The prison labor industry is very keen on promoting its role in assembling the US military’s widely used Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System (SINCGARS) […]
The Federal Prison Industries (FPI) under the brand UNICORE operates approximately 52 factories (prisons) across the United States. Prisoners manufacture or assemble a number of products for the US military, homeland security,and federal agencies according to the UNICORE/FPI website. They produce furniture, clothing and circuit boards in addition to providing computer aided design services and call center support for private companies.
UNICORE/FPI makes its pitch for employing call center support personnel to firms thinking about off-shoring their call center functions. The logic is that, hey!, they may be prisoners, but it’s keeping the jobs in the USA that matters. Fair enough. That approach cuts out the middleman though, those Americans desperate for any kind of work but, through no fault of their own, are not behind prison bars and employable by UNICORE/FPI.
Sure, it seems a heartless statement and there are any number of angles to take on why the USA is the world’s number one incarcerator: Capitalism, racism, social and political injustice, a pay-as-you-go legal system, bone-headed policy makers, prison lobbyists, the death penalty, employment/unemployment, drugs, gangs, costs/prices and a host of behavioral, psychological and environmental issues that I have missed.
Inevitably the black hole that is money eventually sucks in and corrupts everyone from those in local communities desperate for the work a prison facility provides to those investors who profit from the prison industry. They earn their livelihoods and take their profits from the misery and labor squeezed from theirhuman property–those prisoners who self-destructed and others who are serving terms way too long for the crime committed.
For the Love of Money
From October 2016 through March 2017, UNICORE/FPI sold $252,414,987 million worth of goods and services.
The prison labor industry is very keen on promoting its role in assembling the US military’s widely used Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System (SINCGARS). In January defense contractor Harris Corp. was awarded a $403 million contract by the US Defense Logistics Agency for spare parts supporting tactical radio systems, which includes SINCGARS.
“UNICOR/FPI is a major supplier of SINCGARS radios, mounts, antennas, and installation and repair kits and when hard-mounted, our SINCGARS equipment meets rigorous military standards for shock and vibration in aircraft and tactical vehicles, such as Bradley’s and Humvees. Through our nationwide network of factories and trained technicians, we have successfully met aggressive production and distribution needs for this crucial communication equipment in Middle East military operations.”
Some of the purchases by the US Department of Defense include $14.8 million for electronic components, $887 thousand for communications equipment, $26.7 million for office furniture, $27.1 million for special purpose clothing and $7.5 million for body armor. The Department of Homeland security spent $372,255 on administrative support. The Executive Office of the US President spent $389 for signs and identification plates.
Fight Fire with Inmates
According to a Mother Jones article in 2015 somewhere between 30 and 40 percent of California’s forest firefighters are state prison inmates with some 4,000 working at any one time on fire lines. So dependent on the inmates was California that prison reforms that would see the release of some of the incarcerated firefighters were put on hold for fear of losing the manpower to fight California blazes. Then California attorney general Kamala Harris, now a US Senator, was behind the effort to keep the “cheap” firefighters behind bars,
“Prison reform advocates have raised concerns that the state is so reliant on the cheap labor of inmate firefighters that policymakers may be slow to adopt prison reforms as a result. The concern was magnified last fall, when lawyers for state Attorney General Kamala Harris argued that extending an early prison-release program to “all minimum custody inmates at this time would severely impact fire camp participation—a dangerous outcome while California is in the middle of a difficult fire season and severe drought.” Harris has since said she was “troubled” by the argument, and the state has ruled that minimum custody inmates, including firefighters, are eligible for the program so long as it proves not to deplete the numbers of inmate firefighters.”
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement detains women, men, children, and LGBTQI individuals in over 200 county jails and for-profit prisons, according to the grass roots group CIVIC. Some of these individuals include legal permanent residents with longstanding family and community ties, asylum-seekers, and victims of human trafficking.
It was former President Bill Clinton (Democrat) who started to load up detention centers and jails with immigrants, CIVIC noted.
“In 1996, President Bill Clinton signed the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA), which doubled the number of people in immigration detention from 8,500 each day in 1996 to 16,000 in 1998.Today, the detention population has increased fourfold to approximately 34,000 individuals each day, due in part to a congressionally mandated lock-up quota.”
President Donald Trump’s (Republican) animosity to immigrants is well known. He and his aptly named attorney general Jefferson Beauregard Sessions will make sure detention centers and prisons are overfilled with men, women and children from Mexico, Central and South America. Trump and Session’s maniacal quest wage war on crime, drugs and terrorism will likely ensure that many thousands more will find themselves locked away and working for UNICORE/FPI or lining the pockets of private prison company owners.
The non-profit group Towards Justice reported that a lawsuit is moving forward pitting private prison corporation against immigrants who were forced into labor while in detention.
“For the first time in history, a federal court allowed a class of immigrant detainees to jointly proceed with forced labor claims against the country’s second-largest private prison provider. Judge Kane in the District of Colorado certified a class of between 50,000 and 60,000 current and former immigrant detainees held at GEO’s Aurora, Colorado detention facility since 2004. These individuals, some of whom were found to legally reside in this country after months in detention, allege that they were forced to clean the detention center without pay and under threat of solitary confinement. This practice allowed GEO to reduce labor costs at the Aurora facility, where it employs just one custodian to maintain a detention center that houses up to 1,500 people at a time.”
Everyone Has Their Hands in the Pie
In January 2017, the Prison Policy Initiative (prisonpolicy.org) worked up a study titled Following the Money of Mass Incarceration. It shines the light on some of the unsettling reasons why the USA will never be able to reduce its reliance on mass incarceration. Those who depend on money that the prison industry provides will never give it up. It’s not just private companies but local communities, bondsmen, unions all the way up to the US Department of Defense who collect fees or purchase UNICORE/FPI products and services at dirt cheap prices.
“Bail bond companies that collect $1.4 billion in nonrefundable fees from defendants and their families actively work to block reforms that threaten its profits, even if reforms could prevent people from being detained in jail because of their poverty. Specialized phone companies win monopoly contracts and charge families up to $24.95 for a 15-minute phone call. Commissary vendors that sell goods to incarcerated people — who rely largely on money sent by loved ones — is an even larger industry that brings in $1.6 billion a year. 38 towns and cities in the U.S., more than 10% of all revenue is collected from court fines and fees. In St. Louis County, five towns generated more than 40% of their annual revenue from court fines and fees in 2013.”
The over-incarceration of Americans is just one more vexing issue, piled on many—Afghanistan, Syria, education, Trump, Clinton’s, health care, taxes–in which US citizens find themselves trapped and unable to reach across the pro/con divide and cause change.
By John Stanton
Source: Global Research
Ilan Pappé is a historian, socialist activist, professor at the University of Exeter, and supporter of the Campaign for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS). Of Israeli origin, he is a world-renowned scholar on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and has written numerous books on the subject, including The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine and The Idea of Israel: A History of Power and Knowledge.Pappé was interviewed by Alejandra Ríos for Left Voice, where this article first appeared.Alejandra Ríos (AR): You’ve talked and written about the concept of homeland as justification for destroying the native population. What is the meaning of this concept and ...
On the evening of April 6 the U.S. military fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at an airbase in Syria. The bombing was a “response” to the alleged chemical weapons attack by the Assad government, which critics of the American deep state and the US imperial agenda have called a false flag attack.The U.S. assault, which was done without congressional approval, marks a complete reversal of Trump’s campaign trail anti-interventionist claims as well as his condemnation of previous US presidents’—Bush and Obama’s –military actions in countries like Syria and Iraq.As Think Progress reports, this action marks a “dramatic reversal from Trump’s position ...
Leaked emails are filling in the picture of a Bill-and-Hillary-Clinton plan to destroy Russia – a plan which had originated with US President George Herbert Walker Bush in 1990, and which has been followed through both by his son George W Bush, and by both of the Clintons, but which has only recently started to become documented by leaked publications of personal communications amongst the key operatives who were the insiders running this operation behind the scenes, and who include Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, George W Bush, Victoria Nuland, Jeffrey Feltman, Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan al-Saud, Saudi Crown Prince ...
The outbursts of anti-Russian rhetoric of Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė is certainly very bizarre in view of her curriculum vitae. Dalia Grybauskaitė is a very educated woman. Because of the free education system of the former USSR, she was able to complete her university education at the elite Saint Petersburg State University. She became a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1983, some five years before she earned a doctoral degree at the prestigious Academy of Social Sciences in Moscow. It is generally known that not every applicant is routinely accepted to become a Party member.This ...
First published by GR in December 2006War criminals George W. Bush and Tony Blair were banned for life in April 2003 from the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, widely believed to be the birth-place of Jesus Christ. The ban was announced at the height of the illegal US-allied bombing and invasion of Iraq.Below are the original 2003 press reports pertaining to that decision as well as a subsequent introductory note published by Global Research in December 2006.“The Bethlehem sanctuary issued a ringing reprisal Sunday [April 2003] of the coalition attack, going as far as barring US President George W. Bush, ...
Has your electric garage door stopped working? Does your dog wake up in the middle of the night and begin howling? Is the weather unseasonably hot, cold, windy, dry or wet? Has your television set (or refrigerator, or sound system or home alarm) inexplicably turned on, or off?If one uncritically viewed the corporate-controlled media and accepted at face value the statements of much of official Washington, especially the Democratic Party, one could easily draw the conclusion that the Russians did it.A paranoid frenzy is gripping the US political and media establishment. A ruling elite that commands the world’s largest economy ...
1917 was not a good year for any of the belligerent countries, but for the members of the Entente – France, Britain, and Russia – it was nothing less than catastrophic. The main reasons for that were the mutinies in the French army, which made the situation on the western front extremely precarious, as well as the revolution in Russia, which raised the spectre of Russia exiting the war, leaving Britain and France bereft of the ally that forced Germany to fight on two fronts. Add to this the fact that civilians as well as soldiers in France and Britain ...
Note: This article was first published in January 2015.Since 9/11, the imperial playbook has consisted of a favorite and time-tested tactic: the false flag operation.Carry out or facilitate a spectacular atrocity. Blame it on the enemy of choice. Issue a lie-infested official narrative, and have the corporate media repeat the lie. Rile up ignorant militant crowds, stoke the hatred, and war-mongering imperial policy planners and their criminal functionaries get what they want: war with the public stamp of approval.Here we are again.The Charlie Hebdo incident is being sold as “the French 9/11”. It certainly is, in all of the most ...
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) concluded its annual conference late last month, triggering the usual debate in various alternative media outlets. Why does so much U.S. taxpayer money go to a small and not particularly useful client state that has a vibrant European-level economy and is already a regional military colossus?Those who support the cash flow argue that Israel is threatened, most notably by Iran; they claim the assistance, which has been largely but not completely used to buy American-made weapons, is required to maintain a qualitative edge over the country's potential enemies. Those who oppose the aid ...
The US has always been a warfare state. However, the character of US imperialist warfare has changed dramatically. For over two centuries, the US regime’s purpose for war, whether on indigenous peoples, Black people, or nations all over the world, was to expand the productive forces of capitalist exploitation. War preceded the vast profits accumulated from chattel slavery, land grab, and resource extraction in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The foundation of white supremacy and capitalism allowed the US regime to consolidate its expansion despite episodes of periodic crisis. Recent events, alongside a steady fall in the rate of capitalist profit, indicate ...
Media across the world are literally transfixed by the spectacle of US elections. The Donald Trump-Hillary Clinton, Republicans vs. Democrats battle is captivating enough to distract public attention from other issues.Democracy promotion has been a centerpiece of US foreign policy for over half a century since the days when President Woodrow Wilson crafted a new foreign policy that involved active democracy promotion. The implementation of the «beacon on the hill» concept presupposes that the United States would act as a model of excellence for others to follow is analogous to contemporary soft-power democracy promotion efforts. Lecturing on democracy is a ...
“Reform always provokes rage on the part of those who profit by the old order.” Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., The Crisis of the Old OrderWho are the anti-Trump protesters besmirching the name of progressives by pretending to be progresives and by refusing to accept the outcome of the presidential election? They look like, and are acting worse than, the “white trash” that they are denouncing.I think I know who they are. They are thugs for hire and are paid by the Oligarchy to delegitimize Trump’s presidency in the way that Washington and the German Marshall Fund paid students in Kiev to ...
The following timeline describes just a few of the hundreds of atrocities and crimes committed by the CIA. (1)CIA operations follow the same recurring script. First, American business interests abroad are threatened by a popular or democratically elected leader. The people support their leader because he intends to conduct land reform, strengthen unions, redistribute wealth, nationalize foreign-owned industry, and regulate business to protect workers, consumers and the environment. So, on behalf of American business, and often with their help, the CIA mobilizes the opposition. First it identifies right-wing groups within the country (usually the military), and offers them a deal: ...
The term Back Door Man has several connotations. In the original blues song written by Willie Dixon, it refers to a man having an affair with a married woman, using the back door to flee before the husband comes home. During the Gerald Ford Presidency, Back Door Man was applied to Dick Cheney as Ford’s White House Chief of Staff and his “skills” at getting what he wanted through opaque means. More and more as Cabinet choices are named, it looks like the entire Trump Presidency project is emerging as Henry A. Kissinger’s “Back Door Man,” in the Cheney meaning of ...
In years before 2014, the Afghan think tanks would opine that the US may wind down the Afghanistan’s conflict through the end of this year, inferring that the goal of founding the nine large military bases across the country is almost accomplished. Many would delightfully say that Afghanistan is phasing into a new chapter with the flames of war quelled as the US government insisted on troop withdrawal.Entrenching military headquarters in strangers’ territories has no excuse or legal ground under any circumstances. The Afghan nation would cast aside objection to this permanent military foothold thanks in most part to the ...
The role of the United States in the breakup of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is often overlooked by people who are critical of Washington’s intervention in the internal affairs of independent, sovereign countries.For it was in the former Yugoslavia that the precedent was set for future American intervention in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo provided the launch pad for the West’s concept of humanitarian intervention, which, in reality, is a pretext for safeguarding and enhancing US global hegemony.However, intervention by Washington in the Balkans in the 1990s served a more immediate objective for the ...
In one of the more bizarre foreign policy announcements of a bizarre Obama Administration, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has announced that Washington will “help” Kosovo to join NATO as well as the European Union. She made the pledge after a recent Washington meeting with Kosovan Prime Minister Hashim Thaci in Washington where she praised the progress of the Thaci government in its progress in “European integration and economic development.”1Her announcement no doubt caused serious gas pains among government and military officials in the various capitals of European NATO. Few people appreciate just how mad Clinton’s plan to push ...
I listened to part of Trump’s UN speech this morning. I was so embarrassed for him and for my country that I had to turn it off.I wonder if whoever wrote the deplorable speech intended to embarrass Trump and inadvertently embarrassed America as well, or whether the speechwriter(s) is so imbued with the neoconservative arrogance and hubris of our time that the speechwriter was simply blind to the extraordinary contradictions that stood out like sore thumbs all through the speech.I am not going to describe all of them, just a couple of examples.Trump went on at great length about how ...
Ethnic Cleansing in Palestine
Trump Bombs Syria and Obliterates His Anti-Interventionist Promises
Clinton Plans to Destroy Russia
The Hysterics Of Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė
The Spirit of Christmas: War Criminals George W. Bush and Tony Blair banned from the Birthplace of Jesus Christ
The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming!
One Hundred Years Ago, in the Spring of 1917: Why Did America Go to War in 1917?
The True Cost of Israel: U.S. Support Goes Far Beyond The Official Numbers
US Imperialism Wages Permanent Warfare To Prevent Its Inevitable Collapse
US Elections: Neither Free nor Fair
The Anti-Trump Protesters Are Tools Of The Oligarchy. Their Objective: Delegitimize Donald, Install “Madam President”
A Timeline of CIA Atrocities (a list up to 1993)
Is Trump the Back Door Man for Henry A. Kissinger & Co?
The US Military Bases Abroad are Disrupting the World Order
The US-NATO plan for Macedonia: Keep Serbia down and Russia out
Kosovo’s “Mafia State” and Camp Bondsteel: Towards a Permanent US Military Presence in Southeast Europe
Trump’s UN Speech (September 2017)