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View Diary: Actually read the documents released by the FBI about OWS (319 comments)

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  •  What about the fact (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shuruq, indubitably

    that of the dozens (hundreds?) of cities that had Occupy encampments, the use of extraordinary force was limited to a much smaller number of cities? (AFAIK; maybe I'm wrong about that.)

    And... what does it really mean that some cities used the same kinds of extraordinary force on the same day? What advantage would they gain through that kind of coordination? If I were coordinating that kind of effort, I might have preferred to have them take place on different days, so that the experiences from each could be applied elsewhere.

    I think it's at least as likely that the mayors and/or police chiefs were reading the press reports from the other cities, and these reinforced their own beliefs as to how to respond. Perhaps also, they had received certain kinds of training from DHS that were not intended to be applied to protests such as OWS; but they each, individually, had the idea to use OWS as a way to exercise such training. That would hardly be the first time such misjudgments have been made.

    Let me be clear, again, that I am angered by the violent police attacks, and I do not and will not try to justify them. However, I think it's entirely possible that these actions were not the result of some larger conspiracy to put down Occupy. And I have yet to see any substantial evidence in support of such a coordinated effort.

    Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

    by Nowhere Man on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 05:25:32 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Well, in life I find when I have to bend over (10+ / 0-)

      backwards to avoid conclusions which experience and history shows to be true -- for example, collusion between business and state security apparatuses, which extends back to the 1880s and the Pinkertons/Industrialists/Government suppression of labor protests (including agents provocateur)...

      ...if I have to get ahistorical to uphold the "open mind" stance, I usually turn out wrong.

      I mean, I'd really have to hear a reason more substantial than "such things can't happen." The FBI, DHS, maybe other agencies hold conference calls and meetings with mayors and police and then suddenly, in the next week or so, most of OWS is met with violence across the nation. Certainly in the larger cities, universally.

      When there was perhaps a bit of violence in a few locations before such calls and meetings.

      Seems a pretty strained stance to hold there's not a connection.

      I'd really have to wonder if such a stance is more about wanting to keep the President/Administration free from taint, however removed, than plain objectivity.


      The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

      by Jim P on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 05:57:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You didn't hear me say that it can't happen (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jim P, Shuruq, WB Reeves

        I acknowledge the history of government interference in political activity, including Pinkertons, COINTELPRO, etc. But I'd also say that history and human nature seem to show that conspiracies of any sort are difficult to maintain for very long in secret.

        However, there's no need to establish -- or hypothesize about -- a conspiracy when mutually aligned interests will drive people to act as if they're conspiring. This could easily explain what happened in those cities that used riot-style tactics to evict Occupations: They learned from and were inspired by each other, perhaps indirectly. No direct conspiracy or Federal involvement needed. If you wish to link the crackdowns to the aforementioned meetings, the link could be as simple as this: it got those local leaders together in the same room, which got them talking directly to each other, which led them to share ideas...

        Given that there's no solid evidence of a conspiracy, and given that no one has even provided a good motivation for this kind of conspiracy (particularly, why would they bother coordinating down to the level of tactics to be used? And if they would bother, why wasn't that even more widespread?), I'll tend towards explanations that don't require conspiracies. If a razor was good enough for Occam, it's good enough for me.

        Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

        by Nowhere Man on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 07:12:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  After the Seattle WTO demonstrations a group of (12+ / 0-)

          police from the area went around consulting with city police forces across the country, and formed a large police network of cities that held regular coordinating phonecalls, discussing tactics, news, etc.  So the coordination could have come from any level, or more, or all of them.

        •  You have a point. Still, (8+ / 0-)

          it would be better if this kind of thing would go away from our discussions:

          But I'd also say that history and human nature seem to show that conspiracies of any sort are difficult to maintain for very long in secret.
          We took on 20,000 Nazis after WWII, a thousand or so coming directly to the US, and this was kept secret for 30 years (the imported Nazis) and 50 years (the ones who stayed in Europe.)

          The US marched 100,000 men through nuclear blast sites minutes later, and that was kept secret for over 40 years.

          CIA across the nation released bacteria into cities (mild strains of cold-related stuff), had to involve a hundred or more actors, and this was kept secret for almost 30 years.

          We just saw the LIBOR rate-fixing business come out. Some reports are saying this has been going on since the 1980s. Thirty years, hundreds if not thousands of participants.

          These are not the only examples of literally hundreds to tens of thousands of people knowing something and keeping it out of the public eye. So the "hard to keep big things secret" argument is much more fluff than it is compelling.

          As to possible motive: Well, police states always have a stake in exerting control, even all the way down to the block and even building and floor level. It's pretty hard to ignore that laws and executive orders and court actions in the US for the last 11 years have all been aimed at greater monitoring of the population. That we can speak of "American Suspects" interchangeably with "American Citizens." We are inarguably more monitored and recorded by the State than Stalin, Goebbels, or the Stasi ever dreamed possible. Hell, even more than Orwell.

          What's the motive there? Terrorism threats from Quaker grandmothers in wheelchairs?

          In matters of the poor against the rich; armed agents of the state versus restless citizens; paranoia (informed by both long and recent history) strikes me as more prudent than a "well, I'll believe it when I'm dragged out of bed" stance.

          And while you can make a case for it all being chance, one has to strain to believe that
          .


          The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

          by Jim P on Sun Dec 30, 2012 at 09:37:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  On much of this, we agree (0+ / 0-)

            To put it a little too blithely, the government does bad things and tries to keep them secret. I don't deny that.

            On the other hand, it's a little too easy to make things look like a conspiracy simply by including them in a single generalized statement, such as:

            The US marched 100,000 men through nuclear blast sites minutes later, and that was kept secret for over 40 years.
            This may actually illustrate my point. To the best of my (far from complete) knowledge, this was not the result of a single planned action by an elite group of high-level officials. It is, instead, a summary of hundreds, if not thousands, of separate actions made by many individual leaders over more than a decade. And it's worth noting that for much of that time, many of The Powers That Were had been keeping themselves in blissful ignorance about the dangers of atomic radiation. For example:
            In a June 27, 1951, memorandum to high DOD officials, Dr. Richard Meiling, the chair of the secretary of defense's top medical advisory group, the Armed Forces Medical Policy Council, addressed the question of "Military Medical Problems" associated with bomb tests. The memorandum made clear that troops should be placed at bomb tests not so much to examine risk as to demonstrate relative safety.

            "Fear of radiation," Dr. Meiling's memorandum began, "is almost universal among the uninitiated and unless it is overcome in the military forces it could present a most serious problem if atomic weapons are used." In fact, "[i]t has been proven repeatedly that persistent ionizing radiation following air bursts does not occur, hence the fear that it presents a dangerous hazard to personnel is groundless." Dr. Meiling urged that "positive action be taken at the earliest opportunity to demonstrate this fact in a practical manner."

            (If Dr. Meiling did not believe his own claims about the safety of exposure to nuclear blast radiation, he was extremely good at faking it.)

            So to say that there was a conspiracy to expose 100,000 soldiers to nuclear blast sites seems to be premature, at best; I don't think there's any evidence of coordinated activity at that level -- and to the extent that there was coordinated action, the participants may have been totally unaware that what they were doing was, in fact, evil. There may be a number of genuine conspiracies inside this history, but that's kinda my point too: they would have been smaller conspiracies, which gave them more likelihood of success.

            Incidentally, the LIBOR scandal, if I remember right, actually illustrates my point to some extent: I'm remembering news stories which describe the banks as acting in ways that fit the "aligned self-interests" paradigm. In other words, there wasn't a so much an actively coordinated conspiracy, as there was a set of bad actors who tacitly understood the advantages of mutual cooperation (even if that cooperation were illegal, which may or may not have been obvious to them at the time.) I don't have time to research this now, but I may be able to come back to it later.

            It may seem like I'm quibbling, but I don't think I am: As I see it, when we call a "conspiracy" something that was not actively coordinated among the various players, we're wasting time and energy trying to hunt down and expose a boogieman who doesn't exist. Looking for evidence of something that didn't even happen is at best an exercise in futility; it can also seriously damage our credibility. We may be experiencing both of these kinds of losses right here and now.

            Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

            by Nowhere Man on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 06:15:09 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  No man, the 100,000 marched through (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bronte17

              kept the secret, and on orders. They saw the blast, they marched through, they kept the secret. So 100,000+ x-hierarchy. That's the point to take.

              Look, all of political history is nothing but the result of men (mostly) gathering to conspire.

              There has not been a year in American history since the Pinkertons were hired to suppress labor, and officials brought out troops to the same end, where the powers that be haven't actively and consciously sought to suppress popular movements. It's lunacy to claim otherwise.

              What you'd have to explain is why that tendency would suddenly disappear right before the Occupy suppressions of last year. About the time the FBI & DHS coordinated meetings with the mayors and police.

              If you can't do that, that's where you lose credibility.


              The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

              by Jim P on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 08:18:07 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Do you have a source for that? (0+ / 0-)

                Because I've been unable to find anything to substantiate the claim that 100,000 men were marched through a blast site at one time, or as part of one operation/program.

                As for your claim that

                There has not been a year in American history since the Pinkertons were hired to suppress labor, and officials brought out troops to the same end, where the powers that be haven't actively and consciously sought to suppress popular movements. It's lunacy to claim otherwise.
                I think we are going to continue to disagree here. Other than the documented cases of this happening -- and I acknowledge that there are many --  I don't see evidence of a coordinated, ongoing, and sub rosa effort to bring Federal forces to bear against popular movements.

                To me, this is significant, because the fact is that we have had popular movements in this country that have succeeded -- or at least, were not crushed by any obvious Federal government involvement. Put another way, if the Federal government were so determined, it would have had the power to stop the Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam War-era peace movement in its tracks. Yet, even though there were powerful individuals in the government who were opposed to these movements (most notoriously, J. Edgar Hoover), the movements happened. They even accomplished some of their goals. The Civil Rights movement even gained support -- belatedly, reluctantly, but real support -- from the federal government. It's hard for me to reconcile this with the model of an (apparently) powerful conspiracy in the federal government to suppress all popular uprisings.

                It seems to me that a more realistic picture says that there have been, and possibly always will be, powerful people in the federal government who will oppose popular movements; but there are other forces -- some political, some legal, some bureaucratic, some pragmatic, some occasionally even virtuous -- that tend to resist that abuse of power.

                In other words, I don't see a bipolar struggle of Manichean forces in which one side or the other must come out ahead. I see a complex interplay in which Manichean evil entities are usually not directly wielding power, although they may do so from time to time and place to place. Hence to say that at a given time and place the forces of evil must have been in charge, simply because they could have been -- well, for me that strains credulity.

                I dunno. Maybe I'm wrong. But I've found that historical events are rarely so simple.

                Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

                by Nowhere Man on Mon Dec 31, 2012 at 08:52:49 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

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