Monday, August 10, 2020


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Trump’s Occupy Portland Gambit


Mel Gurtov

Federal troops in camouflage, without identification, heavily armed, uncommunicative, roving in unmarked cars, seizing and incarcerating peaceful protesters without charging them. Acting without invitation. No reporting of this deployment to any state authority. No official justification of the Constitutional or other basis for dispatching these troops.

What is this: Chile under Pinochet? A reenactment of Costa Gavras’ “Z”? Turkey under Erdogan, or Syria under Assad?

No, it’s Portland, Oregon right now.

The protests against this federal deployment by Oregon’s state and local leaders are fulsome, but will the governor act to remove these play soldiers and let Donald Trump know that his test run at military occupation cannot stand?

Here’s what some prominent senators are tweeting:

“Trump and Chad Wolf are weaponizing the DHS as their own occupying army to provoke violence on the streets of my hometown because they think it plays well with right-wing media.” Ron Wyden, D-Oregon.

“I thought we’d already covered this after the attacks in Lafayette Square: the US government should not be using unidentified federal officers as a secret police force to terrorize US citizens & violate their constitutional rights. This is outrageous.” Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts

“Authoritarian governments, not democratic republics, send unmarked authorities after protesters. These Trump/Barr tactics designed to eliminate any accountability are absolutely unacceptable in America, and must end. . . . these agents are snatching people off the street with no underlying justification. Both of these acts are profound offenses against Americans. We demand not only that these acts end, but also that they remove their forces immediately from our state.” Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon

Senator Merkley speaks for all of us when he tweets Trump: “Get your DHS lackey and uninvited paramilitary actions out of my state. Our communities are not a stage for your twisted reelection campaign.” Governor Kate Brown should authorize the state police and national guard units to physically remove Trump’s henchmen.

Several commentators have pointed out that Trump has failed to provide a look into his priorities if he is reelected. Oh, really? Look again.