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Department of Homeland Security Behind OWS Crackdown

Two weeks ago, I heard about students at UC Davis who were pepper sprayed at point blank range while doing nothing more than sitting on the ground with their arms linked. I heard that the NYPD raided Zuccotti Park in the middle of the night, making sure the media couldn't cover it either by penning them far away from the park or arresting them.

Three weeks ago, I heard about students at UC Berkeley who were beaten with batons by campus police in riot gear for standing with their arms linked. In Oakland, I heard that cops shot a guy with rubber bullets for filming the Occupy protest.

Five weeks ago, I heard about Scott Olsen ending up with a fractured skull when Oakland PD used tear gas and rubber bullets on the protesters.

What i haven't heard is a peep from anyone in our government saying anything against the excessive use of force on civilians. I was so pissed off about it that I wrote to my Senators and my Representative asking them wtf. I mean, all i wanted was a placating "The police overreacted. In America, our citizens have the right to express their opinions. We don't condone the violence and urge our officers to act in a way that will protect the members of the public." What i got was alot of nothing. I didn't even receive the automated "Thanks for writing to me. We'll get right back to you on that." email.

Now I find out the Department of Homeland Security is involved with coordinating the crackdowns nationwide on Occupy protesters.

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.
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.
For the terrible insight to take away from news that the Department of Homeland Security coordinated a violent crackdown is that the DHS does not freelance. The DHS cannot say, on its own initiative, "we are going after these scruffy hippies". Rather, DHS is answerable up a chain of command: first, to New York Representative Peter King, head of the House homeland security subcommittee, who naturally is influenced by his fellow congressmen and women's wishes and interests. And the DHS answers directly, above King, to the president (who was conveniently in Australia at the time).

In other words, for the DHS to be on a call with mayors, the logic of its chain of command and accountability implies that congressional overseers, with the blessing of the White House, told the DHS to authorise mayors to order their police forces - pumped up with millions of dollars of hardware and training from the DHS - to make war on peaceful citizens.

Now the silence from my Senators and Representative is explained.

Even if it's not a "everyone's in on it" conspiracy, the fact that the DHS was involved at all is a huge red flag. That all this violence against protesters is the result of their counseling is a serious problem because it means beating someone down because we don't like what they're saying or doing is the right response, the government sanctioned and recommended response. It means we have more in common with Egypt, Syria, and China than we should be comfortable with.

By min | November 29, 2011, 11:26 AM | Liberal Outrage



I'm not necessarily taking a stand on this. ABL is an ardent Obama supporter and i think a lot of her points are weak. The biggest is that she says that the article that Wolfe based her report on was "debunked" by the original author of that article, but the truth is that his follow-up is actually just a denial from the DHS. Still, it doesn't seem there's a lot of evidence for this, and even if the DHS were involved, it's unlikely that they'd be coordinating with Congress, especially individual Reps like Holt.

i can still yell at them again, though, right?

Well, the fact that they haven't come out and denounced the police overreaction is definitely worth some yelling.