April 22, 2009
On Monday, the National Guard deployed 400 Massachusetts National Guardsmen from the 126th Combat Support Battalion to keep the Boston Marathon race route clear for more than 26,000 runners, according to the U.S. Army website.
|Military presence during the 113th running of the Boston Marathon, April 20, 2009.|
“Guardsmen don’t often experience interacting with the public while in uniform, and they see events like the marathon as a good opportunity to interact,” writes Sgt. James Lally for the American Forces Press Service. “The National Guard helps local police along the marathon route to safeguard spectators and maintain public order.”
The deployment is yet another example of the U.S. military collaborating with local law enforcement around the country. Under the Posse Comitatus Act passed on June 16, 1878 after the end of Reconstruction, the federal uniformed services — including the Army, Air Force, and State National Guard forces — are prohibited from exercising nominally state law enforcement, police, or peace officer powers that maintain “law and order” on non-federal property, except where expressly authorized by the Constitution or Congress.
National Guard forces operating under the state authority are technically exempt from Posse Comitatus Act restrictions. However, with the passage of the John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007, federal law was changed so that the Governor of a state is no longer the sole commander in chief of their state’s National Guard, a direct violation of Article I, Section 10 and Clause 3 of the Constitution.
[efoods]Last year, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced a fiat accompli when ordered the Pentagon to conduct a “broad review” to determine if the military and the National Guard and Reserve can “adequately deal with domestic disasters,” including “a catastrophic attack on the country.” Gates “pressed officials to better integrate reservists into the modern day military and consider treating them on a more equal basis to the active duty troops,” according to CBS News.
Infowars and Prison Planet have reported numerous instances of the federal government violating Posse Comitatus. Earlier this month, we reported on a joint checkpoint operation involving DHS, federal and state agencies, the Air Force, and local law enforcement in Tennessee.
On March 11, we covered the U.S. Army dispatching soldiers to patrol the streets of Samson, Alabama, after a rampaging gunman killed 10 people.
Last June, Infowars posted an article by D. H. Williams of the Daily Newscaster reporting the deployment of 2,300 Marines in the city of Indianapolis under the direction of FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.
Prison Planet’s Paul Joseph Watson reported a story today on the assault of a local television news team by an irate police officer in El Paso, Texas. A video taken by the news videographer shows uniformed soldiers working with police officers at the scene of a car accident.
Other instances of military deployment and collaboration with local law enforcement are too numerous to post here. The deployments and exercises have increased significantly since the U.S. military announced last year it will place 20,000 troops on the streets of America by 2011 under the control of the Northern Command. In October, the Department of Defense announced it was assigning a full-time Army unit to be “on call” to facilitate military cooperation with the Department of Homeland Security.
As Sgt. James Lally notes in his article on the deployment of National Guard troops at the Boston Marathon, the point is to acclimatize citizens to the presence of uniformed soldiers at civilian events.
Lally said the soldiers were in attendance to “safeguard” the public. However, this role is usually assigned to the police, not a combat support battalion. The military’s job is to break things and kill people during war, not protect civilians from participants in a marathon.