By Pam Martens: August 14, 2012
We learned a little more about the policies of Mayor Michael (“just call me ‘Mike’ ”) Bloomberg last week. Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly held yet another press conference at the Lower Manhattan Security Coordination Center on Broadway in the Wall Street area. As we first reported on October 18, 2011, this Center was built with at least $150 million of taxpayers’ money but its “partners” in spying on the people of New York City, with their very own staffed computer workstations in the Center, are some of the most notorious Wall Street firms: for example, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and JPMorgan Chase, as well as the regulator that’s got their back, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Exactly what is the logic of going into partnership to battle crime with the very firms which the U.S. Department of Justice and regulators worldwide are investigating for their own crimes? In the case of Citigroup and JPMorgan, the allegations are that they are involved in a global banking cartel colluding on the rigging of Libor interest rates; just the sort of people you want sitting next to your top secret criminal databases.
Bloomberg and Kelly held the press conference to trumpet their latest high tech spy gadget: a program built by Microsoft called the Domain Awareness System (DAS). The new system will let the City aggregate and analyze data from the thousands of spy cameras placed around Manhattan, license plate readers, radiation sensors, tap into criminal databases and the like.
Since October of last year, 10 months ago, I have been attempting to gain additional information on the spy center through a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request, New York’s version of the Federal FOIA statute. Under FOIL, readily available information should be handed over in 5 business days. Despite followup letters, emails and phone calls, the City of New York has failed to turn over information that the public has every right to access. In fact, it’s failed to turn over anything.
We learned one new piece of information last week from Neal Ungerleider, a reporter for Fast Company.com. Not only does Wall Street have a seat in the spy center, but so does a multi-national pharmaceutical company, Pfizer. I’ve also confirmed that the very firm that was involved in the eviction of Occupy Wall Street protesters from Zuccotti Park, Brookfield Properties, also has a seat in the spy group.
To fully comprehend the mindset of New York City’s One-Percent-Mayor, one must read Neil Fabricant’s heart rendering and brilliant new book, Mike! Wall Street’s Mayor, with uproarious illustrations by Keith Seidel.
The Mayor who built a $150 million spy center for his pals on Wall Street, delivered the following to poor and desperate families with children, as Fabricant reports in his new book:
“When it comes to homeless people who don’t have many supporters, the iron fist comes out of the velvet glove. He once told attendees at a Working Families Party forum that the reason that shelter occupancy rates have reached record levels is that he has made city shelters ‘more attractive’! One of Mike’s first attractive shelters was an unused Bronx jail that Rudy Giuliani had rejected as a shelter. The levels of peeling lead paint were eight times the toxicity level defined by the city’s Health Department.
“Mike began filling the old jail with homeless families, 90 to begin with. A firestorm of criticism erupted. Mike said he’d compromise and stop sending children younger than six years old to the jail. The courts finally ordered him to close it down…The Coalition for the Homeless reported that a record 113,553 homeless people – including 42,888 children —slept in city-funded shelters in 2010, a 37 percent increase from 2002. The number of homeless families is 45 percent higher than when Mike took office.”