War profiteers of the month: Ferrovial, Broadspectrum and Wilson Security




Ferrovial is a Spanish multinational company, with a broad range of interests - they are involved in the construction of the Gugenheim Museum in Bilbao, the construction of the M3 motorway in Ireland, and manage toll roads across Europe. Ferrovial owns 90% of the company Broadspectrum, which runs Australia's offshore immigration detention centres in Papua New Guinea.

Protests against detention of refugees on Manus and Nauru.

In recent months Ferrovial and Broadspectrum have come under intense pressure because of their role managing Australia's off-shore immigration detention centres on the islands of Nauru and Manus after revelations in the 'Nauru Files'. The Nauru Files are made up of over 2,000 incident reports leaked in August 2016, published by The Guardian newspaper, and reveal "assaults, sexual abuse, self-harm attempts, child abuse and living conditions" taking place in the detention centres, and paint "a picture of routine dysfunction and cruelty." The indefinite detention of people who have committed on crime has been declared illegal by the UN, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International.

Professors at Stanford Law School believe it is possible the companies directors and employees could be held "liable for crimes against humanity", because of the abuse faced by people interned on the islands. Ferrovial announced in April 2016 that they will not attempt to reacquire the contract for running the detention centres when the current contract ends in 2017.

Several other companies are involved in the management and running of the camps (since 2012 in the case of Nauru, and 2014 in the case of Manus). Wilson Security is subcontracted by Broadspectrum to provide security services on Australia's offshore detention centres, and were targetted by activists in a recent blockade of an arms fair in Melbourne, Australia, and protests and vigils across the country. Within Australia, Wilson Security's guards protect government buildings, foreign embassies and politicians and are well known for their many carparks. Since 2013 and the election of the Coalition government, Wilsons have successfully bid for more than $478 million worth of contracts.

Update: Wilson Security announced in September 2016 they will withdraw from the contract in Nauru and Manus in 2017.

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