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Army Combat Brigade 'Going Domestic'

Strange things are afoot in America, according to military sources that paint potentially ominous developments as "business as usual.".


By Mark Anderson

The Army Times newspaper reported that the U.S. Army has a battle-hardened "homeland" brigade that, having spent considerable time in Iraq, is "going domestic" as "an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks."

The Times added: "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."

Considering that some New Orleans homeowners were disarmed and forced by soldiers to leave homes that they did not want to abandon—because the floods did not submerge all areas—this is not a comforting development. The Times attempts to make it sound noble while ignoring whether this planned deployment of battle-ready soldiers violates the Posse Comitatus Act (18 U.S.C. § 1385), a federal law that celebrates its 130 birthday this year. Broadly speaking, it prohibits using federal soldiers for domestic law enforcement.

This 1878 statute generally prohibits federal military personnel and federalized units of the National Guard from acting in a law enforcement capacity within the United States, "except where expressly authorized by the Constitution or Congress." The U.S. Coast Guard is exempt from the Posse Comitatus Act. Posse Comitatus and the Insurrection Act of 1807 both limit the powers of the federal government to use the military for law enforcement.

The Army unit is the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team, which, said the Times, "has spent 35 of the last 60 months in Iraq patrolling in full battle rattle, helping restore essential services and escorting supply convoys." The paper added: "Now they’re training for the same mission—with a twist—at home."

The "same mission"? Well, as the Times put it: "Beginning Oct. 1 [2008] for 12 months, this unit will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command. . . ."

A quick reaction to a specific attack or actual disaster is not being mentioned here. So, can these soldiers be legally "on call" for a whole year as part of an ongoing mission? How does this mesh with the long-established laws that draw a line between the military and domestic law enforcement? Many analysts note that the intent of those laws has been blurred by presidential directives and congressional meddling that have arisen during unusual events, or due to certain realities of modern political life, such as the perceived, and some say trumped up, threat of international terrorism.

Asked whether the Army can legally carry out what the Times describes, Doug Rokke, a retired U.S. Army major, bluntly told AFP: "They can't."

Presidential candidate Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party just reacted to these developments, saying in his column that this Army brigade "may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control . . . it seems that the Army's new domestic duties also include 'traffic control' as well as subduing 'unruly or dangerous individuals.' "

Baldwin lamented that Americans could someday have to endure the "heavy boot" of the military as they did when British troops were quartered here in Colonial times, not to mention the post-Civil War Reconstruction where Union troops occupied and abused Southern populations, which sparked the passage of the Posse Comitatus Act.

Rokke added that given the huge stock market problems, shipments of American munitions to Israel for possible conflict with Iran and rumors of another "false flag" domestic operation (as many describe the events of 9/11), he feels the Army may be making advance preparations to handle major civil unrest, though it's tough to prove conclusively.

Rokke also takes exception with the foundation of what's happening.

"When is anybody going to wake up and start asking the questions about 9/11?" he added, saying that the conventional 9/11 story is "pure lies" to fool American youth into joining the armed forces to "combat terrorism." In reality, the "19 Muslim terrorists" tale regarding 9/11—even though mountains of evidence show that the conventional story is false—could conceivably be used to justify a military crackdown on America, Rokke noted.

"The lies are staggering," Rokke continued, noting that military publications still refer to the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon in accordance with the original government account. They fail to explain that the Pentagon lawn was not at all disturbed and no airliner parts were found, even though it's impossible for a huge jetliner, especially its massive engines and tail section, to totally vaporize, as the government's conspiracy theory claims.

In June, a Marine landing in Indianapolis involved a number of activities, including practicing firing weapons, conducting patrols, running vehicle checkpoints, reacting to ambushes and employing nonlethal weapons, according to a statement provided to area media at the time. U.S. Marine helicopters landed at old Eastgate Consumer Mall, Brookside Park and other Indianapolis locations, involving about 2,300 Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, based at Camp Lejeune, N.C., who were engaged in urban warfare training.

Developing the capability to deploy rapidly is a priority for the above-noted "homeland" infantry unit (the one reported on by Army Times), according to Army Maj. Marc Cloutier, who is the planner for the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, as quoted by Patti Bielling of Army News Service in a Sept. 30 press release.

"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 some kind of serious attack, Bielling wrote.

"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," she added.

"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 (called ‘Smurf’), will be assigned to U.S. Northern Command to begin its mission."

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