A member of the Minneapolis City Council is demanding answers after officials were kept in the dark over unannounced military exercises involving black helicopters that started residents of the twin cities last month.
Minneapolis council member Blong Yang wants to know why the U.S. military failed to provide a heads up prior to four nights of drills in Minneapolis and St. Paul involving Night Stalker helicopters that zoomed between buildings, prompting anger and complaints from irate residents.
The drills were conducted by the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment out of Fort Campbell Kentucky but local authorities were not properly notified.
I think the one question that came out of it was, ‘Why didn’t we know?'” Yang told KSTP, adding, “I want to know who gave the authorization to do that. Because certainly, it didn’t come from the council.”
Yan said he has called every official in the book but no one has any information about what happened.
Maj. Allen Hill with the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment cited “national security” as the primary reason for why councilmembers were kept in the dark, adding that providing information in advance would have been a “safety hazard.”
Hill has promised to find a middle ground with councilmembers for future exercises. The council’s public safety committee will discuss the issue next week.
At the time of the exercises, city council member Dave Thune slammed the drills as “incredibly unsafe,” while Pioneer Press reporter Joe Soucheray complained that residents were being treated like “guinea pigs.”
As we have previously highlighted, similar previous drills in other areas of the country have also been unannounced, including a 2012 exercise in Miami in the middle of the night which involved helicopters, fighter jets, along with simulated gunfire and grenades. Black Hawk helicopters also flew low over Los Angeles during a military drill the same year.
Back in March, we reported on Department of Defense exercises in Broward County during which low flying military helicopters landed on city buildings in Fort Lauderdale. According to a local reporter, the drills were centered around, “scaring the crap out of people.”
In May, we also covered similar drills in Kentucky and Cincinnati which were described by eyewitnesses as resembling something out of a “war zone.”
Some have speculated that the surprise nature of the drills is a deliberate technique to desensitize Americans to the normalcy of witnessing martial law-style scenarios without prior notice.