Thursday, September 17, 2020

Us Against Them

This is more than disturbing.

Hours before law enforcement forcibly cleared protesters from Lafayette Square in early June amid protests over the police killing of George Floyd, federal officials began to stockpile ammunition and seek devices that could emit deafening sounds and make anyone within range feel like their skin is on fire, according to an Army National Guard major who was there.

D.C. National Guard Maj. Adam D. DeMarco told lawmakers that defense officials were searching for crowd control technology deemed too unpredictable to use in war zones and had authorized the transfer of about 7,000 rounds of ammunition to the D.C. Armory as protests against police use of force and racial injustice roiled Washington.

In sworn testimony, shared this week with The Washington Post, DeMarco provided his account as part of an ongoing investigation into law enforcement and military officers’ use of force against D.C. protesters.

On June 1, federal forces pushed protesters from the park across from the White House, blanketing the street with clouds of tear gas, firing stun grenades, setting off smoke bombs and shoving demonstrators with shields and batons, eliciting criticism that the response was extreme. The Trump administration has argued that officers were responding to violent protesters who had been igniting fireworks, setting fires and throwing water bottles and rocks at police.

But DeMarco’s account contradicts the administration’s claims that protesters were violent, tear gas was never used and demonstrators were given ample warning to disperse — a legal requirement before police move to clear a crowd. His testimony also offers a glimpse into the equipment and weaponry federal forces had — and others that they sought — during the early days of protests that have continued for more than 100 days in the nation’s capital.

DeMarco, who provided his account as a whistleblower, was the senior-most D.C. National Guard officer on the ground that day and served as a liaison between the National Guard and U.S. Park Police.

A Defense Department official briefed on the matter downplayed DeMarco’s allegations, saying emails asking about specific weaponry were routine inventory checks to determine what equipment was available.

This is the kind of weaponry that you use to confront an army, not a bunch of peaceful demonstrators. This is the kind of response you would expect in places like Beijing or Moscow, not across the street from the White House. And for what? To clear the street so Trump could hold a bible?

Trump’s Wormtongue, also known as Attorney General Barr thinks that demonstrating for justice is treasonous.

Attorney General Bill Barr encouraged federal prosecutors to choose the most serious charges for those arrested for violent crimes during protests, including by way of a rarely used sedition law that would charge the demonstrators with plotting to overthrow the U.S. government.

President Donald Trump has previously accused at least one Black Lives Matter activist of treason.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Barr offered up a number of statutes for the prosecutors to use in a call last week and pushed them to use federal charges even when state ones could apply.

Barr, following Trump’s lead, has put prosecuting protesters front and center in his agenda, often making no distinction between those demonstrating peacefully and those the FBI has identified as opportunistic interlopers taking advantage of the chaotic scenes.

These are not the actions of a government in support of democracy. These are these are the actions of cowards and fascists.

These are the people who need to go.  Preferably to jail.

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