Morocco and Posse Comitatus Act

September 24, 2008

Two big pieces of news to report: Franziska and I just purchased two tickets to go to Morocco in February! We’re going to leave just after the next semester ends, leave on a Sunday and probably spend about 2-2.5 weeks there, starting in Fez and most likely making our way to Marrakesh, perhaps checking out the Atlas Mountains. It could be a great photography trip for me and, I’m happy to say, my first foray into Africa!

Second, a relatively disturbing pieces of news:
http://www.armytimes.com/news/2008/09/army_homeland_090708w/

Apparently some military is going to be deployed to the Homeland, somethat that has not happened really since the Civil War, the only exceptions being things like Hurricane Katrina and the National Guard, etc. Here are some of the main excerpts:

They’ll learn new skills, use some of the ones they acquired in the war zone and more than likely will not be shot at while doing any of it.
They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack. . . .
The 1st BCT’s soldiers also will learn how to use “the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded,” 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said, referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them.
“It’s a new modular package of nonlethal capabilities that they’re fielding. They’ve been using pieces of it in Iraq, but this is the first time that these modules were consolidated and this package fielded, and because of this mission we’re undertaking we were the first to get it.”
The package includes equipment to stand up a hasty road block; spike strips for slowing, stopping or controlling traffic; shields and batons; and, beanbag bullets.
“I was the first guy in the brigade to get Tasered,” said Cloutier, describing the experience as “your worst muscle cramp ever — times 10 throughout your whole body”. . . .
The brigade will not change its name, but the force will be known for the next year as a CBRNE Consequence Management Response Force, or CCMRF (pronounced “sea-smurf”).


Glenn Greenwald’s analysis:

For more than 100 years — since the end of the Civil War — deployment of the U.S. military inside the U.S. has been prohibited under The Posse Comitatus Act (the only exceptions being that the National Guard and Coast Guard are exempted, and use of the military on an emergency ad hoc basis is permitted, such as what happened after Hurricane Katrina). Though there have been some erosions of this prohibition over the last several decades (most perniciously to allow the use of the military to work with law enforcement agencies in the “War on Drugs”), the bright line ban on using the U.S. military as a standing law enforcement force inside the U.S. has been more or less honored — until now. And as the Army Times notes, once this particular brigade completes its one-year assignment, “expectations are that another, as yet unnamed, active-duty brigade will take over and that the mission will be a permanent one.”
After Hurricane Katrina, the Bush administration began openly agitating for what would be, in essence, a complete elimination of the key prohibitions of the Posse Comitatus Act in order to allow the President to deploy U.S. military forces inside the U.S. basically at will — and, as usual, they were successful as a result of rapid bipartisan compliance with the Leader’s demand (the same kind of compliance that is
about to foist a bailout package on the nation).

I’m sure they’re going to protect the First Amendment, right? 🙂

ps I have no idea what is going on with the above news but it would seem that this is something that should get some traction with the news, but of course won’t.

pss McCain wants to cancel the debate on Friday to help with the bailout. Uh huh…They won’t let the media have access to Sarah Palin and now he wants to have even less exposure to his ideas…This all makes me sound cynical but…