Wednesday, October 8, 2008

army units on american soil for "civil unrest"

i really hate getting lumped in with the paranoid gun nut crowd, but this whole situation is pretty unbelievable

here are the quick & dirty bits:
An initial news report in the Army Times newspaper last month noted that in addition to emergency response the force “may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control.”

"Any military force has the inherent right to self-defense. And if the situation was inherently dangerous, then potentially the Secretary of Defense would allow them to carry their weapons, but it would only be for self- and unit-defense. This force has got no role in a civil disturbance or civil unrest, any of those kinds of things."

"Colonel Boatner talked about this unit, what it’s trained for. Well, let’s look at what it’s trained for. This is the 3rd Infantry, 1st Brigade Combat unit that has spent three of the last five years in Iraq in counterinsurgency."

"The whole question here about what the Pentagon is doing patrolling in the United States gets to the real heart of the matter, which is, do we have a democracy here? I mean, there is a law on the books called the Posse Comitatus Act and the Insurrection Act that says that the president of the United States, as commander-in-chief, cannot put the military on our streets. And this is a violation of that, it seems to me.

"President Bush tried to get around this act a couple years ago in the Defense Authorization Act.... the President isn’t supposed to be using the military in this fashion, and though the President, true to form, appended a signing statement to that saying he’s not going to be governed by that.

"National Security Presidential Directive 51, that he signed on May 9th of 2007, Amy, this gives the President enormous powers to declare a catastrophic emergency and to bypass our regular system of laws, essentially, to impose a form of martial law.

"And if you look at that National Security Presidential Directive, what it says, that in any incident where there is extraordinary disruption of a whole range of things, including our economy, the President can declare a catastrophic emergency. Well, we’re having these huge disturbances in our economy. President Bush could today pick up that National Security Directive 51 and say, 'We’re in a catastrophic emergency. I’m going to declare martial law, and I’m going to use this combat brigade to enforce it.'

"...Now the Pentagon is doing sweeps of areas before, you know, a political convention? That used to be law enforcement’s job. That used to be domestic civil law enforcement job. It’s now being taken over by the Pentagon. That should concern us."

the domestic spying is bad enough. the president just signing whatever he wants to bills passed by congress, saying "thats nice but i dont care" -- THATS bad enough. but i dont know if i can take the idea of "the army is just here for your own good if things get out of hand. and they have tanks and tons of ammo." if its just for training exercises, do we need the ammo? the tanks? the force multipliers? the non-lethal suppression shit like tasers and who knows what else? (i cant believe im saying this, but -- microwaves? ELF? anything???)

if all its about is preparation and training for coordination with a bunch of different agencies, you can run sims for that. you can dry run over and over. its not like we dont have tons of airbases and national guard units all around the country that can respond and also be trained. why add a bunch of ARMED COUNTERINSURGENCY TRAINED active duty soldiers??? it doesnt make sense for preparation. you can prepare in sims. the air force does it all the time

i think i might ignore all this if it wasnt for one thing. in a month, the hardcore conservative candidate might get totally waxed by a democrat. a black democrat. a black democrat the conservatives keep trying to call a secret muslim. and i think a lot of black people and a lot of unarmed liberals are going to vote for that black democratic candidate. and i think if he loses by some funny means, theres going to be serious shit happening on the streets. serious shit that cant fight back against a fucking army counterinsurgency force

i know, i know, i sound so fucking paranoid

i dont even know where i heard this before, maybe it was this blog, but i want you to think of something:

think of a country, like a banana republic somewhere

the son of the countrys old intelligence chief runs for presidente. only it looks like hes losing. then his brother who runs a province on the outside of the country makes sure that a bunch of votes dont get counted for the other candidate for presidente. then a bunch of judges who got appointed by their father and their father's bosses sign off on not counting the ballots. so youve got the former secret agency chief and his judge buddies signing off on his one son throwing out some ballots so his other son can win the presidency

only that's not a banana republic. that's florida. and the bushes. in 2000.

jeb bush, the son of a former president and CIA chief, had his secretary of state katherine harris purge thousands of people from the voter rolls and prevented a recount of thousands of ballots. there were reportedly also lots of police in poor areas of miami stopping blacks and hispanics and putting them through security checks and keeping them from getting to the polls before they closed. (minorities vote democrat in much higher numers). then a supreme court that was stacked with republican appointees signed off on it. we lived through it, so it doesnt seem so weird. its america, right? we're not really crooked. but if that happened in even MEXICO, wed think that was the most corrupt fucked up shit wed ever heard

but we were okay with it. and maybe wed be okay again. maybe it would sound totally natural for the polls to get fucked up in LA and THE ARMY come in and reestablish order and OOPS the black guy lost in a last minute SHOCKER

i dont know anymore. i feel like fucking crying aabout being worried like this. we know how much those buzzwords from the bush admin meant. compassionate conservatism meant "FUCK YOU" to people who werent conservative and "FUNDING CUTS" to anyone who wasnt. "youre either with us or against us" stopped being about the rest of the world in about 10 seconds, and suddenly it was about anyone who didnt buy their shit 100% and dared to ask questions. "enhanced interrogation" is FUCKING TORTURE

so i guess when i hear "civil unrest and crowd control" you have to just give me a pass for a second for thinking "occupation force" because its not like they havent given me example after example after example to believe that theyd be that ballsy and cynical and fucking evil


George F.K. said...

I've become just as uneasy as you, over the course of the Bush administration, to see the erosion of posse comitatus as well as the checks against using our international intelligence agencies for domestic operation and tracking of the public. But, that said, I think both you and I should get a beer and wait this one out without too much undue suspicion.

Because while I share your suspicions, I also can't wish away the real fact that, in light of probable future paramilitary terrorist attacks on us, we really do need sophisticated protocols in place for military personnel to coordinate rescue and stabilization operations with the state and local units who would have jurisdiction over any future attack site. State and local personnel simply don't command sufficient technical power or manpower to cope with another massive attack, and if we can make the military subservient to their needs while also training them to understand and use military-level mass coordination and swift communications response, we'll be much better off in the event of the next crisis.

I just don't want to rush to judge. Even if the military tends to vote republican, they historically act apolitically. Going off historical examples and my own personal experience, I think it would be impossible for military personnel to quell a riot extenuating from vote fraud without working tirelessly to protect ballots and help uncover the fraud. There's just too much honor there for those kinds of people to preserve the peace without preserving the principles behind it.

I guess I'm saying we'll both feel really stupid if unrest breaks out in LA because, say, blacks and hispanics (who will probably go strongly for Obama) think their votes are being tampered with, and the military is called in to restore the peace, which it then does while securing voting precincts — which, in the end, overwhelmingly go for Obama. Our faces would be pretty red. So for now, let's just grab a beer.

L-Scott said...

I hate to resurrect an old post, but....

EC, don't know if you saw this, but this is what the big GUBMINT conspiracy amounted to:

Still, I have to admit I felt a huge sense of relief when Election Day pretty much came off without a hitch.