Please forgive my periodic absence of late - my home internet has been acting up, and between that and Thanksgiving, a mini-breather seemed in order.
As I mentioned more than a week ago, there is a fairly convincing case emerging that the Federal Government in the guise of one agency or another definitely helped -- and may have played a lead role -- in coordinating the brutal series of high-profile, "show of force" evictions of #Occupy protesters in many cities across the US, including good old Salt City Central.
Since the initial story broke that los federales almost certainly had a hand in the tactical coordination of many cities' ridiculously jackbooted, overfunded and militarized police forces, one article in particular has been rocketing around #Occupy on social media. Naomi Wolf wrote it and it was published in the Guardian under the tag "The shocking truth about the crackdown on Occupy":
...just when Americans thought we had the picture -- was this crazy police and mayoral overkill, on a municipal level, in many different cities? -- the picture darkened. The National Union of Journalists and the Committee to Protect Journalism issued a Freedom of Information Act request to investigate possible federal involvement with law enforcement practices that appeared to target journalists.
...To Europeans the enormity of this breach may not be obvious at first. Our system of government prohibits the creation of a federalised police force, and forbids federal or militarised involvement in municipal peacekeeping.
I noticed that rightwing pundits and politicians on the TV shows on which I was appearing were all on-message against OWS. Journalist Chris Hayes reported on a leaked memo that revealed lobbyists vying for an $850,000 contract to smear Occupy. Message coordination of this kind is impossible without a full-court press at the top. This was clearly not just a case of freaked-out mayors' city-by-city municipal overreaction against mess in the parks and cranky campers.
Good for the NUJ and CPJ for submitting an FOIA request regarding this coordination.
Which reminds me, we have a home-grown Peewee version of the FOIA here in Utah, the Government Records Access and Management Act (GRAMA), don't we? We do!
And look what I happen to have photographic evidence of right here:
To whom it may concern,
Under Utah's Government Records Access and Management Act (UCA 63G-2-201) Occupy SLC and Jesse Fruhwirth request to inspect all records obtainable under the act held by Salt Lake City Police Department that pertain to Occupy SLC beginning with June 9, 2011, to the present. To be clear, "all records obtainable under the act" includes electronic records, communications, voicemails, e-mails and police reports.
This request is parallel to an electronic GRAMA request made of the Salt Lake City Mayor's office for records pertaining to Occupy SLC from June 9 to the present, submitted Nov. 15.
I'll have further information and/or updates as they develop on this front. Attempting to determine whether what went on qualifies as a "conspiracy" seems a little premature at this point to me -- all available information should be gathered about what was and was not discussed at any "coordination" before people get too excited.
It does seem at first glance that there is a top-down, widespread effort on many levels to crush #Occupy, though - god knows a guy like Glenn Beck would have had a freaking field day with about 1/10th of what has been revealed here.