Crying Wolf

A couple people have asked about my reaction to Naomi Wolf’s latest assertions that crackdowns on Occupy were driven by the federal government. My reaction remains the same — i.e. she’s got absolutely nothing. If you look carefully, you’ll note that the sweeping claims aren’t backed up by any specific cites from the documents in question. And if you look at them, you’ll see why — there’s some description of planned Occupy protests followed by a lot of redacted material. None of what we can actually see remotely backs up Wolf’s claim that there was a “terrifying network of coordinated DHS, FBI, police, regional fusion center, and private-sector activity so completely merged into one another that the monstrous whole is, in fact, one entity.” Maybe the redacted material would show this, and maybe it would also show who killed the Lindbergh baby, but you can’t just assume that redacted material proves exactly what you’ve always believed it would show.

So, once again, there’s nothing but Wolf’s reactionary assumption that crackdowns on Occupy couldn’t possibly be the work of our benevolent local overlords acting alone but must have been directed by the big bad federal government. The argument hasn’t become any less bad or any more substantiated despite her new set of sweeping assertions.

108 comments on this post.
  1. Grung_e_Gene:

    BUT!!!!! Don’t you see Obama is Hitler!

  2. charles pierce:

    I dunno, Scott, I browsed the document for Occupy Indy for a half-second and found Adbusters referred to as “a self-identified American anarchist group.” This is the kind of federal threat-inflation — and bad info, Adbusters being Canadian, IIEC — that rings bells in those of us who are old enough to remember COINTELPRO. They were selling threats to someone. Something was up.

  3. Semanticleo:

    I agree nothing definitive can be deduced from the heavily redacted docs. But they can’t have it both ways. I do appreciate their compliance with FOIA. It’s a sure sign of their civil rights concerns.

    Pg 41 indicates the concern that Anonymous was involved, and that was enough for them. The joint Task Force had to be nervously excited about that possibility.

  4. wembley:

    From the group that obtained the FOIA requestion:

    Documents released show coordination between the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and corporate America. They include a report by the Domestic Security Alliance Council (DSAC), described by the federal government as “a strategic partnership between the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the private sector,” discussing the OWS protests at the West Coast ports to “raise awareness concerning this type of criminal activity.”

    Welp. That’s creepy as fuck.

  5. Semanticleo:

    Mark Adams, a 32-year-old engineer from Virginia, said he was arrested in November at an Occupy Wall Street protest in Midtown and was questioned by a police detective and an agent from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who asked about his involvement with Occupy Wall Street, requested his e-mail address and inquired whether he had ever been to Yemen or met anyone connected to Al Qaeda.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/12/nyregion/occupy-wall-street-protesters-complain-of-police-monitoring.html?smid=tw-nytimes&seid=auto&_r=0

  6. c u n d gulag:

    Klein, Naomi – I believe.

    Wolf, Naomi… Er… Uhm… Not so much…

    But she is great at marketing herself, you gotta admit!

  7. wembley:

    Re: my above comment — so if this is the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund’s analysis of the documents they received… Scott, how do you interpret the creation/existence of DSCAC as anything other than a federally coordinated crackdown on Occupy? Are you arguing, “Okay, DSAC (the federal gov’t + the private sector) did its thing, local gov’ts did their thing, and they NEVER interacted”? Because that strains credulity.

    Do you think PCJF is incorrect in their analysis?

  8. wembley:

    *PCJ, my kingdom for comments you can edit

  9. Hogan:

    how do you interpret the creation/existence of DSCAC as anything other than a federally coordinated crackdown on Occupy?

    Since it was created in 2005, that strains credulity a bit.

  10. Semanticleo:

    They’re just, connecting the dots, and that’s the coordinating effort they got their asses whooped for, remember?

  11. wembley:

    Okay, it was created earlier, not created for the express purpose of dealing with Occupy, that’s fine. But, again… federal intelligence agencies going after Occupy… local law enforcement going after Occupy… but the idea of coordination is just too out there? I don’t get it.

  12. Incontinentia Buttocks:

    And one doesn’t have to posit good behavior on the part of local authorities to find that creepy as fuck. I still don’t see why concern about the behavior of federal officials in this (or any other case) necessarily involves an assumption that local officials either are or tend to be better.

  13. JL:

    The local level was doing that sort of crap too. We had cops compiling lists of “anarchists” (some of whom were actual anarchists, some of whom weren’t) who had “infiltrated” our Occupation. And that was not one of the creepiest things they were doing either.

    I wouldn’t have trouble believing that the feds were doing something sketchy regarding Occupy, given evidence (and I do have a second-hand report of DHS prowling around our camp back when we had it). But there’s no reason to think the feds were more likely to be doing this than the local/state types.

  14. Hogan:

    The word “coordination” is doing a lot of work here. Let’s review Wolf’s original claim:

    In other words, for the DHS to be on a call with mayors, the logic of its chain of command and accountability implies that congressional overseers, with the blessing of the White House, told the DHS to authorise mayors to order their police forces – pumped up with millions of dollars of hardware and training from the DHS – to make war on peaceful citizens.

    This is what was dismissed as a paranoid conspiracy theory. Do the released documents actually support this claim?

    I don’t know what DSAC does all day, and I would probably disapprove of a lot of it if I did. What they don’t do is tell local police how and when to crack down on demonstrators, any more than they teach old ducks to swim.

  15. Scott Lemieux:

    necessarily involves an assumption that local officials either are or tend to be better.

    It involves this assumption when, like Wolf, you repeatedly assert that local crackdowns must have been initiated by the federal government with no evidence whatsoever.

  16. LoriK:

    Saying that an assumption is unsupported by available facts is not the same as saying that it’s too out there. “It could be true” is a long way from “It’s true and we have proof.” Trying to pretend that gap doesn’t exist is the stuff of conspiracy theories.

  17. Andrew:

    While it’s true that the docs in question don’t necessarily point to a “coordinated” crackdown they do point towards creepy surveillance and raise legitimate questions about what exactly all those redacted lines are about.

    Wolf may be a crank but at the same time I think we should be careful so as not to file all concerns about the feds into the black helicopter folder.

    I mean, cripes: COINTELPRO, black bag jobs, the Palmer raids, the (generally unknown) war on CISPES, etc. It’s probably true that state and local police agencies have a deadlier record when it comes to domestic repression. That doesn’t mean that we should overlook wrongdoings by federal law enforcement.

  18. Semanticleo:

    Certainly, you are not suggesting FBI wasn’t collaborating and providing intel; but, rather, they did not initiate.

    A distinction without a provable difference. That proof thing works both ways.

  19. John:

    In what sense is Wolf’s assumption “reactionary”? Are you saying that Wolf’s assumption is “of, pertaining to, marked by, or favoring extreme conservatism or rightism in politics; opposing political or social change”? Or are you misusing the word “reactionary” to mean something like “kneejerk”?

  20. Sly:

    Scott, how do you interpret the creation/existence of DSCAC as anything other than a federally coordinated crackdown on Occupy?

    Because the DSAC was formed in 2005, and was based on the OSAC (Overseas Security Advisory Council) that was formed in 1985.

    Do you think PCJF is incorrect in their analysis?

    The DSAC receives information from law enforcement agencies about security threats (as did the OSAC before it, but with respect to security threats on overseas operations), so to say that it is “the de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and corporate America” is a wee bit hyperbolic since it doesn’t collect any actual intelligence, but serves as a conduit between the FBI and its member corporations.

    Going through the documents released under the FOIA requests, much of them deal with the potential shutdown of operations of major ports on the west coast and advice on what protest targets should do in situations of violent unrest (and does so within the context of unaffiliated groups or individuals using the protest organizations as cover for violence). It seems pretty tame for a grand conspiracy to crush any and all dissent against the corporate line.

  21. Hogan:

    The notion that local governments and police would never do something bad unless the federal government told them to is, in the US political context, reactionary.

  22. Semanticleo:

    It seems pretty tame for a grand conspiracy to crush any and all dissent against the corporate line.

    The threat was a potential National Strike.

    And, we all know how sensitive Wall St. is when it comes to Market manipulation.

  23. Andrew:

    I think Lemieux is equating Wolf’s assumption of federally coordinated repression against Occupy with states rights enthusiasm and states rights enthusiasm with the conservative love affair with decentralized hierchies.

    It’s true that the rallying cry of “states rights” has historically been reactionary, especially in the US. But I personally don’t see where Wolf is advocating states rights.

  24. Both Sides Do It:

    At least they didn’t name it DoSAC. Good to see at least some things are sacred.

  25. Sly:

    The threat was a potential National Strike.

    Which are illegal.

    And, we all know how sensitive Wall St. is when it comes to Market manipulation.

    Which is beside the point.

  26. Hogan:

    Well, yes, “the FBI did not initiate the crackdown” is unprovable in any case. You can always imagine some suspiciously missing or redacted document to hang the alternative on.

  27. Semanticleo:

    cuz….The LAW

  28. Scott Lemieux:

    Except, of course, I’m not saying that I know to a certainty that the FBI didn’t initiate the crackdown. I’m saying Wolf’s assertions that they did aren’t backed up with any evidence.

  29. Scott Lemieux:

    Wolf may be a crank but at the same time I think we should be careful so as not to file all concerns about the feds into the black helicopter folder.

    But nobody’s saying this. It’s not black helicopter stuff to say that the feds are engaging in warrantless wiretapping, because we know that they are. It’s only black helicopter stuff to assume that the feds must be directing local crackdowns with no actual evidence.

  30. Scott Lemieux:

    I personally don’t see where Wolf is advocating states rights.

    Not precisely, but she is assuming that in terms of civil liberties we have more to fear from the federal government than from state and local governments, which is highly reactionary.

  31. wembley:

    Fair enough.

  32. newsrackblog.com » Blog Archive » The FBI and Occupy: sometimes it ain’t paranoia:

    [...] for “a federal role” at Mr. Robin’s request. UPDATE, 12/30/12: Mr. Lemieux writes briefly on the PCJF’s most recent documents.  As the “Crying Wolf” title [...]

  33. Semanticleo:

    A little heuristic verve, is not reactionary. Lacking evidence, which clearly associates redaction with that very lack, is the reason speculation, becomes the alternative. I think the Feds have the edge, and they exercise it, with impunity.

  34. StevenAttewell:

    Well, if there was some document from the FBI saying “X agency is really pushing this, so let’s some folks to a meeting.”

  35. Incontinentia Buttocks:

    Three separate issues here:

    1) To say the FBI (may have) coordinated the crackdown is not to say they initiated it. And to say they (may have) initiated it is not to say they necessarily initiated it.

    2) I’m not convinced that even Wolf did, in fact, argue that the FBI necessarily led the crackdown. Her columns on this matter (like most of her writing) weren’t that coherent. I don’t think they said much of anything about the nature of local law enforcement. But as far as I’m concerned, this is really not a very important issue, relative to the question of what federal authorities did and didn’t do. I’ve ignored Naomi Wolf for decades and would happily continue doing so on this issue.

    3) To more or less repeat myself from above: answering the question of what local authorities did and didn’t do is equally important and I share your educated guess that they were at least as active in the crackdown as the FBI. My guess is that few law enforcement hands would look clean if a full accounting of the reaction to OWS was ever made.

  36. DocAmazing:

    http://www.justiceonline.org/commentary/fbi-files-ows.html#documents

    As usual, we’re getting lost in fine points. The Feds might not have told specific mayors “Let slip the dogs of law enforcement!” on specific dates and times, but they did provide intel in a big way. The Feds might not have orchestrated the framing of Geronimo Pratt, either, but it’s a pretty safe bet that it wouldn’t have happened without them.

  37. Sly:

    What is your point, exactly? That the FBI shouldn’t relay information on potential illegal activity to those directly impacted by that activity? That they should do this, but not use a special program to do it? Or that certain illegal activities that the FBI was on the lookout for shouldn’t be illegal in the first place?

  38. Sly:

    It’s especially stupid when the most highly visible representative of Federal power, in the form of U.S. soldier, was shot in the face with a teargas canister by local police in Oakland just for standing still.

    And then you have this Federal jackbooted thug telling municipal jackbooted thugs not to be so jackbooted in their thuggery.

  39. Scott Lemieux:

    it’s a pretty safe bet that it wouldn’t have happened without them.

    It’s really not.

  40. Scott Lemieux:

    A little heuristic verve, is not reactionary.

    It is when the assumptions are 1)empirically wrong and 2)in a way that happens to track onto conservative policy preferences.

  41. Niko:

    Great, another left wing conspiratorial thinker to make the rest of us look bad. The other of course being Chompsky s delusions of American world domination.

  42. charles pierce:

    No, it’s not, Scott. Come on. There’s a difference between black-helicopter theorizing and informed speculation. Drawing on the clear historical record, the events listed above all took place in the face of strong denials by the federal government at the time and the insistence (often) of local cops that they were acting on their own. I have no problem, based on the history with COINTELPRO, and with CISPES, believing that federal and local officials coordinated efforts and, frankly, I’m not inclined to quibble over who directed whom. The only reason not to be more than a little suspicious is if you believe that this particular administration, and this particular president, would not be inclined to act like its predecessors. There’s evidence enough on the national-security front to believe that’s not the case.

  43. Manju:

    I see Harold Bloom’s hand behind this hamstringing of the movement.

  44. wembley:

    +1. This is what I meant, I just couldn’t articulate it well.

  45. T. Paine:

    The other of course being Chompsky s delusions of American world domination.

    Oh yes, he’s a known associate of Cookie Monster’s. A strong advocate of anarchist collective bakeries.

  46. NewHavenGuy:

    I go by NewHavenGuy, for Crissake. I should mention we had our very own, very local in origin wiretapping scandal back when I was a baby talking shit about Nixon. (Several thousand illegal ‘taps, in a city of very roughly 120,000 at the time.)

    Everything I have studied and seen leads me to think that Robin is right and Wolf wrong about the nature of this beast. Robin not a big fan of the best President I’ve seen in my miserable life, nor a (D) partisan.

    I’ll take the judgment of an academic geke who (by my lights at least) knows what he’s talking about over, well Naomi Wolf. “Fool me once”, and all.

  47. Corey Robin:

    Actually, the history of COINTELPRO supports Scott’s position. Long before COINTELPRO, most urban police departments had major red squads that were massively engaged in not only surveillance but a lot worse. These departments were actively doing stuff throughout the 60s, and while COINTELPRO gets the lion’s share of attention, it was probably not nearly as extensive as what the locals were doing on their own. The other thing that I found in my own research was how smart the locals were in manipulating the feds, using them to get more resources for their pet projects. CISPES could well be different b/c of the foreign policy angle; I just don’t know for sure.

  48. joe from Lowell:

    The word “coordination” is doing a lot of work here.

    As is the phrase “going after.”

  49. John:

    Maybe. It seems like a tenuous use of the word to me. Making a dubious argument that shares some premises with arguments made by reactionaries is not itself reactionary, especially when, as in this case, the particular argument is one with which actual reactionaries largely disagree.

  50. joe from Lowell:

    This is sloppy logic. “Because the federal government did these bad things, we should believe this charge.”

    And even worse, we should believe this charge, even though the people making have been caught, twice now, making a bunch of false claims about documents that are supposed to, but don’t, provide evidence of their claims.

    There comes a certain point, when you catch the used care salesman in his second or third lie, that you just have to admit that the car isn’t a creampuff, and walk away.

  51. joe from Lowell:

    Even more to the point, there was this episode in NYC in which the local cops tried to evict some protesters who were in front of a federal building, and the relevant federal police didn’t let them.

  52. tonycpsu:

    I think Pierce’s point is just that it’s not “black helicopter stuff’ to assume the feds are involved. They may be and they may not be, but given the history, it’s certainly feasible.

    Assuming they are based on a sloppy Wolf article may be a leap of logic, but it’s hardly a paranoid crazy conspiracy theory.

  53. FlipYrWhig:

    Yes, this. The entire Wolf take is essentially to say “coordinate” in a sinister voice. Sometimes coordinate is a euphemism for direct, and sometimes coordinate means cooperate.

  54. Joey Maloney:

    shot in the face

    Just where was Dick Cheney on the day in question?

  55. mch:

    Scott, I appreciate and generally share in your hopes and dreams for justice’s being realized in our institutions. But, without relying on Wolf (the gambit of focusing on one (possibly weak) representative, demolishing it (maybe), and claiming whole argument won! — not persuasive, to me), there are good grounds for pause here. Please, please, do not be naively persistent. Homeland Security is insidious, at best. The FBI, with its many virtues (thank god for which), also has its habits, many of which not so good. At all. Combined with NYC habits (think especially 9/11 — all understandable), but these habitual impulses need to be resisted, intelligently.

    You know what? The FBI has a long history of fucking with people’s lives. I thought you might have realized that.

  56. DocAmazing:

    Actually, it was a beanbag round, supposed to be used for crowd control.

    Actually, it was a US Marine, who had mustered out some time before.

    It is certainly true that the OPD have been a problem for decades–but they have had a fair amount of Federal help in getting that way, from DEA and ICE to FBI and the Marines. The Oakland Police Department has a long and interesting history of interactions with federal law enforcement, intelligence, and the military, and not tot he benefit of the citizens of Oakland.

  57. Incontinentia Buttocks:

    This.

    The fact that local police-departments were involved in the red squad game before J. Edgar Hoover brought the FBI up to speed is always worth noting. And I take Corey Robin’s ooint upthread that COINTELPRO, e.g., can occasionally become a kind of distraction from an understanding of the bad behavior of local authorities in the 1960s.

    But just as we shouldn’t let federal bad behavior distract from local bad behavior, we shouldn’t let local bad behavior distract from federal bad behavior. And while the fact that local red squads historically did it first is important to remember, that observation tells us little about the proper allocation of blame in the decades since authorities at both levels have been involved. I still have yet to see a single person (including the rather incoherent Wolf) arguing that, because of the bad behavior of the FBI, we ought to let the NYPD and the Oakland PD off the hook. Scott is coming much closer here to arguing the reverse.

  58. rea:

    You know, there are not that many veterans of the Palmer Raids still with the FBI. The COINTELPRO veterans, though somewhat younger, are all pretty much gone, too . . .

    The assumption that the FBI must be behind this, because look at the Palmer Raids! And COINTELPRO! . . . is a tad unreasonable . . .

  59. Lee:

    Anarchists can’t run bakeries. Bakeries are inherently statist institutions because of the precision needed during the baking process. Only the state can provide us with the precise measurements neccessary for baking through standards and means.

  60. Leeds man:

    That’s just silly. If a bank teller had berated the cops, would that say anything about his bank’s role in the affair?

  61. joe from Lowell:

    There’s a difference between asking a question and proclaiming that you have an answer.

  62. Semanticleo:

    There comes a certain point, when you catch the used care salesman in his second or third lie, that you just have to admit that the car isn’t a creampuff, and walk away.

    Irony just called. It wants a restraining order.

  63. Semanticleo:

    I don’t know what ‘track onto conservative policy’ means, but I think it doesn’t mean what you think it means.

  64. Semanticleo:

    Yeah. The double-speak using the word reactionary, like it’s such a conservative viewpoint. and insisting the FBI is always tossing rose buds to the public, is just……..amazing

  65. Semanticleo:

    Instead of LGM, maybe it should be Werewolves of London.

  66. tonycpsu:

    So? The latter still does not rise to the level of black helicopter paranoia by any reasonable measurement.

  67. Paulk:

    People seem to keep missing the point here. Scott isn’t asserting that the government couldn’t or wouldn’t do this. The whole point here is that Wolf is claiming to have evidence that proves something it simply doesn’t prove without already assuming its conclusion.

    Black helicopter paranoia isn’t wrong because the government doesn’t possess secret militant branches that run like shadow governments. It’s wrong because people begin with their conclusion and accept any piece of bad evidence as confirmation of their belief, even when it does nothing of the sort.

    Just because your paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you.

    Wolf’s defenders seem to want to begin with the idea that it’s easy to imagine the government doing this and then use that assumption as proof of an actual act (or a reason to believe the conclusion more likely true without any kind of direct evidence)—claiming to have proof of the thing they are merely assuming.

    But that is a fundamental fallacy, one that would get her an “F” in any decent course in logic, which is why it’s been depressing to see Wolf continually walk down this path. In the end, she is only damaging her own credibility.

    And that’s it. There’s no starry eyed naivety about the evils that federal agencies can do. So many of us want to hold the government accountable for its behavior and to make it more transparent. Scott isn’t arguing the government isn’t doing this. (He is perfectly happy to criticize proven accusations and urge caution of behaviors that look suspicious and to demand more accountability and transparency.)

    But he’s also pointing out that Wolf is only destroying her own credibility by claiming she has proof. People who keep saying that “it’s possible” that the government did the things alleged aren’t wrong. Anyone who thinks Wolf is merely “raising questions,” however, is completely wrong. She’s claimed to have proof without proof and is claiming vindication for claims still without proof that those claims are true. (And even if she did have evidence now, it wouldn’t vindicate claiming to have proof before.)

    Her continued insistence on trying to justify her beliefs, rather than acknowledging her error and recognizing what her evidence can and cannot show, is only further walking down the path toward full-blown conspiracy nut.

  68. joe from Lowell:

    It’s the same logic Republicans use to pretend their voter fraud conspiracy theories aren’t bullshit.

    “But what about Mayor Daley? What about 1960? It’s not crazy to think the Democrats would engage in election fraud!”

  69. joe from Lowell:

    nd insisting the FBI is always tossing rose buds to the public

    citation omitted.

    I generally find that people indulge in this sort of nonsense when their thesis has been destroyed.

  70. The New Black Panthers Fraudulated My Vote!:

    The FBI has a long history of fucking with people’s lives. I thought you might have realized that.

    The Democratic Party has a long history of election fraud. I though you might have realized that.

  71. joe from Lowell:

    The latter still does not rise to the level of black helicopter paranoia by any reasonable measurement.

    When you keep repeating it again and again, despite your evidence crumbling again and again, yes, it does.

  72. [BLOG] Some Monday links « A Bit More Detail:

    [...] Guns and Money’s bloggers are unimpressed by Naomi Wolf’s claims about FBI coordination of anti-Occupy campaigns and started a [...]

  73. Semanticleo:

    There is no evidence, ergo; crumbling seems like a cry in the dark…..my precious.

  74. Semanticleo:

    generally

    Weasel-word, duly noted. (lawyer? … Surprise !)

  75. tonycpsu:

    Evidence schmevidence. This is a subjective evaluation of whether it’s paranoid to think that the feds would be involved in coordinating something like this, independent of how awful Wolf’s article is.

    They’ve coordinated something like this before. Past performance does not guarantee future results, but it’s certainly a strike against those who claim it’s only paranoia that could lead one to conclude that the government would do such a thing now.

    To go the extra mile and say they are doing it now may be a logical leap too far, but calling it paranoia implies that there’s something unbelievable about it, or that one has to see proof positive that it exists before operating under the assumption that it does exist. Me personally, I’m comfortable stopping at “it probably does exist”, but there are shades of gray between concern and paranoia.

  76. Naomi Wolf Fan:

    There are claims of evidence, which keep crumbling.

  77. joe from Lowell:

    Whoops, that was me.

  78. joe from Lowell:

    Evidence schmevidence.

    I guess that’s just the difference betweden us.

    This is a subjective evaluation of whether it’s paranoid to think that the feds would be involved in coordinating something like this

    No, this is an evaluation of whether it’s paranoid to think that the FBI and DHS were actually involved in this particular bad act of which they’ve been accused.

    To believe that they were, when even the best evidence that the most enthusiastic supporters can muster falls apart yet again, is irrational paranoia.

    At a certain point, it becomes batshit insane to keep checking your gut and ignoring that this keeps happening.

  79. joe from Lowell:

    As it turns out, a tower of snark and a forced impression of someone who isn’t losing doesn’t make an argument look any less stupid.

  80. joe from Lowell:

    Nope, inner-city school teacher, asshole.

    And rather than being a “weasel” word, it was actually intended as a “polite” word, to make the charge less direct. Don’t like that?

    OK: you are a dishonest piece of crap who indulges in silly straw-man arguments like “nsisting the FBI is always tossing rose buds to the public” because you have terrible, easily destroyed argument, and you’re desperately scrambling to put up the appearance of not being a grease spot on the floor of the internet after your latest cruse down the River Fail.

    I hope that was sufficiently direct for you tastes.

  81. Semanticleo:

    I hope that was sufficiently direct for you tastes.

    The sudden emergence of honesty is refreshing. It’s too bad one has to get your goat, before it’s ascension. Fortunately, it’s not difficult.

  82. Shredder:

    Not to put too much into a dead thread but the real issue here is not the credibility of Wolf but whether everybody’s ok with the government – federal or otherwise – violating the civil liberties of protesters in defense of the interests of predatory private banking institutions.

    Eyes on the prize.

  83. joe from Lowell:

    I said exactly the same thing twice. You just don’t have the firepower to understand that.

  84. joe from Lowell:

    You’re good at having opinions about things you don’t understand, aren’t you?

  85. Semanticleo:

    Lol. Yes redundancy does well, for you.

  86. DocAmazing:

    Here’s the neat thing: if you attempt to take it the next step and try to compile evidence, you’re engaging in conspiracy theories and damaging all of our credibility (see the response to the allegations of Diebold vote machine tampering in Ohio, 2004). Meanwhile, everyone accepts unproven assertions about al-Qaeda’s activities, as though that were not conspiracy theorizing.

    The Catch-22 that we’re expected to accept is transparent.

  87. charles pierce:

    Again, Corey, and with all due respect to your research, I’m seeing a distinction without a difference. There always were special para-police units in local PD’s. (The Hat Squad in LA back in the day.) What engaged local PD’s, and those existing special squads, in political activities in the late 1950′s and 1960′s was that the feds encouraged them to act far beyond the law. And, not for nothing, but COINTELPRO began in 1956.

  88. DocAmazing:

    This is the single dumbest thing ever written.

  89. DocAmazing:

    Yeah, the Bureau hasn’t, say, been setting up entrapment operations like the Liberty City crew, nor have they been running networks of informants in OWS and setting up provocateurs.

    Current events fail.

  90. joe from Lowell:

    And it only took your ox getting gored for you to admit that.

  91. DocAmazing:

    I guess you’ll have to explain that one to me.

  92. Paulk:

    Well, no. That’s *an* issue, and in the grand scheme of things something far more important than whether Wolf is behaving like an intellectual fraud.

    But the question of whether everyone is okay with the government doing these things is actually beside the point—which is whether we have evidence that the government did, in fact, do these things. No one has supported the idea that the government should be able to do this.

    If Wolf has begun with a concern, and used her evidence to argue that we need to know more and focused on the kinds of questions that needed answers—rather than taking evidence that can’t prove her claim as proof of her claim—no one here would really have a slightest problem with her.

    Whether your evidence actually proves your claims is something academics, intellectuals and empiricists really do care about. Wolf is demonstrating that she is none of these, and when people pretend it doesn’t matter whether she is actually supporting the claims she makes (to say nothing of proving them), they’re only succumbing to the same fallacy.

  93. joe from Lowell:

    Kooks left and right turn to decades-old stories to back up their charges once their supposed evidence melts before their eyes.

  94. DocAmazing:

    Except that Democratic election fraud was very real–vide Daley’s Chicago and the fun fun fun doings of the Southern Dems–but has not been an issue for several decades. By contrast, the FBI has been spying on OWS, ANSWER, local Democrat groups, and various mosgues right up to the present, and has been caught paying provocateurs and setting up really dumb entrapment schemes right up to the present moment.

    Nothing kooky about noting that COINTELPRO-type activity did not go away with COINTELPRO.

  95. Corey Robin:

    What are you thinking of when you say “what engaged local PD’s, and those existing special squads, in political activities in the late 1950′s and 1960′s was that the feds encouraged them to act far beyond the law”? From my memory of Frank Donner’s book Protectors of Privilege, this had long been going on before the late 1950s and the locals needed zero encouragement from the feds. And when you throw in the role of the local cops in the South during the CRM, beginning in the early to mid 50s, there’s almost zero need for federal encouragement. But cops had been doind this kind of political work throughout the twentieth century, particularly around questions of labor in the North. Working hand in glove with coporations, handing over lists, etc.

  96. sparks:

    I’m too ill to participate and I miss this? And that the estimable Mr. Pierce is at least partially on my side? That JfL has been driven into a frenzy?

    Wow.

    I need to contract upper respiratory infections more often.

  97. Joshua:

    That is not what was dismissed as a conspiracy theory (although she did confuse two entirely different stories about conference calls to come up with that paragraph).

    She wrote that an small police NGO called PERF, with a very loose connection to DHS, was issuing “brutal orders” to local law enforcement agencies.

    And then she wrote that this was all really coming from members of the House Homeland Security Committee because they were afraid OWS would embrace a law that barred hem from insider trading.

    Just a reminder of what she wrote, and what some of us called a crazy conspiracy theory.

  98. Joshua:

    What stood out for me in these “smoking gun” documents that prove a coordinated nationwide crackdown is that they contain no discussion of raiding or evicting Occupy camps.

    Yes, that could be in the redacted parts, but based on what we can see, there’s no evidence of federal coordination of the evictions (as opposed to federal spying).

  99. Should Auld Civil Liberties Be Forgot : Men's Styles:

    [...] the various outposts of the Occupy movement. The hooley on the Left, which is going on vigorously over in the LGM saloon, seems to center on whether or not federal authorities directed the activities of the local cops, [...]

  100. Should auld civil liberties be forgot | Suburban Guerrilla:

    [...] the various outposts of the Occupy movement. The hooley on the Left, which is going on vigorously over in the LG&M saloon, seems to center on whether or not federal authorities directed the activities of the local cops, [...]

  101. bap:

    “Nothing kooky about noting that COINTELPRO-type activity did not go away with COINTELPRO.”

    Careful. That mindset happens to track onto conservative policy preferences.

  102. Pat:

    In what sense is Wolf’s assumption “reactionary”?

    The guys here just like that word. Whenever you say anything that might be criticism of the present administration, especially. Go back to the comment thread for “thoughts on the left at the end of an election cycle” and see how quickly it gets trotted out.

  103. Pat:

    This is the single dumbest thing ever written.

    The Rebecca Black song “Friday” still exists.

  104. Uncle Clarence Thomas:

    That’s cool if you agree that you haven’t submitted any certain counter evidence backup and that you’re not asserting anything yourself, just flapping your lips to settle some internal balloonemo score.

  105. Left_Wing_Fox:

    Feh! Free market anarchism is the rule of the day! You don’t need the state defining weights and measure, you merely need to have your own internally consistent weights and measures. Bakeries can do just fine selling each other the conversions from Gustaf’s three pips and a sponk to LeFeve’s microspriggles.

  106. Should Auld Civil Liberties Be Forgot:

    [...] the various outposts of the Occupy movement. The hooley on the Left, which is going on vigorously over in the LG&M saloon, seems to center on whether or not federal authorities directed the activities of the local cops, [...]

  107. Finally, Some More Incoherent Trooferism From Naomi Wolf! - Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money:

    [...] may remember Naomi Wolf from such crackpot conspiracy theories as “I will assert without evidence that crackdowns on Occupy must be driven by the federal [...]

  108. Cameron and Miranda: this doesn’t have to go all the way to the top | Left Outside:

    [...] reminds me of the crackdowns on Occupy last year. Some people were incredulous that the US drive to break the movement wasn’t centralised. [...]

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