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View Diary: Is That The Military in Our Streets? (175 comments)

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  •  Absolutely Not U.S. Military (7+ / 0-)

    It is prohibited by the Posse Comitatus act, and subsequent legislation described in this excellent Wikipedia Article.

    I had not been aware of it's origin, the stalemated election of 1879,  where to get the Southern State agreement with electing Hayes, the Democrats demanded this law, which ended federal occupation to enforce reconstruction.

    The U.S. Military, like the CIA, is restricted to non-domestic activities.  The FBI is our federal enforcement agency, and with very few exceptions, such as the short military involvement in enforcing School integration in the 1950s,  the U.S. government does not use the military internally.  In fact, murder as such is not a federal offense.

    •  Here's a question for you: Is there any practical (16+ / 0-)

      difference between actual military personnel and militarized-to-the-hilt local police forces using military tactics in our neighborhoods?

    •  after Hurricane Katrina, (10+ / 0-)

      Blackwater mercenaries were seen patrolling the streets of New Orleans to maintain order.

      Since Blackwater (or whatever they're calling themselves these days) are a private company, posse comitatus doesn't apply to them. But they are, in fact, a private army.

      This is quite a sinister development, because it means that the Posse Comitatus Act can be circumvented very easily by employing private mercenaries.

      "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

      by limpidglass on Sat Jan 25, 2014 at 04:18:12 PM PST

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      •  Were they hired and controlled by the feds? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        This diary was asking the question about Military, which implies the traditional Army, Navy and Air force.  Blackwater is available for hire, and unless there are state laws that proscribe their use to maintain order, I would say there is no federal law against their use.

        But they are not protected by Sovereign Immunity, and nor under the Code of Military Justice.  

        If the question was about a para-military force under local government, or excessive force in general, then it would have been a different, and important, discussion.

    •  Obviously you are not from Hawai'i. (2+ / 0-)

      National Guard troops have been running law enforcement operations there (cannabis eradication) since the first "Operation Green Harvest" in 1978.

      The restriction against the military running domestic operations is, like so much of what we thought was the law or "our rights", just a figment of the popular imagination. It has no basis in actual reality.

      •  The National Guard isn't technically (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        serendipityisabitch, Hey338Too

        part of the standing army. That's why Eisenhower had to take the legal step of nationalizing the Guard after Arkansas Gov. Orville Faubus deployed them to block the desegregation of Central High School during the Little Rock Crisis. It's also why the Guard has historically been deployed domestically when states of emergency have been declared (natural disasters, riots, etc.).

        I suspect that Hawaii's State Government had to sign off on the activities you describe.

        Nothing human is alien to me.

        by WB Reeves on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 12:03:08 PM PST

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        •  Which is why they can't be deployed to foreign (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Ray Pensador

          conflicts under the command of regular army officers, no doubt. (/s)

          •  No, the National Guard can be deployed (2+ / 0-)
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            Hey338Too, serendipityisabitch

            in combat outside the US with regular army troops but that doesn't effect their status within the limits of the US.  

            You seem to think that one has something to do with the other. It doesn't.

            Nothing human is alien to me.

            by WB Reeves on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 02:53:03 AM PST

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          •  On the off chance that you'd like to be better (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            informed on the subject, here's a link.

            Nothing human is alien to me.

            by WB Reeves on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 03:04:47 AM PST

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            •  Although I don't trust Wikipedia articles, (1+ / 0-)
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              WB Reeves

              your link states "Under current law, the respective state National Guards and the State Defense Forces are authorized by Congress to the states and are referred to as "troops." 32 U.S.C. § 109"

              (note that in the cited law, the National Guard is referred to as a "reserve component of the armed forces", although it also states "Nothing in this title limits the right of a use its National Guard... within its borders in time of peace". Nothing IN THIS TITLE, however, that does not rule out other laws (posse comitatus) restricting that use.

              But there does seem to be a "weasel clause":"Congress finalized the split between the National Guard and the traditional state militias by mandating that all federally funded soldiers take a dual enlistment/commission and thus enter both the state National Guard and the National Guard of the United States." In other words, when they are used in the United States, they are State Troops, but when they are used in foreign countries they are Federal Troops.

              I guess you CAN have it both ways - if you write the laws...

              But however you look at it, troops are being used for law enforcement duties inside the United States.

              •  That is the point (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                Except that, domestically, the various State National Guards are under the authority and direction of the State Governments, unless and until they are Federalized by the President.

                For example: the National Guard Units that were responsible for the Kent State Massacre were sent to the University by the then Governor at the request of the then Mayor of Kent, not by any Federal authority. The presence of the national Guard is not in itself evidence of involvement by either the Federal Government or the US military command.

                Yes troops are being used, under local elected authority. Just as they have been throughout the history of the Guard and State Militias. I don't approve of such use except in cases of natural disasters but it's not a recent innovation and, consequently, isn't much of an indicator of the increasing militarization of local law enforcement.

                BTW, I don't consider Wikipedia to be authoritative. It is useful for getting the broad outlines of a question though and if you're skeptical of something, you can do what I do: dig deeper.

                Nothing human is alien to me.

                by WB Reeves on Mon Jan 27, 2014 at 04:14:26 PM PST

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