Operation Jade Helm, Posse Comitatus, and why we should be concerned

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US Army tanks in St. LouisUS Army tanks “training” in the streets of St. Louis, June 2012.

For two months beginning on July 15 to Sept. 15, 2015, élite members from all four branches of the U.S. military will launch a Special Operations exercise called Jade Helm 15 that even the military’s Army Special Operations Command admits would be unprecedented in its size and scope.
Some parts of the operational details have been disclosed, including the fact that there will be 1,200 troops participating, and according to CNN, “mainly Army Green Berets, but also a small group of Navy SEALS and Air Force special operations troops as well as conventional Army infantry.”
Command spokesman Lt. Col. Mark Lastoria said: “The nature of warfare is always changing and U.S. Army Special Operations Command’s mission is to make certain the Army’s various Special Operations Forces are trained, equipped and organized to successfully conduct worldwide special operations in support of our nation’s interests. Training exercise Jade Helm is going to assist our Special Operations Soldiers and leadership in refining the skills needed against an ever changing foreign threat.”
As reported by Dan Lamothe for The Washington Post, March 31, 2015, those elite service members will operate covertly among the U.S. public and travel in military aircraft. Jade Helm 15 will be conducted in Arizona, southern California, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah.
The exercise has prompted speculation and fear that Jade Helm is a preparation and prelude for martial law. In particular, some have expressed alarm about this map (see below) for the exercise, verified by Washington Post to be legitimate. The map designates Texas, Utah, and southern California as “hostile” and New Mexico as “uncertain” territories for the purpose of the exercise.

↓ Click map to enlarge ↓

Jade Helm map
The Washington Post points out that the military has routinely launched exercises in the past in which regions of the United States are identified as hostile for the purpose of training. Examples include:

  • Bold Alligator, a recent naval exercise that included amphibious landings to prevent insurgent groups in the fictional country known as Garnet — Georgia and part of Florida in real life — from launching attacks.
  • Robin Sage, an exercise in which U.S. Special Forces support fictional guerrilla forces in numerous counties across North Carolina to liberate the fictional country of Pineland. The soldiers operated in close proximity to civilians, who were warned they might hear blank gunfire.
  • Derna Bridge, a Marine Special Operations exercise that spanned several counties in western South Carolina, including Sumter National Forest.

Despite Washington Post‘s confidence that Jade Helm 15 is harmless, we the American people do have reasons to be concerned. 

To begin, the U.S. military is prohibited from intervening in domestic affairs by two laws:
1. Insurrection Act of 1807 governs the ability of POTUS to deploy troops within the United States to put down lawlessness,insurrection and rebellion. The laws are chiefly contained in 10 U.S.C. § 331 – 10 U.S.C. § 335. The general aim is to limit Presidential power as much as possible, relying on state and local governments for initial response in the event of insurrection.
2. Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 (PCA), a U.S. federal law (18 U.S.C. § 1385) passed after the end of Reconstruction on June 18, 1878, and updated in 1981 to refer specifically to the U.S. Armed Forces, makes unauthorized deployment of federal troops a punishable offense, thereby giving teeth to the Insurrection Act. The PCA does not apply to the U.S. Coast Guard (because the Coast Guard operates under the authority of the Dept. of Homeland Security instead of the Pentagon), nor does the PCA apply to the National Guard (because the National Guard is under state authority and can act in a law enforcement capacity within its home state or in an adjacent state if invited by that state’s governor).
We are told that the only exception to the deployment of U.S. military troops within the United States is provided under Section 4 of Article IV of the U.S. Constitution, which says:

“and [the United States] shall protect each of them [the States] against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.”

In other words, Article IV requires the U.S. government to protect each state from invasion and, upon the application of the state legislature (or executive, if the legislature cannot be convened), from domestic violence.
The reality, however, is more complicated than that.
A U.S. Army document called ATP 3-39.33, April 2014, provides more nuances to when and when not the Posse Comitatus Act is applicable.

ATP 3-39.33 CIVIL DISTURBANCES (april 2014)

The purpose of ATP (U.S. Army Techniques Publication) 3-39.33 is to provide discussion and techniques about civil disturbances and crowd control operations that occur in the continental United States (CONUS) and outside the continental United States (OCONUS).
This is what ATP 3-39.33 says under the section titled “Legal Considerations”:

2-4. For the U.S. Army, conducting civil disturbance missions within the United States will vary greatly when compared to conducting civil disturbance missions within a foreign country where the U.S. Army is conducting operations. Except as expressly authorized by the Constitution of the United States or by another act of Congress, the Posse Comitatus Act (18 USC 1385) prohibits the use of the Active Army as enforcement officials to execute state or federal law and perform direct law enforcement functions within CONUS. For OCONUS operations, especially when the HN does not have a legitimate government or law enforcement capabilities, the U.S. Army may have to perform these functions, including responding to civil disturbances and performing the tactics and techniques discussed in this manual.
2-6. Within CONUS, military operations would fall under the defense support of civil authorities (see ADP 3-28 and ADRP 3-28). Military support to law enforcement is one of two categories: direct and indirect support. When authorized by the Secretary of Defense, federal military forces may provide indirect support to law enforcement agencies; but support is limited to logistical, transportation, and training assistance except when emergency authority applies. State and territorial governors can use state National Guard forces for direct support to civilian law enforcement; however, such use is a temporary expedient and must be in accordance with state laws (see ADP 3-28).
2-7. The Constitution of the United States, laws, regulations, policies, and other legal issues limit the use of federal military personnel in domestic support operations. Any Army involvement in civil disturbance operations involves many legal issues requiring comprehensive legal reviews. However, federal forces are authorized for use in civil disturbance operations under certain circumstances. The following references pertain to the use of federal forces within the United States, therefore; commanders, staffs, and leaders must be familiar with, and adhere to, the parameters within them—
Insurrection Act (10 USC 333–334).

  • Posse Comitatus Act (18 USC 1385).
  • 32 CFR, Part 215.
  • AR 381-10.
  • DODD 3025.18.
  • DODI 3025.21. (This will be discussed below. Please make note of this!)
  • NGR 500-1.

2-8. The Constitution of the United States provides two exceptions for which the Posse Comitatus Act does not apply. These exceptions are based upon the inherent right of the U.S. government to ensure the preservation of public order and to carrying out governmental operations within its territorial limits by force, if necessary. These two exceptions are—

  • Emergency authority. A sudden and unexpected civil disturbance, disaster, or calamity may seriously endanger life and property and disrupt normal governmental functions to such an extent that local authorities cannot control the situation. At such times, the federal government may use military force to prevent the loss of life or wanton destruction of property and to restore government functions and public order. In these circumstances, federal military commanders have the authority, in extraordinary emergency circumstances where prior authorization by the President is impossible and duly constituted local authorities are unable to control the situation, to engage temporarily in activities that are necessary to quell large-scale, unexpected civil disturbances (see DODD 3025.18).
  • Protection of federal property and functions. When the need for the protection of federal property or federal functions exists, and duly constituted local authorities are unable to, or decline to provide adequate protection, federal action, including the use of military forces, is authorized.

2-9. Laws passed by the U.S. congress include four exceptions to the Posse Comitatus Act. With the first three laws discussed below (10 USC 331–333) there is a prerequisite that the President must take personal action, including the issuance of a proclamation calling upon insurgents to disperse and retire peaceably within a limited time. The four exceptions, based on law are—

  • 10 USC 331. When a state is unable to control domestic violence and they have requested federal assistance, the use of the militia or Armed Forces is authorized.
  • 10 USC 332. When ordinary enforcement means are unworkable due to unlawful obstructions or rebellion against the authority of the United States, use of the militia or Armed Forces is authorized.
  • 10 USC 333. When a state cannot or will not protect the constitutional rights of the citizens, due to domestic violence or conspiracy to hinder execution of State or Federal law, the use of the militia or Armed Forces is authorized.
  • House Joint Resolution 1292. This resolution directs all departments of the U.S. government, upon request of the Secret Service, to assist in carrying out its statutory duties to protect government officials and major political candidates from physical harm.

After reading the above on ATP 3-39.33, do you now have a clear, unambiguous understanding of when and when not the Posse Comitatus Act applies?
I don’t blame you. I don’t have a clear idea either!
But there’s a short-cut to all this which you will clearly understand. It’s a curious document by the Obama Pentagon, called the Department of Defense Instruction No. 3025.21 (or DODI 3025.21) of February 2013. Simply put, DODI 3025.21 throws out of the window all the carefully-made and carefully-worded exemptions to the Posse Comitatus Act.  

DOD Instruction No. 3025.21

In February 2013, the Department of Defense (DOD) unilaterally made a few subtle changes to a regulation in the U.S. Code titled “Defense Support of Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies” and in so doing, granted itself the authority to police America’s streets without obtaining prior presidential, state, or local consent, thereby upending a precedent that has been in place for more than two centuries.
Pursuant to those changes, the DoD issued a 42-page Department of Defense Instruction (DODI), No. 3025.21, February 27, 2013. (Click here or here for DODI No. 3025.21 in PDF)
The most disturbing part of the DODI no. 3025.21 begins on page 15: “Enclosure 3: Participation of DoD Personnel in Civilian Law Enforcement Activities.” On page 16, under Section 1b’s “Permissible Direct Assistance” is a subsection (3), which states:

When permitted under emergency authority in accordance with Reference (c), Federal military commanders have the authority, in extraordinary emergency circumstances where prior authorization by the President is impossible and duly constituted local authorities are unable to control the situation, to engage temporarily in activities that are necessary to quell large-scale, unexpected civil disturbances because:

(a) Such activities are necessary to prevent significant loss of life or wanton destruction of property and are necessary to restore governmental function and public order; or,

(b) When duly constituted Federal, State, or local authorities are unable or decline to provide adequate protection for Federal property or Federal governmental functions. Federal action, including the use of Federal military forces, is authorized when necessary to protect Federal property or functions.

Jed Morey of the Long Island Press cites Bruce Afran, a civil liberties attorney and constitutional law professor at Rutgers University, who calls the DODI rule, “a wanton power grab by the military,” which is “quite shocking actually because it violates the long-standing presumption that the military is under civilian control.

Afran points out that Section 1b(3) of the DODI not only fails to define what circumstances would be so severe that the president’s authorization is “impossible,” it also grants full presidential authority to “Federal military commanders” who have the same power to authorize military force as the president when the latter’s authorization is “impossible” — whatever that means.

As Afran puts it, “These phrases don’t have any legal meaning. It’s no different than the emergency powers clause in the Weimar constitution [of the German Reich]. It’s a grant of emergency power to the military to rule over parts of the country at their own discretion.”
Afran also expresses apprehension over the government’s authority “to engage temporarily in activities necessary to quell large-scale disturbances.” “Governments never like to give up power when they get it,” says Afran. “They still think after twelve years they can get intelligence out of people in Guantanamo. Temporary is in the eye of the beholder. That’s why in statutes we have definitions. All of these statutes [DODI] have one thing in common and that is that they have no definitions. How long is temporary? There’s none here. The definitions are absurdly broad.”
Afran reminds us that, unlike the military, “the police operate under civilian control. They are used to thinking in a civilian way so the comparison that they may have some assault weapons doesn’t change this in any way. And they can be removed from power. You can’t remove the military from power.”
Jed Morey concludes: “for the first time in our history the military has granted itself authority to quell a civil disturbance. Changing this rule now requires congressional or judicial intervention. […] As we witnessed during the Boston bombing manhunt, it’s already difficult to discern between military and police. In the future it might be impossible, because there may be no difference.” (See “Boston Bombing: Getting the sheeple used to the police state”)

On April 28, Texas governor Greg Abbott ordered the Texas State Guard to monitor Jade Helm’s operation, declaring, “During the training operation, it is important that Texans know their safety, constitutional rights, private property right and civil liberties will not be infringed.”

FOTM readers have asked what the name “Jade Helm” means. According to this YouTube video, it means Joint Assistant for Development and Execution [of the] Homeland Eradication of Local Militants:

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0 responses to “Operation Jade Helm, Posse Comitatus, and why we should be concerned

  1. It may be all well and good that we are told that there is no malicious intent to these training activities . . . we have unfortunately experienced numerous instances where we were “not told the truth.” Since that is a true statement, I will have to reserve judgement as to whether or not there is a nefarious reason for these training activities. Pessimist that I am, I see a dark cloud rolling over the land of the free, and the home of the brave!

  2. NEVER forget what Izzy Stone wrote & said endlessly: “All governments lie. ALL, including ours.” Of course, as it goes w/the territory in our BNWO, and it is going to get worse, MUCH worse, before the end of this year. Think September-October for timing. The dead will be safe.

    • Lance Jackson

      Strange you mention Sep/oct as a lot of articles in the off mainstream media are warning about something truly BIG and unthinkable coming around Sept 20-25.
      Even dumb animals know when disaster is in the air. They can feel/smell it. As stupid as the sheeple have been made, on some level they KNOW that the way of life as we have known it will be ending soon

      • Lance, it ended a long, long time ago. What we have now is a zombie nation: while it appears to walk the walk & talk the talk, when push comes to shove it won’t take much to tip it into the long-desired chaos our rulers need to start the lockdown into full-blown fascism. I’d say a week of record-setting temperatures across the country should do it, and climate change will bring that about, easy-peasy. The dead will be safe.

  3. Kevin J Lankford

    Being that our Constitution prohibits a standing army from its inception, and that it is the government itself demonstrating the most pervasive and salient lawlessness ever witnessed in this Nation; I would say the true United States Citizens have great cause for concern.
    I, personally see it as a deliberate show of force, for the express purpose of intimidation, and I will not be surprised to hear accounts of fatalities, disguised in suspicious sounding scenarios.

  4. Why am I reminded of all the ‘treaties’ signed by the government with the tribes of the Native Americans….. all of which were violated by the government.
    I don’t trust the lying bastards.

    • Bob, so true, look up Government taking back Lakato Souix reservation land around Pine Ridge. Most is land they graze their cattle on.
      Must be huge amounts of mineral or oil there.
      It is sickening.

    • Yo, BobToonist! Did you know the USSA [not a typo] has a perfect track record in its history? It’s never honoured a single treaty made w/its natives, not one, EVER. ALL of them have been broken to one degree or another, usually in a major way, which is why our original peoples tend to be so abject and depressed. Even when they served w/great distinction in WW2 they were quickly forgotten, and recognition –if any– came too late for the survivors.
      And for those who believe that a ruling class of only 10% of the population cannot subdue the 90%, take a look again at what England did to India from 1612 until 1947: 335 years! There were never more than 200,000 Brits ruling over more than 100,000,000 Indians: this proved that with enough technological expertise and use of ‘divide and conquer’ tactics, formidable control can be achieved.
      It’s already happened in the USSA and Kanada: as Gore Vidal remarked, “the great genius of the American ruling class has been its ability to set one segment of its oppressed against another, and to get the masses to vote against their best interests.” Divide and conquer, old as Hell!

  5. WHICH Constitution,Kevin? As I understand it,there’s the ORIGINAL one which most of us think the Country uses,and a totally DIFFERENT one,drawn up during the first CON-CON,which structures the US more as a Corporation than a Country. (Please correct me if I’m wrong on any of this-it’s still a “pieces and parts” realm for me. It’s been very hard for me to make myself see and believe things are so much different than I grew up thinking they were.)

    • Kevin J Lankford

      For us, the true United States citizens, that were created by the first, the original, and the binding Constitution, signed by the original forty signatories, is all that matters. That is the one to which we grew up swearing our allegiance and to which we expect all elected officials and members of service to honor and defend.
      As far as the true citizens of this country are concerned, there is no other.

  6. I wonder if anyone else is as freaked out by Jade Helm 15 as I am? Before any of you call me the crazy moron du jour. Let me explain why I am concerned. I could understand it if I thought Obama was really trying to keep the terrorists out of the country, but this has never been the case. If any trouble develops as a result of the presence of the troops, this could turn into Marshal Law and Obama will stay in power until it is over, which could take years, Also, why do Federal troops want to move around among the population unnoticed? Moving around covertly means infiltration. Like the gestapo before the Nazis arrived in Paris, their mission will be intelligence gathering before regular troops arrive. This is no ordinary training mission no matter what the military says. It should send up red flags for every American. Now before any of you say, “Put your hands up, Lady, and back away from the computer” There is more. I don’t remember who said it, but ” the Military of an untrustworthy government is untrustworthy.” These troops will not only be on public property, they will be on private property as well, outside of military bases. And they will be moving around out of uniform. US troops usually have maneuvers on forts or post areas. States must also give permission for Federal troops to work with law enforcement. Have any of you heard of any of the states giving permission? It appears that it is a project not to protect civilians from terrorism, but to desensitize the Military into treating American citizens as the enemy.

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  8. @evh,
    Please use the correct terms and spelling. Thank you.
    Marshall Law was a TV series.
    Marshall Plan – The Marshall Plan (officially the European Recovery Program, ERP) was an American initiative to aid Europe, in which the United States gave $17 billion (approximately $120 billion in current dollar value) in economic support to help rebuild European economies after the end of World War II. The plan was in operation for four years beginning in April 1948.
    Martial Law – The exercise of government and control by military authorities over the civilian population of a designated territory.
    Martial law is an extreme and rare measure used to control society during war or periods of civil unrest or chaos. According to the Supreme Court, the term martial law carries no precise meaning (Duncan v. Kahanamoku, 327 U.S. 304, 66 S. Ct. 606, 90 L. Ed. 688 [1946]). However, most declarations of martial law have some common features. Generally, the institution of martial law contemplates some use of military force. To a varying extent, depending on the martial law order, government military personnel have the authority to make and enforce civil and criminal laws. Certain civil liberties may be suspended, such as the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, freedom of association, and freedom of movement. And the writ of Habeas Corpus may be suspended (this writ allows persons who are unlawfully imprisoned to gain freedom through a court proceeding).

    • @WK Thanks for correcting my mistake. It was funny and I had a good laugh. Of course, it should have been Martial Law. I have no idea how it came out that way. If you are looking for perfection, don’t read my posts. I always make mistakes, misspell words, use bad grammar and there are typos and technical errors in all of them. I like to relax, join in the discussions and have fun. It just doesn’t bother me if I happen to make a mistake. Also, it doesn’t bother me when other people make mistakes.

    • While I appreciate your knowledge of the legal complexities, it seems to me, WK, that the past forty years –but most especially the current regime– has shown us over & over & over that it doesn’t care about or need any stinking Constitution. Our neo-con reactionaries have insistently asserted that the Executive Branch is a power both unto itself and above the others, which is why it is so dangerous.
      When push comes to shove, it will be to get us into the transport trains and the camps. These exist, paid for by your taxes. I have seen one camp in Florida, all set to go, just needs FEMA to show up w/the keys and Bob’s your uncle in prison –I mean– a security compound for his own good, dontcha know?

  9. With things like the partisan Joe Doe investigations in Wisconsin done against conservatives by Democrat officials under color of law (among things like IRS hassling of conservatives, Black Panthers getting a pass, Clive Bundy’s ranch and cows, the attempted Green Tip ammo ban, etc.) in recent years, people certainly have their doubts…

  10. @WK:
    I believe the television series may have been titled “Owen Marshall, Attorney At Law”, not “Marshall Law”…….
    …. just sayin’ …. not nit pickin’

  11. I am sure everybody knows what Freud said about individuals who correct people’s spelling and grammar?????????????????????

    • Please, evh, do tell us, as I love bits & pieces of history and biography, and along the way we get our sandbox tidied a bit. I’m NOT being sarcastic; this is a request for knowledge, for which I thank you!

  12. The full phrase of the acronym-ified name is even worse than the acronym. After all, consider what “eradication” means, it isn’t a light-hitting term: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=eradicate&allowed_in_frame=0 With the following words applied “local” and “militants”, who does the military and federal government consider to be “militants”, “locally”?
    My guess, this is a training exercise, but with the goal in mind of training the special ops for a possible second civil war scenario, only west vs. east instead of north vs. south. I would suggest blowing their cover wherever possible, and thereby rendering the exercise a failure, and be sure not to tell them how you blew their cover, so that the pentagram won’t be able to take any useful data away from it. I would also suggest other readers call their state governments and see if they are willing to do what Abbott did (it may just be hot air, of course, but hey.)

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