Yesterday morning I came across a column Naomi Wolf wrote for The Guardian about the Occupy Wall Street crackdowns. I read the first paragraph and rolled my eyes, do facts not matter to this woman? I do not have a problem with someone trying to present an argument about a possible coordinated crackdown of OWS, but that doesn’t mean I’m willing to accept half truths, irrational bullshit and inaccuracies. If that were the case I would sit down with my conspiracy theorist friends and discuss the Illuminati takeover of our government.
I am not going to spotlight all of the inaccuracies in Wolf’s Guardian piece – I’ll just refer you to Joshua Holland’s piece on Alternet, he did a much better job than I ever could. I’m just going to point out the inaccuracies that bothered me and the reasons why they bothered me.
In Wolf’s first paragraph she states:
the scene of unresisting, supine students at UC Davis being pepper-sprayed by phalanxes of riot police went viral online
At this point everyone has seen the video, and although there were a phalanx of riot police — they didn’t all pepper spray the students. I believe it’s pretty clear there were two police officers who sprayed the students, one of which was Lt Pike who has since become an internet meme.
and the pictures of a young man, stunned and bleeding profusely from the head, emerged in the record of the middle-of-the-night clearing of Zuccotti Park.
Naomi Wolf actually uses the above described photo as the header for her piece but here again she distorts the truth. That photo was taken sometime in the afternoon, once Zuccotti Park was reopened to the public, not during the night raid. She references the press’s inability (read suppression by the police) to cover the raid herself — a lot of the police misconduct went undocumented that night because of the media lockout, some photos were able to be taken — but that was not one of them.
Here we have not only an inaccuracy but an embarrassing one at that. The State Supreme Court justice was not beaten up however the council member, Ydanis Rodriguez, very much was. She provides a link that actually discounts her own ridiculous claim, did she even take the time to read it or watch the video link to Democracy Now? (It’s a long video to sit through but here’s Keith Olbermann reporting on retired Supreme Court judge Karen Smith with an excerpt from the Democracy Now! interview forward to 5:10) Nowhere in her interview does she say she was beat up. Ms. Smith states she was pushed up against a wall, that is a long way away to being “beaten up”.
At that point my brain shut down and would no longer respond to Ms. Wolf. That is not to say I did not finish reading the piece, I did but, her ability to persuade me to follow her line of thinking was diminished. Your arguments are rendered invalid when you can not present the most miniscule of facts accurately. If you can not accurately present minor facts such as, how many cops pepper sprayed the UC Davis students, when there is video documented evidence of this – how do you expect me to take your bigger argument, of possible Department of Homeland Security involvement in OWS crackdowns seriously? You just put into doubt your entire article, you just put your own credibility in doubt. (Again for more extensive myth busting of Naomi Wolf’s article please review Joshua Holland’s piece for Alternet)
I myself have said on Twitter that these crackdowns and evictions of OWS sites in different cities, in the span of the same week, using similar tactics are too much of a coincidence to not be linked in some way. I would like an investigation, I would like the DHS to be challenged to come forth with any information they may have, I would like to know to what extent the federal government was involved (if they were) during the forceful evictions. Mostly I would like an explanation for a most strange series of tweets that materialized on the night of the Zuccotti raid, that to me if true, show real federal involvement and not just mysterious behind the scenes DHS involvement, :