Sunday, October 26, 2008

Military Deployment Within US Borders

The ACLU has put in a Freedom of Information request to the Army with respect to their recent report that the Army has deployed an active military unit inside the United States, the 3rd Infantry Division of the 1st Brigade Combat Team (BCT) for the first time on our soil.

The ACLU press release, dated October 21, 2008 states:

According to a report in the Army Times, the Army recently deployed an active military unit inside the United States under Northern Command, which was established in 2002 to assist federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities. This deployment marks the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to Northern Command.

"This is a radical departure from separation of civilian law enforcement and military authority, and could, quite possibly, represent a violation of law," said Mike German, ACLU national security policy counsel and former FBI Agent. "Our Founding Fathers understood the threat that a standing army could pose to American liberty. While future generations recognized the need for a strong military to defend against increasingly capable foreign threats, they also passed statutory protections to ensure that the Army could not be turned against the American people. The erosion of these protections should concern every American."

A copy of the ACLU's information request is available online at: www.aclu.org/safefree/general/37272lgl20081021.html

This is some serious stuff.

UPDATE: an interview by Democracy Now's Amy Goodman with Army Col. Michael Boatner, future operations division chief of USNORTHCOM, and Matthew Rothschild, editor of The Progressive magazine, contains some very good insights, here: www.democracynow.org/2008/10/7/us_army_denies_unit_will_be

I love the comment from the Army guy that says, in essence, trust us "American citizens can be confident that there will be no abuses." Unfortunately, that's not the way the framers wrote it up, Colonel, that the citizenry should simply "trust" that the army won't be turned against the American people.

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