Berckmans, who left Wackenhut in 1981, told SPY that he has seen a formal proposal George Wackenhut submitted to the CIA to allow the agency to use Wackenhut offices throughout the world as fronts for CIA activities. Kichard Babayan, who says he was a CIA contract employee and is currently in jail awaiting trial on fraud and racketeering charges, has been cooperating with federal and congressional investigators looking into illegal shipments of nuclear-and-chemical-weapons- making supplies to Iraq. "Wackenhut has been used by the CIA and other intelligence agencies for years," he told SPY. "When they [the CIA] need cover, Wackenhut is there to provide it for them." Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau was said to have rebuffed Wackenhut's effort in the 1980's to purchase a weapons propellant manufacturer in Quebec with the remark "We just got rid of the CIA-we don't want them back." Phillip Agee, the left-wing former CIA agent who wrote an expose' of the agency in 1975, told us, "I don't have the slightest doubt that the CIA and Wackenhut overlap." There is also testimony from people who are not convicts, renegades or Canadians. William Corbett, a terrorism expert who spent 18 years as a CIA analyst and is now an ABC News consultant based in Europe, confirmed the relationship between Wackenhut and the agency. "For years Wackenhut has been involved with the CIA and other intelligence organizations, including the DEA," he told SPY. "Wackenhut would allow the CIA to occupy positions within the company [in order to carry out] clandestine operations." He also said that Wackenhut would supply intelligence agencies with information, and that it was compensated for this- "in a quid pro quo arrangement," Corbett says-with government contracts worth billions of dollars over the years. We have uncovered considerable evidence that Wackenhut carried the CIA's water in fighting Communist encroachment in Central America in the 1980s (that is to say, during the Reagan administration when the CIA director was former Wackenhut lawyer William Casey, the late superpatriot who had a proclivity for extralegal and illegal anti-Communist covert operations such as Iran-contra). In 1981, Berckmans, the CIA agent turned Wackenhut vice president, joined with other senior Wackenhut executives to form the company's Special Projects Division. It was this division that linked up with ex-CIA man John Phillip Nichols, who had taken over the Cabazon Indian reservation in California, as we described in a previous article ["Badlands," April 1992], in pursuit of a scheme to manufacture explosives, poison gas and biological weapons-and then, by virtue of the tribe's status as a sovereign nation, to export the weapons to the contras. This maneuver was designed to evade congressional prohibitions against the U.S. government's helping the contras. Indeed, in an interview with SPY, Eden Pastora, the contras' famous Commander Zero, who had been spotted at a test of some night-vision goggles at a firing range near the Cabazon reservation in the company of Nichols and a Wackenhut executive, offhandedly identified that executive, A. Robert Frye, as "the man from the CIA. " (In a subsequent conversation he denied knowing Frye at all; of course, in that same talk he quite unbelievably denied having ever been a contra.) In addition to attempted weapons supply, Wackenhut seems to have been involved in Central America in other ways. Ernesto Bermudez who was Wackenhut's director of international operations from 1987 to '89, admitted to SPY that during 1985 and '86 he ran Wackenhut's operations in El Salvador, where he was in charge of 1,500 men. When asked what 1 ,500 men were doing for Wackenhut in El Salvador, Bermudez replied coyly, "Things." Pressed, he elaborated: "Things you wouldn't want your mother to know about." It's worth noting that Wackenhut's annual revenues from government contracts--the alleged reward for cooperation in the government's clandestine activities-increased by 150 million, a 45 percent jump, while Ronald Reagan was in office. "You've done an awful lot of research, George Wackenhut said to me as I was leaving. "How would you like to run all our New York operations ? " If that was the extent of Wackenhut's possible involvement in a government agency's attempt to circumvent the law, then we might dismiss it as an interesting footnote to the overheated, cowboy anti- Communist 1980s. However, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida has been conducting an investigation into the illegal export of dual-use technology-that is, seemingly innocuous technology that can also be used to make nuclear weapons to Iraq and Libya. And SPY has learned that Wackenhut's name has come up in the federal investigation, but not at present as a target. Between 1987 and '89, three companies in the United States received investments from an Iraqi architect named Ihsan Barbouti. The colorful Barbouti owned an engineering company in Frankfort that had a $552 million contract to build airfields in Iraq. He also admitted having designed Mu'ammar Qaddafi's infamous German-built chemical- weapons plant in Rabta, Libya. According to an attorney for one of the companies in which Barbouti invested, the architect owned $100 million worth of real estate and oil-drilling equipment in Texas and Oklahoma. He may also be dead, there being reports that he died of heart failure in Hospital in London on July 1, 1990, his 63rd birthday. Barbouti, however, had faked his death once before, in 1969, after the Ba'ath takeover in Iraq which brought Saddam Hussein to power as the second-in-command. That time, Barbouti escaped Iraq; resurfacing several years later in Lebanon and Libya. There are no reports that he is living in Jordan -or, according to other reports, in a CIA safe house in Florida. Those reports can be considered no better than rumor; what follows, though, is fact. As reported on ABC's "Nightline" last year, the three companies in which Barbouti invested were TK-7 of Oklahoma City, which makes a fuel additive; Pipeline Recovery Systems of Dallas, which makes an anti-corrosive chemical that preserves pipes; and Product Ingredient Technoiogy of Boca Raton, which makes food flavorings. None of these companies was looking to do business with Iraq; Barbouti sought them out. Why was he interested? Because TK-7 had formulas that could extend the range of jet aircraft and liquid-fueled missiles such as the SCUD; because Pipeline Recovery knows how to coat pipes to make them usable in nuclear reactors and chemical-weapons plants; and because one of the by- products in making cherry flavoring is ferric ferrocyanide, a chemical that's used to manufacture hydrogen cyanide, which can penetrate gas masks and protective clothing. Hydrogen cyanide was used by Saddam Hussein against the Kurds in the Iran-Iraq war. Barbouti was more than a passive investor, and soon he began pressuring the companies to ship not only their products but also their manufacturing technology to corporations he owned in Europe, on which, he told the businessmen, it would be sent to Libya and Iraq. In doing so, Barbouti was attempting to violate the law. First, the U.S. forbade sending anything to Libya, which was embargoed as a terrorist nation. Second, the U.S. specified that material of this sort must be sent to its final destination, not to an intermediate locale, where the U.S. would risk losing control of its distribution. According to former CIA contract employee Richard Babayan, in late 1989 Barbouti met in London with Ibrahim Sabawai, Saddam Hussein's half brother and European head of Iraqi intelligence, who grew excited about the work Pipeline Recovery was doing and called for the company's technology to be rushed to Iraq, so that it could be in place by early 1990. And the owner of TK-7 swears that Barbouti told him he was developing an atom device for Qaddafi that would be used against the U.S. in retaliation for the 1986 U.S. air strike against Libya. Barbouri also wanted the ferrocyanide from Product Ingredient. Assisting Barbouti with these investments was New Orleans exporter Don Seaton, business associate of Richard Secord, the right-wing U.S. Army general turned war profiteer who was so deeply enmeshed in the Iran-contra affair. It was Secord who connected Barbouti with Wackenhut. Barbouti met with Secord in Florida on several occasions, and phone records show that several calls were placed from Barbouti's office to Secord's private number in McLean, Virginia; Secord has acknowledged knowing Barbouti. He is currently a partner of Washington businessman James Tully (who is the man who leaked Bill Clinton's draft-dodge letter to ABC) and Jack Brennan, a former Marine Corps colonel and longtime aide to Richard Nixon both in the White House and in exile. Brennan has gone back to the White House, where he works as a director of administrative operations in President Bush's office. He refused to return repeated calls from SPY. Interestingly, Brennan and Tully had previously been involved in a $181 million business deal to supply uniforms to the Iraqi army. Oddly, they arranged to have the uniforms manufactured in Nicolae Ceaucescu's Romania. The partners in that deal were former U.S. attorney general and Watergate felon John Mitchell and Sarkis Soghanalian, a Turkish-born Lebanese citizen. Soghanalian, who has been credited with being Saddam Hussein's leading arms procurer and with introducing the demonic weapons inventor Gerald Bull to the Iraqis, is currently serving a six-year sentence in federal prison in Miami for the illegal sale of 103 military helicopters to Iraq. According to former Wackenhut agent David Ramirez, the company considered Soghanalian "a very valuable client." Unfortunately for Barbouti, none of the companies in which he made investments was willing to ship its products or technology to his European divisions. That, however, doesn't necessarily mean that he didn't get some of what he wanted. In 1990, 2,000 gallons of ferrocyanide were found to be missing from the cherry-flavor factory in Boca Raton. Where it went is a mystery; Peter Kawaja, who was the head of security for all of Barbouti's U.S. investments, told SPY, "We were never burglarized, but that stuff didn't walk out by itself." What does all this have to do with Wackenhut? Lots: According to Louis Champon, the owner of Product Ingredient Technology, it was Wackenhut that guarded his Boca Raton plant, a fact confirmed by Murray Levine, a Wackenhut vice president. Champon also says, and Wackenhut also confirms, that the security for the plant consisted of one unarmed guard. While a Wackenhut spokesperson maintains that this was the only job they were doing for Barbouti, he also says that they were never paid, that Barbouti stiffed them. This does not seem true. SPY has obtained four checks from Barbouti to Wackenhut. All were written within ten days in 1990: one on March 27 for $168.89; one on March 28 for $24,828.07; another on April 5 for $756; the last on April 6 for $40,116.25. We asked Richard Kneip, Wackenhut's senior vice president for corporate planning, to explain why a single guard was worth $66,000 a year; Kneip was at a loss to do so. He was similarly at a loss to explain a fifth check, from another Barbouti company to Wackenhut's travel-service division in 1987, almost two years before Wackenhut has acknowledged providing security for the Boca Raton plant . Two former CIA operatives, separately interviewed, have the explanation. Charles Hayes, who describes himself as "a CIA asset " says Wackenhut was helping Barbouti ship chemicals to Iraq, "Supplying Iraq was originally a good idea," he maintains, "but then it got out of hand. Wackenhut was just in it for the money." Richard Babayan the former CIA contract employee, confirmed Hayes's account. He says that Wackenhut's relationship with Barbouti existed before the Boca Raton plant opened: "Barbouti was placed in the hands of Secord by the CIA, and Secord called in Wackenhut to handle security and travel and protection for Barbouti and his export plans." Wackenhut, Babayan says was working for the CIA in helping Barbouti ship the chemical- and-nuclear-weapons-making equipment first to Texas, then to Chicago, and then to Baltimore to be shipped overseas. All of which makes the story of the midnight convoy ride of David Ramirez, recounted at the beginning of this article rather less mysterious. SPY has learned that this shipment is now the subject of a joint USDA- Customs investigation. When we asked George Wackenhut what was being shipped from Eagle Pass to Chicago, the sharp, straightforward chairman at first claimed they were protecting an unnamed executive. He then directed an aide to get back to me. Two days later, Richard Kneip did, repeating the tale that had been passed on to David Ramirez-that the trucks contained food stamps. We told him that we had spoken to a Department of Agriculture official, who informed us that food stamps are shipped from Chicago to outlying areas, never the other way around, and that food stamps, unlike money, are used once and then destroyed. All Kneip would say then was, "We do not reveal the names of our clients." Wackenhut's connection to the CIA and to other government agencies raises several troubling questions: First, is the CIA using Wackenhut to conduct operations that it has been forbidden to undertake? Second, is the White House or some other party in the executive branch working through Wackenhut to conduct operations that it doesn't want Congress to know about? Third, has Wackenhut's cozy relationship with the government given it a feeling of security-or worse, an outright knowledge of sensitive or embarrassing information-that allows the company to believe that it can conduct itself as though it were above the law? A congressional investigation into Wackenhut's activities in the Alyeska affair last November began to shed some light on Wackenhut's way of doing business; clearly it's time for Congress to investigate just how far Wackenhut's other tentacles extend. Additional reporting by Erzc Reguly, Margie Sloan and Wendell Smith ** End of article ** Date: Fri Jan 05, 1996 1:43 am CST From: Moderator of conference justice.polabuse EMS: INTERNET / MCI ID: 376-5414 MBX: firstname.lastname@example.org TO: * David Beiter / MCI ID: 635-1762 Subject: Wackenhut From: Bob Witanek Posted email@example.com Thu Jan 4 12:00:02 1996 From: firstname.lastname@example.org (nessie) Subject: Fwd(2): more on Wackenhut (pt. 1) PART 1 OF 2 PARTS This originally appeared on the WELL: PAY YOUR MONEY, TAKE YOUR CHANCE As long as we refuse to protect ourselves and each other, we are at the mercy of a legal system whose very business is crime, and a lucrative business it is. By this point in history, all but the most naive of us have stopped expecting cops, public or private, to all behave like Boy Scouts. There has been simply too much hard evidence to the contrary. In that murky gray zone where law enforcement overlaps with organized crime, an underground empire has arisen. It is a world where the so-called "War on Drugs" is often a war on rival drug dealers, and always a war on the poor. It is a world where "national security," excuses war crimes and genocide is a commodity. It is a world where justice is for sale and cops are for rent. Cops, rent-a-cops in particular, vary widely in quality. A family business, Wackenhut Corp. was founded in 1954 by a one time FBI man George R. Wackenhut. His son Richard, a Citadel graduate, is president and CEO. The immediate family hold over 50% of the stock The rest is divided among just 1100 stockholders. Wackenhut stock is traded on the New York Stock exchange. Buy a share, and you will receive a fascinating brochure. The company's revenue has grown from just $300,000 in 1958 to nearly half a billion today. It is one of the largest private security firms in existence. Wackenhut specializes in security contracts. Government contracts are best, of course, and the company's remarkable growth is due on no small part to George Wackenhut's relationship to certain government officials. His first big break came when he secured a contract to watch over Titan missile sites in four states. Since then, security and public safety functions have proven a lucrative focus. Wackenhut provides security guards for such high-risk installations as the trans-Alaska pipelines, major airports both in the United States and abroad, dams and the nuclear test site in Nevada. It also owns a casualty reinsurance firm, a travel service, and an airline services company. The Department of energy provides 25% of Wackenhut's total gross. Their operatives also serve friends of the U. S. Govt. and Big Oil (like the fugitive Shah of Iran), abroad as well as at home. Wackenhut personnel guard the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve Sites in Louisiana and Texas. From time to time, they can be seen around the complexes, dodging alligators, and exchanging laser gunfire with soldiers, local police and sheriff's deputies. This is just practice to prepare for real trouble, such as terrorists. Wackenhut touts it's supposed anti-terrorist expertise. James*P.*Davis, who manages the site for government contractor Boeing, declares: "I pity anybody who tries to invade here. It would be tougher than Fort Knox." That is arguable. The government itself concedes that the security could be beefed up. But the analogy to Fort Knox is fitting. There is gold here, too, only it's black. Never forget the Golden Rule: "Gold rules." Wackenhut often recruits ex-police and military men who don't require a fresh background check. Cutting this corner (at $30,000 to $40,000 apiece) has allowed the employment of a number of unsavory characters, including infamous navy spy John Walker. When Wackenhut operatives were caught recently in the public spotlight by court allegations of illegal surveillance, Associated Press reports that they were staunchly defended by their employer in the case, the president of Alyeska Pipeline Service Co., James B. Hermiller. Alyeska is a consortium of seven oil companies including Exxon Corp., owners of the Exxon Valdez. They are also long time Wackenhut clients. During the spill, industry security mounted an armed "bear patrol" to "keep grizzlies from rolling in the contaminated sand." They kept potential witness from the spill scene. Alyeska lies about clean up. State studies have confirmed that contaminants -- including carcinogens such as benzene and toxic materials such as heavy metals -- are ending up in the waters and sediments of Port Valdez. Happy dining, crab lovers. Alyeska also lies about the carcinogen content of the atmospheric pollution they inflict on their neighbors. Breath deep, Valdez. Few of it's victims are any longer surprised that Big Oil lies. Internal documents to that effect (and worse) were leaked by Aleyska employees to long time industry gad-fly, professional tanker broker Charles Hamel The whistle blowing employees were afraid to let their names be used. Charley Hamel was not. At least one regulatory action, a $20,000 fine proposed by the EPA in August, 1992 against Alyeska for illegal waste-water dumping, is attributable to information provided by Hamel. One former employee, Robert Scott, has filed a complaint with the U.S. Labor Department charging that Alyeska illegally fired him for leaking information that detailed problems with vapor-emission. "This is not a knock down and kill you problem," says Riki Ott, a marine toxicologist and president of the Oil Reform Alliance, a coalition of fishing and environmental groups in Alaska. "It's more like a 20 year from now cancer problem." Cancer is not the only problem in this case. This is more about lies than it is about cancer. Disinformation is cancer in our body politic. It has so saturated our culture that it is no longer the social norm to take a stranger at his word on such basic information as his name. Can Wackenhut's public relations department be trusted to tell the truth? Their track record, and that of their clients, tell the tale. Company officials claim that Alyeska is committed to operating in an environmentally sound manner. But environmentalists, state and even federal officials and other observers differ. Privy employees agree. Alyeska has been a major source of water, air and soil pollution in Alaska. Wackenhut Corp. has been, at the very least, a witting accomplice, both during and after the fact. They have worked to conceal disturbing truths from Congress, law enforcement, and the public at large. They have perpetuated dangerous, sometimes fatal lies. They hired Wackenhut to help cover them up. Wackenhut certainly gave it a hell of a try. Wackenhut blew it. Fortunately for us, many Wackenhut operatives are incredibly lame. As disturbing as the cover-up itself, allegations have surfaced in court that Alyeska has pursued an aggressive campaign of spying and covert operations aimed at ferreting out internal whistle-blowers and silencing outside opponents. Their main tool in this undertaking has been Wackenhut Corp. Three of five dissident Wackenhut employees allege that even Rep. George Miller (D-California), chairman at the time of the House committee that oversees environment and resource development issues was targeted for "dirty tricks" when he began investigating alleged environmental wrongdoing by Alyeska, according to sources and sworn court statements. Miller became incensed to the point of subpoena. His committee quickly began investigating the possibility that Wackenhut may have obstructed Congress, as well. Alyeska, as well as Wackenhut, denies any wrongdoing. But for some, the alleged black-bag operation conjures up disquieting echoes of the past, and uneasy foreboding about the future. One honest (and prudent) cop, Rafael Castillo, a thirty year veteran of city, county, state, and federal police work left Wackenhut rather than expose himself to the possibility of criminal prosecution and a ruined career. Twice he had confronted superiors on the matter, to no avail. He had no honorable choice but to quit, which he did, reputation intact. It's too bad that all cops aren't Rafael Castillo, but they're not. Sworn court statements and interviews with sources familiar with the probe, portray a conspiracy of electronic surveillance, lies, phony offices, burglaries and similar behavior aimed at silencing critics. With one side of it's mouth, Alyeska has denied the charges. With the other side, Alyeska assigned Wackenhut the task of rooting out the sources. Wackenhut began by attempting to backtrack from Hamel. In a sworn statement in U.S. District Court in Houston one former Wackenhut employee stated that the company's special investigations division conducted illegal electronic surveillance of Hamel's home, searched his garbage, obtained his telephone records and attempted to furnish him with large amounts of cash. The employee, whose name was blacked out in the court file, said Wackenhut agents also masqueraded as news reporters and environmentalists. They also steal garbage. Charley Hamel caught them on video tape stealing his. They also got a parking ticket while inside bugging his house. These are not exactly what you could call rocket scientist types. They were beaten at their own game by an amateur armed with little more than a camcorder and a realistic estimation of the degree of privacy he enjoyed. It can be done. Wackenhut also set up a phony environmental group, called Ecolit, with offices near Hamel's home. This was part of a 17 person "special investigation unit" created by Wayne Black. Black described it in an interview with the Washington Post as a "private FBI." Black had once been a criminal investigator for the Dade County prosecutor. According to the Anchorage Daily News, he had been suspended for illegally conducting a wire tap and pressuring witnesses. Despite, or perhaps because of, the efforts of a special prosecutor, he managed to squirm out of the charges. A month later he went into private practice. In 1989 his firm was purchased by Wackenhut. He's their kind of guy. He told Hamel his name was Dr. Wayne Jenkins, a staff researcher for Ecolit. At one point, Hamel was told that real estate tycoon Donald J. Trump was on Ecolit's board of directors. For a while, Hamel fell for it. Then his garbage started disappearing. His suspicions aroused, he set a trap with his trusty camcorder. It worked. On occasion, Wackenhut also delivers garbage. One operative, identifying herself as an environmental journalist, tried to "befriend" Hamel in an Anchorage hotel bar in March, 1990, and later on an airline flight. Her aim was to discover Hamel's sources and also to "compromise him" in some way, court statements said. It didn't work. Wayne Black was not a loose cannon. According to Castillo, Black kept Wackenhut security chief, and former head of Alaska's State Police Pat Wellington abreast of his progress. Black has since been promoted. He is now vice-president of investigations for Wackenhut. Alyeska President James B. Hermiller said the company would cooperate fully with Miller's committee, but he has denied that Alyeska targeted Hamel for investigation. Hermiller declined to comment on the specific allegations in the court documents. But he did say, "Wackenhut is probably the premiere security firm in the world, and they do not do anything illegal. They conduct programs in a very professional and legal way." Premier? Professional? Legal? Hardly. In service to other less influential clients Wackenhut operatives have appeared, on numerous occasions, to be the premier bunglers of the trade. Yet they can, on occasion, appear deadly efficient and, in fact, downright sinister. Wackenhut performs a wide variety of services with widely varying efficiency. Some are scarier than others. One such service is union busting. The firm provides a comprehensive strike-breaking service. It includes armed protection, bedding, bath facilities and a catering service for scab labor. Clients of this particular service range from the Greyhound Corp. to Capital Cities. Capital Cities (owner of ABC) was founded by the reputedly deceased Director of Central Intelligence, William Casey. Casey is the alleged mastermind of the "October Surprise" and convenient scapegoat of the Iran-Contra affair, as well as being a Knight of Malta. The Knights are no friends of labor. The Wackenhut Corporation boasts widely of the sophistication of its "strike service." Potential clients also take note of other, more objective, versions. A poignant vignette of Wackenhut labor relations is found in SPOOKS The Haunting of America- The Private Use of Secret Agents Author Jim Hougan recounts the dilemma of a certain Muldoon, hired by Wackenhut to guard publisher Katherine Graham and other executives of the Washington Post during a dispute with the pressmen. About twenty of Muldoon's spooks were given plainclothes assignments that placed them round the clock in the executive's living rooms. Muldoon remembered the awkwardness of the situation. "It was uncomfortable," he said, "These were really nice homes. The family would eat dinner, the kids would be playing-and there, sitting on the couch would be me or some other guy from the agency -- big, you know, and checking his gun. It was sorta tense. We didn't really fit in. I'll tell ya: some of those people were real shits about it. Katherine Graham wouldn't even let us in. She wanted my man to sit outside on a cot in the cold all night. I wouldn't let him. I mean, who the hell does she think she is?" Meanwhile the pressmen bothered Muldoon even more. One morning he came home to find his car filled with garbage and a threat painted on his hood. Muldoon was furious. He "called a friend in New Jersey who's very well connected to both the unions and, well, organized crime. And I told him that I had a list of twelve union leaders here in Washington. If anyone fucked with me or my family or anything of mine, I was going to take out three of the bastards at the exact same time. As a warning. If anything else happened, I was going to hit the other nine - all at once. I told him I didn't care if those guys were responsible or not. I was holding them responsible and he'd better get the word out. I was not bullshitting either. I would have done it. I know guys inside the Agency, and guys who left, who could do that. And they would, too. I offered, as a demonstration, to abduct three of the union people and hold them for an hour -- just to show I was serious. But he took the hint. Nothing ever happened after that." Muldoon, smiling, admitted that such an abduction would have been "embarrassing" to the Post's publisher. He shrugged. "What the hell? If they can hit my car, they can hit my family." Employing Wackenhut placed the liberal Katherine Graham in some very strange company indeed. The immense private intelligence service relies on dossiers of the Church League of America, a right-wing think tank whose massive intelligence files on the "left" surely included volumes about Mrs.*Graham herself. In 1971, six executives of Wackenhut, Pinkerton's, and Burns were found guilty of bribing New York City policemen to obtain confidential records of would-be employees of American and Trans-Caribbean Airlines. One wonders why they needed to resort to bribes at all, since, as Rand Corporation reports, Wackenhut and Pinkerton's (never mind Burns) have dossiers on more than four million Americans. Wackenhut sells what it calls "protection" to more than just media moguls. A look at how well they deliver presents a telling appraisal of their skill level and intent. Far from "premier," they instill little confidence in their ability to protect even themselves against bunglers, turncoats, and law enforcement, let alone serious terrorists. Still less does Wackenhut's consistent corner cutting inspire confidence in it's ability to protect the lives and property of ordinary clients. I'd hire the Keystone Kops first, if I was you. Wackenhut has repeatedly proven to be incapable of protecting the Nevada Nuclear Test site from the intrusion of pacifist protesters in peace time. They perform better in the brochure than they do on the ground. They're not the only ones. The "premier" track record of Wackenhut's much vaunted and ballyhooed "protection" business has been repeatedly exposed, even by America's routinely lapdog press. Some things are just too big to ignore. During the recent Gulf War, Wackenhut's impotence was driven home by terrorists. February 6, 1991 the Los Angeles Times reported that "guerrillas opposed to the U.S. role in the Persian Gulf War" blew up a car outside the offices of Pesevisa, the Peruvian subsidiary of Wackenhut. Pesevisa is under contract to provide security for the U.S. and Canadian embassies in Lima. Three security guards were killed, and seven other people were seriously injured, authorities said. In a drive-by attack, assailants threw at least 22 pounds of dynamite and fired machine-gun bursts at three diplomats' cars parked in front of the company, police said. The explosion left a large crater and blew out windows outside the office. Leaflets condemning American involvement and attributed to the pro-Cuban Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement were left at the scene. A U.S. Embassy spokesman in Lima said the attack was directed at Pesevisa, though Tupac Amaru guerrillas also attacked the U.S. Embassy twice that week and dynamited the North American Cultural Institute the previous November. Wackenhut guards have also died on the job in El Salvador. The "premier" protection business seems hard pressed to "protect" themselves, let alone clients. What would Muldoon say? In fairness, it must be emphasized that in 1986, when Wackenhut Corp. announced the creation of an anti-terrorism division headed by former agents of the FBI, CIA and State Department, the director of the new division did state specifically that it would not provide "rent-a-commandos" but would instead provide what it called "training" on how to survive a terrorist attack. The anti-terrorism and crisis management division would be for hire to "advise" corporations or governments, said Richard R. Wackenhut, "This is a new corporate division to deal (sic) not only with the threat of terrorism but with a major industrial accident, hostage taking or any other crisis facing an organization," The L.A. Times reported that in 1985, the increasing fear of terrorism had boosted the already growing security business significantly, citing a 25% increase in 1984 of clients for Wackenhut's executive protection division, provision of bodyguards and "other" security services in 28 countries. Revenue was up 16% said Matt Kenny, director of corporate communications. The greater the number of terrorist incidents, what ever their source, the greater the demand is for "protection." One can not help but wonder if some incidents are covert operations by private security operatives, aimed at drumming up business. "We are aiming at some U.S. government contracts," said Conrad V. Hassel, the director of the new division. Hassel had previously served as chief of special operations for the research unit of the FBI for part of his 23-year career with that agency, and so presumably knew where to peddle his wares. Hassel foresaw embassy security as one potential marketplace, adding that Wackenhut already posted guards at five U.S. embassies. "There's no way we're going to be rent-a-commandos," Hassel said, "We're not going to put a force together to storm any airplanes." Instead Hassel predicted the new division would provide "training" for clients and their families who might be targets of terrorism. "We will try to instruct them how to survive over there, but we're not going to train them how to become 'Rambos' and kick their way out of a room," he said. Training would include discussions by former hostages, and focus on psychological preparedness, such as teaching potential victims to humanize themselves in the eyes of their captors. "The terrorists are reacting against a symbol of what they are fighting against," he said. "Once you become human, it becomes damn hard to kill you." This bit of Wackenhut wisdom was marketed to customers from among the company's 15,000 member base of clients as well as to the United States and certain unnamed foreign governments. Date: Sat Jan 06, 1996 1:47 am CST From: Moderator of conference justice.polabuse EMS: INTERNET / MCI ID: 376-5414 MBX: email@example.com TO: * David Beiter / MCI ID: 635-1762 Subject: Re: Wackenhut From: Bob Witanek Posted firstname.lastname@example.org Thu Jan 4 11:59:59 1996 Subject: Fwd(2): more on Wackenhut (pt. 2) PART 2 OF 2 Lack of proper training has been a Wackenhut trademark for years. The reduction in cost provided by cutting this corner enables Wackenhut to deliver their admittedly reduced services at substantial savings to organizations who value a penny saved over the lives of their employees and customers, and to individuals who put a price on the life of their families. The spate of terrorist attacks against Americans and their allies, during the Gulf War included some pesky snipers in Saudi Arabia. Was the House of Saud safe? According to the Jonathan Littman, the Saudi ruling family negotiated (at least) with Wackenhut over a contract for security at Crown Prince Fahd's palace itself. Whether Wackenhut delivered is not for commoners to know. These negotiations took place by way of the tiny (but sovereign) band of Cabazon Indians in Southern California. The Cabazons have also allegedly fronted for Wackenhut's role in the secret (and illegal) Contra supply scam. Both Wackenhut and the Cabazons prefer the term "joint venture." In 1978 the Cabazons hired a certain John Philip Nichols to manage their finances. This self proclaimed "Doctor of Theology" was reputed to be a "premier" obtainer of grants. Once he had obtained the Cabazons' trust, Nichols began proposing an array of projects involving tank cartridges, laser-sighted assault rifles, portable rocket systems, night vision goggles and, most ominously, biological weapons. Many of these proposals grew out of the tribe's partnership with Wackenhut. The Cabazons' sovereign status, and it's accompanying freedom from costly regulation, enables great ease in the bidding process. "I was present at one meeting where Wackenhut people were present. We were told it was part of the security system on the reservation," said Cabazon Joe Benitez. "Later on, I found out they were working to develop munitions. It seemed amazing to me." It is unclear which, if any, of the deals went through. It is a matter of court record, though, that in 1985, Nichols pleaded no contest to the charge of solicitation to murder. He served 18 months. His son, John Paul, took over as acting administrator of the Cabazons while his father did time. After his release, Nichols was barred by his felony record from running any of the reservation's gambling operations. His brother, Mark, inherited the position of Cabazon administrator. What, if any, role Wackenhut plays in Cabazon life today is unclear. Wackenhut denies any. "It turned out that we never got any contracts and, after two years, the venture was canceled," claims director of public relations, Patrick Cannan (1-305-666-5656). Cannan also denied any connection with the so-called "Inslaw case." Wackenhut's name has come up consistently in relation to claims made by Michael Riconoscuito that while a research director for a joint venture between Wackenhut and the Cabazon Indians, he modified a stolen copy of Inslaw's PROMIS software for sale by Earl Brian to the Canadian government. Brian is a crony of Reagan's Attorney General, Edwin Meese. Meese is best known as gutter of the Fourth Amendment, and Wedtech scandal principal. Another former US Attorney, General Elliot Richardson, is the attorney for Inslaw. He has been quoted as saying that Inslaw "is far worse than Watergate." In fact, the Inslaw case does make Watergate look like a small town parking ticket fix. The press has barely scraped the surface of this most sordid of scandals, and not without reason. Among the few honest journalists to poke a nose in this nest of hornets and live to tell the tale is Jonathan Littman. According to Littman, Riconoscuito was a "consultant" for Wackenhut. According to Patrick Cannan, Riconoscuito. was a "hanger on." Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. The Inslaw case stems from the alleged theft of software by the Justice Dept. from the Inslaw Corp. It has grown from a title and bankruptcy case into one that includes allegations of sales of the software to foreign governments (such as Canada, Iraq, South Korea, Libya and Israel) by such Iran-Contra figures as Robert McFarlane and Richard Secord. The case attracted more public attention following the apparent suicide death of journalist Joseph D. "Danny" Casolaro on mid-August in a Martinsburg W. Va. motel room. Casolaro had told friends that he had made connections between Inslaw, Iran-Contra and the so-called "October Surprise." (allegations that representatives of the Reagan-Bush campaign team, headed by Casey, had convinced the Iranian government to delay release of American hostages until after the 1980 U.S. elections) Casolaro also allegedly told his brother that, if he was reported to have had an accident, not to be believe it. Elliot Richardson has demanded a federal investigation of Casolaro's death. Cannan also denied that William Casey was legal counsel to Wackenhut before joining the government and that former CIA officials Frank Carlucci and Admiral Bobby Ray Inman were Wackenhut directors. Cannan said, "Although Casey's law firm represented Wackenhut, Casey himself never had any connection with us. Carlucci was a director of the firm -- he is no longer -- but Inman was not. We did have another director with a similar background to Inman, an admiral who was chief of naval operations, and that might have lead to the incorrect rumor." Plausible deniability has been an American tradition at least since the Boston Tea Party. "The Indians did it." Right. Sure. Tell us another one. Operating fronts within fronts, is a standard modus operandi, and not just of Wackenhut. Wackenhut Corp. itself appears on occasion to be the collective front of a variety of scofflaws, felons and worse. They hide behind a wall of omerta excused by "national security" and enforced by an old boy network rooted deep in the intelligence community. Some successful scams are hidden behind the facade of ineptitude projected by their under-trained and under-paid employees. Perhaps they hire a lot of fuck ups to divert our attention from how slick a few of their operatives actually are. If so, this has proved a somewhat less than successful tactic. The blowback has come from disgruntled former employees. Wackenhut Corp. does not inspire a degree of loyalty up, commensurate with the loyalty down they demand. Instead, they buy it. They buy it cheap. Loyalty bought is intrinsically fleeting. Loyalty bought cheap is fleeter still. Consider the degree to which testimony of disgruntled former employees has damaged Wackenhut's reputation in court as well as the press. Then there's the prison biz. Wackenhut operates 10 detention or correctional facilities, in seven states, that house 3,456 inmates. At least, those are the ones we know about. It's first facility, a federal Immigration and Naturalization Services detention center, opened in 1987. Biz burgeoned. Within two years the correctional business generated about $25 million of Wackenhut's $462 million 1989 revenue This is according to the company itself, not to independent auditors. Robert Hennelly reported in the Village Voice, that Wackenhut is also developing and marketing electronic systems for tracking prisoners under house arrest for local, state, and federal authorities. According to the L. A. Times, Wackenhut does not "operate" any jails in California, but it does "run" a minimum security "correctional facility" for the state in McFarland, where parole violators are housed. This subtle distinction may be lost on those outside the profession. Wackenhut has some serious competition for market share in the prison boom. "Privatization is a slap in the face to corrections officers as professionals," said Jeff Doyle (no relation), a prison guard and California Correctional Peace Officer Assn. vice president. "It's irresponsible for government to turn this over to the private sector." Although Doyle acknowledged there is an element of self-protection among the state guards who are upset with privatization plans, he emphasized that the Wackenhut guards do not have the same level of training and experience that state corrections officers do. Consider the effect of Wackenhut's level of competence of life in a typical American city, San Diego. While California law prohibits counties from contracting out the management of its jails to the private sector, the San Diego county counsel's office (not a Court of Law) determined that the sheriff could contract for beds in the city's proposed jail. According to correctional officials, the Otay facility would be the first privately owned and operated jail in California. Pete Abrahano, the San Diego manager for Wackenhut, said the guards who will run the Otay Mesa facility, would be better trained than the rest of the company's guards. "They will have the necessary training and experience required by federal law," he said. "These will not be just regular guards." Wackenhut's "just regular" guards are no strangers to informed San Diegans. When the Union-Tribune Publishing Co. brought in the Tennessee law firm King & Ballow to handle its contract negotiations, King and Ballow fired all the Union-Tribune security guards and hired new guards from Wackenhut. Bringing in Wackenhut is standard procedure when King and Ballow enters a newspaper labor dispute. The Newspaper Guild complains that the tactic is meant to intimidate employees. When intimidation fails to do the trick, there's always the courts. Slander is a fact of human life. No one gets through life without ever being slandered. But Wackenhut attorneys have refined slander to a high art. Consider the case of murder victim Richard Crake, who met his demise in La Jolla in 1981. In 1985 a jury lodged $217,500 in compensatory damages against the Wackenhut Corporation, the security firm that guarded the complex where Crake lived. Before the trial his widow, Kathryn Crake, turned down an offer from attorneys for the Wackenhut Corporation and it's co-defendants to settle the case for $1.3 million. Then Ken Grider, 32, of Los Angeles, alleging to have been Richard Crake's male lover, testified as a witness for the defendants about how much time Crake spent with him daily before he was killed. The defendants' attorneys argued that the Crake marriage was doomed because of the love affair and would not have survived had he lived. Compromising the reputation of their dead client failed to redeem that of the Wackenhut guards who bungled his protection, but it did save the company a right smart piece of change. It is an aphorism of the trade that "dead clients don't pay." They're not the only ones. Wackenhut hires much better trained attorneys than guards. They need them. In August 1986 it took a 4th District Court of Appeal ruling just to gain a Los Angeles woman the mere right to sue Wackenhut Corp. and it's co-defendants. Florence Blakely was struck by a passenger gate blown open by a blast from a jet engine at John Wayne Airport, where Wackenhut provided the security. Judge Sonenshine, citing "human error" as a "further complication" found the gate dangerous, despite sworn statements from airport officials that there had been no prior reports of negligence by guards opening the gates. Gates are the business of guards. You'd think they'd know how to work the latch. Fortunately for them, Wackenhut knows how to work the courts. Wackenhut guards are as likely to be brutal as they are to stupid. Consider the case of survivor George Bagwell Jr., who sued futilely for redress in the wrongful death of his father. George Bagwell Sr. had suffered from Alzheimer's disease for years. He had driven to Lindbergh Field in January, 1988, thinking his son was due to arrive on a flight. Bagwell wandered into a security area and didn't respond when Harbor Police and Wackenhut Corp. security guards called to him. According to the lawsuit, guards beat and kicked Bagwell, in the course of his arrest. At the time of the incident, Bagwell was wearing a medical bracelet that explained his health problems. He had further details about his condition inside his billfold. Bagwell's son said his father was about 130 pounds and 5-foot-7, hardly a threat. The lawsuit said Bagwell suffered lacerations and injuries to the face, scalp, arms and body, which led to his death in April, 1988. Medical experts testified at trial that the stress of the incident contributed to his death. He did not die in the guard's hands, but died soon thereafter. Bagwell Jr. said the January 1991 verdict was a second disappointment, although the family has no misgivings. While wiser counties such as Los Angeles and Orange use their own deputies to guard hospitalized prisoners at county hospitals, San Diego employs Wackenhut. It was a poor choice. One prisoner escaped in a wheelchair, kidnapping his guard in the process. You'd think if Wackenhut was so "premier," a guy in a wheelchair wouldn't be too much for them to handle. One of the reasons San Diego County Sheriff's Department uses Wackenhut is economics, said Sgt. Bob Takeshta, public affairs officer with the Sheriff's Department. "It's a pure fact of dollars and cents." Sheriff's deputies are paid an average of $12 to $16 an hour for their services. Peter Abrahano, area manager for Wackenhut. declined to say how much his guards made per hour, except to say that they are paid less than sheriff's deputies. To Takeshta's knowledge, the escape was not highly unusual. "This is not an isolated incident; there have been others," he said. Earlier that month, a narcotics suspect escaped by jumping out a fourth floor window. Hospital guards are unarmed and do not wear uniforms, said Sheriff's Lt. Sylvester Washington, a shift watch commander at County Jail downtown. The Sheriff's Department ". . . prefers it that way," he said, "The guards don't have adequate training to be armed." Wackenhut also works for private companies and, in some instances, its guards are armed. Washington said it's a wonder hospital escapes aren't more common. "We've been lucky, very lucky," he said. "There's no reason for guards to be armed," said Abrahano. "You don't really think (prisoners) are going to go anywhere." Not really thinking seems to be an ongoing problem at Wackenhut. Consider case of the 27-year-old fugitive from Colorado who escaped from custody at UC San Diego Medical Center ten days later, the third such escape from a hospital room in less than six weeks. In each case the inmate had been guarded by Wackenhut Corp., under contract to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. Wackenhut cost the Sheriff's Department $410,000 that year, according to county officials. The prisoner, who jail officials had considered to be an escape risk, eluded two Wackenhut security guards but was arrested after crashing a stolen truck into a tree across the street from a San Diego Police Department substation. Clearly this was no rocket scientist either, but it is equally clear that he was smarter than his guards. According to police, the escape occurred about noon when, with one of the guards apparently out to lunch, the prisoner asked the other guard for permission to take a shower. He then asked for shampoo and, when the guard left to get it, escaped from his 10th floor room by taking a stairway that leads outside. Well, duh! The growing privatization of the ever expanding prison industry places ever greater demands on the public for "raw material." Wackenhut operates 10 detention or correctional facilities in seven states that house 3,456 inmates. It's first facility, a federal Immigration and Naturalization Services detention center, opened in 1987. Within two years the correctional business generated about $25 million of Wackenhut's $462 million in 1989 revenue This is according to company spokesman, not independent auditors. Robert Hennelly reported in the Village Voice that Wackenhut is also developing and marketing electronic systems for tracking prisoners under house arrest for local, state, and federal authorities. Never in my life did I even imagine that one day I would be sticking up for a screw, but by golly there folks, this Doyle guy is right, at least as far as he goes. If we the public want to be perceived as members of a just society we can't buy justice from any body, least of all the lowest bidder. It makes us look real bad. It also aint justice. If we want actual justice, and not just the perception, we have to participate in the process. History has proven conclusively that prisons are no solution to the problem of crime. If they were, it would have happened by now. Only a complete restructuring of society can even begin to address the problem. The problem of crime is structural. Victimless crimes are nothing more than a cash cow for the state. Crimes against property are political offenses, and almost always the result of drug prohibition. There's also the ever sticky problem of definition of property. The sanctity of personal property is respected near universally. Public property and private property are a little harder to define, at least without sufficient arms. This leaves violent crime, a tiny minority of all crimes. Violent criminals should not be imprisoned, per se, but offered asylum, on a purely voluntary basis of course, where they could seek treatment for their mental disorders, and protection from the rest of us. If they decline asylum, kill 'em and be done with it. Don't hire somebody. That's totally gutless. It doesn't work very well, either. If it did, violence would have subsided by now. Do it yourself. If you need help, don't hire; inspire. If you can't inspire, you're living wrong; change. Don't oppose the death penalty. The death penalty is good. Oppose its monopolization by the state. The only truly effective defense against violence is effective self defense. Collective self defense benefits from the economy of scale. History has proven conclusively that courts, prisons, and cops (both public and private), are useless. They have failed, miserably, to cure the problem. In fact, they made it worse, much worse. Worse still, they use the power we grant them against us. Then they have the unmitigated gall to charge us money for the service. Then they don't even deliver. How much worse does it have to get before we wise up? It doesn't matter whether we hire our cops through the private sector or the public sector, they're still basically mercenaries. Machiavelli was right. Mercenaries are useless. We all have a practical as well as a moral duty to protect ourselves and each other. Most of us still lack the skill. The time to start learning has come and gone. While the practice of hiring bumbling thugs to "protect" us has long withstood the test of time, our freedom has not. It dwindles even as I speak. Neither are we protected. Do you feel protected by the current system? Or do you feel, like me, merely used? Can you foresee the situation getting any better on its own? I sure can't, and I'm an inveterate optimist. As we approach the increasingly corporate millennium, we can look forward to life in a private prison that encompasses all society and subjugates every moment of daily life: work, a prison of measured time, and play, a supervised activity. For this we sacrificed our freedom. For this, we even hire our own guards, guards who work for money, not for us, guards who have their own agenda. And a lot of them aren't even good at it, which is a mixed blessing. They, themselves, are a curse.
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