TOLEDO MAYOR TELLS MARINES “NO” TO URBAN WARFARE TRAINING IN CITY
“One retired military officer who requested anonymity believes they are performing “Urban Warfare Training” in American cities because they are expecting something big to happen soon. There are four rationales US government officials will use to justify their violation of the Posse Comitatus Act 1, monitory collapse 2, health emergency such as a pandemic 3, at attack on America or 4, large scale rebellion against globalization.”
TOLEDO MAYOR TELLS MARINES “NO” TO URBAN WARFARE TRAINING IN CITY By Jim Kouri
Posted 1:00 AM Eastern
February 14, 2008
In a move that’s sure to create national controversy, the mayor of Toledo, Ohio told a battalion of armed Marines to get out of his city forthwith.
Mayor Carty Finkbeiner ordered about 200 Marines who traveled from Grand Rapids, Michigan to halt their military exercises and leave his city, according to news accounts.
The armed Marines — members of Company A, 1st Battalion, 24th Marines from Grand Rapids, Michigan — were in Toledo to participate in an urban warfare training exercise, one of several planned across the nation by the Pentegon.
According to sources in Toledo, the city’s police commanders, including Chief Jack Smith, were aware of the urban warfare training, but the mayor was kept in the dark.
Brian Schwartz, Mayor Finkbeiner’s spokesman, told local TV news reporters that “the mayor asked [the Marines] to leave because they frighten people. He did not want them practicing and drilling in a highly visible area [of his city].”
Meanwhile, according to the same TV report, Toledo police officials said they knew about the training and had approved the Marines’ use of that city’s resources. The hands-on training program was scheduled to begin on Friday, February 8 in the afternoon and end on Sunday, February 10.
USMC Marine Corps Elite Warrior Urban Warfare Training Program includes using city buildings as fortresses and handling insurgents and enemy snipers. It combines advanced combat techniques with state-of-the-art weaponry.
Police officials told reporters that “the unit’s presence would have a minimal impact on the city.” In fact, they said that the Toledo Police Department issued a media release earlier in the week notifying the news media and public that the marines would be wearing green camouflage uniforms, operate military vehicles, carry rifles, perform foot patrols, and fire blank ammunition during their urban warfare training.
While some citizens have characterized Mayor Finkbeiner’s actions as being unpatriotic, there are others who believe the Toledo mayor’s action are justified and welcomed.
“Why are these Marines training in US cities? Why aren’t they training in Afghanistan or Iraq or somewhere outside of the continental US? Why do American cities need this kind of attention by our military leaders?” asks conservative political strategist Michael Baker of New Jersey.
“Americans — people who are always there to support their fighting men and women — should be willing to draw a line separating what’s acceptable and what’s unacceptable when it comes to military operations in their own backyard,” adds Baker.
But former New York City police detective Sid Francis believes the motive for training US troops inside American cities is more sinister. “The police power has traditionally been reserved for the states. The fact that we’re allowing military troops to train in US cities is a violation of that tradition. We don’t need federal troops to intervene in matters that should be handled by local police officers, state troopers and the National Guard,” said Francis, himself a former US Marine.
Is there a danger to having US troops operating within our borders? Many observers told NewswithViews.com, “Yes!” During the tragic aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, amid all the chaos and death, the federal government considered it a priority to send in members of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to confiscate firearms legally owned by civilians.
“The Bush Administration thought the priorty was disarming law-abiding citizens in the throes of lawlessness. In essence, the ATF was sent into the ravaged city of New Orleans to make certain people could not protect themselves, their families and their property from lawbreakers who took advantage of the tragic hurricane and flood,” claims Police Officer Edna Aguayo.
“So what are they going to do during the next American disaster or state of emergency? Send in armed Marines geared up for war?” she asks.
One retired military officer who requested anonymity believes they are performing “Urban Warfare Training” in American cities because they are expecting something big to happen soon. There are four rationales US government officials will use to justify their violation of the Posse Comitatus Act 1, monitory collapse 2, health emergency such as a pandemic 3, at attack on America or 4, large scale rebellion against globalization.
“Americans are an understanding people for the most part and will support the government trying to protect them from a serious threat. However, Americans should be more skeptical about the use of military forces to conduct what are basically police and humanitarian operations,” he said.
“Granted there are political leaders who may have good intentions during a crisis, but many of the politicians in the United States today have ulterior motives,” said Mike Baker.
“Who in his or her right mind trusts a Hillary Clinton or a Barack Obama or a John McCain to make decisions regarding use of American military power? During the administration of Hillary’s husband, paramilitary operations were used to kill men, women and children at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas. A followup investigation showed that most of the rationales for such a draconian response were false,” said Det. Francis.
Toledo, Ohio is not the first or only city to be a testing ground for urban warfare operations. In a May 6, 2007 article, Boston Globe correspondent Christine MacDonald examined the delicate balance of a city enabling military training for possible terrorist scenarios with its commitment to protect its citizens from potential hazards caused by live training.
Boston officials said they needed assurances from the military that no live fire or ammunition would be used in the proposed war games on the South Boston Waterfront before they would give the go-ahead. The Navy had applied for the city’s permission to practice hostage rescues, sea landings, and urban warfare techniques for 10 days in June.
The use of Toledo is not the first time Marines trained in urban warfare in Ohio. In Dayton, Ohio 600 marines took part in a two week “urban warfare” training exercise. The exercise, entitled “Training in an Urban Environment Exercise or ‘Truex’” ended on Sept. 26, 2002, according to Col. Andrew Frick of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) which conducted the exercise.
The unit’s home-base is Camp Lejeune, North Carolina but they were stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base for the duration of the Truex training. According to Col. Frick and reports by the Dayton Daily News, some of the exercises used live ammunition.
“The increasing use of Urban Warfare Training Exercises, I believe, desensitizes both the public to the deployment of military forces in their own neighborhoods,” warns one police chief, whose mayor endorses the use of military forces within the US.
“It also desensitizes military and police personnel so that they will accept what was once considered unacceptable,” he added after requesting anonymity.
Urban Warfare Training has actually become a growth industry in the United States. Several private organizations offer such training for military, police and security personnel.
For example, the Urban Warfare Center provides training for US military and police personnel with state-of-the-art equipment. Their facilities are located in North Salt Lake, Utah and they boast a client list that includes US Airborne Special Forces, SWAT, the Army National Guard, US Secret Service, the BATF, and other military and paramilitary organizations.
While many so-called experts cite the Posse Comitatus Act as the law preventing the US military from actively operating within the United States, few people have even bothered to read the act itself:
“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.” -Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 1385
The Posse Comitatus Act of 1876 is often cited as a major constraint on the use of the military services to participate in homeland security, counterterrorism, civil disturbances, and similar domestic duties. It is widely believed that this law prohibits the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps from performing any kind of police work or assisting law enforcement agencies to enforce the law.
The Act prohibits most members of the federal uniformed services from exercising nominally state law enforcement police or peace officer powers that maintain “law and order” on non-federal property in the 50 states.The statute generally prohibits federal military personnel and units of the US National Guard under federal authority from acting in a law enforcement capacity within the United States, except where expressly authorized by the US Consititution or Congress.
The US Coast Guard is exempt from the Posse Comitatus Act since it is considered both a military service and a law enforcement agency. The Posse Comitatus Act and the Insurrection Act substantially limit the powers of the federal government to use the military for law enforcement.
“But as with any law or constitutional amendment, political leaders are more than willing to distort the meaning of the words involved,” warns Officer Aguayo, who has studied counterterrorism as part of her police training.
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