Wednesday, October 22, 2008

ACLU PRESSES BUSH REGIME ON DOMESTIC MILITARY USE

Raw Story - The American Civil Liberties Union is demanding more details on the domestic deployments, which appear to violate the Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits use of the military to direct internal affairs of the US. The ACLU warns that without fully knowing the reasoning and justifications behind the Army's plan, the domestic deployments could be used to expand a militarized surveillance apparatus that already includes the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping program and DHS's plans to turn military spy satellites inside US borders.

"This is a radical departure from separation of civilian law enforcement and military authority, and could, quite possibly, represent a violation of law," former FBI Agent Mike German, an ACLU national security policy counsel, said in a news release. "Our Founding Fathers understood the threat that a standing army could pose to American liberty. While future generations recognized the need for a strong military to defend against increasingly capable foreign threats, they also passed statutory protections to ensure that the Army could not be turned against the American people. The erosion of these protections should concern every American."

The ACLU sent a nine page Freedom of Information Act request to the Justice Department, Pentagon and DHS for documents related to the decision to deploy an army unit and outlining the unit's duties.


A report in the Army Times last month first brought the domestic deployment to light. The Army's 3rd Infantry Division 1st Brigade Combat Team became the first unit assigned permanently to Northern Command. According to the Army Times report, the Team would be on-call to respond in the event of a natural disaster or terror attack anywhere in the country, or they could be used to "help with civil unrest and crowd control." But most of their time would be spent training for an expected return to either Iraq or Afghanistan in early 2010.

Some fear the possibility that the unit's training could serve a dual purpose if the soldiers were deployed domestically, although the Army is attempting to downplay those concerns.

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