Privatization & Procurement

G4S and Serco - two private security contractors - have just been awarded multi-million pound contracts by the UK Borders Authority to provide housing to asylum seekers, edging out charities for the work. Activists are protesting, saying that G4S has a history of abusing immigrants and providing poor quality housing.
Shares of major US defense contractors including Boeing, General Dynamics, and Northrop Grumman rose upon the unveiling of President Barack Obama's fiscal year 2011 spending plan for the Pentagon, part of the president's overall $3.8 trillion budget proposal. More than $2 billion will be used to purchase unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, blamed for a significant rise in civilian casualties in the "war on terror."
Larry Keuhn, the former head of British Columbia Teachers' Federation, looks at the reshaping of education to fit the needs of global corporations by critiquing a paper prepared by South Korea's Ministry of Labor and the economic integration of the Asia-Pacific region.
On the official Web site of Boeing, the world's largest aerospace company, there is a section devoted to a subsidiary called Jeppesen International Trip Planning, based in San Jose, California. The write-up mentions that the division "offers everything needed for efficient, hassle-free, international flight operations," spanning the globe "from Aachen to Zhengzhou." The paragraph concludes, "Jeppesen has done it all."
The Obama administration's push into cyberwarfare has set off a rush among the biggest military companies for billions of dollars in new defense contracts. Nearly all of the largest military companies - including Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon - have major cyber contracts with the military and intelligence agencies.
Voice for Humanity recently sold tens of thousands of pink and silver audio players to the United States government to teach Afghan villagers about democracy. Critics say that the project was a waste of taxpayer dollars. Others say it is a perfect example of the covert "information war" conducted in the "war on terrorism."
The Maine Public Utilities Commission decided Monday to begin contempt proceedings against Verizon Communications for failing to affirm the truthfulness of statements the company made about its possible role in the government's warrantless surveillance program.
CorpWatch editor Julie Light reports on a pitched battle for the future of a San Francisco school. The players? The Edison Corporation, the local school board, parents, teachers and students.
Rio de la Plata is one of the few rivers of the world whose pollution can be seen from space. Making matters worse is the privatized water company Aguas Argentinas, which dumps sewage into the river a few kilometers from where it treats water for drinking.
Court documents and interviews with whistleblowers shed light on persistent problems in the operations of private military and security company MVM, Inc., a top provider of secret security to U.S. intelligence agencies in Iraq and Afghanistan.