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A major American city is being softly Pinochet’ed in broad daylight.
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.
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. Wolf is certainly on board. He put out a release that reads like Eisenhower’s exhortation before the ships left for Normandy.
“This siege can end if state and local officials decide to take appropriate action instead of refusing to enforce the law. DHS will not abdicate its solemn duty to protect federal facilities and those within them. Again, I reiterate the Department’s offer to assist local and state leaders to bring an end to the violence perpetuated by anarchists,” said Acting Secretary Chad Wolf.
And what were these marauding tribes up to?
-Violent anarchists graffitied the BPA Building.
-Violent anarchists graffitied the Hatfield Courthouse.
-Violent anarchists graffitied the Edith Green-Wenell Wyatt Building.
-Violent anarchists graffitied the Terry Schrunk Plaza.
-Violent anarchists graffitied the 911 Federal Building.
-Violent anarchists graffitied the Pioneer Courthouse.
-Violent anarchists graffitied the Gus J. Solomon Courthouse.
-Violent anarchists graffitied the Hatfield Courthouse.
-Violent anarchists graffitied Terry Schrunk Plaza.
-Violent anarchists graffitied The Pioneer Courthouse.
-Violent anarchists graffitied The Gus J Solomon Courthouse.
-Violent anarchists graffitied the U.S. Custom House.
Two more dirty words on the side of a building, and Wolf might be calling in airstrikes.
Also on Thursday, press secretary Kaleigh McEnany took a moment out of her briefing to call Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot a “renegade mayor” because Lightfoot refuses to ask for the National Guard to come into her city. (To her credit, Lightfoot snapped right back.) The White House is on record several times as trying to delegitimize Muriel Bowser as mayor of Washington, D.C.
Portland may be a dumbshow for dummies, but it also looks like a dress rehearsal. This is not an “authoritarian impulse.” This is authoritarian government—straight, no chaser. And this administration has a powerful thirst for it. It will do anything if it thinks it can get away with it in order to benefit a president* who wants to bring the Republic down on his head.
Unmarked vehicles, disappearing people off the streets?
We need a Truth and Reconciliation Commission now, before the dress rehearsal becomes a roadshow.
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