Pentagon Bracing for Public Dissent over Climate and Energy Shocks

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:US_Navy_030322-N-1328C-501_Master-at-Arms_2nd_Class_Robert_Butler_from_Florence,_S.C.,_dresses_out_in_riot_gear_for_a_training_exercise.jpg

Picture: US DOD (PD)

Nafeez Ahmed writes at the Guardian:

Top secret US National Security Agency (NSA) documents disclosed by the Guardian have shocked the world with revelations of a comprehensive US-based surveillance system with direct access to Facebook, Apple, Google, Microsoft and other tech giants. New Zealand court records suggest that data harvested by the NSA’s Prism system has been fed into the Five Eyes intelligence alliance whose members also include the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

But why have Western security agencies developed such an unprecedented capacity to spy on their own domestic populations? Since the 2008 economic crash, security agencies have increasingly spied on political activists, especially environmental groups, on behalf of corporate interests. This activity is linked to the last decade of US defence planning, which has been increasingly concerned by the risk of civil unrest at home triggered by catastrophic events linked to climate change, energy shocks or economic crisis – or all three.

Just last month, unilateral changes to US military laws formally granted the Pentagon extraordinary powers to intervene in a domestic “emergency” or “civil disturbance”:

“Federal military commanders have the authority, in extraordinary emergency circumstances where prior authorization by the President is impossible and duly constituted local authorities are unable to control the situation, to engage temporarily in activities that are necessary to quell large-scale, unexpected civil disturbances.”

Other documents show that the “extraordinary emergencies” the Pentagon is worried about include a range of environmental and related disasters.

In 2006, the US National Security Strategy warned that:

“Environmental destruction, whether caused by human behavior or cataclysmic mega-disasters such as floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, or tsunamis. Problems of this scope may overwhelm the capacity of local authorities to respond, and may even overtax national militaries, requiring a larger international response.”

Two years later, the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Army Modernisation Strategy described the arrival of a new “era of persistent conflict” due to competition for “depleting natural resources and overseas markets” fuelling “future resource wars over water, food and energy.” The report predicted a resurgence of:

“… anti-government and radical ideologies that potentially threaten government stability.”

In the same year, a report by the US Army’s Strategic Studies Institute warned that a series of domestic crises could provoke large-scale civil unrest. The path to “disruptive domestic shock” could include traditional threats such as deployment of WMDs, alongside “catastrophic natural and human disasters” or “pervasive public health emergencies” coinciding with “unforeseen economic collapse.” Such crises could lead to “loss of functioning political and legal order” leading to “purposeful domestic resistance or insurgency…

“DoD might be forced by circumstances to put its broad resources at the disposal of civil authorities to contain and reverse violent threats to domestic tranquility. Under the most extreme circumstances, this might include use of military force against hostile groups inside the United States. Further, DoD would be, by necessity, an essential enabling hub for the continuity of political authority in a multi-state or nationwide civil conflict or disturbance.”

That year, the Pentagon had begun developing a 20,000 strong troop force who would be on-hand to respond to “domestic catastrophes” and civil unrest – the programme was reportedly based on a 2005 homeland security strategy which emphasised “preparing for multiple, simultaneous mass casualty incidents.”

The following year, a US Army-funded RAND Corp study called for a US force presence specifically to deal with civil unrest.

Such fears were further solidified in a detailed 2010 study by the US Joint Forces Command – designed to inform “joint concept development and experimentation throughout the Department of Defense” – setting out the US military’s definitive vision for future trends and potential global threats. Climate change, the study said, would lead to increased risk of:

“… tsunamis, typhoons, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and other natural catastrophes… Furthermore, if such a catastrophe occurs within the United States itself – particularly when the nation’s economy is in a fragile state or where US military bases or key civilian infrastructure are broadly affected – the damage to US security could be considerable.”

The study also warned of a possible shortfall in global oil output by 2015:

“A severe energy crunch is inevitable without a massive expansion of production and refining capacity. While it is difficult to predict precisely what economic, political, and strategic effects such a shortfall might produce, it surely would reduce the prospects for growth in both the developing and developed worlds. Such an economic slowdown would exacerbate other unresolved tensions.”

That year the DoD’s Quadrennial Defense Review seconded such concerns, while recognising that “climate change, energy security, and economic stability are inextricably linked.”

Also in 2010, the Pentagon ran war games to explore the implications of “large scale economic breakdown” in the US impacting on food supplies and other essential services, as well as how to maintain “domestic order amid civil unrest.”

Read more here.

  • emperorreagan

    Of course they’re bracing for public dissent. One need only flip through a journal like Foreign Affairs – no one is hiding what’s on the horizon globally.

  • Anarchy Pony

    Can’t allow a catastrophe to provide an opportunity to overthrow or displace the establishment. That’s basically what it boils down to.

  • Adamas Macalz

    Well shit, there goes my hopes of being a cannibal…. on a more serious note…. they have the logic of a sociopath. instead of making change that would cost a shitload of money now but lead to a more sustainable future for all, they would rather continue on this course and pursue it to it’s inevitable end. which not only fucks over the entire planet, but also will probably cost even more money than it would now… good thinking guys…

    • Bluebird_of_Fastidiousness

      Important note: “they” won’t be paying the tab. As you’ve noticed, they’re psychopaths and give 0 fucks.

      • InfvoCuernos

        Also, a problem of resources might be partially solved by eliminating large portions of consumers of those resources. We used to just wage wars and that was enough to trim down the population, but now with killer robot planes and cruise missiles, we need to get creative in knocking down some of those consumer digits.

        • Adamas Macalz

          Why don’t we serious discussion as a nation about population control? instead of arguing over bullshit that doesn’t matter like gay rights or abortion laws(which should be a no brainer, expanding someone’s freedom does not infringe on yours… and your religious convictions shouldn’t be important in a political debate) we should discuss things that are important to our survival as a species like sustainable numbers… such a things as limiting the number of kids per household(though encouraging adoption to those who want more) would slowly eliminate the “necessity” of war

          • InfvoCuernos

            I think the answer to why there is no serious discussion about population control is that we really and truly are ruled by sociopaths that love nothing more than rivers of blood. That’s the only solution I can come up with that makes any sense. Why else would otherwise rational people refuse to acknowledge any problem in the first place? The Chinese did it, and I’m thinking that now that they swing a lot more clout, they might push us toward doing the same. First, we need to push the reset button on all this medieval religious shit that’s throttling the world.

          • http://www.facebook.com/adamas.macalz Adamas Macalz

            I hope it’s sociopath’s honestly… at least I could in some way respect sociopaths, even if it’s the respect you have for a shark from a good distance… the only other option I could think of is collective fear, willed ignorance, and the inability to think ahead… I would much rather prefer “evil”, because that you could just replace or take out the individuals altogether, than incompetence which means no matter what you do the system is broken and needs to be completely destroyed

          • Bluebird_of_Fastidiousness

            Many of my friends come from a nearby, very liberal, city. It comes up occasionally that our dog is from a breeder. Now mind you, we vetted that breeder, and actually she vetted us, so it was a very ethical decision. But it never fails to hiccup the conversation. The dialog often either ends with something about needing working dogs on a farm or a reminder about how many strays die in the local shelter every week.

            And I’m always tempted to ask, but haven’t yet. “So all your kids are adopted, right?” And I don’t ask that, because I know the answer and I want to have friends.

        • Bluebird_of_Fastidiousness

          What do you think DHS bought all those JHP rounds for? I’ll give you a hint. It’s not target practice and it wasn’t a rounding error on the order form. 1500000000 is the correct number or was until this came out. Make that 15000360000.

          edit for reference: the US population = 316870000.

          edit for fun: 15000360000/316870000 = 47 (and change) for every man, woman and child drawing breath (currently) in this fair nation.

          • InfvoCuernos

            There’s an alternate theory to the ammo buy-up and that is that the govt. bought up huge amounts of ammo to drive the price up so that the ammo manufacturers would make a huge profit. I know it seems far-fetched that the government would work hand-in-hand with the arms manufacturers but I lean towards this one because it favors the military-industrial complex and that’s usually how shit gets done in the govt. Also, if they were going to exterminate us, they would come up with a more cost effective way like gassing or giving us all cancer.

  • BuzzCoastin

    this actually makes it pretty clear
    that most Homeland directed governments
    considered their citizens enemies of the government
    until proven otherwise
    which all their other actions confirm

  • rhetorics_killer

    Let’s put it clear: The European settlers who established themselves in America first destroyed the people, then the land. US politicians will always consider immediate buck-benefits against ‘deep perspective’ considerations. Unfortunately the disease has spread back over Europe, too.

    • Kropotkin1936

      Shit goes back to Rome, and further

      • rhetorics_killer

        Yes (sorry for taking so long to react), with the strong difference of nuclear power. What I mean is we have not upgraded our awareness while searching for technical efficiency. We handle nukes with a ‘Roman’ psychic. This silliness displayed by heads of states as well as their fellow contributors, big company CEOs, may prove a bit unfit when facing critical choice. Their private interest will always bias their attitude.

21
Read previous post:
Why Hunting For Terrorism With A Data Panopticon Doesn’t Work

From seven years ago, Bruce Schneier explains why collecting massive amounts of data won't allow us to find terrorist patterns hidden within: Many believe that data mining is the crystal...

Close