Since my 14-year-old objects rather strenuously to demonstrating while soaked to the skin, I prepared carefully for the Friday Pioneer Courthouse Square witness this week by Portland Peaceful Response Coalition: he had foul-weather gear pants and jacket (the latter with a hood), waterproof spats to protect his ankles, and shoes that his mother claimed were waterproof because they contained Gore-Tex. We were not quite halfway to the demo on our bikes, however, when we had to admit that we were both soaked anyway. So we clomped around for the next hour in soggy clothing and squishy socks.
Dan Handelman, director of Portland Copwatch, joined the demonstration this week, cosponsoring an event which commemorated the FBI sting two years ago at this very site of the 19-year-old Somali, Mohamed Mohamud. He could document a string of other FBI sting operations — here, here, and here, among others — each of which, as is the case with Mohamed Mohamud, involves undercover agents manipulating impressionable, emotionally troubled people into criminal acts they would have no way of committing. As I discussed at the time, this case had the additional poignancy that it was Mohamed’s own father who brought him to the attention of the federal authorities who entrapped him.
A middle-aged woman joined the march and carried a sign, next to my son and me; I welcomed her to the demonstration (since the group demonstrates every week, you get to know the regulars; she wasn’t one). She was particularly drawn to the protest, she said, because of the vicious treatment of Mohamed Mohamud. She was not alone; despite the downpour, there were probably 15 others demonstrating, about double the usual number. Friday night Pioneer Courthouse anti-war demonstrations are acquiring an increasingly Green tinge. The leader of the Portland Peaceful Response Coalition effort, Herschel Soles, became a Green Party member this year; and Stephen Amy, a regular at Cascadia Chapter Thursday evening meetings at the Bipartisan Cafe on Southeast Stark Street, has become a regular here too.