Thursday, August 15, 2013

Revised -Retired Marine Colonel on Militarization of Our Police

A retired Marine Colonel may have provided the People with a true wake-up call when he clearly and boldly explained to town council the dangers of the militarization and continued issuing of heavy equipment to civilian police agencies. Links to the article and the video of his statements, which were met with wild applause, are at bottom. Obama may well be getting his long-desired Civilian National Security Force "that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.” as our military.  As my comments below illustrate, such a force is far more dangerous to the People than our military.
Added 8/16/13:
Finally, some text to quote the Colonel. I can't type what I hear on audio or video:

"..............And second thing was… I was a Ministry of Defense Coordinator. Where job was to man, train and equip the Iraqi Army…and I can tell you right now…Somebody had the idea to get rid of the Iraqi Army…When we rebuilt it, we did everything we could to make it as strong as possible. And I’ll tell you right now, Homeland Security would kick their butts in a week.

What’s happening here is we’re building a domestic military because it’s unlawful and unconstitutional to use American troops on American soil. So what we’re doing is building a military.

My best friend, who is a SWAT officer in Nashua (NH), came to Iraq with me to train the Iraqi police, sent me a picture of him in the media, on the streets of Watertown, MASS, wearing the exact same combat gear we had in Iraq, only was a different color.

The way we do things in the military is called “task organization.” You take a command and then you attach units to it in order to accomplish the mission. What’s happening is, Homeland Security is pre-staging gear, equipment. What they’re trying to do is use standardized vehicles, standardized equipment.

I saw a picture in the Boston Globe during the Boston Marathon bombing, where there was a State police officer…actually there were two officers, they both had identical helmets, flak jackets, weapons, everything I wore in Iraq, only it was all blue. The officer on one side had a big patch that said Massachusetts State Police…the other officer next to him…his patch said Boston Police.

What we’re doing here, and let’s not kid about it, we’re building a domestic army and we’re shrinking the military because the government is afraid of it’s own citizens.........

So I don’t know where we’re gonna use this many vehicles and this many troops. Concord is just one little cog in the wheel. We’re building an army over here and I can’t believe people aren’t seeing it.

Is everybody blind?
(crowd erupts in applause – “thank you” is heard from someone close to the camera)."

The militarization of police, at all levels of government, in the United States is certainly an issue of great concern. The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 effectively prohibited US military personnel from being employed to enforce criminal/civil law within the nation. Federal troops can be deployed in situations in which a state of emergency has been  declared, such as with the Los Angeles riots of 1992, but these are to be used in a support status and coordinated with civil authorities.

Law enforcement personnel, including those under the supervision pf the Department of Homeland Security (a body seemingly growing in scope and authority by the day), are in contrast specifically charged with the task of enforcing the Law. Historically, these agencies were not well-equipped to handle situations such as barricaded suspects. Enter the SWAT team; the officers units had training and equipment that would enable them to do what the officer on standard patrol duty could not.

After being honorably discharged from the Marine Corps and being hired by a local law enforcement agency, I served on my agency's SWAT team from the early to late 90's. During that period, I noted that our equipment, training, and structure was becoming quite militarized. We also began to acquire equipment and training from the Federal government. A change in mindset accompanied this development. Officers who had never served in the military started to labor under the impression that their level of training not only approached* (Which was not even close) but surpassed that of actual military personnel. One in particular had big plans - he had designs to make his unit "....better than the SEALS". That claim left me utterly speechless. I mean, he just had no clue whatsoever.

The response to the Columbine slaughter exemplified both the drawbacks of overt militarization of our cops and the fact that cops simply do not think like soldiers do. Waiting for backup and the arrival of sufficient numbers if SWAT personnel to conduct a textbook SWAT  operation, the responding patrol and later SWAT officers waited - for a very long time, while students were being killed and. Once enough arrived to do things "by the book", they crept through the school ever-so-slowly while severely injured students went without medical attention. To them, every nook and cranny needed to be cleared before the unit moved to the next room or hallway.

Militarily personnel are trained with a Mission First -Troops Second mentality, cops are not. An infantry unit, if given the order, will attempt to accomplish the mission with the troops and and equipment available at the time. They will move through hostile forces if need be. Police dogma does not even come close to this.

SWAT teams do not have the same level of training as do military personnel, but they think that they are actually more highly trained, and that its frightening.

Also frightening is the fact that, as the Colonel noted, police agencies are not only acquiring armored vehicles and other types of equipment that one would expect to see at a military base, it is also standardized, often down to the same exact model. With the streamlining of Emergency Incident Response procedures and Mutual Aid agreements, it is guaranteed that officers can be detached and and reassigned to units comprised of officers from other agencies quite seamlessly. In a scenario in which the People are being targeted for standing  up for their rights, officers would not even have the advantage of working with officers with whom they are familiar, something which often provides a natural "braking mechanism" when given orders that are problematic. Old friends have ways of letting their partners know that they see something wrong without saying a word - a good start if officers need to decide on their own to "stand down".

When equipment is issued or subsidized at state or national level, local agencies are obligated by contract to dispatch that equipment, along with trained officers, to large-scale events. These are referred to as "Task Forces". Several  cops from your town or county could be away for days or weeks at a time. Following September 11th, officers from across the nation were assigned to and received training for a rapid reaction force, the name of which escapes me at the moment, for deployment to emergencies anywhere in the state or nation. Jurisdictional authority would be provided simply for "swearing in" the responding offers to give them powers of arrest in that state. They were used in events such as Katrina, but an "emergency" is subject to interpretation, and your officers could well be two or more thousand miles away dealing with a body of Americans who are standing up for their rights.

The Colonel was correct in noting that the Federal Government is effectively creating an army that is not restricted by the Posse Comitatus Act, which brings me to the most frightening part:

In order for military units to go into action, be it to destroy an opposing force, suppress a movement of the People, or prevent a necessary movement of the People from being suppressed, a tremendous amount of steps need to be followed. Orders must be given to all combat and support units. This includes issuing of operation orders, weapons, transportation, equipment, fuel and other necessities. A military unit, even if its command staff and troops know that something is dreadfully wrong and that action must be taken, is almost powerless to act if an order has not been sent via the chain of command. Virtually an entire battalion of staff officers has to be of the same mind in order for such an act to have a chance of happening. A smaller unit attempting such a move will see its officers relieved of command and detained and the troops confined to barracks - prohibited of course from any contact outside of the base or post.

In a similar scenario involving the dispatch of police forces, it is far easier. Police agencies have their equipment on hand, and their operational procedures are much more conducive to an immediate deployment at the word of a Chief or other superior officer. Federal and State agencies are massive in size and have sufficient assets to operate for weeks. The mind-boggling amount of ammunition that has been purchased and stored across the nation by the Department of Homeland Security allows for an almost unlimited supply. Add the call for to-be-attached officers from local agencies with their issued equipment, and the new army, which takes its orders from Civil authorities, is a tool that can be wielded in an unchecked  manner against the People. When the cops are told that the targets are in violation of the Law, their minds are geared towards making arrests. They also have not been educated to appreciate their mission to protect the People, Constitution, and the nation as have military personnel. I was in both worlds, and I can assure you that the mindset is as different as can be.

Please watch the video

*Some cops who have never been in the military though, tend to heap much importance on their work tasks and thus equate their work more or less with that of infantry soldiers (This is particularly true with SWAT personnel). They move and communicate tactically, shoot military-type weapons, stay in better physical condition, etc. The similarities stop at that point. From there the infantryman picks up a long, extremely physically demanding grind of heavy and extended work that taxes every guy until he needs to call upon himself to continue, even if it is to avoid being ostracized by his peers for failing to keep up.

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