Thursday, August 13, 2009
A High School in Maine is to be taken over by the National Guard today for the purposes of a drill that will see Guardsmen deal with unruly citizens begging for swine flu vaccines.
Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School in Paris, ME, has been chosen as a distribution site for the H1N1 flu vaccine by state officials.
Today’s drill will enact a riot scenario after Gov. John Baldacci and Gen. John Libby, adjutant general of the Maine National Guard, agreed that measures should be in place to deal with a possible public rush for inoculations against swine flu.
“On Thursday morning, four or five National Guard Humvees will travel from Augusta to Paris with vials of fake serum.” reports the Maine Sun Journal.
“The National Guardsmen will take on the roles of panicked citizens and military police and practice what they would do, such as using tear gas, in the case of a riot.” The article continues.
Local police will also liaise with the National Guard on the school grounds. The school itself will remain open, according to the report.
Center for Disease Control figures state that there are 323 confirmed cases of H1N1 in Maine. One man has died from the disease, though he was said to have “underlying health conditions” that were worsened by the flu.
This story dovetails with reports from late July indicating that the U.S. military is gearing up to get involved in the H1N1 swine flu outbreak promised to strike in the Fall.
“The U.S. military wants to establish regional teams of military personnel to assist civilian authorities in the event of a significant outbreak of the H1N1 virus this fall, according to Defense Department officials,” a proposal that is currently on the desk of Defense Secretary Robert Gates, according to a CNN report.
The report indicates that the troops could be drawn from either active duty forces or the National Guard and Reserve forces, or both.
“As a first step, Gates is being asked to sign a so-called ‘execution order’ that would authorize the military to begin to conduct the detailed planning to execute the proposed plan.” the report states.
Gates’ overtures to usurp control of the Guard in a national emergency, and even to eventually merge the Guard and the Army Reserves into the “Total Force” of the U.S. military, under management of the DoD, has riled state authorities.
Last week The National Governors Association wrote to the Pentagon condemning the military’s open plans to effectively seize domestic control of National Guard and federal forces deployed in the event of a disaster or terrorist attack.
The NGA noted that the military’s agenda amounted to a dilution of governors’ constitutional responsibilities.
In addition to these ongoing proposals, the Pentagon has announced that at least 20,000 more active duty soldiers will be placed inside the United States under Northcom to “help state and local officials respond to a nuclear terrorist attack or other domestic catastrophe.”
According to Northcom itself, the move also encompasses “civil unrest and crowd control”.
The ACLU has warned that the deployment represents an expansion in presidential and military authority and a militarization of homeland security.
This trend hasn’t gone unnoticed on Capitol Hill either. Georgia Congressman Paul Broun warned attendees of a town hall event Tuesday that the Obama administration is planning to use a pandemic or a natural disaster to implement martial law in the United States, in the wake of increased political unrest and plunging approval ratings.
The use of the National Guard for law enforcement duties and confrontation of the American people is becoming increasingly commonplace throughout the US.
National Guard troops were used to control the public during the Boston Marathon, the Kentucky Derby, and during New Year celebrations in Times Square last year.
As we reported last week, the sheriff of Alabama’s most populous county has announced he will probably have to bring in National Guard troops to perform law enforcement duties due to budget cuts.
Such a move has been replicated in other parts of the country, including in Schenectady New York, where budgetary constraints were not even cited as a reason for the changeover.
Back in April of this year, The Maryland National Guard was put on alert under an anti-terrorism program in anticipation of nationwide Tea Party protests. A “Force Protection advisory” document stated that Guardsmen and Guard facilities might become “targets of opportunity.”
One month earlier in March, the United States Army Reserve Command published a Force Protection Advisory recommending “situational awareness” and “mitigation measures” in response to End the Fed protests.
Meanwhile, the Army National Guard is advertising for qualified personnel to work as Corrections Officers and Internment/Resettlement Specialists.
The use of military assets in civilian law enforcement is still illegal under Posse Comitatus, unless a clear state of emergency exists.