This is a rather long piece by Naomi Wolf – The shocking truth about the crackdown on Occupy. I strongly recommend reading the whole article and saving it and the links within it.
US citizens of all political persuasions are still reeling from images of unparallelled police brutality in a
coordinated crackdown against peacefulOWS protesters in cities across the nation this past week. An elderly woman was pepper-sprayed in the face; the scene of unresisting, supine students at UC Davis being pepper-sprayed by phalanxes of riot police went viral online; images proliferated of young women – targeted seemingly for their gender – screaming, dragged by the hair by police in riot gear; and the pictures of a young man, stunned and bleeding profusely from the head, emerged in the record of the middle-of-the-night clearing of Zuccotti Park.
But just when Americans thought we had the picture – was this crazy police and mayoral overkill, on a municipal level, in many different cities? – the picture darkened. The National Union of Journalists and the Committee to Protect Journalists issued a Freedom of Information Act request to investigate possible federal involvement with law enforcement practices that appeared to target journalists. The New York Times reported that “New York cops have arrested, punched, whacked, shoved to the ground and tossed a barrier at reporters and photographers” covering protests. Reporters were asked by NYPD to raise their hands to prove they had credentials: when many dutifully did so, they were taken, upon threat of arrest, away from the story they were covering, and penned far from the site in which the news was unfolding. Other reporters wearing press passes were arrested and roughed up by cops, after being – falsely – informed by police that “It is illegal to take pictures on the sidewalk.”
In New York, a state supreme court justice and a New York City council member were beaten up; in Berkeley, California, one of our greatest national poets, Robert Hass, was beaten with batons. The picture darkened still further when Wonkette and Washingtonsblog.com reported that the Mayor of Oakland acknowledged that the Department of Homeland Security had participated in an 18-city mayor conference call advising mayors on “how to suppress” Occupy protests.
[ ]…I noticed that rightwing pundits and politicians on the TV shows on which I was appearing were all on-message against OWS. Journalist Chris Hayes reported on a leaked memo that revealed lobbyists vying for an $850,000 contract to smear Occupy. Message coordination of this kind is impossible without a full-court press at the top. This was clearly not simply a case of a freaked-out mayors’, city-by-city municipal overreaction against mess in the parks and cranky campers. As the puzzle pieces fit together, they began to show coordination against OWS at the highest national levels.
Why this massive mobilisation against these not-yet-fully-articulated, unarmed, inchoate people? After all, protesters against the war in Iraq, Tea Party rallies and others have all proceeded without this coordinated crackdown. Is it really the camping? As I write, two hundred young people, with sleeping bags, suitcases and even folding chairs, are still camping out all night and day outside of NBC on public sidewalks – under the benevolent eye of an NYPD cop – awaiting Saturday Night Live tickets, so surely the camping is not the issue. I was still deeply puzzled as to why OWS, this hapless, hopeful band, would call out a violent federal response.
How ironic that you can camp out in front of some big retailer to buy stuff, but you cannot camp out to remind America that Wall Street stole $17 trillion dollars of the nation’s wealth. They got a bail-out and those protesting that, among some other deeply troubling economic and social injustices, get peppered sprayed, beat with clubs, dragged by their hair and some ending up hospitalized. Again I will grant that out of the hundreds of thousands if not millions who have participated and associated themselves with some kind of OWS protest there have been a few bad actors. If there is some group of humans in the U.S. that is without sin let them cast the first stone, so to speak. The bad apples may make a good case for OWS to move on to periodic protests, on-line virtual protests and other techniques, but remember thus far the vast majority of violence has been perpetrated by police against peaceful protesters.
Update: Some important fact corrections to Wolf’s article by Crooks and Liars: The Shocking Truth About Naomi Wolf’s Factless Assertions. Two of the most important takeaways is that thus far there is no proof that DHS coordinated with city mayors on OWS crackdowns. That does not mean there has not been some coordination between mayors. The other, which I did not pay as much attention to as I should is that it is PERF’s( Police Executives’ Research Forum) position that they did not advise any city authorities to take the kind of violent actions which have been taken against OWS. On the contrary PERF thinks some of the local police leadership has acted outside the more restrained and demonstrator respectful guidelines that PERF preferred. That said the memo about demonizing OWS still stands and many of the nation’s mayors and individual police department leadership has much to answer for in terms of the legality and morality of their actions. My apologies for not being more diligent and taking Wolf at her word for the DHS rumor. A rumor that seems to have gone viral ( that means you Michael Moore). AS with other articles that have committed similar sins – mixing some verifiable facts with some persistent rumors Wolf does a terrible disservice to the facts she does have. Now the entirety of the article will be called a lie.
Much of the media and certainly right-wing bloggers are documenting every time someone even remotely associated with OWS may have done anything wrong, ranging from littering to smoking pot or disrupting a business. These reports taken in total are supposed to demonize OWS. As far as these juvenile tactics go they are somewhat successful even if they are mostly preaching to the choir – people who would hate OWS anyway. In that light let’s look at how some other groups of Americans are behaving today: Nogales Police officer arrested on Sexual Conduct with a Minor charges
It could be that America as a whole is not behaving any better than those rascals with the OWS, yet the police are not going door-to-door beating people up. Mayors are not making conference calls to have a massive militarized response to some serious crimes.
This is the video report mentioned in the Wolf article – Exclusive: Lobbying Firm’s Memo Spells Out Plan to Undermine Occupy Wall Street
More misplaced priorities. Driven By Drug War Incentives, Cops Target Pot Smokers, Brush Off Victims Of Violent Crime
In August 2010, three months after the attack, Shaver contacted a reporter for Time Out Chicago, who began asking around about her case. Shaver also met with Chicago Alderman Joe Marino. Shortly before the Time Out article went to press, a detective finally called Shaver down to the police station to identify her attacker. But even with her identification, the police didn’t arrest “Sonny.” He wasn’t charged with the assault until the following month, when he was arrested on an unrelated domestic violence charge.
Shortly after she finally identified her attacker at the police station, Shaver said the detective in charge of her case told her, “Now I don’t want to hear any more bitching from you.”
I personally think using drugs is a mistake, but simultaneously putting massive resources into busting some pot smokers while actually belittling victims of violent crime is just another indication that there are some deep structural problems with our law enforcement priorities.
The list of the “other… more important ” aspects of the sordid story that became known as “Iran-contra” scandal is a long one but worth recalling 25 years later. The Reagan administration had been negotiating with terrorists (despite Reagan’s repeated public position that he would “never” do so). There were illegal arms transfers to Iran, flagrant lying to Congress, soliciting third country funding to circumvent the Congressional ban on financing the contra war in Nicaragua, White House bribes to various generals in Honduras, illegal propaganda and psychological operations directed by the CIA against the U.S. press and public, collaboration with drug kingpins such as Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega, and violating the checks and balances of the constitution.
“If ever the constitutional democracy of the United States is overthrow,” the leading political analyst of the scandal, Theodore Draper wrote at the time, “we now have a better idea of how this is likely to be done.”
Despite the gravity of the scandal, and the intense political and media focus it generated in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Iran-Contra has been largely forgotten.
Who remembers how many top NSC and CIA officials were convicted of crimes relating to the scandal? (Six, although two, Oliver North and John Poindexter, had their convictions dismissed and four were pardoned by President George Herbert Walker Bush.)
Even though there were some successful prosecutions Iran-Contra set a new standard and tradition of the abuse of executive power. Even the conservatives who were convicted were eventually rewarded by the Right’s lifetime membership wing-nut welfare system. Ollie North made some big bucks working for Fox News. Admiral Poindexter worked for a while in Bush 43’s administration even though he was a convicted felon.
Conservatives are just happy with any of the dates they invited to the prom – Palin supporters to run TV ads in Iowa encouraging her to reconsider
Some fans of former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin haven’t given up yet on the prospect of her jumping in the race for the White House in 2012 and say they plan to run television ads in Iowa begging her to reconsider her decision.
“Your contributions have made it possible for us to run the Palin reconsider television ad next week in the Sioux City, Iowa market,”
Ian Lazaran of Conservates4Palin.com wrote in a post online Friday. “Thanks to everyone who chipped in to make it possible.”
Lazaran wrote that the target date for ad going up on television in the Hawkeye State is Nov. 29.
“What we do next after the television ad goes up is a more difficult question,” he explained.
Lazaran said “if this ad is able to build some momentum” for Palin, “the best way to keep that momentum going may be to commission a national GOP primary poll that includes the Governor as one of the options.”
The more nuts on the tree the more that will hit the ground.