Art offers his perspective as a movement progressive activist.
Mitt Romney‘s Bain woes continue.
Bain is reportedly pumping millions in investment with the Chinese government. Doing what? Why spying camera technology of course. The New York Times does the digging on this big story:
In December, a Bain-run fund in which a Romney family blind trust has holdings purchased the video surveillance division of a Chinese company that claims to be the largest supplier to the government’s Safe Cities program, a highly advanced monitoring system that allows the authorities to watch over university campuses, hospitals, mosques and movie theaters from centralized command posts.
The Bain-owned company, Uniview Technologies, produces what it calls “infrared antiriot” cameras and software that enable police officials in different jurisdictions to share images in real time through the Internet. Previous projects have included an emergency command center in Tibet that “provides a solid foundation for the maintenance of social stability and the protection of people’s peaceful life,” according to Uniview’s Web site.
And we know some of these cameras are being used to spy on citizens, and worse, arrest them. Some examples:
Yang Weidong, a politically active filmmaker, said a phalanx of 13 cameras were installed in and around his apartment building last year after he submitted an interview request to President Hu Jintao, drawing the ire of domestic security agents. In January, Ai Weiwei, the artist and public critic, was questioned by the police after he threw stones at cameras trained on his front gate.
Li Tiantian, 45, a human rights lawyer in Shanghai, said the police used footage recorded outside a hotel in an effort to manipulate her during the three months she was illegally detained last year. The video, she said, showed her entering the hotel in the company of men other than her boyfriend.
During interrogations, Ms. Li said, the police taunted her about her sex life and threatened to show the video to her boyfriend. The boyfriend, however, refused to watch, she said.
“The scale of intrusion into people’s private lives is unprecedented,” she said in a phone interview. “Now when I walk on the street, I feel so vulnerable, like the police are watching me all the time.”
Bain has issued a statement on all this claiming g they did not think the cameras in a totalitarian state would be used against it’s own citizens:
Bain defended its purchase of Uniview, stressing that the Chinese company’s products were advertised as instruments for crime control, not political repression. “China’s increasingly urban population will face growing needs around personal safety and property protection,” the company said in a statement. “Video surveillance is part of the solution to that, as it is anywhere in the world.” The company also said that only one-third of Uniview’s sales were to public security bureaus.
Romney has been slamming Obama on not being tough enough on China. On his website Mitt states:
“Any serious U.S. policy toward China must confront the fact that China’s regime continues to deny its people basic political freedoms and human rights,” according to the statement on his Web site. “The United States has an important role to play in encouraging the evolution of China toward a more politically open and democratic order.”
Yet Romney’s Bain Capitol is investing in the very technology used to hunt down its citizens who might be critical of the government. Once again Mitt is caught in a flip flop of epic and embracing proportions.