Who are these Stormtroopers?
A look at the "federal agents" terrorizing our cities
After weeks of protests against the murder of George Floyd and police brutality, protests had begun to die down. Even in Portland Oregon, protests seemed to be getting smaller by the day. Yet Trump decided that he needed a show of force and began deploying federal troops to the city.
For days, images and videos of federal agents tear-gassing and attacking veterans and a line of mothers went viral. These federal agents also allegedly grabbed protestors off the street and threw them into unmarked mini-vans, before bringing them to the federal courthouse to interrogate them. Unlike the local police though, these agents weren’t wearing uniforms identifying which agency they were with. This raised several concerns, were they private contractors? Did they even have the right to detain someone?
The identity of some of these federal agents, who we are now going to call mercenaries that are funded by our own government to terrorize our citizens, has since come out. According to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), some of their employees have been deployed to Portland. "While the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) respects every American’s right to protest peacefully, violence and civil unrest will not be tolerated. Violent anarchists have organized events in Portland over the last several weeks with willful intent to damage and destroy federal property, as well as injure federal officers and agents. These criminal actions will not be tolerated," the agency said. Hundreds of hours of footage have shown that the damage to the courthouse wasn't extensive enough to warrant civil liberty violations or the deployment of federal forces. All it needed was a good power washing. To some, that's a good union job.
The other Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agency that is working in Portland is Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). While federal mercenaries have the right to protect a federal courthouse or federal property, most lawyers believe that they don’t have the jurisdiction to pluck protestors off the street and detain them. According to ProPublica these federal mercenaries are also arresting protestors for things as small as “failure to obey” and then presenting them with an order signed by a federal magistrate judge that lets them out of jail, but forbids them from attending protests.
According to The Guardian, an elite unit of CBP called border patrol tactical unit (BORTAC) are the main people deployed in Portland. The unit has been called the Robocops of US Border Patrol and once said that they wanted to be the Marines of law enforcement. The Guardian goes on to speak with a former Border Patrol agent who described BORTAC agents as the “biggest guys, like the jocks in a football team. They live in tight groups like the Navy Seals, spending their time in military-style training. They don’t exist within the realm of civilian law enforcement. They view people they encounter in the military sense as enemy combatants, meaning they have virtually no rights.” The fact that these men exist in this country should scare the shit out of you. Would you want them at your five-year-olds birthday party?
Since Trump sent these federal mercenaries into Portland, he has sent hundreds of other forces to Detroit, Cleveland, and Milwaukee as part of his Operation Legend campaign. He has also threatened to send forces into Kansas City, Missouri; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Chicago. These are cities and states that he needs to win re-election and the fact that he called it a military campaign on US soil is an impeachable offense.
While there are some reports that a deal has been reached for federal mercenaries to leave Portland, in an interview with Fox News last week, Trump threatened to send 75,000 federal agents to cities to protect federal courthouses and monuments.