On Friday, as the disturbances in Missouri reached a crescendo, the Department of the Army released an innocuously titled document, ATP 3-39.33.
The document provides an action plan for the military as it responds – in violation of Posse Comitatus – to the exercise of the First Amendment and the right of the people to seek redress of grievances as guaranteed by the First Amendment.
“The Constitution of the United States provides two exceptions for which the Posse Comitatus Act does not apply,” the ATP 3-39.33 document argues. “These exceptions are based upon the inherent right of the U.S. government to ensure the preservation of public order and to carrying out governmental operations within its territorial limits by force, if necessary.”
According to the Army the exclusions include a “sudden and unexpected civil disturbance, disaster, or calamity may seriously endanger life and property and disrupt normal governmental functions to such an extent that local authorities cannot control the situation” and the protection of federal property.
The Pentagon, while paying lip-service to the Constitution, states “[c]ivil unrest may range from simple, nonviolent protests that address specific issues, to events that turn into full-scale riots” and, in the case of the latter, the military believes it is legally permitted to use lethal force.
“Subsequently, all protests, peaceful or not, need to be managed by the potential for violence,” writes Dave Hodges. “In other words, all protests are to be considered to be violent and handled accordingly. This certainly explains the violent manhandling of the media by the DHS controlled and militarized police in Ferguson, MO.”
The document follows previous efforts to supersede Posse Comitatus and directly insert the military in domestic affairs held to be the responsibility of state and local law enforcement.
In May, 2013 we covered a Department of Defense “instruction” detailing military support for civilian law enforcement agencies.
“Widespread civil violence inside the United States would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security,” writes [Ret.] Lt. Col. Nathan Freir, who states that the military may be needed to put down “purposeful domestic resistance.”
“Federal military commanders have the authority, in extraordinary emergency circumstances where prior authorization by the President is impossible and duly constituted local authorities are unable to control the situation, to engage temporarily in activities that are necessary to quell large-scale, unexpected civil disturbances,” the instruction explains.
In 2012 a U.S. Army Military Police training manual covering “Civil Disturbance Operations” detailed using military assets domestically to quell riots, confiscate firearms and possibly kill Americans on U.S. soil during mass civil unrest.
“The manual also describes how prisoners will be processed through temporary internment camps under the guidance of U.S. Army FM 3-19.40 Internment/Resettlement Operations, which as we reported earlier this year, outlines how internees would be ‘re-educated’ into developing an ‘appreciation of U.S. policies’ while detained in prison camps inside the United States,” Paul Joseph Watson wrote on July 6, 2012.