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The January 29 Coincidence: Martial Law in Arkansas, Helicopters and Gunfire over Miami and Houston


March 7, 2013
Natasha Lennard / Salon.com & Disclose TruthTV & SlashDot.org & WSVN News & The Miami Herald & The Blaze & KTRK-TV

The mayor and police chief of an Arkansas town announced that police in SWAT gear and carrying AR-15s would be patrol city streets. Meanwhile, in Miami, black helicopters strafing highways with blank rounds near the Adrian Arts center. In Houston, military-style choppers were roaming the skies as armed men in fatigues -- bearing "a lot of firearms" and what many believed were real live rounds -- patrolled the ground. The Army did not give any details on its "military exercise."

http://www.salon.com/2013/01/29/arkansas_town_enacts_martial_law/

Arkansas Town's Martial Law Plan
Natasha Lennard / Salon.com

PARAGOULD, Arkansas (January 30, 2013) -- Update: According to local news reports, the police department canceled two subsequent town hall meetings to discuss the heavy-handed policing plan. Following outrage from Paragould residents, the police cited "public safety concerns" to cancel the meetings.

Meanwhile, Paragould's mayor has reportedly dialed back his rhetoric around the amped up policing proposal and, according to the Arkansas Times, the mayor said patrolling police would not "constantly" be carrying assault rifles. Although announced to begin in January, no SWAT patrols have begun in Paragould yet.

Original: Following a rise in violent crime in Paragould, an Arkansas town of around 26,000 residents, the mayor and police chief announced that starting this month police in SWAT gear carrying AR-15s would patrol the streets.

"If you're out walking, we're going to stop you, ask why you're out walking, and check for your ID," police chief Todd Stovall told a December town hall meeting. As if to render the implementation of a visible police state more palatable, Stovall assured residents that police stops would not be based on any profiling: "We're going to do it to everybody," he said.

Stovall also told residents he had not consulted an attorney before instituting the plan. HuffPo's Radley Balko noted that Paragould is not the first town to bring in such measures:

Using SWAT teams for routine patrols isn't uncommon. Fresno did this for several years in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The city sent its Violent Crimes Suppression Unit into poorer neighborhoods and stopped, confronted, questioned, and searched nearly everyone they encountered.

"It's a war," one SWAT officer told Christian Parenti in a report for The Nation. Another said, "If you're 21, male, living in one of these neighborhoods, and you're not in our computer, then there's something definitely wrong."

Balko picked up on interesting detail in Stovall's comments. The police chief said, "This fear is what's given us the reason to do this. Once I have stats and people saying they're scared, we can do this."

As Balko pointed out, although there was an uptick in violent crime in Paragould, "fear" of crime was used as the pretext to implement martial law -- based on such troubling reasoning, there is never not fear in US towns today and so there is never not a pretext to introduce patrolling SWAT teams.

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.



The Mysterious Military Helicopter Drills
Disclose TruthTV



(February 4, 2013) -- Independent journalist David Seaman reported on helicopter drills over major cities. Media outlets in Miami and Huston have confirmed that military exercises involving helicopters took place over those cities, Seaman said, noting that social networks indicate similar drills occurred elsewhere in the country. Gunfire was also heard by witnesses, he added.

"I've lived in America my whole life and I don't remember any military helicopter drills when I was a child," Seaman stated, puzzled as to why there was not more of a reaction to this news.

He questioned claims that the exercise was to prepare for overseas combat, speculating that it may have been training to quell public unrest in the event of massive currency devaluation or an announcement of war with Iran.


Machine Gun Fire From Military Helicopters Flying Over Downtown Miami
Posted by timothy / SlashDot.org

(January 29, 2013) -- Okian Warrior writes with word that, as of Monday evening, multiple police agencies and the military were "conducting training exercises over Miami and elsewhere in the county. The exercise includes military helicopters firing machine-gun blanks while flying over highways and buildings.

"[A] YouTube video shows helicopters strafing highways with blank rounds near the Adrian Arts center. There are reports of similar actions in Houston From the Houston article: 'if you see the helicopters or hear gunfire, it's only a drill.'"

Machinegun Fire from Military Helicopters
Flying over Downtown Miami Fl.

WSVN News





Don't Mind the Helicopters, It's Just
Practice, Miami-Dade Police Say

Diana Moskovitz / The Miami Herald

MIAMI (January 21, 2013) -- If you see military helicopters buzzing through your neighborhood sometime soon, don't freak out. It's probably a military training exercise.

Miami-Dade police sent out a warning Monday that multiple police agencies would be providing support for a joint military training exercise somewhere over Miami and elsewhere in the county. The exercise will include the use of military helicopters.

When and where will this happen? Police didn't say.

The police statement said the training locations and times "were carefully selected to minimize negatively impacting the citizens of the City of Miami/Miami-Dade County and their daily routines."

But it also acknowledged that there would be some impact on residents.

"This is routine training conducted by military personnel designed to ensure the military's ability to operate in urban environments, prepare forces for upcoming overseas deployments, and meet mandatory training certification requirement," the police statement said.

This isn't the first time such training has been done in Miami. In April 2011, military helicopters buzzed through Brickell, leading to sleepless nights for some people and a lot of griping on social media about it.


So Why Have Military Helicopters
Been Flying Over Miami?

The Blaze.com

MIAMI (January 28, 2013) -- A number of Miami residents have been startled to see military helicopters buzzing above their heads throughout the past week. The helicopters have been seen circling the skies, soldier-like figures have apparently been repelling onto rooftops, and some have even reported hearing what sounds like gunfire. So what's going on?

According to officials, there's nothing to be concerned about. But that hasn't stopped a number of local residents from raising concern.

The Miami Herald related about a week ago, before the drills started:
Miami-Dade police sent out a warning [last] Monday that multiple police agencies would be providing support for a joint military training exercise somewhere over Miami and elsewhere in the county. The exercise will include the use of military helicopters.
[...]
The police statement said the training locations and times "were carefully selected to minimize negatively impacting the citizens of the City of Miami/Miami-Dade County and their daily routines." But it also acknowledged that there would be some impact on residents.

"This is routine training conducted by military personnel designed to ensure the military's ability to operate in urban environments, prepare forces for upcoming overseas deployments, and meet mandatory training certification requirement," the police statement said.

But those who don't read the papers were terrified at the sight of soldiers rappelling onto rooftops, as what sounded like machine gun fire echoed off the high-rises. Josh Epperson, an artist who was visiting Miami during the drill, remarked: "I heard the machine gun fire and then I hit the deck…I didn't know what to expect, and it was one of the loudest things I'd ever heard."




Black Helicopters Appear in US Cities
CBS Miami

MIAMI (January 29, 2013) – Some members of the US military were busy in Miami Thursday night as they conducted exercises in Downtown Miami. CBS4 captured video of Black Hawk helicopters flying over the city as part of a joint military training exercise. Thursday night's training took place near the Stephen P. Clark Center in Miami and a nearby Metrorail station where troops could be seen rappelling from the military choppers onto the Metrorail station platform.


Military Training Drill Scares Houston
Residents with Helicopters, Machinegun Fire

KTRK-TV



(Jan 29, 2013) -- Following reports of a military exercise occurring in Miami this week, KTRK-TV shot video of military-style helicopters roaming the skies in Houston, Texas. There have also been several reports of gunfire in the area.

The US Army tells KTRK-TV that they are overseeing a "multi-agency training drill" at the old Carnegie High School on Houston's south side. There were reportedly armed men in fatigues, a lot of firearms and what many believed were real live rounds. The Army did not give any additional details regarding what the training is all about or why it is being conducted in Houston….

The sight of Army helicopters and the sound of gunfire created a lot of concern Monday afternoon in one Houston neighborhood. We received a lot of phones calls, Tweets and Facebook posts from worried neighbors, wondering what was going on.

SkyEye 13 HD was over the south side where at first look, it appeared there was a massive SWAT scene happening. With military helicopters flying above her southeast Houston neighborhood, Frances Jerrals didn't know what to think.

"When you see this, you think the worst. When you hear this, you think the worst," Jerrals said. And so, she passed along her concern. "She told me ‘don't come home it sounds like we're in a war zone. Guns, shooting, helicopters flying around the house,'" Isaac Robertson Jr. said.

The US Army along with other agencies took over the old Carnegie Vanguard High School near Scott and Airport. There were armed men in fatigues, plenty of weapons and what many thought were real live rounds

"I felt like I was in a warzone." Jerrals said. "It was nonstop. I was terrified."

Gunfire? In a residential neighborhood? Yes, blanks, but without warning?

We had Janet Napolitano warning us of domestic terrorists such as US military veterans, pro-life groups and those opposing illegal immigration.

Mike German, policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union and a former FBI agent, said his organization was concerned about law enforcement agencies' focus on radicalization, regardless of the specific ideology.

"Certainly, the right-wing report is focused far too much on rhetoric and things people say and things people think rather than on criminal activity and the people involved in criminal activity," he said. "There is plenty of crime out there for federal, state and local law enforcement to worry about. They don't need to invent threats that they have no factual basis for supporting."


Machinegun fire from Military Helicopters over Florida
Posted by Grimpachi / Above Top Secret.com

(January 28, 2013) -- When training begins with a load-out, they arm the guns for the entire flight time. I only heard 7 rounds being fired off over the city, which tells me someone was having a little fun.

If you noticed in the video, they were not stationary and were moving fairly fast -- which is not how we trained to fire. I got to play door-gunner a few times in the military -- even fired live rounds a few times-- so I can say that hitting something isn't easy and you need to fire more than that to even zero, which is why I am pretty certain someone was goofing off to kill the boredom.

There have been many times I have been on training maneuvers where we were issued blanks but I never got an opportunity to fire a shot so loading out isn't unusual at all. The other thing is they were definitely either going somewhere or coming back from somewhere and those destinations were where they would have had the opportunity to fire.

If I knew whether or not it was a National Guard unit or reserve unit that was training there then I could give a better explanation but I do not think it was an active duty unit due to the location. I served in reserves then National Guard after active duty and they all have different mentalities, missions, and discipline as how they go about things.

Considering they were training with the police, I would think it is a National Guard unit, which the governor can approve of the exercises. Miami once was the cocaine capital of the US but things have died down. I don't much care for our governor here but lending air support from the National Guard would be a step up from how the National Guard has been used in the past.

I have a feeling the choppers came from the 111th Aviation Regiment ANG they even do exercises fighting wildfires but basically as long as the governor signs of on a commander's request then they will train for it. There is also ANG Special Forces unit in Florida but there isn't really an active duty base for the army here. Camp Blanding is the main training area for all Guard and reserve in Florida but you can't go there every weekend as the trip takes an entire day from Tampa so many units improvise training in local areas.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

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