Baltimore, MD, has long been known for its militant labor and civil rights struggles. Just two years ago, massive demonstrations focused attention on police violence and the death of Freddy Grey in a police van. This metropolitan area contains over one million people and some of the worst poverty and unemployment found in the US.
Since the uprising, the billionaire ruling class has made several changes to lessen democracy and increase rule by a new form of police terror. While the City and the Justice department agree to try to curtail individual racist thugs who wear a police uniform, behind the scenes, investments are made to arrest anyone who opposes the corporate takeover of government.
Six months ago, it was revealed that the police had obtained money from a Texas investor to pay for airplane surveillance over the city. Last year Baltimore Police were caught using the “Sting Ray” cell phone technology that captures all cell phones in a certain area to locate one they are looking for. The ACLU forced them to stop using this.
Baltimore Police and Maryland State Police are setting up face recognition software systems that make a data base of the seven million driver’s license photos, the mug shots and any other state or city issued ID. They then cross check them against images seen on the hundreds of City Watch cameras. They are trying to prefect the system so that they can use cameras in the transportation, hospital, and school systems and other areas. to watch for wanted individuals.
Baltimore police are feeding mug shots into this system to cross check the faces in crowds, rallies or demonstrations, locate and arrest wanted individuals. They have used this against Black Lives Matter and other groups.
Baltimore City and County police pay $38,000 a month to companies to scan FaceBook and Instagram for pictures of individuals they want or information or posts they are concerned with.
Fascism is much more than the Neo Nazis. It is the corporate/military takeover of government and the destruction of our democracy. The old police terror found in the back of a police van is decried while a new police terror is implemented with little knowledge or discussion. This is done with tax dollars and private capitalist grants.
This police state is for each of us, whether you protest Freddy Grey’s death, the pollution of the Bay, fracking or poor education, a system to deny your rights is being created. Now is the time to stop it.