Newly obtained Minneapolis police records provide insight into recent urban military training
By Alex Thomas
(INTELLIHUB) — Records obtained by Public Record Media provide details into a week and a half long joint military and police training exercise conducted in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The records provide hints at a possible domestic focus in the exercise, including training in preserving evidence for criminal prosecutions.
Photos and videos of the August 2014 training exercise showing black hawk helicopters and soldiers in downtown Minneapolis began to appear online shortly after it began.
Local mainstream media reports labeled them as routine urban training being conducted with the help of the police department.
The Star Tribune reported:
Training in downtown Minneapolis for urban warfare this week, Black Hawk military helicopters circled low over the Stone Arch Bridge, hovered next to the Fifth Street Towers and landed on the roof of the Federal Reserve building.
The helicopters belong to the U.S. Special Operations Command, an elite and secretive military unit based in Florida that is winding up two weeks of training in Minneapolis and St. Paul on Saturday.
Police in both cities warned the public ahead of time, but the exercise still produced plenty of gawking and talking from those on the ground.
The exercise was originally proposed in a letter from the U.S Navy to Minneapolis Mayor Besty Hodges. The letter references the need for secrecy and reveals some of the objectives of the training.
Navy Special Warfare troops are constantly refining tactics to learn how to most effectively engage the enemy while ensuring the safety of non-combatants.
As we refine our procedures for working in urban settings, targeting the enemy, protecting civilians, and preserving evidence for criminal prosecution, the relationships we establish with urban law enforcement professionals are critical to our future success. (emphasis mine)
Due to the sensitivities of this training, we respectfully request that any information pertaining to this training be excluded from automatic public release.
In an article by Public Record Media that accompanied the release of documents, Matt Ehling wrote of the possibility that the August 2014 training involved much closer police and military collaboration than in years past.
The fact that the training specifically included preserving evidence for criminal prosecution led to the question of whether or not there was a domestic focus in the drills.
A quote from an anonymous federal official also seemed to indicate that there had been a change in the training within the last two years under new DOD regulatory guidance.
While much about the 2014 exercise appears to have paralleled its 2012 predecessor, MPD documents indicate that there were some notable – and perhaps significant – changes to the training regime.
Documents obtained by PRM in 2012 suggested that the Navy’s training operation was – at the time – undertaken for the purpose of preparing special operations forces for foreign deployment. However, records relating to the 2014 exercise include hints that some aspects of that training may have had a domestic focus.
According to an e-mail from an anonymous federal official, “There is a significant change in our ‘template’ since the August 2012 exercise,” and as such “we are under new DOD regulatory guidance for this type of training.” (emphasis mine)
The military’s solicitation letter to Mayor Hodges included a list of training specifics that mirrored language in its 2012 letter. Those specifics included training for “low visibility movement, low-altitude precision helicopter operations, surveillance, and counter-surveillance.” However, the Navy’s 2014 letter also stated that its exercises would help its personnel in “preserving evidence for criminal prosecution” and that the relationships established with urban law enforcement professionals would be critical to the Navy’s “future success.”
“Evidence collection” highlighted
Due to the existence of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, federal military personnel have largely been barred from participating in civilian law enforcement in a direct, operational capacity. While Congress has provided Posse Comitatus exceptions for logistics and counter-narcotics support, federal law still prohibits military personnel from engaging in arrests, evidence collection, and other tasks in support of domestic public safety and criminal prosecution.
Do the references to “evidence collection” by Navy personnel indicate that the military is actively preparing to undertake such operations on the domestic front? Or do the references point to some other function?
One possibility might be that Navy Special Forces personnel are being trained to preserve material from foreign combat zones in the service of later, federal terrorism prosecutions. It should be noted that criminal prosecution was a cornerstone of the Clinton administration’s approach to counter-terrorism. During the 1990s, multiple foreign nationals were brought before American courts, including the principals in the bombings of the USS Cole and the U.S. Embassy in Kenya.
Interestingly, after the training took place and multiple local politicians voiced their worry, the police chief ordered an internal investigation into the matter.
As noted by Ehling, the military could be using the training to preserve material in foreign combat zones but when you consider the endless amount of evidence indicating a move toward a martial law scenario, this seems closer to naive wishful thinking than a real possibility.
With Jade Helm on the horizon and similar smaller drills happening throughout the country on a seemingly monthly basis, fears of a move towards some sort of military crackdown will continue. While it is unlikely that the entire military would turn on the American people, some form of martial law may be on the horizon.
Urban Training Documents – Public Record Media
About the Author:
Alex Thomas is a reporter who has worked in the alternative media for over three years. His work has been featured on numerous news outlets including Infowars and RT. Alex is an exclusive weapon of Intellihub.
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