Wackenhut

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This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's focus on the fallout of nuclear "spin."

Learn more about corporations VOTING to rewrite our laws.

The Wackenhut Corporation provides security services to commercial and government organizations. It is a subsidiary of U.K. based G4S, which is one of the largest security corporations in the world. [1]

"It is known throughout the industry that if you want a dirty job done, call Wackenhut." -retired FBI agent, William Hinshaw in a September 1992 SPY Magazine article by John Connolly.

Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council

Wackenhut Corporation has been a corporate funder of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).[2] See ALEC Corporations for more.

About ALEC
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our PRWatch.org site.


Overview

The Wackenhut Corporation was founded in 1954 by former FBI official George R. Wackenhut, has been a publicly held corporation from 1966 to 2002, and they have recently merged with Group 4 Falck to create the monster private security firm Group 4 Securicor.

Before the merger the chairman was George Wackenhut, the vice chair and chief executive officer was George C. Zoley and the president and chief operating officer was Wayne H. Calabrese

Wackenhut has had a long history with the US government and military. They heavily recruit from military job fairs and publications. Many ex-CIA, FBI, and other government officials have worked in the upper levels of the company over the years.

By 2001, Wackenhut’s revenues topped $2.8 billion as the leading provider of security at U.S. national defense sites, with a global presence on six continents. [1]

They serve as the US division of the global corporation, providing uniformed security officers, Customs protection officers, building security, as well as training programs and consultation and investigative services. [2] They have provided security for the Alaskan oil pipeline, US embassies around the world, and nuclear reactor sites.

Wackenhut Services Incorporated is a subsidiary which handles security, law enforcement, "operations and maintenance", facilities services management, fire suppression and prevention, emergency medical services, airfield management, operations and maintenance for federal, state and local government agencies. [3]

Wackenhut had revenues of $1.5 billion in 2004 and currently have over 340,000 employees. They are headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.[4]

Government connections

Wackenhut has been tied to the US goverment since inception. The early board members included Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker, Gen. Mark Clark and Ralph E. Davis, a leader of the John Birch Society. Other members include former FBI director Clarence Kelley, former Defense secretary and CIA deputy director Frank Carlucci, former Defense Intelligence Agency director Gen. Joseph Carroll, former Secret Service director James J. Rowley, former Marine commandant P.X. Kelley, former CIA deputy director Adm. Bobby Ray Inman, and previous to becoming CIA director, William J. Casey as outside legal counsel. [5]

Surveillance

Wackenhut's surveillance services were fined in 1999 by a federal district court in Alabama for illegal wire tapping, theft of business documents and corporate sabotage. This should come as no surprise as Mr. Wackenhut, a fervent right-winger, made his money in the 1950s creating dossiers on suspected communists, achieving by 1966 over four million files, or one for every 46 adults in the country.[6]

Front company

In the same above mentioned SPY Magazine article, 18 year terrorism expert and CIA analyst, William Corbett, stated "For years, Wackenhut has been involved with the CIA and other intelligence organizations, including the Drug Enforcement Agency. Wackenhut would allow the CIA to occupy positions within the company [in order to carry out] clandistine operations." He went on to say Wackenhut provided the intelligence agencies with information and was paid in return "in a quid pro quo arrangement". This would explain in part the huge number of contracts awarded to Wackenhut in delicate areas of the national security, such as embassies and nuclear plants, and the $150 million increase in work under the Reagan Administration.

Wackenhut was also involved in illegal US operations in Central America in the 1980s. By exploiting the Cabazon Indian reservation as a sovereign nation, they intended to produce and export explosives to the Contras, evading Congressional law to the contrary.[7][8]

The director of international operations at the time, Ernesto Bermudez, admitted to having 1,500 men in El Salvador doing "[t]hings you wouldn't want your mother to know about."

According to Edward Herman and Gerry O'Sullivan in The Terrorism Industry (ISBN 0679725598), "Wackenhut quickly got involved with right-wing terrorists who were themselves linked to state security agents" in Belgium. They left in the early 1980s after some of their guards were accused of luring immigrant children into basements and beating them.

Strike breakers

Wackenhut is known for providing muscle and force against organized labor and protesters. They provided strike breakers at the Pittston mine in Kentucky. Their armed guards have beaten protesters at nuclear sites for the Department of Energy. [9]

Among nuclear weapons lab employees, Wackenhut was better known for “wacking” radiation whistleblowers like Karen Silkwood and attempting to run Dr. Rosalie Bertell off the road. [10]

Celling prisons

See also Geo Group.

Progressives at the turn of the last century were able to stamp out the trend of private prisons, however the Reagan Revolution and the rise of crime in the 1980's reversed those accomplishments of old labor and allowed the prison market to develop. Once a State-responsibility, prisons now rely on criminals for profit and labor

Wackenhut rose quickly to the challenge, entering the prison business in 1987 and turning pofits of $630.3 million annually by 1992. [11] By 1997, they controlled one third of the prison market contracts, were paying out minimal wages, and providing cheap labor for other corporations such as IBM and Microsoft. Industry experts state a 90-95% capacity rate is necessary to attract investors, ensuring a vested interest in a growing prison population for the future.

They have become notorious for cutting programs out of prisons to increase their profits. Programs include drug rehabilitation, counseling and educational services. They were investigated in 1995 for diverting $700,000 in drug rehabilitation funds from facilities in Texas. [12]

Wackenhut guards have repeatedly been accused of raping inmates in Texas, Arkansas and Florida jails.[13][14][15] They have been sued for their treatment of inmates at juvenile facilities in the south, including the horrid beating of a seventeen-year-old wearing a colostomy bag. [16]

In Australia, all detention centers were owned and operated by the subsidiary, Australasian Correctional Management.

By the end of 2000, Wackenhut had received contracts spanning the US, UK, South Africa, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, and Canada with a total of over 40,000 beds [17]

Joint ventures

Wackenhut is a joint venture partner along with MPRI, Kellogg Brown and Root and AGS in the civilian police training company Civilian Police International, LLC which is under a State Department contract for $1.6 billion to work with the Civilian Police and Rule of Law office in coordination with the United Nations training emerging police forces around the world. [18]

Wackenhut's subsidiary in Peru, Wackenhut del Peru, has been representing an Indiana based security recruiting company, 3D Global Solutions, in efforts to recruit former military in Peru for service in Iraq and Afghanistan.[19]

Investigations

On June 26th, 2007 the City of Los Angeles opened an investigation into Wackenhut for contract abuses with the city ranging from workplace discrimination, labor violations, and management incompetence to employing irresponsible contractors with poor performance on other contracts and failing to comply with relevant laws and regulations.

Wackenhut had more than $5 million annually in contracts with the city to guard at least two dozen buildings and public places including Los Angeles City Hall East; Mount Lee -- the home of the famous Hollywood sign; the Ed Davis Training Facility, an elaborate LAPD training facility; other parks, performing arts centers, and the Watts and Van Nuys city halls.

The contracts were not renewed. [20]

Political contributions

George C. Zoley, Chair & CEO of Wackenhut Corrections Corp., was a Bush Pioneer having raised at least $100,000 for Bush in the 2004 presidential election. [3]

Wackenhut Corp gave $21,600 to federal candidates in the 2006 election through its political action committee - 0% to Democrats and 100% to Republicans. [4]

Personnel

Key executives: [5]

Nuclear facilities

Wackenhut, through contracts with the Department of Energy provides security services for the following sites:

  • Arkansas Nuclear One
  • Braidwood Nuclear Power Station
  • Byron Nuclear Power Station
  • Callaway Plant
  • Clinton Power Station
  • Dresden Nuclear Power Station
  • Ginna Nuclear Power Plant
  • Grand Gulf Nuclear Station
  • Kewaunee Nuclear Power Plant
  • LaSalle County Nuclear Power Station
  • Limerick Generating Station
  • Monticello Nuclear Generating Plant
  • Oyster Creek
  • Palisades Nuclear Plant
  • Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station
  • Pilgrim Nuclear Station
  • River Bend Nuclear Station
  • Point Beach Nuclear Plant
  • Prairie Island Nuclear Plant
  • Quad Cities Nuclear Power Station
  • Salem/Hope Creek Generating Station
  • Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant
  • South Texas
  • St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant
  • Three Mile Island (TMI) Unit 1
  • Turkey Point Nuclear Power Plant
  • V.C. Summer Nuclear Station
  • Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station
  • Waterford
  • Zion Nuclear Power Station

Wackenhut has since lost contracts with many of these stations after guards at various nuclear sites were found asleep. Some were recorded by an insider who later sent the video to CBS news resulting in several firings and Exelon to form Exelon Nuclear Security to relieve Wackenhut from their contracts.[citation needed]

Contact

4200 Wackenhut Drive
Suite 100
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida 33410
USA
Phone: 561-622-5656
Fax: 561-691-6423
http://www.wackenhut.com

SourceWatch resources

External links

References

  1. Wackenhut Profile, Hoovers, accessed September 2007.
  2. Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council, “Corporations and Trades Associations that Fund ALEC”, Corporate America’s Trojan Horse in the States: The Untold Story Behind the American Legislative Exchange Council, online report, 2003
  3. Bush Pioneer George C. Zoley, Texans for Public Justice, accessed September 2007.
  4. 2006 PAC Summary Data, Open Secrets, accessed September 2007.
  5. Management, Wackenhut, accessed September 2007.

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