We’ve all read and watched the news regarding federal agents sent to Portland and Kansas City; we’ve also heard of preparations to send agents to Chicago and Albuquerque.
Yesterday, I learned of a group of BORTAC (Border Patrol Tactical Unit) troops sent along with others to Portland. This group was new to me; the Wikipedia article describes them as the Department of Homeland Security swat teams; another article said they were trained like Navy Seals and could be similarly armed. They wear many uniforms so as to match the other units they’re working with. They don’t wear ID tags to prevent harm to their families and personal property. They use unmarked cars, because those marked with official insignias are often trashed by demonstrators.
The Acting Secretary of DHS said “they were doing exactly what they were supposed to do!” Apparently this is not necessarily correct; I’ve read opinion pieces written by lawyers arguing both sides of the issue. Attorney General Barr has said it is legal and he’s stated that again in his House Committee testimony. It is not unusual for the legality of certain actions to be somewhat uncertain and debated by legal experts.
However, in my opinion, and I’m not a legal expert, what I’ve seen and read seems illegal to me; especially when the civilian leadership (mayors, governors and congressmen) has not requested such assistance and even asked the agents to leave.
If you’re old enough, you’re aware of the term Gestapo; this is a German acronym that stands for Geheime Staatspolizei, which translates to Secret State Police. This was a notoriously brutal police organization during the Nazi era in Germany. Among other tasks, it was responsible for arresting and deporting Holocaust victims to the concentration camps in Germany, Poland, Austria and elsewhere. I don’t think the current administration and the federal agents around the Democrat-led cities have reached the level of the Gestapo; however, I do believe they are coming close to using similar tactics and then denying they did such.
Under the Trump administration, the U.S has become a much different nation then the one I grew up in, and the one I studied in high school civics. Our country has abrogated and pulled out of over a dozen very important treaties and international organizations. Because my field is nuclear nonproliferation and arms control, I’m especially appalled by the trashing of treaties that dramatically have lowered the number of nuclear weapons in the U.S, and Russia.
From recent news, I believe many other folks have reacted as I have, and are worried about the direction the country is heading. Remember also that this is happening in the midst of the COVID-19 coronavirus, the victims of which are suffering and dying (almost 150,000 as I write) in ever-increasing numbers.
My wife suggested I add this, which come from the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, a charity established by the United Kingdom government:
First they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out, because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak out for me
Dr. T. Douglas Reilly lives in Los Alamos