Tuesday, July 28, 2020

The Only Difference Is The Uniform

Portland mom being snatched by "federal agent" (photo by Tommie Sunshine)

It's been a harrowing week--at least if you follow independent media pod casts and web sites. The images of peaceful protesters being gassed, shot, beaten and abducted are the subject of horror stories. Historians and pundits alike have concluded that Trump has taken a page right out of the fascists' playbook. Most of the elected officials in Washington DC give their silent nod of approval to this sending of federal troops into American cities through inaction. When will we wake up from this nightmare? Who knows, but until then keep an eye on the men tossing the pepper spray bombs into a line of brave moms... because the only real difference between these troops and Hitler's thugs is one of fashion sense.

The Only Difference is the Uniform
by Coast Watcher

The Battle for Portland, Oregon, has lasted for over fifty days and counting. Stemming from the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis PD, the Black Lives Matter protests have rocked this liberal city in the Pacific Northwest to its foundations. Most of the protests are peaceful; however, the response by the Department of Homeland Security at President Trump’s orders has been out of all proportion.

The Department of Homeland Security Rapid Deployment Force entered Portland in response to what were termed "increasingly violent attacks" according to Federal Protective Services regional director Gabriel Russel. According to documents obtained by Portland journalists, there are currently 114 federal law enforcement officers deployed to protect federal buildings, which also includes statues and monuments according to Trump. Personnel drawn from the Federal Protective Service (FPS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement, US Marshals Service and US Customs and Border Protection make up the contingent—yet knowledgeable sources have also identified mercenaries prowling the streets including some from Triple Canopy, a descendant of the infamous Erik Prince’s Blackwater mercenary corporation.

Videos and photographs are circulating showing these and other "federal" personnel using unmarked vehicles to arrest protesters without warrant or explanation and taking them to undisclosed locations. In one attack, a van used as a first aid station for protesters had its windows smashed out by troops. In another, a professor of European Studies (ironically a specialist in the rise of fascism) at Lewis and Clark University suffered a severe head wound from a baton round during a peaceful demonstration on public land.

None of the heavily-armed personnel involved in these outrages against the First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments displayed identification, as is required of law enforcement agents. There is little difference between these overly militarized personnel deployed by Trump and the gray uniformed SS "snatch squads" used as an instrument of terror by Heinrich Himmler in Nazi Germany. Similar snatch tactics causing the "disappearance" of protesters were used in Chile during Augusto Pinochet's regime in the 1970s.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler suffered a tear gas attack on the streets of his own city. During this episode Wheeler called the federal intervention an abuse of power and accused the FPS of escalating the violence, which included the tear-gassing and use of baton rounds on peacefully protesting women known as "the Moms." Oregon’s Attorney General filed a lawsuit against the federal authorities citing its snatching of citizens from the streets and their retention under arrest without due process. Mayor Wheeler’s response has been oddly weak. Instead of ejecting the FPS, he’s making statements that fall short of telling the feds to get the hell out of his city.

The FPS remains unrepentant. Senior official Ken Cuccinelli stated they will remain on the streets of Portland, and other cities where required, "until the violence recedes." Trump has also threatened to deploy more so-called federal units to Chicago, Detroit, New York, Philadelphia and other urban centers across the country.

Documents show that the FPS spends $1 billion of taxpayers’ money per year on these hired security thugs. It must be noted that the FPS has a long and troubling history of failing to properly vet and adequately monitor these mercenaries or even ensure they have proper training and certifications. In other words, the taxpayers are effectively paying for their own government to oppress them and their fellow citizens. This travesty of justice is happening in a time when a virulent disease has the world and the US in its grip. The economic consequences of COVID-19 with its mass unemployment and threatened homelessness by eviction are still playing out.

Some say this is Trump’s rehearsal for when he declares himself dictator, possibly if he loses the election in November. Analogies with the Nazi  SA "Brown shirts" and Mussolini’s fascisti are clear to see. The ammosexuals--who stockpile thousands of firearms against the day they have to stand against a tyrannical government--have been strangely silent. Some side with Trump. While these gun-lovers cower, mothers and daughters stand tall with interlocking arms against the unconstitutional oppression inflicted by their own government via tear gas and rubber bullets.

Whatever happens in November, whether a second civil war begins or an outright revolution erupts, the experiment in democracy that is the United States will never be the same.




BIO: Coast Watcher can't help but draw parallels between current events and Nazi Germany. It's like Trump is taking cues from Mein Kampf--supposedly a book he kept on his nightstand and read to fall asleep. Explains a lot.

Related links:

Federal Agents in Portland Tear Gas the Press (video)

Portland Protests Escalate! Chicago Mayor Welcomes Federal Goons! (video)

"Wall of Veterans" Arrives in Portland to Protect BLM Protesters From Trump's DHS Troops

Navy Veteran Beaten by Feds in Portland Fears that Trump's Deployment Will Lead to Copy Cats in Combat Fatigue

Trump Plans to Expand the Federal Invasion of American Cities

America "Staring Down the Barrel of Martial Law" Oregon Senator Warns

From Facebook:

"It dawned on me when I was in the ER, and had a chance to catch my breath (post tear gas): my government did this to me. My own government. I was not shot by a random person in the street. A federal law enforcement officer pulled a trigger that sent an impact munition into my head."

Professor Maureen Healy is the chair of the history department at Lewis and Clark College. She teaches Modern European History, with a specialization in the history of Germany and Eastern Europe (and the rise of fascism). She was shot in the head by federal agents on Monday night and is recovering from the injury and the concussion, but shared a statement of her experience, and gave permission to share this.
Statement by Maureen Healy, July 22, 2020
For Immediate Release 

Since June, I have been attending peaceful protests in Portland neighborhoods in support of Black Lives Matter. I have gone with family and friends. 

I am a 52-year-old mother. I am a history professor. 

I went downtown yesterday to express my opinion as a citizen of the United States, and as a resident of Portland. Of Oregon. This is my home. I was protesting peacefully. So why did federal troops shoot me in the head Monday night? 

I was in a large crowd of ordinary folks. Adults, teens, students. Moms and dads. It looked to me like a cross-section of the City. Black Lives Matter voices led the crowd on a peaceful march from the Justice Center past the murals at the Apple store. The marchers were singing songs. We were chanting. We were saying names of Black people that have been killed by police. We observed a moment of silence in front of the George Floyd mural. 

I wanted to, and will continue to, exercise my First Amendment right to speak. Federal troops have been sent to my city to extinguish these peaceful protests. I was not damaging federal property. I was in a crowd with at least a thousand other ordinary people. I was standing in a public space. 

In addition to being a Portland resident, I am also a historian. My field is Modern European History, with specialization in the history of Germany and Eastern Europe. I teach my students about the rise of fascism in Europe. 

By professional training and long years of teaching, I am knowledgeable about the historical slide by which seemingly vibrant democracies succumbed to authoritarian rule. Militarized federal troops are shooting indiscriminately into crowds of ordinary people in our country. We are on that slide. 

It dawned on me when I was in the ER, and had a chance to catch my breath (post tear gas): my government did this to me. My own government. I was not shot by a random person in the street. A federal law enforcement officer pulled a trigger that sent an impact munition into my head. 

After being hit I was assisted greatly by several volunteer medics. At least one of them was with Rosehip Medic Collective. To take shelter from the teargas I was hustled into a nearby van. Inside they bandaged my head and drove me several blocks away. From there my family took me to the ER. I am grateful for the assistance, skill, and incredibly kind care of these volunteer medics. 

We must take this back to Black Lives Matter. Police brutality against Black people is the real subject of these peaceful protests that have been happening in my city and across the country. What happened to me is nothing. It is nothing compared to what happens to Black citizens at the hands of law enforcement, mostly local police, every day. And that is why we have been marching. That is why I will continue to march.

From the web:

First they came for the Muslims,
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Muslim.
Then they came for the immigrants,
And I did not speak out
Because I was not an immigrant.
Then they came for the Black Lives Matter protesters,
And I did not speak up,
Because I was not a BLM protester.
Then they came for me,
And there was no one left
To speak for me.
(Based on the post WWII poem by Reverend Niemoller)

Paul Rippey of Portland, Oregon, wrote two new verses to A Policeman's Lot Is Not a Happy One:

When you signed up to defend our southern border,
Detaining people mostly black and brown,
You could not anticipate that you'd get orders
To teargas folks in our beloved town.
Now you're beating up on people who speak English,
And their cell phones capture all that you have done.
Ah, take one consideration with another,
A policeman's lot is not a happy one.

When the kids aren't marching in a demonstration
They live their happy lives from day to day,
And they do not feel the threat of deportation
'Cause most are from the good old USA.
In fact you might see one who is your brother,
Your sister, or your daughter, or your son.
Ah, take one consideration with another,
A policeman's lot is not a happy one.


We’ve been busy all month with our Cops & Capitalism: A Summer Webinar Series along with our partners at LittleSis and we’ve gotten amazing responses from those who have joined us. If you’d like to join us for our next webinar happening this Wednesday, RSVP here!
On our first webinar, we explored our groundbreaking research on cities’ use of Police Brutality Bonds, the bonds issued to pay for police brutality settlements which ultimately allows Wall Street to profit from police violence. Those on the webinar learned how bonds work and how to research police budgets in their own cities. 

Then, we dove deeper into the demand to defund police and took a closer look at relationships between corporations and policing. We know that cutting the police budget is a first step towards the world we want to see but in order to fully fund our communities and invest in the things we need we must also redirect funding from the institutions that support policing. Participants on the second webinar also had a chance to follow along with our complimentary How To Guide and ask questions. (If you haven’t had a chance to join any of our previous webinars, you can watch the recordings on our website.

And now it's time for the third installment! Join us for our next webinar happening this Wednesday July 29th at 1pm ET.

On this webinar, we will explore how billionaires and corporations like Wells Fargo, Amazon, and Target use police foundations to fund and prop up the police. Police foundations--nonprofits that fundraise money from wealthy donors and corporations for local police departments--help maintain the racist policing status quo. We’ll discuss how directly pressuring corporations to cut ties with police foundations can strengthen fights to defund the police and invest in Black and Brown communities, as well as ensure that police departments’ public funding is not replaced by similarly enormous private funding. 

Participants will learn how to research which corporations support their local police foundations and hear examples of demands activists are making around corporations and police foundations in local campaigns. 

For centuries, police have acted as the muscle of racial capitalism, protecting the property and interests of the wealthy, and violently reinforcing systemic and racist disinvestment in our communities. Policing and mass incarceration has made it more possible for the finance industry and corporations to build their profit off our oppression. Because they are inextricably linked, we have to defund the police and tax the rich to fully fund and sustain the communities we want to live in. 

Hope to see you on the webinar! 

In Solidarity always,
Alyx Goodwin
Senior Organizer, ACRE


  1. Blatant intimidation, unidentified/unmarked personnel, snatch squads, incarceration without due process. This are NOT the hallmarks of a free country but a fascist state!

    1. You'd think thatTrump's followers would be upset by now since he promised them "less government, more freedom" and federal snatch squads certainly don't provide proof of that. But fascists might just be experts in mental compartmentalization.


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