By Dave Lindorff
Remember this image. It's the symbol of the growing police state
(Image by ThisCantBeHappening) Permission Details DMCA
The ugly hand of the federal government is becoming increasingly suspected behind what appears to be a nationwide attempt to repress and evict the Occupation Movement.
Across the country in recent days, ultimatums have been issues to groups occupying Portland, OR, Chicago, IL, San Francisco, Dallas, TX, Atlanta, GA, and most recently New York, NY, where the Occupation Movement began on September 17. The two most recent eviction efforts, in Oakland and New York, have been the worst.
The police attacks have had a lot in common. They have been "justified" based upon trumped up pre-textural claims that the occupiers are creating a health hazard, or a fire hazard, or a crime problem, generally on little or no evidence, or there has been a digging up of obscure and constitutionally questionable statutes, for example laws outlawing the homeless. Then the police come in, usually in dead of night, dressed in riot gear and heavily armed with mace weapons, batons, plastic cuffs and tear gas, or even assault rifles in some cases and so-called flash-bang stun grenades--all weapons to be used against peaceful demonstrators.
So violent has been the response that some returned veterans have condemned the police for using weapons and tactics that are not even permitted by occupying troops in war-torn countries.
"We definitely feel, especially in a movement like this that has arisen so quickly in a number of cities, that there will be a coordinated national effort to try and shut it down," says Heidi Bogosian, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild, which has been playing a key role providing legal services to the new movement.
"We see the scapegoating of these movements, the attacks at night, and in general tactics designed to terrorize and to scare protesters away. I can't see this as anything other than centrally coordinated."
One indication of that coordination may have been a conference call among 18 city mayors which was confirmed by Oakland Mayor Jean Quan in a radio interview on San Francisco station KALW. Dan Siegel, an Oakland attorney who worked as an advisor to Quan, but who resigned in disgust after Oakland police and law enforcement personnel from a number of surrounding jurisdictions brutally drove occupiers there out of their park using tear gas, supposedly non-lethal ammunition (bean bags and rubber bullets) and flash-bang grenades in a night-time raid in the early hours of November 14, says that phone conference call took place, significantly, while Quan was in Washington, DC...