The Department of Homeland Security is spending millions of dollars in preparation for a “Mass Civil Breakdown,” using universities to study how the U.S. military can respond to civil unrest.
The government program, called the “Minerva Research Initiative,” which started in 2008, became public when The Guardian revealed details of the program. The multi-million dollar project is designed to help the U.S. Government put down civil disturbances by targeting political movements, identifying political activists and even using social media sites like Twitter to identify and target “peaceful activities and protest movements.”
According to the Guardian, the Minerva program has $75 million in government funds allocated over five years for social and behavioral science research. This year alone it has been allocated a total budget of $17.8 million by US Congress.
I contacted the project’s principal investigator, Prof Maria Rasmussen of the US Naval Postgraduate School, asking why non-violent activists working for NGOs should be equated to supporters of political violence – and which “parties and NGOs” were being investigated – but received no response.
Similarly, Minerva programme staff refused to answer a series of similar questions I put to them, including asking how “radical causes” promoted by peaceful NGOs constituted a potential national security threat of interest to the DoD.
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Among my questions, I asked:
“Does the US Department of Defense see protest movements and social activism in different parts of the world as a threat to US national security? If so, why? Does the US Department of Defense consider political movements aiming for large scale political and economic change as a national security matter? If so, why? Activism, protest, ‘political movements’ and of course NGOs are a vital element of a healthy civil society and democracy – why is it that the DoD is funding research to investigate such issues?”
Minerva’s programme director Dr Erin Fitzgerald said “I appreciate your concerns and am glad that you reached out to give us the opportunity to clarify” before promising a more detailed response. Instead, I received the following bland statement from the DoD’s press office:
“The Department of Defense takes seriously its role in the security of the United States, its citizens, and US allies and partners. While every security challenge does not cause conflict, and every conflict does not involve the US military, Minerva helps fund basic social science research that helps increase the Department of Defense’s understanding of what causes instability and insecurity around the world. By better understanding these conflicts and their causes beforehand, the Department of Defense can better prepare for the dynamic future security environment.”
Who is this mysterious enemy that the U.S. Government is planning to fight?
Over the last couple of years, the federal government has spent billions upon billions of dollars studying civil unrest. In fact, the federal government has even built multimillion dollar mock U.S. cities to train for what they say are “problems that we don’t even know we have yet.”
While the government may want the public to believe this money is being spent to “secure the homeland” from foreign attacks, a disturbingly large amount of money seems to have been allocated towards fighting U.S. citizens. Even scarier, is how the government has managed to build its own domestic army without a single person in Washington D.C. saying a word.
The Department of Homeland Security now has over 240,000 full-time employees, with a budget of over $61 billion dollars a year – pretty incredible considering this agency didn’t even exist prior to 9/11/2001.
Started under George Bush, DHS was established to prevent terror attacks in the United States. But under this new administration, the agency has grown into a monster which now oversees the U.S. Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection, Secret Service, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) – all of whom now have heavily armed SWAT teams and massive amounts of firearms and ammunition.
To make matters worse, earlier this month the Obama administration actually reinstated a federal task force that’s mandate is to go after U.S. citizens who have anti-government views and “racial prejudice.” This drew harsh criticism from even those who normally support this administration, with the ACLU saying they have major “concerns that it could be a sweeping mandate to monitor and collect controversial speech.”
The Domestic Army/Police force: The formation of a Civilian National Security Force
During the 2008 presidential campaign, then Candidate Obama said something in a speech that got very little attention at the time. While speaking to a crowd of supporters, Obama said, “We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.”
It seems that speech should have been a red flag for everyone, because since taking office it seems he has done exactly what he said he would do: Build a civilian national security force.