Inside the system

Target workers forced to do ‘walk of shame’

Target stores in the US are being sued for systematic use of public humiliation to deter “employee theft”. In at least one case the practice has led to a worker committing suicide. The mother of 22-year-old Graham Gentles is taking Target to court after her son committed suicide three days after being subject to what staff call the “walk of shame”.

Gentles, who denied stealing, was handcuffed and marched through the store by police in front of customers and co-workers, before being taken to the police station where he was released without charge. He had Asperger’s syndrome and experienced such distress that he committed suicide by jumping from a hotel roof three days later.

Target workers from across the country have come forward to report identical cases of ritual humiliation. Gentles’ mother claims to have over 40 contacts who have witnessed or experienced a “walk of shame” and many others have contacted the media to confirm such treatment is an unwritten policy at Target. Malkeevia Lewis, an employee at a Miami store, was accused of theft for changing prices at the register after her manager instructed her to do so. She was paraded through the store in handcuffs. She says “Target… took my whole life from me…I spent two nights in jail and haven’t worked since Sept. 5.”

Herald-Sun publishes call for dictatorship

Big business has looked on with horror as the growing unpopularity of privatisation, cuts and anti-union laws has seen Campbell Newman voted out in Queensland, with Abbott looking set to follow. Tom Elliot, 3AW radio presenter, investment banker and Liberal Party scion, has drawn the logical conclusion by calling for the suspension of democracy.

The son of former Liberal Party President John Elliot argued that the establishment of a “benign dictatorship” was necessary in an opinion piece on 6 February. He said that, “Because we fear tough decisions, we inevitably end up with leaders who just tell us what we want to hear.” He claims that as a result we should bypass democracy and “appoint a committee of eminent and competent Australians” to run the country. According to Elliot our new overlords would step down after a five year dictatorship.
If the results were good they would receive an “Australian Knighthood if such an award still exists”.

Russia blames transsexuals for road chaos

Russia’s government has turned to trans-phobia to explain the country’s horrific traffic problems. In 2011 there were 200,000 traffic accidents resulting in 28,000 deaths. By way of response, Prime Minister Dimitri Medvedev issued an order saying people could be prevented from getting a license purely on the basis of their sexual orientation, if it falls into the category of what the government classifies as a “mental disorder”.

The order was published on 4 January this year. Under its authority, anyone who wears “clothes of the opposite sex in order to experience temporarily membership of the opposite sex” or has a “desire to live and be accepted as a member of the opposite sex” can be denied access to Russian roads.

Immigration official’s $44,000 taxpayer funded binge

Refugee supporters have long experience of the rotten culture inside the Immigration Department. But it seems it harbours a few other repulsive practices. One official from the Department went on a $44,000 government funded binge in China, according to the Financial Review. In a five day blitz with three senior figures from companies contracting for the government, he spent big on booze, female escorts, high end restaurants and luxury accommodation last June. This was dressed up as a “business trip” to inspect prefab buildings being supplied for the Manus Island detention centre.

According to the company the men only spent ten minutes on the factory floor and another ten in the boardroom. The following night in a private room in the Shanghai International Business Club, they had female escorts paraded in front of them, and took turns picking women out of the “line-up” who were “selected to take care of all of their guests’ needs”. The escorts were paid $3500, the room hire cost $3600 and the scotch cost $1640. Other highlights of the five day trip included a $950 dollar lunch and first class flights on Air China.

HSBC leak reveals industrial scale tax evasion

Documents leaked from banking giant HSBC have revealed that its Swiss arm helped wealthy clients evade hundreds of millions in tax. The files were originally leaked in 2007, and contain the details of over 100,000 clients from 203 countries. Among them were Hollywood stars, politicians, royals and criminals. Emmanuel Shallop, convicted of dealing in “blood diamonds”, was one example. A bank memo says, “We have opened a company account for him based in Dubai…The client is currently being very careful because he is under pressure from the Belgian tax authorities who are investigating his activities in the field of diamond tax evasion.”

They also included 470 Australian clients. Among the holders of offshore Swiss accounts were Elle MacPherson, the late media mogul Kerry Packer and former ANZ Bank chairman Charles Goode. Goode requested to be identified by the alias “Mr Shaw” in correspondence with the bank. HSBC actively marketed tax evasion strategies to rich clients and handed over millions in cash on request, no questions asked.

‘Freedom’ brand muesli bars banned on Manus

A $30,000 shipment of “Freedom” brand muesli bars arrived at the Manus Island detention centre in January. But Transfield Services, the company running the centre, refused to accept the bars, from Sydney based Freedom Foods. According to the ABC the Immigration Department made the decision to stop the delivery. ABC sources say that the bars, “were not allowed to be given to the detainees because they were considered inappropriate for people who are locked in the detention centre, sometimes without any clear release date.”

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