[pjw] REPORT BACK: Terror Task Force Work Session

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Tue Feb 12 17:50:43 EST 2019

PJW Supporters
Hi, just to quickly fill you all in on the Joint Terrorism Task Force
issue, which as noted Friday will come up at 2 PM at City Council
tomorrow (Wed).

This is a very off-the cuff report back and not for wide circulation,
though the links to news articles and our letter to the editor, below,
are fine to circulate.

Today's Work Session began promptly at 9:30 AM with an only slightly
biased presentation from City Attorney Tracy Reeve, who kind of left out
that Tom Potter pulled out not only because of civil liberties concerns
about the PATRIOT act (which I had forgotten was the subject of a
Council resolution leading up to the withdrawal) but also because he
could not provide proper oversight. The FBI testified that Mayor
Wheeler's briefings, which he gets through one-day "non-disclosure
agreements," is essentially the same as his having "Top Secret"
Clearance, which I doubt is true.

Then "our side" got 30 minutes to talk. Former FBI agenda Michael
German, CAIR of the San Francisco Bay Area director Zahra Billou,
Kayse Jama of Unite Oregon and local attorney Brandon Mayfield were all
able to present. At times they were put in the "hot seat" by Fish and
Wheeler, weathering them well. They asked questions like "Mr. German,
do you know anything about what Portland's JTTF has done since 2015"
and "Mr. Jama, do you think we should stop working with the FBI on
stopping child trafficking?"

Commissioner Hardesty got in a good zinger early when FBI Special Agent
in Charge Renn Cannon stumbled when trying to answer whether the
demographic makeup of the 300 people investigated in Oregon last year
matched the population, telling him not to try to answer a question if
he doesn't have the information.

Other people from the "pro" side who testified included an FBI
supervisor, two people from the US Attorney's office, Assistant Chief
Jami Resch, and via pre-recorded video, Chief Outlaw and Bob Horenstein
of the Jewish Federation. Horenstein seemed to imply that any time they
feel nervous about people they contact the authorities, which doesn't
require the PPB being deputized as FBI agents, but I digress. The first
person on the "let's stay in side" to testify was Stephen Reichard, the
acting Executive Director of the Citizens Crime Commission, who spent
time giving his progressive credentials (including that his father had
been called to testify before HUAC and lost his job) but then said how
the CCC fully supports the JTTF.

Commissioner Eudaly asked several pointed questions, focusing a lot on
the civil rights abuses being perpetrated by "other agencies" (meaning
ICE). According to one of the articles listed below, she told the press
she isn't making a statement about her position until the vote tomorrow.

Michael spoke a lot about the different levels of suspicion needed under
federal law and Oregon law, Zahra told the story of how San Francisco
got out of the task force. She added that in Oakland, they tried
"transparency" by asking for annual reports and the first report was
about three minutes long and said nothing. (If that sounds familiar,
that's because we had the same problem here from 2011-2015!) Kayse
talked about the people in the community who are afraid to talk to
police because they know the police work with the FBI. Brandon told his
story and connected it to the current struggle.

Commissioner Fritz called out the FBI's assertion that a JTTF
investigation was helped by Portland's School Resource Officers by
noting those cops aren't part of the JTTF. The response is that they can
connect with the right officers faster with Portland cops in the task
force, which is of course silly if they have a phone directory of the

Toward the end the two officers who are deputized, "Mike" and "Brian"
(last names not used because they may go undercover, don't you know)
swore upon their requirement to be "truthful" that they follow Oregon
law and don't do immigration investigations.

(FYI, the Directive on "truthfulness" allows officers to lie for law
enforcement purposes.
https://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/article/710238 )

There's a lot more but that is a quick review of the morning.

So far, I only found one "mainstream" media piece posted on the
Work Session, from Willamette Week:


The Tribune ran two pieces today in advance of the hearings, one of
which includes a call to action to support either Wheeler or Hardesty,
noting this is an international issue. (I've never really seen the
Trib include numbers to call for a vote before).



They also ran a front page article last week about Robert Mueller
which references the Task Force issue:


By the way, Mayor Wheeler and Commissioner Fish also name checked
officials from Hillsboro and Gresham, longtime anti-hate organizer Randy
Blazak, former State Senator Avel Gordly and a few other people to show
the "wide support" for staying in.

Here's the letter to the editor we sent the Oregonian on Saturday, but
wasn't printed despite a flurry of pro-JTTF pieces (from US Attorney
Billy Williams, FBI SAIC Cannon, Commissioner Fish and the O's
editorial board).

  To the editor:
  We read Commissioner Fish's February 6 op-ed piece and
  counter-legislation being proposed for Wednesday's hearing on
  withdrawing Portland officers from the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

  The best course of action is to stay out of the JTTF. Other Task Forces
  involving Portland Police do not have the same documented history
  involving the FBI inappropriately focusing on people of color,
  immigrants and others.

  Fish's amendments do not fix the problem of deputizing PPB officers--
  which is not needed for investigations including the Molotov cocktail
  threat against Mayor Wheeler.

  1) Agreeing to wall off the PPB from immigration issues will not
  guarantee compliance with Oregon's sanctuary law. The FBI runs the Task
  Force, Portland cannot over-ride their actions. If officers participate
  in an investigation and the FBI deports the "suspect" for lack of
  prosecutable criminal activity, the PPB has participated in the
  immigration aspect of the JTTF.

  2) Requiring the Chief to seek "Secret" security clearance doesn't
  change anything. City policy already asks the Chief to get "Top Secret"
  clearance. The issue is that the Bureau's civilian Commissioner does
  not have access to the same information. This is why Mayor Potter, a
  former police chief, withdrew from the JTTF.

  The third amendment requires "more substantive" annual reports on JTTF
  activities. Reports were only required from 2012-2015 and were
  threadbare. The FBI controls what information is shared.

  While attempting to address problems of being in the JTTF, these minor
  tweaks do not protect civil liberties. Support the resolution to
  withdraw from the JTTF.

dan handelman
peace and justice works / portland copwatch

PS Sorry for any duplication, this is similar to something I sent to
another list and to Portland Copwatch.

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