The Return of the “Cooch”

By Peter Galuszka

Early this past Wednesday morning, Mark Pettibone and Connor O’Shead were walking on their way home after a peaceful protest in Portland, Ore.

Suddenly an unmarked van pulled in front of them. Men wearing green uniforms, tactical gear and generic signs reading “POLICE” hustled them into the vehicle. They were not told why they were being detained. After 90 minutes, the badly shaken men were released without being charged.

The episode might sound like the activities of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his “little green men” who have shown up in places like Crimea and Eastern Ukraine to intimidate and detain people.

But this was Portland, a progressive city that has seen protests for weeks. President Donald Trump has urged federal authorities to move in on cities to restore his sense of order even though city officials in Portland do not want his help and are investigating what is going on.

And, guess who is playing a role in what could be a growing national trend of federal law enforcement performing “snatch and grabs” of innocent protestors?

That would be Kenneth Cuccinelli, the former hard right, state attorney general and failed gubernatorial candidate. He is now acting deputy secretary of the Trump’s Department of Homeland Security.

Cuccinelli may be remembered for angering Virginia women by pushing for mandatory womb ultra-sounds before abortions. He pushed covering up the exposed breast of a woman on the state flag. Worst of all, he harassed former University of Virginia climate professor Michael Mann and demanded hundreds of his emails and other documents because Cuccinelli didn’t agree with his research.

After the Portland episode, Cuccinelli told National Public Radio that federal agents had used unmarked vehicles to pick up people in Portland but said it was done to keep officers safe and away from crowds and to move detainees to a “safe location for questioning.”

“The one instance I’m familiar with, they were, believed they had identified someone who had assaulted officers or … the federal building there, the courthouse. Upon questioning, they determined they did not have the right person and that person was released,” Cuccinelli said.

“I fully expect that as long as people continue to be violent and to destroy property that we will attempt to identify those folks,” he added. “We will pick them up in front of the courthouse. If we spot them elsewhere, we will pick them up elsewhere. And if we have a question about somebody’s identity, like the first example I noted to you, after questioning determine it isn’t someone of interest, then they get released. And that’s standard law enforcement procedure, and it’s going to continue as long as the violence continues.”

Some of the federal officers involved in the “snatch and grabs” are believed to be Customs and Border Protection (CBP), part of Cuccinelli’s department that are best known for their work in confronting, if not assaulting, suspected undocumented immigrants.

CBP officials acknowledged that at least in one case, they approached a person suspected of damaging federal property, but were turned away by an angry crowd, NPR reported.  The customs officials say that the officers’ uniforms were clearly marked.

There have been calls in Congress for federal officers to wear insignias that clearly designate what their agency is. In some cases, protestors or simply people who happened by have been arrested by individuals dressed in military style clothing and carrying weapons, including assault rifles. But the detainees did not know who they were.

That could be an explosive situation because hard-right, white supremacists tend to head for trouble at demonstrations heavily armed and in combat dress.

There has been a national outcry about what happened in Portland. No wonder.

Personally, it reminds me of my experience reporting from the former Soviet Union. During the Cold War, KGB officials often whisked away protestors drawing attention to the plight of Jewish refuseniks and others.

Later, as unrest swept the country during coups against Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin, new divisions of Ministry of Internal Affairs police and military were formed. They were dubbed OMONs or riot cops. Some were clearly marked; others were not. They even can a mechanized, motorized element known as OMSDONGS.

One wonders if that’s the next step for Donald Trump and Ken Cuccinelli.

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81 responses to “The Return of the “Cooch”

  1. Why not? Democrats do the hits and runs also. I’ve seen progressive/left wing/left or whatever you would like to bestow on folks, run bully pulpits, gang up together to smear folks.
    Unless I get evidence that no other one has done it before – Democrats included – then it looks like a hit piece. I read both sides for a reason.

  2. James Wyatt Whitehead V

    Mr. Peter I saw a video of a Portland protestor taken away just as you described. My bet is that those who are subjected to “the grab and go” are being watched and followed in many ways.

  3. The last I heard Cuccinelli had a role in immigration enforcement, not law enforcement. You provided some quotes from Cuccinelli which may have been simply his opinion. What evidence do you have that Cuccinelli ordered, supervised or managed the detainments in Portland?

  4. Ripper. I think his comments speak for themselves. What he told NPR was I his official role.

    • I disagree. There is a big difference between publicly defending the actions of the organization where you work and being the official who sets the policy for those actions. I have nothing to do with Homeland Security but I believe that any locality that refuses to protect federal property and prosecute those who destroy that property should expect federal law enforcement to take matters into their own hands. Let’s be honest, the snowflake politicians in Portland would be happy to see the US courthouse burned to the ground as a sign of their woke resistance to the Trump Administration. Democrats lost the 2016 presidential election. Their sole remedy should be an effort to win in 2020. Tolerating, or even encouraging, lawlessness against the federal government is an unacceptable response. Cuccinelli is right.

  5. A little context for the reason that federal officers are defending federal property, including the federal courthouse:

    Portland Police Association
    July 6, 2020
    This Cannot Continue
    As riots continue, it is obvious to everyone that this is no longer about George Floyd, social justice, or police reform. This is about a group of individuals intent on causing injury, chaos, and destruction by rioting, looting, starting fires, throwing rocks, bottles, mortars, urine, and feces at peaceful protestors, as well as the police. These violent criminal acts have gone on for almost 40 days nonstop, while the men and women of the Portland Police Bureau and its partner agencies have shown amazing restraint in the face of the most divisive time this country has seen in modern history. The nightly news, social media, and livestream broadcasts of these riots have saturated our eyes and ears, sowing discontent while we are all still facing the worse pandemic in decades.

    These rioters come out nightly armed with weapons and a plan to cause as much destruction as possible. Whatever names they give themselves, whatever their goals may be, it is clear they have drawn attention away from an important message about social and racial equity that needs to be heard. They have taken away from a message that could transcend this country’s history forever. Their destructive and chaotic behavior defines the meaning of white privilege; their total disregard for people, property, and the law embodies entitlement.

    What angers me and the good people of Portland, even more, is that elected officials at the state and local levels are defending these criminal actions while in the same breath demonizing and vilifying the officers on the front lines protecting our communities, our safety, our livelihood, and our rights. Police are defending the property of business owners whose livelihoods are at stake while these criminals loot and burn their businesses. Police are defending government buildings that will be the meeting places where reforms at all levels of government will take place. Police are defending those who want to express their voices without violence.

    It is time for our elected officials to stand up and defend Portland. Condemn the violence and the burning, looting, and destruction of property. Trust and support the decisions made by law enforcement leaders who simply want to keep the residents, business owners, and peaceful protestors safe. Understand that it is a sign of strength, not weakness, to support the rank-and-file officers who are out on the front lines being assaulted, taking verbal and physical abuse, and working endless hours without rest.

    This cannot continue. Our elected officials owe it to all of Portland to do their jobs. Do not widen the divide between police and our communities, close it. Do not allow the meaningful dialogue and protests about racial and social equity to be drowned out by the sound of rioting and violence. Keep Portlanders safe and free from rioting, while honoring their First Amendment rights. Support police leadership. Support officers. Tell those who are intent on burning and looting our great City that they are not welcome here. Put Portland first.

    • Just saw CNN’s shocked, shocked reporting on this. Yawn. Anybody being taken to a soccer stadium and “disappeared?” Uh, no.

    • We have no right to defend Portland. Our elected officials have no duty to do such. It is their elected officials who are so obligated.

      • So “we have no right to defend Portland”? I’m sorry, you are wrong on the facts. I know that is no obstacle, but consider:

        The Department of Homeland Security, Federal Protective Service, through 40 U.S.C. § 1315, has the responsibility to “protect the buildings, grounds, and property that are owned, occupied, or secured by the Federal Government … and persons on the property.” 40 U.S.C. § 1315(a).

        See https://www.justice.gov/usao-or/pr/seven-arrested-facing-federal-charges-after-weekend-riots-hatfield-federal-courthouse

        Seven Arrested, Facing Federal Charges After Weekend Riots at Hatfield Federal Courthouse (Photo)

        PORTLAND, Ore.—U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams announced today that seven people have been arrested and face federal charges for their roles in weekend riots at the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse in Portland.

        According to court documents, since May 26, 2020, protests in downtown Portland have regularly been followed by nightly criminal activity including assaults on law enforcement officers, destruction of property, looting, arson, and vandalism.

        Rowan Olsen, 19, of Portland, is charged with disorderly conduct, creating a hazard on federal property, and failing to obey a lawful order; Shant Singh Ahuja, 28, of Oceanside, California, is charged with destruction of federal property; and Andrew Steven Faulkner, 24, of Beaverton, Oregon; Gretchen Margaret Blank, 29, of Seattle, Washington; Christopher Fellini, 31, of Portland; Cody Porter, 28, of Portland; and Taimane Jame Teo, 24, of Eugene, Oregon, are charged with assaulting federal officers.

        The Hatfield Federal Courthouse has been a repeated target of vandalism, sustaining extensive damage. U.S. Marshals Service deputies and officers from the Federal Protective Service, Homeland Security Investigations, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection working to protect the courthouse have been subjected to threats; aerial fireworks including mortars; high intensity lasers targeting officers’ eyes; thrown rocks, bottles, and balloons filled with paint from demonstrators while performing their duties.

        On July 2-3, 2020, Olsen is accused of using his body to push on and hold a glass door at the Hatfield Courthouse closed, preventing officers from exiting the building and causing the door to shatter. With the door broken, a mortar firework entered the courthouse, detonating near the officers. The officers used shields and their bodies to block the open doorway for approximately six hours until demonstrators dispersed.

        On July 4, 2020, Ahuja is accused of willfully destroying a closed-circuit video camera mounted on the exterior of the Hatfield Courthouse.

        On July 5, 2020, Blank is accused of assaulting a federal officer with a shield while the officer was attempting to arrest another protestor.

        On July 5-6, 2020, Faulkner, Fellini, Porter, and Teo are accused of assaulting federal officers with high intensity lasers. At the time of his arrest, Faulkner also possessed a sheathed machete.

        All seven defendants made their first appearances in federal court on July 6, 2020 and were released pending trial.

        A criminal complaint is only an accusation of a crime, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

        These cases are being investigated jointly by the U.S. Marshals Service; FBI; U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; Federal Protective Service; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; and Homeland Security Investigations.

        • Last time I checked, Portland isn’t federal property.

          • The Hatfield Federal Courthouse and other federal buildings are.

          • Nancy_Naive

            Yep, and that is the extent of their jurisdiction. Unless the governor seeks federal assistance for riots, they’re not authorized beyond the protection of those properties.

            Also, lemme guess which two 3rd world nations in which you participated in the invasions… Vietnam, and Grenada. Btw, Grenada is interesting. They LOVE us there. Of course, they believe we invaded for a completely different reason.

  6. So Federal law enforcement officials are detaining “innocent protesters”? How do you know that they are innocent, other than all persons are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law? For well over 200 years police have arrested those suspected of crime and detained them until they were either released after an investigation determined that there was not sufficient evidence to try them or they were tried and found guilty or not guilty. If the actions of these officers truly were reproductions of what went on and continues in totalitarian regimes such as the USSR, China and Cuba, then these suspects would still be in custody.

  7. You know – for all the discussions here about “rights” and guns and masks, etc… is anyone concerned that these folks were read their Miranda rights and allowed to make phone calls, etc? Was there a record of their “arrest” in terms of what they were detained for an the identification of the people who detained them? Is there such a thing as false arrest?

    but if you have to wear a mask – it’s a Constitutional crisis..?? 😉

    • You question whether:
      “these folks were read their Miranda rights and allowed to make phone calls, etc? Was there a record of their “arrest” in terms of what they were detained for an the identification of the people who detained them? Is there such a thing as false arrest?”

      You have absolutely no evidence of any of these violations you posit. So why did you do it?

  8. Americans have a constitutional right to assemble peacefully and without harassment. You conservatives are ignoring that

    • The operative word there is “peacefully.”

      You are ignoring that.

      • Given the proclivity of alt-right for paramilitary activity, e.g., the Arizona minutemen, just shoot them.

      • If it’s done in secret – who do you believe when they say “not peacefully”?

        If there is no record of the detainment/arrest , how do you know the circumstances of the arrest?

      • Eric the Half a Troll

        By all accounts, the individuals were snatched from the street not near any protest whatsoever. They were however dressed in protestors garb which apparently, in CONservative-land, is sufficient probable cause.

        • Perhaps someone had reported these two individuals to the authorities because of something they saw, you know, like what you liberals do when you see someone without a mask on.

      • Jim, this was a soft-ball opportunity for you to demonstrate that your deep commitment to libertarian values applies to blacks as well as whites.

        If you have any evidence that the individuals picked up were involved in violent activities or were planning violent activities put it up.

    • Peter, see my reply to Larry above starting with:
      “So “we have no right to defend Portland”?”

      It deals with the facts about “assembling peacefully”.

  9. This whole business reminds me of something. People randomly being snatched up off the streets and being taken to a stadium… oh wait, there wasn’t a stadium in this. Any missing nuns?

    I wish I could remember of what this reminds me. Well, time for lunch and a snack of pinochets… uh, pistachios.

  10. Jim B. I am not leaving out peacefully. There is no evidence the people detained in Portland were violent or committed crimes. Why suggest they were when you have no evidence?

    • Man oh man – all this blather from Conservatives on Constitutional rights then this happens and they hit the exits…

      I guess we’ll have to wait until those unmarked vans start scooping up 2A folks, eh?

    • Apparently, for at least one detainee, he said he was released when he exercised his right to an attorney.

  11. I wonder how much would it take for Kenny Boy to move to Texas come this January? Would such a contract hold up in court?

  12. The federal government has the duty to protect federal property. Isn’t that what Major Robert Anderson, US Army, did at Fort Sumpter on orders from his superior officers? What’s the difference between that and what happened in Portland, Oregon?

    • Eric the Half a Troll

      This did not occur near any federal building nor were any being threatened in any way at the time.

        • this is a good example of how Conservatives get their “news” these days:

          The Gateway Pundit is an American far-right[3][4] news and opinion website. The website is known for publishing falsehoods and spreading hoaxes.[5]

          False stories and conspiracy theories

          The Gateway Pundit is known as a source of viral falsehoods and hoaxes.[4][14][15] It has been described by Newsweek as a fake news website[16] and by CNN as a website “prone to peddling conspiracy theories.”[17] As a result of a number of lawsuits against The Gateway Pundit over its false stories, it was reported in March 2018 that Jim Hoft had told his writers to be more careful: “I don’t want any more lawsuits so we have to be really careful with what we put up.”[18] Hoft stated that he believes the lawsuits “are part of a multi-pronged effort to attack media outlets on the right.”[18]

        • Eric the Half a Troll

          The key phrases are “near any federal building” and “at the time”. Hey, but keep on supporting illegal policing by federal agents. Should ring well come November.

          • crickets from the usual Conservative/Libertarian suspects…

            “rights” ? what rights?

            😉

  13. Larry. What is amusing on this blog is how I get lectures from right wingers about the evils of communism when they have never been in a communist country. I am lectured about police power when I was detained on occasion overseas and never told why. Lots of these people have led cushy, predictable lives. They are all experts on journalism They KNOW!

  14. I love it. It’s a violation of your rights for the govt to make you wear a mask – but they surely scan scoop you up off the street and haul you away to “protect” govt property – somewhere?

    This is a very special kind of Conservatism.

  15. Captain Sherlock. That may be but unidentified federal agents do not have the right to cruise streets and seize people without a clear reason. Aren’t these rights what you served for in the Navy?

  16. Haner. Why are you interested in my personal identity? I am just noting an important threat to civil liberties. You know nothing about me, personally. You have no right to judge me. We really come from different places. Respect that.

  17. Peter, I served for nearly 30 years and in combat in two wars to guarantee the freedom of Americans under our constitution. That includes you and the suspects that were taken off the streets in Portland. You approached this story with a lot of assumptions for which you have no evidence.

    “unidentified federal agents do not have the right to cruise streets and seize people without a clear reason”. Let’s see how many assumptions are in that statement.

    – “Unidentified federal agents”. Law enforcement officers are not required to wear uniforms in discharge of their duties. They are required to enforce the law anywhere they are, on duty or off.

    You imply that they did not identify themselves to the suspects. You know this how?

    Your biggest set of assumptions “cruise streets and seize people without a clear reason”.
    – Is searching for suspects in federal crimes now “cruising the streets?”
    – “seizing people without a clear reason.” You know that how? Do you honestly think that federal officers are going to arrest people without probable cause. Why would they risk their careers to do so?

    According to the Supreme Court, probable cause to make an arrest exists when an officer has knowledge of such facts as would lead a reasonable person to believe that a particular individual is committing, has committed or is about to commit a criminal act. The officer must be able to articulate the facts and circumstances forming the basis for probable cause.

    Neither of us knows if those arrests were a mistake or not. They let them go, so they must not have been able to develop evidence to detain them further.

    I was once, in my full uniform as a Navy LtCdr, arrested on an Air Force base for suspicion of driving a stolen vehicle – my rental car. I was taken into the base police station and held for about an hour.

    Turned out arresting air policemen had been given a bad license plate number. I was seriously pissed about the arrest, but it was a mistake. Mistakes happen.

    I did not take the opportunity to say my civil rights had been violated, because they had not been.

  18. James Wyatt Whitehead V

    Lincoln, Wilson, FDR, LBJ, Baby Bush, and Obama have all detained dissenting citizens for arbitrary reasons. Nothing new here really. Just captured on video and widely available on Tic Tok.

    • At the risk of appearing to agree with Larry, Peter & Nancy (the band), I don’t think this a valid excuse for detaining people.

      One of the best things about having a Republican in office, is the Left starts caring about government overreach (at least for certain things)

      • One thing you can count on for sure: The version of the story we heard from the mainstream media is not a full, accurate and in-context version of events. I’m not saying what happened was OK, I’m just saying you can NEVER assume the first version of the story reported by the MSM is fair and balanced.

        • The other guarantee is that the first statement from whatever agency/department spokesperson has more holes in it than the Titanic.

        • I agree. I never take individual MSM words for facts but this is across many media outlets INCLUDING the WSJ.

          The fact that Portland and Oregon government has filed complaints about this is not made up by the MSM. They say the Feds are interfering in their jurisdictions.

          The Posse Comitatus Act is a United States federal law (18 U.S.C. § 1385, original at 20 Stat. 152) signed on June 18, 1878, by President Rutherford B. Hayes which limits the powers of the federal government in the use of federal military personnel to enforce domestic policies within the United States.

          There is heavy smoke here… we’ll see if there is fire… but it looks like an inappropriate use of Federal law enforcement – and no surprise who is directing it.

          Portland apparently is not the only city either.

        • Eric the Half a Troll

          “I’m not saying what happened was OK…”

          As close as we will ever get to “what happened was wrong” from the Right as long as Trump is in charge.

  19. From m my self-absorbed reading of the unreliable MSM,I see that the Oregon atty. gen. Is suing the feds while a WaPo-ABC poll shows Biden leading Trump 55 to 40. The turkeys are coming home to roost.

  20. I see the same thing playing out in the comments of this blog time and again, and it gets very tiresome. Instead of making an issue the topic at hand, most comments poke at the other side of the issue to score one for the home team. I bet there is tons more common ground that can be found among folks who frequent this blog, but as soon as something is attributed to the left or the right, it automatically raises the hackles of folks who associate with that side politically, and they feel compelled to come to the defense of their team. I would bet a tidy sum that if folks would stop all of the insane, nonproductive tribalism by not talking about which side did what, there could be much more productive discussions about the actual issues. In the end, I suspect that most reasonable folks care more about the specific issues than scoring one for our team. It’s just not as fun.

    This blog seems to represent a microcosm of the general breakdown in politics in our state and country.

    • Eric the Half a Troll

      Matt, I am all for “let’s sit down and find common ground” in most scenarios. This isn’t one of those scenarios. Sometimes there is a basic right and wrong involved. This is one of those times.

      • Well, given that not everyone can get on the same page about what’s right and what’s wrong, there’s a few ways to obtain the desired end result.

        The first option would be to can play bloodthirsty politics, as has been the trend recently. We can out fund raise and outvote the other side and then legislate them into submission. The problem with this is that the bastards may win enough votes in the next 4-8 years to undo all of the good work our side did, and then will impose their will on us with the weight of their laws.

        The second option we have is to declare outright war on those who are wrong. We can either legislate their ideology as hate, round them up and inter them in the penitentiary system. If we don’t have enough legislative support to do that, then we can form Committees of Vigilance to patrol streets and shoot these evil people on sight.

        Obviously, these two suggestions are asinine, just as is the premise that roughly half the country is righteous and the other half of the country is completely evil on any given topic. Until we learn that we are all on the same side, and that we generally have similar if not the same desired outcomes for our country, and we stop attributing to malice what could/should easily be explained by difference of opinion/misunderstanding/failure to understand the complexity of the problem/etc/etc/etc, we are doomed to a horrible future. We need to stop playing the useful idiots to the Democratic and Republican parties and start treating our fellow Americans with respect. A little love can go a long way to divert us from this path of mutual destruction.

        • Eric the Half a Troll

          As soon as I see the Right unequivocally denounce the Trump administration for these sort of actions (and this isn’t the first as you well know), I will sit down and find common ground. The Never Trumpers fall into that category. Most of today’s Republican Party does not. The fact that the Right has lost its moral bearings does not mean I should cast off from mine.

  21. As usual this discussion has been conducted in a fact vacuum. Here’s what I’ve read:

    1. There have been recurrent, sometimes violent attacks on federal personnel and federal property in Portland. These attacks have been ongoing and much of the mayhem has been captured on video.

    2. The federal government has dispatched law enforcement officers to protect federal property and apprehend those who are suspected of having attacked federal property (sometimes using video of previous attacks as evidence).

    3. The right to peaceful protest is enshrined in the US Constitution. However, there is no right to violent protest.

    4. On the nights in question law enforcement determined that the protests had become violent and declared the “protests” to be unlawful assemblies. That means the so-called protesters are deemed to have become violent and no longer enjoy the constitutional right to assembly. In fact, they must clear the streets or face detention and possible arrest.

    5. Federal agents wearing uniforms little different that Portland’s SWAT team uniforms with “POLICE” on the uniform went out into the crowds now illegally assembling in the streets to look for people they believed had previously committed crimes against federal property and federal employees. Given the unlawful assembly declaration they had the right to detain anybody on the street since that declaration requires people to clear the streets.

    6. According to one person’s account federal law enforcement agents left their unmarked van and detained that person who they suspected of participating in attacks on federal employees and property. The person was transported to the courthouse and after a relatively brief period released. One can reasonably assume that the detained person was not, in fact, the person on the video.

    The next column on this site, “Law and Disorder in Richmond” describes how the Richmond police refused to visibly respond to a gathering they thought would turn violent deciding instead to observe the situation from a plane. A visible response apparently might have triggered the crowd. Federal agents used unmarked vans to detain and transport a suspect to the courthouse for much the same reason. Had they used a marked van and interrogated the suspect on the street that might have incited the crowd. The federal agents deemed it was safer for everyone to surreptitiously detain the suspect and question him at the courthouse.

    There are many questions that should be asked. Should the gathering have been declared an unlawful assembly? Would it have been better for the heavily armed federal agents to have patrolled in marked vehicles and interrogated the suspect on the street? Did the common practice use of an unmarked vehicle with uniformed law enforcement agents really cause the detainee unreasonable fear? Is the person giving the account of this detention telling the truth?

  22. James Wyatt Whitehead V

    An official from the Customs Border Patrol, Mark Morgan said this:
    CBD agents used prior video to identify suspects of assaulting federal officers and destroying government property. Suspects were brought in for further questioning for their own safety since large nearby mobs presented a threat. CBD agents identified themselves and they did have CBD insignia on their uniforms. (I noticed a patch on left shoulder sleeve). Names of agents were not on uniforms to prevent doxing incidents. (Favorite Antifa tactic, they love to sing you to sleep at night). You can find all of this on Twitter. I am not savvy enough to figure out how to post it here.

  23. Is there evidence to support the alleged crimes of those who were detained/arrested beyond what the arresting officer said?

    Isn’t this the same problem we have now with municipal police that videos exposed?

    • James Wyatt Whitehead V

      Mr. Larry I believe reasonable suspicion is the term used to proceed with a detention and questioning. A federal law enforcement officer can use this. They are looking for masked protestors who assaulted police and destroyed government property. I think they are using reasonable suspicion and detention to get the mask off and ask some questions so they can find their suspects. “Grab and Go” is being used to avoid confrontations with bigger crowds. Everything is under surveillance in Portland. Before Covid it was easy to spot Antifa. They were the only guys with a mask on. Now it is much harder.

      • James – do you want Federal police officers going out and arresting and detaining people in unmarked cars wearing generic labels that say “police” instead of “Federal Agent”?

        This is not about what their stated justifications are – it’s about them being transparent about their activities – and accountable for them.

        We cannot have what boils down to “secret police” roaming the streets and unidentified agents picking up people on unsubstantiated suspicions, detaining them and no public record of the arrest.

        I know that some folks think that rioters and protestors should be dealt with – and I agree but what we have here is treading dangerously close to secret police.

        The funny thing is, in the not too distant past – folks talked about “black helicopters”… and such…

        We have a guy in charge of the Federal Govt right now – who is at odds with his own folks as to the proper role of the Federal Govt on issues like this. They disagree with him. And the Governors and the Mayors disagree with him.

        No Conservative should support this. If this was Obama or Northam doing this to 2A folks all hell would break loose and rightly so.

        People need to stand up here.

        • James Wyatt Whitehead V

          Mr. Larry in Portland it seems good to me. We have a unique confluence of events going on. What else can federal law enforcement do to protect government property in Portland? I do understand the perception this presents. But it is not the 1960s anymore. Antifa is well schooled in tactics to create chaos and disorder. Obama did this too. Part of the larger war on terror. Baby Bush did this with the Patriot Act. LBJ and Nixon used the CIA Operation CHAOS to surveil protestors and militants. FDR had Executive Order 9066. Wilson unleashed the Mitchell Palmer’s raids, Espionage and Sedition Acts. Uncle Abe suspended habeus corpus, defied the Supreme Court, jailed 14,000 people, and closed 300 newspapers. Trumps actions are smaller than a Cracker Jack prize.

          • James – the Feds can do what they do in every city where they have Federal building and courts. They do not use unmarked cars scooping up suspicious looking people and carting them off to detention – with no public record of it.

            Yes – we DO this for “terrorists” – and there was a hell of a fight over the Patriot Act over it – and it continues and many Conservatives are opposed to some provisions.

            And let’s also point out the FISA court and the FBI’s behaviors which Conservatives are raising holy hell over – and should.

            Bush got reamed out over kidnapping and renditions… and the justification was they could do this because they were NOT U.S. citizens!

            Even Bloomberg got ripped over stop and frisk –

            This is what Russia and China and tin-pot authoritarian regimes do.

          • James Wyatt Whitehead V

            Mr. Larry you make some good points. Government often takes actions to protect itself from threats, even at the expense of citizens. Preservation of the government is the first right. No public record because no charges filed and questions did not lead to the need for a presence of a lawyer.

  24. re: No public record because no charges filed and questions did not lead to the need for a presence of a lawyer.”

    do you want this kind of thing going on?

    These folks, once released… what do we think they’re going to do with regard to telling their friends on social media and figuring out what to do next?

    Do you think this tactic is going to be successful in terms of discouraging their activism or it will escalate?

    What happens if it escalates?

    One thing is for sure, The feds are willing to call out federal troops – like they did in Washington.

    And if they do – the images are going to go around the world and countries like Russia and China are going to say: ” see – you’re just like us”!

    This should not be US

    • James Wyatt Whitehead V

      In the Cold War Era, the photos, headlines, newsreels of the 1960s was an effective tool for communist governments to boast of their superiority. Do I want this kind of thing to go on? Of course not but on the other hand I think lawbreakers need to be held accountable to regain control and return the activism to inside the lines of lawful dissent. I don’t know if this is going to work. The optics of these events could backfire.

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