What would you do if you saw these people advancing on you? What if they ordered you to stand still, or drop to your knees, or put your hands up in the air? One of these thugs, they do remind me of a motorcycle gang, is carrying a shield marked “police.” But you can buy one of those in any army-navy store. These guys have no badges, no insignia, no nametags, no proof they have the authority to order you or anyone else about. I don’t know about you but facing them I’d be scared stiff.
These ghost soldiers confronted residents of our nation’s capital city and it was a sight unseen in modern times. The residents these stormtroopers confronted were almost all peacefully protesting. That is a right guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution. Actually, calling these guys stormtroopers is unfair to stormtroopers, who in Star Wars wore white. They are more like Robocop, the cyborg created by corporations to enforce their interests in a dystopian comic book future.
They really are most similar to the “little green men” who appeared to lead an insurgency against the government of Ukraine. They were so named because they wore green uniforms with no insignia or other markings, a violation of the Geneva Convention making them all eligible to be shot as terrorists or spies. They were Russians, sent to help the Russians invade and annex Crimea.
In fact these black attired men, and a few women, were William Barr’s goons. The so-called attorney general of the United States had assembled a multitude of paramilitary forces and deployed them at the behest of Donald Trump, ready to do violence against Americans protesting that Black Lives Matter.
Big, tough Bill Barr, who like his boss coward Bone Spurs Donnie Trump never served in the military, strutted at the head of his nameless army just after they attacked peaceful demonstrators in Layfette Square to clear the way for Trump to stage an awkward photo-op in front of the historic St. John’s church.
Joining Barr and Trump (left to right) are Mike Esper, the Secretary of Defense, and trying to avoid the cameras at the right is General Mark Milley, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and therefore the highest ranking uniformed soldier in the United States. Both Milley and Esper apologized after the fact for joining Trump on his little excursion across the street from the White House, noting that active duty forces of the United States should not be involved with clearing the streets of demonstrators. Both should have resigned.Embed from Getty Images
No such apologies came from Donnie Trump or Billy Barr. I suspect both were deprived as boys of the pleasure of collecting and playing with toy soldiers and now get kicks out of deploying the real thing. Donnie in particular had something to prove because it had been reported that he retreated to a secure bunker under the White House when the protestors got close. He is always willing to make a macho display but only while surrounded by heavily armed guards.
In spite of Trump’s repeated threats to step in, this kind of display never materialized in the states, where governors were content to deploy national guard forces, under their authority, to maintain order. But this was the District of Columbia, the federal enclave created in the Constitution because the framers didn’t want to choose between the thirteen original states as the seat of the national government. Although Congress has allowed for the creation of a DC local government it retains ultimate control. And, as is its practice, it has delegated much of the police power to the executive branch.
Following 9-11, Congress went into a frenzy in an attempt to look like it was doing something, anything, to protect America. The Republicans in charge gave the executive enormous new powers, creating the Department of Homeland Security, which has grown into a huge policing bureaucracy. Congress granted virtually all federal agencies and departments authority to create their own investigative (in other words, “spy”) divisions and greatly expanded their ability to create domestic police forces. They also took steps to equip them, as well as local police forces throughout the nation, with military tools of war. These new forces were given expanded powers that ignored historic guarantees of Constitutionally protected rights. Most Democrats, afraid they’d be branded “weak” on terrorism, meekly went along.Embed from Getty Images
Bill Barr’s anonymous troops on the streets of DC, reportedly came from FBI; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); the U.S. Marshals; and the federal Bureau of Prisons. Those Department of Justice forces join Homeland Security officers, the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, the Capitol Police, the Federal Protective Service, the Secret Service and the District of Columbia National Guard.Embed from Getty Images
Barr even managed to get the Pentagon to deploy helicopters over the crowd, flying low using a technique designed to be used against terrorists. A technique intended to scare and threaten. A technique considered highly dangerous especially when deployed in an urban area. Those helicopters also displayed the red cross symbol falsely signifying a medical rescue mission.
This is a very scary time.