all military personnel
You took an oath
"... to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of
the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic."
But what does that oath really mean in your personal and professional life?
More than you may realize. And that oath may, in the months and years ahead, be
put to a test that you neither expect or want. This paper is to help you prepare
for that test.
Who are the enemies?
Foreign enemies are easy to understand, and require little discussion. What
about domestic? Spies? Terrorists? Criminals? How about corrupt officials? Or
overzealous officials who ride roughshod over the Constitution and the rights of
citizens in pursuit of a mission they think outweighs all other concerns? What
about corrupt or overzealous officials in your chain of command, who may try to
use you for their criminal purposes? What about top civilian leaders, who may
decide to overthrow the Constitution and establish a new regime in which there
are no limits on governmental powers or guaranteed rights, and use the military
to carry out their plans?
At this point you may be thinking "Nonsense. Nothing like that will
ever happen in the United States of America. The people running our government
are nice guys who can be trusted to try to do the right thing. They would never
try to do anything like that. This is just some kind of paranoid anti-government
Don't be too sure. A lot of people thought the same thing a few years ago
who became aware of evidence that is extremely troubling, evidence that would be
incredible if it didn't come from people inside government who are extremely
troubled by what they are being asked to do.
One of those things is making preparations for a general warrantless search
of every site in the United States, using military personnel, to confiscate all
firearms and shoot anyone who resists. A clear violation of almost all of the
rights guaranteed in the Constitution. Don't rely on this document. Check it out
for yourself through military channels. Then think about what it means.
No more elections. Not for some time. The people would be outraged. They'd
vote all the incumbents out if elections were held. The government might offer
some justification for their action, something that might seem convincing to
many, but not to everyone.
In the meantime citizens throughout the country are organizing independent
local militias, to resist assaults on the Constitution. At some point, you may
be called upon to choose sides.
Assaults on the Constitution
The Framers of the Constitution made it very clear: Government was not to
exercise any power not delegated to it by the Constitution. But for many decades
now, it has been assuming more and more powers for which there is no
constitutional basis, often in response to demands from the public to "do
something" about some problem or another, without bothering to adopt
amendments that would make such powers legitimate. Courts have, for the most
part, gone along with this, often resorting to imaginative sophistry to try to
make it seem legitimate.
If this weren't bad enough, these new powers are increasingly being abused
to serve purposes and interests that were never intended by the original
legislation. The result is an increasing crisis of legitimacy, and increasing
alienation from government on the part of an every growing part of the
The UCMJ on illegal orders
The Uniform Code of Military Justice is more concerned about failure of
military personnel to obey legitimate orders than it is about refusal to obey
illegitimate orders, but it does address the subject. In Section 16c(1)(c) it
Lawfulness. A general order or regulation is lawful
unless it is contrary to the Constitution, the laws of the United States, or
lawful superior orders or for some other reason is beyond the authority of the
official issuing it.
And in Section 14c(2)(a)(i):
Inference of lawfulness. A order requiring the
performance of a military duty or act may be inferred to be lawful and it is
disobeyed at the peril of the subordinate. This inference does not apply to a
patently illegal order, such as one that directs the commission of a crime.
These provisions allow for the disobedience of illegal orders, but such
orders may themselves constitute a crime, or be part of a criminal conspiracy,
either under military or civilian law. Under federal law, 18 USC 242, it is
illegal for anyone under the color of law to deprive any person of the rights,
privileges or immunities secured by the U.S. Constitution, and under 18 USC 241
it is illegal to conspire to violate such rights. It is a felony punishable by
up to 10 years in prison. This could be applied to military personnel who abuse
the rights of citizens, either military or civilian. The UCMJ also defines an
Article 134 offense: Impersonating a commissioned, warrant, noncommissioned, or
petty officer, or an agent or official. This could apply to a military officer
who impersonates a civilian official in an action against civilians. This
includes actions taken under martial law. In RCM 202(a):
The exercise of jurisdiction under Article 2(a)(11) in
peacetime has been held unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of the United
States. Article 2(a)(10) has also been limited.
In RCM 302(b) Who may apprehend. The following officials may
apprehend any person subject to trial by court-martial:
(1) Military law enforcement officials.
(2) Commissioned, warrant, petty, and noncommissioned officers.
However, anyone, including the lower enlisted grades, may apprehend for
violation of civilian laws, provided it is done as an independent act of a
citizen and not under orders.
Also be aware of the Posse Comitatus Act, which forbids members of
the Army and Air Force to be used for domestic law enforcement.
The key point is this: You not only have the right to disobey an illegal
order, but you may also have the duty to apprehend the parties issuing such an
order if such issuance is part of the commission of a crime.
The Principle of Nuremberg
After World War II, Nazi war crimes were prosecuted at Nuremberg, and those
trials established an important principle: that is the responsibility of every
individual to make an independent determination of the legality of any law or
official act. No one may delegate that duty to others, not to superiors, and not
to judges. It is no defense that you were "just following orders".
Some Constitutional violations
Be aware of what are the constitutional limits on federal powers. The
Constitution allows criminal prosecution under federal laws on state territory
only for (1) treason, (2) counterfeiting, (3) crimes on the high seas, (4)
crimes against the law of nations, or (5) violations of civil rights by
officials. It does not allow criminal prosecution for violations of any
regulations, such as those passed under the interstate commerce clause, or for
failure to pay taxes. Therefore, most such federal criminal laws apply only to
acts committed on federal territory, including land ceded to the federal
government by a state legislature, coastal waters, U.S. flag vessels on the high
seas, and the grounds of U.S. embassies abroad.
Furthermore, the Framers intended that "interstate commerce"
include only transactions that cross a state border, not all the things that it
has been extended to cover, such as anything that has ever crossed a state
border, or anything that ever might cross a state border, or anything done by
someone who does business some of which crosses a state border, or anything
that is "part of an aggregate" of activities that cross a state
border, or anything that may "affect" interstate commerce.
What you can do
Investigate what is going on within the military regarding violations of the
Constitution and laws pursuant to it. Then contact local patriot groups. You can
find them through gun shops, American Legion or VFW posts, radio talk show
hosts, alternative newspapers and bookstores, or your local militia unit.