Hundreds of police officers were involved, some of them wearing riot helmets. The overnight hours of Monday into Tuesday were chosen because Zuccotti Park would be at its emptiest. The operation was kept secret from all but a few high-ranking officers, with others initially being told that they were embarking on an exercise. – After an Earlier Misstep, a Minutely Planned Raid

The ground has been laid for Occupy protests to get very bad PR. Public Policy Polling now reveals it in “Occupy Wall Street Favor Fading.”

The controversy over the protests is starting to drown out the actual message.

Police in riot gear in the middle of a public park, while peaceful protests continue, tend to do that, but then it’s been planned that way. Can’t have democracy breaking out in America over something as silly as income inequality, now can we?

The right is doing their best to help.

The right is fueled by stupid.

But it’s this report yesterday by Rick Ellis in the Examiner out of Wisconsin that is getting deserved attention, because it points to the escalations we’re seeing.

Establishment forces, which include the business community, are very likely targeting Occupy protests and working hard to damage the movement, their reputation and the basic fight they’re waging, because the message is real. So, if you can’t hijack the message, damage the messenger. Make them look frightening, threatening, dirty, add your favorite negative adjective.

‘Occupy’ crackdowns coordinated with federal law enforcement officials

Over the past ten days, more than a dozen cities have moved to evict “Occupy” protesters from city parks and other public spaces. As was the case in last night’s move in New York City, each of the police actions shares a number of characteristics. And according to one Justice official, each of those actions was coordinated with help from Homeland Security, the FBI and other federal police agencies.

The official, who spoke on background to me late Monday evening, said that while local police agencies had received tactical and planning advice from national agencies, the ultimate decision on how each jurisdiction handles the Occupy protests ultimately rests with local law enforcement.

David Atkins writes today about a “sanitized eviction,” with the story I link at the top by the New York Times beginning the cleaning. The salient point of Atkins’ post:

This was not a clean, sanitary peaceful operation on rowdy vagrants. This was a violent assault on the civil liberties of Americans peacefully protesting a corrupt system, complete with a coordinated total media blackout.

Scary pictures and videos on TV going out to middle America, along with right-wing radio blasting the dangers of Occupy protesters, all of this is how a movement is discredited.

What’s the dangers to people if peaceful protests were allowed to continue without interruption, as is their right?

The fear is to businesses impacted by Occupy protesters presence. That freaks the establishment, with the loss of business revenue enough to inspire engagement by the federal government and Homeland Security to become involved in helping locally.

Our democratic republic isn’t what it used to be.