They Won’t Even Create Jobs in the Military-Industrial Complex Anymore

You know how I have argued that our country does have an industrial plan, one that is commonly called the Military-Industrial Complex? The government dumps seemingly unlimited amount of money into selected projects. Defense companies make sure to spread the jobs created by defense contracts around, so members of Congress support those contracts in bipartisan fashion. And then we export things like jets–one of the few things we export anymore.

Only, if we allow defense contractors to use prison labor, then the whole scheme sort of breaks down.

This spring, the United Arab Emirates is expected to close a deal for $7 billion dollars’ worth of American arms. Nearly half of the cash will be spent on Patriot missiles, which cost as much as $5.9 million apiece.

But what makes those eye-popping sums even more shocking is that some of the workers manufacturing parts for those Patriot missiles are prisoners, earning as little as 23 cents an hour. (Credit Justin Rohrlich with the catch.)

The work is done by Unicor,  previously known as Federal Prison Industries. It’s a government-owned corporation, established during the Depression, that employs about 20,000 inmates in 70 prisons to make everything from clothing to office furniture to solar panels to military electronics.

One of the company’s high-tech specialties: Patriot missile parts. “UNICOR/FPI supplies numerous electronic components and services for guided missiles, including the Patriot Advanced Capability (PAC-3) missile,” Unicor’s website explains. “We assemble and distribute the Intermediate Frequency Processor (IFP) for the PAC-3s seeker. The IFP receives and filters radio-frequency signals that guide the missile toward its target.”

The missiles are then marketed worldwide — sometimes by Washington’s top officials.

Funny. Obama told me that government can’t create jobs.

I guess that’s because they’re too busy undercutting private manufacturers with prison labor.

  1. strangely enough says:

    Isn’t that the current business model preferred by U.S. corps: eliminate the labor costs, but keep the ridiculously inflated prices?

    I guess this is what they mean when people talk about the government being run like a business.

    • szielinski says:

      I’d guess inmates can’t form unions. They can, however, refuse to work or sabotage the work they do. Although, as a captive population, a general strike by prison labor would not have the kind of effect the inmates might want it to have.

      Prisons do promise to return the USA to a place that practices indentured servitude and slavery. It’s not as though any part of the government would do something so inhumane like kill all of the prisoners. Servitude and slavery could be marketed as humane alternatives to genocide.

    • Bob Sloan says:

      What most do not realize is that under a federal program run by the Department of Justice (Prison Industries Enhancement Certification Program) There are now 93,000+ inmates working in more than 300 industrial factories in the U.S. making a myriad assortment of products for the U.S. consumer. UNICOR has 26,000 inmates working in 102 of those factories making products for the government and consumers alike.

      Under the PIE Program corporations are allowed to partner with state prison industries to use inmate labor to manufacture their products. Hundreds of companies have closed their private sector operations and moved them into prison where they can take advantage of the low pay, no benefits requirement, no unions or collective bargaining or payment of unemployment premiums. The net result is the loss of thousands of civilian jobs in the private sector.

      It isn’t so much what the inmates are being paid, rather it is the loss of employment in the civilian job markets that is helping to increase U.S. unemployment. Here is a link to a recruiting video from the BJA, NCIA and DOJ that gives some insight as to the depth of this program – and as you can see, it is not about training inmates for their release. There are safeguards in place for wages and to limit competition with civilian operations but they are being violated by the program participants to increase profits. The NCIA oversees the program and that association is made up of all the participating prison operators and their corporate partners, so they are getting away with violating these safeguards in search of profits.

      Bob Sloan
      Prison Industry Consultant

      • bmaz says:

        Hey, have not seen you here before; welcome, and excellent comment. Yes, you are exactly right and the problem looks to be exacerbated by the burgeoning private prison industry. It was for a while, and may return after a blip caused by a nasty escape situation, the only growth industry in Arizona, and there was talk of wildly expanding it to house all the illegal aliens rounded up by the new anti-immigration laws being passed. In fact, officials and lobbyists from CCA and other private prison operations were huge factors behind those laws here and, in fact, basically control Governor Jan Brewer through Chuck Coughlin. It will not be long before the immigrant prisons are slave labor facilities even worse than what we are already seeing.

        • Bob Sloan says:

          Thanks for the welcome…I have been researching prison industry issues for more than 7 years now and just started providing the facts and figures to others over the past year. I found that the increases in criminal laws and related legislation to increase sentences given, eliminate parole and make inmates do 85% of their given sentences were all begun within the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) with their corporate members (Koch Industries, CCA, Geo Group and dozens of others. At the same time prison industry operations were increased and used by these same corporate entities to increase their profits. They transferred many operations into the prisons and let their civilian workers go. Not surprisingly their machinations today against Unions and fair wages and our rising unemployment statistics are directly related to their shifting of these jobs into prison and away from civilian job markets. It isn’t so much that inmates are making parts for aircraft and missiles, it is that those jobs were in the private sector and are no longer available to skilled pvt. sector workers. Part and parcel of the problem.

        • Bob Sloan says:

          BTW…I wrote extensively about the connections between ALEC, Senator Pearce (R-AZ), Governor Brewer and Coughlin and Sensemann to CCA and Geo Group before the story broke last year on my Daily Kos blog and my website. It is all interrelated and needs to be shown to the general public so they can understand how insidiously corporations and the conservative lawmakers they fund have reduced our industrial and manufacturing capacities by putting both in prison – and away from those of us needing jobs.

          • mzchief says:

            Dear Bob, is everything you did at your website just cross-posted at DailyKOS? I quit visiting DailyKOS for sometime now, didn’t want to give them another mouse click in revenue given what KOS did, but I don’t want to miss your analysis. Thank you in advance for your reply.

            • Bob Sloan says:

              Sadly I haven’t been able to cross post all of my DK stuff to the site and vice-versa for a couple of months as I’m in the midst of writing a book on the issues discussed here and on DK and pressed for time. However, I plan to upload my last few DK blog posts to: where many of them are already posted. Thanks for wanting to keep up with the analysis, as it is important that we all begin to understand how this exploitation has evolved and now is part and parcel of the ongoing issues in the Midwest about jobs, fair wages and Union busting efforts of all those involved in the prison labor scheme. If you need further info, doc’s or data, feel free to contact me through the email link at my website.

              • mzchief says:

                Thank you Bob for your reply and for doing everything you can to throw light on this. As you probably know, The Lake hosts book salon (hint, hint). ;-)

  2. bmaz says:

    Okay, sorry about this, but I must interrupt the proceedings for a quick personal shameless plug. My sister in law, who is a child psychology professor at a significant university, just published her first fictional short story, “In Both, Wisdom” at a professional collective site. She is very nice, it is a touching story, and she could use some hits. If you are so inclined, please stop over and take a look. Thank you!

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I think you’ve done more work today that Dana Milbank has done the past six months.

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The perfect disaster capitalist solution: pay wages below those of rural Chinese peasants and get first-world, first-rate factory hands in the bargain. What with debtors’ prisons likely to spring up soon, and be swamped their first year of private operation, there will be plenty of former middle class professionals to do this sort of gig; it’ll be more fun than standing around naked waiting for inspection.

    One small point, which I borrow from a recent book by Bill Bryson, At Home. When Victoria and her progeny comprised half the crowned heads of Europe, roughly 1/3 of women aged 15-25 in London were in service. For reasons of poverty, roughly another 1/3 of that age group were prostitutes. As servants, women outnumbered men 10:1.

    Before the days of indoor plumbing, servants had to carry drinking and wash water upstairs and waste water, urine and feces down, preferably not in the same container. Water weighs 8 pounds a gallon, a bath can take 40 gallons, washing or drinking only a gallon or so.

    Servants were supposed to use three different rags when cleaning: one for glasses, one for washing up bowls, and a third for chamber pots. These women routinely worked 12 hours or more a day, 6 1/2 days a week. They often cleaned boots and fireplaces, lit fires, cleaned and heated the stove, boiled water (in the days before mechanical water heaters) and made breakfast before anyone else in the house awoke, then cleaned upstairs.

    The point is this. Exhaustion and strained relations sometimes being what they were, it was a happy mistress whose servants always used the right rags for the correct tasks. Confusing them could lead to awkward moments in the days before indoor plumbing.

    I assume that the supervisors of prison labor are more than happy with their quality control processes; it would be awkward if a few unhappy souls confused which rags were to be used where. Oh, and how logical is it to train those whom society has labeled as violently outside social norms in the making of weapons of mass destruction?

    • mzchief says:

      I had a sudden flash of insight regarding all this open talk from the Republicans and Vichycrats about removing the human and civil rights of women in this country. I think you’ll appreciate this slice of Australian history which I contend is a similar dynamic as to now and which I’ll use to illustrate my point about one of the immediate consequences if We The People do not put the rich in their place:

      Bounty immigrant women and Caroline Chisholm

      Young women, often orphans, servants or factory workers, were actively recruited with low priced ‘bounty’ tickets to Australia in an effort to balance the male-female ratio in the new colonies. Many of the young ‘bounty’ girls who arrived in Sydney and Melbourne found themselves in a miserable situation, with little but prostitution and crime to sustain them.

      { snip }

      Georgiana McCrae was a daughter of the Duke of Gordon. In Britain she was recognised as an excellent painter and in 1820, at the age of 16, she won a silver medal from the Royal Society of Arts for her work.

      In 1830 Georgiana married Andrew McCrae, a lawyer who initially practised in Edinburgh. In 1838, he booked passage to Australia, which he believed offered huge opportunities. Georgiana, unable to travel at that time due to illness, is said to raised the funds to purchase passage by painting miniatures, as well as receiving help from the Duke’s second wife. She and her children landed at Port Phillip on 1 March 1841. When Georgiana arrived in Melbourne the settlement was only five years old and was a virtual shanty town.

      The cottage her husband had rented in Lonsdale Street was nothing like Gordon Castle, where Georgiana had lived in her youth. The cottage had an outdoor toilet, mud and animal faeces underfoot and a hole in the roof for the cooking fire smoke to escape. The privileged life she had led as a member of the English upper class was well and truly over.

      (excerpts from “Women in colonial times” accessed Mar. 8, 2011)

    • ackack says:

      “Oh, and how logical is it to train those whom society has labeled as violently outside social norms in the making of weapons of mass destruction?”

      Delicious irony, sir

  5. scribe says:

    This brings to mind a witness I had in a case well over a decade ago.

    He was the proposed expert engineering witness for one of the other parties, an older gentleman who’d been engineering stuff all his life. He was one of those natural-born engineers who can look at something and make it work, better, or look at a problem and come up with a working solution on the first try. He had dozens of patents to his name. Showed up for his deposition wearing a “steely-eyed missile man” tie clasp, the kind they used to give out in the early days of the space program as souvenirs to those folks who’d played a prominent part in the successful launch.

    Like most every other male of his age, he was a WWII veteran. And like most kids of his age- a teenager in the 30s – who were mechanically/technically inclined, he had been crazy about aviation. So, he wound up in the Air Corps. But, because his rare engineering skill had been recognized, he never saw combat. Instead, he was sent to one of the bases where new planes were run through test pilots and flight test programs and assigned to engineering duties. (It was one of those instances where the military did something sensible.) He ultimately became an officer and was made the “Chief of Weight and Balance”, in which his job was determining how planes were to be loaded and trimmed so as to fly properly. He also flew with the test crews, just to make sure they knew he knew his calculations were correct.

    One day he’s in his office and a famous fighter ace, who’d been returned from the combat theater to become a test pilot (test fighting enemy airplanes to find their weaknesses), comes storming in. The ace screams at him: “are you the chief of weight and balance?”
    “Yes, sir.” (The ace seriously outranked him.)
    “Well, if you’re the chief of weight and balance, you’re going to fly with me in that Me262 and explain to me how you came up with the weight and balance for it. Suit up.”
    “Yes, sir”, all the while he’s thinking “WTF is a Me262?” He’d been spending all his time on testing US aircraft, while the Me262 was a captured German jet fighter he’d never heard of.

    So, he goes up in the captured German jet, stuffed in behind the pilot’s seat where the radio used to go, scared out of his wits.

    As he explained, one of the reasons he was so scared was that the plane was missing a significant number of rivets in the skin and in the airframe, such that he could look out the bottom and see the ground passing below and he was in fear of the plane coming apart as a result.

    As he said: “You could tell it was made by slaves. It was no wonder they lost the war.”

    You would think our political masters would have recognized that problem, particularly when repeating the same mistake but, given the manifold other ways our political masters are repeating the conduct of the Nazis – “Enhanced interrogation” (the exact same term the Gestapo used for their torture), torture, unprovoked aggression couched as “preventitive” wars, really thorough crony capitalism, selective prosecution, demonization and dehumanization of disfavored religions to provide an “Other”, perversion of the criminal law into an instrument of persecution, inter alia – I guess we can only expect they’ll make the same mistakes when it comes to building their weapons.

    • lysias says:

      The few Me262’s that the Germans managed to get up and flying performed remarkably well. A U.S. bomber pilot who saw them in action told me that U.S. airmen were scared shitless by them.

      • scribe says:

        Well, that is true to a point. But my point – based on my conversations with a guy who actually rode in one (and got the weight and balance straightened out, too) – is that they were scarier to ride in because they were crappily made by slaves. The Me262 was quite vulnerable around its airfields, where they had to slow down to land and therefore lost their most potent advantage. And their airfields were easily findable.

        The “crappily made by slaves” problem is one our political masters have embraced as their own, in the interests of privatizing even more profits.

    • Phoenix Woman says:

      Yup. The Japanese versions, built from German technology, were riveted by patriotic eight-year-olds (their fathers all being at war) who saw it as a chance to build a real live working model. The few that were built performed far, far better than the 262, but they came far too late in the war to make a difference.

    • ethelbramble says:

      I read your story last night and woke up thinking about it this morning and sent recommendations for Empty Wheel to several friends. Thanks for your contribution.

  6. lysias says:

    The slave labor that the Germans used to produce armaments during World War Two allegedly did its best to produce shoddy goods that would fail in battle.

    Why should these prisoners do any different?

  7. Arbusto says:

    WTF. When I was a Purchasing Agent for GE, Kaiser Electronics and Link Flight Simulation, it was illegal to use prison labor for subcontracts according to FAR/DFARs. Fuck me.

  8. nonpartisanliberal says:

    Prison labor should only ever be used to do work for the state–like pressing license plates and picking up roadside trash. It should not be a source of super cheap labor for private companies. That amounts to a government subsidy that robs Americans of jobs. Well, our corrupt government gave government subsidies to companies to outsource jobs to Mexico, China and India, so maybe Grover Norquist is right about shrinking the size of government so small that it could be drowned in a bathtub. Think of it as downsizing your enemy.

    There needs to be a revolution in this country.

    • ethelbramble says:

      Don’t worry, there will be a revolution. The military has been hoping for one for at least 20 years, when Alternatives Magazine reported a leak from Army intelligence (now there is a contradiction) that itwas training for intracity warfare, training soldiers to leap from building to building, etc. If they can’t get other nations to fight them, they will start a fight with themselves. Give ’em enough rope and they’ll hang themselves, but the problem is they will take down a lot of innocent bystanders and nothing will be resolved because violence only begets violence. What to do? Create a peaceful center that’s so big they can ignore with impunity the rash ones. It takes more strength and courage to do this than to bop the other guy.

    • Disgusteddan says:

      Do we get the financial benefit of this Government owned entity? Where do their profits go? I have never heard any GOE income being accounted for in our budgets. Anyone else know?

  9. qweryous says:

    There might be some other reasons not to farm out defense work to civilians that could not pass proper security scrutiny. Other than quality control issues.

      • ackack says:

        So is this the shadow brown shirt army just waiting for some MOTU with the balls to pull the ‘trigger’?

        And is this related to the gov’s talk, it seems about then, about using US military on US soil for ‘crowd control’, and such?

        I want to stop learning of new ways we’re being subjugated every day, but I can’t avoid it, it’s everywhere. But in the MSM, of course.

    • greenharper says:

      Right! I’d been puzzling why states would use public funds to construct ever more prisons, with the many thousands it costs to maintain a single prisoner in one of them for a year.

      But if private prison companies bribe — oh, sorry, contribute to the campaigns of — politicians, who appropriate money for imprisonment in private prisons, where private companies get things made cheap, cheap, cheap, case closed.

      Which makes me wonder: do the business plans of private prison companies include cozy arrangements with private manufacturers who use captive prison labor? Or are they even perhaps manufacturers themselves?

  10. eCAHNomics says:

    This would be soo funny if it weren’t so predictable.

    Every other country that went down this road left a rock solid model that the U.S. is now following.

  11. mzchief says:

    “As more prisoners toil in the private sector, jobs may be at risk” … “Need work? Go to jail” (US News and World Report, by Warren Cohen, Dec. 9, 1996)

    “Unseen by the outside world, North Korea runs vast prison camps of unspeakable cruelty” … “Gulag Nation” (US News and World Report, by Thomas Omestad, June 15, 2003)

    • mzchief says:

      This quote is from the 1996 Us News and World Report article I cited in the prior comment:

      But critics contend that job stealing is inevitable. In one notable case, a Texas company, U.S. Technologies, sold off its electronics plant in Austin, Texas, effectively leaving 150 workers unemployed. Then, 45 days later, the same owners opened a facility using prison labor in nearby Lockhart. “This policy is going to take business away from those companies that pay good and drive wages down,” says Ed Sills, communications director of the Texas AFL-CIO. “We’re trying to be proactive on this issue . . . before jobs are lost.”

      Apparently, that facility re-opening outside of Austin was in 1993. It’s operated by the The GEO Group, Inc. and

      Community Work Projects: Services provided to city and county agencies and local organizations.

      I wonder who those “local organizations” are as they are not enumerated therein. I can’t help but wonder what else the turnover of Texas government to George Bush Jr’s administration brought the Lone Star state.

  12. donbacon says:

    The Thirteenth Amendment of the Constitution, adopted at the end of the civil War in 1865, abolished slavery, but this same amendment expressly permits prison slavery and involuntary servitude.

    “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

    Franklin D. Roosevelt
    199 – Executive Order 6917 Establishing the Federal Prison Industries, Inc.
    December 11, 1934
    The said corporation shall have power to determine in what manner and to what extent industrial operations shall be carried on in the several penal and correctional institutions of the United States

    The United States has less than 5 percent of the world’s population and almost 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. Are Americans more criminal than other folks? Or are there incentives that give the US the dubious honor of leading the world in prison population.

    Prison labor has its roots in slavery. After the 1861–1865 Civil War a system of “hiring out prisoners” was introduced in order to continue the slavery tradition. Freed slaves were charged with not carrying out their sharecropping commitments (cultivating someone else’s land in exchange for part of the harvest) or petty thievery – which were almost never proven – and were then “hired out” for cotton picking, working in mines and building railroads.

    The California Prison system is the third largest penal system in the country, costing $5.7 billion dollars a year and housing over 170,000 inmates. Since 1980 the number of California prisons has tripled and the number of inmates has jumped significantly. In the past few years controversies involving prison expansion, sky-rocketing costs, and claims of mismanagement and inmate abuse have put the California prison system under heightened public scrutiny.

    What caused prisons to be a growth industry in California? Did Californians suddenly become lawless? We need look no further than the CCPOA, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association.

    The CCPOA is the biggest contributor to political campaigns in California. The CCPOA gives twice as much in political contributions as the California Teachers Association, yet it is one-tenth its size. r. The union employs a 91 person staff including 20 full-time attorneys and uses the services of five lobbyists and a team of public relations consultants, housed in the 62,000 square foot CCPOA headquarters. In 1998, the CCPOA gave over $2 million to Governor Gray Davis, $763,000 to the media, and over $100,000 to Proposition 184, the 3 Strikes law which vastly increased the prison population.

    in California prisoners receive the “minimum wage” on paper, but the state takes 80 percent for state restitution, anti-drug campaigns, victim’s rights organizations and a prisoner “trust fund.”

    The federal prison industry produces 100% of all military helmets, ammunition belts, bullet-proof vests, ID tags, shirts, pants, tents, bags, and canteens. Along with war supplies, prison workers supply 98% of the entire market for equipment assembly services; 93% of paints and paintbrushes; 92% of stove assembly; 46% of body armor; 36% of home appliances; 30% of headphones/microphones/speakers; and 21% of office furniture. Airplane parts, medical supplies, and much more: prisoners are even raising seeing-eye dogs for blind people.

  13. behindthefall says:

    Ars Technica has a book chapter describing how the “next war” might go, the Dr Strangelove one between the US and the USSR:

    A secret document drafted for President Kennedy in 1963 highlighted the importance of command and control. The report detailed a series of possible nuclear exchange scenarios in which the President would be faced with “decision points” over the course of approximately 26 hours. One scenario described a “nation killing” first strike by the Soviet Union that would kill between 30 and 150 million people and destroy 30-70 per cent of US industrial capacity.

    What gets me is that we just fought this war with the Chinese and lost. They used the economic equivalent of a neutron bomb, leaving us walking around and consuming their goods while being unable to make our own. And the self-important, astronomically overpaid corporate jerks who voluntarily wiped out our manufacturing, research, and education kept reading “The Art of War” and thinking that THEY were the ones doing the fighting and fooling the Chinese. Jerks!

    • ottogrendel says:

      Yeah, they read it alright. But they read it like folks who wanted to find out about how to raft down the Mississippi and therefore skimmed “Huckleberry Finn” without understanding or caring about satire, social commentary or the humanity of Huck or Jim. One of the essential behaviors stressed by Tzu is the subversion of one’s ego in pursuit of larger, collective goals. Such an attitude had about a snowball’s chance in hell of finding purchase among the “corporate jerks.” The cultural divide was too great and their motives to selfish and materialistic for the book to have had any effect on them. Indeed, in their misunderstanding they turned its lessons on their head.

    • szielinski says:

      The Chinese did not victimize America. The American and Chinese elite colluded to create in or to move industrial capacity into China while using the United States as the largest source of effective demand for the world economy. No one put a gun to the head of Bill Clinton to make him complete the NAFTA Treaty. No one forced him to deregulate finance capital, to pass over the peace dividend, to end welfare as we knew it, etc. He took that path because that’s what his kind do when they get power.

      • mzchief says:

        I think you make an excellent point that many need to read. As an example of a data point in that observation, just review who is going into (Gary Locke) and out of (Jon Huntsman) the ambassadorship to China.

        Meanwhile, “The Serious Fraud Office has been investigating the collapse of the Icelandic bank since last year, amid allegation market manipulation in the run-up to the financial crisis” … “Tchenguiz brothers arrested in Kaupthing investigation” (, by Simon Bowers, Mar. 9, 2011, 11.06 GMT)

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          I’m sure that bears no relation to the UK government’s plan to close the Serious Fraud Office via merger into a larger bureaucracy, which inevitably will upset its resources, leadership, focus, teamwork and investigations. The money saved is likely to pale in comparison to the amounts not recovered or the crimes that go inadequately investigated. But that’s true of many of its claimed cost savings plans. It’s simply intent on the wholesale gutting of government; it’s acting like the Bushees in Iraq.

      • mzchief says:

        I think the EU and Australian kleptocrats have also colluded with those of the Chinese in this. Counties can use other countries and territories as proxies in the game. In the last several years EU companies have bought American companies and stripped the American workers out as they have no protections. It doesn’t mean that the function went away. I could have been essentially been done with Chinese prison labor in China or out of it as China exports that too (see “Exporting convicts stains China’s reputation,” Globe and Mail Update, by Brahma Chellaney reporting from New Delhi, Aug. 3, 2010) as it did to Sri Lanka, Maldives, Zambia, Botswana, Burma, Pakistan, Ghana and Sudan.

        I will never forget walking onto a consulting assignment in Northern Virginia (late 1990s) and realizing the workers were Chinese and Ukrainians white-collar slaves smuggled into the country on the promise of green cards. One of the tells was the fact the workers were living on the job site and never left. When the “cat escaped the bag” as to what was really going on, the principles of the smaller firm who owned the building where the workers lived were white-knighted by a large firm which promised to give the workers their proper legal status but flipped the business as fast as it could. All who were involved in exploiting the workers should have gone to prison as far as I am concerned as slavery takes a village.

        • mzchief says:

          At the time, I thought this was just an evil aberration. I wasn’t pleased it was settled out of court in Maryland. In hindsight and a lot of other experiences, I see that the Cornell-educated slavers, paid-off officials and their bankster enablers all walked and that this wasn’t an aberration but a growing, systematic institutionalized endeavor.

          Bob Sloan @ 43‘s excellent commentary included this statement:

          It isn’t so much what the inmates are being paid, rather it is the loss of employment in the civilian job markets that is helping to increase U.S. unemployment. Here is a link to a recruiting video from the BJA, NCIA and DOJ that gives some insight as to the depth of this program – and as you can see, it is not about training inmates for their release

          I’ve recently glimpsed how this works in Oregon as I discovered more than one non-profit (one was a poorly camouflaged shell for paying one person– its president– a 6 figure salary for others’ donated services as laundered through the prison system) involved in the FBNP. The one-person minority-headed non-profit shell was getting paid to be part of servicing prisoners on-site offered as part of a consortium of service providers presented like some kind of shopping mall. The inmates have to pay for these services while they’re in or exiting prison. So tax payer money goes to FBNP organizations to do the work the governmental entities are supposed to, these FBNP have access to all the citizen data like the governmental offices, and the FBNP are substandard deliverers of service plus they’re using free (“volunteer”) labor. In on FBNP I examined, well-known corporate executives of large for-profit multinational corporations that presided over the biggest job loss and off-shoring of American jobs in US history sit upon the board. That group came to my attention because they are acting as part of the Food Stamp system and are dispensing expired meat directly received from stores as the product is in its original shrink wrapping (expired goods are illegal to sell but if they are dispensed through FBNPs, they still make money for everybody in the closed system as they never get to the dumpster where the street people outside the system pick it up for free. Please also see “JP Morgan Makes Big Bucks from Food Stamp Growth, Then Hires Workers in India with Our Tax Dollars” to see more about the operations of this system).

          Here’s another a piece about FBNPs, their collusion with neo-lib/neo-con for-profit corporations and Security Theater™. Some city police are picking up people they think are jobless, homeless and have no social, political or financial knowledge or advantage to fight the system. Those folks miraculously end up giving free labor as “community service” to the same FBNPs in addition to now having a police record which means it will be even more difficult for them to become employed in the future (see case-in-point at time point 1:26 of “FBI Tracked Muslim Student w GPS“). Certain neo-lib/neo-con for-profit corporations– stores– have made it corporate policy to become an on-ramp for those operations and it’s very slick. Here’s how it works. If a not-right-looking person enters a corporate outlet, security detains them without any warning or justification until the police arrive to book them based upon the company representative’s false testimony. The victim goes before the judge and gets to perform community service plus the bonus of a police record making them unfit for later employment. I know about this scam through more than one individual instance. So all those mobile prison watch units (see Hickory, North Carolina ; video) in Walmart parking lots are part of this institutional corruption too. Next, a portion of this population can make several turns of the cycle before they die homeless (see “Family locates long-lost brother in The Oregonian’s database of unclaimed dead,” Published: Tuesday, March 01, 2011, 7:46 PM), enter the prison system or enter another type of incarceration system euphemistically tagged the social services system for the disabled, old or mentally ill which has for-profit, non-profit, city, county, state and federal entities that all get a cut of that money stream. I know about this through individual cases as well. In the end, all of this is brought to the US and other countries by the banksters who include “just 400 Americans … 400 … have more wealth than half of all Americans combined.”

          • greenharper says:

            mzchief, you do good work! I’m just sorry that the appalling subject exists. Hard to think that people can really go missing nowadays. But if they can be profitable to others, and are “helped”….

            • mzchief says:

              Thank you for your kind words. I have an extremely hard time not being revulsed as no human being deserves to be a slave for any reason. When I met people who were exploited like this, it changed me forever and for the better. Over time, I got found out for exposing all manner of unscrupulous activities as the environment in which I was working rapidly decayed and I just couldn’t truck with it. Apparently, I was really cramping some other folks’ style and someone was watching and keeping a list. I could not avoid a confrontation and it happened under Der Shrubbenfuhrer (hat tip EvilDrPuma). All hell broke loose over a shitty little civil case against the Fed when I could not in good conscience refuse to stand as a witness. It was nasty and outlandish for years but I am still alive. So I try to be pretty philosophical about it all as I had had quite the life before it ended. But I am crystal clear that unless I work to change this system from the inside out and the grassroots up, I don’t have a future anywhere “it pays to Discover.” So, if one is going to be a permanent stray, one might as well have a spring in one’s step. Free Bradley Manning! Ah-woo!

    • behindthefall says:

      The middle para in comment 28 is a direct paste from the Ars Technica article; I forgot to indent it. Sorry.

    • mzchief says:

      Dear Adam503, I truly believe that Oskar Schindler used his position and operation to shield many people given the circumstances of Europe at that time. A work mate’s mother turned out to be the daughter of a German business man in Poland who, during that same period, used bribes to buy off the officials while running guns and an underground railroad for the escape of Jewish children. While these histories are not pleasant to review, I don’t see any other way for us to avoid repeating them.

  14. earlofhuntingdon says:

    OT – WikiLeaks nominated for Nobel Peace Prize:

    Anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, the Internet and a Russian human rights activist are among a record 241 nominations for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.

    I guess the Nobel Committee is trying to make up for that one it gave to Obama. Some scratches are too deep to rub out even with sandpaper.

  15. nonpartisanliberal says:

    When the middle class in this country shrinks to less than 15% of the population, the stupids will be told to blame it all on liberals and labor unions.

    Rupert Murdoch has proven that knowledge is not power. How powerful are the liberals warning what will come? Being able to effectively communicate your message–however dishonest it may be–is power, especially when your side monopolizes the media.

  16. ottogrendel says:

    Extremely cheap prison labor is one of the reasons or perhaps unintended consequences of having over 2 million US citizens currently in prison. The US now has more of its people in prison, both in total number and as a percentage of its population, than any other nation on the planet. Remember when prison population was one of the yardsticks by which the US used to measure the totalitarian oppression of China and the USSR? And D.E.B. DuBois used to say something about how prisons were a reflection of democracy: The more citizens in prison, the less democratic the state; the less citizens in prison, the more democratic the state. Perhaps we will see a Schindler rise to the occasion.

  17. Triad1 says:

    All weapons spending is inflationary spending – in that the investment made doesn’t increase productivity – all you end up with is a tank or submarine that does nothing. You might as well have people digging holes in the ground all day.

    All these weapons will allow America to control the natural resources of the mid-east so that American capital in natural resource poor (but cheap labor rich) China will flourish. If China steps out of line, their raw materials are cut off.

  18. applepie says:

    The future of being American: Work all day making death weapons under the watchful eyes and guns of privatized guard-thugs, then go back to your cinderblock cell to get screwed by someone with an untreated disease.

    Has our govt become nothing other than a bad SciFi movie?

  19. bustedcelt says:

    Many of the slave labor workers in Nazi Germany (most from occupied Hungary, Poland, and Russia) found ways of wrecking German equipment. A favorite method was disarming artillery shell and bomb fuses. Be on notice that slave labor at zero cents an hour is the same as slave labor at 23 cents an hour. Consequently, maybe we can hope for fewer casualties in the next mid-east war.

  20. captjjyossarian says:

    Prison is such an ugly word. Why not call them Patriot Plantations? /s

    I’m wondering how this is any different than the economic system of the Confederacy.

    If prison work was focused on the needs of the prison itself, I could understand that. I can also understand improving job skills in prison. But building Patriot missles for 23 cents an hour? ug

    The only thing uglier might be the privatized prison racket.

  21. dustbunny44 says:

    From the article:
    >>Unicor insists that the deal is a good one for inmates — and for the government. The manufacturing work offers a chance for job training, which “improves the likelihood that inmates will remain crime-free upon their release,” the company says in its report. (Some reports suggest that Unicor prisoners are as much as 24% less likely to return to crime.)

    When this is viewed as morally illegal, this actually allows the inmate to remain within the crime syndicate while meeting requirements for release.