pandemic week 12 — the american fascists attempt to make their opening moves


Mattis equates Trump attempts to divide with Nazi slogan

In perhaps the most extraordinary passage of James Mattis’s extraordinary condemnation of Donald Trump, which was published by the Atlantic an hour ago, the former Marine Corps general and US defense secretary seems to equate the president’s behaviour in dividing Americans with the aims of the Nazi regime during the second world war.

Mattis writes: “Instructions given by the military departments to our troops before the Normandy invasion reminded soldiers that ‘The Nazi slogan for destroying us … was ‘Divide and Conquer.’ Our American answer is ‘In Union there is Strength.’’ We must summon that unity to surmount this crisis – confident that we are better than our politics.

James Mattis Denounces President Trump, Describes Him as a Threat to the Constitution

James Mattis, the esteemed Marine general who resigned as secretary of defense in December 2018 to protest Donald Trump’s Syria policy, has, ever since, kept studiously silent about Trump’s performance as president. But he has now broken his silence, writing an extraordinary broadside in which he denounces the president for dividing the nation, and accuses him of ordering the U.S. military to violate the constitutional rights of American citizens.

“I have watched this week’s unfolding events, angry and appalled,” Mattis writes. “The words ‘Equal Justice Under Law’ are carved in the pediment of the United States Supreme Court. This is precisely what protesters are rightly demanding. It is a wholesome and unifying demand—one that all of us should be able to get behind. We must not be distracted by a small number of lawbreakers. The protests are defined by tens of thousands of people of conscience who are insisting that we live up to our values—our values as people and our values as a nation.” He goes on, “We must reject and hold accountable those in office who would make a mockery of our Constitution.”

Pentagon chief opposes Trump threat to deploy military at protests

The US defence secretary has opposed Donald Trump’s threatened use of the Insurrection Act to allow active duty troops to be deployed in American cities.

Mark Esper was speaking to journalists in the Pentagon amid mounting disquiet about the increasingly militarized response to the George Floyd protests, and confusion over the role of the troops.

About 700 troops from the 82nd airborne division, mostly military police and combat engineers, were flown to bases around Washington on Monday night. The Associated Press reported that 200 would fly out on Wednesday, but then with a few hours that decision was reversed and the airborne troops stayed put in the bases on the outskirts of the capital.

Trump has threatened to invoke the 1807 Insurrection Act that would allow him to deploy troops on city streets, against the wishes of state and city authorities. The president said he would use the law if local authorities failed “to defend the life and property of their residents”.

Esper categorically opposed using the act on Wednesday.

“I say this not only as secretary of defense, but also as a former soldier, and a former member of the national guard, the option to use active-duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort, and only in the most urgent and dire of situations,” the defense secretary said. “We are not in one of those situations now. I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act.”

A dangerous new factor in an uneasy moment: Unidentified law enforcement officers

But it wasn’t only components of the Defense Department that had been brought to the nation’s capital to help with the “domination” that President Trump sought to display in the wake of the turmoil. Washington residents have also been confronted with a number of other heavily armed law enforcement officers who share an unexpected characteristic: Neither their affiliation nor their personal identities are discernible…

As it turns out, each of these encounters was apparently with elements of the Bureau of Prisons, called to the region by Attorney General William P. Barr this week. Friedman confirmed with BOP that the men he encountered were with the agency; Haake’s Twitter followers picked out BOP insignia on their clothing.
“The idea that the federal government is putting law enforcement personnel on the line without appropriate designation of agency, name, etc. — that’s a direct contradiction of the oversight that they’ve been providing for many years to local police and demanding in all of their various monitorships and accreditation,” former New York City police commissioner William Bratton said in a phone interview with The Washington Post on Wednesday.
The prospect of government agencies involved in policing the city seeking to obscure their identities, Bratton said, was “very concerning.”
The vagueness of their identity and their disinterest in identifying themselves introduce specific challenges and risks, as former Army officer and FBI special agent Clint Watts explained in a phone interview with The Post.
For one thing, Watts pointed out, a civilian might refuse to respond to an order from a law enforcement official who doesn’t identify themselves in that way.
“If I go out and I pull out a gun and I say, ‘Freeze,’ and they say why, I would have to say, ‘I’m an FBI agent’ or law enforcement officer or whatever,” he said, “because otherwise they would be totally in the right to defend themselves potentially.”