By Robert A. Vella
In the news today, we’ll cover a welcomed and overdue denunciation of President Trump by his former Secretary of Defense James Mattis who accused him of deliberately trying to divide Americans along cultural, ideological, and racial lines like the Nazis did under Adolf Hitler, and of traitorously violating the U.S. Constitution by employing the U.S. military against American citizens. After the fiasco Monday night when Trump ordered police and military forces to assault peaceful protesters near the White House so he could stage a defiant photo op, the Department of Defense is resisting further attempts to misuse the military which has prompted retaliation from Trump and put the current Secretary – Mark Esper – on the hot seat as the next administration official likely to be purged. The criminal charges against the Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd have been upgraded to second degree murder, and the three other cops who participated have been arrested for aiding and abetting. Three white supremacist agitators, who are members of the right-wing extremist Boogaloo movement, have been arrested for domestic terrorism at a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Nevada. I’ve included more information on that group in response to a misleading CNN article which inaccurately conflated Boogaloo with the left-wing anti-fascist, anti-racist group Antifa. In fact, fascist white supremacists have been impersonating themselves as Antifa in order to deceive the public by defaming it. Trump and his Attorney General William Barr have also falsely accused Antifa of perpetrating violence, during the nationwide protests against the George Floyd murder, which only further illustrates the ideological and racial biases of the Trump administration.
Mattis speaks out
Former defense secretary Jim Mattis excoriated President Trump on Wednesday, accusing the nation’s chief executive of deliberately trying to divide Americans, taking exception to his threats of military force on American streets, and praising those demanding justice following the police killing of George Floyd.
“Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us,” Mattis wrote in a statement published by the Atlantic.
“We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership,” he continued. “We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.”
“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.”
He goes on to contrast the American ethos of unity with Nazi ideology. “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.”
“When I joined the military, some 50 years ago,” he writes, “I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens—much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside.”
He goes on to implicitly criticize the current secretary of defense, Mark Esper, and other senior officials as well. “We must reject any thinking of our cities as a ‘battlespace’ that our uniformed military is called upon to ‘dominate.’ At home, we should use our military only when requested to do so, on very rare occasions, by state governors. Militarizing our response, as we witnessed in Washington, D.C., sets up a conflict—a false conflict—between the military and civilian society. It erodes the moral ground that ensures a trusted bond between men and women in uniform and the society they are sworn to protect, and of which they themselves are a part. Keeping public order rests with civilian state and local leaders who best understand their communities and are answerable to them.
DoD resists Trump
WASHINGTON (AP) — In an abrupt reversal, Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Wednesday overturned an earlier Pentagon decision to send a couple hundred active-duty soldiers home from the Washington, D.C., region, amid growing tensions with the White House over the military response to the protests.
Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told The Associated Press that he was told about the reversal after Esper attended a meeting at the White House, and after other internal Pentagon discussions.
The move to keep the troops in the region, however, comes as Pentagon leaders continue to insist they do not want to use active-duty forces to help quell the protests. Earlier in the day, Esper had tamped down threats from Trump about sending troops to “dominate” the streets, telling reporters at a Pentagon news conference that he opposes using military forces for law enforcement in containing the current street protests.
Cops charged with murder
ST. PAUL, Minn. — The three Minneapolis police officers who failed to intervene while George Floyd was killed were charged on Wednesday with aiding in his death, and officials pressed a more severe charge — second-degree murder — against Derek Chauvin, the officer who pinned Mr. Floyd to the ground with a knee for nearly nine minutes while he pleaded, “I can’t breathe.”
Announcing the charges, Keith Ellison, Minnesota’s attorney general, who was assigned by the governor to handle the closely watched case, asked for patience during what he said would be a lengthy investigation and cautioned that history revealed serious challenges in prosecutions of police officers.
White supremacist agitators arrested
Three self-identified “boogaloo” adherents were arrested after plotting violence at a Black Lives Matter demonstration.
Andrew Lynam is a member of the United States Army Reserve, and his associates Stephen Parshall and William Loomis served in the Navy and the Air Force, respectively.
According to the FBI, all three were preparing for a coming civil war, and self-identified as members of the “boogaloo” movement.
Federal prosecutors say the men planned to sow discord at protests in Nevada in early April. They first assembled at a rally to reopen the US economy in Las Vegas, where, according to the filing, one of the men said the group “was not for joking around and that it was for people who wanted to violently overthrow the United States government.”
The filing stated that all members of the group possessed firearms, including “pistols and rifles, including variations of AR-15’s.”
It also alleged that the three men met several times in May to discuss targeting multiple places to place an “economic burden on businesses and the government.”
According to the filing, on May 29, the men attended a Las Vegas protest in response to Floyd’s death. They allegedly carried rifles during the protest; one of them “taunted police by getting in their face and yelling at them”; and when another defendant became upset “that protests were not turning violent,” he attempted to provoke the crowd into rioting.
Trump and Republicans push false claims about far-left activists sparking riots but refuse to condemn right-wing extremists
NBC News also reported on Monday that Twitter had identified a group posing as an “antifa” organization calling for violence in the protests as actually being linked to the white supremacist group Identity Evropa.
Twitter suspended the account, @ANTIFA_US, after it posted a tweet that incited violence. A company spokesperson also told NBC News that the account violated Twitter’s rules against platform manipulation and spam.
The boogaloo movement, members of which are often referred to as boogaloo boys or boogaloo bois, is a loosely organized American far-right extremist movement. Members of the boogaloo movement say they are preparing for a coming second American Civil War, which they call the “boogaloo”. Members use the term to refer to violent uprisings against the federal government or left-wing political opponents, often anticipated to follow government confiscation of firearms.
The movement consists of anti-government and anti-law enforcement groups, as well as white supremacist groups who specifically believe the unrest will be a race war. Groups in the boogaloo movement primarily organize online (particularly on Facebook), but have appeared at in-person events including the 2020 United States anti-lockdown protests and the May 2020 George Floyd protests, often identified by their attire of Hawaiian shirts and military fatigues.