Then, second, it is important to realize that the reason authorities were so ready to order the "lockdown" [which is, in itself, a euphemism for martial law] is that they have been training to do so several years. Operation "Urban Shield" is a training plan for a multi-disciplinary response to a major terrorist incident, and if you take the time to view this video [produced with DHS grant money], you will realize that not only have Massachusetts authorities been preparing to invade their own city, they have been conditioning the citizens to expect it.
Third, you need to know that the whole apparatus has been coordinated through a mind-numbing series of interlocking bureaucratic offices like the Boston Regional Intelligence Center [BRIC] and the Metro Boston Homeland Security Region, which includes the participation of organizations like
Various agencies will be involved, including UASI Boston Communities including Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Somerville, Winthrop, Revere, Quincy, Everett, and Chelsea and Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) units from:
- the Boston Police Department;
- the Brookline Police Department;
- the Cambridge Police Department;
- the Revere Police Department;
- the Northeastern Metropolitan Law Enforcement Council (NEMLEC);
- the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Association (MBTA) Police Department;
- the Massachusetts State Police;
- the Middlesex County Police Department;
- the Metropolitan Law Enforcement Council;
- the Manchester, NH Police Department
So it wasn't an improvisation, this invasion of Boston, it was a pre-planned, Federally coordinated effort that sent 9-10,000 police in BDUs with assault rifles and back by dozens if not hundreds of armored fighting vehicles and combat helicopters. It was pre-planned to shut down mass transit, the schools, and to restrict all citizens to their homes.
Perhaps you find it comforting that Uncle Sam has so thoughtfully provided for this rapid response.
I don't. I think something else should be learned from this--several something elses as a matter of fact:
1. The response was clearly disproportionate to the situation. We didn't shut down Oklahoma City for the Federal Building bombing, New York for the first WTC attack, or Atlanta for the Olympic bombing. London didn't get shut down on 7/7, nor did Madrid. We don't shut down cities when serial killers are on the loose, or when drug gangs take after each other in flurries of automatic gunfire. We haven't--but from now on I suspect we will. Why was the response disproportionate? Because there was no credible nuclear, biological, or chemical threat, and once the original bombing site had been secured and the crowds there dispersed there was very little legitimate reason to bring one of America's largest metropolitan areas to a full stop--except to prove that it could be done.
2. The response was overwhelmingly military, and its execution was designed to see if Americans would accept it. This is a critical point, and requires a little insider baseball to explain. The current in-vogue doctrine for Homeland Security response is the "all hazards" and "all hands" response. In an NBC scenario you would be talking about hospitals mobilizing to treat radioactive or chemical injuries, firefighters mobilizing to contain massive blazes, utility workers sweeping in to restore power or clear debris, and crisis relocation shelters set up. That's why there has to be a gigantic command and control operation atop this kind of exercise. But in Boston it was a Homeland Security dream situation because only the military and para-military assets were in play. Ironically, these are the easiest assets to coordinate and deploy, and I guarantee you that the command centers running this operation were full of officers running a full-out wet dream operation. They got to mobilize ALL the toys, sweep aside ALL constitutional safeguards, thunder down the streets of
... even though it was a guy smoking a cigarette behind his house and not any of the 10,000 cops who actually led to the capture of the suspect. The exercise itself (said the little boy to the naked emperor) was actually something of a failure in terms of catching the bomber.
3. But catching the bomber was never the point of the exercise. The point of the exercise was actually mobilizing all the assets to see if they could take over an American city on the slightest of legal pretexts [just who does have the legal authority to shut all the schools and shut off all mass transit for the pursuit of a single suspect]. The point of the exercise was to establish the "new normal" of massive response, and to make the administration's point that anywhere in America could become "the battlefield." The point of the exercise was to get Americans used to seeing "surge" tactics in our own streets, to obeying calls to "shelter in place," and not to ask questions when heavily armed men in BDUs come storming up to your door.
4. And you cannot trust them. Don't believe me--ask the ACLU. I realize we are all in the middle of the spin-cycle in which everyone from the Mayor to the Governor to the President will be patting themselves on the back, but it is time to go back a few steps...
Go back a few steps and realize that the same police departments and homeland security authorities that just invaded Boston with 10,000 men, AFVs, and attack helicopters have spent the past several years illegally spying on private citizens for their non-violent political views. Watch the whole ACLU video, please:
Boston was essentially a "live-fire" exercise conducted on the flimsy premise that one fugitive merited the armed invasion and shut-down of one of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States.
Boston was an exercise to see if we would buy it, if we would acquiesce, and if most of the voices that would rise in protest could be dismissed as cranks, conspiracy theorists, or ... libertarians.
Boston, whether you know it or not, was a watershed, and not a good one.