Tag Archives: privatization

The disturbing rise of the corporate mercenaries

It’s not too late to rein in these unaccountable armed giants, but we need to act fast

By Felip Daza and Nora Miralles  Published 8-6-2021 by openDemocracy

Pre=deployment training at Tier 1 Group. Photo: T1G/Facebook

When the journalist Jamal Khashoggi was assassinated by agents of the Saudi government in 2018, it caused an international scandal. Now, it turns out that his killers were trained in the US. In June, The New York Times reported that four Saudis involved in the killing had received paramilitary training from Tier 1 Group, a private security company based in Arkansas.

This was no renegade operation, however. Tier 1 Group, whose training had approval from the US State Department, is part of a burgeoning global industry. Corporate mercenaries – or, more properly, private security and military companies – are increasingly taking over functions that were once carried out by states, with grave implications for human rights and democracy worldwide. It’s big business, too: Cerberus Capital Management, the private equity fund that owns Tier 1 Group, also owns a string of arms manufacturers. In April 2010, Cerberus merged with DynCorp International, one of the world’s largest corporate mercenary companies. Continue reading

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200+ Groups to Congress: ‘No Water Privatization’ in Any Infrastructure Deal

“We urge you to reject this proposed water privatization scam and fight for a bold package that provides the support our communities need. Do not compromise on water.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-1-2021

Progressive advocacy groups are urging the White House and Congress to exclude water privatization provisions from any federal infrastructure package. Photo: Matthew Bowden – www.digitallyrefreshing.com

 

In a letter to congressional leaders on Thursday, 218 organizations urged against water privatization “in all its forms” and called on federal lawmakers to enact a “bold, uncompromising infrastructure package.”

The letter (pdf), sent to top Democrats and Republicans, was organized by Food & Water Watch, which has repeatedly criticized privatization provisions that the White House and members of Congress are considering for a bipartisan infrastructure deal that Democrats plan to pass alongside a broader reconciliation package. Continue reading

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UN Human Rights Chief Calls for ‘End to All Forms of Violence’ After Troops Deployed Over Colombian Protests

Dozens of people have died during the past month of demonstrations, which have been met with deadly attacks by the nation’s law enforcement.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-30-2021

Photo: Joshua Collins/Twitter

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet responded to the Colombian president’s decision to deploy thousands of troops after a month of protests by calling for an end to all violence and urging negotiations over key national policies, which had stalled but were set to resume Sunday.

Bachelet, in a statement Sunday, specifically expressed concern about reports that since Friday, at least 14 people have died and 98 people have been injured in the Colombian city of Cali—one of the primary protest sites over the past month—and that an off-duty judicial police officer and others have fired at demonstrators. Continue reading

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Critics Warn $15 Billion Merger of Global Water Giants Would Create ‘Dangerous Corporate Monopoly’

“Veolia’s plan to dominate public water services all across the globe is becoming a terrifying reality.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-12-2021

French-based transnational corporation Veolia agreed in principle to acquire Suez, its main rival, for $15.5 billion on Monday, setting the stage for the creation of a water and waste management juggernaut that critics warn would be a “dangerous corporate monopoly” destined to “hurt consumers and enrich shareholders.”

The Wall Street Journal characterized the deal between the two largest private water corporations in the world, which is not expected to be finalized until May 14, as a profit-seeking attempt to “soak up a global surge in infrastructure and climate-change spending.” Continue reading

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Advocates Sound Alarm Over Quiet Trump Era Move That Could Further Privatize Medicare

“The Biden administration should immediately kill this toxic legacy of the former president.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-13-2021

Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services during the Trump administration. Photo: Paul Morigi/flickr/CC

A little-noticed scheme hatched in the late stages of the Trump presidency has consumer advocates and universal healthcare proponents warning about a creeping attempt to further privatize Medicare—an effort the Biden administration is being urged to stop in its tracks.

On December 3, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)—then under the leadership of Seema Verma—unveiled an innocuous-sounding proposal titled the Geographic Direct Contracting Model (Geo) with the purported goal of delivering “Medicare beneficiaries value through better care and improved quality.” Continue reading

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Shadow armies: how the West wages war but keeps its soldiers at home

ISIS is enjoying a renaissance and the West is fighting back with a shadow war, free of public debate or political scrutiny.

By Paul Rogers  Published 9-3-2020 by openDemocracy

Others do the dirty work. Screenshot: CNN

In the run-up to November’s US election, a sub-plot of the Trump campaign will be his claimed success at “bringing our boys back”. And indeed there will have been substantial troop withdrawals from Afghanistan as well as a more modest drawdown in Iraq, although that will still involve a reduction from 5,200 to 3,500.

Some of the Iraqi changes are redeployments to neighbouring states but there has certainly been an overall decrease in Afghanistan, even if few figures are available about the thousands of private security personnel operating under various government contracts. Continue reading

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‘The Corruption Is Bottomless’: Documents Reveal Chair of Postal Service Board Is Director of McConnell-Allied Super PAC

“Can the GOP’s takeover of USPS be any more blatant?”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-1-2020

Robert Duncan, former chairman of the Republican National Commiteee, was appointed to the U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors by President Donald Trump in 2017. (Image: Rep. Carolyn Maloney/Screengrab of Republican National Convention)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s deep and longstanding ties to U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors chairman Robert Duncan are coming under heightened scrutiny after corporate paperwork filed Monday listed Duncan as a director of a major GOP super PAC closely aligned with the Kentucky Republican.

The new filing (pdf) with Virginia’s State Corporation Commission—an independent regulatory agency that oversees political action committees—names Duncan as one of three directors of the Senate Leadership Fund, a massive super PAC that has spent nearly $18 million in support of Senate Republicans thus far in the 2020 election cycle. Continue reading

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Exposing Trump’s Payroll Tax Deferral as ‘Wage Theft,’ Treasury Signals Millions of Workers Will Earn Less in 2021 Under Plan

“Like Donald Trump’s other economic executive orders, this will not provide actual relief to workers.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-29-2020

Photo: skeeze from Pixabay

Days after the payroll processor for the federal government—one of the nation’s largest employers—announced it would implement President Donald Trump’s plan to defer payroll taxes for the rest of 2020, the U.S. Treasury Department indicated that employers will be responsible for paying the deferred taxes next year.

The plan is scheduled to go into effect September 1, and companies that take part will be required to collect the taxes their employees owe from the last four months of this year at the beginning of 2021—after the general election, which Trump hopes to win with claims that he’s strengthened the economy and helped workers. Continue reading

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Video Reveals Threat of “Wholesale Transfer and Privatization of America’s Public Lands” on Trump’s Agenda, Says Watchdog Group

The event in question, which took place June 2019 and was hosted by the Interior Department, featured a keynote address by climate-denier Myron Ebell.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-14-2020

Myron Ebell discusses withdrawing U.S.commitment to the Paris Climate Treaty on a panel on WUSA9 in 2017. Screenshot: YouTube

Watchdog group Western Values Project said Friday that audio it obtained of a June 2019 event at Trump’s Interior Department provides more evidence that public lands are under threat of being privatized by the former reality star and his crew of “anti-public land zealots.”

The event (pdf) in question was the American Agri-Women Symposium entitled “Federal Land Policies: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” which took place at Interior’s Sidney Yates Auditorium. Myron Ebell—the climate crisis-denying former head of President Trump’s EPA transition team who serves as head of environmental and energy policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute—was keynote speaker. Continue reading

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‘Their Secret Agenda Today Is Exposed’: Corbyn Says Leaked Trade Docs Show Tory Plan to Privatize NHS With Trump’s Help

The U.K. Labour leader said the move, if successful, “could lead to runaway privatization of our health service.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-27-2019

U.K. Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn holds redacted copies of the Department for International Trade’s U.K.-U.S. Trade and Investment Working Group report following a speech about the National Health Service in Westminster, London. Photo: Devutopia/Twitter

U.K. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on Wednesday unveiled over 450 pages of leaked documents that he said expose British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s effort to open up the National Health Service to corporate exploitation in trade negotiations with U.S. President Donald Trump.

During a press conference, Corbyn said the Trump administration’s negotiators are “demanding” that the NHS be put “on the table” in talks over a possible post-Brexit trade pact between the U.S. and U.K. Continue reading

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