Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

July 22, 2020

Trump sending federal agents to Albuquerque

Federal agents point their weapons at photographer Mathieu Lewis-Roland, 
who was unarmed, on July 20 in Portland, Oregon.

Trump sending federal agents to Albuquerque

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
Updated July 22 at 3 a.m

Albuquerque -- Targeting a city that is battling the spread of the coronavirus, Trump announced Wednesday that he is sending federal agents to Albuquerque. This comes as federal agents in Portland, including US Border Patrol agents, continue to beat and gas protesters and the moms and dads who have joined the frontlines.

Trump said today that 35 federal agents and resources are coming to Albuquerque -- as part of Operation Legend that targets a handful of cities across the United States.

"Trump said the influx will be in cities where the leadership wants to 'defund, defame or abolish' police," Albuquerque Journal reports.

"Using the same alarmist language he has employed to describe illegal immigration, Trump painted Democrat-led cities as out of control and lashed out at the 'radical left,' which he blamed for rising violence in some cities, even though criminal justice experts say it defies easy explanation," AP News reports.

Attorney General William Barr said 35 federal agents, including FBI, ATF, U.S. Marshals and officers with Homeland Security, will be sent to Albuquerque for Operation Legend. (Homeland Security includes US Border Patrol.)

Feds secret police include contracted staff in Federal Protective Service

In breaking news, Reuters reports that documents in the lawsuit filed by journalists against federal agents in Portland reveal the operation involves the Department of Homeland Security’s Rapid Deployment Force.

There are currently 114 federal officers in Portland, including personnel from the Federal Protective Service. FPS contracts private security companies to guard fixed posts. There are also agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Marshals Service and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The documents say the U.S. Department of Homeland Security deployed the agents on a mission named Operation Diligent Valor.

Portland mayor gassed by feds

The mayor of Portland, Oregon, was tear-gassed by the U.S. government late Wednesday as he stood at a fence guarding a federal courthouse, Associated Press reports.

Mayor Ted Wheeler said it was the "first time he’d been tear-gassed and appeared slightly dazed and coughed as he put on a pair of goggles someone handed him. He didn’t leave his spot at the front, however, and continued to take gas. Around Wheeler, the protest raged, with demonstrators lighting a large fire in the space between the fence and the Mark O. Hatfield Federal Courthouse and the pop-pop-pop of federal agents deploying tear gas and stun grenades into the crowd."

The U.S. Border Patrol agents in Portland are from the southwest border.

After agents in Portland were doxed, Homeland Security responded, reports NTD. "The Border Patrol and ICE officers deployed in Portland wear camouflage uniforms because they have been called from regular duty on the southwest border, where the uniforms are their daily attire, according to Chad Wolf, the acting head of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The uniforms have prompted some left-wing pundits to refer to the officers as “storm troopers” and “gestapo.” Wolf dismissed the allegations as “smear attacks” and “disgusting.” Read more.

Water Protectors Legal Collective responds as feds target Albuquerque

The Water Protector Legal Collective, originally created at Standing Rock in defense of water protectors, issued a statement.

The WPLC said that in light of today's local news, Trump deploying federal officers to Albuquerque, New Mexico, there is legal support.

"The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) National Office is launching a hotline for activists and lawyers to report incidents of federal repression, such as FBI “door-knocks” at activists’ homes, grand jury investigations and subpoenas, and any other federal law enforcement efforts to undermine civil rights, including federal grab squads and the use of unidentified federal agents to police protests. The line is live at: 212-679-2811.

Since May, the NLG has continued to support the movement for Black lives, organizing to support legal defense efforts and provide Legal Observers for demonstrations. In the last week, we have seen the use of anti-protest shock troops by the federal government, such as Portland, where federal grab squads have arrested activists and taken them away from demonstrations in unmarked vans.

A memorandum from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) suggests that these officers are acting under the auspices of DHS and are members of the Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC). This is a unit typically tasked with high-level law enforcement operations and it is formed under US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP). These officers are acting under direct orders from the Trump Administration and Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf.

The use of BORTAC to disrupt activism is a recent escalation by the federal government, which has also used the National Guard, FBI, and Secret Service in order to violently quell protests. These efforts come in combination with an aggressive political and legal strategy labeling ‘antifa’ a domestic terrorist organization. Federal prosecutors are also filing criminal charges against activists throughout the country.

The NLG Federal Defense Hotline will allow callers to have privileged conversations with attorneys, and to receive attorney referrals, know-your-rights information, and resources for responding to grand jury investigations and subpoenas. Inquiries about the line can be sent to The line is staffed by attorneys organizing with the NLG, and will remain active as long as federal prosecution efforts continue.

The National Lawyers Guild, whose membership includes lawyers, legal workers, jailhouse lawyers, and law students, was formed in 1937 as the United States’ first racially-integrated bar association to advocate for the protection of constitutional, human and civil rights."

"Heinrich calls for the resignation of Bernalillo County sheriff" 

New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver's statement

“It’s tremendously disturbing that President Trump is considering occupying New Mexico’s largest city by sending federal troops into Albuquerque just over 100 days before the General Election. Any federal troop presence in New Mexico will have an intimidating effect on our citizens and disrupt the free exercise of their democratic rights," Oliver said.

"We’ve already seen the secret abductions of citizens by these troops in Portland and New Mexicans have no assurance that such unlawful actions would not occur in Albuquerque. The right to the free and fair functioning of our democracy cannot and will not be set aside in New Mexico for a Washington political stunt, or worse, a takeover of state and local democratic processes."

"We do not live in a country where voters need to fear going out on Election Day to exercise their right to vote. As Secretary of State, I will continue to advocate for New Mexicans to be able to cast their ballot in November without obstruction or intimidation," Oliver said.

This is a breaking news story, please check back for updates.

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