Local Stories, Events
Ref. : Civic Events
Ref. : Arts & Education Events
Ref. : Public Service Notices
Books, Films, Arts & Education
Ref. : Letters to the editor
Health Care & Environment
11.20 Dead fish to power cruise ships [using dead fish to ultimately kill more fish, animals and plants but at a slower rate]
11.20 Importing gas to replace domestic supply could push emissions up 20%, AGL says [We have to stop killing everything!!!]
11.20 The arts have a leading role to play in tackling climate change [We have to stop killing everything!!!]
11.20 Indonesia: dead whale had 1,000 pieces of plastic in stomach [We have to stop killing everything!!!]
11.18 Air pollution levels ‘forcing families to move out of cities’ [like from desertification, lack of drinkable water and rising oceans, there will also be pollution-caused immigration until humans fix things]
11.17 Policies of China, Russia and Canada threaten 5C climate change, study finds [Climate catastrophe is increasingly likely without worldwide organization, funding and commitment to winning THE WAR AGAINST GLOBAL WARMING.]
11.16 How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year [how many thousands more die early from eating pesticide-laced food?]
11.15 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]
11.15 The long read: The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]
11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
11.21 With Statement Equal Parts 'Dangerous' and 'Imbecilic,' Trump Smears Khashoggi and Vows to Back Murderous Saudis [Keeping oil prices affordable prolongs its use, its burning and our dying]
11.20 New York City subway and bus services have entered 'death spiral', experts say [death spirals are the end-thing nowadays]
11.19 Last Week Tonight with John Oliver 11/18/2018 (HBO) [29:26 video]
11.19 Trump Says He Was 'Fully Briefed' and Also 'Not Briefed Yet' But Either Way Saudi Crown Prince 'Absolutely' Not Involved Because Trump Knows 'Everything That Went On' Without Listening to Tape of Khashoggi Murder
11.19 'We Need New Leaders, Period': Progressive Newcomers Urge Democrats to Embrace Bold Agenda or Face Primary Challenges [Current Democrat leaders are highly compromised by corporate donations]
11.20 'He may not rewrite immigration laws': Trump's asylum ban blocked by federal judge [Has anyone thought about putting razor-wire around the White House?]
11.21 Saudi Arabia Accused of Torturing Jailed Women’s-Rights Activists [Trump's great friends...]
11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
11.19 Bankrupt Sears wants to give executives $19 million in bonuses [blatantly immoral and sick to richly reward those who led the company into the bankruptcy]
11.18 Big Pharma Bankrolled Pro-Trump Group As Trump Pushed Pharma Tax Cut [Corruption Central!]
International & Futurism
11.20 Trump administration hawks putting US on course for war with Iran, report warns [“Stupid is as stupid does.” –Forrest Gump]
11.18 France demands UK climate pledge in return for Brexit trade deal [Excellent!]
11.17 Thousands gather to block London bridges in climate rebellion [We're losing WWIII because the enemy is invisible while we're like frogs slowly cooking. We aren't informed enough to be alarmed, but must get organized and motivated to fight back. We need a War Plan to ruthlessly pursue the fight of our lives!]
LIKE THE EAST GERMAN STASI, IT'S PART OF POINDEXTER'S "TOTAL INFORMATION AWARENESS":
Our Neighbors' Keeper: Local Cop Chiefs Want to Create a Nation of Snoops
Originally published in This Can't Be Happening yesterday, 7 October 2009
Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton and other big city cops are calling for a new system of “citizen watch” programs, allegedly to help them spot hidden terrorists. I view this new call for a nation of private spies with a deep suspicion born of experience with the LAPD and its historic penchant for spying on law-abiding residents of that city.
Back in the late 1970s, together with a band of other doughty journalists, including Tommy Thompson, Ron Ridenour, Ben Pleasants, I co-founded and ran a spunky little news weekly called the LA Vanguard. In the course of just one year, we broke stories about secret “security offices” run by local phone companies (Pacific Telephone and GTE) which provided unlisted numbers and credit information to police and other government agencies without requiring a warrant, about the killing of unarmed citizens by police, about the LAPD’s “shoot to kill” gun use policy, about judges in landlord-tenant cases who were slumlords themselves, and many other stories that were being ignored by the LA Times and the rest of the local establishment media.
For our efforts, we found out years later, we were targeted by the LAPD’s “red squad,” known at the time as the Public Disorder Intelligence Division (PDID), for an intensive program of spying that including planting a young cop, Connie Milazzo, as a member of our editorial collective. We only learned of Milazzo’s real identity years later when she disclosed it herself to a judge in a public hearing (she wanted to avoid being sent to the county lockup along with a group of activists she had “joined” undercover who had all been arrested during a protest and who were refusing to provide their identities to the court).
A subsequent lawsuit filed with the help of the ACLU of Southern California, eventually settled for a payment of $1.8 million by the City of Los Angeles, disclosed that the PDID had for years been using as many as 20 undercover cops to infiltrate and spy on over 200 legal political and activist organizations in the Los Angeles area, gathering rooms full of files on everyone from members of the National Organization for Women to the staffs of certain members of the city council. We also learned that the LAPD was providing those files to a shadowy private outfit in San Francisco called Western Goals, which had links to the ultra-right John Birch Society. Western Goals was apparently seeking to serve as a private repository of dossiers on leftists and political activists collected by local police all around the country in a kind of end run around the restrictions on domestic spying by the FBI that had been imposed after the post-Watergate revelations about the abuses of the COINTELPRO era.
This is why Bratton’s idea stinks. Local police, because they are local, are even more prone to rogue activities that will never be exposed or monitored than are federal police.
As accommodating of police-state tactics as Congress has been, especially since 9-11, at least some members of that body have raised concerns and demanded investigations of some of those abuses by organizations like the FBI and the Defense Intelligence Agency. But city councils have been notoriously uninterested in monitoring the unconstitutional activities of their local police around the country, who have extremely powerful political connections and the support of local media establishments.
Any attempt to organize a citizen’s watch program to look for suspicious activity is bound to devolve into a police program of spying on those who are outside of the “norm”: minorities, leftists, activists, loners, people with alternative life-styles, artists, etc.
Let’s be honest. America faces no existential threat from terrorism. It does face such threats from rampaging climate change, political corruption, corporate power, economic collapse, and many other things, but it is hardly threatened by terrorism, which has killed far fewer people even in 2001 than have auto defects, contaminated food, and insurance company denials of care.
Back in 2001, the Bush/Cheney administration stoked an irrational fear of terrorism in order to win passage of the Patriot Act and acceptance of other actions, such as creation of a program by the National Security Agency to use supercomputers to monitor millions of Americans’ electronic communications. Many of those threats to freedom remain in place today. Now Chief Bratton and his compatriots in police departments around the country are trying to stoke that same irrational fear of terrorism to move the country even further towards a police-state mentality.
The last thing we need in this era of corporate-media-induced conformity and citizen passivity is a bunch of self-appointed citizen snoops calling in to the cops with reports on every neighbor who looks or acts a little bit different.
About the author: Philadelphia journalist Dave Lindorff is a 34-year veteran, an award-winning journalist, a former New York Times contributor, a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, a two-time Journalism Fulbright Scholar, and the co-author, with Barbara Olshansky, of a well-regarded book on impeachment, The Case for Impeachment. His work is available at www.thiscantbehappening.net.
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Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.This story was published on October 8, 2009.