September 25th, 2009
Huffington Post has a strange video apparently of men in military fatigues “arresting” a demonstrator at the G20 summit. If true, it is important to understand what is going on here. Who are these men? Are they “arresting” or “kidnapping” the demonstrator? Why are they in military fatigues? Is this a new police uniform, or is there some sinister paramilitary force at work in Pittsburgh?
UPDATE: Raw Story has more information on this incident:
G20 security officials took responsibility Friday afternoon for a video that seemed to depict US troops ‘kidnapping’ a protester.
The military was not involved in the incident, but G20 security did acknowledge that “law enforcement officers from a multi-agency tactical response team” had detained a protester they said was believed to be vandalizing a store.
Video posted at YouTube shows onlookers calling out “what the fuck” and “what the fuck is wrong with you?” as people in camo uniforms haul a protester along by his collar, shove him into the back seat of a car, and rapidly drive off.
Officials with G20 security released the following statement to Raw Story and other media outlets:
Story continues below…
“Military members supporting the G20 Summit work with local law enforcement authorities but do not have the authority to make arrests. The individuals involved in the 9/24/09 arrest which has appeared online are law enforcement officers from a multi-agency tactical response team assigned to the security operations for the G20. It is not unusual for tactical team members to wear camouflaged fatigues. The type of fatigues the officers wear designates their unit affiliation.
Prior to the arrest, the officers observed this subject vandalizing a local business. Due to the hostile nature of the crowd, officer safety and the safety of the person under arrest, the subject was immediately removed from the area.”
The video was featured this morning at the Drudge Report under the heading, “SEE U.S. MILITARY SNATCH PROTESTER… .”
At the liberal website Democratic Underground, one commenter asserted, “This is staged” and then claimed, “Those were not the uniforms National Guard/military were wearing yesterday. Neither was that the vehicles they were driving. This was just a bunch of idiots trying to make some point.”
According to news reports, “U.S. authorities assembled a security force of nearly 5,000 people to safeguard the event, including 2,500 National Guard troops, 1,200 state troopers, 875 Pittsburgh city police and small groups of officers from other agencies.”
Police and National Guard troops headed off an unauthorized march by some 1000 protesters on Thursday and eventually forced the crowd to scatter.
The police reaction to the protests has been marked by what antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan calls “profound overkill.”
“I have been to dozens of protests, large and small, since my son was killed in Iraq, but I have never seen anything like today,” Sheehan writes. “There were easily two cops/soldiers for every one of us protesters or maybe even 3 to 1.”
Sheehan also witnessed the National Guard troops working with the local police and comments, “Seeing the National Guard troops, fresh from Iraq, broke my heart the hardest. I also talked to dozens of them, none had ever heard of posse commitatus, and asked them if my son, their brother, died in Iraq so they could steal the rights of his mother. Most of them wouldn’t even look at me.