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Truthdigger of the Week: Scott Olsen

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Posted on Nov 4, 2011
AP / Jay Finneburgh

Fellow protesters tend to Scott Olsen as he lies bleeding on the ground after suffering a head injury in Oakland, Calif.

This week, Truthdig salutes Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen, who served his country abroad and at home within the Occupy Oakland movement, as our Truthdigger of the Week. At press time, Olsen was still recovering from injuries he suffered during a confrontation with Oakland police on Oct. 25, but his sacrifice—and the jarringly ironic circumstances of his injury—still reverberates among his fellow protesters. In fact, he has become an emblematic figure at the movement’s highly active West Coast epicenter.

Over the past 10 days, as Olsen convalesced, commemorative shrines popped up at the Oakland encampment, and movement members in other cities took up his story as both a cautionary tale and an inspiration. The 24-year-old Wisconsin native had come into his own politically after serving two tours with the U.S. Marines in Iraq, as his hometown friends told Reuters after his injury, and his nascent activist impulse led him to also participate in last year’s demonstrations against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s attempt to deprive government workers of collective bargaining rights. Olsen’s tech savvy eventually took him to the Bay Area, where he linked up with the local chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War.

When he was struck down last month, reportedly by a projectile lobbed by a member of Oakland’s police force, Olsen was taking part in a march to push back against the closure of the main encampment. According to The Bay Citizen, he lay bleeding as riot police and emergency medical crews passively stood by, ultimately requiring marchers to haul him to Highland Hospital. Although Oakland’s interim Police Chief Howard Jordan visited Olsen on Oct. 29 to express the collective remorse of his precinct and confirm that law enforcement officials were investigating the incident, his case has grown into a cause for Occupiers as well as servicemen and -women whose experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as at home, have given rise to a similar political sensibility and an urge to speak out

And it wasn’t lost on Olsen’s supporters that his speech center was affected by the injury to his head. As one member of Occupy Boston declared Thursday, “His skull was fractured, his brain swelled up, and he is no longer able to speak. So we are here to speak for him.”

Check out the footage of the confrontation between Oakland police and protesters, including Scott Olsen, on Oct. 25:

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By rumblingspire, November 4, 2011 at 8:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I want to add that abortion is a murder that can never be adequately policed or fairly prosecuted.  it would be a greater failure than the war on drugs and only the poor and ignorant would be caught.
as i said below, no one has rights over a body except for the consciousness that lies within.  LibertY!

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IMax's avatar

By IMax, November 4, 2011 at 8:23 pm Link to this comment

EmileZ,

Actually, nothing I wrote was a lie.

I shared the version of events as told by Scott’s friends, what a couple dozen witnesses have said, and what the Sheriff Department reported. Everyone here is free to discount any part or everything I shared.

What, exactly, did you see on those videos of that night? I’ll tell you what you do not see.  You do not see what may have hit Scott Olsen or from which direction it may have come from. In fact you don’t know what caused Mr. Olsen’s head injury. Apparently he also suffered injuries to an ankle, thighs, ribs and shoulder. Injuries consistent with a victim of trampling.

What we do see on various videos are the gas clouds which sheriffs deputies claim they had used. We see flashes and hear bangs which, according to witnesses and deputies, were the M80’s being set off by a small band from the ‘Occupy’ crowd. We also see Scott Olsen on the ground and people about him reacting to all of the above.

Eye witness accounts, many of whom were protesters themselves, put the nexus of the violence squarely on the side of protesters when roughly 70 people returned to an area that had been peacefully cleared. That, according to several protesters present, is when the crowd began throwing heavy objects at authorities.  According to nearly everyone involved this is the time deputies used the gas.

As far as I know three people have stated that Scott Olsen was hit by a gas canister fired by deputies. All three were Scott’s friends and fellow protesters. I know of no one who has come forward to confirm how Scott was injured.

What, exactly, did you see on those videos of that night?

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Outraged's avatar

By Outraged, November 4, 2011 at 5:12 pm Link to this comment

Re: YoungGringos,

Thanks for the link.

That’s horrible news.  Those cops should be indicted
along with the jailers who didn’t get this veteran
medical help.  EIGHTEEN HOURS! And now he’s in
surgery.  That’s inexcusable.

Strangely enough… it’s not coming up on my “Google
News” although I can get the story if I specifically
search for it.

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By Brandt Hardin, November 4, 2011 at 4:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

These sorts of incidents exemplify the police state
we’ve been subjected to as Americans.  Stories such
as this sound like the sort of propaganda our
government spews against Communism and Socialism in
regards to the suppression of civil liberties.  Our
freedoms of speech and assembly are slipping from our
grasp, which is another reason the Occupy movement is
SO important.  Stand up and lend your voice to the
global protest with the information sources and art
listed on my artist’s blog at
http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/09/occupywall
street.html

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By YoungGringos, November 4, 2011 at 4:37 pm Link to this comment

OPD strikes again:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/04/occupy-oakland-second-veteran-injured?fb=native&CMP=FBCNETTXT9038

A veteran AND a business owner. 
A conservative’s wet dream. 

Latest victim of the OPD.

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Outraged's avatar

By Outraged, November 4, 2011 at 4:34 pm Link to this comment

Re: IMAX

Your comment: “I will say again that I support the
OWS message of income inequality. What I’m seeing
here on TruthDig, amongst many in the media and OWS
itself, is, to me, deeply disturbing. That I cannot
defend nor support.”

The doublespeak you use here is laughable. 
Apparently you find “OWS itself” deeply disturbing,
but then claim you “support the OWS message”.....?  I
think not.  It seems just as there are provocateurs
there are also the trolls that support them.

Just for the record, I wouldn’t put too much emphasis
on an article at the San Francisco Examiner.

“On February 19, 2004, the Fang family sold the
Examiner and its printing plant, together with the
two Independent newspapers, to Philip Anschutz
of Denver, Colorado.[9] His new company, Clarity
Media Group,
launched The Washington Examiner in
2005 and published The Baltimore Examiner 2006-2009.
The Examiner is currently run by Anschutz subsidiary
SF Newspaper Company. In 2006, Anschutz donated the
archives of the Examiner to the University of
California, Berkeley Bancroft Library, the largest
gift ever to the library.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Francisco_Examiner

Philip Anschutz:
“As one of the world’s richest billionaires,
Philip Anschutz
has been making a name for himself in
the philanthropic community by financially supporting
a number of strongly conservative organizations. He
was listed on Forbes list of Billionaires as number
123 with a networth of 6 billion in March 2010.
Anschutz has funded a number of ultra-conservative
and Christian organizations

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Anschutz

Then there’s this:
“One of the key players in the distribution of
Waiting for ‘Superman’ is Walden Media, a film
company owned by Philip Anschutz. Barbara Miner
touches on him (and many other players) in her recent
article, but I’ve yet to see anyone look at how
Anschutz uses his family’s foundation to push a
conservative/libertarian agenda.

As I’ll lay out below, the Anschutz Foundation,
chaired and financed by Philip, is quite fond of some
of the biggest players in conservative education
advocacy: the Manhattan Institute, Heritage
Foundation, Cato Institute, Hoover Institution, and
the American Enterprise Institute. The foundation
also gives to the Freedom Works Foundation,
Washington Legal Foundation, and various other
influential think tanks/organizations.
I won’t really
get into it here, but it’s fair to say this
foundation uses their philanthropic arm much the way
the Koch brothers do: to further their own
conservative agenda while creating a climate that is
more friendly for their businesses.”

http://www.susanohanian.org/show_research.php?id=377

Ahem….. really IMAX, you could have put more effort in than that. In fact, for the juicy gossip, ol’ Philip owns AEG which according to Wiki:

“The AEG is the subject of a lawsuit regarding the Death of Michael Jackson, filed by the singer’s mother, Katherine Jackson. The Jackson lawsuit against Anschutz Entertainment Group alleged:
By the nature of their contractual, joint-venture, and special relationship, AEG had legal duties to Michael Jackson to treat him safely and to not put him in harms’ way. But AEG, despite its knowledge of Michael Jackson’s physical condition, breached those duties by putting its desire for massive profits from the tour over the health and safety of Michael Jackson.

Of course that’s not the first time ol’ Philip found himself on the wrong side of the law.  Just read through that at Wiki.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Anschutz

Yep… the ONE PERCENTERS strike again.  And they have NO SHAME.

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By gerard, November 4, 2011 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment

Obviously, city governments in general suffer from a lack of understanding of non-violent social/ political protest. The rather sudden emergence of this kind of movement worldwide means that those trained to resist protesters with force do not “know” what to do—that is, they are armed and ready for violence. Therefore the natural tendency would be to consciously or unconsciously react by trying to “create” a situation with which they are familiar and for which they are “prepared”.
  The obvious truth is that police need immediate training in how to control non-violent demonstrations non-violently.  Such training is available, usually known as “Alternatives to Violence Programs” and used effectively to train guards in some prisons).  With more understanding, police choices would be more flexible, more effective and more humane.

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EmileZ's avatar

By EmileZ, November 4, 2011 at 3:42 pm Link to this comment

@ Imax

M-80’s???

I saw the video.

You are a disgusting liar.

Shame on you.

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By www.ScottOlsen.org, November 4, 2011 at 3:33 pm Link to this comment

You can send get well wishes to Scott at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (you can attach
pictures, videos, etc)

You can see your greeting and pictures of over 1000 peaceful protesters holding
“Get Well Soon, Scott Olsen” signs at http://www.ScottOlsen.org

We are keeping the politics off the site.  Just want to do something positive for
Scott.

Links, tweets, Facebook Likes appreciated

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By Rixar13, November 4, 2011 at 3:29 pm Link to this comment

“This week, Truthdig salutes Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen, who served his country abroad and at home within the Occupy Oakland movement, as our Truthdigger of the Week.”

Thumbs up ^....

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By www.ScottOlsen.Org, November 4, 2011 at 3:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You can send get well wishes to Scott at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (you can attach pictures, videos, etc)

You can see your greeting and pictures of over 1000 peaceful protesters holding
“Get Well Soon, Scott Olsen” signs at http://www.ScottOlsen.org

We are keeping the politics off the site.  Just want to do something positive for Scott.

Links, tweets, Facebook Likes appreciated

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IMax's avatar

By IMax, November 4, 2011 at 3:03 pm Link to this comment

EmileZ,

I believe, in time, you’ll be compelled to apologies for not following a clear line of facts regarding Oakland and young Mr. Olsen.

It’s possible I support Scott Olsen a good deal more than you do. As a person and not as an avatar or symbol for your personal use.

On both counts time will tell. In the meantime you must allow questions to be asked. Otherwise, what good are these ‘Occupy’ protests?

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By YoungGringos, November 4, 2011 at 2:30 pm Link to this comment

This movement cannot be stopped because the conditions that created it still exist: 

High unemployment, bankruptcy, skyrocketing health care and tuition costs, communities wrecked by home foreclosures, 30 years of stagnant wages, record income and wealth disparity, draconian cuts to public services, and a government of the corporation for the corporation and by the corporation.

Flailing attempts to discredit the movement will not stem the tide.

Rise up and OCCUPY.

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IMax's avatar

By IMax, November 4, 2011 at 2:15 pm Link to this comment

I will say again that I support the OWS message of income inequality. What I’m seeing here on TruthDig, amongst many in the media and OWS itself, is, to me, deeply disturbing. That I cannot defend nor support.

None of the facts bear out that Mr. Olsen was injured by police or sheriff deputies. In fact it’s looking much more likely that he was critically injured by projectiles hurled toward deputies on the scene. Mr. Olsen’s injuries also suggest that he may have been trampled by protesters in the malaise - those throwing things at the deputies were the same people who claimed Scott was hit by flash bang utilities (according to the Sheriffs Dept. 35 of the 37 Sheriff Department personnel on site for the raid were not carrying projectiles, and the two who were equipped with them had not fired). Several witnesses claim the bangs and flashes we’ve all by now seen were the M80 explosives thrown by protesters.

Question: Why was Scott Olsen present at that time and in that space? If dozens of witnesses are to be believed the police had told OWS representatives they had to move and, apparently, nearly all did. Peacefully. The violence from protesters appears to have occurred when several dozen amongst the crowed returned and began throwing explosives, glass bottles, rocks, pots and pans, urine, and kitchen utensils at law enforcement officials. My question is; why was Scott Olsen present and what was he doing there? Is he truly the hero many make him out to be? Or was he in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and for the wrong reasons?

Anyhow, Scott Olsen is being thoroughly used while he convalesces in the hospital. I wish him a speedy recovery.

-

Vet’s injuries from Occupy Oakland protest not caused by deputies, SF sheriff says
By: Dan Schreiber | 10/31/11 2:27 PM
Examiner Staff Writer

Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/bay-area/2011/10/vet-s-injuries-occupy-oakland-raid-not-caused-deputies-sf-sheriff-says#ixzz1clzdnr00

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By mendel, November 4, 2011 at 1:29 pm Link to this comment

You deserve another medal for your courage. Thank you for standing up for me.

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EmileZ's avatar

By EmileZ, November 4, 2011 at 11:46 am Link to this comment

We will not allow this movement to be crushed, marginalized or otherwise subverted.

You are in all of our hearts Scott Olsen and we will SEE THIS THROUGH!!!

End corporate tyranny and take back our lives and our destiny as free, civilized, moral, caring, thinking, informed, involved, citizens of the planet.

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