Sunday, January 22, 2006

Where is Posse Comitatus when we need it?

The Other Big Brother - Newsweek National News - MSNBC.com: "But that's not how the Pentagon saw it. To U.S. Army analysts at the top-secret Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA), the peanut-butter protest was regarded as a potential threat to national security. Created three years ago by the Defense Department, CIFA's role is 'force protection'--tracking threats and terrorist plots against military installations and personnel inside the United States. In May 2003, Paul Wolfowitz, then deputy Defense secretary, authorized a fact-gathering operation code-named TALO--short for Threat and Local Observation Notice--that would collect 'raw information' about 'suspicious incidents.' The data would be fed to CIFA to help the Pentagon's 'terrorism threat warning process,' according to an internal Pentagon memo.
A Defense document shows that Army analysts wrote a report on the Halliburton protest and stored it in CIFA's database. It's not clear why the Pentagon considered the protest worthy of attention, although organizer Parkin had previously been arrested while demonstrating at ExxonMobil headquarters (the charges were dropped). But there are now questions about whether CIFA exceeded its authority and conducted unauthorized spying on innocent people and organizations. A Pentagon memo obtained by NEWSWEEK shows that the deputy Defense secretary now acknowledges that some TALON reports may have contained information on U.S. citizens and groups that never should have been retained. The number of reports with names of U.S. persons could be in the thousands, says a senior Pentagon official who asked not be named because of the sensitivity of the subject."
[Updated link, 10/2014]

Or is Posse Comitatus a myth? [Added: 2008 "Democracy Now" discussion "Is Posse Comitatus Dead? US Troops on US Streets".

5 comments:

joeleann@juno.com said...

Thank u for posting Maj. Trebilcock's Oct. 2000 article. He does well in describing the slippery slope of exceptions to Posse Comitatus, of which I, as an average American citizen was unaware. My feelings are that we must halt the continual slide, remove the exceptions and focus our attentions on the strengthening and building of our nation's civilian police throughout the country. I feel first and foremost, the military's FIRST priority is the assumption of guilt thereby giving them the rationale to shoot, kill, destory, hurt and maime (the enemy) THEN ask questions later. The second reason I feel we must halt the slippery slide is because "asymetric warfare" is a label created from a military interpretation and view of the world versus a civilian perspective and interpretation of the world dynamics. It is understandable for the military to characterize what they "see" in terms of "WAR". Once labeled as such, that takes one down a certain path justifying behavior to shoot, kill, hurt, maime, destory and ask questions later. Needless to say, I do not agree with that definition of the world state.
I note Maj. Trebilcock's extension military education after his J.D. in '85. I am not aware of any comparable civilian and government sponsored education to the extent and focus that this nation funds. In my opinion, we have heard from only one side of the question.

Thank you for the opportunity to learn a little about posse comitatus and to offer a comment.

peace,
jbk

arn said...

Thank you JBK for your thoughtful comment. I share your concerns, especially the propensity of the security forces to exaggerate legitimate domestic political activities. The general erosion of respect for the constitutional rights of inviduals, especially since 9-11, are a important source of concern for any informed citizen.

joeleann@juno.com said...

Jan. 23, 2006
Thank you for your sanity-check to my concerns. What suggestions and ideas do you have on what and how I can do in
a) communicating these views to others who do not see these dangers; and
b) what constructive actions we can take to change the erosions to positive strengthening of our constitutional rights?

I try to understand the complacency of good citizens and/or their resistence to taking constructive action.
peace,
jbk

arn said...

I believe there are four things we should all do:
Contact your Congressman. Emails are good, but letters make a big impression. The letter does not have to be long but it should express you clear view in polite language. When the Congressman replies do not be satisfied with a "boiler-plate response". If you do not like his/her answer, then write again. An accummulation of only a few dozen letters can make a difference.
Write your local newspaper. You can do this out of the blue, but it is more effective to tie your letter to a news article.
Support a legals rights oriented organization. A donation is nice.
If you have the time then donate a few hours a week. There is strength in numbers so the chance to connect with others who share your concern with protecting our rights can multiple your efforts.
Finally, let us not be complacent.

joeleann@juno.com said...

Jan. 25, 2006

Thank u for the action ideas.

peace,
jbk