September 25, 2009

Drudge's Easy Libel of the Military

Earlier today I noted that Drudge's link to the use of LRADs as "acoustic weapons" was over the top, which he would have easily recognized on his own if he had simply applied logic to the very video he linked. Put simply, if an LRAD is being used as a weapon, various people would not be walking or standing directly in front of it.

It's common sense.

But Matt Drudge is after headlines and eyeballs, not accuracy, and that is why his inflammatory link that screams SEE U.S. MILITARY SNATCH PROTESTER... is so detestable.

It simply does no show what he claims it shows.

Look at the very image Drudge uses as his screen capture.

How many things immediately jump out at you that scream Drudge is wrong? Don't see it? Watch the video, and then I'll go over it in detail:

You should have noticed right off the bat that neither of the uniforms shown in this clip by the men that jumped out of the Crown Victoria are those currently being worn by our military.

See the officer on the left? He's wearing woodland BDUs. No active duty American soldiers wears BDUs, they wear ACUs, which are an entirely different style of uniform with a radically different camouflage pattern. Oh, and you might want to take a look at his shoulder, where you can see what appears to be a muted version of a Pennsylvania State Police shoulder patch.

The second Officer apprehending the protestor is also wearing a camouflage pattern that is not military issue. The same with the driver.

Any semi-competent national media figure should be able to tell the difference between a military uniform and a police tactical uniform, and I strongly suspect Matt Drudge does.

I just don't think he gives a damn whether he accuses the military of snatching Americans in broad daylight if that helps his bottom line.

Update: For reasons I'll never be able to understand, some of my conservative blogging peers have decided that the video is staged... faked by the protesters themselves.

The reasons they cite are similar to mine—that the uniforms are wrong for the modern military and mis-matched—but for some reason, they assume it was a staged event or "performance art" instead of Drudge simply being wrong about a very real event.

These were police officers, carrying out a real arrest, probably at the behest of the riot police 20 feet away we see at the end of the video.

And if the shoulder patch doesn't convince you they were cops, the gun should.

Dead-center in the middle of the frame you can see the bottom of a duty holster and the handgun itself printing through the uniform.

This was a police arrest, not an illegal abduction of an American citizen by the military on U.S. soil as Matt Drudge would mislead you, nor a staged event by the protesters.

Update: Via email Lawhawk notes a story that has a photo of PA State Police wearing woodland BDUs.

And in an update at Hot Air, Ed has the photo that should settle this for once and for all.

Law enforcement confirms a police arrest.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at September 25, 2009 10:55 AM

I doubt very many national media figures know the difference between a military uniform and a police tactical uniform; I know I don't. Isn't it more likely that Drudge just doesn't know what he's taking about than that he's lying to get viewers? He certainly should be faulted for interpreting what he was seeing before knowing what the facts really are.

Posted by: John at September 25, 2009 11:38 AM

The Air Force and especially Navy operator types are still using the older woodland and 3 color desert BDUs for use in areas where the pattern works better than say ACU, or the new airman pattern or woodland digital uniforms.

You are correct about the ID of the "troops" in the video as cops vs. military personnel.

The question is why are we letting leos on the street dress as paramilitary troops. It leads to this type of confusion for the average person.

Posted by: toaster802 at September 25, 2009 11:52 AM
The question is why are we letting leos on the street dress as paramilitary troops.

And why would we have them wearing camo, and wearing it badly? Why would PA State troopers be doing a snatch and grab on this kid? If that's PA cops, there'd better be a damned good reason. And I can't think of one that explains 1) Why they didn't cuff the guy and 2) why they had so much trouble getting the guy into the car.

Posted by: Pablo at September 25, 2009 12:03 PM

Do I see an orange tip on the Police Officers gun at 24 secs in?

Posted by: Just asking at September 25, 2009 12:11 PM

Just asking, yes, you probably did see orange markings. Many agencies do that to make sure there is not a mix-up between shotguns filled with non-lethals and shotguns filled with a lethal payload. I saw several officers so armed yesterday.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at September 25, 2009 12:16 PM

Jus for grins n giggles: The pattern that the dudes on the right are wearing is Crye Multicam
Used > mostly

Posted by: Big Country at September 25, 2009 12:29 PM

OK Try number two w/out accidental HTML

Just for grins n giggles: The pattern that the dudes on the right are wearing is Crye Multicam
Used -mostly- by SF and some uberwannabe SWAT teams. Also in use surprisingly by the Latvian and Estonian Military here in Iraq. More than likely State Police in the 'Bdoos' trying to look hardcore... the lack of any other tactical gear and the placement of the sidearm (damned near impossible to get at in a 'stresstime environ') sez this 'snatch' was planned for a specific target, probably someone with an outstanding warrant. Just my 2 cents.....

Posted by: Big Country at September 25, 2009 12:30 PM

I do not know who these guys are. I doubt if anybody here watching the video does either. The haircuts and military style uniforms indicate a tactical squad of some kind.

It should be noted that part of crowd control is snatching protesters from the crowd. Well done, it is a surgical procedure from which there is no way the target can escape. It should also be noted that BOTH the police AND military practice this technique. I would guess that it's probably police just because they shoved the targets head down to get him into the car. If you've watched the foreign services make a snatch they don't mind banging a struggling target around a little to help things go a little smoother.

I've never personally witnessed a real snatch, but have been volunteered to act as the snatchee in several practice sessions.

It must be kind of a scary thing, one minute all your buds are surrounding you in this one big EVENT, the next you're head down in the back seat of a vehicle under restraint. The more you struggle the more banged around you get. (Which is probably more of a feature than a bug.)

Posted by: Barney at September 25, 2009 12:42 PM

It's hard to tell on the patch, but you may be right. As for the printing side arm, that would be your basic no-brainer. I'm pretty convinced, though I'm troubled by the need of police officers to put on their turkey hunting gear for a protest.

Posted by: Herr Morgenholz at September 25, 2009 12:47 PM

Did any one used any handcuffs or arm restraints on the suspect? I can not actually see the video, but many refer to the lack of hand or arm restraints as a big pointer for being fake. That is SOP for all police.

Posted by: Picric at September 25, 2009 12:54 PM

This seems real to me. If you look towards the end of the video, it looks like a kid puts his hands up in a manner to back away or back off. It seems because he is being directed to do this by a riot control officer. This officer is in the upper left of the video as the car takes off. He has a helmet w/ visor, beefed up with a heavy vest and it looks like he has flex cuffs hanging from his uniform ready to be used.

I say real. I worked at a PD department where we were given old cammies of different varieties that are swat teams used for all different things. So it isn't odd to see different uniform styles being worn by pd officers.

Posted by: Alex at September 25, 2009 12:54 PM

The suspect isn't cuffed prior to being put in the vehicle. However LE may have changed tactics for the protest. It does make sense when you are arresting someone in a crowd that outnumbers you and is hostile to get the person out of there as quickly as possible.

You have two big guys get in the vehicle with him so there isn't to much of a danger of escaping until they can cuff and frisk.

The other thing that makes me think it's real is the gas. Looks like the car leaves through a cloud of tear gas. If the police were firing gas to break up the crowd the street would be closed to civilian traffic. So doubt it was performance art as some have stated in other threads.

Posted by: Waste93 at September 25, 2009 01:05 PM

Picric, you are thinking about normal circumstances. Riots aren't normal, and if cops did the normal cuff-frisk-Miranda in front of a mob, it increases the risk of things getting out of hand. A law enforcement veteran at Hot Air says that what we witnessed was a "Scoop and run," which isn't unusual for these circumstances.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at September 25, 2009 01:06 PM

Isn't it common practice (I hope so) for law enforcement to place agents undercover in these types of protests/riots, to monitor for particularly violent elements?

I wonder if the "protester" being "arrested" wasn't undercover... and was in fact simply being extracted because the tear gas cloud was approaching and/or some other police action was about to take place that they didn't want to subject him to... but without blowing his cover.

No proof; just speculation.

Posted by: David at September 25, 2009 01:07 PM

Wear of the ABU in Airforce is not mandatory until 2011. We are still allowed to wear the woodland BDU. However, besides this small correction I believe your conclusion on the matter is correct.

Posted by: Jay at September 25, 2009 01:07 PM

I have personal experience with the people that perpetrated this. Last year the SDS (Anarchists)from the area were planning on attacking the Marine Corps recruiting station in Pittsburgh. Gathering of Eagles and others were on hand to form a barrier in front of the building. The local police were there and they were telling us all about how they have seen this before. It is street theatre, nothing more. The cops didn't react because they knew it was staged...plain and simple.

BTW...the USAF still wears the woodland BDU but would not have been involved in something like this.

Posted by: jnc1991 at September 25, 2009 01:14 PM

Anyone suggesting this is real due to military or police like tactics being used...have you considered these guys may have had this type of training in the past. What about IVAW? There are plenty of libtards out there who hate our military enough to create propagand like this.

Has anyone bothered attempting to find out who the guy was being snatched? How about his friends? Wouldn't they be vocal about his status? If that were my buddy I would be calling the police station, his cell phone, his mother!

This is yet another attempt by Alex Jones to generate traffic to his conspiracy ministry....$$$ Good luck, Alex!

Posted by: jnc1991 at September 25, 2009 01:23 PM

How about emailing the PA State Police to try to confirm? It's all over Drudge. Not like they don't know if it's their guys.

Posted by: Herr Morgenholz at September 25, 2009 01:32 PM

While you are probably right about it being the cops judging by frame freezes on patch and holster, the idea that protesters would stage it isn't as outlandish and absurd as you paint it. They did the very exact thing several times in both Denver and St. Paul last year at the conventions. I saw it with my own eyes. After they finished the fake arrests they'd come back out and tell the crowd it was a demonstration.

Posted by: Caleb Howe at September 25, 2009 01:42 PM

If you look at the other videos these armored riot police are in Alleghenny Port Authority vehicles (reverse search the phone number on the side of suburbans). They maintain a fleet of unmarked vehicles and my guess is that is who owns the Crown Vic. My conclusions is this was performed by poorly trained (not a single scratch on ANY of their riot gear and brand new equipment) and poorly supervised (stuffing an unrestrained suspect in the back of a vehicle) Port Authority officers or even rented security officers. I believe the photo of the suspect on the ground is after the abduction judging by the tired look of the 'officer' their unkept clothes (bloused trousers) and the suspect in plastic cuffs (a white ziptie, all temporary cuffs I've ever seen were black). I think this is authentic and the Port Authority of Alleghenny COunty has a heck of a lot of explaining to do.

Posted by: Stan Redmond at September 25, 2009 01:51 PM

I find it somewhat bizarre that anyone, whether military or police, would wear woodland camo in the middle of *Pittsburgh*.

Posted by: mwl at September 25, 2009 02:24 PM

Don't know what the USAF wears, but i think CY is calling this right, for the above reasons. I also saw, at the end of the video, the vehicle drives between the riot unit. If this was a fake, no way would the protesters get a car through the riot unit without being fired upon.

Posted by: Penfold at September 25, 2009 03:06 PM

Re: "Any semi-competent national media figure should be able to tell the difference between a military uniform and a police tactical uniform"


and, perhaps more importantly, why should urban police be wearing camo to demonstrations on city public streets in the first place? perhaps they want the demonstrators to think what Drudge jumped to . . . or perhaps they're idiots who don't understand the PR of demonstrations. chalk another one up for the militarization of the nation's police forces.

Posted by: po at September 25, 2009 03:15 PM

Actually, I have a big problem with this that no one has brought up. Except for and extremely muted patch, none of these officers appears to be wearing anything that identifies them as the police. Part of the reason of a uniform is to identify the person of authority.
I don't particularly like the idea of the police becoming so militarized, particularly the wearing of bdu's. However, I think the use of military-style faded patches makes absolutely no sense. They are civilian police and should be self-identified as such.
The fact that we have a hard-time identifying who these gentlemen are is telling. I think the car is a big give away, as well as the armed guy in armor on the far left at the very end of the video.

(if you catch me in a really grumpy mood, I let you know what I think of the poor uniform policy that allows some police to wear long-sleeve t-shirts [with the word 'Police'] and jeans. Slobby all the way)

Posted by: ElamBend at September 25, 2009 04:18 PM

FOX News:
Authorities, Wary of Violent Protests, Beef Up Security in Pittsburgh
Ahead of G-20 Summit
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
 By Joshua Rhett Miller

So, there are military units in the area. Two battalions is a lot of firepower...

Plus, even if they are civilian police officers, why are civilian cops wearing military uniforms? (No, in a free nation, there is no rational excuse.)

Posted by: Warren Bonesteel at September 25, 2009 04:51 PM

also: Google: "Beyond Conspiracy: Police State America." More than seventy references. Government websites, laws, etc.

Do some actual research - facts, evidence, proofs, references and resources - and you'll find that things don't look as rainbowie and warm fuzzy as many of you wish to believe.

All politicians are corrupt power-mad autocrats, except for the ones you like and support? Such corrupt and power-mad men and women would never turn America into a police state, especially the politicians you know and love??


Why does the objective evidence prove that you're wrong?

Posted by: Warren Bonesteel at September 25, 2009 05:01 PM

Let's face it. No matter what way this was going to turn out, it couldn't be good for the left. Either this was a.) a hoax perpetrated by the nutroots or b.) it's the government. We now know it wasn't a.). It is b.) The local government in PGH is liberal. The state government in PA is run by liberals and the national government is run by Obama. So, it's Hope and Change in action.

Posted by: bemusedinPGH at September 25, 2009 05:17 PM

If this guy was a double amputee and was repeatedly tased I might believe that they were cops. They should have tried to knock out his front teeth on the pavement too.

Do they have any duty to identify themselves before they stuff the dude in the car? Just wondering.

Posted by: Pinandpuller at September 25, 2009 05:38 PM

I find it incredible that any police officer, much less multiple police officers, would stuff a perp into the back of their patrol car with out cuffs on.

Plus, the guy hasn't been searched and is still wearing his backpack.

What's in his pockets?

What's in the backpack?

Those are important questions to ask because he's got both hands free if he decides to dig out a weapon, etc.

That's not normal is it?

Posted by: Aye Chihuahua at September 25, 2009 05:58 PM

My opinion is that all police forces should NOT be wearing military-style camouflage uniforms. It sends the wrong impression to the American public that the US military is somehow involved in local or state police operations or arresting procedures. Something has to be done with the police force community having its officers wearing military-style uniform.

Posted by: Bob at September 25, 2009 07:29 PM

1) Yes, any moron should be able to fact-check that those outfits don't fit anything actual military is likely to be wearing. Basic common sense says "oh, look, there's several different patterns and styles-- I should research before making a huge accusation, especially since I know that tactical-type cops like to wear cammies. Oh, and it looks like the guy on the far side is wearing a standard, blue police shirt." (Now, if they'd driven up in a white van or some sort of military vehicle, slightly more reasonable to jump to conclusions....)

2) They'd better be ready to explain this, because the action is looking pretty dang stupid.

Posted by: Foxfier at September 25, 2009 11:58 PM

maybe the simplest explanation, if your going to be doing quik strikes at the protestors and your going to be getting rough and tumble you want cloths that are loose fitting and flexible and iron tough.

bdu's fit the bill.

if you have a list of fast objectives to carry out like santching potential worst offenders getting ready to do something really ignorant, or your on the look out for numbnuts with existing warrants you want to look identifiable to your comrades but not stand out so much you look like helmeted padded riot police.

but the fact that they didnt take away his back pack at a minimum is odd to me as well as not zip tying his wrists.

Posted by: rumcrook® at September 26, 2009 12:55 PM

I agree that the uniforms do not conform to military code. But look at the men, they do not look like cops. Most cops that I see are considerably overweight and not near the physical shape of these guys. Also, look at their faces. They appear intelligent which is not a prerequisite for cops at the ordinary level. You see these types hanging around the FBI building and the President lawn.

Either way it gives you the creeps with the type of power that The One is trying to weild.

Posted by: David C at September 26, 2009 04:11 PM

There are several places that I DO NOT look at when I want reliable information.

In no particular order, some of them are:

Andrew Sullivan
The Washington Post
Andrew Sullivan
The New York Times
Andrew Sullivan
The Huffington Post
The Daily KOS
Andrew Sullivan
did I mention Drudge? Sullivan?

Posted by: Larry Sheldon at September 26, 2009 07:21 PM

Why do we let police wear military uniforms?

So they can do their thing in the War On Drugs, the War On Jaywalkers, the War on peaceful people, the War on (fillintheblank).

Not peace officers anymore.

Posted by: Larry Sheldon at September 26, 2009 07:24 PM

How do we know they're not military? Simple. Among the first things any member of any branch of the military is taught is to keep their hands out of their pockets and to always--ALWAYS--wear a hat outdoors. No hats? No military.

Posted by: mikemcdaniel at September 27, 2009 07:42 PM

Hmm, still not convinced. PSP have a duty uniform and there is no uniformity between the alleged officers. A uniform but only a small patch. No webgear, body armor, etc. Usually in riots they wear exterior body armor with big yellow letters that say police. No lights or siren on the Crown Vic. But most of all no complaint from the guy arrested.

And, by the way, why was he arrested from among all the rioters, usually the black bloc leads the violence and they wear masks and all black.

Posted by: Federale at September 28, 2009 11:54 AM