Last week, CNN's Steve Kastenbaum (podcast is also at link) visited what he characterized as Occupy Wall Street's "nerve center" (but don't call it a "headquarters," Occupiers insisted) in space provided by an anonymous donor. No, it wasn't at Zuccotti Park or any other open-air location. It was, and presumably still is, in Lower Manhattan, one block south of the New York Stock Exchange.
Along the way, Kastenbaum interviewed several people who portrayed themselves as "volunteer staff" for a supposedly leaderless movement, but as is par for the course in the establishment press when leftists are involved, didn't reveal anyone's previous background. At Heritage, Lachlan Markay reports at Robert Bluey's blog that the prior affiliations and involvements of at least a few of those interviewed belies their starry-eyed self-portrayal:
Two of the staffers in particular offer a glimpse into the backgrounds and motives of the people running the supposedly leaderless protests.
Han Shan, a former program director for a group called the Ruckus Society, was identified by CNN as “a member of Occupy Wall Street’s press relations and direct-action working groups.” The Ruckus Society has reportedly been handing out literature to OWS protesters, including items titled “Anonymous Riot Guide,” and “Blockading for Beginners.”
Ruckus’s executive director has advocated “us[ing] vandalism strategically.” Shan, through Ruckus, was very involved in the mass rioting that took place outside of the 1999 World Trade Organization summit in Seattle, which reportedly cost local businesses about $20 million in damages and lost sales.
Haywood Carey is identified in the CNN piece as an OWS “activist.” He appears to be the same William Haywood Carey that starred in a documentary about the protests titled #whilewewatch. A Willie Carry was also among OWS staff alerted to CNN’s upcoming presence at the offices.
Carey was a paid employee of the Change to Win labor federation from 2008 to 2009. In that role, by his own account, he worked “with labor unions to partner with other like minded groups to help build an effective and sustainable progressive infrastructure in North Carolina.”
... (Shazz) Baric, who says his legal name is David McNerney, is the author of the book The Complete American’s Guide to REVOLUTION. The book encourages readers to “dismantle the American Empire,” which he dubs the “most efficient killing machine in the history of ‘civilization.’”
Baric’s book also sings the praises of communist leader Che Guevara, whom the author quotes as saying, “the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love.” Never mind that Guevara, who explained that his “nostrils dilate while savoring the acrid odor of gunpowder and blood,” is believed to have ordered the execution of several thousand Cubans – and even executed a dozen or so himself.
Less radical if far more active in mainstream political channels is Beth Bogart, who reportedly handles press relations for OWS. Bogart’s bio lists her as the former co-owner of Fenton Communications, a liberal PR shop with offices in Washington, New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Fenton’s client list is a who’s who of liberal groups, including MoveOn.org, Healthcare for America Now, and the Center for Reproductive Rights.
The fact that OWS protesters have established something of a headquarters separate from the actual protest sites suggests, their protestations notwithstanding, that there is some hierarchy within the group.
The roster and the provisioned space also raise serious doubt as to whether those involved are really volunteers, or if at the very least they're having their living expenses paid by someone else -- all of which would further refute the notion that the Occupy movement was born spontaneously out of some imagined widespread popular frustration.
The group has also additionally chosen to make use of what CNN describes as "privately owned public space is on the ground floor of the building that houses Deutsche Bank, one of the institutions that Occupy Wall Street has targeted." No irony there, eh? And CNN's Kastenbaum either didn't care to find out who he was really talking to, or worse, knew darned well and hid it from his viewers, listeners, and readers.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.