Monday, September 29 2008 - 9/11 Consequences
UPDATED: US Combat Troops have been repatriated INSIDE US to 'help with civil unrest'
From the article below:
That's funny. It always made me feel good as an American to know that my country was dedicated to ensuring against military occupation within our borders, via the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878:
Click read more for further background on the use of active duty military within our borders, as well as several articles analyzing the current situation.UPDATE 10/3/08: Exercises have begun for this Army unit, practicing their skills in controlling Americans in the case of "chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosive incidents, or CBRNE incidents."
Of course, this is that same Posse Comitatus Act that the Department of
I say my country "was" dedicated ... we were dedicated to prohibiting military occupation within America until 2006, when the John Warner Defense Authorization Act (HR5122) was signed into law (specifically, see Section 1076, titled "Use of the Armed Forces in major public emergencies" pretty much threw out the Posse Comitatus Act altogether.
But in January 2008, it appears posse comitatus was somewhat restored through an amendment to H.R. 4986: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008:
Naturally, the President issued a signing statement when he signed the bill, indicating he will "construe such provisions in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President." Of course, this means he'll interpret and carry out this Act according to his wishes.
So then, how is it actually legal for the Army's 3rd Infantry's 1st BCT to now be assigned to "on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks"?
Following is the original article from Army Times, followed by two pieces discussing it; one from Michel Chossudovsky at GlobalResearch.ca and another from Glenn Greenwald's blog at Salon.com.
UPDATE, article added: Exercise readies first units for NORTHCOM assignment
Military leaders who recently trained for this response say they are now thinking differently about how to move equipment, extract the injured and take care of people following this type of attack.
Their insights came from "Vibrant Response," a week-long command post exercise designed to train the commanders and staff of the nation's dedicated force for responding to chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosive incidents, or CBRNE incidents.
The units completed the exercise Sept. 18 at Fort Stewart, Ga., just two weeks before their force, the CBRNE Consequence Management Response Force, or CCMRF, will be assigned to U.S. Northern Command to begin its mission.
"Assigning them will allow Northern Command to directly influence the operational and training focus of the forces and ensure a trained and ready response force when needed," said Col. Lou Vogler, chief of future operations at U.S. Army North.Continued here: Army.mil
Brigade homeland tours start Oct. 1
3rd Infantry's 1st BCT trains for a new dwell-time mission. Helping ‘people at home' may become a permanent part of the active Army
The 3rd Infantry Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team has spent 35 of the last 60 months in Iraq patrolling in full battle rattle, helping restore essential services and escorting supply convoys.
Now they're training for the same mission -- with a twist -- at home.
Beginning Oct. 1 for 12 months, the 1st BCT will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command, as an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks.
It is not the first time an active-duty unit has been tapped to help at home. In August 2005, for example, when Hurricane Katrina unleashed hell in Mississippi and Louisiana, several active-duty units were pulled from various posts and mobilized to those areas.
But this new mission marks the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to NorthCom, a joint command established in 2002 to provide command and control for federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities.
After 1st BCT finishes its dwell-time mission, expectations are that another, as yet unnamed, active-duty brigade will take over and that the mission will be a permanent one.
"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."
The command is at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo., but the soldiers with 1st BCT, who returned in April after 15 months in Iraq, will operate out of their home post at Fort Stewart, Ga., where they'll be able to go to school, spend time with their families and train for their new homeland mission as well as the counterinsurgency mission in the war zones.
Stop-loss will not be in effect, so soldiers will be able to leave the Army or move to new assignments during the mission, and the operational tempo will be variable.
Don't look for any extra time off, though. The at-home mission does not take the place of scheduled combat-zone deployments and will take place during the so-called dwell time a unit gets to reset and regenerate after a deployment.
The 1st of the 3rd is still scheduled to deploy to either Iraq or Afghanistan in early 2010, which means the soldiers will have been home a minimum of 20 months by the time they ship out.
In the meantime, they'll learn new skills, use some of the ones they acquired in the war zone and more than likely will not be shot at while doing any of it.
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.
Training for homeland scenarios has already begun at Fort Stewart and includes specialty tasks such as knowing how to use the "jaws of life" to extract a person from a mangled vehicle; extra medical training for a CBRNE incident; and working with U.S. Forestry Service experts on how to go in with chainsaws and cut and clear trees to clear a road or area.
The 1st BCT's soldiers also will learn how to use "the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded," 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said, referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them.
"It's a new modular package of nonlethal capabilities that they're fielding. They've been using pieces of it in Iraq, but this is the first time that these modules were consolidated and this package fielded, and because of this mission we're undertaking we were the first to get it."
The package includes equipment to stand up a hasty road block; spike strips for slowing, stopping or controlling traffic; shields and batons; and, beanbag bullets.
"I was the first guy in the brigade to get Tasered," said Cloutier, describing the experience as "your worst muscle cramp ever -- times 10 throughout your whole body.
"I'm not a small guy, I weigh 230 pounds ... it put me on my knees in seconds."
The brigade will not change its name, but the force will be known for the next year as a CBRNE Consequence Management Response Force, or CCMRF (pronounced "sea-smurf").
"I can't think of a more noble mission than this," said Cloutier, who took command in July. "We've been all over the world during this time of conflict, but now our mission is to take care of citizens at home ... and depending on where an event occurred, you're going home to take care of your home town, your loved ones."
While soldiers' combat training is applicable, he said, some nuances don't apply.
"If we go in, we're going in to help American citizens on American soil, to save lives, provide critical life support, help clear debris, restore normalcy and support whatever local agencies need us to do, so it's kind of a different role," said Cloutier, who, as the division operations officer on the last rotation, learned of the homeland mission a few months ago while they were still in Iraq.
Some brigade elements will be on call around the clock, during which time they'll do their regular marksmanship, gunnery and other deployment training. That's because the unit will continue to train and reset for the next deployment, even as it serves in its CCMRF mission.
Should personnel be needed at an earthquake in California, for example, all or part of the brigade could be scrambled there, depending on the extent of the need and the specialties involved.
Other branches included
The active Army's new dwell-time mission is part of a NorthCom and DOD response package.
Active-duty soldiers will be part of a force that includes elements from other military branches and dedicated National Guard Weapons of Mass Destruction-Civil Support Teams.
A final mission rehearsal exercise is scheduled for mid-September at Fort Stewart and will be run by Joint Task Force Civil Support, a unit based out of Fort Monroe, Va., that will coordinate and evaluate the interservice event.
In addition to 1st BCT, other Army units will take part in the two-week training exercise, including elements of the 1st Medical Brigade out of Fort Hood, Texas, and the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade from Fort Bragg, N.C.
There also will be Air Force engineer and medical units, the Marine Corps Chemical, Biological Initial Reaction Force, a Navy weather team and members of the Defense Logistics Agency and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.
One of the things Vogler said they'll be looking at is communications capabilities between the services.
"It is a concern, and we're trying to check that and one of the ways we do that is by having these sorts of exercises. Leading up to this, we are going to rehearse and set up some of the communications systems to make sure we have interoperability," he said.
"I don't know what America's overall plan is -- I just know that 24 hours a day, seven days a week, there are soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that are standing by to come and help if they're called," Cloutier said. "It makes me feel good as an American to know that my country has dedicated a force to come in and help the people at home."
Pre-election Militarization of the North American Homeland. US Combat Troops in Iraq repatriated to 'help with civil unrest'
The Army Times reports that the 3rd Infantry's 1st Brigade Combat Team is returning from Iraq to defend the Homeland, as "an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks." The BCT unit has been attached to US Army North, the Army's component of US Northern Command (USNORTHCOM). (See Gina Cavallaro, Brigade homeland tours start Oct. 1, Army Times, September 8, 2008).
The BCT is an army combat unit designed to confront an enemy within a war theater.
With US forces overstretched in Iraq, why would the Pentagon decide to undertake this redeployment within the USA, barely one month before the presidential elections?
The new mission of the 1st Brigade on US soil is to participate in "defense" efforts as well as provide "support to civilian authorities".
What is significant in this redeployment of a US infantry unit is the presumption that North America could, in the case of a national emergency, constitute a "war theater" thereby justifying the deployment of combat units..
The new skills to be imparted consists in training 1st BCT in repressing civil unrest, a task normally assumed by civilian law enforcement.
What we are dealing with is a militarization of civilian police activities in derogation of the Posse Comitatus Act.
The prevailing FISA emergency procedures envisage the enactment of martial law in the case of a terrorist attack. The 1st BCT and other combat units would be called upon to perform specific military functions:
Civil unrest resulting from from the financial meltdown is a distinct possibility, given the broad impacts of financial collapse on lifelong savings, pension funds, homeownership, etc.
The timing of this planned militarization is crucial: how will it affect the presidential elections scheduled for Tuesday November 4.
The brigade in its domestic homeland activities will be designated as the Consequence Management Response Force ( CCMRF) (pronounced "sea-smurf").
What " Consequences" are being envisaged?
In a conference held under NorthCom last February, the mission of CCMRFF was defined as follows;
What is envisaged is the possibility of a (false flag) terrorist attack on America, which could be used as a justification for retaliatory or preemptive military action overseas (e.g. Iran) as well actions on the domestic front. The ultimate objective of this deployment of 1st BCT is to apply combat experience in the Homeland:
The operation officially has an emergency mandate to "help American citizens on American soil, to save lives, provide critical life support, help clear debris", but it also implies the running of military style operations. In fact it would appear that the emergency tasks helping civilians is a cover-up. This is a combat unit, which is trained and equipped to kill people:
A national emergency could be triggered. "[H]orrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive [attack]" or a so-called CBRNE type scenario. One assumes that this is some form of domestic attack, allegedly by terrorists.
But at the same time, the Bush administration may be seeking a justification to establish martial law and intervene militarily within the USA.
"I don't know what America's overall plan is -- I just know that 24 hours a day, seven days a week, there are soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that are standing by to come and help if they're called," Cloutier said. "It makes me feel good as an American to know that my country has dedicated a force to come in and help the people at home." (Army Times, op cit , emphasis added)
"This type of planning and coordination and training is a priority both in our headquarters and at NORTHCOM, as we understand our responsibilities to be ready should the requirement arise, God forbid," (Army News Service Sept 15m 2008)
Why is a U.S. Army brigade being assigned to the "Homeland"?
(updated below - Update II)
Several bloggers today have pointed to this obviously disturbing article from Army Times, which announces that "beginning Oct. 1 for 12 months, the [1st Brigade Combat Team of the 3rd Infantry Division] will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North" -- "the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to NorthCom, a joint command established in 2002 to provide command and control for federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities." The article details:
For more than 100 years -- since the end of the Civil War -- deployment of the U.S. military inside the U.S. has been prohibited under The Posse Comitatus Act (the only exceptions being that the National Guard and Coast Guard are exempted, and use of the military on an emergency ad hoc basis is permitted, such as what happened after Hurricane Katrina). Though there have been some erosions of this prohibition over the last several decades (most perniciously to allow the use of the military to work with law enforcement agencies in the "War on Drugs"), the bright line ban on using the U.S. military as a standing law enforcement force inside the U.S. has been more or less honored -- until now. And as the Army Times notes, once this particular brigade completes its one-year assignment, "expectations are that another, as yet unnamed, active-duty brigade will take over and that the mission will be a permanent one."
After Hurricane Katrina, the Bush administration began openly agitating for what would be, in essence, a complete elimination of the key prohibitions of the Posse Comitatus Act in order to allow the President to deploy U.S. military forces inside the U.S. basically at will -- and, as usual, they were successful as a result of rapid bipartisan compliance with the Leader's demand (the same kind of compliance that is about to foist a bailout package on the nation). This April, 2007 article by James Bovard in The American Conservative detailed the now-familiar mechanics that led to the destruction of this particular long-standing democratic safeguard:
The Defense Authorization Act of 2006, passed on Sept. 30, empowers President George W. Bush to impose martial law in the event of a terrorist "incident," if he or other federal officials perceive a shortfall of "public order," or even in response to antiwar protests that get unruly as a result of government provocations. . . .
As is typical, very few members of the media even mentioned any of this, let alone discussed it (and I failed to give this the attention it deserved at the time), but Congressional Quarterly's Jeff Stein wrote an excellent article at the time detailing the process and noted that "despite such a radical turn, the new law garnered little dissent, or even attention, on the Hill." Stein also noted that while "the blogosphere, of course, was all over it . . . a search of The Washington Post and New York Times archives, using the terms 'Insurrection Act,' 'martial law' and 'Congress,' came up empty."
Bovard and Stein both noted that every Governor -- including Republicans -- joined in Leahy's objections, as they perceived it as a threat from the Federal Government to what has long been the role of the National Guard. But those concerns were easily brushed aside by the bipartisan majorities in Congress, eager -- as always -- to grant the President this radical new power.
The decision this month to permanently deploy a U.S. Army brigade inside the U.S. for purely domestic law enforcement purposes is the fruit of the Congressional elimination of the long-standing prohibitions in Posse Comitatus (although there are credible signs that even before Congress acted, the Bush administration secretly decided it possessed the inherent power to violate the Act). It shouldn't take any efforts to explain why the permanent deployment of the U.S. military inside American cities, acting as the President's police force, is so disturbing. Bovard:
The historic importance of the Posse Comitatus prohibition was also well-analyzed here.
As the recent militarization of St. Paul during the GOP Convention made abundantly clear, our actual police forces are already quite militarized. Still, what possible rationale is there for permanently deploying the U.S. Army inside the United States -- under the command of the President -- for any purpose, let alone things such as "crowd control," other traditional law enforcement functions, and a seemingly unlimited array of other uses at the President's sole discretion? And where are all of the stalwart right-wing "small government conservatives" who spent the 1990s so vocally opposing every aspect of the growing federal police force? And would it be possible to get some explanation from the Government about what the rationale is for this unprecedented domestic military deployment (at least unprecedented since the Civil War), and why it is being undertaken now?
UPDATE: As this commenter notes, the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act somewhat limited the scope of the powers granted by the 2007 Act detailed above (mostly to address constitutional concerns by limiting the President's powers to deploy the military to suppress disorder that threatens constitutional rights), but President Bush, when signing that 2008 Act into law, issued a signing statement which, though vague, seems to declare that he does not recognize those new limitations.
UPDATE II: There's no need to start manufacturing all sorts of scare scenarios about Bush canceling elections or the imminent declaration of martial law or anything of that sort. None of that is going to happen with a single brigade and it's unlikely in the extreme that they'd be announcing these deployments if they had activated any such plans. The point is that the deployment is a very dangerous precedent, quite possibly illegal, and a radical abandonment of an important democratic safeguard. As always with first steps of this sort, the danger lies in how the power can be abused in the future.
Source URL: http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/
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