Omar Mateen latest G4S employee involved in senseless tragedy
British security company G4S was in the headlines yet again last week over the killing of 49 people by one of its employees in Orlando, the latest in a string of preventable tragedies.
Despite repeatedly proven incompetence, frequent human rights abuses and systematic fraud on the part of G4S, the British government seemed determined to award it contract after contract. This is not a mistake, but a strategy.
Omar Mateen, a guard of nine years standing for G4S, entered the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida on June 12th. Once inside, he opened fire on the crowd, shooting over 100 people. By the time he himself was shot dead by police three hours later, 50 people had been slain.
A Guardian report on June 14 revealed that at least some of Mateen’s extremist leanings and psychological problems were known to G4S. In 2013 he bragged to a co-worker about being friends with the Boston marathon bombers, resulting in two interviews by the FBI. The FBI concluded that the claim was false; but this begged the question: Why would he invent such a claim? Would this not be grounds for some kind of psychological evaluation by the company for whom he worked as an armed guard? G4S were made aware of the interviews, yet reportedly declined to administer any such tests. According to The Guardian, the only psychological test administered by the company was one taken when he first joined the company nine years ago.
Yet this weekend, it emerged that the psychologist listed as having carried out this initial assessment, Dr. Carol Nudelman, had never met Mateen, and was not even living in Florida at the time.
Nudelman’s lawyers told the media that the documentation lodged by G4S with Florida state – that certified Mateen as fit for armed duties – was a “false document” because she had closed her Florida practice on January 1, 2006, nearly two years before Mateen was supposedly evaluated. The company has since admitted this is all true; that is to say: G4S have admitted submitting falsified documents to secure approval for what amounts to the illegal appointment of its employees.
But G4S incompetence had already led to murder even before this latest scandal. In 2009, a G4S security guard in Iraq shot dead two colleagues. The BBC subsequently revealed that the company had been warned repeatedly that the guard’s psychological problems left him unfit for duty; but they had ignored them. The following year, an Angolan national, Jimmy Mbenga, was suffocated to death by three G4S guards in what an inquest jury concluded amounted to“unlawful killing” during a failed deportation attempt. And the company was heavily criticized for inadequate training of its guards following the murder of a detainee at a G4S-run immigration detention center in Papua New Guinea in 2014.
Indeed, the company’s modern history is little more than a litany of incompetence, abuse and illegality. Soon after taking over management of Britain’s first privatized prisons and immigrant detention centers in the early 1990s, its name became synonymous with riots and breakouts. In its work for private insurance firms, it was found to be conducting illegal surveillance inside the homes of claimants. Its repeated forceful arrests and imprisonment of a 10 year-old asylum seeker in 2009 resulted in her attempting to hang herself.
Meanwhile, a fifteen year old in a UK child detention center diedwhilst being “restrained” by a G4S guard in 2004, and a judge ruled in 2012 that it was “highly likely” that the company had unlawfully restrained large numbers of children in its custody. One man in Australia was cooked to death by G4S in 2008 whilst being transported 220 miles in a van without working air conditioning.
Nor is the latest scandal the first time that G4S have been involved in fraud and falsification. Earlier this year, five G4S staff employed to answer emergency calls to Lincolnshire police force were suspended after it was revealed that they were calling 999 themselves to massage the figures.
Indeed, fiddling the figures appears to be standard practice for G4S. A former G4S manager responsible for privatized cleaning services in one UK hospital told me he was instructed to falsify the length of time it took for rooms to be cleaned in order to avoid fines. When the practice was rumbled, the company denied all knowledge, made him the scapegoat, and sacked him – but not without awarding him a payout attached to a gagging clause, of course. I suspect there are many more similar stories out there.
But the real gem in the company’s fraud crown was the electronic tagging scandal. G4S had been hired by the Ministry of Justice in 2005 to run its electronic tagging system, running tags on 18,000 prisoners per day. Or at least, that’s the number they were charging for. As it turned out, an audit in 2013 by PricewaterhouseCoopers revealed that 3,000 of these“tag-wearers” were either dead, in prison or abroad: that is, not being tagged at all.
That’s right, G4S was billing the UK taxpayer for thousands of non-existent tags that it fraudulently claimed to be administering, and this practice, at the time it was revealed, had been going on for eight years. The total amount fraudulently obtained by the company in this way amounted to over 100 million pounds. An investigation by the Serious Fraud Office is still under way.
we are seeing a pattern of sorts with g4s..
“fiddling the figures appears to be standard practice for G4S.”
“the company’s modern history is little more than a litany of incompetence, abuse and illegality.”
posted on these previously:
and this beauty: