Of jails, spies and chemical weapons
Information has surfaced that the huge US-based security and private prisons corporation, Wackenhut, has substantial political and arms manufacturing interests in addition to its jails and detention centre operations. In Australia Wackenhut subsidiaries — Australasian Correctional Management and Wackenhut Corrections Corporation — run a number of prisons and immigration detention centres. The directors of the subsidiaries claim they are independent from their US parent company. Mysteriously, though they run jails and detention centres, the holding companies for those same jails and detention centres are listed on business records as "unknown". The global giant, with 70,000 employees world-wide, was the centre of investigations by US Congress in 1991 and 1992, including allegations that Wackenhut tampered with a computer software program for a CIA spying operation. The corporation has also been connected to arms-producing consortiums, including the manufacture of chemical and biological weapons. The company's founder is George Wackenhut, a former FBI agent who first set up operations in 1954. With branches in 50 countries, Wackenhut has for some time had to fend of claims that it acts as a cover for the CIA. It employs much of its middle and upper management from the CIA and FBI and other intelligence organisations. At the Arthur Gorrie high security jail in Brisbane, Australasian Correctional Management installed an ex-US Marines colonel as general manager. Within 13 months four inmates had committed suicide and another had died in suspicious circumstances. Violence within the jail increased, culminating in a riot by angry prisoners. This, plus a strong campaign by the Prisoners' Legal Service, saw the general manager replaced. Wackenhut subsidiaries also runs the private jail in Junee in NSW, the Fulham Correctional Centre near Sale in Victoria, as well as immigration detention centres at Port Hedland in Western Australia, Villawood in Sydney, Maribyrnong in Victoria plus another in Perth. Australia's Immigration Department claims it subjected the subsidiaries to rigorous investigation into their integrity and incorruptibility before they were allowed to put their prison and detention centre contracts into effect.