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Trump orders masked agents to preserve federal property in Portland, at the expense of the constitution

Steven Sahiounie, journalist and political commentator

In scenes resembling a Hollywood action film, masked troops in full tactical gear fired on protesters.  However, this was not a film set; it was the streets of Portland, Oregon. The masked troops were federal agents sent on the order of President Trump, and their unsolicited presence in Portland was condemned by local, state, and Congressional officials.

The protests were ignited by the murder of George Floyd and were protesting decades of police brutality against people of color in the US.  After about 50 days of protests, the numbers were dwindling, and observers were predicting the end of the protests. However, once the federal agents arrived on the scene, the numbers of protesters swelled in response to their heavy-handed actions.  The Portland protests then morphed from being against police brutality to being incensed at the overstepping of the Trump administration.

Several serious incidents took place which acerbated the tensions.  Firstly, Donavan LaBella, while holding a speaker above his head with both hands, was shot by a federal agent on July 11, with the round hitting him in the face causing critical injuries, and requiring facial reconstruction surgery.  Secondly, Mark Pettibone was walking on a sidewalk when masked and camouflaged agents of the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seemingly kidnapped him on July 15 and placed him by force in an unmarked vehicle. He was not read his rights, and the agents did not identify themselves or explain what his charges were.  Thirdly, Naval Academy graduate Christopher David had purposely worn a “Navy” sweatshirt, and “Navy” ball cap, counting on being treated with respect as a veteran. He was beaten violently by the masked agents on July 18 after David said to them, “that you take the oath to the Constitution; you don’t take the oath to a particular person.” One of the agents began beating him five times with a baton, and then another agent sprayed his face with pepper gas. David’s hand and finger were broken so badly he will need reconstructive surgery.

The federal courthouse in Portland

The Multnomah County Justice Center (MCJC) in Portland had been the rally point of the protests which had attracted thousands and were largely peaceful. However, smaller groups who were more militant had turned their focus on the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse which sits next door to MCJC. The Trump administration justifies the unsolicited sending of federal agents to Portland to protect federal property.

Federal agents from a handful of agencies have used tear gas, flash-bangs, pepper spray, and other weapons to disperse crowds. Border Patrol swat teams (BORTAC) have battled with anarchists using fireworks, lasers, slingshots, and various weapons, according to the agency. The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is collecting information on protesters who threaten, damage, or destroy public monuments, regardless of whether they sit on federal property, or not. The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Mark Morgan tweeted the agency will continue to arrest “violent criminals that are destroying federal property.”

Federal agents have lookouts on tall buildings and have agents dressed like the protesters infiltrating the crowds.

Oregon officials response

Portland’s Mayor Ted Wheeler has said, “They’re not wanted here. We haven’t asked them here. In fact, we want them to leave.” He also said, “They are sharply escalating the situation. Their presence here is actually leading to more violence and more vandalism. And it’s not helping the situation at all.” “This is not the America we want. This is not the Portland we want,” Wheeler said at a news conference. “We’re demanding that the President remove these additional troops that he sent to our city. It is not helping to contain or de-escalate the situation it’s obviously having exactly the opposite impact.”

Oregon State Attorney General, Ellen Rosenblum, filed a federal lawsuit asking a judge to declare the federal agents’ actions unlawful, and for an injunction requiring agents to identify themselves and the agency they work for before detaining any person in Oregon, and prohibiting arrest without a warrant and probable cause. The agencies named in the suit are DHS, the United States Marshals Service, CBP, and the Federal Protection Service.  Rosenblum said, “The federal administration has chosen Portland to use their scare tactics to stop our residents from protesting police brutality and from supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. Every American should be repulsed when they see this happening. If this can happen here in Portland, it can happen anywhere.”

Oregon Governor Kate Brown said, “This is a democracy, not a dictatorship. We cannot have secret police abducting people in unmarked vehicles. I can’t believe I have to say that to the President of the United States.” Brown described the arrests as, “a blatant abuse of power by the federal government.”  Brown tweeted, “that the federal government should remove all federal officers from our streets.”

US Senator Jeff Merkley, (D) Oregon, tweeted, “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.”

Kelly Simon, with the ACLU of Oregon, called the arrests unconstitutional, and said: “This is a fight to save our democracy.”

Trump defends his actions and issues further threats

In June, Trump released a letter attacking Oregon state and city officials for the Portland violence and labeled them as lacking leadership. President Trump has defended his ordering of federal agents to deal with what he dubs as “anarchists and agitators”.

“We’re going to have more federal law enforcement, that I can tell you,” Trump said Monday. “In Portland, they’ve done a fantastic job. They’ve been there three days and they really have done a fantastic job in a very short period of time.”

DHS officials said Monday they are planning to send federal agents to Chicago, while President Trump threatened to send agents to other cities with or without being invited by their elected leaders.  Trump claimed the situation in Portland was “worse than Afghanistan,”

“The Radical Left Democrats, who totally control Biden, will destroy our Country as we know it,” the president wrote Sunday in a tweet. “Unimaginably bad things would happen to America. Look at Portland, where the pols are just fine with 50 days of anarchy. We sent in help. Look at New York, Chicago, Philadelphia. NO!” “We’re looking at Chicago, too. We’re looking at New York,” he said. “All run by very liberal Democrats. All run, really, by the radical left.” “This is worse than anything anyone’s ever seen,” Trump continued. “And you know what? If Biden got in, that would be true for the country. The whole country would go to hell.”

US Congress response

Congressional Democrats condemned the Trump administration Monday, and prominent Republican, Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, said in a tweet, “We cannot give up liberty for security. Local law enforcement can and should be handling these situations in our cities but there is no place for federal troops or unidentified federal agents rounding people up at will,”

Trump’s orders run counter to the philosophies of the Republican Party, who honor state and local rights, and are wary of the federal government interceding in local situations.

The US constitution 

Constitutional law experts warn of an impending constitutional crisis. “The idea that there’s a threat to a federal courthouse and the federal authorities are going to swoop in and do whatever they want to do without any cooperation and coordination with state and local authorities is extraordinary outside the context of a civil war,” said Michael Dorf, a professor of constitutional law at Cornell University. “It is a standard move of authoritarians to use the pretext of quelling violence to bring in force, thereby prompting a violent response and then bootstrapping the initial use of force in the first place,” Dorf said.

Civil War

On July 21 John Vause, CNN anchor, was interviewing Robert Baer, a former CIA case officer, and now an intelligence and security analyst for CNN. Vause asked what would happen if a local or state police force were to have a confrontation with the federal agents.  Bear replied, “You know it’s usually called a civil war when the police start firing at the military and federal forces. God help us if that happens, because when the violence starts, who is going to stop it?”

Steven Sahiounie is an award-winning journalist

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Olivia Kroth
July 23, 2020

TASS:

Russia’s Embassy hands note of protest to US over attack on Russian reporters in Portland

https://tass.com/politics/1181463

John Ellis
Reply to  Olivia Kroth
July 23, 2020

Enough of you Russians thinking only of your selfish selves. Have a heart, for we the 50% working-poor in America, are we not terrorized by killer-cops from birth to death?

Olivia Kroth
Reply to  John Ellis
July 23, 2020

Yes, dear John. We Russians are a selfish lot. We think only of our own wellbeing and survival. That’s why we won World War II and will win all wars that are yet to come, too. Cheers!

Boomerang Betty
Boomerang Betty
Reply to  John Ellis
July 23, 2020

Never Forgive, Never Forget.

NYT Editorial Horde
NYT Editorial Horde
Reply to  Olivia Kroth
July 23, 2020

Just as we planned.

Olivia Kroth
July 23, 2020

TASS:

Kremlin slams attack on Russian journalists by US police

https://tass.com/politics/1181429

Olivia Kroth
July 23, 2020

TASS:

Aggressive steps by US security agencies against Russian journalists unacceptable, says Russian diplomat

https://tass.com/politics/1181297

Fitzpons
Fitzpons
July 23, 2020

I am not sure this is a smart move y Trump. It would have been better to let the situation continue and let voters see who really is responsible for the violence. Now the Democrats can argue that the violence is anti Trump and will stop once he’s gone. Of course, it won’t and will get worse.

Olivia Kroth
Reply to  Fitzpons
July 23, 2020

I entirely agree with your opinion, Fitzpons. And furthermore, from a Russian point of view, I regret that the US police in Portland beat up the Russian film crews and journalists, doing their work. This is truly fascist behaviour. Shame on the police of Portland, wearing masks. People could not even identify them to complain or take them to court.

John Ellis
Reply to  Fitzpons
July 23, 2020

Yes of course, if we the 50% working poor of America, if we stop protesting, why, in just another 270 years the economical slavery will disappear all by itself.

АммА
АммА
Reply to  John Ellis
July 23, 2020

Are you protesting because you’re poor or because you’re supporting #blm? You can’t have it both ways .. at least not in the eyes of those antifa protesters who hijacked protests by pushing a career criminal into the sainthood. You’re contradicting yourself with this 50% “stats”, talking about “killer-cops that slaughter people since day one” and “economical slavery of working poor”. Most of policemen are poor people, many whites too, while black population is well below 50%… so whose interests do you have in your heart in the first place?

Olivia Kroth
Reply to  АммА
July 23, 2020

Amma, please understand that John Ellis likes to protest as a principle. On every text of this site, you will find John Ellis protests, mostly in repetitive wording Sometimes, he invents something new. I believe that when the sun shines, he repeats himself. When it rains, he invents something new. But it is always about the poor hating the rich.

Old Story, New Faces
Old Story, New Faces
Reply to  Fitzpons
July 23, 2020

It’s a dumb move by Trump but there’ve been so many, he thought no one would notice.

Can’t wait ’til Biden gets in and we get to lambaste his dumb moves. It’ll be a cornucopia, you can bet on that. (until the big bang that is).

restless94110
restless94110
July 23, 2020

“The protests were ignited by the murder of George Floyd and were protesting decades of police brutality against people of color in the US.

Floyd was not murdered. There is no measurable police brutality against people of color in the US, most especially in Portland. Presidents, including Barack Obama, have sent in troops to cities before.

You are not only a liar, but you are a hysterical liar. There’s no reason for you being so emotional. There’s no reason for you to lie.

Stop doing it.

Life is a Casino
Life is a Casino
Reply to  restless94110
July 23, 2020

I’m hearing this same ragtime blues since birth, and that’s after decades of Affirmative Action. At some point, you just have to throw in the towel on a bad bet.

John Ellis
July 23, 2020

FREEWILL
All those federal killers, those legalized killers, surely they have a freewill that gives them freedom to do an unlimited good, so why do they choose to do evil?

Because our freewill can only do a thing, if we have both the desire, and the ability, to do it.
And so, as we are all born selfish and most die selfish, the purpose of this world has to be by intelligent design, a most perfect design, to reach the ultimate conclusion of all things evil.

Olivia Kroth
Reply to  John Ellis
July 24, 2020

I am evening out your minusses again, John, because I am a very strong supporter of free speech. Not that I like a lot what you write, but you have got the right to write, as we all do. I have not gotten to your last minus yet, but will get there, for sure. Cheers! Keep protesting!

Darkwing
Darkwing
July 23, 2020

If local officials cannot stop the riot, looting, burning: than it is up to the federal people to step in. It is to protect the people.

TheDarkMan
July 23, 2020

A riot is not a protest. Assaults on members of the public and the police are not a protest. Looting, wanton damage and arson are not a protest.

George Floyd’s acknowledged killer is in custody and facing a heavy sentence.

There is thus no pretext for this planned uprising to continue.

Trump would be criminally negligent if he did not step in to stop it. The people who could have stopped it and refused are criminally negligent and should be removed from office. All of them.

John Ellis
Reply to  TheDarkMan
July 23, 2020

Any and all civil disobedience against killer-cops,
surely it is a protest most grand.
George Floyd’s legalized murders, they are all cops
in USA as they are ready, willing and able to
continue the slaughter.

Old Story, New Faces
Old Story, New Faces
Reply to  TheDarkMan
July 23, 2020

Parubiy’s probably behind it again, posing with a BLM poster this time. Americans are stupid enough to fall for the ruse.

As I remember, Charlie Manson also had a similar plan and a similar ideology.

Never forgive, never forget
Never forgive, never forget
Reply to  Old Story, New Faces
July 23, 2020

Both murdering civilians to blame the opposition and start a war to gain power. Perfect analogy. Can you imagine Congress greeting Charlie Manson with a handshake and an ear? That’s how thoroughly stupid and vile so many of America’s elected officials are.

Boomerang Betty
Boomerang Betty
July 23, 2020

Did Biden call him up and warn him there’ll be hell to pay if he doesn’t stop acting like he thinks Yanukovych was acting during Maidan?

Regula
Regula
July 23, 2020

The author of this article is a typical whiner for the left wing extremists who think they have a right to destroy anything they want under pretext of protesting police violence. He didn’t see the attacks with fires and fireworks and stones and debris hurled at the federal courthouse. Mayor Wheeler stood at the fence, himself vilified and thrown debris at by the protesters and he ultimately escaped into a building only thanks to the protection by his security detail. This vandalism and destruction of historic monuments and a federal courthouse has no connection to Floyd’s killing during police arrest… Read more »

Victor
July 23, 2020

Law, much like language, originally arose spontaneously, a form of law often termed ‘natural law’ to indicate its distinction and difference from ‘positivist law’, law set down by political authority. Natural law is exceedingly brief: What least set of rules best serves to prevent conflict and where necessary resolve conflict. You might say that the Ten Commandments dramatize natural law. The entirety of its legal edifice can be written on a postcard. By contrast positivist law is imposed law. It is a deployment of both a set of diktats by which a subject population is to be dominated and controlled… Read more »

Olivia Kroth
Reply to  Victor
July 23, 2020

Now where did you copy this, Victor? Or is it part of your PhD thesis? Respect!

Victor
Reply to  Olivia Kroth
July 23, 2020

Thank you Olivia for reminding me that one could go further, and point out that Republican Richard Nixon is the US president credited with conceiving both the drug war and the strategy of re-branding Republicans as the party of law and order. Together these add up to one of the most cynical and diabolical strategies ever devised: Use the drug war to engulf US cities in crisis, to turn them into war zones, then represent yourself to a fearful electorate as the party willing to militarize the police, as the only party committed to and capable of providing the increased… Read more »

Olivia Kroth
Reply to  Victor
July 24, 2020

I miss the little blue box with “author”, victor. Have you lost it? Or will you exchange it for the title “PhD, inventor, creator, superman” soon? Cheers.

Crass
Crass
July 23, 2020

 This “Article” reads like a press release from Antifa and BLM.
Portland and Chicago share the same common denominator as the South African City of Johannesburg. The South African Army has been patrolling the streets of Johannesburg because of feral criminals and the Cities of Chicago and Portland will require the same response from the US Army.  

Connie
Connie
July 23, 2020

I love how this journalist says protests for the past 50 days. These are not protests this is anarchy and looting, these thugs were going to set federal buildings on fire with innocent people in there. Trump did the right thing. He has to protect federal property when local and state officials tell local police to stand down.

John Ellis
July 23, 2020

NATURAL LAW
A. Unequal intelligence causes everyone to accumulate unequal wealth.
B. Equal wealth produces equal control, equal freedom and equal happiness.

And so, how should government go from point A to point B?
Actually, government has no solution, as force is anti-social.
For having compassion, giving charity and being grateful,
this is the only solution.

Glocken-spiel
Glocken-spiel
July 24, 2020

Apparently, 60-70% of the Upper Tier of the US Establishment wants to destroy sections of these the cities to further cripple the economy and destroy small businesses; increase joblessness to wreck Trump’s base, and make these dysfunctional Dem Blue cities no-go zones for traditional white Americans. The US should split up right now, but that is not going to be allowed. Law-abiding Americans- especially whites- need to realize that the Ivy League-dominated Ruling Class as personified in the DEM Party, Hollywood, intel agencies, the educational complex and Wall Street hates their guts.

Switzerland begins militarization process

Twitter’s ban of QAnon conspiracy theory for vague ‘offline harm’ link only makes them stronger, & the censorship won’t stop there