The New York City Subway Scare

"Threats," Clampdowns, and Torture

Revolution #018, October 16, 2005, posted at

On Thursday October 6, New York City Mayor Bloomberg announced a "threat to NYC subways." Thousands of extra police officers took over the city’s subway system, pulling people out of rush-hour crowds, racially profiling travelers, rifling through people’s bags, backpacks, and briefcases. Days after the supposed threat was to take place, and even though the supposed threat had nothing to do with any sporting event, police will blanket Game Four of the American League playoffs at Yankee Stadium with teams of "counter-terror" officers. NYPD "Atlas teams" will board trains bound for the game and patrol around the stadium.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff--fresh from "protecting" the people of New Orleans--applauded the crackdown, saying "The security precautions being taken by Mayor Bloomberg and other New York officials are absolutely an appropriate response."

Mayor Bloomberg called the threat, on which he based the clampdown, the most specific terrorist threat that New York officials had received. But the Department of Homeland Security memo said that Homeland Security and FBI agents doubted the credibility of the threat.

Next, think about the source of the "information" on which this crackdown was based. Supposedly acting on an "anonymous tip," the U.S. authorities arrested three Iraqis -- and the "details" of the "threat" were then extracted from them.

How do you suppose this "information," whatever that would mean, was obtained from these "captured Iraqis"? Bush is currently threatening to veto a law that would even in words prohibit U.S. troops and agents from carrying out "torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment." (see "Bush, Torture, and No Referee" on page 7).The San Francisco Chronicle reported that at least 45 detainees in Iraq have died in U.S. custody since Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld was informed of the abuses at Abu Ghraib on January 16, 2004. And the torture that takes place in the many U.S. secret detention centers around Iraq and in the region is reportedly much worse than even the horrors that have been revealed in the photos from Abu Ghraib.


Some argue there is a "trade-off" between the increasing control over people’s lives, and "security." Instead, this whole incident reveals an agenda to manufacture and maintain a constant state of "terror alerts" to get the populace to go along with having police rifle through their bags and run their lives. And beneath that, a global network of torture backed by presidential veto. Does accepting all this involve a "trade-off between security and civil liberties?" Or a pact with the devil?