[pjw] NEWS: Community Voices Respond to FBI: Why Portland Should Not Stay in the Joint Terrorism Task Force
Peace and Justice Works
pjw at pjw.info
Thu Dec 13 17:49:54 EST 2018
Today Portland Copwatch forwarded eight quotes from various people
connected with the campaign to get Portland out of the Joint Terrorism
Task Force to the media. Here is the news release (they received the
full contact info). Feel free to circulate widely!!!
For those who missed it, here's a story about the FBI's news conference
from last week:
Finally, I can't express how disappointed I was to hear that the House is
"unlikely" to vote on the resolution to end the war in Yemen, which
passed in the Senate on a bipartisan vote of 56-41 today. Let's hope
there's some procedural way to get it back on track.
peace and justice works/portland copwatch
PS as usual, apologies for duplication with the Copwatch list.
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2018 14:34:37 -0800
From: Portland Copwatch <copwatch at portlandcopwatch.org>
To: News Media <newsmedia at portlandcopwatch.org>
Subject: NEWS: Community Voices Respond to FBI: Why Portland Should Not Stay in
the Joint Terrorism Task Force
For Immediate Release December 13, 2018
NEWS: Community Voices Respond to FBI: Why Portland Should Not Stay in
the Joint Terrorism Task Force
On December 4 at a news conference, the local Portland office of the FBI
claimed that "terrorism" investigations will be slowed down if Portland
officers are withdrawn from the Joint Terrorism Task Force. They further
stated that although they do not involve Portland Police in immigration
matters, they use immigration law to deport people they say are plotting
violent actions in order to facilitate legal action in absence of
criminal conduct. Below are thoughts from various groups and individuals
who think the Portland Police should stop being a permanent part of the
The local groups are all signators to a letter to City Council asking
for the two PPB officers to be withdrawn from the Task Force.
Kimberly McCullough, Policy Director, ACLU of Oregon:
--"We implore our city's leaders to withdraw Portland police officers
from the FBI's secretive Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). Community
advocates have been calling for this separation for years and, in
response to the FBI's recent comments to our local media, we strongly
reiterate that the city's participation in the JTTF is anti-Oregonian
and anti-civil rights.
"By assigning Portland officers to work for the JTTF, alongside the FBI
and ICE, its biggest and most influential members, the task force
entangles our local officers in surveillance and other practices that
stand in opposition to Oregon's prohibitions on targeting people based
on their political, religious or social views, or based on real or
perceived immigration status.
"We reject recent statements by the FBI saying that 'Portland is less
safe if the city pulls out of the terrorism task force' just as we
reject the notion that the Constitution and fundamental civil liberties
of Americans should be discarded in the name of national security."
Michael German, former FBI agent, current Fellow at the Brennan Center
--"Enforcing reasonable standards to ensure law enforcement resources
are focused where there is objective evidence of wrongdoing is the most
effective way to protect the safety and security of Portland residents.
Unfortunately, the FBI's investigative standards have been lowered to
authorize practices like racial and ethnic mapping and intrusive
investigations and intelligence gathering without reasonable suspicion
of criminal activity. Bias-driven investigations, monitoring of
political and religious groups, and the pursuit of specious 'tips' are
not security measures, they are abuses of authority and a waste of
resources. Law enforcement can only succeed if officers scrupulously and
transparently operate within the law. Oregon law protects its residents
from the type of suspicion-less investigations that Portland Police
officers on the FBI's JTTF would be expected to participate in, which
should be enough to exclude their participation. Removing Portland
Police from the JTTF will make Portland residents more safe, not less."
Portland JACL (Japanese American Citizens League):
--"Without any evidence other than our Issei great grandfathers and
grandfathers were Japanese, they were arrested in 1942 because Japan was
at war with the United States. It was pure racism. Over 100 men were
taken from families in Portland within days after the attack on Pearl
Harbor and jailed at the Multnomah County Jail or Rocky Butte. Since
this happened so quickly, the FBI had obviously been watching the
community. Their wives and children had no idea where they were and some
did not see their husband and father for two years. Not one individual
was found guilty of conspiring with Japan to overthrown the US
government. It has been more than 75 years but we cannot let people be
watched and surveilled because they look like the enemy."
Brandon Mayfield, Oregon Attorney, Rights and Privacy advocate:
--"The federal government has asked the city of Portland to provide
money and personnel for the Joint Terrorism Task Force that targets
ethnic minorities and at the same time threatened to withdrawal federal
funding for vowing to protect those minorities by stating we are a
sanctuary city and state.
"The FBI seeks assistance in their anti- terrorist efforts (often aimed
at Arab Muslims) because they have failed to establish the kind of trust
that the local police have been more effective at fostering. But by
remaining in the JTTF and working closely with the federal government
that targets ethnic and immigrant minorities we are losing the trust of
those people we are tasked to assist and protect (particularly as a
"The city should not remain in a one sided relationship in a task force
where there is no assurance that officers only assist in investigations
of crimes that have a direct criminal nexus. "
Olivia Katbi Smith, co-chair of Portland Democratic Socialists of
"The FBI tells us that the JTTF makes our state and city safer. I want
to know: safer for whom? It doesn't make it safer for Muslims,
immigrants, and people of color who may be disproportionately targeted
and surveilled under this task force. It doesn't make it safer for
activists, whom the FBI has a long and sordid history of spying on and
attacking. And it certainly didn't make us safer when a gang of white
supremacists armed to the teeth gathered directly above us on a rooftop
at a recent protest. Portland DSA is committed to building a more secure
Portland by making sure our people's needs are met, not by granting an
abusive police force greater powers and less oversight. We call on
Portland to put its people first and pull out of the JTTF."
John Crew, former police practices attorney for the ACLU of Northern
-- "San Francisco's long experience with local police participation in
the JTTF was marked by inconsistent explanations, unnecessary secrecy
and broken promises from the FBI. The FBI repeatedly promised that SFPD
officers would be 'walled off' from any activities in the JTTF that
would violate local sanctuary and civil rights laws and policies.
Evidence emerged proving those promises had not been kept and the SFPD
withdrew its officers. Apparently, the JTTF conducts 'US person' status
checks on a routine basis based on 'tips,' not criminal predicates. That
local officers are not hunting down undocumented folks themselves is of
little consequence when it's their information on immigration status
which ICE can then use at any time. After our withdrawal, the SFPD can
still work jointly with the FBI, as needed, on investigations in the
extremely rare circumstance when there is actual evidence of a criminal
threat of terrorism."
"In Denver, members of the JTTF were found to be surveilling an
organization that opposed war by giving free vegetarian meals twice a
week in a public park to anyone who was hungry. Is this what we want in
Portland? Is this what we already have in Portland? Would we even know?
What we can see nationally is that instead of deterring white
supremacist terrorists, Donald Trump's administration has focused on
targeting communities of color, immigrant communities, and activists in
their fight for justice.
"As Commissioner Fritz has frequently pointed out, including in her
opposition to this task force, gaining public trust starts here at home,
and the lack of transparency and culture of seeing Portlanders as the
enemy erodes that community trust. Our elected leaders must help us find
way to address measures of security without flash bangs and massive
surveillance. We reject the notion that this city's immigrant, activist,
and refugee populations are terrorists and call on the City to do the
right thing and end our shameful participation in the Joint Terrorism
Dan Handelman, co-founding member of Portland Copwatch:
--"The FBI says they don't use immigration to go after people who are
allegedly planning a violent act 'unless there is an absence of criminal
activity.' The point of Oregon's 'sanctuary law' is that if there is not
criminal activity beyond civil immigration violations, people should not
be thrown out of the country. Moreover, this is exactly what the FBI did
to Mohammed Mohamud-- except he's an American citizen so he couldn't be
deported. There was no criminal activity until the FBI created it. As of
2015 independent journalist Trevor Aaronson logged at least 175 FBI
sting operations, and in 2017 he revealed that of 400 people convicted
and released, one quarter were targets of such stings."
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