Will American Democracy — and America’s leadership of the Free World — be done by the time Americans catch on?
To understand the police forces ringing Trump and the White House it helps to understand the dense and not-entirely-sensical thicket of agencies that make up the nation’s civilian federal law enforcement. With little public attention, notice and amid historically lax oversight, those ranks have surged since 9/11—growing by roughly 2,500 officers annually every year since 2000. To put it another way: Every year since the 2001 terrorist attacks, the federal government has added to its policing ranks a force larger than the entire Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Nearly all of these agencies are headquartered in and around the capital, making it easy for Attorney General William Barr to enlist them as part of his vast effort to “flood the zone” in D.C. this week with what amounts to a federal army of occupation, overseen from the FBI Washington area command post in Chinatown. Battalions of agents were mustered in the lobby of Customs and Border Protection’s D.C. headquarters—what in normal times is the path to a food court for federal workers. The Drug Enforcement Administration has been given special powers to enable it to surveil protesters. It is the heaviest show of force in the nation’s capital since the protests and riots of the Vietnam War.Graff, Garrett M. “The Story Behind Bill Barr’s Unmarked Federal Agents.” Politico, June 5, 2020.
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration’s aggressive deployment of officers donning riot gear with no identifiable markings has increased tensions with protesters, raised the specter of a “secret police” force and prompted Speaker Nancy Pelosi to demand that President Trump identify the federal forces he has put on the streets of the capital.Kanno-Youngs. “Unidentified Federal Police Prompt Fears Amid Protests in Washington.” The New York Times, June 4, 2020.
Imagine a world in which uniformed police geared up to boogie in black produced as part of their presence no identification of themselves or their control or funding agency or organization.
Imagine that world was yours.
Call them “Black Vests” or “Black Jackets“.
They’re apparently not laying claim to being anything else.