Thursday, September 25, 2008

Army combat team assigned to domestic "civil unrest"

A member in Minneapolis brought this blog entry to our attention; with more than 800 people arrested during the recent Republican National Convention, including some 50 journalists, there's been a lot of local discussion about attacks on civil liberties by the authorities, and what the community response should be. Now it seems that future protesters may have to deal not only with city or county police, plus temps from the Department of Homeland Security, but our own military. Here's a clip from Democracy Now!:

Here's a link to the Army Times story, and commentary on by Glenn Greenwald. Greenwald notes:

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."

Greenwald asks several questions: Where's the "small government" conservative and strict Constitutional fundamentalist outcry against this expansion of government power? And why now--weeks before an election and with the economy on the verge of a what could be an executive branch takeover?

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