December 28, 2008
The Armed Forces Press Service has initiated a propaganda campaign designed to convince the American people that deploying the 3rd Infantry Division in the United States in violation of the Posse Comitatus Act is a good thing. The propaganda piece appeared on the Hinesville, Georgia, Coastal Courier’s website on December 26.
“The first active-duty unit dedicated to supporting U.S. civilian authorities in the event of a nuclear, biological or chemical attack recently wrapped up three days of intensive training its members hope they never have to apply in real life,” Donna Miles reports for the Armed Forces Press Service. “Soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team got hands-on training in skills they would depend on to provide humanitarian support during a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive incident, known here as a CBRNE.”
In order to portray the military as humanitarian saviors, the Armed Forces Press Service included a photo of a soldier wielding the “jaws of life” during an exercise that included “buddie teams” recently returned from Iraq’s Anbar province removing mannequins from the rubble of a collapsed building.
Earlier this month, Branson Hunter, writing for the Big Bear Observation Post blog, reported on the Marine Corps Air and Ground Combat Center and the California Highway Patrol working together “in a joint effort to reduce accidents and drinking and driving” in San Bernardino County, California, a direct violation of the Posse Comitatus Act (18 U.S.C. § 1385) passed on June 16, 1878. Infowars covered the story in-depth.
On October 1, 2008, the U.S. Army announced its 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team will be under the day-to-day control of the Northern Command, ostensibly “on call” to respond to emergencies and disasters. The recent exercise staged out of the Naval Support facility located at Indian Head, Maryland, is likely only the first of many such exercises that will receive media coverage in order to acclimate the American people to the high profile presence of soldiers on the streets under the control of Northcom.
Prior to this, in May, 2007, Northcom announced its Ardent Sentry-Northern Edge ‘07 (ASNE) exercise. “ASNE ‘07 is a significant event and includes several firsts, including the actual deployment of and cooperation between more than 3,000 state, local and federal responders with more than 2,000 active-duty troops in Indiana,” the Northcom website explained. “The exercise also features the first deployment of the CCMRF, and DSCA cooperation between USNORTHCOM, deployed units, local, state and federal responders and reflects the successful evolution of interagency support and response which has been developing since the formation of the command in 2002.”
Last month, Defense Secretary Robert Gates added yet another dimension to this incremental domestic militarization when he ordered the Pentagon “to conduct a broad review to determine whether the military, National Guard and Reserve can adequately deal with domestic disasters and whether they have the training and equipment to defend the homeland,” according to the Associated Press. According to a report issued by the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves, the Pentagon “must use the nation’s citizen soldiers to create an operational force that would be fully trained, equipped and ready to defend the nation, respond to crises and supplement the active duty troops in combat.”
Gates’ review and the deployment of the battle-hardened 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team under Northcom control for “domestic operations” follows the passage of the Defense Authorization Act of 2006 and the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007. Section 1076 of the Warner bill changed the name of the key provision in the statute book from “Insurrection Act” to “Enforcement of the Laws to Restore Public Order Act.” The Insurrection Act of 1807 stated that the president could deploy troops within the United States only “to suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy.” The new law expands the list to include “natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition,” the latter not defined or limited.
As Jeff Stein, CQ National Security editor, wrote at the time, the Warner bill “virtually invites the White House to declare federal martial law, a fact noted by Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt. “The changes to the Insurrection Act will allow the President to use the military, including the National Guard, to carry out law enforcement activities without the consent of a governor,” Leahy said.
The “exercise” in Maryland is not only designed to acclimate the American people to the prospect of martial law and the presence of troops on the streets, but is also designed to condition the troops to believe their mission includes domestic “humanitarian” operations. “I can’t think of a more noble mission than saving American lives at home,” Col. Roger Cloutier, who commands the 1st Brigade “Raiders,” told the Armed Forces Press Service. “Every single soldier and Marine here takes this very personally. You can see it on the faces of my soldiers.”
Unfortunately, it would appear the soldiers under the command of Col. Cloutier are ignorant of the fact that the founders were steadfastly opposed to standing armies under the command of an expanded executive. “A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty,” wrote James Madison. “The means of defense against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people.”