Friday, October 07, 2005

Repression stepped up in New York City

Police presence and with it a corresponding violation of constitutional rights have been sharply stepped up in and around New York City's transit system Thursday after word from the federal government of yet another alleged terrorist threat.

Russ Knocke, a spokesman for Homeland Security, said the agency received notice of a "specific yet noncredible" threat to the New York City subway system, adding that the intelligence community had concluded that the information was of "doubtful credibility." Mark Mershon, head of the New York F.B.I. office, said: "there is nothing that has surfaced [...] which has corroborated an actual threat to the city." And Mayor Bloomberg said that while the threat was not corroborated, it was specific enough to warrant an immediate and overwhelming response.

The NY Times reported the alleged threat as described by an official as being a "conspiracy involing more than a dozen people aimed at delivering a number of devices into the subway" hidden in strollers, briefcases and packages. NYPD commissioner Kelly said therefore that bag searches will be increased, with a focus on briefcases, baby strollers, and other packages.

Just about the only thing officials, federal or otherwise, seem to know with certainity to warrant this sudden increase in repressive measures is that the threat is noncredible.

Nevertheless, today the mayor cautioned New Yorkers to be watchful, saying several times, "If you see something, say something." As he spoke, thousands of city police officers were swarming the transit system. And the NYPD's heavily armed "Hercules teams" with its high-power rifles has been instructed to lurk the subway system searching for trouble.

If you follow the mayor's advice and take a good hard look, you will not see terrorists, instead what you will see is a concerted effort on the city and federal government's part to step up repression and shred the fourth amendment of the constitution that guards against unreasonable searches and seizures. And heaven forbid there ever surfaces a "noncredible threat" involving the use of explosive devices designed to be concealed in certain human cavities.

The NY Times reported NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly plans which include significantly increasing the number of "uniformed and plainclothes patrols, increasing sweeps through subway cars and posting officers at each subway tunnel that passes beneath city waterways."

It was plainclothes patrols that were responsible for the NYPD death squad execution of Amadou Diallo who was shot 41 times outside his home in the Bronx, NY in February 1999. More recently, plainclothes patrols in London murdered a 27-year-old Brazilian man, Jean Charles de Menezes, in the Stockwell Tube train system.

Jean Charles was shot 7 times in the head, and once in the shoulder, in July 7th of this year by plainclothes police according to a BBC news story. That same news story reports Prime Minister Tony Blair's comment that "the police must be supported in doing their job," then adding that the police "would have been criticised had the suspect turned out to be a terrorist and they had failed to take action." In a comment more true than he would admit, the London Mayor Ken Livingstone described Mr Menezes as a "victim of the terrorist attacks." In fact, Mr. Menezez was a victim of police-state terrorism. We can only expect more cases like these as increased police state measures are taken, in England as well as the United States, as part of the terrorist "War on Terrorism." Today, the federal government with the assistance of the local authorities are generating the atmosphere that facilitates and is useful in justifying police terror against oppressed minorities and poor people. Under such conditions the Internationalist Group is correct to point out that it is only a matter of time until some youth is shot in the back with an M-16 for the “crime” of jumping a turnstile.

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