The Guardian September 13, 2000


Operation "Urban Warrior"

The Howard Government's "shoot to kill" legislation was passed last 
week. The legislation gives the military wide powers that could be used 
during industrial disputes and against legitimate civil protests. As Greens 
Senator Bob Brown commented, "this bill is open to abuse". The new 
legislation, which would give the military "shoot to kill" powers with 
immunity from prosecution, was opposed in the Senate by Greens Senator 
Brown and the Democrats. The trend towards military involvement in civilian 
life is not unique to Australia as VERA BUTLER explains:

As the world marches into the new century, there is a growing 
realisation in the US military that there will be an increase in the type 
of military operations which have come to define the latter portions of the 
20th century  "urban operations". Although the US military for the most 
part continues to train, organise and equip itself for operations outside 
of cities, against a conventional foe, there is a growing element among the 
forces which sees the imperative of training, organising and equipping for 
the most likely combat environment, "the urban battle space".
                         Col. Randolph A Gangle, US Marine Corps (ret.)

Among the US military it is primarily the Marine Corps which concerns 
itself with urban warfare. Since mid-1995 a Warfighting Laboratory (MCWL) 
was established in Quatico, Virginia, with the task of developing improved 
capabilities and skills.

A two-year phase of experimentation was initiated, designated "Urban 
Warrior", which involved a number of allied nations, foremost Britain, but 
also Australia, Canada, Holland and France.

"Urban Warrior" was conducted at various US Marine bases and cities 
throughout the United States.

The stated purpose was to improve urban warfighting capabilities while 
reducing friendly casualties, including non-combatants, and collateral 
damage.

Subsequently training proceeded in the cities of Chicago (Ill.), 
Jacksonville (Flo.), Charleston (Sth Car.), and the Californian cities of 
Monterey, San Francisco, and Oakland.

Significant progress was made in a variety of technical areas, but none was 
achieved in the reduction of friendly casualties.

The average friendly casualty rate in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, was 
approximately 30 per cent. Casualty rates for "Urban Warrior" stood at 40 
per cent  perspectives for the civilian population appear grim.

Crime, insurrection, revolution

What is the rationale behind this planning for urban warfare contingencies?

At the end of last century, the world's population stood at six billion. 
Demographers forecast that this figure will increase to eight billion by 
2025. At the same time there is a growing movement from rural areas into 
cities.

According to United Nations projections by 2025 there will be more than 500 
cities with one million inhabitants, and 30 cities with over 15 million  
many of them in Third World countries.

It is argued that such mega-cities in Third World countries, corrupt and 
without job prospects and facilities to accommodate population increases, 
are the breeding place for discontent, criminality, revolts, and 
revolutions.

Such examples as Rwanda, Kosovo, Croatia, Lebanon, Liberia, are cited, 
where American and allied forces had to be committed to maintain peace.

"Be prepared."

But is that all?

The passage through the House of Representatives, on June 28 2000, of the 
Defence Legislation Amendment (Aid to the Civilian Authorities) Bill, with 
broad consensus between Government and Opposition, appears in a different 
light when seen in the context of Australian participation in the urban 
warfare training programme by the US Marine Corps.

What if preparations are under foot to counter future civil commotion in 
Australian cities?

If so, the Olympiad, or the "threat" of demonstrations against the World 
Economic Forum in Melbourne, on September 11, are no more than convenient 
"explanations" for an empowering legislation with far-reaching 
applicability.

At the moment the trade union movement is justifiably concerned with the 
prospect of the Armed Forces getting involved in strike-breaking actions  
and one can hear Peter Reith sneering in the background.

But what if we are standing at the threshold of a global economic crisis 
that would destroy the wealth and jobs in the developed industrial nations 
of North America, Europe, and Australia?

The Asian "melt-down" of 1997/98 was a foretaste, and there are ominous 
signs that the speculative hysteria which is driving stock exchanges and 
currency futures to unprecedented heights, will collapse with a whimper, 
leaving millions of people without jobs and bankrupt government treasuries.

Are the forward planners among the political, economic, and military elites 
of the New World Order determined to prepare for contingencies, regardless 
of potential "collateral damage", to meet any attempts at insurrection 
head-on?

The first step is to provide a pseudo-legal basis for the enforcement of 
law-and-order with military means, if need be.

As the boy scouts say:  "be prepared!"

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