August 29, 2011
The Pentagon is exploiting Hurricane Irene in an effort further militarize disaster response. Fox News reported today that the Pentagon is using the overstated hurricane to minimize civilian participation in emergency situations.
Troops on the streets: Military convoy in New York in the aftermath of Irene.
Over the weekend, the Pentagon appointed “dual-status commanders” to direct both active-duty troops and guardsmen assisting civilian officials in New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina and Rhode Island. In the past, the chain of command was split between federal and state authorities.
Under the cover of fixing supposed delays, duplications and gaps after Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in August 2005, the Pentagon has further crippled Posse Comitatus – restricting military involvement in domestic law enforcement – and limited the participation of the state in disaster and emergency response.
This is the first time so-called dual-status commanders have been used for a natural disaster. In the past, they were used at international summits, but not for domestic response to a hurricane.
The AP basically reports that the Pentagon used the storm as a beta test for the roll-out of the next phase of the police state – tight integration of emergency response and law enforcement on the state and local level under the military command and control of the Pentagon and the federal government.
Dual-status commanders were established by the Northern Command following the attacks of September 11, 2001. Northcom was specifically created by the Pentagon to “defend the U.S. homeland and help civilian authorities handle domestic crises like Irene,” according to the Associated Press.
The appointment of the dual-status commanders for Irene was announced by the Defense Department. Military officials said four governors and the Defense Department made the selections together.
Obama’s fancy command center is part of the effort to sell further militarization of law enforcement. The National Response Coordination Center set up at FEMA headquarters in Washington and worked with the Pentagon and other agencies during the much hyped storm.
Obama used the center to stay in touch with Vice President Joe Biden and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, among other bureaucrats, and provide valuable propaganda footage for the corporate media.