On Thursday and Friday, #resistance and far-left twitter was abuzz with talk of a terrifying new force on the streets of Portland: federal agents wearing plain clothes and using unmarked vans to snatch up protesters and shuffle them to the nearest police precinct. Before the agents showed up, some brave locals complained that Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and other city officials had simply let a bunch of "anarchists" set up their own version of Seattle's "CHOP".
Unwilling to countenance another "CHOP", President Trump issued an executive order calling for all federal statues and monuments to be protected against vandals and rioters. This resulted in the deployment of what some called "Barr's Army" - a "violent gang" of federal agents who snatched up peaceful protesters left and right (nevermind the vandalism and destruction these demonstrations have caused since the death of George Floyd, including another bout of violence that emerged this week.
WaPo has unsurprisingly lionized the demonstrations in stories with titles like "50 Nights Of Protest" and others. Last night, a video surfaced of ICE agents who had been deployed to the city
A Reuters reported managed to speak with two protesters who were allegedly chased down by the cops in an unmarked van.
Portland protester Conner O’Shea said agents chased him in an unmarked vehicle Wednesday while walking with his friend Mark Pettibone back to their cars. “I know they’re looking for people that are doing graffiti and laser pointing,” he said. “We haven’t done any of that, which makes it all the more scary."
"It’s horrifying and I think as Americans we’ve read about things like this happening in other countries, you know, in textbooks about the 70s, 80s," he said.
Interestingly, the name 'Mark Pettibone' popped up in a handful of other media reports about the 'crackdown' in Portland. The Washington Post shared Pettibone's story, apparently taking his word for it: Pettibone told his sob story about being attacked and arrested by plainclothes officers in an unmarked van.
"I was terrified," Pettibone said. "It seemed like it was out of a horror/sci-fi, like a Philip K. Dick novel. It was like being preyed upon."
Newspapers like WaPo and other "legacy" media organizations have been using language like this to describe the police more frequently lately, as they quote protesters and leaders who repeat their hysterical remarks as if they were fact.
As Pettibone tells it, he couldn't tell whether the men confronting him were police or far-right extremists. After officers demanded that he stop, he said he ran for half a block before sinking to his knees with his hands in the air. Police searched him, then drove him to a holding cell, then released him shortly after. Now he's demanding to know why he was detained and generally making a big deal about the injustice of it all.
Oregon Gov Kate Brown and Portland Mayor Wheeler have denounced this federal intrusion. But when Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf landed in Portland on Thursday to assess the situation and report back, both officials publicly declined to meet with him.
It's just another sign that pandering politicians have internalized the far-left's hatred of anybody who disagrees with their world view. Because a discussion might lead to a resolution, and then what would all these protesters do? As the protesters claim they were being snatched up by unidentified 'agents', DHS issued a statement directly contradicting this.
Agents were in uniform, but they didn't wear badges due to fears of personal safety. It's the same line or reasoning that justifies using an unmarked van, a spokesperson for DHS said.
After visiting the city, Wolf released a statement that included a list of incidents DHS officers have faced in Portland since late May, and praised them in a series of tweets on Friday.
Our men and women in uniform are patriots. We will never surrender to violent extremists on my watch. pic.twitter.com/kG8w8kyw9E— Acting Secretary Chad Wolf (@DHS_Wolf) July 17, 2020
Here is what I saw in Portland yesterday. pic.twitter.com/B0xvTTYvIj— Acting Secretary Chad Wolf (@DHS_Wolf) July 17, 2020
These valiant men and women have defended our institutions of justice against violent anarchists for 48 straight days. We will prevail. pic.twitter.com/Qo9XoCyH2N— Acting Secretary Chad Wolf (@DHS_Wolf) July 17, 2020
“I offered @DHSgov support to help locally address the situation that’s going on in Portland, and their only response was: please pack up and go home. That’s just not going to happen on my watch.” pic.twitter.com/BW8UdbNZ9c— Acting Secretary Chad Wolf (@DHS_Wolf) July 17, 2020
When asked by Reuters about Wolf's visit, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said that while he was aware of the visit, he wished Wolf had sjust stayed in Washington.
"We’re aware that they’re here. We wish they weren’t. We haven’t been invited to meet with them, and if we were we would decline."
Give it another month or so and we'll see if Wheeler doesn't change his tune. Because local officials are deluding themselves if they think appeasing these anarchists - anarchists who want to destroy America despite the fact that most of them are white and from relatively wealthy backgrounds - will work.