Residents of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., are being told that military operations in their night skies, the type that prompted a Minneapolis resident to complain "conditions people to accept a police state," are just routine.
In a video accompanying a report by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, a man complained, "There are … Black Hawks flying around my condo."
The report said it's just "routine training" by various government branches.
It all started Sunday night around 8 p.m. when a low-flying aircraft was heard in downtown Ft. Lauderdale, the paper said.
The Sun-Sentinel said South Florida "is not under attack, according to the Broward sheriff's office."
The paper explained there are several days planned of "routine training" for elements of the U.S. Department of Defense.
The training will take place at locations throughout the county, the report said, with local law enforcement agencies "providing support."
The purpose of the military operations training is to "certify service members in urban environment operations," the report said.
Such operations have been increasing in recent years, both in frequency and size.
WND reported several years ago on a military training episode in Minneapolis. Records clerk Melissa Hill told the Star-Tribune her concern was that people are being conditioned to accept a "police state."
"To me it's really frightening," she said. "Military copters flying around in our airspace in an urban setting – it kind of conditions people to accept a police state."
The evidence already has been cited in a new book claiming the Department of Homeland Security under President Obama is shifting the balance of power away from local and state municipalities toward a centralized federal military authority.
'Civilian national security force'
In "Impeachable Offenses: The Case to Remove Barack Obama from Office," New York Times bestselling authors Aaron Klein and Brenda J. Elliott documented the DHS has likely violated the Posse Comitatus Act.
The law expressly forbids direct participation by the military in a "search, seizure, arrest, or other similar activity."
But the authors further cite evidence the DHS is building a de facto domestic military, with the purchase of military-grade equipment and the execution of military-style training exercises.
Some of the latest from Ft. Lauderdale: (Be aware of objectionable language)
The DHS could be carrying out Obama's call for a civilian national security force, warn Klein and Elliott.
In his July 2, 2008, "New Era of Service" address delivered at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, presidential candidate Obama said: "We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we've set. … We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded.”
Obama's prepared remarks delivered to the news media before the speech did not include the passage.
"Impeachable Offenses" relates Obama revised President Bill Clinton’s 1992 Defense Department Directive 1404.10, Emergency-Essential (E-E) DoD U.S. Citizen Civilian Employees.
The prior directive was rescinded. The new directive issued Jan. 23, 2009, states that a Civilian Expeditionary Workforce "shall be organized, trained, cleared, equipped and ready to deploy in support of combat operations by the military; contingencies; emergency operations; humanitarian missions; disaster relief; restoration of order; drug interdiction; and stability operations."
Klein and Elliott describe just one of the efforts: the Transportation Security Administration's Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response program, or VIPR.
A 2007 act authorized the TSA to use any DHS asset for its VIPR teams, including federal air marshals, transportation security officers, surface transportation security inspectors, canine detection teams, explosives detection specialists, behavior detection officers and federal, state and local law enforcement officers. As an extension of the TSA, VIPR teams may be found screening passengers, looking for suspicious behavior and acting as a “visible deterrent for potential terrorist acts."
While VIPR began under President Bush, the drills were expanded exponentially, and possibly illegally, under Obama, "Impeachable Offenses" charges.
Amazingly, black helicopters – often attributed only to conspiracy theorists’ imaginations – were involved with VIPR team operations. They were seen flying low over the perimeter at Yeager Airport in Charleston, W.V., as part of a two-day VIPR operation.
In June 2011, TSA ran an all-day field exercise encompassed 5,000 square miles along the Ohio River Transportation Corridor that covered parts of Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, including air, water and ground resources.
The widespread VIPR operation included Coast Guard boats on the river, Ohio Air National Guard Black Hawk helicopters with multi-jurisdictional teams onboard and the West Virginia Air National Guard and other aircraft in the air. Law enforcement vehicles were "visible at various 'targets' (industrial plants, pipelines, surface or road assets) and other general infrastructure, including the Willow Island Locks and Dam," and Ohio highway patrolmen on the ground.
WND also has reported numerous massive ammunition purchases by the federal government, including one in 2013 in which non-military federal agencies acquired 2 billion rounds.
While speculation abounds over the federal government's binge on bullets, gun organizations such as the National Rifle Association have told WND the purchases are consistent with the total number of armed officers in the government's various agencies – a fact some, however, say is downright intimidating.
"It's not the number of bullets we need to worry about," said Jeff Knox, director of the Firearms Coalition, "but the number of feds with guns it takes to use those bullets."
"I don't think it's a dark conspiracy," added Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation. "I just don't understand the need for all that firepower."
WND's reporting has included documentation of the buildup of a guard-dog attack capability within the federal government:
- In 1997, WND blew the lid off 60,000 federal agents enforcing over 3,000 criminal laws, a report that prompted Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America to remark, "Good grief, that's a standing army. … It's outrageous."
- Also in 1997, as part of a ongoing series on the militarization of the federal government, WND reported on the armed "environment crime" cops employed by the Environmental Protection Agency and a federal law enforcement program that had trained 325,000 prospective federal police since 1970.
- WND also reported on thousands of armed officers in the Inspectors' General office and a gun-drawn raid on a local flood control center to haul off 40 boxes of paperwork.
- WND further reported on a plan by then-Delaware U.S. Sen. Joe Biden to hire hundreds of armed Hong Kong policemen into dozens of U.S. federal agencies to counter Asian organized crime in America.
- In 1999, WND CEO Joseph Farah warned there were more than 80,000 armed federal law enforcement agents, constituting "the virtual standing army over which the founding fathers had nightmares." Today, that number has nearly doubled.
- Also in 1999, WND reported plans made for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, to use military and police forces to deal with Y2K.
- In 2000, Farah discussed a Justice Department report on the growth of federal police agents under President Clinton, which Farah labeled "the biggest arms buildup in the history of the federal government – and it's not taking place in the Defense Department."
- A 2001 report warned of a persistent campaign by the Department of the Interior, this time following 9/11, to gain police powers for its agents.
- In 2008, WND reported on proposed rules to expand the military's use inside U.S. borders to prevent "environmental damage" or respond to "special events" and to establish policies for "military support for civilian law enforcement."
- More recently, WND reported that while local police have found themselves short of necessary ammunition, the federal government has been stockpiling billions of rounds for its non-military, non-FBI law enforcement officers.
"There are currently more than 70 different federal law enforcement agencies employing over 120,000 officers with arrest and firearms authority, according to Bureau of Justice Statistics data for 2008," explained Knox in a WND column. "That's an increase of nearly 30 percent. If the trends have continued upward at a relatively steady rate, that would put the total number of federal law enforcement officers at somewhere between 135,000 and 145,000.
"That's a pretty staggering number," Knox continued, "especially when you consider that there are only an estimated 765,000 state and local law enforcement officers. That means that about one in seven law enforcement officers in the country works directly for the federal government, not a local jurisdiction."
WND also has reported on the increasing level of war-grade arms being given to local police:
- In the Atlanta area, for example, citizens were alarmed to see an armored "BearCat" military vehicle with thermal imaging patrolling neighborhoods;
- The DHS is now reportedly granting billions of dollars to police departments for purchase of military-style hardware;
- Reports from Florida, Texas and Minnesota reveal black helicopters firing blanks over freeways and armed troops invading towns as part of "realistic urban training" for the military;
- Local police departments have been attempting to launch drone technology to watch over cities;
- The Department of Homeland Security was caught labeling as potential "terror" threats such "right-wing extremists" as returning war veterans, pro-life activists and states' rights advocates;
- The Obama administration has come under fire for a memo on the authorized use of drones to kill U.S. citizens.
Radio host Michael Savage listed one more factor on his program, citing not only the rise in federal acquisition of guns and ammunition, but also the simultaneous effort by the Obama administration to place more restrictions on private gun ownership.
1.6 billion rounds
"If you want to get paranoid, Obama can really help you in your work," Savage continued. "Why would the Department of Homeland Security have purchased 1.6 billion rounds of hollow-point ammunition over the last 10 months at the same time they're trying to disarm the average American citizen?"
Hear Savage's comments:
And about those black helicopters? Reports have the U.S. military's Special Operations Command doing "realistic urban training" for military maneuvers on site in cities across the United States.
One of the reports was that military helicopters were "buzzing neighborhoods in Miami.
There, a photographer "captured video of a military helicopter firing its machine guns as it flew over an area freeway."
Josh Epperson said, according to the report: "'I heard the machine gun fire and then I hit the deck … I didn't know what to expect, and it was one of the loudest things I'd ever heard."
Army spokesman Michael Noggle told WND the military considers the drills routine.
He said it's the responsibility of local authorities who give the military permission to stage practice assaults to notify their residents.
"These are standard training exercises known [as] realistic urban training conducted by units from United States Special Operations Command," he said.
Noggle said the "purpose of the realistic urban training is to give our Special Operators an opportunity to hone their skills in a controlled, but unfamiliar, realistic urban environment that cannot be replicated with the bare-boned facades found on military installation ranges."