Sunday, October 05, 2008
Government raising fear level before elections, moving in troops
by Larry Geller
The color alert bars that have been a feature of Governor Lingle’s web site for years have been removed in the new layout. I could never understand why Hawaii would want to greet visitors by letting them know that the airports were just one step away from being blown up.
Our federal government, though, still keeps us at that Orange state of nervousness, even though they admit there is no credible intelligence of a threat:
With no threat, then, one has to question why Bush is violating the Posse Comitatus Act and the Insurrection Act by stationing troops on US soil for use against US citizens. An Army Times story widely ignored by the commercial media lays it out clearly:
These troops are here now, and there’s no intention to remove them:
“Right now, the response force requirement will be an enduring mission. How the [Defense Department] chooses to source that and whether or not they continue to assign them to NorthCom, that could change in the future,” said Army Col. Louis Vogler, chief of NorthCom future operations. “Now, the plan is to assign a force every year.”
. . .
They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack. [Army Times, Brigade homeland tours start Oct. 1, 9/30/2008]
Remember, there’s no credible threat according to Homeland Security. Remember also that this deployment is illegal. Some people think that Congress has changed this. A good summary of Posse Comitatus was posted on blacklistednews.com earlier this week:
The use of U.S. troops in law enforcment duties is a complete violation of the Posse Comitatus Act and the Insurrection Act, which substantially limit the powers of the federal government to use the military for law enforcement unless under precise and extreme circumstances.
Section 1385 of the Posse Comitatus Act states, “Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.”
Under the John Warner Defense Authorization Act, signed by President Bush on October 17, 2006, the law was changed to state, “The President may employ the armed forces to restore public order in any State of the United States the President determines hinders the execution of laws or deprives people of a right, privilege, immunity, or protection named in the Constitution and secured by law or opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws of the United States or impedes the course of justice under those laws.”
However, these changes were repealed in their entirety by HR 4986: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008, reverting back to the original state of the Insurrection Act of 1807. Despite this repeal, President Bush attached a signing statement saying that he did not feel bound by the repeal.
The original text of the Insurrection Act severely limits the power of the President to deploy troops within the United States.
For troops to be deployed, a condition has to exist that, “(1) So hinders the execution of the laws of that State, and of the United States within the State, that any part or class of its people is deprived of a right, privilege, immunity, or protection named in the Constitution and secured by law, and the constituted authorities of that State are unable, fail, or refuse to protect that right, privilege, or immunity, or to give that protection; or (2) opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws of the United States or impedes the course of justice under those laws. In any situation covered by clause (1), the State shall be considered to have denied the equal protection of the laws secured by the Constitution.”
The same article references a denial by the US Northern Command that the troops will be used for crowd control, but Amy Goodman writes in a Seattle Post-Intelligencer op-ed:
The Army Times piece includes a correction stating that the forces would not use nonlethal weaponry domestically. I called Air Force Lt. Col. Jamie Goodpaster, a public affairs officer for Northern Command. She told me that the overall mission was humanitarian, to save lives and help communities recover from catastrophic events. Nevertheless, the military forces would have weapons on-site, "containerized," she said -- that is, stored in containers -- including both lethal and so-called nonlethal weapons. They would have mostly wheeled vehicles, but would also, she said, have access to tanks. She said that use of weapons would be made at a higher level, perhaps at the secretary of defense level.
Talk of trouble on U.S. streets is omnipresent now, with the juxtaposition of Wall Street and Main Street. The financial crisis we face remains obscure to most people; titans of business and government officials assure us that the financial system is "on the brink," that a massive bailout is necessary, immediately, to prevent a disaster. Conservative and progressive members of Congress, at the insistence of constituents, blocked the initial plan. If the economy does collapse, if people can't go down to the bank to withdraw their savings, or get cash from an ATM, there may be serious "civil unrest," and the "sea-smurfs" may be called upon sooner than we imagine to assist with "crowd control."
Perhaps we need an alert system for democracy itself. The only question is whether we are now at Orange or already at Red.