Latest update: December 15th, 2011
Veteran Radicals Head Occupy Movement
The so-called leaderless Occupy movement is in fact operating what appears to be a nerve center staffed by professional agitators deeply tied to groups funded by billionaire activist George Soros. The groups, most prominent among them being the Tides Center, have been involved with Occupy since the anti-Wall Street movement’s inception.
The radical connections have been largely missed by the general public. CNN, the only news media outlet to receive exclusive access to Occupy’s alleged headquarters, did not fully identify the activists found running it.
Last week, CNN ran a piece titled “Exclusive: Inside the offices of Occupy Wall Street.” In the piece, CNN quoted activist Han Shan, identifying him only as “a member of Occupy Wall Street’s press relations and direct-action working groups.”
“This is just an office space that a handful of people have tried to make a resource for the Occupy Wall Street movement,” Shan stated. Shan’s radical resume goes far beyond Occupy. He is the former program director for the Tides Center-funded Ruckus Society and an activist with the Tides-funded Adbusters.
Shan was also listed as the contact person for protests outside the 2000 Democratic National Convention. Those protests were sponsored by both Adbusters and Ruckus.
Adbusters magazine is reported to have come up with the Occupy Wall Street idea after Arab Spring protests toppled governments in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. The Adbusters website serves as a central hub for Occupy’s planning.
Working with the Ruckus Society, Shan was a leader of the 1999 World Trade Organization protests in Seattle that turned violent. Ruckus helped to spark those riots.
Ruckus is directly tied to Occupy. This column previously reported that official direct-action training resources for recent Occupy events include several manuals from the Ruckus Society, which trains radical activists in “direct action” techniques. Ruckus was also listed as a “friend and partner” of the Occupy Days of Action held last month.
Ruckus is funded by the Tides Center, which has been involved in Occupy since the movement’s onset. Another grantee of Tides is the Adbusters magazine. MoveOn.org, which has joined Occupy, is funded by Tides.
Tides functions as a money tunnel where major leftist donors provide large sums that are channeled to hundreds of radical groups. One prominent Tides donor is Soros.
Besides accepting major donations from Tides, Ruckus is also funded directly by Soros’s own Open Society Institute.
Meanwhile, another Occupy staffer loosely identified by CNN is Haywood Carey, who is labeled simply as an Occupy “activist.” Carey, however, was a paid employee of the Change to Win labor federation from 2008 to 2009. The federation is a coalition of four member unions: The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Service Employees International Union; United Farm Workers and the United Food and Commercial Workers.
In his book Beyond the Fields, labor historian Randy Shaw notes that the groundwork for the founding of Change to Win were laid out by SEIU activist Stephen Lerner. As this journalist was first to report, the tactic of blocking bridges, already used by Occupy Wall Street to hold up the Brooklyn Bridge, was institutionalized by Lerner.
Meanwhile, another professional radical running Occupy not yet fully identified by the news media is Beth Bogart, who has been widely quoted as helping run the movement’s press relations department in New York and other cities.
Not mentioned in most media accounts is that Bogart, formerly known as Beth Bogart Fenton, is co-founder of Fenton Communications. Fenton is an extremist-led outfit that crafts the public relations strategy of Tides grantees. It came under new scrutiny after this reporter published a series of exposés tying it to Occupy Wall Street.
Fenton Communications has been behind the public relations strategy of a who’s who of far-left causes, organizations and activists, from representing Soros himself to Health Care for America Now to crafting strategies for MoveOn.org and a litany of anti-war groups.
NBC Pairs With Controversial Group
NBC-owned television stations in cities across the nation just teamed up with a nonprofit “journalism” group funded by a billionaire husband-and-wife team who not only spent millions campaigning for President Obama but also topped donor lists for groups such as ACORN and MoveOn.org.
The nonprofit, ProPublica, will contribute to the news operations of all NBC owned and operated stations, including those in such cities as Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia, the network announced Monday.
The NBC affiliates will get early access to investigative reports from ProPublica, which describes itself as an “independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest.”
Also included in the arrangement are local radio stations owned by Comcast, which purchased NBC Universal earlier this year. On its website, ProPublica describes itself as championing the values of the “weak” against the “strong.”
Controversial Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., a friend of Obama who was embroiled in a national race scandal in 2009, sits on the board of ProPublica.
ProPublica was founded with a $10 million annual grant from Herbert and Marion Sandler, the former chief executives of the Golden West Financial Corporation, which was one of the nation’s largest mortgage lenders and savings and loans.
Just before the financial crisis, the Sandlers in 2008 sold their business to the Wachovia Corporation for about $26 billion, a deal which valued their personal shares at about $2.4 billion.
The Sandlers are major donors to the Democratic Party and are top funders of ACORN, MoveOn.org, the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch and other far-left groups.
The billionaire couple donate major sums to the Center for American Progress think tank, which is reportedly highly influential in helping to craft White House policy.
The center is directed by John Podesta, who served as co-chairman of Obama’s 2008 presidential transition team.
In 2008, the Sandlers were behind two controversial California Political Action Committees, Vote Hope and PowerPac.org, which spent about $5 million in pro-Obama ads in the state. The two groups were run by the Sandler’s son-in-law, Steve Phillips, the former president of the San Francisco School Board.
The journalistic integrity of the Sandler-backed ProPublica has been repeatedly called into question.
A report by the Capital Research Center concluded ProPublica “churns out little more than left-wing hit pieces about Sarah Palin and blames the U.S. government for giving out too little foreign aid.” Slate reporter Jack Shafer raised questions about ProPublica’s ability to provide independent nonpartisan journalism in light of the nature of the Sandlers’ political donations, which include “giving hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democratic Party campaigns.”
The watchdog website UndueInfluence.com slammed ProPublica’s claim of independence, stating the site is “as independent as a lapdog on a leash with allegiances sworn in advance to left-wing causes.”
Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief and senior reporter for WorldNetDaily.com. He is also host of an investigative radio program on New York’s 770-WABC Radio, the largest talk radio station in the U.S., every Sunday between 2-4 p.m. His website is KleinOnline.com.
About the Author: Aaron Klein is a New York Times bestselling author and senior reporter for WND.com. He is also host of an investigative radio program on New York's 970 AM Radio on Sundays from 7 to 9 p.m. Eastern. His website is KleinOnline.com.
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