A little-noticed story surfaced a couple of weeks ago in the Army Times newspaper about the 3rd Infantry Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team. "Beginning Oct. 1 for 12 months," reported Army Times staff writer Gina Cavallaro, "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." Disturbingly, she writes that "they may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control" as well.read article at Seattle PI.
The force will be called the chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive Consequence Management Response Force. Its acronym, CCMRF, is pronounced "sea-smurf." These "sea-smurfs," Cavallaro reports, have "spent 35 of the last 60 months in Iraq patrolling in full battle rattle," in a combat zone, and now will spend their 20-month "dwell time" -- time troops are required to spend to "reset and regenerate after a deployment" -- armed and ready to hit the U.S. streets.
I posted a story at Washblog, on Sept 24, 2008 titled 'Brigade begins Homeland deployments Oct 1; Army has Ray Gun for riot/crowd control'
which had me concerned, having read of these 2 separate items that morning in my internet news reads. At about the same time, the overriding news was of the impending financial collapse on Wall Street and the critical effects it would have on Main Street. It is not easy to get a shout out of concern to rise to the din level the economic crisis has raised for Americans. I didn't expect the Washblog story to get any attention, and it didn't. Thought I'd repost the story here - I'm still concerned.
U.S. Army battalion troops deploy to - well U.S.A.! And U.S. Army has a Ray Gun. Reading these two items together and one could wonder why U.S. active Army battalion needs to deploy to non-combat zones on America homeland soil, while state level National Guard troops need to deploy to combat zones in Iraq. And one could wonder about this scenario as well. U.S. Army being aware of and urgently requesting the non-lethal Ray Gun for use in Iraq and Afghanistan was denied permission. Weapon shown to be effective in riot and crowd control via practice demonstrations using people acting as 'peace protesters'.
at Army Times; Brigade homeland tours start Oct. 1, 2008.
at CBS 60 Minutes Will Army's Ray Gun See Action?
A non-lethan military weapon effective in riot and crowd control, huh? Where? Here or 'over there'? Both actually. And why hasn't it been used 'over there' (Iraq, Afghanistan) and when will it be used here? Already peaceful protesters are set apart in cages and monitored by police in full riot gear, is it just a matter of when the Ray Gun will be brought to bear on protest demonstrations?
Could have been less killing in Iraq and Afghanistan?! See the August 2007 MSNBC story 'Energy Beam Could Be Used in Iraq' - officials refuse.
Meanwhile the plan to deploy U.S. Army battalion here at home;
excerpts from the Army Times article
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. 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.
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.
More than 20,000 Army National Guard Soldiers were notified by the Army to prepare for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of these are second deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Washington. The "Ravens" of Washington's 81st Heavy Brigade Combat Team are based in Seattle, Washington, and includes units from Washington and California. It mobilized in August 2008 and will to Iraq in autumn 2008. 2nd deployment - the brigade last deployed to Iraq from March 2004 through March 2005.
New Jersey. The "Jersey Blues" - the 50th Heavy Brigade Combat Team of the New Jersey Army National Guard, based at Fort Dix - includes units from across the state. The brigade mobilized in May 2008 and will deploy to Iraq in autumn 2008. This will be the brigade's first deployment.
Hawaii and Arizona. The 29th Infantry Brigade Combat Team headquartered at Fort Ruger, Hawaii, includes units from across Hawaii and Arizona. The brigade mobilized in June 2008 and will deploy to Iraq in autumn 2008. 2nd deployment for the "Lava Brigade" which served in Iraq from January through December of 2005.
Texas .The 56th Brigade Combat Team of the 36th Infantry Division includes units from across Texas. The "Thunderbolt Brigade" mobilized in July 2008 and will deploy to Iraq in autumn 2008. 2nd deployment - the brigade last deployed to Iraq from December 2004 through December 2005.
Pennsylvania. "The Associators" of the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division, are headquartered in Philadelphia. They are expected to mobilize in November 2008 and deploy to Iraq in early 2009. The brigade, which includes units from across Pennsylvania, is the only Stryker Brigade Combat Team in the Army National Guard, and one of just seven in the Army. This will be the brigade's first deployment as a unit, although small units from the brigade have previously deployed (2nd deployments) in support of operation Iraqi Freedom.
North Carolina and West Virginia. The 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team of the North Carolina Army National Guard, based in Clinton, includes units from North Carolina and West Virginia. "Old Hickory" will mobilize in January 2009 and deploy to Iraq in spring 2009. 2nd deployment - the brigade last deployed to Iraq from February 2004 through February 2005.
Illinois. The 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, headquartered in Decatur, Illinois, mobilized in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in August 2008. The "Prairie" Brigade is expected to deploy in autumn 2008 to Afghanistan, where it will train the Afghan National Army. In January 2002, one of the brigade's battalions mobilized in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and deployed to Germany to provide force protection at U.S. facilities across Europe.
Oklahoma and Utah Oklahoma's 45th Fires Brigade, based in Enid, is also scheduled to deploy to Iraq. It includes units from Oklahoma and Utah. "Red Thunder" is expected to mobilize in June 2008 and deploy to Iraq in autumn 2008 where it will augment the 29th IBCT in its assigned mission. 2nd deployments the 45th Fires Brigade deployed two battalions to Iraq in 2003.
(per info at Texas Army National Guard website)
[Update #1] article at Baltimore Chronicle;'WARNING: U.S. Army Troops To Serve As U.S. Policemen?' Oct 1, 2008
an article republished with permission to the Baltimore Chronicle describes author, Chuck Baldwin as a minister who holds two doctorates of divinity, hosts a radio program called "Chuck Baldwin Live,' whose broadcast area includes the Florida Panhandle and Southern Alabama. The program is described on its website as "conservative, Christian, pro-life, pro-family, and patriotic. We support constitutional government and the Bill of Rights. We hold fast to the principles and values expressed by the Founding Fathers and the Declaration of Independence."
Quoting an excerpt from Chuck Baldwin article at Baltimore Chronicle;
One of America's most sacred principles has always been that the U.S. military was never to be used for domestic law enforcement. The fear of standing armies ran very deep in the hearts and minds of America's founders. The tyranny and misery inflicted upon the colonies by British troops weighed heavily upon those who drafted our Constitution and Bill of Rights. In their minds, the American people would never again be subjected to the heavy weight of army boots. Furthermore, they insisted that America would have a civilian--not military--government.
And after the fiasco of the abuse of federal troops in the South following the War Between the States, the doctrine of Posse Comitatus was enacted into law. The Wikipedia online encyclopedia says this about Posse Comitatus:
of note (or perhaps bias): Chuck Baldwin (the author) was the Constitution Party's 2004 vice-presidential candidate on a ticket headed by Michael Peroutka of Millersville, Md., a graduate of Loyola College in Maryland and the University of Baltimore School of Law.
[Update #2] article at Salon 'Why is a U.S. Army brigade being assigned to the "Homeland"?' Sept 24, 2008 by Glenn Greenwald.
His article indicates bloggers who were blogging about it; the lack of any media mention or coverage and discusses The Posse Comitatus Act.
excerpts from his article at Salon
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."
excerpt - his second update to his article
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.
my thought; Oh, don't I shudder to think what John McCain, eager for war on any front would do if he is elected and assumes the expanded powers of the Presidency.
[Update #3] Martial Law threatened to some in Congress if Financial Bailout not passed, per Rep. Brad Sherman at his speech to U.S. House of Representatives. Video of the youtube excerpt of the C-Span coverage.
No, I don't want it to be true, and yes, I'm a bit of a nervous nellie these days, still holding my breath till the November election. Again, a series of coincidences, and in stringing coincidences together raising my own anxiety level, my intent is not so much to pass anxiety on to others, as much as get this recorded in one place at WB.
In November perhaps I can look back at this diary and feel foolish and that's okay with me. I've become wary of this Administration for good reason; and an extension of that is being wary of the Republican machine at work as it marches on seemingly easily exploitable by small extremist factions intent on an agenda not widely understood or grasped within or amongst the larger party.
here is link to video segment from C-Span of Rep. Brad Sherman's statement to the House of Representatives and quoted excerpt:
'many of us were told in private conversations that if we voted against this bill on Monday, that the sky would fall, that the market would drop 2 or 3 thousand points the first day, another couple thousand the second day, and a few members were even told that there would be 'martial law in America' if we voted no. That's what I call fear-mongering', unjustified, proven wrong. We've got a week, we've got two weeks to write a good bill. The only way to pass a bad bill -- keep the panic on'