A Clever Ruse

Is the military snatching up G-20 protesters? I’m not so certain.

Prominently displayed on the Drudge Report this afternoon is a link to the video above, which purports to show military personnel grabbing a protester and driving away with him. Now, I’ve never pretended to be an expert on military personnel or operations, but something didn’t sit right with me about the video.

The first thing I noticed was the disparity in uniforms. The second thing I noticed was the difference in footwear. The car also stuck out to me, as I’ve never really seen soldiers in uniform driving around in a late-model unmarked car.

So I asked around. I asked a number of folks with military and law enforcement experience whether or not they thought this video actually showed military personnel snatching a protester, or if it was a ruse put on by protesters as an attempt to gin up support and besmirch the military in one step. Here are the responses I received:

They’re not military. That’s not how any trained Law Enforcement entity takes somebody into custody.

I dont know what to make of anything in that video. it appears to be some form of LEO further down the street but I think the whole thing might be fabricated.

The car is perfectly fine. A snatch and grab of the lead agitator is normal. Remove the head, and the snake withers. It prevents riots from getting out of control. What isn’t normal (per my dept policy, at least) is the use of only one car.

These are photos of the PANG presence in the Pittsburgh area during the G-20 Summit.

Notice the soft caps. Note that the men in the video aren’t wearing any cover at all.

Notice the vests and the boots. Note that the men in the video are wearing black polished boots.

The best I can offer is that maybe, MAYBE they’re on a tactical team from a local Police Agency, but they wouldn’t be using an unmarked car (neither would the military).

You don’t show up in uniform in an unmarked car.

The whole thing doesn’t make any sense.

It’s speculation on my part, and even on theirs, but I know that the whole episode doesn’t sit right with me. And with the power of viral videos these days, I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole thing was staged by G-20 protesters.

Still, on the other hand, free room for traffic is hard to come by in the areas of Pittsburgh affected by the protests and the G-20 summit, and the kid tossed into the car was carrying a backpack.

Long story short — I don’t know. But it doesn’t seem right to me that we should be implicating the military here without verification of the actions in question.



  1. Gail B says:

    I see what you're saying, and the uniforms are not–well, uniform.

    Further, I do not think that the U.S. Military would turn on American citizens. At least, I trust them not to.

  2. jjones says:

    I call bullsh1t

  3. S Sensing (LCpl US Marines 2004-2006) says:

    As a former Marine, I agree that there is something wrong with this video. I conferred with my father (ret. Army) and we both agreed that there was something off about this video. The sleeves are not rolled correctly (the ACU's are not ever supposed to be rolled; also, they are reversed rolled: only Marines do that. One soldier seems to be wearing BDU's but the wear out date for those was last year.

  4. Anonymous says:

    My son is on a special response team and they have two uniforms…. fatigues and one navy blue…both with polished boots. I can't say for sure this is police but I tend to believe they are.

  5. Chuck in San Diego says:

    Did anyone notice the Police, or crowd control, Officer step away from the path of the car as it sped away. He looks on with curiosity but not with concern of a threat or danger. Maybe his subdued reaction was that he already knew there were going to be these types of "actions" going on with protestors.

    I seriously doubt they are true law enforcement. Without more detailed info it could be anything. It could be a police staged event to do precisely what everyone is doing here – getting distracted from what's actually going on in the G-20 Conference…..[insert conspiracy theory here].

  6. Anonymous says:

    On the other hand, at the end of the video it appears that the police are not far away and observe the whole incident. The car drives right by them and they make no effort to slow it down or stop it to identify the occupants.

    Also, take note that the two uniformed guys who stuff the protestor in the back seat did not arrive in the car – it looks like they were already standing by with the protester in hand.

  7. Anonymous says:


    G20 security officials took responsibility Friday afternoon for a video that seemed to depict US troops ‘kidnapping’ a protester.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Makes ya wonder how they would handle 2 – 3 million patriots in DC if we ever had to get even the slightest bit ugly with these treasonous administrators.

  9. Larry Walker Jr says:

    Here's what it really looked like which if you ask me is even worse. G-20 Anarchists & Police Clash 9/24/09 G20 http://bit.ly/1BPRiG

  10. Gail B says:

    Jeff, I have three portraits to paint, hopefully by Christmas. Do those guys EVER go to SLEEP? Or are we to spend the rest of our lives fighting them instead of doing what we ENJOY in life?

  11. Anonymous says:

    To Anonymous @ 9:21PM,

    Maybe we should take note of the "Bonus Marcher" siege on Washington, DC in 1932. Local and Federal Police, backed up by US Army troops, routed shanty towns of disillusioned WWI veterans during which several protesters were killed.
    (Detailed info here: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/bonus-march.htm)

    Of note, Majors Douglas MacArthur, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and George Patton were directly involved in the forcible eviction of the 10,000+ protesters. George Patton, an astounding historian and noted scholar, wrote a very interesting paper titled "Federal Troops in Domestic Disturbances". A copy can be found here:

    Let's hope that it does not come down to something like this.

  12. Anonymous says:

    For what it's worth, This quote comes from Breitbart.tv

    "Statement from G-20 Joint Information Center to College Politico: The individuals involved in the 9/24/2009 arrest which has appeared online are law enforcement officers from a multi-agency tactical response team assigned to the security operations for the G20. It is not unusual for tactical team members to wear camouflaged fatigues. The type of fatigues the officers wear designates their unit affiliation. Prior to the arrest, the officers observed this subject vandalizing a local business. Due to the hostile nature of the crowd, officer safety and the safety of the person under arrest, the subject was immediately removed from the area."

  13. Rix says:

    Occasionally, you guys dig too deep. It could be nothing but a group of friends who like to dress up an roleplay tough-guys removing their troublemaker buddy (who loaded up more Budweiser that he could handle) from the danger of REAL arrest.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I think Pallywood has some competition.

    If you are not familiar with the term, here you go:


    Don't be worried by the fact it is from a "60 Minutes" show. I know, it's a CBS story, but it is actually worth watching.

  15. MonkeyT says:

    Jeff – I agree the video is probably fraudulent.

    However, there is a much more disturbing issue that your article very clearly documents as having taken place.

    That issue is: Posse Comitatus

    Need we say any more than that ?

  16. Anonymous says:

    The conclusion of the Patton paper referenced above by Anon@12:04 is interesting: "…the high training and discipline of the soldiers and officers secured a complete and bloodless (mostly) triumph by which its success prevented a war and insured the election of a Democrat."


  17. Anonymous says:

    Private contractors; perhaps foreign. Could be bail bondsmen enforcing an outstanding bond from a prior incident. Look at the hubcaps.

    Could be Marshals or other clandestine fed action.

    Militaristic, but definitely not military. Late model BDUs. Plenty of other deviations. Could be deliberate or error by ameteurs.

    Still, otherwise, "Posse Comitatus" should be the real concern here.

    We have spent billions in federal subsidies militarizing our police.. for what?

    And now we need actual military in our streets?

    What's really going on here? Remember the recent photos from San Diego.

    What is the Federal Beast up to?

  18. Anonymous says:


    My guess is you were probably born after 1955. Otherwise you would probably remember what happened on may 4, 1970. On that fateful day, Ohio national gaurdsmen opened fire on Kent State University students who were peacefully protesting the US invasion of Cambodia. Thirteen people were randonly shot (some were not even protesting just walking nearby). It happened then. What makes you think it won't happen again?

  19. Anonymous says:

    anyone else notice that the swat looking guy in the background has an orange tip on the barrel of his rifle? that seems odd to me.

  20. Carrie says:

    Here's another video from that night: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=etv8YEqaWgA&feature=player_embedded

    I'm sorry but this kind of military force does not seem appropriate amongst civilians. I don't see any rioting here…do you?

  21. La Muse Poetique says:

    Wow. That's near where I used to live…

    I was getting these emergency calls from Pitt(I just graduated) that were ridiculous.

    I didn't realize how crazy it was getting.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I'm not so sure about the video, but the use of military sound weapons, tear gas, "bean bags" (which are quite painful), National Guard troops, checkpoints, etc. Was all that appropriate? True enough these people were vandalizing, acting like a$$es, and anti-capitalist wackos…however, many of them were being peaceful as shown on Hannity when he interviewed two young women protesting…and, there were only what, 2500 of them? Did it really call for that kind of enforcement? Why not just regular law enforcement to keep the peace, and to arrest those who were getting clearly out-of-hand? They've always been there to handle it before, and they seem to do it quite well, so a military style and presence really bothers me and makes me very uneasy, especially with the current atmosphere.
    I'm questioning the whole thing as someone who comes from a long-line of military family members, and close family friends who are/were military, so I am very loyal to the institution.

  23. Carrie says:

    We need to wake up to what's really happening. First of all who was vandalizing property? I'm not saying it didn't happen…obviously it did, but who was it exactly. Who was it that shoved the dumpsters down the street? Who started throwing rocks…specifically? We have to be careful when we make sweeping statements. Yes, there were individuals in the midst of protesters behaving badly, but have you seen the vast amount of video footage? It seems to me that the measures used to quell the misbehaving offenders was quite extreme. This is the real story here. Do we care? Or are we only interested in our own personal pursuits?

    Don't get me wrong, I have a lot of respect for our US military, but it seems to me that what happened in Pittsburgh was highly inappropriate. What was the purpose behind the military being there in first place? Why couldn't the local law enforcement handle the situation?

  24. James says:

    Im not defending their actions, but youare off the mark. At first glance, I would have agreed with you, the lack of marking on the uniforms, the lack of antennas on the unmarked crown vic… but after looking through lots of photos of the protests, the military/police/national guard were all wearing unmarked, mismatched uniforms. See the following photos:



  25. C.M. Hatem says:

    James, I' not trying to be rude but I feel compelled to ask.

    How can you say that the Police, Military and National guard were wearing unmarked uniforms?

    If they're uniforms were unmarked, doesn't that preclude you from identifying them?

    I'm not familiar with the area but perhaps, the arrests in the video was made by a joint tactical team composed of the local Sheriff's office and the Local Police.

    All we know for certain is that the video doesn't show any clear identification.

    I do not believe this was the military or National Guard for many reasons, mostly because the word that the Posse Comitatus act was violated would move swiftly.

    Things like this simply cant be kept a secret.

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