[amazing video on the hypocrisy of the government-of-the-1%]
“Once we have completed our cleanup and maintenance, we would ask that the Department assist Brookfield on an ongoing basis to ensure the safety of all those using and enjoying the Park. As you know, we have discussed this situation with you and/ or others under your command on a daily basis seeking assistance. The situation continues to worsen and we need your assistance to ensure public safety.”
These words conclude the Oct. 11 letter addressed by Richard B. “Ric” Clark to New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly (leaked letter here). Clark, representing the corporate owners, agreed with Kelly on a dawn raid to clear Zuccotti Park aka “Liberty Square,” where the Occupy Wall Street protests have been held for almost a month now. However, pressure from citizens (a petition with 300,000 signatures, NYC’s 311 service number flooded with calls) and more importantly, pressure from local officials caused him to withdraw his request, much to the chagrin of New York mayor/financial tycoon Bloomberg who was ready to move on the operation. The outstanding question is, what have Clark and the NYPD been discussing on a daily basis?
Media coverage of the park focuses on John E. Zuccotti, portrayed as an affable and generous “public servant” of Italian origins. However, like Clark today, Zuccotti was US Chairman of Brookfield Properties, the Canadian-based real-estate giant that owns the World Financial Center among endless other pieces of premium office property around the globe (for instance, they recently acquired a controlling position in the Chicago-based shopping-mall corporation, General Growth Properties). Brookfield is a major player in the real-estate operations of the transnational elite, carrying out what has been called “megagentrification,” or the process of total urban makeover for the needs of globalizing corporations. When Ric Clark engages in friendly discussions with the NYPD, it’s the 1% giving orders to its own law-enforcement arm, which as we have recently learned, it pays and controls directly.
The scandalous fact is that according to a must-read article by investigative journalist Pam Martens, Brookfield’s World Financial Center is among the clients of the NYPD’s “Paid Detail” program, which rents out off-duty policemen to whoever can afford them, for $37 an hour plus a 10% adminstrative fee going to the city. Wall Street is a major client. As Martens notes, “The taxpayer has paid for the training of the rent-a-cop, his uniform and gun, and will pick up the legal tab for lawsuits stemming from the police personnel following illegal instructions from its corporate master.” But maybe the recent $4.6 million “donation” by JPMorgan-Chase to the New York City Police Foundation will mop up any inconvenient legal fees that might be incurred through public-private police abuse?
At the heart of her article, Martens explains:
When the infamously mismanaged Wall Street firm, Lehman Brothers, collapsed on September 15, 2008, its bankruptcy filings in 2009 showed it owed money to 21 members of the NYPD’s Paid Detail Unit…. Other Wall Street firms that are known to have used the Paid Detail include Goldman Sachs, the World Financial Center complex which houses financial firms, and the New York Stock Exchange…. On September 8, 2004, Robert Britz, then President and Co-Chief Operating Officer of the New York Stock Exchange, testified as follows to the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services:
“…we have implemented new hiring standards requiring former law enforcement or military backgrounds for the security staff… We have established a 24-hour NYPD Paid Detail monitoring the perimeter of the data centers… We have implemented traffic control and vehicle screening at the checkpoints. We have installed fixed protective planters and movable vehicle barriers.”
This is what our country has come to under the rule of the 1%: militarized urban enclaves with electronic surveillance and checkpoints, where privatized police answer to the needs of financiers and global real-estate firms. Yet with all that, they have not been kick the protesters out of Liberty Square. The people are winning!
OCCUPY WALL STREET! OCCUPY EVERYWHERE!