Monday, April 14, 2008

Polygamist Cult Awarded US Defence Contracts

We all know by now that the word "vetted" doesn't appear in the Bush administration's dictionary but it sure would have come in handy more than a few times.

McClatchy reports that two firms linked to the polygamist sect that was recently raided in Texas were awarded millions in small business loans and military contracts.

Steve Barlow, human resources manager for NewEra, said last week that it would be inappropriate to comment, "Given everything that's going on. I could only give you the company motto: 'Good parts on time.'. "

And just how do they make those 'good parts on time'?

According to the article, there's been a lawsuit filed against NewEra that answers that question:

John Nielsen, who worked for the company when it was Western Precision in Hildale, said in a 2005 affidavit that he and other FLDS members were made to work for little or no wages, even as the company was bringing in lucrative government contracts and other work.

At the same time, $50,000 to $100,000 in company profits were going each month to FLDS "and/or" Jeffs, Nielsen said in the affidavit, filed as part of a civil lawsuit.

He said he and other sect members thought their working for free or for extremely low wages would bring them redemption. Instead, Nielsen said in the affidavit, he was found to be "wanting" by the sect's leadership, ordered off the property and separated from his five young children and his wife. She was "reassigned" to another man, becoming the fourth of his six wives.

"It broke my heart," Nielsen said in the affidavit. He declined to comment when reached by phone Friday.

Slave labour - which somebody obviously knew about since that suit was filed in 2005. Yet, nothing was done - just as governments have let abusive polygamist cults there and in Canada get away with staying veiled in secrecy for decades.

Who knows what will come out of these investigations now? One person put it bluntly:

"There's a lot of bad shit in there," said a high-ranking official with the federal Justice Department who did not want to be identified because of the sensitivity of the case.

It's time to rip those places apart and stand up for the victims once and for all.

And it's also time for the US government to stop looking the other way when it hands out contracts. But then what do you expect from an administration that just renewed Blackwater's contract despite the objections of the supposedly 'sovereign' Iraq government? Human rights always take a back seat to US military concerns.

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