Federal Law Enforcement Use Unmarked Vehicles To Grab Protesters Off Portland Streets

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Federal Law Enforcement Use Unmarked Vehicles To Grab Protesters Off Portland Streets

Post by loomer »

This is, I believe the Juice would say, Cool and Normal!
Federal Law Enforcement Use Unmarked Vehicles To Grab Protesters Off Portland Streets

UPDATE (7:46 p.m. PT) — In the early hours of July 15, after a night spent protesting at the Multnomah County Justice Center and Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse, Mark Pettibone and his friend Conner O’Shea decided to head home.

It had been a calm night compared to most protesting downtown. By 2 a.m. law enforcement hadn’t used any tear gas and, with only a few exceptions, both the Portland Police Bureau and federal law enforcement officers had stayed out of sight.

A block west of Chapman Square, Pettibone and O’Shea bumped into a group of people who warned them that people in camouflage were driving around the area in unmarked minivans grabbing people off the street.

“So that was terrifying to hear,” Pettibone said.

They had barely made it half a block when an unmarked minivan pulled up in front of them.

“I see guys in camo,” O’Shea said. “Four or five of them pop out, open the door and it was just like, ‘Oh shit. I don’t know who you are or what you want with us.’”

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.

O’Shea said he ran when he saw people wearing camouflage jump out of an unmarked vehicle. He said he hid when a second unmarked van pursued him.

Video shot by O’Shea and provided to OPB shows a dark screen as O’Shea narrates the scene. Metadata from the video confirms the time and place of the protesters’ account.

“Feds are driving around, grabbing people off the streets,” O’Shea said on the video. “I didn’t do anything fucking wrong. I’m recording this. I had to let somebody know that this is what happens.”

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.

“It was basically a process of facing many walls and corners as they patted me down and took my picture and rummaged through my belongings,” Pettibone said. “One of them said, ‘This is a whole lot of nothing.’”

Pettibone said he was put into a cell. Soon after, two officers came in to read him his Miranda rights. They didn’t tell him why he was being arrested. He said they asked him if he wanted to waive his rights and answer some questions, but Pettibone declined and said he wanted a lawyer. The interview was terminated, and about 90 minutes later he was released. He said he did not receive any paperwork, citation or record of his arrest.

“I just happened to be wearing black on a sidewalk in downtown Portland at the time,” Pettibone said. “And that apparently is grounds for detaining me.”

In a statement, the U.S. Marshals Service declined to comment on the practice of using unmarked vehicles, but said their officers had not arrested Pettibone.

“All United States Marshals Service arrestees have public records of arrest documenting their charges. Our agency did not arrest or detain Mark James Pettibone.”

OPB sent DHS an extensive list of questions about Pettibone’s arrest including: What is the legal justification for making arrests away from federal property? What is the legal justification for searching people who are not participating in criminal activity? Why are federal officers using civilian vehicles and taking people away in them? Are the arrests federal officers make legal under the constitution? If so, how?

After 7 p.m. Thursday, a DHS spokesperson responded, on background, that they could confirm Wolf was in Portland during the day. The spokesperson didn’t acknowledge the remaining questions.

“It’s like stop and frisk meets Guantanamo Bay,” said attorney Juan Chavez, director of the civil rights project at the Oregon Justice Resource Center.

Chavez has worked on litigation surrounding the weeks of protests and helped lead efforts to curb local police from using tear gas and munitions on protesters. He called the arrest by federal officers “terrifying.”

“You have laws regarding probable cause that can lead to arrests,” he said. “It sounds more like abduction. It sounds like they’re kidnapping people off the streets.”

Ashlee Albies, a civil rights attorney with the National Lawyers Guild, said Pettibone’s detention is an example of intimidation by federal law enforcement, and noted that people have a First Amendment right to demonstrate. She also said law enforcement officials have to follow procedures when they detain someone.

“I would be surprised to see that pulling up in an unmarked van, grabbing people off the street is an acceptable policy for a criminal investigation,” Albines said.

In a letter released Thursday, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf said, “Portland has been under siege for 47 straight days by a violent mob while local political leaders refuse to restore order to protect their city.”

“A federal courthouse is a symbol of justice,” Wolf wrote, denigrating protests against racism in the United States’ criminal justice system as an angry mob. “To attack it is to attack America.”

KOIN was first to report Thursday that Wolf was visiting Portland to view damage to the federal courthouse.

This week, Trump has repeatedly spoken out about what he calls lawlessness in the city. He praised the role of federal law enforcement officers in Portland and alluded to increasing their presence in cities nationwide. Speaking to Fox News on Thursday, Acting U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan called the protesters criminals.

“I don’t want to get ahead of the president and his announcement,” Morgan said, “but the Department of Justice is going to be involved in this, DHS is going to be involved in this; and we’re really going to take a stand across the board. And we’re going to do what needs to be done to protect the men and women of this country.”

Early Thursday morning, Portland police tried a new approach to stop the protests. Officers cleared Lownsdale and Chapman Squares, including Riot Ribs, a barbecue stand that had been cooking free food since July 4. The city said it was closing the parks for maintenance. By early afternoon, fences had been installed around both parks.

Police arrested nine people during the closure, including three of the people who ran Riot Ribs. They face a variety of charges, including trespassing and disorderly conduct.

Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office declined to offer comment on the latest events involving federal officers, but reiterated a statement from earlier in the week, saying federal officers should be restricted to guarding federal property.

“We do not need or want their help,” Wheeler said. “The best thing they can do is stay inside their building, or leave Portland altogether.”

Oregon Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkely said if Wolf is coming to inflame the situation in Portland so the President can “look tough,” the acting DHS leader should leave.

“Federal forces shot an unarmed protester in the face,” Merkely said in a tweet. “These shadowy forces have been escalating, not preventing, violence.”

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown similarly called for federal law enforcement officers to leave Portland. She added, Wolf is on a “mission to provoke confrontation for political purposes.”

“This political theater from President Trump has nothing to do with public safety,” Brown said in a statement. “The President is failing to lead this nation. Now he is deploying federal officers to patrol the streets of Portland in a blatant abuse of power by the federal government.”
source

Giving this one its own thread since the anti-anarchist stuff is spiralling out wider and wider and this is just one early shot of many more to come against my friends. Boy, I sure am glad there were years of people on, even on 'the left', denouncing antifa to make this an easier sell to the American people!
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Re: Federal Law Enforcement Use Unmarked Vehicles To Grab Protesters Off Portland Streets

Post by Eulogy »

"We need to look tough!"

Then later on...

"Oh fuck we're getting the shit sued out of us!"

Nice job chucklefucks, you haven't learned anything from the protests.
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Re: Federal Law Enforcement Use Unmarked Vehicles To Grab Protesters Off Portland Streets

Post by The Romulan Republic »

Speaking of sued, the ACLU has:

https://msn.com/en-us/news/us/aclu-sues ... -ntp-feeds
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on Friday filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Marshals Service and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) over allegedly violent behavior from federal law enforcement agents at protests in Portland, Oregon.

The group says the lawsuit was filed on behalf of local journalists and legal observers. It seeks to prevent agents "from dispersing, arresting, threatening to arrest, or using physical force against journalists or legal observers" during protests against racial injustice sparked by the May 25 death of George Floyd.

"This is a fight to save our democracy," Kelly Simon, interim legal director with the ACLU of Oregon, said in a statement. "Under the direction of the Trump administration, federal agents are terrorizing the community, risking lives, and brutally attacking protesters demonstrating against police brutality."

"This is police escalation on top of police escalation. These federal agents must be stopped and removed from our city," added Simon. "We will continue to bring the full fire power of the ACLU to bear until this lawless policing ends."

The legal complaint seeks a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction against the agencies, who it alleges have been "assaulting news reporters, photographers, legal observers, and other neutrals who are documenting Defendants' violent response to protests over the murder of George Floyd."

Portland police have been under a similar restraining order after being accused of violent conduct, which the ACLU says led to a temporary "respite from the violence and intimidation that gave rise to" their current legal action. However, President Donald Trump soon sent federal agents to the city, which the group claims led to further violence.

The ACLU cites a number of reported incidents involving the "indiscriminate" use of rubber bullets, tear gas and acoustic weapons at demonstrations, including a July 12 incident involving a protester who suffered serious head injuries after allegedly being shot in the head by a police officer.

Newsweek reached out to DHS and the U.S. Marshals Service for comment.

This is a developing story and will be updated as new information becomes available.
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Re: Federal Law Enforcement Use Unmarked Vehicles To Grab Protesters Off Portland Streets

Post by PainRack »

Spreading the news.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/worl ... reddit.com

The video is graphic in violence but a navy veteran went to protest against Portland and fed abuse of protesters, exercised his first Ammendant rights and was beaten for his efforts.

He stoically stood there as a rebuke, showing how a soldier defends the Consitution and the Flag for which she stands for...
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Re: Federal Law Enforcement Use Unmarked Vehicles To Grab Protesters Off Portland Streets

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Trump planning to deploy Federal agents in more Democratic cities:

https://theglobeandmail.com/world/us-po ... to-cities/

This is a flat-out fascist takeover. Law suits aren't enough. City and state governments targetted by Trump should order their law enforcement and national guard to arrest Trump agents as kidnappers.
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver

"The greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan."-General Von Clauswitz, describing my opinion of Bernie or Busters and third partiers in a nutshell.

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Re: Federal Law Enforcement Use Unmarked Vehicles To Grab Protesters Off Portland Streets

Post by Solauren »

And to arrest Trump for treason, kidnapping, etc.

If they did that, and actually tried to enforce it, Trump would not be able to campaign worth shit, or even leave the White house without realistic fear or arrest.

And let's face facts, no Secret Servicemen is going to stop legitimate law enforcement from arresting him. Realistically, they can't without risking arrest themselves, or a firefight. Protecting the president from legitimate law enforcement is not their job.
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Re: Federal Law Enforcement Use Unmarked Vehicles To Grab Protesters Off Portland Streets

Post by Napoleon the Clown »

Solauren wrote: 2020-07-20 03:08pm And to arrest Trump for treason, kidnapping, etc.

If they did that, and actually tried to enforce it, Trump would not be able to campaign worth shit, or even leave the White house without realistic fear or arrest.

And let's face facts, no Secret Servicemen is going to stop legitimate law enforcement from arresting him. Realistically, they can't without risking arrest themselves, or a firefight. Protecting the president from legitimate law enforcement is not their job.
Sweet summer child... The Secret Service would very much protect Trump from being arrested. If they had issue with his lawless behavior there would have been mass resignations by now. There'd be no hiding it. As it stands, any resignations have been minimal and easily hidden. The Secret Service may not formally (or at least explicitly) be required to protect a POTUS subject to a lawful arrest warrant, but he's still the POTUS and their job these days is to protect the POTUS.

Oh, right... And no cop is gonna arrest their God-King, Donald Trump. Police support for vicious authoritarians is high.
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Re: Federal Law Enforcement Use Unmarked Vehicles To Grab Protesters Off Portland Streets

Post by Solauren »

Which could be strike against the police, and add to the entire 'defund' them movements momentum.
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Re: Federal Law Enforcement Use Unmarked Vehicles To Grab Protesters Off Portland Streets

Post by Ralin »

Solauren wrote: 2020-07-20 03:08pm And to arrest Trump for treason, kidnapping, etc.

If they did that, and actually tried to enforce it, Trump would not be able to campaign worth shit, or even leave the White house without realistic fear or arrest.

And let's face facts, no Secret Servicemen is going to stop legitimate law enforcement from arresting him. Realistically, they can't without risking arrest themselves, or a firefight. Protecting the president from legitimate law enforcement is not their job.

Yeah, that's uhm, literally the SS's job. The chances of them shrugging and saying there's no law saying they can stop cops from arresting the president are basically nil. Far as they're concerned there's no one with a legitimate reason to lay hands on the president against his will.

Pretty sure that 'win a firefight' is on the list of things they're trained to do if it comes to it.
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Re: Federal Law Enforcement Use Unmarked Vehicles To Grab Protesters Off Portland Streets

Post by Rogue 9 »

A state lawsuit against this would be a slam dunk on Article IV grounds.
United States Constitution, Article IV, Section 4 wrote:The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union, a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and on application of the legislature, or of the executive (when the legislature cannot be convened), against domestic violence.
The legislature of Oregon has not asked, and in fact has told them to get the fuck out. Absent a request for aid from the state government, the feds have no business intervening in civil unrest.
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Re: Federal Law Enforcement Use Unmarked Vehicles To Grab Protesters Off Portland Streets

Post by Elheru Aran »

I think it's a pretty safe assumption at this point that the SS isn't going to do anything about Trump; they've had more than three years to. Now that doesn't mean they won't cheerfully show him the door once he's out of office one way or another, but they have one job (the Treasury Department stuff aside) and they do it *very well*... the politics, ethics and morals of said job aside.
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Re: Federal Law Enforcement Use Unmarked Vehicles To Grab Protesters Off Portland Streets

Post by The Romulan Republic »

There are just two ways Trump realistically goes (other than waiting for death by natural causes): either the Biden campaign defeats him by a wide enough margin that the legitimacy of the election is inarguable to any sane person, or things deteriorate to the point where Trump is forced out by some form of popular revolt, or a military coup.

In either scenario, it will ultimately depend on strong support for his removal from within the armed forces, as I think it would be extremely foolish to assume that Trump will suddenly respect the will of the people.
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver

"The greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan."-General Von Clauswitz, describing my opinion of Bernie or Busters and third partiers in a nutshell.

I SUPPORT A NATIONAL GENERAL STRIKE TO REMOVE TRUMP FROM OFFICE.
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Re: Federal Law Enforcement Use Unmarked Vehicles To Grab Protesters Off Portland Streets

Post by Zaune »

The Romulan Republic wrote: 2020-07-20 08:29pmThere are just two ways Trump realistically goes (other than waiting for death by natural causes): either the Biden campaign defeats him by a wide enough margin that the legitimacy of the election is inarguable to any sane person, or things deteriorate to the point where Trump is forced out by some form of popular revolt, or a military coup.

In either scenario, it will ultimately depend on strong support for his removal from within the armed forces, as I think it would be extremely foolish to assume that Trump will suddenly respect the will of the people.
Bold of you to imply that the legitimacy of the election being inarguable to any sane person makes any difference to the overwhelming majority of Trump's remaining supporters, who are either every bit as palpably insane as the man himself, exploiting his descent into madness for personal gain or both.
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Re: Federal Law Enforcement Use Unmarked Vehicles To Grab Protesters Off Portland Streets

Post by The Romulan Republic »

I don't care about Trump's supporters. Anyone who's still backing him now will likely keep backing him right up to gas chambers, and they can go fuck themselves.

What I care about is the military, who have shown that they are not unlimited in their support of Trump (see the pushback to his using them to clear out protesters for a photo op), who will not support a Left-wing revolt against Trump and will indeed be obliged by their oaths to forcibly supress it, but who will also be obliged by their oaths not to support an effort by him to remain in power past an electoral defeat.

I care, in short, that his defeat, and his illegitimacy if he tries to remain in office regardless, are clear to the military. And I've stated this view often enough that you should and everyone else who regularly posts in the news and politics forum should know it.

Any confrontation this winter will, in all likelihood, be won or lost by how much of the military regards Trump as legitimate. Which means that for the next six months (exactly, to the day, until inauguration), they are the only audience that ultimately matters.
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver

"The greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan."-General Von Clauswitz, describing my opinion of Bernie or Busters and third partiers in a nutshell.

I SUPPORT A NATIONAL GENERAL STRIKE TO REMOVE TRUMP FROM OFFICE.
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Re: Federal Law Enforcement Use Unmarked Vehicles To Grab Protesters Off Portland Streets

Post by Zaune »

The Romulan Republic wrote: 2020-07-20 09:40pmAny confrontation this winter will, in all likelihood, be won or lost by how much of the military regards Trump as legitimate. Which means that for the next six months (exactly, to the day, until inauguration), they are the only audience that ultimately matters.
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Re: Federal Law Enforcement Use Unmarked Vehicles To Grab Protesters Off Portland Streets

Post by Aether »

The Romulan Republic wrote: 2020-07-20 09:40pm I don't care about Trump's supporters. Anyone who's still backing him now will likely keep backing him right up to gas chambers, and they can go fuck themselves.
It's quite sad that there are plenty of people who still back Trump - most of what I have seen are poor, white, and uneducated. This is all anecdotal of course - I have several friends and family on FB that are conservative and I swear their memes and posts are pissing me off. So much so, I created a friend list and dumped them off in there, so that I do not need to read their trash on my feed.

These poor people see themselves in Trump - that's why they don't care what he does. For once, someone like them (ignorant, dumb, unsuccessful because of "the other"), has power and is flaunting it willy nilly with air of attitude "Now I have the power, so take this!"

Trump's 4 years* in office in a nutshell.

*Yes, I am optimistic that Trump will be voted out this November.
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Re: Federal Law Enforcement Use Unmarked Vehicles To Grab Protesters Off Portland Streets

Post by The Romulan Republic »

Zaune wrote: 2020-07-21 12:25pm
The Romulan Republic wrote: 2020-07-20 09:40pmAny confrontation this winter will, in all likelihood, be won or lost by how much of the military regards Trump as legitimate. Which means that for the next six months (exactly, to the day, until inauguration), they are the only audience that ultimately matters.
I wish I shared your faith that anyone is going to win this election except the undertakers.
I can't predict what will happen, of course, but we try to win it as best we can, because the alternative would be to give up, and then Trump wins.
Aether wrote: 2020-07-21 02:38pm
The Romulan Republic wrote: 2020-07-20 09:40pm I don't care about Trump's supporters. Anyone who's still backing him now will likely keep backing him right up to gas chambers, and they can go fuck themselves.
It's quite sad that there are plenty of people who still back Trump - most of what I have seen are poor, white, and uneducated. This is all anecdotal of course - I have several friends and family on FB that are conservative and I swear their memes and posts are pissing me off. So much so, I created a friend list and dumped them off in there, so that I do not need to read their trash on my feed.

These poor people see themselves in Trump - that's why they don't care what he does. For once, someone like them (ignorant, dumb, unsuccessful because of "the other"), has power and is flaunting it willy nilly with air of attitude "Now I have the power, so take this!"

Trump's 4 years* in office in a nutshell.

*Yes, I am optimistic that Trump will be voted out this November.
They're not all poor, or even uneducated. Nor are all poor or uneducated people Trump supporters of course- many (particularly among those of color, obviously) despise him. But there is definitely an appeal in that he can seemingly get away with shamelessly being an asshole and bully and abusing his power in all the ways certain people (mostly racist, misogynist, homophobic, xenophobic white men) wish they could. I've often described Trump's appeal as "wish fulfilment for assholes." They live vicariously through him.

That's why, for his hard core base (who are thankfully a minority of the populace and the electorate), it doesn't really matter whether he accomplishes anything, or how incompetent or corrupt or ignorant or stupid he is. That's not the point. The point is seeing someone up there who can bully people without restrain, say whatever he wants without consequence, shit on the people they want to shit on, on the biggest stage on Earth. He doesn't ever have to deliver a single policy to satisfy them. All he has to do is be himself: white, male, and an unapologetic asshole.
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver

"The greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan."-General Von Clauswitz, describing my opinion of Bernie or Busters and third partiers in a nutshell.

I SUPPORT A NATIONAL GENERAL STRIKE TO REMOVE TRUMP FROM OFFICE.
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Re: Federal Law Enforcement Use Unmarked Vehicles To Grab Protesters Off Portland Streets

Post by The Romulan Republic »

The top prosecutor in Philadelphia says he is prepared to arrest and charge Federal agents:

https://bloomberg.com/news/articles/202 ... ral-agents
After numerous reports and lawsuits in Portland regarding un-badged and un-uniformed federal officers arresting, beating, and detaining people in unmarked vehicles, the Trump administration’s response is that they’re going to do it even more, and in more cities. Saying that his federal agents are doing a “fantastic job,” Trump has suggested that he will also deploy agents in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Baltimore and Milwaukee to do the same.

In one of those cities, the city prosecutor has already preemptively warned Trump’s police forces what he will do if they bring the same tactics to Philadelphia:

“My dad volunteered and served in World War II to fight fascism, like most of my uncles, so we would not have an American president brutalizing and kidnapping Americans for exercising their constitutional rights and trying to make America a better place, which is what patriots do,” said Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner in a statement. “Anyone, including federal law enforcement, who unlawfully assaults and kidnaps people will face criminal charges from my office.”

Trump claims the federal intervention is needed due to excessive violence, particularly around federal statues and monuments. But legal experts have said the reported federal actions in Portland far exceed legal boundaries.

“[T]he use of a secret federal paramilitary force in Portland (and soon Chicago and likely other cities) is every bit the abuse of power that it appears to be,” legal scholar Elizabeth Goitein, of the Brennan Center for Justice, wrote on Twitter, noting that Trump’s claim of protecting federal property is pure pretext for his intent to have federal agents do the work of local police.

Trump’s dare to deploy additional troops to more cities will test the mettle of reformist prosecutors like Krasner, who has aggressively pursued police reforms and taken steps to eliminate what he calls unethical and unconstitutional police practices that Trump has said he’d like to see more of.

A clash between local and federal law enforcement over how to manage protesters in Philadelphia — if it comes to that — would be unprecedented.

CityLab spoke with Krasner about how exactly the city’s police force will be able to police federal authorities, especially when given marching orders from the White House. The interview below has been edited for length and clarity.

Have you received official confirmation from the Trump administration that it is in fact deploying federal officers in Philadelphia?

Nope. We have not.

What is your understanding of the legality of the Trump administration deploying officers in any city in this context?

There are certain areas of shared jurisdiction between federal and local authorities, and frankly, there's a frequent collaboration between federal and local law enforcement on certain types of cases. Often it's cases involving drugs and guns or explosives, for example. So there's nothing unusual about feds being involved in law enforcement in the city. And there's nothing unusual about collaborations between local and federal authorities. They're going on right now in my office.

What's unusual here is the fluffy rhetoric about taking over cities. What's unusual is the politicization of a normal relationship between federal law enforcement and local law enforcement. And what is really unusual is the apparently illegal Stormtrooper tactics that have been used by federal law enforcement in Portland.

It is not OK to fracture skulls with what they like to call non-lethal rubber bullets or tear gas canisters. It is not OK when there is no probable cause to jump out of a rental van and just requisition people off the street. That looks like a dictatorship. That looks like a kidnapping. That looks like a crime. So there's nothing unusual about federal law enforcement doing law enforcement work, where it may follow the law and where they have jurisdiction to do so. That's not what we're dealing with here, though. We're dealing with a shiny object that the president is waving around to distract from his outrageous failures in many other areas. And to try to use his usual tactics of neo-fascist division, hate, and racism to improve his almost deceased campaign.

So you are prepared to prosecute federal law enforcement officials if they do in Philadelphia what they are doing in Portland?

If we have clear probable cause for the commission of crimes, by anyone, including law enforcement, including federal law enforcement, we will prosecute that. We're not going to tolerate any kidnappings and assaults going on in Philadelphia streets. We're not going to tolerate showing up under the guise of making things safer and [instead] causing violence.

Is there precedent for this — local police arresting federal police?

There are instances, and there have been in many major cities. Often it relates to corruption where you have arrests that are made. Sometimes they're made by federal authorities. Sometimes they're made by local authorities. The Philadelphia police department and the Philadelphia D.A.'s office, absolutely have jurisdiction to arrest and to charge federal law enforcement officials if they commit crimes. The only wrinkle to this is that under certain circumstances the case may eventually end up being handled in federal court. But there's no question that the law applies to the feds, including the president, whatever he may want to say otherwise.

Can you walk us through what that would look like?

It can come in a number of ways. It can come through the police, because the primary investigative agency is the police department. But it can originate within the D.A.'s office, where we then collaborate with the police or where we do it without the police using our own attorneys, D.A. detectives, etc. Sometimes there is simply an arrest and we charge them by complaints or we can convene a grand jury where in a less public fashion, civilians decide whether or not there is probable cause to arrest a person for the commission of crime. So there's a few different ways it can be initiated.

I would like to think that this mayor and this reform commissioner mean what they say when they say we're not going to tolerate federal law enforcement committing crimes on Philadelphia streets. I think they probably do. But I can tell you to some extent, it doesn't matter because I'm not going to tolerate it. And the D.A.'s office is able to act either independently or in collaboration with the Philadelphia police department.

What about the fact that the city is currently being sued due to how its own police department has treated protestors?

I can tell you that we have a very large number of ongoing investigations relating to, among other things, the things that were done by civilians or law enforcement during the period that people are generally calling the unrest or the uprising. The police commissioner referred some investigative information to our office relating to the use by an officer of OC spray on the faces of three people who were kneeling or sitting, and he pulled masks away from their faces when he sprayed them. There is other ongoing activity. I can't be more specific in the middle of investigations, but stay tuned. We will all be seeing more about at least some of the activity that occurred there and also very similar activity that occurred in a less affluent area of the city in West Philly where there were fewer cameras, but there was some pretty outrageous use of tear gas and other forms of sprays on people that needs to be carefully considered by my office.

Acting Homeland Security Chief Chad Wolf said he doesn’t need cities’ permission or invitation to send troops in. What’s your response to that?

It is true that the feds can travel pretty much wherever they want, as long as they're obeying the law. It is also true that it is inappropriate and uncommon for them to try to do law enforcement activity without coordinating with local authorities, because all kinds of problems can come up when you do that. But the president has made it clear that he's basically opposed to and against large groups of diverse people, he's against big cities and he is against all the freedoms Philadelphia stands for. So I am not surprised that that would be their response.

Do we need clearer laws and guidelines around what federal law enforcement officials can and cannot do when they're in a city jurisdiction?

No, I actually think the law is adequate. What's not adequate is our president who doesn't really care what the law is, and he doesn't really care what the truth is. He's perfectly willing to behave like his heroes in tyrannical countries. He’s perfectly willing to act like Putin. He's perfectly willing to act like some historical Argentinian dictator. He likes it. He likes the image of the strong man. Never mind that he avoided military service. He wants to be a strong man who is somehow going to use his singular force and not let any law or constitution get in the way to get what he wants. That's all a bunch of crap. I mean, here's the reality. He's talking about deploying 150 federal law enforcement [officers] to Chicago. The police force in Chicago is over 12,000 people. He's talking about deploying maybe the equivalent of 1% of their ordinary active police force. This is fluff. This is politics. This has nothing to do with actual law enforcement. It is a diversion of tax funds to try to bolster a campaign that is close to defunct. It's just the worst kind of deception, division and hate, and we all know what happens to haters, which is they lose.

Do you have any concerns that this deployment is leading to a further erosion of trust and legitimacy in law enforcement in general?

Absolutely. You know, the whole point of the George Floyd protests was that they somehow became emblematic of, I don't even want to say decades, but more than a couple hundred years of police abuse and unaccountable policing. That was the whole point. And when you respond to a national outcry for more police accountability, more racial justice by sending in law enforcement dressed and behaving like military to engage in conduct that's clearly illegal, and anonymous requisitioning of people on public streets, then what you are saying is that the police should be above the law. There should be no limits on their conduct, and there should be no limit on this president's conduct. It goes in exactly the wrong direction. It erodes trust even more. You might say it dynamites trust.

What about the looting, property destruction and other violence that has occurred in the uprisings? Is there any obligation for the federal government to intervene if it looks like local authorities don’t have it under control?

There have not been any kind of widespread burglaries, criminal trespass or looting, as you put it, in Philadelphia for weeks. The protest activity that was going on in the past weeks has been almost 100% peaceful. [Trump] is saying things that are not true. He is manufacturing a crisis that does not exist. I'm not going to tell you that there's no city in America that has some unrest that includes things like looting. I'm going to tell you what I see in my city. He’s saying he's going to come here to take over. And there's nothing to take over. We don't have rioting, we don't have looting. We haven't had anything like that going on here for a very long time. What we have is a precipitous decline in his polling over the past few weeks.

There might be some city that had some problems, but that's not what he's talking about. What he's talking about is going to pick a list of cities, which not coincidentally are mostly big cities in battleground states. They are mostly or completely Democratically controlled. And perhaps most importantly, they have a very large population of people who are Black and Brown. He knows what he's doing when he attacks Kim Foxx in Chicago. And he attacks Philadelphia where the white population, which includes me, is about 35-40% of the total city. He's going after Marilyn Mosby in Baltimore. He's going after Eric Gonzalez in Brooklyn. He has an agenda. It is a strictly political, racist, divisive, fear-based fictional agenda. All of this stuff comes out of the fascist playbook. All this stuff comes out of the white supremacist playbook.
This is amazing. Its absolutely necessary if they're to do their duty to uphold the law and protect their residents, and I'm glad to see that some state and local officials may actually have the guts to resist rather than quietly submit to fascism.

But its also potentially a big step closer to an armed confrontation between state or local and federal governments.
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Re: Federal Law Enforcement Use Unmarked Vehicles To Grab Protesters Off Portland Streets

Post by Zaune »

The Romulan Republic wrote: 2020-07-22 07:39amIts absolutely necessary if they're to do their duty to uphold the law and protect their residents, and I'm glad to see that some state and local officials may actually have the guts to resist rather than quietly submit to fascism.

But its also potentially a big step closer to an armed confrontation between state or local and federal governments.
Damned if they do, damned if they don't. Allowing these snatch squads to continue could be the thin end of the wedge towards full-blown Night and Fog tactics, but a lot depends on what they've been ordered to do in the event they're challenged by local law-enforcement. I would hope that someone in the Department of Homeland Security realises that getting into a firefight with the state police would be an unmitigated disaster for all concerned, but the guy at the top thinks deescalation is for cowards.

And there's also the not-insignificant problem that the hard right has infiltrated local law-enforcement to the point where they might be rather resistant to carrying out these orders.
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Re: Federal Law Enforcement Use Unmarked Vehicles To Grab Protesters Off Portland Streets

Post by The Romulan Republic »

Zaune wrote: 2020-07-22 08:33am
The Romulan Republic wrote: 2020-07-22 07:39amIts absolutely necessary if they're to do their duty to uphold the law and protect their residents, and I'm glad to see that some state and local officials may actually have the guts to resist rather than quietly submit to fascism.

But its also potentially a big step closer to an armed confrontation between state or local and federal governments.
Damned if they do, damned if they don't. Allowing these snatch squads to continue could be the thin end of the wedge towards full-blown Night and Fog tactics, but a lot depends on what they've been ordered to do in the event they're challenged by local law-enforcement. I would hope that someone in the Department of Homeland Security realises that getting into a firefight with the state police would be an unmitigated disaster for all concerned, but the guy at the top thinks deescalation is for cowards.

And there's also the not-insignificant problem that the hard right has infiltrated local law-enforcement to the point where they might be rather resistant to carrying out these orders.
Yeah, I'd be real careful about which officers were assigned to carry out such investigations and arrests, and what their loyalties are.
"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver

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Re: Federal Law Enforcement Use Unmarked Vehicles To Grab Protesters Off Portland Streets

Post by Elfdart »

The DA in Philadelphia has announced that any of Cheeto Mussolini's Blackshirts who try to manhandle locals will be arrested.
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner promised to criminally charge any federal agents who “unlawfully assault” or “kidnap” Black Lives Matter protesters in the City of Brotherly Love.

Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents operating under the direction of Acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Chad Wolf have been accused of rounding up protesters and whisking them away in unmarked vans since at least July 12 in Portland, Oregon.

Critics of the White House and civil libertarians have responded to those detentions with widespread revulsion and have questioned the legal justification for the practice. Many observers have also raised constitutional concerns with social media images of unidentified and camouflaged federal agents effectively operating as a police force in cities that, at least publicly, say they don’t want them there.

Veteran national security attorney Kel McClanahan suggested those controversial detentions were a bit more than just legally dubious; he outright called them “kidnappings.”

Other legal experts have weighed in similarly while rhetoric has steadily ramped up to describe the state of affairs in the Pacific Northwest.

Krasner, for his part, is sticking with the kidnapping characterization and cast his office’s decision to potentially clash with federal agents as a necessary bulwark against “fascism.”

“My dad volunteered and served in World War II to fight fascism, like most of my uncles, so we would not have an American president brutalizing and kidnapping Americans for exercising their constitutional rights and trying to make America a better place, which is what patriots do,” the district attorney said in a statement.

The self-styled “progressive prosecutor” made clear that his warning was meant to apply specifically to law enforcement keen to reprise the Portland method in Philadelphia. The DA’s office framed its broadside as a direct response to President Donald Trump‘s “verbiage claiming he may deploy federal law enforcement to American cities including Philadelphia.”

Trump threatened to send federal troops into the city on Monday evening.

“Anyone, including federal law enforcement, who unlawfully assaults and kidnaps people will face criminal charges from my office,” Krasner continued. “At trial, they will face a Philadelphia jury. It’s the least we can do to honor those who fought fascism, including those who are fighting it even now.”

Since the Trump Gestapo are not wearing Identification or badges, police and sheriff's deputies would be well within their rights to arrest them for impersonating law enforcement officers. I hope Krasner isn't just whistling Dixie.

While DHS designs to nationalize the Portland method have been met with scorn by some, federal authorities insist their actions are popular, appropriate and necessary.

“With as much lawbreaking is going on, we’re seeking to prosecute as many people as are breaking the law as it relates to federal jurisdiction,” DHS Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli recently told National Public Radio. “That’s not always happening with respect to local jurisdiction and local offenses. But, you know, this is a posture we intend to continue not just in Portland but in any of the facilities that we’re responsible for around the country.”

The prospect of federal officers being arrested by local police for following orders would be unprecedented, and it is not clear if the Philadelphia Police Department would cooperate with such requests.

Krasner has aggressively pursued police misconduct since taking office in 2018, and his office suggested that the local police force would swimmingly agree to such moves.

“Our office charges police officers with crimes pretty regularly, not because Philly Police are necessarily more likely to engage in criminal behavior, but because District Attorney Krasner applies the law to everyone equally. Anyone who comes into the city and assaults people or grabs them off the streets without legal justification should be investigated and if the facts warrant, criminally prosecuted – regardless of their badge or title or whatever else,” a statement to Law&Crime by Krasner spokesperson Jane Roh says. “When our office does open investigations into law enforcement personnel, we generally work with Philly Police to make arrests – whether assigned to the department or to our office (where they are referred to as DA Detectives).”
"One way we recognize a mass hysteria movement is that everyone who doesn’t believe is accused of being in on the plot. This has been going on virtually unrestrained in both political and media circles in recent weeks."

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Re: Federal Law Enforcement Use Unmarked Vehicles To Grab Protesters Off Portland Streets

Post by The Romulan Republic »

News is reporting that the Fuhrer is about to announce deployments of Secret Police to Kansas City, Chicago, and Albuquerque.

In other news, a protester and lawyer who was arrested in Portland says one of Trump's Secret Police assaulted and groped her:

https://heavy.com/news/2020/07/jennifer ... -arrested/
Jennifer Kristiansen is a 37-year-old Portland mother and attorney who was arrested while protesting with the “Wall of Moms,” a group of women who have joined protests outside of the federal courthouse in the Oregon city. Kristiansen told Heavy she was ripped away from a line of fellow moms by federal officers who did not have any insignias or identifying information on their black and camouflage uniforms. Kristiansen also told Heavy she was groped and assaulted by the officer who arrested her. She later learned he was part of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Kristiansen, the mother of a 12-year-old and a 14-year-old, was protesting at the Mark O. Hatfield Courthouse for the first time on Monday night, July 21, when she was arrested. Kristiansen had decided to join dozens of other yellow-shirt-wearing mothers who had taken to the streets alongside protesters who have been at the courthouse for more than 50 days supporting Black Lives Matter, calling for police reform and an end to police violence. According to CNN, the moms were spurred to protect the protesters after Department of Homeland Security officers sent to the city by President Donald Trump escalated violence against protesters at the courthouse.

According to federal court records, Kristiansen, who was wearing a pink helmet and a rainbow tutu, along with a respirator mask her husband insisted she wear to help protect herself from tear gas and pepper spray, was charged with assault on a federal officer and failing to obey a lawful order, both misdemeanors. She has pleaded not guilty to those charges and told Heavy she did not assault a federal officer at any point during the protest. Kristiansen said her helmet bore the words, “I am disappointed and angry.”

Kristiansen was taken into custody after midnight, when federal agents emerged from the courthouse and began to use tear gas, flashbang grenades, batons and impact munitions to force the crowd gathered there to disperse, live streams of the protest showed. Court documents filed by prosecutors provide little information about the accusations against her.

The misdemeanor information accuses Kristiansen of “forcible assault” on “Agent Victim 1,” a federal officer who was performing his official duties on July 21. It does not include any other details. It also accuses her of willfully entering federal property and of failing to comply with the lawful direction of federal police officers.

There are no records of any other members of the “Wall of Moms” group being arrested by federal authorities during their three nights at the protests near the courthouse. Kristiansen said she is not sure if any of the other members of the group were taken into custody and then released without charges.

Kristiansen was one of five protesters arrested on July 20 and charged by the Oregon U.S. Attorney’s Office, according to court records. The other four protesters were men. A 22-year-old and a 23-year-old were charged with failing to obey a lawful order, a 44-year-old, who is part of the PDXDadPod, was charged with disorderly conduct on federal property and an 18-year-old was charged with failing to obey a lawful order and disorderly conduct on federal property, records show. All have been released from custody.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Marshal’s Service did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Heavy.

Kristiansen Said a Federal Agent in Black, Wearing Only a Tag Saying ‘Police DHS,’ Pushed Her Against the Wall of the Courthouse & Groped Her Breast & Buttocks
Federal officers have dispersed protestors using tear gas and batons pic.twitter.com/dCg7YfuDZV

— Sergio Olmos (@MrOlmos) July 21, 2020

A video posted by freelance Portland journalist Sergio Olmos, which you can watch above, captured the moment Kristiansen was pulled away from her fellow moms and taken into the courthouse by federal agents. Kristiansen told Heavy she was in a line with other moms in the front of the protest when “things started to get spicy.” She said federal agents were shooting “out of the murder hole” — a designation protesters have given to holes in the wood planks on the courthouse that federal officers have fired out of at protesters — and “throwing the gas, flashbangs.” Kristiansen said the two women to her right peeled off, because they were only wearing cloth masks, not a respirator like she was. She was then on the end of the line.

Kristiansen said, “We were being pushed back, we’re walking backwards,” but there was a big crowd behind them. “We’re linked arm to arm, so we’re slow, but we are leaving,” she told Heavy. She said she was then pushed by an officer, who was about 6’2″ tall (she said she’s about 5 feet tall), with a baton. She then heard the woman to her left scream that the officer had hit her breast.

Kristiansen said she then used her arm that was free to put herself between her and the officer with the baton. She said if he swung again, she wanted it to be her arm that would be hit, not the other woman’s breast again. She said then, out of nowhere, another federal officer arrived. Both officers only had tags that said “police DHS,” no name tags or anything else identifying themselves or their agency, she said. “I’m a lawyer and even I don’t know what that means,” Kristiansen said.

According to Kristiansen, the newly arrived federal agent said to the other one, “This is the one that hit me.” The officer who had hit them with a baton looked at her and said, “This one hit you?” according to Kristiansen, and the other officer responded yes. He then said, “Whatever,” and started to pull her off the line, she said. The other moms tried to pull her away from the officer, but then two officers in camouflage grabbed her. She said she later realized that one had wrapped his arm around her sternum, leaving her with bruises and tenderness around her chest.

“Before we go in, he pushes me up against the wall, facing the wall, and uses his left hand to cup my right breast,” Kristiansen told Heavy. “And his right hand to flip up my skirt and grab my right butt cheek.” She said, the “thought went through my head, ‘How much worse is this going to be?’ ‘Is this the day I get raped against the building?’ Then it was over and he was dragging me inside.”

Kristiansen said she was taken into the federal building and was not told her charges or told that she was under arrest. She said they handcuffed her behind her back and took her into an elevator. Inside the elevator, she was pushed into a corner by a federal officer, she said. Kristiansen said there were four officers in the elevator with her. One told her to “stop resisting,” and she said back, “I’m 100 pounds, I’m not resisting.” She said he then yelled at her, “Shut up.”
So, we're this close to having Rape Squads on the streets terrorizing dissidents.
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Re: Federal Law Enforcement Use Unmarked Vehicles To Grab Protesters Off Portland Streets

Post by Zwinmar »

Portland mayor gased
U.S.JULY 23, 2020 / 4:36 AM / UPDATED 15 MINUTES AGO
Portland mayor is tear-gassed in another night of unrest in U.S. city
Deborah Bloom
4 MIN READ

PORTLAND, Ore. (Reuters) - The mayor of the U.S. city of Portland, Ted Wheeler, was stung by tear gas early on Thursday morning after he joined demonstrators protesting against racial injustice and police brutality.

Security forces have frequently tear-gassed and clubbed demonstrators during weeks of unrest and Wheeler, visiting the protest site outside the federal courthouse in downtown Portland, urged federal agents to be withdrawn from the city.

“They’re not wanted here,” he said.

But Wheeler, who is also the city’s police commissioner, was jeered at by demonstrators who called on him to resign and chanted “Shame on You”. Some said he should have done more to protect Portland’s citizens.

The deployment of federal agents in Portland on July 4 is a flashpoint in a national debate over civil liberties that has roiled the United States since the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.

Demonstrators and local officials see the move as a political ploy by U.S. President Donald Trump, a Republican, to drum up a “law and order” campaign as he faces an uphill re-election battle.

Wheeler, a Democrat, has called the intervention an abuse of federal power and said it was escalating the violence. Wednesday saw bigger and bigger crowds of supporters joining the demonstrations.

After a few demonstrators had set trash bags on the fire outside the courthouse, federal agents inside the Justice Center fired tear gas, flash bangs and pepper balls into the area.

Protesters use shields to block non lethal rounds and react to tear gas fired by federal law enforcement officers during a demonstration against the presence of federal law enforcement officers and racial inequality in Portland, Oregon, U.S., July 23, 2020. REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs
Wheeler stood at the front of the line, in a surgical mask and goggles, and began to cough, a Reuters reporter said. He experienced two rounds of heavy tear gas. His eyes and nose were running, his face was red and his eyes were bloodshot.

USE OF FORCE
He was whisked away by his security team to the city’s municipal services building.

Prior to the incident, Wheeler faced an angry crowd of more than 1,000 demonstrators packed outside the courthouse.

The mayor’s office had said Wheeler would attend the demonstration that night to talk to protesters and attempt to de-escalate tensions that have played out between demonstrators and law enforcement over the past 54 nights.

Demonstrators screamed expletives at him and a few chucked water bottles at him.

The mayor has been criticized by demonstrators for the local police’s unchecked use of force against demonstrators, which has included tear gassing, trampling, and pummeling protesters.

Speaking to the crowd, Wheeler decried the presence of federal law enforcement officers, who were caught last week snatching protesters from the street into unmarked cars.

“They’re not wanted here. They’re not properly trained to be here. And we’re asking them right this minute – we’re demanding that they leave. We’re demanding that the federal government stop occupying our city,” he said.

One demonstrator asked him if he was willing to abolish the police, to which he replied ‘no’, and was loudly booed by many.

Slideshow (4 Images)
Asked about his experience of getting tear-gassed, Wheeler told Reuters: “You can’t really comply with any orders that are being issued because, frankly, you’re not paying attention to what’s around you, you’re focusing on your eyes. You’re focusing on trying to breathe.”

Asked if he might rethink the use of tear gas by local police officers, Wheeler said: “It makes me think long and hard on whether or not this is a viable tool.”
Yeah, we are only one short step away from real bullets flying and people dying.
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Re: Federal Law Enforcement Use Unmarked Vehicles To Grab Protesters Off Portland Streets

Post by The Romulan Republic »

The "good" news, if there is any good news here, is that Trump's actions are so extreme that we are seeing local authorities siding with the protesters, and having a clear personal stake in resisting Trump. Which means that if it does come down to armed resistance, it won't just be ANTIFA or Black Lives Matter protesters against law enforcement and the military (which is a doomed proposition, as I hope we all realize)- that we will actually have backing from some people with more power and resources in resisting Trump.

That's the main justification, at this point, why I hold off on condoning armed resistance. Not a philosophical objection-I've said I regard Trump's policies as the opening stages of a genocide, and I've said I regard genocide as justifying armed resistance-but because I do not think there is the support to win such a fight. Certainly, I'd rather avoid violence altogether if possible, because no sane or moral person wants to see people dying in the streets, but if it is going to come down to force, then we absolutely need it to happen in such a way that the Resistance has real backing from elements of the "establishment", for lack of a better word, if its going to be anything more than a short and pointless last stand. We're starting to see that now, and I think that that support will only grow, as Trump continues to attack Democratic officials and their families, and especially if there's a situation in November where he obviously steals or tries to steal the election.

I don't know about anyone else, but I'd:

a) rather not fight a civil war.

b) if a civil war is truly inescapable, I'd much rather fight it with some city/state governments and military/national guard forces on our side.
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Re: Federal Law Enforcement Use Unmarked Vehicles To Grab Protesters Off Portland Streets

Post by The Romulan Republic »

Trump's actions as Kremlin-style "performative authoritarianism":

https://theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2 ... nd/614521/

The very idea seems, on the face of it, sheer madness. In Portland, Oregon, federal security officers dressed for combat—wearing jungle-camouflage uniforms with unclear markings, carrying heavy weapons, using batons and tear gas—are patrolling the streets, making random arrests, throwing people into unmarked vans. The officers do not come from institutions that specialize in political crowd control. Instead, they come from Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Transportation Security Administration, and the Coast Guard. These are people with experience patrolling the border, frisking airline passengers, and deporting undocumented immigrants—exactly the wrong sort of experience needed to carry out the delicate task of policing an angry political protest.

Unsurprisingly, these troops are making rudimentary mistakes. Instead of working with local leaders, they have antagonized them. Instead of coaxing people to go home, their behavior has caused more people to come out onto the streets. Instead of calming the situation, they are infuriating people. They have escalated the violence. They have made the situation worse.

Why has this been allowed to happen? Any rank amateur could have predicted that unprepared troops with guns would increase tension and prolong the crisis. The people in the White House and the Department of Homeland Security who have sent employees of ICE and the Coast Guard into Portland surely knew that they would make people angrier. But although the administration’s behavior makes no sense as law enforcement, it makes perfect sense as a new kind of campaign tactic.

Welcome to the world of performative authoritarianism, a form of politics that reached new heights of sophistication in Russia over the past decade and has now arrived in the United States. Unlike 20th-century authoritarianism, this 21st-century, postmodern influence campaign does not require the creation of a total police state. Nor does it require complete control of information, or mass arrests. It can be carried out, instead, with a few media outlets and a few carefully targeted arrests.

That these tactics are not “totalitarian” doesn’t make them legal, acceptable, or normal. I repeat: Citizens’ rights are being violated in Portland. People have been hauled off the streets into unmarked vehicles. Long-standing precedents about the relationship between states and the federal government have been overturned. Lawsuits have already been filed.

But even if the courts eventually force the troops in jungle camouflage off the streets, the president who sent them there—and who is now threatening to send similar troops to other cities—might not care. That’s because the purpose of these troops is not to bring peace to Portland. The purpose is to transmit a message. Americans should find this tactic familiar, because we’ve seen it before. When the Trump administration cruelly separated children from their families at the southern border, that was, among other things, a performance designed to show the public just how much the president dislikes immigrants from Mexico and Honduras. The attack on demonstrators in Portland is like that: a performance designed to show just how much Trump dislikes “liberal” Americans, “urban” Americans, “Democrat” Americans. To put it differently (and to echo my colleague Adam Serwer): The chaos in Portland is not an accident. The chaos is the point.

The chaos is also a tactic, and now it will be put to use. Now that it has been deliberately escalated, the violence will provide pictures, footage, video clips, and other material for Trump’s media supporters, and eventually for his campaign advertisements. On Fox News, Sean Hannity has already denounced Portland as a “war zone.” Tucker Carlson has spoken of protesters as “mobs” who keep liberal Democrats in power. The next stage will implicate Joe Biden in this same story: The president’s aides have told journalists that Biden, if he wins, will “allow left-wing fascists to destroy America.” Protesters, mobs, chaos, fascists, the left, the “Dems”, Biden—they’re all one narrative. The Trump administration will show people pictures of its uniformed troops pushing back against them, restoring order with a strong hand. And it will use the kind of language that appeals to that part of the population that prizes safety over all else.

Students of modern dictatorship will find these tactics wearily familiar. Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom Trump admires, has deployed performative authoritarianism, alongside other tools, in order to keep himself in power for many years now. In 2014, during a political crisis in Ukraine, he created an elaborate media narrative that equated Ukrainian democracy protesters with 1940s fascists. Russian state television showed scenes of violence over and over again—scenes that Putin himself had helped create, first by encouraging the former Ukrainian president to shoot at demonstrators, and then by invading the country. He sent troops in unmarked uniforms—the infamous “little green men”—into Crimea and eventually eastern Ukraine to “dominate” the situation, to use Trump’s own word for his tactics in Portland. Or at least that was the way it was meant to look on TV.

Russian media also went a step further and added some fake elements to the real tragedy, inventing, for example, a preposterous story about Ukrainian forces crucifying a child. Will this be the next stage of the Trump administration’s program too? Just this week, Trump’s official Facebook page published an advertisement purporting to show yet another scene of American urban violence. The slogan reads public safety vs chaos & violence, and the ad contrasts a photograph of a somber, concerned Trump with another showing demonstrators pummeling a police officer. But the latter image was not taken in Portland. Sourced from the internet, it was taken in … Ukraine. In 2014. In the ad, which is attributed to Evangelicals for Trump, the insignia on the officer’s shoulder includes a Ukrainian Orthodox cross.

You can see the appeal of this method. If the lawsuits become a problem, if the courts stand in the way, or if local mayors find ways to prevent customs officers from policing more American cities, this could be the Trump campaign’s solution: Don’t bother using photographs or footage of Americans at all. Just borrow the pictures directly from the Kremlin’s own arsenal, along with its playbook.

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"I know its easy to be defeatist here because nothing has seemingly reigned Trump in so far. But I will say this: every asshole succeeds until finally, they don't. Again, 18 months before he resigned, Nixon had a sky-high approval rating of 67%. Harvey Weinstein was winning Oscars until one day, he definitely wasn't."-John Oliver

"The greatest enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan."-General Von Clauswitz, describing my opinion of Bernie or Busters and third partiers in a nutshell.

I SUPPORT A NATIONAL GENERAL STRIKE TO REMOVE TRUMP FROM OFFICE.
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