In the United States, both laws (Insurrection Act of 1807 and Posse Comitatus Act of 1878) and tradition require that the U.S. military be separated from involvement with domestic politics and civilian affairs.
But an Army video has surfaced, depicting U.S. Marines subduing civilians in a training exercise in a public park in Yuma, Arizona, which is causing much consternation that the video is evidence that the Obama administration is preparing for martial law.
The video, titled “Assault Support Tactics 3,” is produced by Defense Video & Image Distribution System (DVIDS), a website operated by Third Army/U.S. Army Central (ARCENT) on behalf of the Department of the Army, and paid for by the US Department of Defense. The video was taken on April 17, 2015, in Yuma, Arizona, by U.S. Marine journalist Sgt. Daniel Kujanpaa. This is how the video is described on DVIDS:
U.S. Marines from 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division participate in assault support tactics 3 during Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course (WTI) 2-15 in Yuma, Ariz., April 18, 2015. WTI is a seven week event hosted by Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron One (MAWTS-1) cadre. MAWTS-1 provides standardized tactical training and certification of unit instructor qualifications to support Marine Aviation Training and Readiness and assists in developing and employing aviation weapons and tactics.
Here is a version of the video, 02:27 minutes long, posted to YouTube, showing the Marines subduing men (crisis actors) dressed in civilian clothes, some with feigned injuries like the guy with a bloodied face at the 0:17 mark:
Note the presence of spectators with small children outside the park’s chain link fence, watching armed soldiers hunting down ordinary Americans. Here’s a screenshot I took at the 0:12 mark:
The YouTube video is a shortened version of the original footage because the beginning of the video speeded up or rushed through the arrival of the Marines in choppers into a public park somewhere in the city of Yuma. The original 7:10 minutes-long video is posted on DVIDS.
What is interesting about the original video is that there is imagery only at the beginning, showing a chopper landing in the park and Marines talking to spectators — including small children — on the other side of the chain link fence. But after the 01:15 mark, there is no imagery for the rest of video until just before the video ends. In other words, the images of Marines subduing and hand-cuffing “civilians” were blocked.
There is, however, audio — of male voices talking, shouting, metallic clanking, a hoarse voice (at around the 05:04 mark), and the sound of machine gun fire (?) or a chopper at around the 05:45 mark. Finally, beginning at the 05:50 mark, the imagery returned — of soldiers carrying a “wounded” man on a stretcher to a waiting chopper, soldiers cleaning up, the landing of another chopper, and the deserted park at nightfall.
Go to DVIDS and verify for yourself about the censored-out imagery of Marines subduing and handcuffing crisis actors posing as civilians.
While I understand the U.S. military must train our soldiers in simulated scenarios, what is the need or rationale for a drill depicting armed soldiers subduing civilians in a public park, seen by families with small children? Why wasn’t this drill conducted on a military base or in that fake city in Virginia constructed with millions of hard-earned taxpayer dollars? (See “U.S. Army builds $96m fake city in VA to train for what?”)
This “training exercise” in a public park will only add to the apprehensions about Operation Jade Helm — a 2-month Special Operations Exercise by élite members from all four branches of the U.S. military, unprecedented in its size and scope.
Update (May 28, 2015):
Please see my exchange with commentator Three Percent below.