Drayton's Gazette discusses social and political issues happening around the globe through the eyes of the African American, minority and disaffected communities.

Military Use in Suppressing Protest and Civil Unrest

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This was originally posted a month ago but I thought it deserved being reposted.

While searching for information on the tactics used by Government and local Police departments to quell protest and civil disobedience tactics that include but not limited to denying permits to protest, setting unrealistic guidelines, mass arrest, intimidation, infiltrating a movement and the use of provocateurs, as well as using fire codes to disband a movement infrastructure. This all through the use of the Department of Defense Civil Disobedience Plan 55-2 which had its origins in the 1964 riots in Rochester, N.Y.. President Johnson ordered a commission through Executive Order 11365 which was called the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, the purpose of which was to quell civil disobedience before it occurred, suppress or contain it. One very interesting article that I found was by Amy Goodman a syndicated columnist published in the Seattle Pi on October 1st, 2008:

Use of military in quelling domestic
unrest a scary sign

AMY GOODMAN, SYNDICATED
COLUMNIST
Published 10:00 p.m., Wednesday,
October 1, 2008
Related Stories

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.

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.

The Army Times piece includes a correction stating
that the forces would not use nonlethal weaponry domestically. I called Air
Force Lt. Col. Jamie
Goodpaster
, a public affairs officer for Northern Command. She told me that
the overall mission was humanitarian, to save lives and help communities recover
from catastrophic events. Nevertheless, the military forces would have weapons
on-site, “containerized,” she said — that is, stored in containers — including
both lethal and so-called nonlethal weapons. They would have mostly wheeled
vehicles, but would also, she said, have access to tanks. She said that use of
weapons would be made at a higher level, perhaps at the secretary of defense
level.

Talk of trouble on U.S. streets is omnipresent now, with the juxtaposition of
Wall Street and Main Street. The financial crisis we face remains obscure to
most people; titans of business and government officials assure us that the
financial system is “on the brink,” that a massive bailout is necessary,
immediately, to prevent a disaster. Conservative and progressive members of
Congress, at the insistence of constituents, blocked the initial plan. If the
economy does collapse, if people can’t go down to the bank to withdraw their
savings, or get cash from an ATM, there may be serious “civil unrest,” and the
“sea-smurfs” may be called upon sooner than we imagine to assist with “crowd
control.”

The political and financial establishments seem completely galled that people
would actually oppose their massive bailout, which rewards financiers for
gambling. Normal people worry about paying their bills, buying groceries and
gas, and paying rent or a mortgage in increasingly uncertain times. No one ever
offers to bail them out. Wall Street’s house of cards has collapsed, and the
rich bankers are getting little sympathy from working people.

That’s where the sea-smurfs come in. Officially
formed to respond to major disasters, like a nuclear or biological attack, this
combat brigade falls under the U.S.
Northern Command
, a military structure formed on Oct, 1, 2002, to “provide
command and control of Department
of Defense
homeland defense efforts.” Military participation in domestic
operations was originally outlawed with the Posse Comitatus Act in 1878. The John
Warner
National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007, however,
included a section that allowed the president to deploy the armed forces to
“restore public order” or to suppress “any insurrection.” While a later bill
repealed this, President Bush attached a signing statement that he did not feel
bound by the repeal.

We are in a time of increasing economic disparity,
with the largest gap between rich and poor of any wealthy industrialized
country. We are witnessing a crackdown on dissent, most recently with $100
million spent on “security” at the Democratic and Republican national
conventions. The massive paramilitary police forces deployed at the RNC in St.
Paul, Minn., were complete overkill, discouraging protests and conducting mass
arrests (National
Guard
 troops just back from Fallujah were there). The arrest there of almost
50 journalists (myself included) showed a clear escalation in attempting to
control the message (akin to the ban on photos of flag-draped coffins of dead
soldiers). There are two ongoing, unpopular wars that are costing lives and
hundreds of billions of dollars. Nobel- winning economist Joe
Stiglitz
estimates that Iraq alone will cost more than $3 trillion.

In December 2001, in the midst of restricted access to bank accounts due to a
financial crisis, respectable, middle-class Argentinians rose up, took to the
streets, smashed bank windows and ultimately forced the government out of power,
despite a massive police crackdown and a failed attempt to control the media.
Here in the U.S., with the prospect of a complete failure of our financial
system, the people have spoken and do not want an unprecedented act of corporate
welfare. We don’t know how close the system is to collapse, nor do we know how
close the people are to taking to the streets. The creation of an active-duty
military force, the sea-smurfs, that could be used to suppress public protest
here at home is a very bad sign

Read more: http://www.seattlepi.com/local/opinion/article/Use-of-military-in-quelling-domestic-unrest-a-1286909.php#ixzz1cE9wEwp8

The national Lawyers Guild “Punishing Protest: Government Tactics that Supress free Speech”

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