Attacking local and state government: Trump’s Nazi playbook

Donald Trump has made no secret of his admiration for Nazism and Adolf Hitler. After neo-Nazis marched in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, Trump called them “fine people.” Trump’s first wife, Ivana Trump, wrote that one of the only books Trump kept readily available was a compendium of Adolf Hitler’s speeches. According to Trump’s niece, Mary Trump, Donald Trump was raised in a household of constant racist and anti-Semitic words and deeds.

Mr. Trump’s conflict with America’s cities and states began as a war of words and tweets. Today, the war has grown into a full-fledged invasion of America’s cities by a political police force loyal to Trump. The paramilitary forces that invaded Portland, Oregon, and began kidnapping citizens from the streets by forcing them into unmarked rental vehicles and speeding away, include private contractors working for various agencies of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Many of these contractors work for descendant companies of Blackwater, Dyncorp, Triple Canopy, and other mercenary companies responsible for heinous human rights violations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, as well as on the streets of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The presence in Trump’s Cabinet of the sister of Blackwater founder Erik Prince, Betsy DeVos—the Secretary of Education—shines a bright spotlight on the nepotism of fascist policies, including the dispatch of mercenaries, to Portland and other cities.

Trump and his two Nazi-like cronies—acting Homeland Security Secretary and former Senate staffer and lobbyist Chad Wolf and Roman Catholic fascist Opus Dei adherent Attorney General William Barr—decided to conduct a test run of their personal Gestapo during peaceful June 1 “Black Lives Matter” civil rights protests on Lafayette Square in front of the White House. Trump requested the governors of 11 states to send members of their state National Guards to “restore order” in Washington. The paramilitary action in Washington was neither requested by nor assented to by the mayor of Washington and the city council of the District of Columbia.

Trump also ordered Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley to accompany him to a church on Lafayette Square for nothing more than a political photo op. Milley later apologized for participating in Trump’s display of what amounted to fascist theatrics befitting another fascist dictator openly admired by Trump, Italy’s “Il Duce,” Benito Mussolini.

The only violence, including arson, that occurred during the Washington, DC, protests that Trump and Barr later cited as their reason for sending in the non-descript camouflage-clad paramilitary forces and National Guard units was carried out by white right-wing provocateurs. These and other false flag operatives in cities across the United States are no different than the Nazis who set fire to the Reichstag in Berlin in 1933 in order to give Hitler an overwhelming electoral victory in the federal election held on March 5, 1933, a week after the arson attack. Hitler used the Reichstag fire as an excuse to tear up the Weimar Constitution by forcing through the Reichstag on March 23, 1933, the infamous Enabling Act while official propaganda media blamed the arson attack on a mentally ill Dutch Communist. Trump’s DHS began referring to protesters as “violent anarchists” and “anti-fascist (antifa)” mobs, loaded language drawn right out of the propaganda lexicon of Hitler’s Nazis.

On January 30, 1934, with the adoption of the “Law for the Reconstruction of the Reich,” Hitler abolished the Landtags (parliaments) of each German state, including the Senates of the Free and Hanseatic Cities of Hamburg, Bremen, and Lübeck and the parliaments of the Free States of Prussia, Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Bavaria, Anhalt, Thuringia, Württemberg, and Mecklenburg-Schwerin, the Republic of Baden, and the People’s State of Hesse, and transferred the powers of all the states to the new unitary national government in Berlin. In 1938, upon the German union with Austria, the Nazis abolished the Austrian states. In 1939, upon the German invasion of Poland, the Free City of Danzig was abolished and absorbed into the Nazi Reichsgau of Danzig-West Prussia. Hitler also transferred from city and township governments control of the local civilian police to Heinrich Himmler’s militarized Gestapo and Schutzstaffel (SS).

Trump and his proto-fascist administration are carrying out a similar suppression of state, municipal, and county government in the United States. The Justice Department’s Operation Legend (also called LeGend) has seen federal law enforcement personnel dispatched to Democratic Party-run cities, including Kansas City, Albuquerque, and Chicago. The Justice Department’s Operation Legend and DHS’s Operation Diligent Valor are military-like deployments designed to carry out Trump’s order to “dominate the streets” of America’s cities. By sending federal forces into the aforementioned cities, as well as Portland, Seattle, Philadelphia, Detroit, Baltimore, Oakland, Cleveland, and Milwaukee—the latter the site of the modified 2020 Democratic National Convention—against the expressed desires of the respective mayors and governors, Trump and his fascist administration are violating the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which specifies that the states are responsible for establishing and maintaining their own laws and policies, including those dealing with local and state law enforcement.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Wolf boasted on Fox News, “I don’t need invitations by the state, state mayors, or state governors to do our job. We’re going to do that, whether they like us there or not.” Wolf’s acting deputy secretary, Ken Cuccinelli, also warned of additional DHS troop deployments if “intelligence” warranted such moves. Wolf’s and Cuccinelli’s statements were the closest yet to a public admission of the goals of the Trump administration to negate the 10th Amendment by fiat and do exactly what Hitler’s Nazis did to German state and local government after the passage of the Enabling Act. Ominously, the Trump administration is coordinating their seizure of local police powers with city police departments and county sheriffs that are resisting efforts of Democratic Party mayors, city councils, and county boards of supervisors to curb police abuses within their jurisdictions.

In Portland, DHS paramilitary troops, many of them untrained in urban law enforcement and all of them identifiable only by alpha and alphanumeric trigraph patches on their camouflage and black uniforms, for example ZT1, DZ1, and SRT, and patches bearing the words “Police DHS,” descended upon largely peaceful protesters and began clubbing them with batons, tear gassing them with pepper spray, firing rubber bullets and throwing flash bang grenades at them, and kidnapping them off the streets. The trigraph patches made it impossible, by design, to identify those DHS government and contractor personnel who committed what are considered war crimes against civilians under stipulations of the Geneva Conventions and proclamations by various United Nations High Commissioners for Human Rights, let alone the precepts of the Constitution of the United States.

The fascist abuses by the Trump administration could take even darker turns. In Portland, protesters formed what were called a “Wall of Moms”—protesting mothers—and a “Wall of Veterans”—former and retired military personnel from all of the branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. Some of the veterans reported that some federal paramilitary personnel aimed automatic weapons directly at them. Others apprehended by the paramilitary units claimed the DHS security personnel stole their phones, identification, and other personal effects. Those arrested for shooting fireworks at the Portland federal building were charged with using “improvised explosive devices,” the same designation the military uses for car bombs.

Some female protesters in Portland who were apprehended by the federal paramilitary reported that they had been sexually assaulted by male DHS personnel while in their custody. The sexual assault charges against DHS personnel were a painful reminder of the infamous rape rooms at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, where American military and private mercenary contractors systematically raped both female and male detainees.

Americans are beginning to fight back against the Trump administration’s increasingly fascist moves. In cases when camouflaged and heavily armed security personnel, who fail to denote their law enforcement agencies, decide to use force against any American citizen, 25 states have enacted “stand your ground” self-defense laws. If such paramilitary personnel, including private contractors, attempt kidnapping, false arrest, or assault under false color of authority, it is the right of residents of the 25 states to use deadly force to protect themselves and their families at home, place of work, or any other location. Ironically, stand your ground laws were enacted with the support of the very same right-wing forces, including the National Rifle Association (NRA), who have consistently backed Trump and his policies. Those laws may now come back to bite them.

Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.

Copyright © 2020

Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).

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