Eller en studie i inkrökthet.

 

The summer of 2020 has seen the city of Portland, Oregon, become a symbol and a venue for the further, dramatic polarization of the United States. More than a hundred nights of intense protests against police violence by left-wing activists have led to further police violence in response, and to President Donald Trump declaring the city a “beehive of terrorists” and an “anarchist jurisdiction.” A great deal of reporting has been dedicated to the city’s leftist protesters. Less national attention has been focused on those who perceive the protesters as their enemies: a network of “Patriot” militias and extremist groups, who have in recent weeks been staging violent confrontations in Portland’s downtown streets.

Bellingcat has acquired several months of chat logs from the Patriot Coalition of Oregon, a network of pro-Trump, pro-police activists. These chat logs were provided by an infiltrator affiliated with the antifascist collective Eugene Antifa. We were also given login information for the infiltrator’s account on GroupMe, a secure messaging app owned by Microsoft. This allowed us to directly observe the group’s communications, to verify the information provided to us and to export a log of those chats directly from the application. (Many posts contain spelling and grammatical errors, which we have not altered.)

These logs provide an intimate look inside a growing insurgent network, and shed new light on episodes of armed conflict which are already on the public record. Topics of conversation include plans for violence in the streets of Portland, celebration of acts of thuggery and even discussions about harming elected leaders and journalists. More than anything, the chats catalog the rapid radicalization of Patriot Coalition’s membership, many of whom express a willingness to kill their perceived left-wing enemies.

 

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