“We’re quickly entering secret police territory now.”
[Editor’s Note: As bad as this first stage is, writer Jeet Herr details how things can become even worse, very quickly. Link to original article and pass on to your contacts. Congressional dems are raising concerns. Let us hope there will be tough hearings. Perhaps they need to block some funding. Will Biden speak out? If not, that is significant. He has already said he would not support taking qualified immunity away from police, which is a huge cause of police abuse. — Mark L. Taylor]
By Jeet Herr
The Nation (7/17/20)
Donald Trump’s war on protesters is escalating, with reports emerging out of Portland, Ore., that federal law enforcement officers, wearing camouflage but without any other visible insignia, have been rounding up American citizens. On Thursday, Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) reported that “federal law enforcement officers have been using unmarked vehicles to drive around downtown Portland and detain protesters since at least July 14. Personal accounts and multiple videos posted online show the officers driving up to people, detaining individuals with no explanation of why they are being arrested, and driving off.”
There is every sign that Trump will continue to pound the drum of law and order until the election. Portland is likely a test case for a larger security crackdown that will be repeated in other cities.
OPB quotes one person who was arrested by these officers, although never charged. “I am basically tossed into the van,” Mark Pettibone told the broadcaster. “And I had my beanie pulled over my face so I couldn’t see and they held my hands over my head.” He was taken to a building that he later discovered was a federal courthouse. Only there was he read his Miranda rights, but he was never charged. After he asked for a lawyer, he was released. Videos are circulating on social media of similar detentions.
“It’s like stop and frisk meets Guantanamo Bay,” attorney Juan Chavez told OPB. He added that these detentions were not following any rules of probable cause. “It sounds more like abduction. It sounds like they’re kidnapping people off the streets.”
On the face of it, what these federal officers are doing is illegal and unconstitutional. It’s possible that they are acting under the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act, signed by Barack Obama, which legalized the detention of Americans suspected of being terrorists. If so, then the War on Terrorism has truly come home. …
(Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor. 2020. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org)
WARNING! The Authoritarian Operation In Portland Is Only A Dress Rehearsal
A major American city is being softly Pinochet’ed in broad daylight.
By Charle Pierce
Pardon me for being this uncivil this early in the morning but, seriously, what in the FCK is this shit? From Oregon Public Broadcasting:
“Federal law enforcement officers have been using unmarked vehicles to drive around downtown Portland and detain protesters since at least July 14. Personal accounts and multiple videos posted online show the officers driving up to people, detaining individuals with no explanation of why they are being arrested, and driving off. The tactic appears to be another escalation in federal force deployed on Portland city streets, as federal officials and President Donald Trump have said they plan to “quell” nightly protests outside the federal courthouse and Multnomah County Justice Center that have lasted for more than six weeks.
“Federal officers have charged at least 13 people with crimes related to the protests so far, while others have been arrested and released, including Pettibone. They also left one demonstrator hospitalized with skull fractures after shooting him in the face with so-called “less lethal” munitions July 11. Officers from the U.S. Marshals Special Operations Group and Customs and Border Protection’s BORTAC, have been sent to Portland to protect federal property during the recent protests against racism and police brutality. But interviews conducted by OPB show officers are also detaining people on Portland streets who aren’t near federal property, nor is it clear that all of the people being arrested have engaged in criminal activity. Demonstrators like O’Shea and Pettibone said they think they were targeted by federal officers for simply wearing black clothing in the area of the demonstration.”
LEO’s in camo? Unmarked vehicles? Disappearing people off the street without charge? Detention in something far too close to a police black site? (Ask some folks in Chicago how those work out.) I always knew I missed something not growing up in Santiago.
“Pettibone did not escape the federal officers. “I am basically tossed into the van,” Pettibone said. “And I had my beanie pulled over my face so I couldn’t see and they held my hands over my head.” Pettibone and O’Shea both said they couldn’t think of anything they might have done to end up targeted by law enforcement. They attend protests regularly but they said they aren’t “instigators.” They don’t spray paint buildings, shine laser pointers at officers or do anything else other than attend protests, which law enforcement have regularly deemed “unlawful assemblies.” Blinded by his hat, in an unmarked minivan full of armed people dressed in camouflage and body armor who hadn’t identified themselves, Pettibone said he was driven around downtown before being unloaded inside a building. He wouldn’t learn until after his release that he had been inside the federal courthouse.”
Why in the hell is this not a bigger story? A major American city is being softly Pinochet’ed in broad daylight. And, if we know one thing, if this president* and his administration* get away with this, it will only get worse. You’d have to be out of your mind—or comatose since the Fall of 2016—not to suspect that this could be a dry run for the kind of general urban mobilization at which the president* has been hinting since this summer’s protests began.
On Thursday, acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf came to Portland largely, it seems, to rave about “anarchists” and slap the police on the back. From the AP:
“Mayor Ted Wheeler and other local officials have said they didn’t ask for help from federal law enforcement and have asked them to leave. “A number of people have asked if I know DHS leadership is in town, and if I’m going to meet with them. We’re aware that they’re here. We wish they weren’t. We haven’t been invited to meet with them, and if we were, we would decline,” Wheeler tweeted Thursday. Democratic Gov. Kate Brown called Wolf’s visit “political theater from President Trump” and said he “is looking for a confrontation in Oregon in the hopes of winning political points in Ohio or Iowa.””
Since when does a Cabinet official, representing the president*, come to a city and not even try to meet the mayor? Since 2017, of course. Brown is right. This is dumbshow for dummies in the base. But it’s also a terrible look into that of which this administration* is capable, and for which this administration seems to be softening the ground. …
Milwaukee Is On Trump Hit List — Link and scroll down to second post: Link To Post