Archive for June, 2010
By Peter Marmorek. Crossposted from Tikkun Daily. Saturday June 26th, the anti-G20 demonstration in Toronto was planned to start at 1 pm. I had been uncertain as to whether to go; originally a group of Tikkun Toronto veterans had planned an alternative demonstration, focussed around the slogan, “Open your heart to what [...]
I’ve written a couple columns recently about NYPD’s broken windows crime policy, which along with the statistics-driven CompStat reporting system has created some twisted incentives. The two policies seem to be driving NYPD’s patrol officers to harass New Yorkers for non-crimes through an aggressive stop-and-frisk policy, while at the same time encouraging the under-reporting of actual crimes.
The Village Voice has been publishing and reporting on a series of audio recordings taken by a NYPD officer that seem to confirm both policies. Earlier this month, the Voice published an alarming interview with NYPD Detective Harold Hernandez, who says pressure the pressure to reclassify sexual assaults as misdemeanors left a rapist free to commit more assaults.
Responding to the ongoing Voice series “NYPD Tapes,” Hernandez reveals publicly for the first time that the downgrading of crimes to manipulate statistics allowed a man to commit six sexual assaults in a Washington Heights neighborhood in 2002 before he was finally caught after his seventh attack.
The initial six crimes, committed over a two-month period, went unnoticed by 33rd Precinct detectives, Hernandez says, because patrol supervisors had improperly labeled most of them as misdemeanors. It was only through a lucky break—an alert neighbor spotted the suspect pushing his seventh victim into her apartment—that the rapist, Daryl Thomas, was finally captured.
After his arrest, Hernandez persuaded Thomas to detail his earlier crimes. The detective then combed through stacks of crime complaint reports to identify the pattern of violence.
Hernandez learned that most of the victims’ complaints in the prior assaults had been classified as criminal trespassing, so the incidents never reached the detective squad and, in turn, were never declared a pattern, which would have triggered an intense campaign to capture the perpetrator.
In today’s Voice, civil libertarian Nat Hentoff slags NYPD Chief Ray Kelly, pointing to new lawsuits estimating that more than 90 percent of the people harassed in stop-and-frisk operations are never fined or arrested. (Many of those arrested are also never charged.) Hentoff notes that Kelly is fawned over in the press as a “rock star” chief who “radiates power” (and likely running for mayor). Hentoff points to a New Yorker profile of Kelly which asks, “The long-serving NYPD Commissioner is autocratic, dismissive of civil liberties concerns—and effective. Is that a reasonable trade?”
Given mounting evidence that at least part of New York’s perpetually declining crime stats may be due to underreporting, it’s probably time to start asking questions about the “effective” part, too.
The Ontario Public Works Protection Act grants the executive branch “unlimited authority to the cabinet” to appoint any with the authority of a local police officer; deem any place in the province a ‘public work’; threaten whatever force is necessary to make any person—irrelevant of probable cause—identify themselves, grant consent to their person and property to a search, and prevent the person without cause from entering property deemed as a ‘public work’.
Paul Cavalluzzo, a Ontario-based constitutional lawyer discussed the Act with Paul Jay at The Real News Network (16:59):
A detention center was created out of a movie studio and to hold kidnapped demonstrators, the C.B.C. reported, and those demonstrating against the camp were violently forced to disperse by the police. Interesting is toward the end of the interview. People are being immediately released and this has been a redeeming quality of police apologists, but if there’s no evidence to hold a ‘violent criminal who has committed a crime justifying arrest’, what makes them a criminal justifying that arrest—and worse, what justifies this “processing” everyone has to go through. A great opportunity for governments enter new names and their corresponding numbers to databases for monitoring and warrantless surveillance (5:24):
Why are they protesting? Well, I wrote about that during the September Summit in Pittsburgh, Pa., but more during an October meeting between World Bank and International Monetary Fund oligarchs in Turkey. Journalist Naomi Klein, among others, sums it up best: “Here is where they stick us with the bill for that massive bank bailout” (3:15):
Black blocs, undercover provocateurs and the deification of industrialists are red herrings.
Jesse Freeston, a journalist at The Real News Network, was punched and subdued by the police in a scuffle that include the kidnapping of a deaf man for ‘ignoring police orders’. Mr. Freeston notes at the end that “when police attack journalists”, they are attacking the “public’s right to know what’s going on” (5:12):
There are lot of platitudes tossed around regarding the protests at last weekend’s G-20 Summit—polarizing rhetoric to dehumanize individuals as thugs and anti-capitalist, on both ends, using the same labels. The fact is that people expressed valid grievances against odious debt at the barrel of a gun and the only counter-argument by the authorities, defenders of the status quo, was brutal force and extreme intimidation.
Filed under: International Affairs Tagged: anarchism, corporatism, fascism, G20, global economic crisis, IMF, Jesse Freeston, libertarian, media, Naomi Klein, Newspeak, Paul Cavalluzzo, Paul Jay, privacy rights, Toronto G20 Summit, TRNN, US, World Bank
Nice Liberal Arguments about banning guns are totally incoherent. Oh, oh, 10,000 people died in "gun violence" last year? Yeah, well, there were 33,000 traffic accidents. I say we ban automobiles and tear up the highways. There were almost 700,000 deaths from heart disease. I say we all subsist on saltless bread and distilled water. In fact, I think the epidemic of mortality afflicting the human race represents the gravest threat to our species. I suggest we all kill ourselves in order to prevent avoidable death, that affliction.
The idea that the Second Amendment, uniquely in the Bill of Rights, does not apply to individuals is obviously crazy. Would a liberal ever make such an argument about the First Amendment? Oh, yeah, uh, well, it only means that the federal government can't engage in censorship; that's not to say that Chicago can't ban people from saying "persimmon!" in public or agitating against the legitimate reign of the aldermen. What? If you think that guns are so bad that they should only be owned by the government, then I suggest you 1.) check your premises regarding the entity that engages in the most "gun violence" and 2.) repeal the Second Amendment. Oh, is that not feasible? I wonder if there is a lesson in that? I mean, last night I actually fell out of Ardha Baddha Padmottānāsana when NPR interviewed some police chief who said that police were getting out-gunned by civilians (BTW, are police not civilians?), citing as an example the deaths by gun of several dozen cops last year. Yeah, well, how many "civilians" (and dogs!) were killed by police?
Toronto Star photo
A great corporatist hoax was perpetrated in Toronto during the G20 this past weekend, and both the Canadian public and most of the mainstream media bought it hook, line and sinker. To anyone who has ever participated in an anti-globalization protest, this will not be a surprise.
There were over 10,000 police in the downtown streets, in many places every 10m on empty streets and en masse in other places. Yet if you look at the photos of the so-called “anarchist vandals” who smashed windows of American Apparel and other big US-owned chains on Saturday, you won’t find anyone being arrested or challenged — in fact you won’t see any police in any of the pictures of vandals at all (but lots of cameras, of course). Similarly, the police cars set afire were seemingly driven in advance by police into the centre of the publicized demonstration area, and then left, empty, unlocked and unwatched. Shortly thereafter, the empty cars were attacked and torched by the vandals with no obstruction from the police, who are nowhere to be seen in any of the much-publicized photos (see for yourself below).
Then, beginning shortly after the totally-ignored vandalism occurred, large masses of heavily armed police charged peaceful, stationary protesters, beating and arresting dozens apparently at random, and charging the crowd, firing tear gas and rubber bullets at groups just milling around, seated talking or singing together. The unprovoked violence of the cops then continued for the last 36 hours of the G20 meeting, as gangs of heavily-armed police shoulder to shoulder threatened, arrested, bullied and charged at people going about their business in neighbourhoods throughout Toronto, seemingly with no purpose except to instill anger and fear of the police, and incite retaliatory violence.
Here is a collection of photos and videos that pretty well speak for themselves:
- Toronto Star photos of “anarchists” vandalizing windows and police cars Saturday, totally undisturbed by the police. Follow-up Toronto Star photos of police-protester confrontations and G20 leader preening on Sunday, the last day of the G20.
- Video by right-wing mainstream broadcaster Global TV showing trigger-happy police firing at a crowd of unarmed protesters point-blank.
- Citizen journalist video of police arbitrarily charging into and arresting protesters sitting peacefully in a park.
- Citizen journalist video of police charging people singing Canada’s national anthem.
- Citizen journalist video of police harassing and charging people in their home neighbourhood of Queen Street West, Sunday night after the G20 was over, and miles from the G20 meetings.
- Citizen journalist video of police charging and arresting people in the designated Free Speech Zone who keep asking over and over “we’re just standing here man, what are we doing wrong?”
- Citizen journalist video of police charging and arresting people at random at the end of a peaceful march.
- National Post (right-wing Toronto mainstream media newspaper) photographers tell of their personal ordeal when they were arrested and imprisoned for photographing the police violence:
“We weren’t just handcuffed. They also put cuffs on our legs, around the ankles. Once we got to Eastern Avenue (the site of the temporary detention centre) we were put into makeshift cages. They were about six metres by four metres in size. For a while, they kept moving us from cage to cage, as we were being processed and the charges were explained to everyone. We were strip searched. It is all kind of blurry. Once we got to speak on the phone to a lawyer, we had some idea of what was happening and knew that we might get out on bail the next day. We did not get any water for 12 hours.We could not wear our shoes in the cell. It was so cold. It felt like it was five degrees and we were in our t-shirts. There were no blankets. There was just a narrow steel bench and a port-a-potty with an open door.”
- National Post reports on the mass illegal arrests of protesters.
- More citizen journalist videos and photos.
Toronto Star photo
The big surprise of the event is that the police gangs beat up, arrested and caged in a makeshift prison many journalists and professional photographers including representatives of the corporatist mainstream media, who had been set up to film and report on the “anarchists”. Bad idea: The publisher of the mainstream Toronto Star called the show of force “a brutal spectacle that failed the city“. An interviewer for TVOntario was appalled by what he saw first hand, and tweeted his outrage for hours. A reporter for the right-wing corporatist Globe & Mail wrote Police G20 Tactics Give Toronto a Black Eye saying:
Come to Toronto, for work or pleasure, and enjoy having your civil liberties trampled and your right to free expression stifled. Avail yourself of our hospitality in a crowded detention pen, with free stale buns and water when (or if) your hosts get around to it. Partake of an invigorating massage, courtesy of police officers wielding truncheons. The best part – there’s no charge! Except that seems to mean the cops will pick you up, hold you, then let you go without ever following through criminal charges or prosecution, suggesting they had nothing on you in the first place.
The mainstream media as a whole seem a bit bewildered by all of this, but none of them has yet said what the indymedia knew all along: the masked “black bloq anarchist” vandalism was a carefully-staged photo-op for the gullible media, to justify the $1.3B security price tag for holding the ludicrous primp-and-preen G20 “leaders” circus right in the midst of Canada’s biggest city (essentially shutting down the whole city for a week, with a cost to workers and businesses of billions more), and to discourage and discredit legitimate anti-globalization protest.
As in previous large-scale protests, there is substantial evidence that many of the 10,000+ police “hired” for G20 security worked undercover, in plainclothes, and as infiltrators/instigators of the “anarchists” and perpetrators of the vandalism. Since the vandals are all conveniently masked and unidentified (no police around to unmask them), we will never know.
Will the mainstream media figure it out? Stay tuned, but don’t hold your breath. And don’t hold your breath, either, for the dumbed-down Canadian majority to realize they’ve been had. The whole world was watching, but precious few realized what they were really seeing.