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Wolf’s OWS Report Sparks Debate

Posted on Nov 28, 2011
Mike Shane

Wolf on the scene: Author and Guardian columnist Naomi Wolf was arrested on Oct. 18 as she joined OWS protesters in New York City.

Did Naomi Wolf get her facts straight in her Guardian report about American mayors acting in cahoots with the Department of Homeland Security in their recent crackdowns on OWS encampments, or did she engage in a little journalistic extrapolation? Those aren’t the only two options here, but at least one noteworthy critique calls some of her claims into question—and it’s not coming from Fox News.  —KA


There has been a flurry of speculation surrounding various reports suggesting that a “coordinated,” nationwide crack-down on the Occupy Movement is underway. The problem with these stories lies in the fact that the word “coordinated” is too vague to offer any analytic value.

The difference between local officials talking to each other — or federal law enforcement agencies advising them on what they see as “best practices” for evicting local occupations — and some unseen hand directing, incentivizing or coercing municipalities to do so when they would not otherwise be so inclined is not a minor one. It’s not a matter of semantics or a distinction without difference. As I wrote recently, “if federal authorities were ordering cities to crack down on their local occupations in a concerted effort to wipe out a movement that has spread like wildfire across the country, that would indeed be a huge, and hugely troubling story. In the United States, policing protests is a local matter, and law enforcement agencies must remain accountable for their actions to local officials. Local government’s autonomy in this regard is an important principle.”

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By heterochromatic, November 30, 2011 at 9:37 am Link to this comment


those links are all the same as they all are based on democracynow’s Wexler telling
Goodman that he helped set up conference calls for police chiefs…...

that does NOT support the bullshit conclusions that Wolf tried to squeeze out of

Wolf is getting the butt-kicking that she earned.

Report this

By greg_2, November 30, 2011 at 9:09 am Link to this comment

For the record:

Those links support most of Naomi Wolf’s claims.

Again, why is she being attacked?

Also, most Blogs these days simply jump on one story, copy and paste, spreading the same thing around the interwebs…

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EmileZ's avatar

By EmileZ, November 30, 2011 at 2:38 am Link to this comment

I must say, I revel in the methodical, well-reasoned debunking of sloppy, self-indulgent pieces, regardless of where in the political spectrum they might come from.

Kudos to you Mr. Holland!!! You did the right thing.

“The scales fell from my eyes”

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By greg_2, November 29, 2011 at 8:31 pm Link to this comment

She just got DMH and Congress’ involvment wrong according to Democracy Now and Daily Kos

They both supported Wolf re: PERF and Mayoral coordination.

But now their coverage cannot be found!

Why, the question is, is the Liberal Media throwing one of their own under the bus?

Proof of a vast Left-wing conspiracy.

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By Litl Bludot, November 29, 2011 at 6:14 pm Link to this comment

Spire, in his first post, said it all. Here’s the link again to info. on the fusion
centers. There’s no doubt about the reality, but the Obama zombies still think
they can believe the MSM and the government. I bet that everyone of those who
doubt Wolfe’s article, voted for frenemy Obama.

“A fusion center is a terrorism prevention and response center, many of which
were created under a joint project between the Department of Homeland
Security and the US Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs between
2003 and 2007.
The fusion centers gather information not only from government sources, but
also from their partners in the private sector.[1][2]
They are designed to promote information sharing at the federal level between
agencies such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI), Department of Justice, US Military and state and local level
government. As of July 2009, the Department of Homeland Security recognized
at least seventy-two fusion centersTemplate:PBS Frontline Report: Are We
Safer?, season 29 mentions that the DHS created 72 fusion centers. One such
fusion center has been involved with spying on anti-war and peace activists as
well as anarchists in Washington State.”

Spire also mentioned the new bill in the Senate that would codify all this, so
that the military would have iron fist power to arrest anyone of us here, on our
own soil, then disappear us, no questions asked.  Again, you Obama zombies
won’t believe the reality of this, but it happens to be true. The link to
democracy now discussion with Daphne Eviatar of Human Rights First.

Anyone who has been out on the streets demonstrating,  may have noticed the
robocops with no names or badges taken photos and videos of you—those are
the fusion guys, getting you into their data base for future oppression-, and the
unmarked helicopters flying over you,( not to mention the sadistic grunts home
from various corporate resource wars where they killed innocent civilians, that
actually pepper spray, tear gas, beat and torture you, if not worse).

But hey, this doesn’t really happen in the land of the free, and anybody who
says it does, well, they must be conspiracy nuts.

If Truthdig had just a bit of journalistic honesty, it would buttress Wolfe’s
article, rather than promoting the false debate generated by the likes of fox
news. It’s disgusting to lend credence to it, and Truthdig should be ashamed.
Perhaps it’s what this group of “journalists” needs to do in order to be on good
terms with the powers that be.

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By heterochromatic, November 29, 2011 at 6:09 pm Link to this comment

Some folks don’t write shit that pops into there head, but instead go out and do
the work….and get a little something done…...

Well Done, Spencer !!!!

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By heterochromatic, November 29, 2011 at 6:05 pm Link to this comment

glider——haven’t heard of any Teapartiers that stay up past midnight, let alone
set up tents for a month

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By glider, November 29, 2011 at 5:47 pm Link to this comment

Given American government/corporate secrecy and lack of a responsible watchdog media why should anyone have a problem with the only approach left for discerning the truth, which is watching what they do as opposed to what they say, and connecting the dots?  Obviously the OWS crackdown was coordinated by an organization with the big picture in mind.  The specifics that are deliberately hidden are a “distinction without a difference”, as we are left only to act on their observable actions.  And isn’t it interesting that the Tea Party, which serves many of the interests of the corporate powers was never subjected to such a government attacks?

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JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, November 29, 2011 at 3:46 pm Link to this comment

What’s at issue here has been an issue with me for quite sometime. In order to make best decisions and choices knowledge of the real truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth is an imperative. Obvious well documented truths are sometimes extrapolated into falsehoods to support dialectic. Intuitive suspicions are presented as facts in forums and then disseminated as being fact in other forums replete with sourcing that gives the appearance of credibility. (Truthers, birthers and others constantly post links.)

Wishful thinking…? It’s a strange and odd phenomenon when unproven allegations of great evil are pleasing because such allegations reinforce dialectic of great evil.

It does not require a quantum leap of logic in order to suspect that when those responsible for public safety across the land hold a conference call to discuss issues of public safety that the Department of Homeland Security might be involved, but without documented evidence to validate that suspicion a suspicion is all that it can be.

“Demagoguery is a strategy for gaining political power by appealing to the prejudices, emotions, fears, vanities and expectations of the public—typically via impassioned rhetoric and propaganda, and often using nationalist, populist or religious themes.”

If dialectic lacks real substantiated evidence and instead relies on demagoguery for credence, then that dialectic will be discredited easily.

I’ll suggest that there is a huge body of real, documented, quantitative, truth to advance a progressive dialectic and that demagoguery only serves as a detriment to advancing a progressive agenda. A clever opponent of a progressive agenda need only point out demagoguery in order to discredit a progressive agenda. Avoiding the perception of demagoguery is an imperative in order to advance an agenda.

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By heterochromatic, November 29, 2011 at 1:32 pm Link to this comment

do over ~~~~ why not just give a reason of two why the guy is wrong or show that
the guy has a history of being wrong or of being an extraordinary partisan of

Report this

By do over, November 29, 2011 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment

heterochromatic writes:

you appear to be full of shit with that.  the article is clear and closely reasoned.

rather than criticize the logic or factuality, probably something of which you’re not
capable, all you have is some infantile sneer of calling the guy a stooge,

punk move.

Well STOOGE it is then !

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, November 29, 2011 at 12:20 pm Link to this comment

Some of Moses’s projects were pretty minor, like clearing out a playground for a parking lot in Central Park.

Report this

By heterochromatic, November 29, 2011 at 12:12 pm Link to this comment

Moses projects were enormous , several orders of magnitude beyond clearing out
a small park….

He moved hundreds of thousands of people out of land and buildings that they
actually owned, rightfully.

The things that Moses did showed the limitations of property rights….......

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, November 29, 2011 at 11:48 am Link to this comment

Among other things, The Power Broker shows us that even Robert Moses, probably the most powerful individual to have ever taken part in the politics of New York City, was unable to get things done overnight.  Many of his schemes required extended struggle, and he was occasionally defeated.  I suspect other cities are like New York: many stakeholders, many power brokers, many impediments to schemes. 

So there are different conditions, different people, different forces in every city, and yet five or six of them do exactly the same thing at almost the same time in pretty much the same way on fairly short notice.  It looks suspicious to me, and to a lot of other people.

It may be intended to—a little glint of the mailed fist in the faux-velvet glove, to let you know that The Man doesn’t fool around.

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By heterochromatic, November 29, 2011 at 11:08 am Link to this comment

Read” Power Broker” twice….great work.

I can’t speak for the other cities, but in NYC , there was nothing extraordinarily
complex about the eviction.

WE plan for all sorts of disasters and attacks and work at coordinating a
response… seems prudent considering our recent history.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, November 29, 2011 at 10:02 am Link to this comment

heterochromatic—My experience of city government is that it normally takes weeks, months, years to get anything done, because every important stake-holder has to sign off on it—politicians, other political bosses, heads of city agencies and departments, managers of important corporations, union leaders, special interest groups, technicians, and so forth, and often state and federal officials.  Ever read Robert Caro’s The Power Broker?

The other thing that was remarkable was the military style of the operations, especially shutting down the public transit and bridges in anticipation, and carefully keeping reporters away from the scene, except for those who could be counted on to be reliably obedient.

I can’t prove anything, of course, but the style strikes me as something very much in tune with the present and recent Federal administrations.

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By heterochromatic, November 29, 2011 at 9:37 am Link to this comment

Ana—-i think that it’s not all that unlikely that all of the city governments were
desirous of closing down the camps and simply figured out that if they acted in a
tight time-frame there would be less of a publicity campaign that could be
focused on any one of them….

seems like a fairly obvious idea and more plausible than is a top-down order to
mayors to do something that they didn’t wish to do.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, November 29, 2011 at 8:40 am Link to this comment

Heterochromatic—Five or six, depending on how you count.  18 were in on at least one conference call, according to the mayor of Oakland.  Getting five independent city governments to do the same thing and the same time, when one considers what city government is like, is astonishing.

A related subject of interest is the quasi-military similarity of dress, equipment and tactics.  In watching a ‘riot’ (that is, an unofficial gathering of people which the authorities don’t care for) being suppressed, one no longer knows what city, what state, indeed, what country, one is observing.

Just a style note.  Black tie, white tie, and all that.

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By Dr Bones, November 29, 2011 at 8:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Noami hit the nail on the head.  Yeah, we’re smart enough to connect the dots.  Here in PA the Democratic Gov passed a law that allows him to designate corporate unfriendly people as Eco-terrorists.  Interfere with a corporation’s profitability and you can be found to be a terrorist. 

Of course PA is where gas & mining companies pay no taxes or royalty for extracting the people’s natural resources and they are free to inject unknown toxic chemical mix for fracturing or remove entire mountains for coal. They can also truck and discharge their toxic waste upstream of municipal water treatment plant even when these plants have no means of handling the chemical brew.  So the people end up unknowingly drinking it.

And so, the DHS claimed ordinary citizens as potentially Eco-terrorists because they were organizing to stop frac’ing or force at least some oversight.

One need not be a wizard to determine that the US has turned into a police state, not unlike Nazi Germany.  Just look at the pictures of torture and then just go to any airport where infants, toddlers, grandma and grandpa are getting padded down as if terrorists.

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By heterochromatic, November 28, 2011 at 10:18 pm Link to this comment

azythos—-alternet promotes Zionism?

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By heterochromatic, November 28, 2011 at 10:17 pm Link to this comment

Ana——what’s the large number?

and what’s the basis for Wolf’s jumping from conference call to federal-directed

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, November 28, 2011 at 10:08 pm Link to this comment

I find it rather improbable, to say the least, that a large number of big-city governments would spontaneously decide to almost simultaneously crush their Occupations without some kind of pressure being applied from on high.  It’s more than a herding-cats problem; it’s getting cats to herd themselves.

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By azythos, November 28, 2011 at 9:53 pm Link to this comment

Well, well. Alternet again.

What they say could conceivably be correct—even if hard to imagine.

What is sure is that Alternet has been promoting Zionism, repression and warmongering under its “pinko” disguise for a longish time, and I’m not taking anything they say at face value.

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By heterochromatic, November 28, 2011 at 8:49 pm Link to this comment

do over—Holland appears to be a stooge for the 1%.——

you appear to be full of shit with that. 

the article is clear and closely reasoned.

rather than criticize the logic or factuality, probably something of which you’re not
capable, all you have is some infantile sneer of calling the guy a stooge,

punk move.

Report this

By heterochromatic, November 28, 2011 at 8:48 pm Link to this comment

do over—Holland appears to be a stooge for the 1%.——

you appear to be full of shit with that.  the article is clear and closely reasoned.

rather than criticize the logic or factuality, probably something of which you’re not
capable, all you have is some infantile sneer of calling the guy a stooge,

punk move.

Report this

By heterochromatic, November 28, 2011 at 7:44 pm Link to this comment

excellent article calling out Wolfe’s bullshit cry.

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By lisa, November 28, 2011 at 6:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Take a bit of advice from an old Carney - when things happen in a con, it’s for a reason. And if things happen all at once, it’s either a necessary part of the con or an indicator that the guys running the con have fallen into their own fantasy - ie they’re amateurs. They don’t know what to do and they can’t understand what’s happening - but - (and this is vital!) They think they do. That’s really very dangerous and can result in a total disaster. The strategy in a con must be flexible, the operator has to make sure there’s always more than one option, but these people have one solution for all - violence. That’s a losers’ game.

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By do over, November 28, 2011 at 6:43 pm Link to this comment

Wolf is suffering the after effects of confronting the current police state.  Now, the propaganda machine is engaged to marginalize her. Holland appears to be a stooge for the 1%.  If my life were on the line I would bet on Wolf.  Use your common sense.

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Outraged's avatar

By Outraged, November 28, 2011 at 5:53 pm Link to this comment

Re: gerard

” a natural result of fear, hysteria and excessive suspicion and surveillance.  The entire country is sick with it. No surprise that people see things that aren’t there, or are waiting for other shoes to fall.”

I agree, after I came across the article the first
time I felt like in order to “connect” Wolf’s “dots” I basically had to jump from one wild tangent to another, it was quite the stretch.  So I investigated the PERF site, read through some of its literature, went to several other news links and I really couldn’t find the proverbial dots.

The next day I came across the “Crooks and Liars” post (that I linked to the other day) and saw I wasn’t the only one questioning the basic premise of the whole article. But as you say fear and suspicion does breed fear and suspicion and that’s why creating that type of society is so dangerous. Additionally, finding out horrific truth after horrific truth of things that actually HAVE transpired just adds flames to the fire.

Afterwards I began to “connect” other “dots” like
Naomi Wolf was arrested at OWS, then she basically argued on “Democracy Now” that Julian Assange’s rape allegations weren’t “really rape” even if true and now this story.

Maybe she needs a to get a little R & R.

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By camoleft, November 28, 2011 at 4:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Homeland Security can do and does whatever it so
desires.  Scarey

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By gerard, November 28, 2011 at 3:57 pm Link to this comment

This kind of “connecting the dots”—wrongly or rightly—is a natural result of fear, hysteria and excessive suspicion and surveillance.  The entire country is sick with it. No surprise that people see things that aren’t there, or are waiting for other shoes to fall.
  The government itself has both created and exploited this hysteria for its own purposes—waging wars against enemies of its own creation, and keeping people “distanced” from the sources of power.  The secrecy behind government prevents it from being democratic, turns it into a tool of special interests, and eventually breeds protest movements of people who know that they must have the truth, that they deserve the truth, and that they cannot live without it. Media is crucial in sorting things out—but when media is on the side of power, the people’s interests count for nothing.
  When a secretive, distant, inaccessible government is suspicious of them, the people will naturally be suspicious of that government.

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By Jack Jay, November 28, 2011 at 3:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What an odd time for Truthdig and Alternet to offer this hit piece. The writing is on the wall Joshua. Which side are you on?

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By Hank, November 28, 2011 at 3:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We do not need a constant stream of meetings and phone calls to grasp that the resistance to OWS is “coordinated”: the culture of our mercantilism political system guarantees that local mayors will seek and use DHS advice, that they will act in similar ways, and that the OWS movement will be crushed.  OWS is attacking “the system,” and it does not tolerate dissent, much less active opposition.
You do not need backroom meetings to have a conspiracy: our sick neoliberal culture will bring about a brutal crackdown that is stronger and effectively better coordinated than any group of corrupt mayors could ever piece together intentionally!

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By Anne Nigma, November 28, 2011 at 3:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We’re never going to get facts we need and want to prove anything or see the real picture because facts are hidden behind the national security excuse, kept secret by Homeland Security.

Face it, we live in a Police State. All we have is speculation based on the limited information we are able to glean. Good thing the Oakland Mayor slipped up or we wouldn’t even know as much as we do, however limited it is.

It’s the new Amerika.

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Spire's avatar

By Spire, November 28, 2011 at 3:05 pm Link to this comment

“DHS should be worried about terrorism, not political dissent.”

When America is a Battlefield—cf Levin-McCain bill, check w/ ACLU—this becomes a distinction without a difference. Check out the MIAC report that was leaked a couple years ago. God help the citizen that is caught with a constitution book on his back seat!

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