[pjw] REPORT/COMMENTS/REMINDER: Joint Terrorism Task Force watch party Wed 9:30 AM

Peace and Justice Works pjw at pjw.info
Tue Jan 26 18:07:03 EST 2021

Peace and Justice Works supporters

(Many apologies for duplication-- I've posted this to three or four lists 
at this point, and particularly that this comes on the heels of last 
night's email.)

Our news conference this afternoon went very well.  Presenters were:
  Christopher Lee, Portland JACL President
  Brandon Mayfield, survivor of improper FBI investigation
  Dan Handelman, Peace and Justice Works/Portland Copwatch
  Brian King, Portland Democratic Socialists of America
  Ana?s Tuepker , Board President 350 PDX
  Carol Landsman, Jewish Voice for Peace-Portland

A direct link to the video is in the introduction to the comments I made
on behalf of PJW/PCW today (albeit, I had to cut a lot to get it down to
about three minutes) which went to Council a short time ago.

Feel free to share.

And PLEASE tune in tomorrow morning at 9:30 AM at

Our running commentary should give more history/context and be
responsive in real time to what is being said to / by Council.

---dan handelman
peace and justice works/portland copwatch


From: Peace and Justice Works / Portland Copwatch
<copwatch at portlandcopwatch.or$
To:  Portland City Council Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty
          <joann at portlandoregon.gov>
         Mayor Ted Wheeler <mayorwheeler at portlandoregon.gov>,
         Commissioner Dan Ryan
            <commissionerryanoffice at portlandoregon.gov>,
         Commissioner Carmen Rubio <comm.rubio at portlandoregon.gov>,
         Commissioner Mingus Mapps <mappsoffice at portlandoregon.gov>
Cc: cctestimony at portlandoregon.gov
Subject: COMMENTS: (Item 44) Joint Terrorism Task Force annual Report

Members of City Council

Below are comments on the Joint Terrorism Task Force annual Report being
presented by the Portland Police tomorrow morning at 9:30 AM. Because we
were (once again) not allowed to give public testimony at Council on
this matter, we held a news conference this afternoon.

That half-hour long news conference can be seen at


We also invite your staff (since you will be at the Council meeting) to
watch a live watch party we will holding at 9:30 so we can provide
context and commentary for community members and the media about the
JTTF and the Report.


--dan handelman
peace and justice works/portland copwatch


Mayor Wheeler and Commissioners Hardesty, Mapps, Rubio and Ryan:

Our organization Peace and Justice Works and its project group Portland
Copwatch continue to be involved in the efforts to end or limit Portland
Police Bureau cooperation with the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force
(JTTF). We supported the letter that was sent to Council in September
2020, the testimony during Communications in early October, and the
"People's Report" on the JTTF released in January.

We find that this year's annual Report on the Task Force contains
similar shortcomings to last year's Report, and fails to directly
address the seven questions we raised in the People's Report on January
4. Instead, the Bureau responded in a document attached to the Council
Agenda item with answers that are somewhat -- but not sufficiently--
helpful. At first we did not notice the responses, as they were hidden
behind the Council Clerk's processing sheet. The People's Report went
directly to PPB over email but we did not get a direct response.

The authors of the People's Report asked Council not to accept the
Report from the Bureau without the answers to these questions. We ask
that you still consider refusing to accept the document because the
relevant answers aren't integrated into the Report itself.

Some of our concerns could be allayed if the City would revisit the 2019
Resolutions and take two steps. First, prohibit all cooperation between
the PPB and the JTTF. Doing so would NOT limit the PPB from working with
the FBI on cases where actual criminal activity is being investigated,
but it would limit the possibility of being asked to work on cases
opened on an "assessment." The FBI uses that guideline, little more than
a hunch, which doesn't meet the threshold for Oregon law. If all
cooperation is not ended, at least the language about investigating
"threats to life including hate crimes" should be more narrowly drawn.
Second, until any cooperation is ended, require the PPB to do full
reporting, including demographics, of the cases they send to the JTTF
for investigation. Finally, the Resolution should require
contemporaneous public input during the presentation of the Reports.

In brief, here were the questions asked in the People's Report and why
we feel the answers aren't satisfactory.

1) We asked if Portland Police investigated protest "organizers and
instigators" involved in racial justice and police accountability
demonstrations in the George Floyd uprising after former Attorney
General Bill Barr directed the JTTF to do so. The Bureau says they did
investigate people in relation to the "civil unrest" on behalf of the
JTTF but not because of AG Barr. Clearly if the JTTF investigated the
protests as "terrorism," it was at Barr's direction. Regardless, it's
not clear whether the PPB is referring to the four closed cases they
listed in their Report, two of which have to do with people talking
about obtaining weapons, one about a person with an "Anarchist Extremist
Group" possibly seeking to harm a person with a "racially motivated
violent extremist group," or the one about an assault that took place at
a protest which the PPB had already investigated as a crime.

2) We asked if the JTTF--including PPB--was involved in the cell phone
surveillance of Portland protesters reported by The Nation magazine last
September. The PPB says they were not involved in such data collection,
but not whether they were aware of this apparently illegal tactic being
used by their law enforcement partners.

3) We asked whether the PPB has been involved in JTTF investigations
into Portland activist social media posts, as happened in Tennessee in
June. The PPB admits investigating social media posts which indicate
criminal activity, but did not say whether those were related to the
Task Force or what the criminal threshold is.

4) We asked whether PPB's cooperation with federal agencies such as
Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Customs and Border Patrol
division, US Marshals, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was
defacto working with the JTTF. The PPB says that cooperation had nothing
to do with the JTTF, and cited that they got clarification from the City
Attorney about Council Resolutions limiting contact in order to
communicate with these agencies. We still fear there was cross
contamination between protest monitoring and the feds.

5) We wondered how deputizing officers as federal agents impacted the
PPB's limited relationship to the JTTF. They claim there was no impact
on that relationship. However, our concern is that PPB officers may have
relayed information about people's social, political or religious
affiliations to federal agents in violation of state law.

6) We asked whether the FBI's arrest of Malik Muhamad and the DHS-aided
arrest of another protestor on October 11 were connected to the JTTF.
The Bureau said that the officers involved were assigned to patrol and
crowd control duties. We note here that the cases reportedly shared from
the PPB to the FBI are once again so vaguely worded it is hard to know
whether this question is answered by the Report.

7) Finally, we asked if Portland Police were involved in the arrest of
the Portland area man in Troutdale indicted for providing "material
support to ISIS." The PPB says their Criminal Intelligence Unit was not
involved--but not whether other Portland officers were. This incident is
mentioned in the Bureau's one-sided conclusion, which is longer than the
substance of most of the Report, raising the specter of more incidents
justifying JTTF action.

We are also working on comments about the Bureau's policy on the JTTF,
realizing that two recommendations we made in 2019 were not
incorporated. This is likely because the City's Resolution is not clear
on these issues , so we also recommend adding them when our above
suggestions are added.

    -- Any training material the FBI provides to PPB task force
    members will also be provided to and maintained by the City
    Attorney's office.

     --Any training that is discriminatory and biased against any
    group shall be immediately reported to the City Attorney and will
    be a basis for not participating in the JTTF.

Despite the FBI's newfound interest in recognizing the dangers of white
supremacists to this country, we disagree with broadly labeling
political ideology as "terrorism." History has shown it will inevitably
snap back on people of color, immigrants, Muslims and progressive
activists. As we did with Chief Outlaw, we urge Chief Lovell, who has
the discretion to accept or reject any case where the FBI asks for
assistance, to err on the side of caution. The many organizations who
objected to the PPB working with the FBI raised recent and long-term
concerns about how the secretive federal agency tends to target
vulnerable populations.

Thank you for your consideration

Dan Handelman
on behalf of
Peace and Justice Works/Portland Copwatch

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