Lucy, what happened? Simple, Ricky. 1033, that’s what. And as is usually the case the public has nary a clue of what’s happening. The ACLU reported that 80% of SWAT raids are in conducting search warrants. And with public support for the mysterious and fictive War on Drugs at an all time low the police are using militarized techniques in connection with a war that’s been long lost.
And the NDAA is to blame. Again.
Faced with a bloated military and what it perceived as a worsening drug crisis, the 101st Congress in 1990 enacted the National Defense Authorization Act. Section 1208 of the NDAA allowed the Secretary of Defense to “transfer to Federal and State agencies personal property of the Department of Defense, including small arms and ammunition, that the Secretary determines is— (A) suitable for use by such agencies in counter-drug activities; and (B) excess to the needs of the Department of Defense.” It was called the 1208 Program. In 1996, Congress replaced Section 1208 with Section 1033.
The ACLU provides a most thorough review of the horrors. War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Police – Report
And let’s not forget the oft-forgot, little known posse comitatus hat I commend to you for review. The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, still in effect, was passed to prevent U.S. military personnel from acting as law enforcement agents on U.S. soil. Today, Posse Comitatus has taken on a different meaning from the one that it had in 1878 but the basic and precepts remain intact. No longer associated with Reconstruction, “it is a useful way to prevent the U.S. armed forces from directing their efforts against U.S. dissident groups. Public sentiment in favor of the Posse Comitatus Act is so strong that a 2006 law permitting an exception to the Act in cases of public disasters (in response to Hurricane Katrina) was repealed a year later.” [Source]
The text of the Posse Comitatus Act, which is still in effect (as 18 U.S.C. Section 1385), reads:
Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.
This isn’t arcane history. This is real and happening before our very eyes.