JTTF: Fasten Your Seatbelts
Commissioner Saltzman, despite promises to the contrary, says that he is voting to oppose Portland's pullout from the JTTF. Commissioner Sten, always a weak play, is not answering his phone, and staffers say they "don't know" how he plans to vote tonite. Meanwhile, Bernie Giusto blackmails the city with threats of rampant terror if the Mayor gets his way, and a mysterious and conveniently timed anthrax scare in Salem sets the stage. I'm on the edge of my seat again.
Portland's decision tonite is very important, not only for the people of this city, but for the nation. If we finally sever ties with the JTTF, we will be the first city in the country to do so. Our courage will be contagious. And they know it. It's that domino thing they hate so much.
Don't get me wrong, this is far from the unequivocal in-your-face pullout that I would prefer. Too many loose ends still dangle, too many loopholes remain open. But this, if it happens, is one small stone that starts the landslide.
And so, the pressure is on. Thank God we have a real mayor this time, who might just put the best interests of the people ahead of concerns about what the corporate media will say. In any event, it's been a bumpy ride and it's not over yet. All the commissioners are still tallying public opinion, so if you would like to voice your thoughts, now would be a good time to be calling their offices. And if you want to see an interesting show, come down to the city hall at 6:30 this evening.
Although I'm hesitant to declare a winner, it looks like they might just send the JTTF packing this time. I'm still fearing some kind of last minute shenanigans, or (no!) another milk-toothed monologue (followed by knife attack) by the ever-changeable Erik Sten. But according to the offices of Commissioners Adams and Leonard, and the Mayor, it seems the majority is in favor of the pullout. While I did not speak to Commissioner Adams himself, a staffer told me that he's definitely behind the mayor, and that he has always been very much in support of the proposal. She added that, "the majority of the city, and it looks like also the majority of the council" favors the pullout.
And so, at this time, it is only Commissioner Saltzman, and possibly Commissioner Sten, who would sell us to our oppressors. Perhaps they need to be reminded of Oregon law, which is most assuredly not amenable to allowing the JTTF spies to continue to work in this city. For what it's worth, ORS 181.575 clearly states:
"No law enforcement agency, as defined in ORS 181.010, may collect or maintain information about the political, religious or social views, associations or activities of any individual, group, association, organization, corporation, business or partnership unless such information directly relates to an investigation of criminal activities, and there are reasonable grounds to suspect the subject of the information is or may be involved in criminal conduct."
In addition, ORS 181.850 states:
"(1) No law enforcement agency of the State of Oregon or of any political subdivision of the state shall use agency moneys, equipment or personnel for the purpose of detecting or apprehending persons whose only violation of law is that they are persons of foreign citizenship residing in the United States in violation of federal immigration laws."
If that doesn't work, maybe Saltzman and Sten need to be reminded of what they said after the last hearing on this matter. Several people approached to ask why they voted to delay the matter, why they did not just drive a stake through it then and there. Saltzman said that he believed that it would be better to give the Mayor time, and that if the FBI did not bend and give the Mayor the clearance he asked for, then he would vote with Potter. "Promise?" He was asked. "Yes," he said. "I promise." Sten agreed that he, too would vote for the pullout if clearance was not granted. "Promise?" "Promise."
Maybe they've forgotten that, but we have not.
No matter what happens tonite, the SS will still be at our doors. We will still need to be watchful and creative and strong. There is still a storm gathering. But if the city council stands in solidarity with us tonite against the oppressor, then we will be stronger still.
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