More Banal News
Huffington Post just released an email to Bain Investors informing them about closing on a major acquisition with the Chinese Company XVI. XVI specializes in outsourced call-center operations. According to Cornell’s Global Call Center Report in 2007 about 4 million Americans were employed as call center agents. Bain’s $71.9 million capital injection into this major call center corporation will provide seed money for further expansion helping to build more call centers in order to meet the growing needs of clients like Google, Apple and DIRECTV. XVI also works with Huawei Technologies a Chinese company that came under intense investigations by the House Intelligence Committee.
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), the Republican chairman of the House panel said on a 60 Minutes interview: “If I were an American company today — and I’ll tell you this as the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence — and you are looking at Huawei, I would find another vendor if you care about your intellectual property, if you care about your consumers’ privacy, and you care about the national security of the United States of America.”
The House committee found that Huawei, founded by a former army major has extremely close ties to the Chinese military. When Bain Capital tried to acquire Huawei for the first time in 2007 the Bush Administration refused to approve the $2.2 billion deal citing national security concerns. Allowing a company with such close ties to the Chinese government access to the American telecommunications grid, the House Committee argued could expose Americans to a variety of threats.”It’s a strategic industry in the sense that an opponent can gain serious advantage … from being able to exploit the telecommunications network,” Jim Lewis, a foreign technology analyst, told “60 Minutes.” “The state tells them what to do and they do it.”
Squashed by Congress Bain’s bid at Huawei was postponed. Eager to penetrate the Chinese telecom world Bain set its eyes on another venture, Uniview Technologies. Bain acquired the controversial surveillance the controversial surveillance company last December.
The New York Times summarized Bain’s relationship with Uniview earlier this year.
The Bain-owned company, Uniview Technologies, produces what it calls “infrared antiriot” cameras and software that enable police officials in different jurisdictions to share images in real time through the Internet. Previous projects have included an emergency command center in Tibet that “provides a solid foundation for the maintenance of social stability and the protection of people’s peaceful life,” according to Uniview’s Web site.
Li Tiantian, 45, a human rights lawyer in Shanghai, said the police used footage recorded outside a hotel in an effort to manipulate her during the three months she was illegally detained last year. The video, she said, showed her entering the hotel in the company of men other than her boyfriend.
During interrogations, Ms. Li said, the police taunted her about her sex life and threatened to show the video to her boyfriend. The boyfriend, however, refused to watch, she said.
“The scale of intrusion into people’s private lives is unprecedented,” she said in a phone interview. “Now when I walk on the street, I feel so vulnerable, like the police are watching me all the time.”
As of Election Day Bain Capital holds a 32.4% stake in XVI and therefore owns a significant portion of a call center serving a company that profits off blackmailing women and oppressing political dissidents. This might not be a problem for Romney politically if hesevered ties with Bain before it became the investing behemoth that it is today but as the Romney Campaign disclosed in 2011 his families’ Bain holdings today amount to between “$12.4 million and $60.9 million, which provided between $1.5 million and $9.3 million in income” (that’s all that income that was at the center of the capital gains tax controversy).
The truth is Romney has much to gain if companies with US call centers send outsource jobs to call centers like those run by XVI. And for a presidential candidate who has run a get tough on China campaign to actually state ” Any serious U.S. policy toward China must confront the fact that China’s regime continues to deny its people basic political freedoms and human rights,” makes Pinocchio look honest even while his schnoz knocks over vases. “The United States has an important role to play in encouraging the evolution of China toward a more politically open and democratic order.” Right, and simultaneously embolden the apparatus of another police state.