The “Occupy London” movement stormed the offices of a mining company called Xstrata today, as reported by The Australian, which found the story of great interest to its readers because Xstrata has extensive operations in Australia:
About 60 protesters got inside Panton House, Occupy London Stock Exchange (OLSX) said, where the diversified Anglo-Swiss firm has its British office.
Another 200 were held outside within a police cordon, in the heart of central London’s West End entertainment district.
Some covered their faces with masks as they swept through the building.
The protesters reached the roof and unveiled a banner reading “All power to the 99 per cent”.
In the street, one man with a hooded top, his face masked, waved a flare around.
“21 arrests have been made for the unauthorised entry into Panton House for a variety of offences including burglary, aggravated trespass, criminal damage and assault on police,” Scotland Yard said in a statement.
Now, hang on a second. I keep hearing all these Occupy enthusiasts saying their movement is all about corrupt bankers and income inequality. What does a mining company have to do with any of that? And why is a “mostly peaceful” movement violently intruding upon private property?
Meanwhile, back in the United States, sanitation workers in hazmat suits are plodding through the twenty-five ton pile of garbage left behind after the Occupy L.A. camp was cleaned out, a process that involved 1,400 police officers and resulted in 292 arrests. (The highly controversial deal to give the Occupiers a free office building and farmland if they would agree to disperse was withdrawn after sane people got wind of it.)
The Silicon Valley Mercury-News quotes L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa estimating that “cleanup and repair to the damaged lawn and park facilities would cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars, possibly more than $1 million.” You don’t mind picking up the tab for all that, do you, L.A. residents?
John Nolte’s comprehensive “Occupy Wall Street Rap Sheet” at Big Government is up to 372 incidents as if this morning, including a variety of both property and personal crimes, against both private citizens and the police.
So… where’s the Department of Homeland Security threat assessment? Has anyone seen hide or hair of Janet Napolitano during these crimes and riots?
Do you remember what the DHS was up to, back in April 2009? They released a report called “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.” Courtesy of Michelle Malkin’s website, you can read the entire report here. These were the key findings:
Threats from white supremacist and violent antigovernment groups during 2009 have been largely rhetorical and have not indicated plans to carry out violent acts. Nevertheless, the consequences of a prolonged economic downturn—including real estate foreclosures, unemployment, and an inability to obtain credit—could create a fertile recruiting environment for rightwing extremists and even result in confrontations between such groups and government authorities similar to those in the past.
Rightwing extremists have capitalized on the election of the first African American president, and are focusing their efforts to recruit new members, mobilize existing supporters, and broaden their scope and appeal through propaganda, but they have not yet turned to attack planning.
This atmosphere was explicitly linked to the conditions that led to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Also primed to blow their stacks were gun nuts and returning military veterans:
Proposed imposition of firearms restrictions and weapons bans likely would attract new members into the ranks of rightwing extremist groups, as well as potentially spur some of them to begin planning and training for violence against the government. The high volume of purchases and stockpiling of weapons and ammunition by rightwing extremists in anticipation of restrictions and bans in some parts of the country continue to be a primary concern to law enforcement.
Returning veterans possess combat skills and experience that are attractive to rightwing extremists. DHS/I&A is concerned that rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to boost their violent capabilities.
This report was released to great fanfare, on the day before Tax Day in 2009. Napolitano insisted that she wasn’t pumping out sloppy propaganda against the Obama Administration’s political enemies, but instead was simply dealing with reality and impartially carrying out her sober duty to assess threats to domestic security. As relayed in a contemporaneous Politico report:
In remarks broadcast on KVIA-TV El Paso, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano further explained her department’s report on right-wing extremism.
“Sorry to say, but it’s the reality we deal with,” she said. “We have several factors that could lead to an uptick in extremist violent activity. That’s all that report was designed to do.”
“We do not exist to infringe, impinge or invade anybody’s constitutional rights of free speech, of free assembly or anything else like that. We exist to protect the country against the homeland [sic] consistent with the United States Constitution,” Napolitano explained. “In there is where that product was created and what it was designed to do. Nothing more, nothing less.”
Okay, so where’s the high-profile threat assessment for Occupy Wall Street? The inept Homeland Security Secretary was completely and utterly wrong about the “right-wing extremist” menace… but on her watch, a very violent left-wing movement has formed in response to the same economic factors Napolitano was muttering about in 2009. They’ve been assaulting cops, pushing old ladies down stairwells, turning public parks into biohazard zones, and even taking pot shots at the White House. Their movement is not a nebulous phantasm of fashionable lefty paranoia, joined together by allegedly vicious and racist opposition to the First Black President and made dangerous by a combination of military expertise and respect for the Second Amendment.
In contrast, the Occupy movement is explicitly and inherently violent and lawless – “occupation” is the forcible seizure of property, in defiance of civil law, rendered moral by the fanatical self-righteousness of the Occupiers. The point of this is to compel attention to their ideas, rather than merely “exercising free speech.” It is not surprising that such a movement becomes very unpleasant in the extremes of frustration.
Not only did DHS fail to assess this threat in advance, but even now that a combination of inclement weather and public exasperation is sweeping it from the streets, we still don’t have a blue-ribbon dossier that bears any resemblance to the supposedly dispassionate and logical “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.” How is that logically defensible as anything but a combination of politics and incompetence, if Napolitano’s defense of the earlier report is to be taken seriously? The Tea Party didn’t force its way into private offices, or oblige the public to spend millions of dollars cleaning up its filth. It didn’t take thousand-cop armies to get them off the streets. In fact, they frequently got overcharged by ridiculous margins to pay a few police officers overtime, so they could spend pleasant afternoons in the park watching little kids walk around in tricorner hats.
I know Napolitano doesn’t have an answer to any of this, but would some congressional Republicans kindly hunt her down and force her to confront the question, on the record?