The 51st Police State: U.S. National Guard being used to ‘fight crime’ in Puerto Rico
By Andrew Steele
June 14, 2010
Earlier this year the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2499, which put Puerto Rico on the path to statehood. The resolution would offer Puerto Ricans a two step vote, first asking them if they would like to remain a commonwealth of the U.S. Then if not, they would vote on whether to become the 51st state.
Most Puerto Ricans, it’s believed, would vote yes if given the choice.
With Puerto Rico on the fast track to becoming a U.S. state, the U.S. National Guard has wasted no time in training its people that if and when they join the union, Posse Comitatus will not be offered as part of the package deal.
An AP article from June 13th, 2010 reveals that the National Guard is being used to help police the island territory and fight drug gangs there. According to the article, U.S. soldiers have been dispatched to the capital city of San Juan as well as to other cities and mountainous areas to assist police actions. They are also taking part in police checkpoints, which were commented on in the article by one soldier who had also participated in similar checkpoints in Iraq:
“In Iraq, your enemy is going to try to kill you, but when you catch them they’re cooperative. Here in Puerto Rico, if you have to detain somebody for any reason, they are not very cooperative. They insult you and everything else.”
The Posse Comitatus Act was passed in 1878. It prohibits federal military personnel and units of the National Guard under federal authority from acting in a law enforcement capacity within the United States. Puerto Rico is still not legally part of the United States and therefore the use of the National Guard as police there– though outside the once traditional duties of U.S. soldiers whose job it is to win wars and come home– is questionable. If these actions continued after Puerto Rico obtained statehood then the use of the military in policeman roles against its citizens would be a violation of the act.