Has ZTI Contracted Mercenaries to Suppress Protests in Portland?
The huge protests going on in Portland has been well documented, and it is safe to say that the protests have been a soft target for a lot of conspiracy theories in the past few days. The latest conspiracy surrounding the Portland protests is coming in the form of social media posts claiming that a firm known as ZTI has contracted mercenaries to suppress the ongoing protest.
As seen in this Facebook post, the author claimed that ZTI is a private company that provides armed and security personnel to their clients, and that the Homeland security, Department of Defense and other top US agencies form a part of their clientele. The post also claimed that the military personnel seen in Portland are not American forces, and they are mercenaries hired by ZTI and another private contractor known as Blackwater to suppress the ongoing protests in Portland. So, how true is this claim?
The first thing to know is, there is no security firm that goes by ZTI in the first place. Although there is a firm known as ZTI in the United States, but this firm is a small scale staffing firm operating out of Edinburg, Virginia as can be seen on their LinkedIn page. They are not involved in recruiting mercenaries for organizations or government agencies as suggested in this post.
Meanwhile, the ZTI tag seen on the uniforms of the federal forces in Portland is actually not ZTI. It is ZT1 and the number varies from one military personnel to the other, depending on their batch. This is why you would see ZT1 in some of these viral pictures, and you would see Z-26 or SRT in other uniforms. The numbers are called personal cell tags or personal identifiers. They are used to maintain the anonymity of the military personnel in order to properly protect them from any backlash that might arise after the operation. You can get more information on these cell tags and why they are used in this video(at 21:22).
It is well documented that Federal forces were deployed to many cities in the United States, including Portland following the protests that ensued after the death of George Floyd. It is also known that these forces are directly sourced from all the arms of the US military, the Homeland Security, as well as the Customs and Border Protection and there is no fact available to suggest otherwise. Therefore, these social media posts are false.