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Wolf writes: "I am certain that NYPD coordinates with federal authorities in OWS-related arrests because an NYPD official informed me that they did so through the bars of my cell, as part of his formal warning to me before my release, apparently to deter me from activities that might result in my rearrest. As I reported in the Guardian on 19 October 2011, part of the seventh precinct sergeant's caution to me about what could happen to me if I was arrested again, if I 'rejoined [my] friends the protesters', was a threat based on his assertion of federal coordination with the arrests. He told me that in a second arrest, I would be photographed and fingerprinted, and the data fed into a federal database, to follow me forever."

Ms. Wolf speaking at National Lawyers Guild Forum, in New York, January 23, 2009. (photo: Thomas Good/NLN)
Ms. Wolf speaking at National Lawyers Guild Forum, in New York, January 23, 2009. (photo: Thomas Good/NLN)

The 'Crackdown on Occupy' Controversy

By Naomi Wolf, Guardian UK

03 December 11


Occupy Wall Street: Take the Bull by the Horns


Ms. Wolf responds below to a critique by AlterNet's Joshua Holland of her November 25 Guardian UK column, which also ran here on RSN. Mr. Holland has already issued a rejoinder to Ms. Wolf's rejoinder, which is currently available on AlterNet. -- JPS/RSN


hat a firestorm my Comment is free blog post in the Guardian, "The Shocking News Behind the Crackdown on Occupy", has unleashed: some have praised, while others have attacked. Joshua Holland's criticisms of my piece, in a blog post, "Naomi Wolf's Shocking Truth about Occupy is Anything But", was picked up the most widely of the critics' attacks. But the criticisms Holland poses are poorly grounded.

Holland's main premise is that I am part of a "flurry of speculation" that is without basis in fact, and that there was no federal involvement in the crackdown. I cited evidence that DHS was on the 18-member conference call of mayors, which Oakland Mayor Jean Quan alluded to in an interview with the BBC on 15 November, and my source was Wonkette on 15 November. Holland argues that his assertion to contrary has been qualified, and I am happy to adjust the citation accordingly.

But Holland is seriously mistaken in reaching his premature conclusion that there is no evidence of DHS or federal participation in the crackdown, and for attacking me for having asserted the connection: "Mayors in a handful of cities," he concludes, "responding to local political pressures, decided to break up their local occupations – decisions that were announced to the press well in advance – and were advised as to how best to do so."

He is wrong on many counts. My evidence for federal coordination with local police exceeds the Wonkette citation, which was not, in fact, the basis of my confidence in writing about this coordination in the crackdown. I relied, rather, on many other sources of evidence. Among them, I was relying on what NYPD told me itself. I am certain that NYPD coordinates with federal authorities in OWS-related arrests because an NYPD official informed me that they did so through the bars of my cell, as part of his formal warning to me before my release, apparently to deter me from activities that might result in my rearrest. As I reported in the Guardian on 19 October 2011, part of the seventh precinct sergeant's caution to me about what could happen to me if I was arrested again, if I "rejoined [my] friends the protesters", was a threat based on his assertion of federal coordination with the arrests. He told me that in a second arrest, I would be photographed and fingerprinted, and the data fed into a federal database, to follow me forever. My partner, Avram Ludwig, confirmed that he was given the same warning about his data being fed into a federal database in the event of a future arrest.

Holland is more dangerously wrong in insisting on his conclusion of merely local police response – without reporting on what DHS is doing right now in response to the FOIA requests by many organisations about its possible involvement in the OWS crackdown. Holland should be aware that DHS, as of this writing, is not denying all involvement in response to the FOIA requests. Rather, the agency is on record as taking a legal position that appears to reflect some possible participation, at least at staff levels below the senior one: as Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the DC Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, wrote to me yesterday:

"We have filed FOIA demands with multiple federal agencies seeking public release of information related to coordination of the Occupy Crackdown. It is not credible for the federal agencies to suggest that they have no involvement in (and are somehow not paying attention to) law enforcement response to the Occupy movement both on a tactical and political level.

"Our constitutional rights litigation on behalf of demonstrators over the years has uncovered time and again federal agency involvement in what were initially claimed to be local police actions."

(The link here is to background about the FOIA, and gives a pdf of one of the FOIAs.) Verheyden-Hilliard continues:

"[The] DHS has just contacted us asking that we narrow the request to information in the possession of 'senior staff'. They said that others were agreeing to do so. We are not. I believe what they may wish to do is conduct a limited search (with everyone's consent) and announce their exonerating results on their website as a PR effort to claim they have no involvement. I can forward you my correspondence with them about that today if you would like to see it."

Later that day, she sent me her letter to DHS, which reflects the phone conversation about narrowing the scope of the FOIA request:

"Dear Ms Busch,

"I am writing in response to your request that we limit our request for information regarding federal agency coordination or involvement in the response to Occupy encampments, to only that in possession of senior staff at DHS. You stated that you were making this request to media requestors and that all the other requestors had agreed and that we were the last one you were calling. You also stated that the DHS was intending to put the response to all the media FOIA requests on this topic, of which you believed there were 5 or 6 including ours, up on the web.

"As I raised in our discussion, I do not know the substance of the other requests that were made, and whether they contained any similar specificity of ours so I cannot comment on them. You did indicate that at this time they were being treated without differentiation as to specifics of the request.

"As I stated, we would certainly understand the agency prioritizing its search efforts to where it understands is the most likely location of responsive information. I would not assume that responsive information is solely contained among senior staff and think it likely that mid-level staff would carry out day to day responsibilities that would involve inter-agency coordination and work as liaisons with local law enforcement agencies and other federal agencies.

"It is premature for us, as requestors, to narrow our search request and forgo our entitlement to receive and review materials responsive to our request as originally formulated. As you know, the public interest in this subject matter is substantial […].

"I understand from our phone conversation that this initial search is not being limited to the DHS Headquarters but includes DHS component agencies […].

"Because we do not know what information will be derived in response, we cannot agree to "narrow" or change our request to senior staff only. We cannot suggest or agree that whatever the outcome of that search, it could be considered fully responsive or sufficient, and thus request that when the DHS publicly announces its response on its website, it will not state or assume that the responses are categorically complete or satisfy all the FOIA requests on this matter.

"We are happy to work with you to determine the most efficacious and efficient search for responsive records to be made available to the public and look forward to your initial search responses."

So it appears from this document, and from Ms Verheyden-Hilliard's summary of her conversation to which it refers, that DHS is actively negotiating with at least one of the organisations that submitted the FOIA request, to narrow the scope of what the FOIA will compel the agency to reveal. This letter appears to confirm that DHS is arguing to limit the reach of the entities' FOIA request: DHS is asking that the request only apply to "senior staff", which would allow DHS to conceal the involvement of any number of officials and agents below senior levels. They are taking this position rather than simply turning over the initially requested documents. If Mr Holland were right, that DHS had no involvement in the crackdown, they would have no disincentive to do so. For Holland not to have made any such an enquiry – and then to conclude that the crackdowns were merely a result of local policing and local politics – is, in my view, seriously inadequate reporting.

And journalist Jason Leopold sent me, on 1 December, this update about his own investigation, which, fascinatingly, gives a second-source confirmation to the evidence presented above that FOIA requesters are being asked by DHS to "narrow" their document search requests to "senior staff" only. His last paragraph also confirms that though LAPD denies all coordination with DHS, the LAPD has also acknowledged to him giving information about the protests to DHS:

"I was curious as to whether the federal government was monitoring the activities of Occupy Wall Street or played a role in what appeared to be a coordinated crackdown of the encampments by local law over the past several weeks, so I filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the FBI and Department of Homeland Security on 31 October, seeking a wide range of internal documents from both agencies about discussions officials may have had about Occupy Wall Street. Much to my surprise, because I usually wait an average of six months, the FBI responded to my FOIA two weeks later, on 15 November, stating in a letter that the agency conducted a search of its Central Records System and could not locate a single document about Occupy Wall Street. I found the 'no records' response to be remarkable […] As I noted in an report I wrote about the FBI's response to my FOIA, 'Jordan T Lloyd, a member of the FBI's cybersecurity team in New York, received dozens of emails about Occupy Wall Street' from a man 'who identified himself as a conservative computer security expert' who [had] 'gained access to the group's listserv' […]

"Because I don't believe the FBI conducted a thorough and comprehensive search, I filed an appeal with the agency on Monday […]

"DHS, on the other hand, appears to have located some documents responsive to my FOIA. I was contacted by an FOIA analyst a couple of weeks ago regarding my request and asked to "narrow" the search for responsive documents to "senior DHS officials" only due to the fact that there were multiple requests DHS received from others for similar documents and the staff, I was told, was 'overwhelmed'. I agreed to do this in the interest of receiving documents sooner rather than later. I requested DHS expedite my FOIA and the agency agreed to do so.

"Early Wednesday morning, as LAPD began to move in on the encampment at Los Angeles City Hall, I saw two DHS 'federal response' team SUVs parked in front of a building about a block away from the encampment, and DHS personnel who appeared to take over for several LAPD officers […] I phoned the police department to get additional information about DHS's presence and was told that the federal building was located just one block from the encampment and that DHS has an office in there, which is 'where they process immigrants'. LAPD told me there was 'absolutely no coordination or involvement by Department of Homeland Security' in any of the 'law enforcement activities' that took place early Wednesday morning, although local DHS officials were briefed by LAPD, the police spokesperson told me." (Indeed, DHS is already active in other ways in municipal security in LA.)

Holland's conclusion that I have no evidence of DHS or federal coordination with municipal police on protest surveillance and management also flies in the face of reporting that goes back nearly a decade, documenting in detail the creation by DHS of "security zones" that do just this. It also neglects to address a series of press conferences in which Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has confirmed to the New York Times and others close DHS-NYPD cooperation in the creation of DHS-managed surveillance zones where public protest is federally tracked. A 2009 study by Jeremy Nemeth, PhD, in the publication Cityfutures, details DHS coordination with municipal leaders and police forces in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, that turned whole sections of these cities into DHS-managed "security zones" (see maps in the link below).

In "The Closed City: Downtown Security Zones and the Loss of Public Space" (pdf), published before the Occupy movement came to be, Dr Nemeth and his team confirmed in detail how the embedded partnership between DHS and municipalities in controlling public space in "security zones", such as that around Zuccotti Park, would be used by municipalities to crack down on public assembly and dissent and to federally compile detailed surveillance of protesters. He wrote:

"I demonstrate how the post-9/11 security apparatus operating in US cities challenges physical, social and representational 'rights to the city' by limiting access to physical space, sorting and segregating users while reducing opportunities for social learning and active engagement, and carrying with it a broader anti-terrorism rhetoric that is employed at will to restrict political expression, assembly and a spirit of civic representation. The results of this study and the omnipresence of security zones should encourage planners and policy makers to consider them a new and increasingly pernicious land use type."

Nemeth is not a polemicist; he is an urban design critic. But he points out how DHS has "militarised" – his word – the "downtown security zone" of the financial district, where the Zuccotti Park clearances took place. He also notes that Civic Center in NYC, as well as areas in the other two cities, have become DHS "security zones" in which the very fabric of urban design is directed by DHS guidelines, in close collaboration with municipalities and municipal police, to contain an extensive system of surveillance and data retrieval about citizens, geared to manage and surveil public assembly.

Dr Nemeth cites the DHS term "Downtown Security Zones" in his title. The day after the clearing of Zuccotti Park, I was observing the protest site, which was ringed with unmarked white vans, which is no evidence, of course, of anything. But I also witnessed a white vehicle parked – illegally, suggesting that NYPD was leaving it alone – on the northwest edge of the square, on East side of the street, at about 11.30am. It was identified with blue lettering as "Downtown Security". There is no business in New York City listed under that name. There is, though, a region of lower Manhattan, in which Zuccotti Park lies, as you can see on the maps in the Nemeth article, that Homeland Security has repeatedly, publicly and legally identified as the DHS "Downtown Security Zone". There are other DHS "security zones" as well).

Is this sighting proof of DHS surveillance of the protests that day, over and above the DHS surveillance of public protest that Nemeth documents, that has been coordinated since 2002? No. Does it merit further investigation? I believe so.

Mr Holland also seems unaware of the billions that DHS has pumped into domestic police forces, integrated in such a way that it is naïve, in a sense, for him and for me to even be debating whether federal forces "coordinate" with municipal ones because now they are often financially merged into one entity. The amount of money flowing from DHS to NYPD is stunning, as El Diario reports:

"The New York City Police Department plans to spend about $24m in federal homeland security grants to pay for overtime. The NYPD budget lists an estimated $180m in counter-terrorism and intelligence spending for the upcoming year, with one half covered with federal grants. […] A study by the academic journal Environment and Planning estimated that nearly 40% of public space in downtown Manhattan is a 'security zone'."

In other words, this 2011 report indicates that DHS is paying NYPD three and a half times NYPD's overtime budget annually: $180m of DHS money is spent on "intelligence gathering"; so $90m of NYPD's budget, in one year alone, is from DHS. Thus, Holland and I are foolish to debate over whether there is "coordination" between NYPD and DHS. If you look at the numbers, financially, NYPD is, to some extent, DHS. Look at the Nemeth maps: geopolitically, lower Manhattan is, within certain boundaries, the province of DHS. This is true of Zuccotti Park, where NYPD received $25m to surveil and track license plates.

So Holland's criticism that it is invention on my part to reference federal and municipal coordination in protest crackdowns on dissent is not only oblivious to the funding and geopolitical jurisdictional issues cited above, but is also seriously ahistorical. Tom Hayden's piece in the Nation is far more accurate, in that he chides me, on his part, for not going far enough in reminding readers of how common such federal-municipal coordination has been in suppressing US dissent and that such crackdowns are old news:

"Since the 1999 Seattle protests, the involvement of the FBI with local police has followed a repeated pattern. First, an FBI counter-terrorism task force warns local officials, media and the public that thousands of masked "anarchists" will be invading their cities to break the law, fight the police, break windows and destroy property. They then advise that all protests be literally fenced into protest cages. To sweeten the coordination, tens of thousands of federal dollars are offered to local police forces for "security" [acquisition of the latest in gas grenades, launchers, surveillance cameras, even paper shredders in one case]. Young people and their convergence centers are targeted for prior detention, with the assistance of informants and provocateurs.

"The list of cities where this has occurred is a long one, starting with Seattle: Los Angeles (2000 convention), Washington DC (2000, 2002), Genoa (2001), Quebec City (2001), Oakland (2003), Miami (2003), New York (2004, 2008), Minneapolis-St Paul (2008), Denver/Boulder (2008), to list only the most dramatic and recent."

Hayden is exactly right in looking at the economic "sweetener" for this federal-municipal crackdown on dissent., Manhattan local news, reported that for the proposed Chinatown DHS armed "security zone", suggested when it seemed as if terrorist trials would be held in NYC, "The city has estimated that the security measures will cost $215m in the first year and $200m the following year – a chunk of the costs will go to officers working overtime during the trials. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Senator Charles Schumer and several local politicians are calling for the federal government to cover the city's costs during the pending trials."

These collaborations are so lucrative that yet another DHS security zone was proposed – the midtown security zone: 34th to 59th – as The New York Times reported:

"The Police Department has requested $21m in federal grant money to pay for the first phase, said Mr. Kelly, who added that the cost could reach $58m. He conceded, under questioning from Peter F Vallone Jr, the committee chairman, that the plan was dependent on federal funds."

Given these numbers, it is absurd to ask where, in Manhattan at least, municipal police are collaborating with DHS in managing public assembly. It is more reasonable to ask, where is it not? But why stop with Midtown? The new World Trade Center area will be yet another new "security zone" – with plans to give Ray Kelly jurisdiction, and with an extraordinary number of police – 600 NYPD cops, a veritable battalion – at the World Trade Center unit.

Mr Holland further objects, for instance, to the fact that I wrote that lobbyists were vying for an $850,000 contract to undermine Occupy. The "smear" proposal is written to the American Banking Association by former employees of House speaker John Boehner (Republican, Ohio). In other words, it was written by sophisticated and connected political insiders. "The proposal was written on the letterhead of the lobbying firm Clark Lytle Geduldig & Cranford and addressed to one of CLGC's clients, the American Bankers Association," as "Up with Chris Hayes" reported:

"CLGC's memo (pdf) proposes that the ABA pay CLGC $850,000 to conduct 'opposition research' on Occupy Wall Street in order to construct 'negative narratives' about the protests and allied politicians. The memo also asserts that Democratic victories in 2012 would be detrimental for Wall Street and targets specific races in which it says Wall Street would benefit by electing Republicans instead […] Two of the memo's authors, partners Sam Geduldig and Jay Cranford, previously worked for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. Geduldig joined CLGC before Boehner became speaker; Cranford joined CLGC this year after serving as the speaker's assistant for policy. A third partner, Steve Clark, is reportedly 'tight' with Boehner, according to a story by Roll Call that CLGC features on its website.

"Jeff Sigmund, an ABA spokesperson, confirmed that the association got the memo. 'Our Government Relations staff did receive the proposal – it was unsolicited and we chose not to act on it in any way,' he said in a statement to 'Up'."

Holland is journalistically careless here: he writes, about my concern about this memo, in concert with similar TV soundbites, being possible evidence of high-level message efforts:

"This is just sad. The memo Hayes unearthed was drafted on 24 November, more than a week after the evictions of camps in Zuccotti Park, Oakland, Denver, Salt Lake City and Portland. There was no 'message coordination' of any kind – it was a proposal that was reportedly rejected. It wasn't produced by or sent to any organ of government – it was a memo by scummy lobbyists looking for a pay-check from the banking lobby."

First, I was referring to the "message coordination" that I was witnessing as rightwing commentators on television shows were using similar soundbites, as well as to the memo in question. Second, Holland's conclusion that "there was no 'message coordination' of any kind" – a summary for which he offers no additional evidence – and his assumption that, because a self-interested ABA spokesperson said the memo was rejected, therefore it was rejected – is jaw-droppingly credulous. Holland also argues that since the proposal was made a week after the Occupy clearances, it is irrelevant; this also seems to me specious reasoning, as the Occupy movement's impact, as the proposal itself notes in the goals for the future that it identifies, is directed at the future.

Sophisticated political insiders would not, in my view, put an unsolicited proposal of this kind in writing to the ABA, since doing so could burn the recipient: it could be leaked – as, indeed, it was. The fact that such a proposal was put in writing – with a dollar amount specified – suggests strongly to me that not-in-writing discussions (which is how business is done at that level) preceded it along the decision-making chain. But neither Holland nor I can be sure of our conflicting conclusions until there is more investigation.

Holland also complains that AlterNet was not my source for the PERF (a policing organisation) mention in a separate blogpost about the NYPD police. But Holland seems to be complaining about my having mischaracterised an AlterNet story, which I, in fact, never saw: rather, my source for the blogpost was this; and indeed, AlterNet was the source link for it. AlterNet, in turn, cited the San Francisco Bay Guardian as its source. So, while AlterNet editor Don Hazen did email me to tell me that AlterNet was not the source of my PERF blog mention, and I promised to check on it, I did not immediately change the citation – since, in fact, the other AlterNet piece, which does warn about the influence of PERF, was my source.

Critics generally have attacked my argument as a "conspiracy theory" – that I am referring to a "shadowy elite" that wishes to suppress dissent. I am doing no such thing. I am referring to the elite in the light of day. There is nothing mysterious, opaque or even new about the nature of the self-interest I am describing; nor is my argument new. I first made the case that a small group of military contractors benefited financially from a hyped "war on terror" and the suppression of liberties in the US, in 2007, in my book The End of America, and backed it up with hundreds of footnotes: the argument, which spent five months on the New York Times bestseller list, has never been debunked. My recent blog merely updates the argument to address the "cui bono?" post Citizens United, in suppressing dissent – a "cui bono?" that may well now include Congress itself.

What evidence do I have that congresspeople overseeing and funding DHS would be influenced by the wishes of their colleagues regarding their own financial benefits and freedom from oversight of their own financial transactions? I am frankly astounded that critics would find this assertion surprising; but less surprised that many of these critics are writing from outside the Beltway. I have not just covered politics as a journalist, but also participated in it as a political consultant, both formal and informal, to two presidential campaigns. (For Gore 2000, I was a formal campaign adviser: contrary to RNC mythology, my brief was not "wardrobe", but rather policy on women's issues, and messaging. I was also married to a Clinton speechwriter, and observed the message decision-making process from the perspective of a spouse.) As a professional courtesy, and also because I signed a nondisclosure agreement, I have not previously written about my campaign experience. But the general lessons I learned from it about how the system works on the Hill are disclosable.

Holland thinks it risible that I am certain that congresspeople overseeing an executive branch agency would affect it, and be affected by their own colleagues' interests. But Holland is mistaken when he objects to my analysis, saying:

"DHS is a cabinet-level executive branch agency. It does not 'report' to Homeland Security Chair Peter King in some kind of chain-of-command – in fact, it doesn't 'report' to Congress at all except for a handful of official reports required by law. King can hold hearings and call DHS officials to testify before his committee, but he has nothing to do with the day-to-day operations of the agency."

This is entirely misleading since congressional subcommittees don't just hold hearings, they also draft legislation: "Subcommittees hold hearings, take testimony, and prepare the initial draft of legislation before submitting the bill for approval, revision, or rejection by the full committee." Indeed, the Department of Homeland Security website itself, as you can see in the link, proudly shows day-to-day and, indeed, hour-by-hour congressional involvement with DHS intelligence reports, messaging and draft legislation.

Holland may find it hard to believe, but from the experience of 14 months I spent in total as a formal and informal political adviser, it is unquestionable to me that Representative Peter King and others on the subcommittee overseeing DHS would be influenced by their own, and by their colleagues', wishes for avoiding the financial transparency posed by OWS demands. It is also obvious to me that the White House would be influenced by Congress' wishes on these issues, even though DHS is, indeed, part of the executive branch. This network of influence is simply how the system works.

I saw firsthand, day after day, how, for a president or a vice president or members of their senior staff or campaign staff, every idea about policy, governing or even messaging is filtered through this decision-making tree:

1) How does it poll?

2) How do the polls play out geographically?

3) What does this do for individual, high net-worth donors?

4) What does this do for this candidate's special interests? But always, No 5 is part of every decision:

5) How does this proposed idea, policy, decision or message affect the interlocking network around the leader that is made up of individual congresspeople's own electoral needs; their own individual, high net-worth donor networks; their own special interest networks; their own financially-benefiting, revolving-door, former aides' networks; and their own, or their relatives' own, future work as lobbyists? (A distant, final "6" in the decision-making equation is some faint, remembered, youthfully idealistic impulse to good governance, or to actual problem-solving, which can be called upon if issues one through five have been addressed). Every decision, whether or not it is made in the formal organisational chart that my critics are pointing to, is filtered through a calculus of future reprisals, or future alliance-related benefits, from other members of Congress, both inside and outside the leader's own political party.

Calculations of how individual congresspeople around the leader in question would react to any given decision or even phrase in a speech, were constant, inexorable and a continually shifting form of chess. If money were not part of the equation, there would be nothing wrong with this consideration on the part of every leader of how individual congresspeople will react to a decision. The chess of influence on the Hill is how our system was originally set up to work. The corrupting element is the money now involved.

Can I offer formal documentation that this is how business is also done in relation to congressional decision-making about DHS, and then about DHS's own decision-making? Um – duh! – no. Obviously, I have no such documentation of this role of congressional self-interest. These favors and calculations are not generally put in writing; nor are they presented to journalists in press releases. But is it crazy to address this role of influence and expectation on those on the DHS subcommittee, or for that matter on any subcommittee? As anyone who has actually worked on the Hill knows, it would be crazy not to.

I wrote in the Guardian piece that a possible congressional motivator for cracking down on OWS is that when the people of OWS get their hands on the books, a great deal of fraud is likely to be exposed. Some critics called this wild speculation. One of the issues that came up often in my informal survey of OWS is the goal of auditing the Federal Reserve. An audit has revealed $16tn in unaccountable disbursements. Another point to consider in terms of the potential threat posed to Congress by OWS demands about Glass-Steagall is that nine of the 12 members of the congressional supercommittee had voted to repeal that legislation (for Senate, see here; for House of Representatives, see here).

Are these facts themselves evidence that Congress may be motivated by benefitting from a crackdown against the potential financial transparency demanded by OWS? No. Do they bear additional investigation? Assuredly.

Because of a miscommunication on my part in the editing process, there are, indeed, two errors in my posted Guardian piece: "kale derivatives", ridiculously enough, was a typo: it should have read "fake derivatives". And I wrote that the Committee to Protect Journalists had issued a FOIA requests. This is incorrect. It was the National Lawyers' Guild, among others. I have corrected accordingly.

But as far as my central argument goes, I stand my ground. I have here presented additional evidence that NYPD and federal authorities coordinate efforts in the surveillance and arrests of OWS supporters. I have presented what appears to be DHS's own non-denial, as of this writing, of potential lower level staff involvement. The oversight role of DHS by specific congressmen, as specified clearly on DHS's own website, is clear. I argue still that congressmen and women have a confirmed financial interest in the status quo, which individual Occupy members' first 100 answers to me about their agenda would directly threaten.

The headline of my piece – which writers do not select – is "The Shocking Truth Behind the Crackdown at Occupy". What I believe I wrote, rather, is an account of some shocking confirmed truths – and a call to raise some additional questions. I am glad to have corrected the errors in the posted piece, as well as added additional information about the sources of my confirmed evidence of federal/municipal coordination. But would I put that same essential call out to the public again, about the potential interests at stake that may be influencing the violence of the crackdown? Absolutely.

My analysis about the various forms of collaboration between DHS and local law enforcement is "on firm footing", confirms Verheyden-Hilliard, "and the record will speak for itself as it comes out. The whole last decade has been about the integration of law enforcement on a vertical level."

There is a house on fire, and it is ours.

This article was originally published by AlterNet and is crossposted by permission of the author your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

-104 # LessSaid 2011-12-03 10:53
Unfortunately, I think this article wasn't necessary and it's just an effort by Naomi Wolf to rescue and ill-conceived idea. Her suggestion won't work in the U.S. and it hasn't worked in the UK. I know this comment will generate a great deal of objection. But, my view of that is, people will be responding to who I said this about, as oppose to the objection of what the person is suggestion.

I also wonder why RSN didn't post the article '"Naomi Wolf's Shocking Truth about Occupy is Anything But",'.
+7 # Capn Canard 2011-12-03 18:57
I read Joshua Holland's juvenile hatchet job and I read the original piece by Naomi Wolf. Holland seemed more like he was trying to get the attention of FOX News. How long before he gets hired by evil Murdock? Was he right? Yes and no. Wolf does let some suggestion of speculation creep in, though many readers will make that jump without her help. This is SOP for Fox News or any morning news program on any Network.

Wolf's piece was not shocking, I refer you to the post below by Goodsensecynic. He nails it. I see it as Holland trying to win a pissing contest. I didn't find any of Wolf's statements beyond the usual fair that one can see everyday on Fox News or hear on any Network. If Wolf crossed a line it is that she dared question an Official U.S. Government account of what happened and that is something that is rarely done by News agencies. The news broadcasts of CNN, FOX, ABC, CBS, NBC, or MSNBC are to intimidated challenge a government story unless there was some very powerful economic interest that might look bad then they turn over every stone to prove gov't guilty. But here Wolf is telling a story that challenges the real power, not just the Gov't power. We see that Network News coddles the powerful: they serve no real purpose other than to comfort the Powerful and to afflict the un-comfortable.
+4 # RLF 2011-12-05 05:39
Holland's article was a trashy Fox news type of hatchet job. All piss and no evidence or truth. He put no work into it. Probably professional jealousy.
-1 # readerz 2011-12-05 23:17
Seeing the headlines, it looks like she said, he said, she said. But the meat is quite different. Those who practice cointelpro want people to think that a movement is divided, as in the '60s. First, they try to physically remove the protest, and then they try the psychological stuff. I hope that Naomi keeps the faith, and realizes that anybody with any sense knows that the Feds will feed articles, and it's hard to tell why. There was an excellent article in RSN recently about Mosher, one of the worst spies on Americans, as well as somebody who encouraged murder and mayhem. The Feds were not allowed to do that kind of activity after a certain point because it was clearly abusive, but now? Homeland Security and the Patriot Act allows them almost carte blanche.
+79 # wantrealdemocracy 2011-12-03 11:23
The Shocking Truth Behind the Crackdown at Occupy is the involvement of Congress. Our nation has suffered a coup d'e-tat. (a sudden stroke of state policy involving deliberate violation of constitutional forms by a group of persons in authority.

Wealthy people (the top 1%) will go to any length to protect their interests and to prevent corrective measures to be taken to prosecute any illegal action by their social class. These greedy evil persons fill the halls of Congress. Our democracy has been murdered by our 'honored members' of Congress. It is the duty of the citizens of our nation, as is stated in our Declaration of Independence to alter or abolish the government and to institute a new government. The people of Occupy are doing a wonderful job of alerting our citizens of the need to change our government. The citizens must reject all current members of Congress and replace them with honest and ethical people with morals, compassion and empathy---and a love of life over greed for profit at the expense of all life on earth. We are at a point of crisis and people must stand up and fight for change.
+18 # Dave_s Not Here 2011-12-03 13:55
"The citizens must reject all current members of Congress and replace them with honest and ethical people with morals, compassion and empathy---and a love of life over greed for profit at the expense of all life on earth. We are at a point of crisis and people must stand up and fight for change."

Right. And these wonderful folks are going to come from..... where?
+29 # Vern Radul 2011-12-03 12:25
Committee on Homeland Security Chair Rep. Peter King (R-NY) is upset at the growing movement and the media's coverage of it, hoping that a modern day version of protests from five decades ago isn't being recaptured now.

"It's really important for us not to give any legitimacy to these people in the streets," said King on Laura Ingraham's radio show Friday evening. "I remember what happened in the 1960s when the left-wing took to the streets and somehow the media glorified them and it ended up shaping policy. We can't allow that to happen."

+28 # reiverpacific 2011-12-03 12:45
If "they" could put the late Sen. Ted Kennedy on a "No-fly" list this comes as no surprise!
We don't know but thanks to courageous reporters like Ms. Wolf, we are continuing to find out, the full scope of the surveillance and repression of the many-headed as they push-back against the corporate state and it's goons.
It's just a new and more technology-base d version of COINTELPRO but it didn't stop Alcatraz, Wounded Knee (2) or the 60's and 70's struggles on many fronts and it won't stop a critical mass if we stick together.
To "LessSaid", d'you think that Ms. Wolf made this up or should have just kept quiet? This is all too common in the US already among the owner-media.
Britain still has a relatively free press of some quality and depth (apart from the tabloids, mostly bought for the horse-racing section and girlie photos). The likes of "The Guardian" (which I took for years) and "The Independent" on the left of center and a full spectrum + the BBC, represent all views, unlike the "Fragmented States" where one has to GO TO ONE OF THESE, or the "Alternative" media like RSA and "Democracy Now!" etc. for any truth or detail.
The reason that "it" hasn't worked in the UK is that there is a tradition of mass resistance and a press which still reports from the front, not a bunch of cyphers who aim to please their advertisers.
+34 # rsnfan 2011-12-03 13:35
I was listening to NPR this morning and there were news reports of American government officials complaining about some Middle East governments, including Syria, cracking down on citizen protesters. All I could do was shake my head. Our government is one of hypocrisy.
-45 # 2011-12-03 13:57
I would have much more respect for Wulf is she would re-direct her advertised anti-Israel cruiser to help save the thousands of Syrians being killed and maimed instead of producing these long long ego trestises.
+26 # goodsensecynic 2011-12-03 13:58
In the interest of full disclosure, I have always thought that Mr. Holland was a bit pompous and far too closely aligned with the president and his party.

That said, I think I have interpreted his message correctly. Here goes:

1. There is no nefarious conspiracy, just like-minded people doing the same thing at the same time.

2. There is no cause-and-effec t relationship, just some fascinating coincidences.

3. There is no ruling class, just some diverse people with some disproportionat e influence on public policy.

4. The state is not "the executive committee of the ruling class" (which doesn't exist anyway), just people working government the way government works."

5. The most important Marxist was Groucho.

6. Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.

Not to be deemed biased, of course, I also would like to offer my own
critique of Naomi Wolf. Her report on the behaviour of the authorities claims that they performed "shocking" acts. I disagree. Nothing "shocking" occurred. "Appalling," yes, but hardly "shocking," which I take to mean "surprising." Surely we are not so easily surprised anymore.
+4 # Buddha 2011-12-05 17:54
Of course, that kind of argument always has some power because there always is some of the "it can't happen here"-ism. The actions Naomi Wolf points out, and the provision in the recent defense apporpriations bill allowing the US military to act on US soil and to detain US citizens indefinitely without right of habeas corpus, should be a wake up call. But when I point out how the groundwork seems be being laid for a Police State, I get back "you are just fearmongering".

BTW, a decade or two back I saw a great exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art of political cartoons and magazine cover drawings from Germany before Adolf Hitler's initial election through to his granting of "absolute power"...and it was amazing how well they predicted the course Germany was taking, long before it actually did. There must have been some serious "it can't happen here"ism going on there at the time too. All it takes for a representative democracy to descent into a Police State is people in their ignorance or fear to relax legal and Constitutional safe-guards to Freedom.
+20 # Carolyn 2011-12-03 15:53
They have the force. We have the power. You can't kill an idea that is for the good of the whole.
+20 # 2011-12-03 16:58
Naomi Wolf, You are the most courageous and righteous editorial writer on the "Occupy Protesters. Keep writing. Your voice is a light in the political wilderness. Politicians who are running for POTUS on both sides lack authentic concern for the people who are suffering in our country and we need a third party or inspired/inspir ing candidate to solvve the economic problems in the US.
+6 # mwd870 2011-12-05 10:16
I scrolled down to find a comment similar to my reaction to this article. Naomi Wolf is a courageous writer and one of the strongest supporters of the Occupy Movement.

Naomi Wolf was there. She experienced what it is like to be arrested and threatened though she had not violated the law.

You only have to look at the riot gear and other para-military equipment used against protesters to know there is collaboration between DHS and local law enforcement.

Just hearing Peter King deny any accountability, one senses it's true the subcommittee overseeing DHS . . . wishes to avoid the financial transparency posed by OWS demands. It is likely the administration gave at least tacit approval to the plans to disrupt the protesters. "This network of influence is simply how the system works."

It is impossible to deny there are rightwing commentators on television endlessly repeating predictable sound bytes against liberal concerns.

Naomi Wolf presents a sound and factual response to her critics.
+14 # mrbadexample 2011-12-03 17:06
The more I read stories such as this, the more I'm convinced that the status quo is beyond redemption. Changing the faces in Congress in a post-CITIZENS UNITED world means that we'll just see a new set of the bought-off. And something is broken when the current office-holders are not stepping forward to call out the corruption of the system. The only person I have any trust in is Bernie Sanders, and it's pretty close to impossible to get another 50 socialists in the Senate.
+7 # anarchteacher 2011-12-03 18:27
For an excellent follow-up article to Naomi Wolf's surperb piece --


The Making of a Prison Society, by Will Grigg
+20 # Kootenay Coyote 2011-12-03 18:34
Just because there's a Conspiracy Theory doesn't mean there's no Conspiracy.
+11 # bugbuster 2011-12-03 22:06
Naomi, you will go down in history as a patriot on the order of Tom Payne. How far will the goons go to prevent such a simple thing as reinstating common sense laws that were set aside only 20-odd years ago? Is the world going to watch America's best and brightest beat down until they give up on America and emigrate, or will they respond as they did to Watergate and Teapot Dome? Will America spend centuries with nothing but robber barons and serfs, or can it save itself?
+12 # futhark 2011-12-03 22:36
This pretty much lays to rest any doubts that we are living in a very Orwellian "security state", with these violations of Constitutionall y guaranteed inherent liberties essential to our Republic being condoned and coordinated by the very highest levels of the Executive Branch.
+4 # AMLLLLL 2011-12-04 16:18
Great reporting, Naomi. The funny thing is that you're probably already on a list. Bugbuster, I have the same question, but watch. For every disheartening or disgusting piece of news, there is an uplifting piece. Send out the ripple of positive energy; it's more powerful than the negative because it resonates with people. That's why Occupy is doing so well in this short time span, and why the powers-that-be are running scared.
+7 # Repeacer 2011-12-04 17:42
In the light of the major problems that the 99% are facing, this issue raised by Joshua Holland was a F waste of time. If there is any energy left in the progressive part of the nation to correct supposed inaccuracies, why not spend it in exposing the lies and misinformation by the MSM, or the lack of coverage of major scandals? I feel sorry that you had to set the record straight on something that I consider not worthy of an argument. I wrote to Mr. Holland personally for staining the positive and relevant character of news with such negativity. I appreciate your work Naomi. Progressive writers deserve support and encouragement, not destructive criticism.
-13 # cypress72 2011-12-04 18:19
I would like someone to file a FOIA (if possible) to audit the finances of the #OWS group. Where did they get their orginal seed money from, who contributed, and where did all the contributions go?? These questions need to be answered especially for the benefit of all those who were pepper-sprayed and roughed up by the police. Someone or some group made a quick $500,000+ based on the naivete of the Left. This movement was a distraction, at best.
+4 # AMLLLLL 2011-12-05 15:26
You sound like you listen to Fox Noise,cypress. There was no original seed money; people just showed up. We are not nearly finished. Stay tuned.
0 # Capn Canard 2011-12-06 17:03
cypress72, good luck! lol that is the most ridiculous thing I've ever read. FOIA applies only to executive branch government agencies. OWS does not need to answer those questions until there is an investigation a criminal activity. There are no such accusations, nor has there even been a suggestion of illegal activity, hence no such action is being taken. What color is the sky in your world?
0 # motamanx 2011-12-06 21:59
"All governments lie."
--I.F. Stone

This, sadly, happens to be one of those times. The current crop of US Congressmen must be replaced. That is what OWS is all about.

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