|Operation Falcon and the
Looming Police State
By Mike Whitney
--- - On 29th June, 1934, Chancellor Adolph Hitler,
accompanied by the Schutzstaffel (SS), arrived at Wiesse, where
he personally arrested the leader of the Strum Abteilung (SA),
Ernnst Roehm. During the next 24 hours 200 other senior SA
officers were arrested on the way to Wiesse. Many were shot as
soon as they were captured but Hitler decided to pardon Roehm
because of his past service to the movement. However, after much
pressure from Hermann Goering and Heinrich Himmler, Hitler
agreed that Roehm should die. At first Hitler insisted that
Roehm should be allowed to commit suicide but, when he refused,
Roehm was shot by two SS men. (Spartacus.schoolnet.co)
Later, Hitler delivered a speech at the Reichstag in which he
justified the murders of his rivals saying:
"If anyone reproaches me and asks why I did not resort to the
regular courts of justice, then all I can say is this: In this
hour I was responsible for the fate of the German people, and
thereby I became the supreme judge of the German people. It was
no secret that this time the revolution would have to be bloody;
when we spoke of it we called it 'The Night of the Long Knives.'
Everyone must know for all future time that if he raises his
hand to strike the State, then certain death is his lot."
The Night of the Long Knives is seen by many as the turning
point where Hitler made it clear that he was above the law and
the supreme leader of the German people.
Operation Falcon: Blueprint for removing dissidents and
The Bush administration has carried out three massive sweeps in
the last two years, rolling up more than 30,000 minor crooks and
criminals, without as much as a whimper of protest from the
Operation Falcon is the clearest indication yet that the Bush
administration is fine-tuning its shock-troops so it can roll up
tens of thousands of people at a moment’s notice and toss them
into the newly-built Halliburton detention centers. This should
be a red flag for anyone who cares at all about human rights,
civil liberties, or simply saving his own skin.
Operation Falcon was allegedly the brainchild of Attorney
General Alberto Gonzales and his counterpart in the US Marshal's
office, (Director) Ben Reyna. But its roots go much deeper into
the nexus of right-wing Washington think tanks where fantasies
of autocratic government have a long history. The name, Falcon,
is an acronym for “Federal and Local Cops Organized Nationally.”
It relates to the more than 960 state, local and federal
agencies which are directly involved in the administration’s
expansive criminal dragnets.
Typically, law enforcement agencies are protective of their own
turf and wary of outside intervention. The Falcon program
overrides these concerns by streamlining the information-sharing
processes and setting up a chain-of-command structure that
radiates from the Justice Department. This removes many of the
traditional obstacles to agency interface. It also relocates the
levers of power in Washington where thy can be manned by members
of the Bush administration.
Dictatorships require strong centralized authority and the
Falcon program is a logical corollary of that ambition. It
creates new inroads for Bush to assume greater control over the
nationwide police-state apparatus. That alone should be
sufficient reason for alarm.
The first Operation Falcon took place during the week of April 4
to April 10, 2005. According to the US Marshal’s official
website, “The emphasis centered on gang related crimes,
homicides, crimes involving use of a weapon, crimes against
children and the elderly, crimes involving sexual assaults,
organized crime and drug related fugitives, and other crimes of
violence.” More than 10,000 criminal suspects were arrested in a
matter of days. It was the largest criminal sweep in the
nation’s history and, according to U.S. Marshall chief Ben
Reyna, “produced the largest number of arrests ever recorded
during a single initiative.” The Washington Times noted, “The
sweep was a virtual clearinghouse for warrants on drug, gang,
gun and sex-offender suspects nationwide.”
The emphasis was clearly on quantity not quality.
Still, this doesn’t explain why state and federal agencies had
to be integrated with local law enforcement simply to carry out
routine police work.
More importantly, it doesn’t explain why local police ignored
their duty to protect the public just so they could coordinate
with outside agencies. According to one report “162 accused or
convicted of murder” were picked up in the first sweep. That
means that the police knowingly left murderers on the street and
put the public at risk while they orchestrated their raids with
That’s irresponsible. It also suggests that there may be a more
sinister motive behind the program than just ensuring public
safety. The plan appears to have been devised to enhance the
powers of the “unitary” executive by putting state and local law
enforcement under federal supervision. Once again, it’s an
attempt by the administration to extend its grip to the state
and local level. We saw a similar strategy unfold after
Hurricane Katrina when the Bush administration used the tragedy
to seize control of local police and National Guard units so
they could establish de facto martial law. Troops, armored
vehicles and mercenaries were deployed to New Orleans to fight
lawlessness and looting even though desperate people were still
stranded on their rooftops waiting for food, water and medical
Operation FALCON II was another massive dragnet which covered
the western half of the country and focused primarily on
“violent sex offenders”. The raids took place from April 17-23,
and succeeded in apprehending 9,037 alleged fugitives. The US
Marshals web site boasts that the operation “took some of the
country's most dangerous wanted criminals off the streets and
made America's communities safer”.
Nonsense. Despite the claims of success, only 462 “violent sex
crime” suspects were arrested, along with 1,094 “unregistered
sex offenders” and other minor “sex crime” suspects. That leaves
7,481 suspects who were rounded up for other unrelated reasons.
Who are they and what crime did they commit? Were these drug
violations, dads who were delinquent on child-support payments,
traffic tickets, jay-walking?!?
7,481 people who were incarcerated are unaccounted by the
government’s estimate. This means that the bulk of them were
probably undocumented workers who were shunted off to the INS
(Immigration and Naturalization) or dispatched to Cheney’s
tent-city gulags in western Texas. (See: Democracy Now “Human
Rights Groups Call for Closure of Texas Jail Holding
Undocumented Immigrants” 2-23-07)
Similar inconsistencies appear in “Operation FALCON III, which
covered the eastern half of the country from October 22 - 28,
2006.” State, local and federal police-units arrested 10,773
fugitives; including 1,659 sex offenders, 971 unregistered sex
offenders, 364 gang members, 140 homicide suspects, and 3,609
drug violations. Once again, the US Marshal’s official tally
doesn’t pencil out. This time, 4,030 extra people were rounded
up without any further explanation.
Who are they and have they been charged with a crime?
Furthermore, sex offenders, drug users and gang-bangers are not
what we normally consider “some of the country's most dangerous
wanted criminals”. In fact, there are indications that the great
majority of these people are not violent at all. For example, of
the 30,110 total fugitives who were apprehended in all three
Falcon sweeps, a measly 586 firearms were seized.
Clearly, the people who were arrested for the most part were not
“armed and dangerous” nor were they a serious threat to public
safety. They were probably just the unwitting victims of an
overzealous US Marshals office and an ideologically-driven
So, what was the real impetus for the Falcon raids? Was it just
a bean-counting exercise to see how many people would fit in the
back of a Paddy-wagon or are they a dress rehearsal for future
crackdowns on potential enemies of the state?
Bogus News Reports
The Falcon operation illustrates the incestuous relationship
between the media and the state. They are two wings on the same
plane. The Justice Department provided the TV networks with
official footage of policemen and government agents raiding
homes and handcuffing suspects; and the media dutifully aired
the video on stations across the country. The scenes were
accompanied by a reassuring commentary lauding the
administration’s new crime fighting strategies and linking
homeland security with the nebulous war on terror.
Attorney General Gonzales told reporters, “Operation FALCON is
an excellent example of President Bush’s direction and the
Justice Department’s dedication to deal both with the terrorist
threat and traditional violent crime.” He added, “This joint
effort shows the commitment of our federal, state, and local
partners to make our neighborhoods safer, and it has led to the
highest number of arrests ever recorded for a single initiative
of its kind.”
So far, not one of the more than 30,000 victims has been charged
with a terror-related crime.
The media-hype surrounding the raids has been celebratory and
uniform; cookie-cutter articles appeared throughout the US press
(most of them unsourced) highlighting the cooperation between
the divers agencies while providing an upbeat account of what
amounts to police repression. Thousands of nearly identical
articles appeared in the nation’s newspapers which seem to have
been authored by high-ranking officials at Homeland Security and
protégés of George Orwell; although the difference between the
two is far from certain.
Even stranger, most of the articles in the mainstream media can
no longer be retrieved via a Google search. They seem to have
vanished into the black-hole of Homeland propaganda.
No matter. If the media was supposed to make Gestapo-like
crackdowns look like normal police operations; they succeeded
admirably. Mission accomplished.
Former Governor of Louisiana, Huey Long once opined, “When
fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in an American
flag.” Indeed, he could have added that the corporate media will
gladly provide the flag and the public relations campaign as
they have with Falcon.
Falcon; new drills for a new world order
The Falcon operations can only be understood in the broader
context of the ongoing assault on the constitutional system of
checks and balances; including the repeal of habeas corpus,
warrantless wiretaps and searches, and the use of torture.
For the last 6 years, the Bush administration has been busy
dismantling the legal safeguards which protect the citizen from
the arbitrary and, oftentimes, ruthless actions of the state. To
that end, detention camps are being prepared by Halliburton
within the U.S., secret courts have been established which deny
due process of law, American citizens are arrested without
charge, law enforcement is increasingly militarized, and the
media has strengthened its alliance with the central government.
Additionally, in October 2006, George Bush quietly changed the
Insurrection Act, which prevented the President from deploying
troops inside the United States. Bush’s revision effectively
overturns the Posse Comitatus Act which put strict limits on the
executive’s power to use US troops in domestic situations. Just
days earlier Bush signed a similar bill, "The John Warner
Defense Authorization Act of 2007" which gives Bush the power to
take command of National Guard units across the country which
are traditionally under the control of the state governors.
Without fanfare, Bush has taken control of all armed forces and
militias inside and outside of the country and now has a
monopoly on all the state-sanctioned tools of organized
violence. It’s a coup that could never have succeeded without
the tacit cooperation of the media.
Bush is now free to declare martial law in response to a natural
disaster, a pandemic or a terrorist attack. The congress is
powerless to stop him.
Also, Bush recently signed the Military Commissions Act of 2006,
which allows the president to arbitrarily declare citizens and
non citizens “enemy combatants” and imprison them indefinitely
without charge. The new law gives Bush the authority to
disregard the Geneva Conventions and the 8th amendment’s ban on
“cruel and unusual” punishment and apply “harsh interrogation”
which may include torture. The act effectively repeals habeas
corpus, the cornerstone of American jurisprudence and the Bill
The Military Commissions Act cannot coexist with the US
Constitution; the two are mutually exclusive.
The Military Commissions Act, The John Warner Defense
Authorization Act, the Homeland Security Act, the Patriot Act,
and the myriad presidential signing statements have conferred
absolute power on George Bush. The question is whether or not
some incident will arise that will persuade Bush to use his
extraordinary new powers.
General Tommy Franks predicted that a “massive, casualty
producing event” might cause “our population to question our own
Constitution and begin to militarize our country;” a scenario
that many see as likely now.
Is that it? Will another terrorist attack provide the rationale
for overturning republican government and declaring martial law?
If so, then we should know what to expect.
According to FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) it would
mean “the suspension of the normal functions of civilian
government, implying the cancellation or postponement of state
and federal elections.” (Global Research) It would also “close
public and government facilities not critical for continuity of
essential operations.” (FEMA)
Northern Command would assume control and under “the classified
'Continuity of Government” (COG) Operations Plan' a secret
'shadow government' would become functional, redeploying key
staff to secret locations.” (Global Research)
Also, “all forms of public gatherings or citizen's protests
which question the legitimacy of the emergency procedures and
the installation of a police state” would be banned. The
military would be deployed to carry out “police and judicial”
Martial law in the US would be applied with the utmost attention
to public sensibilities and perceptions, avoiding the garish
display of force we see in Iraq. It would be a “kinder and
gentler” martial law with a limited number of military personnel
on the streets (just enough to remind us that things have
changed) and an emphasis on “preemptive” policing operations.
(Expect Falcons’ 4, 5 and 6 etc) It would probably be disguised
by a carefully crafted public relations campaign and a
predictably cheery moniker, such as, “The Security Enhancement
and Homeland Fortification Act”. The possibilities are
The Bush administration is also prepared if some unforeseen
tragedy befalls congress, like another anthrax attack.
In fact, the American Enterprise Institute, to which the Bush
team is closely aligned, has already "issued proposals for the
operation of Congress following a catastrophic terrorist
attack". They advocate the "APPOINTING" of individuals to the
House of Representatives "to fill the seats of dead or
incapacitated members, a first in American history" "The
Continuity of Government Commission is self-commissioned', its
members being neither elected nor appointed by any government
body and mostly made up of professional lobbyists". (Read the
whole article: http://www.conservativeusa.org/cog-ronpaul.htm)
(Coincidentally, Newsweek article “White House Rehearses for
Domestic Attack” 2-23-07; “The White House is staging a
high-level exercise Saturday to test responses to the prospect
of a massive domestic terrorist attack.” These drills are a
critical part of the C.O.G. regimen dating back to the Reagan
According to the AEI’s plan, the future United States congress
will be comprised of lobbyists and industry representatives.
What else would one expect from an organization that believes
that corporate interests should determine policy?
These are the chilling precedents which have paved the way for
further government lawlessness and abuse. They foreshadow the
ominous transition from representative government to autocratic
rule; from inalienable rights to martial law.
The Falcon operations are just a small part of this larger
paradigm. The program is not designed for rounding up minor
crooks and drug dealers, (which no one really cares about
anyway) but for removing leftists, dissidents and political
rivals. These are the real targets. The power of the state is
measured in terms of how effectively it defeats or eliminates
its enemies. And, the Bush administration has shown a remarkable
aptitude for crushing its rivals.
The Crawford Fuehrer
One day, after a particularly savage domestic purge; we can
expect President Bush to stride to the presidential podium and
reiterate the same words that were uttered by his German
predecessor 60 years ago:
"If anyone reproaches me and asks why I did not resort to the
regular courts of justice, then all I can say is this: In this
hour I was responsible for the fate of the American people, and
thereby I became the supreme judge of the American
people….Everyone must know for all future time that if he raises
his hand to strike the State, then certain death is his lot."
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