March 30, 2009
The Army Times, the corporate media’s propaganda outfit for the Pentagon (owned and operated by the Gannett Company), has posted an article that attempts to rationalize the illegal dispatch of soldiers in Samson, Alabama, from nearby Fort Rucker after a murder spree on March 10, 2009.
|A Reuters photo of troops on the street in Samson, Alabama.|
Gina Cavallaro admits the deployment “may have violated federal law” and then adds “the deployment may also have been within the legal parameters of how the military is permitted to assist civilian authorities in cases of emergencies.”
Infowars and Prison Planet covered the deployment — essentially ignored by the corporate media — after a photo showing soldiers patrolling downtown Samson was posted by Reuters.
At the time, we noted that the deployment was a violation of the Posse Comitatus Act prohibiting the military from participating in law enforcement activities. In 2006, the 109th Congress passed a bill containing controversial provisions granting the president the ability to use federal troops inside the United States in emergency situations. These changes (in Section 1076) were included in the John Warner Defense Appropriation Act for Fiscal Year 2007. Although the provisions were later removed from the bill, president George Bush issued a signing statement in 2008 indicating he was not bound by the changes.
|Alex Jones comments on Posse Comitatus and the danger of troops on the streets in America.|
The Army Times reports it was the Army, not local law enforcement, that initially suggested the deployment of troops. “Geneva County Sheriff Greg Ward at first did not respond to an offer of help from an unidentified lieutenant colonel at Fort Rucker who said he could provide generators, lights and other equipment. But with seven separate crime scenes spanning a 20-mile area and a 12-man force that was exhausted and overwhelmed, he called back later and requested the MPs,” writes Cavallaro.
Ward offers several explanations for requesting military assistance. “I thought, let me call them back. So I asked for MPs to come in and relieve our personnel long enough so they could get something to eat,” the officer told the Army Times. In addition, he allowed the military deployment in direct violation of the Posse Comitatus act because his officers were unable to keep sightseers away from the worst crime scene, where six of the victims’ bodies lay on a porch, including an 18-month-old baby, according to Cavallaro’s report.
Gen. Martin Dempsey, commander of Training and Doctrine Command, which includes Fort Rucker, subsequently ordered an inquiry into the deployment. “In addition to determining the facts, this inquiry will also consider whether law, regulation and policy were followed. Until those facts are determined, it would be inappropriate to speculate or comment further,” Dempsey stated in a news release March 18.
[efoods]According to Cavallaro, the deployment of nonmedical, active-duty troops in response to a local emergency could be a violation of federal law if the soldiers engaged in law enforcement activities. “The Posse Comitatus Act, and its many exceptions, mostly restricts the military and units of the National Guard under Title 10 authority from acting in a law enforcement role within the U.S.,” she writes.
Cavallaro cites “elaborate procedures” contained within DoD Directive 3025.15, “Military Assistance to Civil Authorities.”
The Posse Comitatus Act is a United States federal law (18 U.S.C. § 1385) passed on June 16, 1878 after the end of Reconstruction, and states:
Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.
DoD Directive 3025.15 does not supersede Posse Comitatus.
It is not likely Gen. Martin Dempsey will conclude that the deployment of troops in Alabama was a violation of the Constitution.