Friday, October 9, 2009

American Police Force Armed in Montana? Mercenaries a National Civilian Security Force?

The stir over members of the America Police Force, now said to have renamed itself American Private Police Force, housing in a bed-and-breakfast in Hardin, Montana has gone quiet. Is the story over? Maybe the story is over in Hardin, but what about elsewhere? See video below.

Mercenaries - Blackwater in New Orleans

Questions remain:

(1) Was the APF armed as they strolled the streets of Hardin?  Notice I did not say "patrolled." At least one person, Michael Hilton, was staying at bed-and-breakfast in the town. As he went about his business, supposedly meeting with town leaders, was he armed?

(2) In light of Michael Hilton's criminal record, including a 6-year stint in a California prison, why is he allowed to be armed?

Gun laws in Montana are the most lenient in the whole country. No permits are required for residents owning guns or rifles.
Are members of the APF "residents" of Montana? Michael Hilton says he lives in Los Angeles, and the organization is headquartered in Washington, D.C.

How is it that they, a foreign operation, are able to circumvent any and all LAWS & Statutes regarding Automatic weapons and operations of this caliber with no oversight from State or Federal Authorities, when the local Sheriff's Dept. stated that all of this is entirely rumor ??????
About being a "foreign operation:" Unless a contract between APF and Hardin has signed, APF is foreign to Montana, at least. Michael Hilton is the head and founder of American Police Force, as far as we know, and he says he is a naturalized citizen, originally from Montenegro. So far, I have not found verification of his naturalized status.

Hilton wears a police-type or military-type uniform. He introduces himself as Captain Michael, but admits that the "Captain" moniker does not indicate a military background. The guy is criminal, many times over. I want to know if Hilton and the APF brought weapons into the town of Hardin, and if he did, what kind of weapons, and were those weapons legal?

It's a scary thing. APF is likely a wanna-be-mercenary group. Who hires these people (aside from Hardin)? The answer is frightening. In 2007, The Washington Post published The Private Arm of the Law.
With the sleeve patch on his black shirt, the 9mm gun on his hip and the blue light on his patrol car, he looked like an ordinary police officer as he stopped the car on a Friday night last month. Watt works, though, for a business called Capitol Special Police. It is one of dozens of private security companies given police powers by the state of North Carolina -- and part of a pattern across the United States in which public safety is shifting into private hands.

Private firms with outright police powers have been proliferating in some places -- and trying to expand their terrain. The "company police agencies," as businesses such as Capitol Special Police are called here, are lobbying the state legislature to broaden their jurisdiction...
That was 2007.

I understand that our city police forces are overwhelmed with foreign and domestic terrorism. If we are paying "special" police, why do we not just fund the "real" police? Maybe the WSJ has the answer.
Hiring private guards is less expensive than hiring new officers. Oakland -- facing a record $80 million budget shortfall -- spends about 65% of its budget for police and fire services, including about $250,000 annually, including benefits and salary, on each police officer.

In contrast, for about $200,000 a year the city can contract to hire four private guards to patrol the troubled East Oakland district where four on-duty police officers were killed in March. And the company, not the city, is responsible for insurance for the guards.
The irony: Oakland was forced to abandon plans to hire International Services, Inc. after find that the company's founder and two executives were charged with defrauding the State of California out of more than $9 million in worker's compensation.

Citizens are desperate to control their neighborhoods, as increasingly, city police and country sheriffs cannot even begin to tamp-down crime. But is turning to private police forces, who are often paid with taxpayer funds, but are responsible to no one, the answer?

In These New Times has more commentary.

American has been on the road to dual law enforcement for many years now, and we didn't even know it. What happens when one of the "dual" overpowers traditional authorities?

I'm not concerned about the portly gentlemen patrolling our malls - at least for now, or our gated communities - unless a less than reputable firm, like maybe American Police Force or International Services, but I am alarmed at the federal government handing over the control of our streets, airports, ports and prisons. Who regulates these forces?

Capitol Special Police patrolling a port

Fans of the CBS-terminated TV series JERICHO will recognize the name "Ravenwood." This was the ruthless mercenary force used by the illegitimate federal government at Cheyenne to subjugate the citizens of Kansas in the aftermath of a massive nuclear attack against two dozen American cities. As with much of JERICHO's superbly written story line, Ravenwood reflected real-world entities.

Private mercenary forces have been used extensively throughout the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, as well as in many other theaters. And as JERICHO correctly depicted, these "private contractors" have largely operated without oversight or accountability. (Can anyone say, "Blackwater"?) For the most part, the American people are unfamiliar with these mercenary forces, because they normally operate in foreign theaters of war. JERICHO put them on the streets of U.S. cities.

Now it looks like JERICHO was more prophecy than fiction.
Mr. Baldwin is referring to Hardin, Montana. We will never know the full story of Hardin, because town leaders are loathe to admit they were duped by a criminal con-man. The Hardin story will fade away, but then Baldwin reminds us:
Any kind of national police force is not only unconstitutional; it is anathema to everything American law and jurisprudence is built upon. Law enforcement is clearly and plainly the responsibility of the states and local communities. 
Jim Kouri, Vice President of the National Association of Chiefs of Police, writes:
There are many police and law enforcement officials who are concerned with the growing trend of using military-experienced mercenaries to train and work with local police officers in the United States, but there are many who believe the events of September 11, 2001 dictate the need for this new paradigm. 
For example, Kentucky’s Lexington Police Department contracted Blackwater Security International to provide what’s described as homeland security training.

Meanwhile that city’s Mayor Jim Newberry and its chief of police Anthony Beatty refused free training provided by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement federal program that prepares police officers to enforce immigration and border security as part of their duties.

Lexington is on the nation’s list of so-called Sanctuary Cities in which police officers are prohibited from working with ICE or Border Patrol agents in the United States....
So, is this the way it comes down? A city decides it will harbor illegals. They hire private mercenaries to keep that effort unincumbered...and what's next? A city hires private mercenaries or mercenary volunteers to guard polling stations...and encourage a specific vote? That's already happened. A city hires private mercenaries to search private homes for weapons? This almost happened in Washington D.C. The police chief spearheaded the idea, then when the news broke, she claimed she always intended to get a search warrant. Who knows who would have knocked on your door? A policeman or private mercenary?
Asked why the police department's press office confirmed that officers would be asking to search homes without warrants in exchange for amnesty from certain gun and drug charges, Chief Lanier said "I didn't have all the details."
Remember that Chief of Police Cathy L. Lanier insists that the U.S. Supreme Court has no say over the citizen's Second Amendment rights. SCOTUS ruled it illegal to "prevent law-abiding residents from possessing firearms for self-defense inside their homes." Lanier is fighting the ruling.

The Second Amendment says:
"the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."
In September 2009, Decian McCullagh writing for CBSNews points out that if the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to "bear arms," it must mean something more than walking around your house with a .40 caliber Glock in a belt holster:"
In last year's Heller case, the justices' majority opinion noted that "at the time of the founding, as now, to 'bear' meant to 'carry,'" and that the phrase "'bear arms' was unambiguously used to refer to the carrying of weapons outside of an organized militia." Also: "We find that (the Second Amendment's clauses) guarantee the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.""
Nevertheless, Lanier has filed another legal brief, the defense of which will be paid by taxpayers, in an effort to disarm law abiding citizens. When homes are searched, whether under search warrant or not, will it be by "real" police, or the Capitol Special Police, who are in Washington, D.C. because:
The fact is that your local police and sheriff's departments are overwhelmed with calls for service, which decreases their ability to patrol your property and respond to all your needs with the attention and timeliness you desire.
I believe in armed police and sheriff. I believe in them using their weapons when appropriate. I know little about the Capitol Special Police. I am not targeting them or other such armed security.  It is possible, however, that Obama's plan for a National Civilian Security Force might be happening right under our noses, or at least the foundation for something similar. With no need to actually recruit and train a body to be further used in some unconstitutional way, how would "we the people" know about it?

National Civilian Security Force (video)

Background Reading on APF:
Hardin, Montana Military Presence? Two Rivers Detention Facility?

©2007-2012copyrightMaggie M. Thornton