Feb 19, 2018
Robert Mueller’s indictments of 13 Russians and three Russian companies woke up the news media on a slow Friday afternoon.
Is it another nail in a coffin that Mueller is preparing for Trump? Maybe yes, maybe no – but it certainly showed that Russian interests worked to influence the 2016 U.S. election.
All told, according to the indictments, the Russians issued about 80,000 different pieces of content, which may have reached 126 million Americans, most via social media.
In the 37 pages of the indictment, the 13 Russian citizens and 3 companies are accused of using stolen and fake American identities to set up hundreds of social media accounts and credit cards, using those cards to purchase advertising. Their campaign ads attacked Clinton and supported Trump, but they didn’t report the source of their funds to the Federal Election Commission, required of groups who support candidates.
They helped what the indictment calls “unwitting” members of the Trump campaign, offering to set up rallies for them in Florida, in some cases offering them money. Many of the rants that Trump used in the campaign came from seeds planted in some of the Russians’ social media accounts – “crooked Hillary,” for example, or “Hillary4Prison.”
Over 140,000 people signed on as supporters of the Twitter account, @TEN_GOP, thinking it was the Tennessee Republican Party. No, it was the Russians. Using the name, Miners for Trump, they paid for ads on Facebook calling for rallies of coal miners in Pennsylvania.
The Russian campaign ran anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim ads. One of its operatives set up social media accounts aimed at convincing black people not to vote. The same operative set up other accounts tailored to please whites who hold racist ideas. Another created ads featuring a Jesus who declares that a vote for Hillary is a vote for the devil.
According to Brian Fallon, spokesman for the Clinton campaign, “The creative instincts [of the Russian campaign] and the sophistication exceeds a lot of the U.S. political operatives who do this for a living.”
“I’m amazed at what a widespread campaign it was,” said Republican campaign strategist Doug Heye, “the size of this was probably bigger than Jeb Bush’s primary campaign.”
In fact, what the Russians did was not really exceptional. It was only one page taken out of the CIA’s Dirty Tricks playbook.
The Russians have long accused the U.S. of interfering in their elections, most recently when Clinton was Secretary of State. And the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad accused the U.S. of using similar methods in a campaign aimed at discrediting that regime – not to mention that the U.S. sent money and weapons to military forces in Syria attempting to topple it.
So no, there are no clean hands in the U.S. kitchen.
Interference in another country’s affairs? What was it, if not interference, when the U.S. went into Afghanistan? What was it in Iraq? What if not interference – and by much more brutal methods than social media ads?
As for this country, the media and both parties are raising a big uproar today about “democracy” – the Russians are supposed to be attacking “our democracy”!
What democracy? The Russians were able to do what they did because this is how political campaigns are carried out by the two big parties. The Russians could stay under the radar doing all this because they didn’t do anything different than what goes on usually.
All it takes is money. Russian money could buy influence because much bigger money in this country buys much bigger influence – every day, not just on election day. In the 2016 presidential campaigns, 2.4 billion dollars was spent.
Working people have long been excluded from the political process. It’s been a century since the working class even just had a presidential candidate who spoke for them and who was heard around the country – Eugene Debs. And Debs was sent to prison for speeches he made during a campaign.
So please don’t talk about “democracy” when the large majority of the people have no political voice in this country.
Feb 19, 2018
Garbage collection is one of the most dangerous jobs in the U.S., according to a recent report. Between collecting garbage and processing it at recycling centers, one worker per week gets killed on average in the waste industry – making it one of the five most deadly jobs, along with logging, fishing, flying aircraft and roofing.
More than 80 per cent of the worker deaths in the waste industry occur in private companies – which is not an accident. To secure more profit, private companies often ignore safety measures and force their workers to work faster or risk losing their jobs. The report by ProPublica, an investigative journalism agency, focuses on New York City, where private companies collect the city’s commercial garbage after dark, while the city collects residential garbage during the day.
Common causes of injury are missing safety equipment, trucks being old and in disrepair, lack of training for workers, and speed-up. Typically, there are two workers per truck, a driver and a “helper” who hangs in the back of the truck while it’s moving. During each shift, the two workers have to stop at hundreds of businesses, grab heavy bags (up to 80 pounds sometimes) and throw them into the back of the truck. One constant threat is being crushed under a dumpster or by the truck’s compactor. To meet deadlines, drivers often run red lights in the early hours of the morning, risking injury and death, not only to themselves but other motorists and pedestrians as well.
How about the government agencies that are supposed to regulate and inspect job safety? To mention one example, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has only 67 inspectors for the entire state of New York, with its millions of workers! And in the rare occasion that a company is inspected and caught, the “punishment” is usually not even a slap on the wrist. In 2014, for example, a missing safety latch on a truck caused the death of a helper. For this egregious, and deadly, safety violation, the company got fined only $7,000!
In addition to the extremely unsafe nature of the work, many garbage collectors make less than minimum wage. It’s common for companies to pay a worker a flat fee for a shift, which can be as little as $80 for 10, 12, or even 14 hours of work. There is an 11-hour federal driving limit but, apparently, that too often escapes the attention of regulators.
Not surprisingly, collecting garbage for private companies is a line of work accepted by workers who can’t find other jobs, such as immigrants and ex-convicts – which encourages the companies to further abuse these workers. Wage theft is quite common in the industry, according to occupational safety watchdogs.
The work garbage workers do is absolutely necessary for the health and functioning of the whole society. But to the garbage bosses, workers’ bodies and lives are there to be used and tossed aside – just so that the bosses can fill their pockets more, and more quickly. But then, it’s the same in every industry under capitalism.
Capitalism, a system that destroys workers’ lives, deserves to be thrown into the garbage itself.
Feb 19, 2018
On February 12th, protests were held throughout the country to demand a $15 minimum wage for fast food workers, janitors, and hospital workers. And for the right to join a union. These protests, held in nearly 50 cities throughout the country, including Detroit, also were a commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Memphis sanitation workers’ strike. That strike was fueled, in part, by frustration over unsafe working conditions, such as those that led to the crushing deaths of two of their co-workers, as well as low pay.
At these current protests, different workers expressed what they go through every day, as far as their working conditions and trying to survive on current minimum wages. One fast food worker in Detroit said that he understood the trials and troubles the sanitation workers in Memphis went through 50 years ago, because he is going through some of the same troubles today: “Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King and a bunch of sanitation workers fought for equal rights and to be able to form a union, and...now I’m here fighting for those same rights.”
The workers’ movements of the 1930s, the civil rights and black movements of the 1950s and 1960s, showed that the laboring population had the power to put pressure on this system to come up with some reforms.
Today, protests that may start with a fight for a living wage, have the possibility to spread further when workers understand that they are the ones who make everything run. They can be the ones to make everything stop. They can be the ones to guarantee that everyone has a true living wage.
Feb 19, 2018
A few months ago, Orange County, California officials started forcing homeless people out of their encampments along the banks of the Santa Ana River. Near Angel Stadium in Anaheim is their last target, an encampment which is the home of an estimated 500 to 1,000 people.
Orange County, which is one of the richest communities in the world, is very hostile toward the homeless. One homeless woman, Laura Kasten, told the Los Angeles Times: “It’s clear no one wants us to be able to stay at the riverbed. They're very prejudiced. The way they talk to us and tell us to get out, it’s like we’re dirt.”
Orange County has ordinances that make it a crime to sleep or rest in public places. Homelessness is illegal under county law. The cops ticket or arrest homeless people, release them after a night at the jail, and re-arrest them later because they are homeless. Last year, one Orange County city, Anaheim, removed bus benches just to prevent homeless people from sleeping on them! Many people came to the riverbanks because their existence was criminalized in the cities. Now, Orange County wants to force the homeless out of such encampments.
Jodi Samhat, a homeless man, quite rightfully asks: “Where do you end up when every door is shut?”
But money is available to address the housing problem. After the economic crisis started in 2008, the federal government funneled money to banks and corporations to the tune of 15 trillion dollars in total. So they have money to construct new houses for the homeless.
Empty houses are also plentiful. But, these same banks and corporations keep these houses empty to maintain high real estate prices and rents.
Capitalism, the social system under which we are living, cannot provide an answer to basic social problems such as homelessness, because this crazy system is only responsive to the demands of the rich.
Feb 19, 2018
Five months after the island of Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria, a number of Bitcoin millionaires have taken over an old luxury hotel and a former children’s museum in the capital, as they look for property to create a new city, a new city they want to call a crypto-utopia, built on profits made in speculating successfully on Bitcoins.
Said one of them, “While it was really bad for the people of Puerto Rico, in the long term it’s a godsend if people look past that.”
What can he mean on an island where a million people have applied to FEMA for emergency aid, where some areas still don’t have power? How can thousands of Puerto Ricans, who still don’t have jobs, look past the hurricane to see prosperity around the corner? Even before the hurricane, 44% of Puerto Ricans lived in poverty.
For millionaires, land is available cheaply, likewise labor. And even better, Puerto Rico has favorable taxes, meaning very low ones for businesses, no federal personal income tax and no capital gains tax.
“We’re benevolent capitalists, building a benevolent economy,” said one of the men who came after profiting from Bitcoin speculation. As if capitalists have ever brought “benevolence” to the areas they exploit for cheap land, cheap minerals, or cheap labor everywhere around the world.
Feb 19, 2018
In early February, President Trump took the side of men accused of domestic violence. Trump made his comments right after White House secretary Rob Porter stepped down following reports by his two ex-wives that they suffered physical abuse by him. And his comments came after White House speechwriter, David Sorensen, stepped down when his ex-wife detailed domestic abuse.
At a moment when women are speaking up about horrible violence, rape and abuse, Trump chose to sympathize with – men accused of abuse! He tweeted: “People’s lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation.”
Wrong! The allegations against these 2 men were vetted and found credible. Trump, whose TV catch phrase was, “You’re fired!” suddenly cares when two guys have to step down from their jobs?
What about the women? According to U.S. Bureau of Justice statistics, three women are murdered every day by a domestic partner. The Center for Disease Control reviewed 10,000 homicides of women and found 5500 deaths related to domestic violence. In the U.S., 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner, according to the CDC.
And Trump chose to support two domestic abusers – disgusting!
Feb 19, 2018
The following article was translated from Lutte Ouvrière [Workers’ Struggle], the revolutionary workers’ group of that name active in France.
On February 10, the Israeli air force launched a raid in Syria. This military intervention comes on top of all the others. Even though ISIS only controls a few isolated pockets of territory, Syria is becoming the terrain for a new war between the different regional powers.
On January 20, the Turkish army launched an offensive with the cynical name “Olive Branch” in the Afrin region controlled by the Kurdish forces of the YPG, even though these forces were allied with the United States. On February 7, pro-Assad Syrian forces tried to cross the Euphrates river near Deir Ezzor, to establish a foothold in an oil-rich territory controlled by the Kurdish-Arab militia, the Syrian Democratic Front (FDS). While the U.S. was content with a verbal rebuke of the Turkish invasion, at Deir Ezzor the U.S. lent air support and sent in its own soldiers to fight against the Syrian military.
Finally on February 10, the Israeli military bombed many sites in Syria controlled by the regime or its ally, Iran, and for the first time in a long time it lost a fighter jet. According to Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister, an Iranian surveillance drone had flown over Israel a few hours earlier, provoking this immediate reaction.
During this time, some 400,000 Syrian civilians, trapped in Ghoua to the north of Damascus, suffer from a terrible blockade and murderous bombardment from Assad’s army. Supported by its Russian allies, Assad’s army wants to retake control of this zone.
After having supported various militias against each other, the Turkish, Iranian, and Israeli governments, along with the Saudis who have armed and supported anti-Assad militias since 2011, are fighting an increasingly open war in Syria.
When Russia intervened in Syria in October 2015, it put the United States in a difficult situation. This was the moment when the growth of ISIS threatened to throw the situation out of control. But today ISIS is all but defeated. The United States wants to stop this from giving the Assad regime a total victory that could consolidate the influence of Assad’s allies, Russia and Iran. The Israeli intervention and the influence of the Saudis have come to the rescue of the U.S. in this regard, while Turkey is playing its own game.
The war against ISIS is almost over, but a new phase of the war in Syria is heating up and increasing the chance of pulling in the neighboring countries. The populations of Syria and the countries surrounding it are at risk of paying an even bigger price.
Feb 19, 2018
A conference about the reconstruction of Iraq took place in Kuwait from February 12-14. Almost 2,000 people participated, including representatives from 74 different countries, along with numerous NGOs and big corporations.
These conference participants talk about the destruction caused by ISIS, but they “forget” to mention the role of the big powers in the devastation of Iraq. Starting with the 1991 Persian Gulf War and then the U.S.-imposed sanctions, the U.S. had already killed a million Iraqis before it invaded in 2003. After the invasion, the U.S. and its big-power allies rested on different ethnic militias, played them against each other, and in the process produced ISIS and widespread terrorism in the country.
These are the same big powers that now want to profit from a market that their devastating policies have helped produce. Their goal is obviously not to reconstruct the country in order to improve the situation of the population brutally thrown into poverty. Rather, they seek to profit from Iraq’s oil wealth.
Two or three million people have been displaced by the war against ISIS. 138,000 houses were totally or partially destroyed, along with 14 hospitals in the Mosul region. The Iraqi government announced that it will take 88 billion dollars to rebuild. The funds so far allocated are less than one percent of that – but the new projects the government has announced are still attracting Western capitalists.
Of the 157 projects planned, the Iraqi government designated 41 high priority – and 18 of these are for the oil industry. This reconstruction will allow the capitalist investors to put their hands on Iraqi oil. Their investments in refineries, pipelines, and oil terminals will serve to assure them new profits.
It is the same with the infrastructure projects. The Iraqi government promises “opportunities for investment in the transportation sector and also in tourism.” The reconstruction of the Mosul airport and the principal railways (Baghdad-Basra and Baghdad-Mosul) and the construction of a metro system in Baghdad will let corporations grab control of Iraq’s infrastructure.
The big powers are competing to divide the market in favor of their capitalists. This will serve to further enrich some big companies. But none of this will ameliorate the situation of the population.
Feb 19, 2018
The following article is from the Jan. 26, 2018 edition of Lutte Ouvrière (Workers Struggle), the paper of the revolutionary workers group of that name active in France. It speaks about public services being privatized in England and the catastrophe that resulted. The situation is similar to what state and local governments have tried to do in the U.S.
On January 15th, the British facilities management and construction services company Carillion filed for bankruptcy. Not only did this kick to the curb the 46,000 workers around the world (about 20,000 of them in Great Britain) whom Carillion directly employed, but it also left the much larger group of workers who were employed by one of its countless subcontractors stranded high and dry.
Obviously it will take some months to be able to measure the true cost of this bankruptcy for the working class. Especially since it is possible that the shockwaves it sent through the financial sector, both in the banking system and the stock markets, will affect similar big companies or even cause them to go bankrupt themselves.
Carillion was founded in 1999 in order to profit from the giant wave of privatization that hit whole branches of public services.
The company threw itself into a mad scramble after government subcontracting bids. On the eve of bankruptcy, one third of its business was in the public health sector: dining, cleaning and maintenance, parking, and information services. Another third was related to similar tasks for other public agencies like large local governments, the army, prisons, and rail infrastructure. And the company’s other projects included major ones at two hospitals and a proposed trans-London high-speed rail express line.
As long as there was not much competition, profits came easy. Carillion kept buying up other companies, in Great Britain but also in Canada and the Middle East. However, since the company’s stockholders pocketed about 60% of its profits, it had to borrow from banks to finance its acquisitions – loans which the banks granted happily in light of the apparently endless flood of government money that was filling up Carillion’s coffers.
But then came the first shocks of the financial crisis in 2007. With the budget cuts that successive governments imposed on public administration, subcontracting bids became rarer and rarer. The competition to win them got stronger, and their conditions became more restrictive.
And so, the actions of those running Carillion began to resemble a Ponzi scheme: in order to guarantee new loans or restructure existing loans, it had to be able to win a part of new revenue streams from a new contract. In order to get new contracts, it had to bid lower than its competitors, often at cost price, or even at a loss. But since there was no way that Carillion could cut back on its dividends to shareholders or on its debt payments, it had to borrow even more from the banks, etc. This continued up until the very day in 2017 when the pyramid began to crumble, when it became clear that the profits from the old contracts were not high enough to cover the losses of the newer contracts. First there was one warning of a coming drop in profits, then a second. In one year, the price of Carillion stock fell by more than 80%. Finally, on January 15th, the banks decided that they couldn't get anything more out of Carillion and they pulled the plug.
In fact, the decrepitude and parasitism of a whole section of the British economy is revealed behind Carillion’s bankruptcy. This decay took place over the past three decades through subcontracting out countless activities that had previously been part of the public sector, sometimes by tiny increments. This is a hidden form of privatization, even when it does not go by that name.
Among the companies that make up this industry, many groups are following in Carillion’s footsteps. The largest of these – Interserve, Capita, Mitie, Kier, and Serco – directly employ about 300,000 workers in Great Britain. This company has practically copied the path taken by Carillion, almost to the letter, with one or two months delay at the most. The main difference is that Interserve directly employs 80,000 workers – more than twice as many as Carillion!
Tens of thousands of workers in this subcontracting industry can therefore be directly affected by the bankruptcies that have already happened and by those to come, but they are not the only ones. In this way, in December 2017, the bankruptcy of another company in this industry, Four Seasons Health Care (FSHC), very nearly caused 17,000 retirees who are in poor health and are living in medical retirement homes to lose their homes. If this was not what happened in the end, it is only because the local governments managed to cut their budgets enough to run the retirement homes with the workforce that FSHC had abandoned.
In any case, this is a whole portion of the economy whose bosses and shareholders live as parasites off the resources of the state, which could very well collapse under the combined effect of their greed and the crisis.
Feb 19, 2018
On February 5, in the city of Arak located in central Iran, hundreds of striking workers made a human chain around the city’s main square in order to demand many months of back pay they say they’re owed. The workers had not received their salary for eight months, and many have still not received their full salaries for 2016.
The workers also directed their anger at the government. They chanted, “We will not live under the burden of tyranny.” Addressing Minister of Labor Ali Rabiei, they sarcastically shouted, “Down with labor, hail to the tyrant.”
In the middle of the demonstration, special anti-riot police arrested a 15-year-old teenager while he was filming the workers’ protest with his mobile phone. In response, the workers seized the parking lot where the teenager was being held and demanded the boy’s release. Confronting the police, one worker was heard to say, “We will stand here and not allow you to take this young person to a detention center, and then later on hand over his dead body to his family, saying that he was an addict and committed suicide in prison.”
Eventually, the workers were able to force the special police to release the teenager and also to return his mobile phone.
These workers were striking HEPCO (Heavy Equipment Production Company), an Iranian company with about 1,500 workers that partners with major companies outside the country, like Volvo, Komatsu, Case IH and Ingersoll Rand, to produce heavy equipment for road construction, mining and other industrial projects in Iran and the Middle East.
Workers told reporters that after the Iranian government had privatized HEPCO in 2007, the new owners often stopped paying workers, and the workers have had to go on strike repeatedly in order to get back pay.
These kinds of strikes are not unusual in Iran. For several years, workers throughout the country have had to fight for everything – even just to get paid. These fights were a prelude to mass demonstrations that swept through 40 cities in Iran over several days in late December and early January. Thousands of young people, workers, unemployed and retirees throughout the country took to the streets to protest against worsening misery, widespread corruption, as well as against the religious fundamentalist dictatorship of the mullahs that has dominated the country for the last 40 years.
The Iranian regime tried to smash this movement. Police arrested thousands of demonstrators. There have also been reports of torture and executions. But this latest strike at HEPCO in Arak shows that despite the dictatorship and repression, workers in Iran continue to fight.
Feb 19, 2018
This article is from the Feb. 16th issue of Lutte Ouvrière (Workers Struggle), the paper of the revolutionary workers group of that name active in France.
On February 6, the Paris region was hit by a big snow fall. The local government warned that it would be a good idea for offices and work places to clear out early in order to help workers get home and reduce traffic problems. But the nearby Renault car factory bosses wanted to wait until the last moment to decide about the afternoon shift.
All the roads in the area around the plant were covered in snow and ice. But management was only concerned for production, whatever the cost.
At the plant, workers’ anger was growing. The bosses were pressuring workers not to leave the line, fearing if a small group of workers left, it would be like a snowball rolling through all the workshops. A break in the equipment that provides the supplies finally got management to decide to stop the line. Quickly the workers stood in front of the bosses, and then went out the doors.
For two more days the snow and ice were still there, and it was better to just stay home than to risk traveling to work. Of course the bosses put out reassuring messages, saying that the snow would stop on Friday by 1 p.m. But it was still snowing at that point and the roads around the factory were impassable for miles.
The bosses still tried to get in about 50 workers from the Press and Assembly Line areas to move work toward the edge of the assembly line. But this is work normally done by trucks, so the group of workers decided to walk out all together.
It wasn’t the snow that caused a cold wall between workers and bosses but rather the bosses’ desire to have production at any cost, even if workers had to risk their lives to do it.
Feb 19, 2018
Seventeen students and teachers are dead, gunned down at their school in Parkland, Florida.
The shooter, Nikolas Cruz, had given out lots of danger signs before. He had posted on YouTube last year under his own name that he wanted to be a “professional school shooter.” This post was forwarded to the FBI, but they say they had been unable to figure out who posted it. This January 5, someone close to him reported that Cruz had a “desire to kill,” the access to guns, and that he could be plotting an attack on a school. Again, the FBI did not investigate.
The police also knew about Cruz. Police regularly came to his house, though he never got a criminal record. He had smashed a neighbor’s trailer with golf clubs, scooped fish out of another neighbor’s pond, got into a fight with the new boyfriend of his ex-girlfriend. The Broward County Sheriff said that his office had gotten more than 20 calls about Cruz in the past few years.
Clearly, both the FBI and the local police missed the signs that Cruz would explode. Some have gone so far as to say that, had the FBI responded earlier, the shooting could have been prevented.
Perhaps. But the number of school shootings has exploded, leaving people at a loss to understand if and how they can be prevented.
Since 20 first graders and six adults were killed in a Sandy Hook, Connecticut elementary school in 2012, there have been over 200 school shootings and more than 400 people have been shot. After this most recent shooting in Florida, the infamous Columbine shooting is not even among the ten most deadly mass shootings in recent U.S. history! How would the FBI stop all of this? By arresting every person about whom they get a tip? Every person who is mentally ill?
The FBI focuses on “big” terrorism that justifies U.S. wars. And they have a long history of going after people who try to organize against the brutality of this society. Neither the cops nor the FBI have an answer for the school shootings, the violence in the neighborhoods and in our homes – the real terrorism the population faces.
Nikolas Cruz grew up with a safety net of one person – his mother. He was troubled before, but when she died in November, neighbors reported that he got dramatically worse. The isolation and demoralization of youth like Cruz, in a society full of violence but lacking a basic social safety net, leads to hundreds of murders and suicides every year, on top of the mass shootings. These problems require a large-scale social solution.
In a society organized by the population to meet its needs, we could build ways to intervene when people started down the path to violence. But today, we are stuck in this capitalist society in decay, with a state apparatus that offers no protection. Our only chance is to look out for each other and mobilize to protect ourselves.
Feb 19, 2018
The City of Dearborn, Michigan recently agreed to pay 1.25 million dollars to settle a lawsuit. The suit was filed by the family of Janet Wilson, a 31-year- old black woman who was shot multiple times – while sitting in her car – by a white Dearborn police officer in 2016.
Janet was a gentle young woman according to family. She was “mentally challenged” but high functioning. On the day she died, Janet had gone to the mall to have lunch. Her father, whom she was very close to, had recently died. It was his birthday.
A mall security guard was called after she became “distraught” inside a JCPenney store. Witnesses described her as “mentally incapacitated.” She walked to her car and left. Mall security asked her to stop. When she would not, Dearborn police were called.
According to witnesses, Dearborn Police pursued her – slowly, in stop and start traffic. When traffic cleared and the police officer asked Janet to stop her vehicle, she would not. The police officer shot her multiple times.
In this society, more than anything else, MONEY TALKS. The fact that the City of Dearborn agreed to pay 1.25 million dollars to the family speaks louder than words. It was cold-blooded murder.
Feb 19, 2018
Six Baltimore police officers, from the Gun Trace Task Force, pled guilty and two more were found guilty of conspiracy and robbery in a corruption trial that just ended in Baltimore. They had stolen guns, drugs and thousands of dollars, which they then sold back to the criminals they were supposedly policing. Thousands of cases may have to be retried in Baltimore courts because the cases involved officers from this task force.
The cops broke into people’s cars or homes, taking oceans of cash and anything of value they could get their hands on. Some of their victims were engaged in criminal activities, but others were completely innocent and some of those were framed up for crimes they did not commit.
The problem goes beyond eight corrupt cops. They represent what poorer people see all the time in their neighborhoods. Poor people have reason to fear the so-called forces of “law and order,” in addition to the gangs around the drug trade. Corrupt cops are emblematic of a corrupt society.