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Brooklyn community members joined the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, an organization of farmworkers in southern Florida, to call on Trader Joe’s to live up to its public image as an ethical corporation by participating in the Campaign for Fair Food. The Campaign seeks to improve wages and working conditions for Florida tomato pickers by calling on major buyers of tomatoes to pay a premium of one penny more per pound for their tomatoes, ensure that this penny is passed down directly to farmworkers, and work together with the CIW to establish and implement a code of conduct in their supply chains. Sound gathered and interviews by Michael Ratner.
It was six years in the planning, according to recently uncovered documents that show $150 million taxpayer dollars funding a round-the-clock surveillance security center in Lower Manhattan where Wall Street firms sit along side the NYPD. That’s right, high wage Wall Street firm workers will sit next to MTA, NYPD and Port Authority employees and monitor the nearly 3,000 spy cameras installed in the area. Any individual can be tracked by the color of their clothes or face recognition with live feed cameras that also read license plates. In her article “Wall Street Firms Spy on Protesters in Tax-Funded Center”, investigative journalist Pam Martens also focused on the corrupt alliance of indicted corporate firms merging with police to spy on law abiding citizens funded by tax payer money. Her latest article in Counterpunch titled “Financial Giants Put New York City Cops on Their Payroll” exposes how private Wall Street corporations are allowed to order a paid detail of New York City Police at an average of $37 an hour. The taxpayer again picks up the tab for training, uniforms and any lawsuit brought from “following illegal instructions from its corporate master.”
- I had the benefit of managing my own client base, so Wall Street did not have the same type of leverage over me that it has over so many of its other workers.
- About 10 years into my tenure, I started reading about the private justice system Wall Street had set up where both customers and employees had to waive their rights to the nation’s courts.
- I started complaining and advocating against that. They were self-policing, that was totally corrupt.
- Then I started protesting in the streets, filed a large federal rights action, and testified at several venues, the SEC and the Federal Reserve.
- The story is much more insidious than I first realized. I came across a 60 Minutes expose on the counter-terrorism unit of the NYPD. At the very end of the piece there is a tour of the facility, the one that I’m talking about.
- The Lower Manhattan Security Coordination Center, which is jointly operated by Wall Street’s potential felons and the largest law enforcement police force in the country. It’s actually at 55 Broadway.
- Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, sitting next to public sector employees.
- It consists of 3 rows of computer terminals. 2 of those rows are dominated by Wall Street firms, the NYSE, the Federal Reserve and only one row has uniformed officers.
- I called up the producer at 60 Minutes, and said you had to have seen all these people in civilian clothes.
- The NYPD has used taxpayer money to have one massive computer to look at all the individual feeds. That massive computer has artificial intelligence.
- There is absolutely no explanation for why Wall Street firms get to sit there and have access confidential databases that belong to the NYPD. I have 2 FOIA requests with the NYPD. Every detail of us is under surveillance.
- There are some reports, they can zero in and read text messages on your cell phone.
- These Wall Street firms that have committed crime after crime after crime, they’re currently under 51 separate state and federal investigations for securities fraud and essentially looting the public. They’re the partners, the potential felons, are the partners with the law enforcement.
- Credit Suisse v. Billing, 551 U.S. 264 (2007) was a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States, which held that Congress’s creation of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) implicitly exempted the regulated securities industry from antitrust lawsuits under other existing laws. Justice Thomas dissented, arguing that the laws creating the SEC explicitly mention that securities regulations are in addition to, not instead of, existing law.
Guest – Pam Martens worked on Wall Street for 21 years. She spent the last decade of her career advocating against Wall Street’s private justice system, which keeps its crimes shielded from public courtrooms. She has been writing on public interest issues for CounterPunch since retiring in 2006. She has no security position, long or short, in any company mentioned in this article.