Donald Trump's effort to "dominate" Washington DC hasn't merely involved bringing in the National Guard and members of the active-duty military. It's also meant the appearance of a bunch of armed law enforcement officers stationed around various federal buildings, looking like soldiers or SWAT teams, but not wearing any identifying badges or patches to indicate who they are. No agency name, no individual name patches, nothing. As Mother Jones national security reporter Dan Friedman discovered, the mystery troops weren't in any mood to say who they were or who sent them.

It's the ultimate in militarized policing: Without any identification, there's no telling whether they're cops, soldiers, private security, or militia assholes cosplaying as any of the above. To be clear, there's no indication that rogue civilians are joining in the Mystery Troops fun (presumably, the real cops know who belongs and who doesn't), but that's the problem. How ARE we to know? As the Washington Post points out, strange men standing around with guns is no basis for a system of government.


The consensus, based on some sightings of unit-specific insignia and patches, is that the mystery officers are from the Federal Bureau of Prisons' "Special Operations and Training" (SORT) team. Friedman managed to get confirmation from a Justice Department spokesman of that much, and he notes NPR reports that Attorney General Bill Barr had ordered Bureau of Prisons "riot teams" to Miami and to Washington. But the Little Green Men aren't especially forthcoming. When the New Republic's Matt Ford asked one bunch if they were with BOP, the most they'd say was "maybe."

Are you not reassured? Friedman added that the DOJ spox he spoke with "didn't respond to my question of why these guys apparently had instructions not to disclose what agency they were from."

America is definitely great again and who ever said law enforcement officers ever had to identify themselves? It's merely a "norm," and we know those are no longer the fashion.

Still, the Post managed to find some liberal law-and-order-hating former big names in law enforcement who said anonymous cop-troops swarming the nation's capital might not be a good idea. Like former New York City police commissioner William Bratton, who said the whole thing was "very concerning."

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.

Fine, Mister Old-Normal, but what you fail to understand is that "responsibility" and "accountability" are words of weakness, and that you can only solve problems through domination of the battlespace. As for "accreditation," we would just remind you that Jared Kushner has a security clearance, so all bets are off.

Former FBI special agent Clint Watts (who has two strikes against him: FBI is the deep state, and Watts appears on MSNBC and CNN, so he's barely even a citizen anymore) told the Post that unidentified law-enforcing objects create some practical worries for keeping order, too;

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."

Oh, they know exactly what to do with anyone who resists, don't you worry, Clint. Both Watts and Bratton pointed out that with large numbers of federal law enforcement people flooding into Washington, the lack of any identifying badges could lead to confusion, and possibly even accidental "friendly fire" shootings. Again, we aren't sure what the big deal is. If Trump is willing for more than a hundred thousand people to die to get the economy moving again, and to gas civilians, a few unintended LEO deaths are just expected collateral damage, too. There's an election to be won, or perhaps prevented.

Watts added that the lack of insignia and name tags could get especially dicey given how many rightwing militia idiots (our term, not his) like to show up at rallies these days. How to tell anonymous cosplayers from the real anonymous coptroops?

You can have this weird thing where you have these militia group guys just dressed up in their gear, which they like to do anyway, show up and just start pushing protesters around. [...] And if you're a protester, you don't know if you have to respond to this person.

To which Trumpers would no doubt reply, Yeah. And so? The whole problem is that thugs, protesters, and Episcopal priests don't respect authority, so maybe if they're less sure who's really in authority they'll be less likely to riot or say cops are bad, which are in fact the very same things.

Besides, if death squads in the Philippines and militia dudes pretending to be soldiers get to wear cool masks like these, why should anyone worry when they're also sported by federal coptroopers who shun ID? It's sure to put the fear of God/Trump into protesters!

This one is out of stock, sadly.


Photo by Emily Crockett on Twitter; used by permission.

We should note that in cropping this photo to emphasize the guy in the skull mask, we removed one guy who actually did have a patch reading S.O.R.T., for the Bureau of Prisons "riot team" Barr had ordered to DC. Photographer/reporter Emily Crockett notes some in the group wore that insignia, while "Some are army. Some no idea. Not a name tag in sight."

And if you'd like to be part of an occupying army in your own country, or at least feel like you are, the Trump campaign has just the right gear for you, too!

At least those clearly state your identity and affiliation: Asshole with the Army of Assholes.

In other developments in DC today, looks like Donald Trump finally has his WALL, although it currently only surrounds the White House complex.

Not that the Great Man is worried about his safety and hiding like a coward; he's just running out of things to inspect.

[WaPo / NPR / The Hill / Cop skull mask photo by Emily Crockett on Twitter; used by permission.]

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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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