Police State America – A Look Back and Ahead

Something to ponder while you eat your X-mas turkey.

Operation FALCON – Police State America in Real Time

Mike Whitney won a 2008 Project Censored Award for his February, 2007 article titled “Operation FALCON and the Looming Police State.” In it, he reported that the Bush administration “carried out three massive sweeps in the last two years, rolling up more than 30,000 minor crooks and criminals” that he calls a “blueprint for removing dissidents and political rivals” reminiscent of Nazi Germany or any other repressive police state. Those chickens now reside at home, but the public is largely unaware and unconcerned. We all should be as Whitney raises a “red flag for anyone who cares at all about human rights, civil liberties, or simply saving his own skin.”

Operation FALCON stands for “Federal and Local Cops Organized Nationally” and came out of the Bush Justice Department and right-wing think tanks “where fantasies of autocratic government have a long history” and are now playing out in real time. The scheme centralizes power in Washington and uses resources of local authorities for its own purposes.

Whitney traces its short history starting in the week of April 4 – 10, 2005 when over 10,000 criminal suspects were arrested in “the largest criminal sweep in the nation’s history” in a “single initiative.” Its aim was “quantity,” not “quality,” but Whitney asked why did the Feds get involved in local police work and suggested something more sinister was involved “than just ensuring public safety.” His answer – “to enhance the powers of the ‘unitary’ executive” by giving Washington power over local law enforcement, and that makes perfect sense under an administration obsessed with wanting unchallengeable control.

Operation FALCON II followed a week later from April 17 – 23 and swept up another 9037 “alleged fugitives.” The final FALCON III came from October 22 – 28, 2006 with 10,773 more arrests. Each sweep was the same and concentrated on alleged criminal types out of character for a federal operation, so clearly another motive was involved. Further, no one arrested was charged with a terrorist-related crime, and that alone looks fishy. Whitney thought so and called FALCON “new drills for a new world order” that’s waging permanent war, defiles the law, ignores checks and balances, condones torture, repealed habeas, and illegally spies on everyone.

Police State America Preparations

Today, dissent is an endangered species, and preparations are underway for mass detentions in the “war on terrorism” targeting anyone seen as a threat. Halliburton is the beneficiary with a DHS contingency contract worth nearly $400 million to build US-based camps for “detention and processing” in case of an “emergency influx of immigrants….or to support the rapid development of new programs (for planned) expansion facilities (for anyone with capacity for 5000 or more persons).”

This language is cover for planned US-based concentration camps for anyone labeled an enemy of the state or threat to “national security.” The plan is clear – to have facilities in place if martial law is declared with plenty of reasons to fear it’s coming. Why else these camps and why all the repressive laws, EOs, NSPDs, and HSPDs put in place if they weren’t for a purpose.

The Pentagon is also ready with a DOD action plan called “Strategy for Homeland Defense and Civil Support.” It envisions an “active, layered defense” both within and outside the country that pledges to “transform US military forces to execute homeland defense missions in the….US homeland.” It lays out a strategy for increased reconnaissance and surveillance to “defeat potential challengers before they threaten the United States.” It also “maximizes threat awareness and seizes the initiative from those who would harm us.”

These are ominous developments that suggest a likely real or contrived homeland terror attack severe enough to warrant suspending the Constitution and declaring martial law with the public acquiescing out of fear. If it comes, anyone may be targeted as a “national security” threat, indefinitely detained in a camp, and no evidence is needed for proof. The state and military will be empowered by law to act preventively through mass roundups and detentions that appears the reason for three test-run FALCON operations.

Full-scale militarization of the country is already lawful under the 1988 Reagan administration’s “national security emergency” EO 12656. It was meant for “Any occurrence, including natural disaster, military attack, technological or other emergency, that seriously degrades or seriously threatens the national security of the United States.” “Police state America” has been in the works a long time, and it now may be near the boiling point.

The Role of Blackwater USA in Police State America

Most people know about Blackwater but not how it operates. We better learn because it’s coming to a neighborhood near you, and that means trouble. Author Jeremy Scahill wrote the book on the company he calls “the world’s most powerful mercenary army” and describes it as a “shadowy mercenary company (employing) some of the most feared professional killers in the world accustomed to operating without worry of legal consequences (and) largely off the congressional radar.” It has friends in high places who give it “remarkable power and protection within the US war apparatus” with unaccountable license to practice street violence with impunity to include cold-blooded murder wherever their paramilitaries are deployed.

For now, that’s mostly abroad, and controversy surfaced about the company after its mercenaries killed two dozen or more Iraqis and wounded dozens more in al-Nisour on September 16. It was the latest incident involving a company with a disturbing history of unprovoked violence and then claiming self-defense. Blackwater is contracted to provide security services for US diplomats, officials and others that once was assigned to the military at one-sixth or less what the company charges under an administration that believes anything government can do private business does better, so let it whatever the cost.

Using Blackwater and other paramilitaries is part of the scheme to militarize America, and New Orleans is its first test case. Scahill wrote that “about 150 heavily armed Blackwater troops dressed in full battle gear” arrived in the Crescent City right after Katrina hit and spread out into the city’s chaos. Others came later. Their cover was to provide hurricane relief, but that was a ruse as local residents still around in the wrong places soon discovered. They patrolled like Gestapo in SUVs with tinted windows and their logo on the back. Others used unmarked cars with no license plates, and relief wasn’t their mandate. They came to secure neighborhoods from their legal residents and treat those wanting to return like criminals. They wore flak jackets, carried automatic weapons and had extra guns strapped to their legs. They weren’t for show.

Instead of helping hurricane victims, they came as vigilantes to terrorize them and be empowered by federal, state and local authorities to do it. Blackwater USA is the face of paramilitarism on US streets as the “war on terrorism” comes to a neighborhood near you with New Orleans the first test case to see if the company can operate here the way it does in Iraq and get away with it. It’s doing it.

More than two years after Katrina, New Orleans is still a disaster zone, and many thousands of its residents are still without homes. Instead of helping them rebuild and restore their lives, federal funds instead go to private mercenaries to protect the privileged from desperate people needing help. Blackwater is another element in place in “police state America” where the streets of Boston, Boise or Buffalo may one day resemble Baghdad and bring the “war on terror” to the homeland with chilling implications of what that means.

Read the whole article

Blackwater denies involvement in illicit arms trade

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Allegations that Blackwater USA — whose operations were suspended after 20 Iraqi civilians were shot to death last weekend — was “in any way associated or complicit in unlawful arms activities are baseless,” the company asserted Saturday.

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Blackwater employees patrol Baghdad by air in a February 2005 photograph.

Federal prosecutors are investigating allegations that employees of Blackwater illegally purchased weapons and sold them in Iraq, according to U.S. government sources.

A U.S. government official has said the U.S. attorney’s office in Raleigh, North Carolina, is in the early stages of an investigation that focuses on individual company employees, and not the firm.

Blackwater, which is based in Moyock, North Carolina, is a security firm hired by the State Department to guard U.S. staff in Iraq.

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U.S. military says it nabbed Iranian commando in Iraq

And Voila, now we have the argument. No worries about an accidental war, they started it and now they’ve got it coming.

Especially now that witness after witness confirms what we already know: Blackwater fired first.
And what with Greenspan finally saying what we also knew way back when that it is all about the oil.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) — Coalition forces on Thursday arrested a suspected member of an elite Iranian unit that has been accused of training and equipping insurgents in Iraq, the U.S. military said.

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An Iraqi soldier guards the scene of a car bomb Thursday in eastern Baghdad.

The military said the suspect, who was not identified, is a member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – Quds Force.

The U.S. military calls the force “a covert action arm of the Iranian government responsible for aiding lethal attacks against the Iraqi government and coalition forces.”

The military said the Quds Force suspect was involved in bringing roadside bombs from Iran into Iraq and in training foreign terrorists in Iraq.

The man, captured in the Iraqi Kurdish city of Sulaimaniya, is one of several Iranians in U.S. custody in Iraq.

Also on Thursday, an Iraqi National Police intelligence officer was taken into custody for “suspected involvement in illegal militia activities,” the U.S. military said.

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Update: Rice apologises for US security firm shootings

Yep, looks like Blackwater is going nowhere. 

Ewen MacAskill in Washington
Tuesday September 18, 2007
The Guardian

Members of Blackwater scan Baghdad from their helicopter
Members of Blackwater scan Baghdad from their helicopter. Photograph: Marwan Naamani/AFP/Getty
 

The US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, apologised to the Iraqi government yesterday in an attempt to prevent the expulsion of all employees of the security firm Blackwater USA.The ministry of interior yesterday took the decision to expel Blackwater after eight Iraqi civilians were killed and 13 wounded in Baghdad when shots were fired from a US state department convoy on Sunday.

Diplomats, engineers and other westerners in Iraq rely heavily on protection by Blackwater. The Iraqi decision created confusion on the ground, with uncertainty over whether protection was still available and whether Blackwater staff should leave the country immediately.

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Update: Blackwater in Iraq

According to the Veterans 911 truth site:

Randi Rhodes just reported that Bush called Malaki and that Iraq will reconsider its decision to ban Blackwater. who’s attorney is Ken Starr…!
Remember, Blackwater does not have that many Mercenaries in Iraq, but they are by far the most well connected.

Update: Will Iraq Kick Out Blackwater?

Blackwater US private security contractors secure a site in Baghdad where a roadside bomb exploded near the Iranian embassy, 2005.

Ahmad al-Rubaye / AFP / Getty

TIME has obtained an incident report prepared by the U.S. government describing a fire fight Sunday in Baghdad in which at least eight Iraqis were reported killed and 13 wounded. The deadly incident occurred when a convoy of U.S. personnel protected by Blackwater security contractors came under small arms fire. Blackwater returned fire, resulting in the Iraqi deaths. The loss of life has provoked anger in Baghdad, where the Interior Ministry has suspended Blackwater’s license to operate around the country. Several Iraqi government officials have indicated their opposition to Blackwater’s continued presence in their country.

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Iraqi police say security contractors open fire in western Baghdad, killing at least 9

BAGHDAD: Security contractors opened fire in western Baghdad on Sunday, killing at least nine civilians and wounding 18, Iraqi police said. The U.S. Embassy said contractors working for the State Department were involved in an incident but provided no further details.

The shootings happened about 12:30 on Nisoor Square in the predominantly Sunni neighborhood of Mansour, a police officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to release the information.

The security contractors were in a convoy of six SUVs and left the scene after the shooting. The policeman said he did not have more details, but a witness said the shooting erupted after an explosion.

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