[UPDATED] Obama Administration Allegedly Helped Coordinate Occupy Crackdowns


Update: A spokesperson for Oakland Mayor Jean Quan has emailed to deny that Quan "coordinated" Oakland's response to Occupy protesters with other mayors. "Mayor Quan never said that cities with occupy encampments were coordinating their removal efforts," Susan Piper wrote in an email. "The mayor has talked with other mayors to share experiences." In a subsequent email, I asked Piper if Quan received advice from either the DHS or the FBI on how to respond to protesters, as reported was by Rick Ellis of Examiner.com. Piper's response: "Not true."  

[Original post below] 

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said on Monday that her city and others across the country coordinated their crackdowns of Occupy Wall Street camps. Rick Ellis, a Minneapolis-based journalist for Examiner.com, reports that these cities also had the help of the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation: 

According to this official, in several recent conference calls and briefings, local police agencies were advised to seek a legal reason to evict residents of tent cities, focusing on zoning laws and existing curfew rules. Agencies were also advised to demonstrate a massive show of police force, including large numbers in riot gear. In particular, the FBI reportedly advised on press relations, with one presentation suggesting that any moves to evict protesters be coordinated for a time when the press was the least likely to be present.

The FBI has so far failed to respond to requests for an official response, and of the 14 local police agencies contacted in the past 24 hours, all have declined to respond to questions on this issue.

But in a recent interview with the BBC," Oakland Mayor Jean Quan mentioned she was on a conference call just before the recent wave of crackdowns began.

"I was recently on a conference call of 18 cities who had the same situation, where what had started as a political movement and a political encampment ended up being an encampment that was no longer in control of the people who started them."

The Associated Press also reported on the coordination between cities, but made no mention of the feds' alleged advisory role: 

Don't set a midnight deadline to evict Occupy Wall Street protesters _ it will only give a crowd of demonstrators time to form. Don't set ultimatums because it will encourage violent protesters to break it. Fence off the parks after an eviction so protesters can't reoccupy it.

As concerns over safety and sanitation grew at the encampments over the last month, officials from nearly 40 cities turned to each other on conference calls, sharing what worked and what hasn't as they grappled with the leaderless movement.

In one case, the calls became group therapy sessions.

While riot police sweeping through tent cities in Portland, Ore., Oakland, Calif. and New York City over the last several days may suggest a coordinated effort, authorities and a group that organized the calls say they were a coincidence.

"It was completely spontaneous," said Chuck Wexler, director of the Police Executive Research Forum, a national police group that organized calls on Oct. 11 and Nov. 4. Among the issues discussed: safety, traffic and the fierceness of demonstrations in each city.

The mayors on that conference call are Democrats; the FBI and the DHS are led by Democrats; Obama is a Democrat. The State is not your friend, OWS, it is your master. 

[Links via The Big Picture, Wonkette]