U.S. military is legally limited in action versus civilian population

In a previous column, a reference was made to the effect that word had come to me about the possible repeal of the old Posse Comitatus law, which was enacted after the close of the War Between the States (commonly called the Civil War) in 1878. That law served to make unlawful the use of U.S. military personnel and equipment against U.S. citizens and business when within the borders of the nation, unless martial law had been legally and officially declared. The use of National Guard personnel and equipment was permitted since those were under the control and direction of the governor of the state.

On July 3, 2015 a reply to that column was received from the son of one of our departed World War II Vets of Tulsa members, also a Navy officer, with, unfortunately, confirmation of the previous report. The consequences of this misguided action by a previous Congress and president are most disconcerting to those who love their freedom.

To compress, for space considerations: the e-mail documentation furnished me, the culprit law, SB 1867, was enacted after being prepared by Senators Carl Levin; D-Michigan, and John McCain; R-Arizona. It was then passed in a closed-door committee meeting without any kind of hearing. It was then signed into law by PRESBO at the end of 2011. The language (allowing military policing) appears in sections 1031 and 1032 of the National Defense Authorization Act.

The information further quotes a statement by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, as: “Under the worldwide indefinite detention without charge or trial provision of S.1867, the National Defense Authorization Act bill…. the legislation will basically say in law for the first time that the homeland is part of the battlefield.” He supported the bill!

The documentation further states: “This means Americans could be declared domestic terrorists and thrown into a military brig with no recourse whatsoever. And American citizens and people picked up on American or Canadian or British streets being sent to military prisons indefinitely without ever being charged with a crime.”

As a surprise to me, the documentation goes on to state that the ACLU is urging citizens to call their senator and demand that the Udall Amendment be added to the bill, a change that would at least act as a check to prevent Americans being snatched off the streets without some form of congressional oversight. This is a real rarity in the numerous statements of the ACLU that are in agreement with constitutional-believing common-sense citizens.

This serves to confirm my deep concerns after being told that the PC law was no longer in effect. The possible result could be major roundup of citizens who may disagree with and/or criticize government officialdom – even to midnight door crashing home invasions by jack-booted thugs in uniform as was done in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. They would not bother to obtain a warrant for a search and could kill or incarcerate those invaded for as long as was desired.

A book on USA history given me by the widow of a Central High School class of 1943 classmate documented at least one incident during the War Between The States where an out-of-control Union officer became irate at the actions of a citizen in the city and proceeded to take illegal action against him. That was the reason that the Congress of the time enacted the Posse Comitatus law.

Fifteen or twenty years ago, while being questioned for jury duty, I injected the PC law into an answer, much to the consternation of the prosecutor, who promptly challenged me off the jury even though I had stated no problem with National Guard equipment and personnel being used in police operations. He later apologized for the challenge.

This law needs to be returned.