Trump on a purported antifa sympathizer who allegedly killed someone in Portland being killed by federal forces: “This guy was a violent criminal, and the US Marshals killed him. And I’ll tell you something — that’s the way it has to be. There has to be retribution.” pic.twitter.com/WfIP9b37sA
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) September 13, 2020
A few weeks ago, a white supremacist in Portland was killed during protests there. Shortly after, law enforcement began the hunt for the killer. Eventually, they identified their suspect as Michael Reinoehl who identified himself as a supporter of Antifa.
A task force of U.S. Marshalls was formed to apprehend him. They located him in an apartment complex in Lacey WA where he was hiding.
An eyewitness says the suspect was unarmed and holding a cell phone and candy in his hands as he walked to his car. Two cars filled with federal agents pulled up and, according to the witness, opened fire without identifying themselves or giving him a chance to surrender. Thirty bullets later, the victim lay dead, murdered execution-style.
Though other witnesses recall a somewhat different version of events, Donald Trump gave an interview today in which he not only assumed Reinoehl was executed, but endorsed the murder:
This guy was a violent criminal, and the US Marshals killed him. And I’ll tell you something — that’s the way it has to be. There has to be retribution.”
Unfortunately, we’ve become inured to the excesses of Donald Trump. But endorsing summary execution by federal agents of U.S. citizens has to be a new low.
Trump’s relish for an act of state terrorism parallels a policy adopted by Israel security forces in their battle against Palestinian militants. Not only do the Shin Bet and Mossad employ assassins to murder Palestinians, they use attack drones and staged shoot-outs, in which the suspect allegedly goes down shooting in a blaze of glory. Most of these incidents are summary executions.
Israel rarely arrests and tries any Palestinian who has engaged in a terror attack. Either they are executed on the spot or, if they escape, they are executed when apprehended. I’ve reported here on a number of such incidents.
Israel does not believe in the rule of law when it comes to such security cases. The only law it upholds is the law of the gun. Bullets serve as judge, jury, and executioner.
I’ve regularly noted here that the world’s most controversial counter-terror tactics are developed and tested by Israeli agents against Palestinian victims. Then they are exported to nations like the U.S., which adopt them in their own fight against terrorism.
In that sense, Israel’s gross violations of international law and human rights become normalized not just in the region, but throughout the world. This facilitates the gradual coarsening and decimation of human rights standards and civilization itself.
While we may rail against Donald Trump as the most egregious example of connivance with Israel’s murderous policies, he is not alone in this. Barack Obama ordered the summary execution of Osama bin Laden along with the drone murders of thousands of terror suspects in the region. Joe Biden, who appears to have been one of the few members of the administration who raised any compunctions about this, is so pro-Israel that he will never offer any criticism of such Israeli tactics. The only thing we can hope is that he will renounce them here on our soil and will rein in their use abroad. Though that is by no means guaranteed.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.