Shining a Light on Shady, Menacing, Unbadged Armed Forces

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If driving the news cycle and the broader media conversation about national security weren’t high-impact enough, you’ll be inspired to know that Mother Jones reporter Dan Friedman did both and much more last week, when his exclusive front-line dispatches and chilling photographs from the protests broke a defining story across America. Shady armed forces, without any badges or name tags, stood menacing watch over protesters in the nation’s capital. Asked who they’re with, they told Friedman opaquely “the Department of Justice” and “the federal government.”

Citing Friedman’s images and alert eye, Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut announced, “We cannot tolerate an American secret police.” (COINTELPRO, anyone?) Murphy pledged to introduce legislation that requires “uniformed federal officers…to clearly identify what military branch or agency they represent.” Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon boosted Friedman’s work strongly: “This picture really troubles me. Armed forces in the nation’s capital, appearing to have been stripped of all badges and name tags—making them totally unaccountable to the people—is something I’d expect to see from a dictatorship, not a democracy.”

Newsrooms everywhere shined a collective light on Friedman’s essential work, giving all of us at Mother Jones added indication of the strength across not only our newsroom, but national media, in the search for transparency and truth. I’ll take my Recharge where I can. For those of you who can join me, consider supporting consequential reporting like Friedman’s, and enter the week on a high note.

And an even higher note, once you feast your eyes on Tilda Swinton’s doppelganger in kitten form. H/T to my colleague Nina Liss-Schultz for making Tilda happen.

Note that I linked COINTELPRO above to Nat Hentoff’s searing, definitive Village Voice essay “J. Edgar Bloomberg: COINTELPRO in NY,” from 2007, eerily echoing today. Read and share. And Friday was National Doughnut Day, which, to this copy editor, raises a timeless one: “doughnut” or “donut”? I’m pro-dough. Weigh in at recharge@motherjones.com.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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