U.S. military commandos practiced raids in the shuttered Agassiz Elementary School last month, including a nighttime helicopter landing on the school’s roof, the Gazette has learned.
The elite special forces training was done without notice to nearby residents. No live ammo or explosives were involved and safety measures were taken, according to military spokesperson Kim Tiscione.
A vaguely worded July 25 press release from the Mayor’s Office announced citywide “military training exercises,” including helicopters, through Aug. 5. In fact, the exercises were top-secret training for the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), whose commandos recently killed terrorist Osama bin Laden, Tiscione told the Gazette.
The training was a secret:
USSOCOM did not notify local residents about the training because of its secret nature, Tiscione said. Indeed, she would not even identify what branch of the military she was speaking for until pressed by the Gazette.
“We’re from Special Operations,” Tiscione acknowledged, referring to the umbrella organization of all four military branches’ special forces. “I’m kind of being vague on purpose. It’s more of a challenge for us when people know who we are.”
She said that USSOCOM does not want people recording the training, which is even more of a danger with the special forces’ popularity in the wake of the Bin Laden killing.
Local residents were shocked and frightened:
“It was really scary,” said resident Sara Wermiel, whose house is just feet from the 12 Child St. school and was bombarded by a “sandstorm” kicked up by the chopper.
“It just seems nuts to me,” said Wermiel. “Don’t they have a site where they could do this where they wouldn’t be alarming people and creating a sandstorm?”
According to the article, Boston Mayor’s Office spokesperson Christopher Loh said that “secrecy helps ensure safety by reducing the number of people out watching an operation.”
“I would caution you to make a judgment about safety,” Loh said. “Obviously, this is one of the world’s great fighting forces. They know what they’re doing.”
But the reporter found evidence to the contrary:
Gazette review of international news articles found that, since 2010, there have been at least seven non-combat crashes of U.S. military helicopters. A total of seven troops died in those accidents, at least three of which involved training flights. That includes a training crash just this week in Georgia that killed two special forces aviators.
And in the famous May 1 killing of Bin Laden in Pakistan, one of two helicopters carrying the USSOCOM commandos made a minor crash-landing while entire the raid site, forcing them to abandon the chopper.
A military helicopter was shot down last week in Afghanistan, killing 22 Navy SEAL commandos.
Recent crashes in Hawai’i include the 2009 helicopter crash at Wheeler Army Airfield that killed two pilots and the March 2011 crash of a Marine Corps helicopter in Kane’ohe Bay that killed one Marine and injured three.
But the danger goes beyond the possibility of accidents. Bruce Gagnon discusses the future threat of these creeping military operations eventually being used against domestic populations:
Yes, that is it – we’re from “Special Ops”. We can do whatever we want. The message to the American people is – get used to it.
Now, was this military exercise done in the white wealthy section of Boston? No, it was held at 9:00 pm on a summer night when the nearby basketball court was full of young, likely mostly unemployed men, while others were out on the street or sitting on their door steps. This was a warning to poor and working class people. You know it was a poor and working class neighborhood because of the shuttered school. Rich white neighborhoods don’t have closed schools.
This is evidence that USSOCOM is preparing for the coming revolution in America as the economy collapses. They are practicing their “special ops” tactics to land in urban neighborhoods so they can “control” uprisings. But these “exercises” also serve as warnings to the public – they have a chilling effect on those who might ever even think about standing up against the corporate machine.
They acknowledge that USSOCOM is not only holding these “ops” in Boston. They are doing them all across the nation – sending the same warning with each chilling raid in the dark of night. It’s evident that the corporate dominated government sees the people of America as the enemy.
As usual Mr. Big uses the “terrorism thing” to justify their own offensive program of terror that is all about preparing to round up the hostiles to put us on the reservations.
This kind of stuff needs to be identified and denounced while we still can. It’s fascism plain and simple.
This is not far fetched, especially here in Hawai’i. In the past, the military in Hawai’i conducted training exercises simulating terrorist attacks by Hawaiian sovereignty activists.
Another way war is brought to our neighborhoods is by recreating the war zone. Several years ago, Afghan Americans were brought from California to Waimanalo to play villagers in a training exercise.
Photo by Cpl. Reece Lodder
This is not Kandahar. It is a Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT) facility in Lihu’e (Schofield). The caption from the photograph reads:
Marines and a corpsman with Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, balance tending to a mock casualty and responding to the concerns of Afghan role-players during counterinsurgency training at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, Aug. 2, 2011. Over two weeks, 3/3’s line companies rotated from classes to two-day training evolutions at Schofield’s military operations in urban terrain facility, working through scenarios by practicing patrolling, working vehicle control points and interacting with the role-players. Moving further into their pre-deployment training program, the battalion is preparing for the Mojave Viper exercise at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, Calif., at the end of August. The month long training event will be their final evaluation before deploying to Afghanistan’s Helmand province in support of Operation Enduring Freedom this fall.