Earlier this month, the United States Coast Guard upheld its self-declared status as a 'special' branch of the military with the ability to prosecute civilians in military tribunals. This startling declaration, unreported in the media, came in a Decision on Appeal related to the case of Lieutenant Eric Shine, a commissioned Naval officer in the Merchant Marines and a graduate of Kings Point Military Service Academy, and was penned by the Vice Commandant of the Coast Guard. The decision can be downloaded and read here.
The Coast Guard began proceedings to strip Lieutenant Shine of his merchant mariner license in March, 2003, supposedly as the result of incidents related to his service on two private vessels in 2001. In actuality, as Lieutenant Shine points out, the charges were brought in retaliation for attempting to blow the whistle on illegal dumping and other practices he had been asked to engage in during his employment. The Coast Guard's case against him rested on two hostile witnesses (who had previously been named by Shine in his whistleblower litigation) and the Chief of the Coast Guard Medical Evaluations Office, an officer in the Coast Guard who had never examined Shine but was willing to testify to his medical incompetence.
Download an interview with Eric Shine about his case, the Coast Guard and the open implementation of martial law here
The precedent-setting nature of Lieutenant Shine's case with the Coast Guard prosecuting him as an alleged civilian in an Article 32 military tribunal is disturbing enough. But when this case is set in the history and context of the Coast Guard and its repeated attempts at "crossing the Rubicon," an even more disturbing picture emerges.
In 49 B.C., Julius Caesar led the Roman Legion across the Rubicon and into Rome itself, defying the Roman Senate and soon thereafter declaring himself Emperor for life. This was the beginning of the changeover from the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire and the phrase "Crossing the Rubicon" is now used to refer to a move by government toward military dictatorship and the suspension of civil liberties.
Unbeknownst to most Americans, the United States Coast Guard has been attempting to 'cross the Rubicon' for decades, and actually achieved that goal in a silent coup in 2003 when it was moved from the Department of Transportation into the newly-created Department of Homeland Security. This change was not merely bureaucratic; it allows the Coast Guard to now openly declare itself "one of the five armed forces of the United States and the only military organization within the Department of Homeland Security." The problem is that the Coast Guard is now attempting to straddle the line between a civil service agency (as it was set up to be and indeed has always been, except during times when it was specifically placed in the service of the Navy) and a branch of the military, conforming to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
For those who understand how the United States military has been set up, and the laws and prohibitions against military personnel engaging in the policing of civilians, the fact that the Coast Guard wants to act as a maritime police agency at the same time as it declares itself a branch of the military is a clear indication that the United States is now officially under martial law.
In 1878, Congress passed a law known as Posse Comitatus that prohibited the use of military personnel or assets in domestic law enforcement. At the time, it was clear that the act was an attempt to prohibit the military from policing civilians on U.S. soil, as happened in the South under Reconstruction. What has been taking place in earnest since 9/11, however, is an attempt to erode the spirit and the substance of Posse Comitatus so that the Executive branch can effectively 'cross the rubicon' and use military personnel in domestic policing operations.
As the video below demonstrates, both Democratic and Republican demonstrations have been attempting to overcome Posse Comitatus for decades, and 9/11 was the blank cheque they needed to kick their agenda into high gear:
On October 23, 2001, unconvicted war criminals John Yoo and Robert J. Delahunty wrote to White House counsel Alberto Gonzales giving the legal opinion that "The president has ample constitutional and statutory authority to deploy the military against international or foreign terrorists operating within the United States."
On October 23, 2001, unconvicted war criminals John Yoo and Robert J. Delahunty wrote to White House counsel Alberto Gonzales giving the legal opinion that "The president has ample constitutional and statutory authority to deploy the military against international or foreign terrorists operating within the United States." The Bush Administration then tried to use that very opinion to justify sending American troops into the suburbs of Buffalo to seize a group of men who were claimed to be working with Al Qaeda. The decision was evidently made not to pursue that course of action at that time, but the legal opinion stood and the Administration waited for the opportunity to formalize the legality of deploying troops on home soil.
That opportunity came in 2006, after years of scaremongering over the "War on Terror" (which former Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge later admitted was done to influence voters at politically sensitive times). A section (1076) was slipped into the John Warner Defense Authorization Act that granted the president the authority to deploy troops domestically during "national emergencies." In 2008, Congress attempted to take these powers away from the administration by passing legislation repealing the offending sections of the Act, but President Bush issued a signing statement when signing that legislation into law saying that his administration was not bound by it.
From that point on, the legal floodgates have been open and a stream of increasingly disturbing reports have confirmed that Posse Comitatus had been repealed and that the public is being conditioned to accept uniformed military personnel policing American civilians on the streets of America.
In September 2008, the Army Times reported that the 3rd Infantry Division's Brigade Combat Team had been reassigned to NORTHCOM to patrol the "homeland" in crowd control and civil unrest situations.
In December of 2008, the Marine Corps Air and Ground Combat Support Group dispatched uniformed troops to aid police checkpoints in California.
In September of 2009, the Army and Air Force provided assistance to the National Guard for security at the G20 in Pittsburgh.
Also in September of 2009, the Assistant Secretary of Defense in Obama's Defense Department requested authorization to deploy 379,000 troops inside the U.S.
But this issue is not merely an American one. There is currently a coordinated agenda across the Western world to harmonize these types of rubicon-crossing moves toward outright martial law across borders.
In March 2009, the Canadian militarywhich began a formal merger with the American military in February 2008 that would see American troops deployed on the streets of Canada and Canadian troops in America during 'national emergency'announced that it, too was preparing special reserve units to provide for 'domestic security' during times of civil unrest. The troops are being trained in various crowd control and emergency measures, such as how to set up and maintain internment camps for Canadian citizens in the event of such things as enforced quarantines after a bioterror attack.
Also in March 2009 it was revealed that the British Army was being readied to deal with Brits should rioting break out in the UK.
What all of this case history reveals is that there is a coordinated agenda to knock down any remaining walls separating the general population of America, Canada and the UK from their own militaries. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the way the Coast Guard has quietly shifted from a federal policing agency into a self-declared branch of the military.
As Lieutenant Eric Shine rightfully asks in his own article on the subject, how does the Revenue Cutter Service, originally located in the Department of the Treasury, merge with the Lighthouse Service, the Ice-breaking Service and other civil service agencies to become a branch of military? How does a branch of the military end up in the Department of Homeland Security, whose mission is explicitly to police the "homeland" and its residents? How does this branch of the military get away with filing charges in a military tribunal against an alleged civilian who has never served in their uniform, and then proceed to prosecute, adjudicate and act as appellate of that tribunal?
And perhaps the most important question of all: When will the American public, and the peoples of the other Western powers, realize that the Rubicon has long since been crossed and that they are already living in a military dictatorship?
James Corbett is an independent journalist in Japan whose work can be found at corbettreport.com. Information on Lt. Shine's case can be found at crossingtherubicon.org.