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THE MILITARIZATION OF EMINENT DOMAIN

March 1, 2018 By Joseph P. Farrell

There's been another disturbing trend coming out of the swamp, and for want of a better expression, I call it the "militarization of eminent domain." This article was shared by Ms. C., and I have to be honest, I was fully planning to blog about something else when this popped into my inbox. I read it, and immediately nixed what I was originally going to blog about today, in order to pass along this story, because the implications are both deep and wide.

The story? The state of Washington is considering a bill which would make the federal military an "equal partner" in planning land use. That, anyway, is a rather euphemistic way of putting it, but the actual story goes much deeper:

The Military Wants to Dictate Private Land Use -- and Washington State Might Let It

Here's the core of the issue:

"The alarming piece is the assumption inherent in the bill that the military base commanders can dictate or require [that] the planning for zoning and land use must accommodate their mission, whatever their mission is," he said. "So, their mission is assumed to be suitable for our state no matter what it is."

Washington State's HB 2341 allows the military to dictate what uses shall be allowed, and whether any development shall be allowed on any land in the State of Washington.

This could mean an expansion of military training exercises into private lands, forcing people to move. It could also result in the military flying increasing numbers of warplanes over state and national parks, which is already a major problem across much of Washington State.

Ron Richards, an attorney, engineer, commercial fisherman and former Clallam County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, told Truthout that the bill, HB 2341, which is now in committee, "allows the military to dictate what uses shall be allowed, and whether any development shall be allowed on any land in the State of Washington."

Richards called the bill "atrocious."

Some critics of the Washington State legislation worry it could be part of a larger strategy the Department of Defense is using across the country.

Washington State's HB 2341 essentially cedes control of land use to the commanders of military bases by way of granting the Department of Defense (DOD) the status of equal partner in planning, under Washington State's Growth Management Act. This creates a structure that solidifies the status of the DOD as an equal partner in any planning for land use, transportation planning and spending priorities.(Boldface emphasis in the original, italicized emphasis added)

And as if all of that were not bad enough, then there's this:

Furthermore, Richards pointed out several examples of how the bill violates the constitutions of both Washington and the United States. According to Richards, the legislation prohibits local governments from allowing "incompatible development" in the vicinity of a military installation. He explains that the bill would give any commander of any military installation operated by the United States armed services within or adjacent to Washington State sole authority to determine whether incompatibility exists.

By handing United States military commanders control of the state's land use powers, the bill violates Article 1, Section 18, of the Washington State Constitution, according to Richards. That provision unambiguously states: "The military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power."

Or, if I may put all this "country simple" and somewhat differently, what one is looking at is the "militarization" of eminent domain; the bill essentially allows land to be bought up on the cheap if it is "condemned" for the purposes of determining that the military needs to use it for... for whatever. There's some precedent for this, of course, with the interstate highway system, which, lest we forget, was an Eisenhower era project, and the highways themselves are, officially, national defense highways.

But now consider the most disturbing paragraphs of them all:

The vehicle by which the military is influencing land use across Washington is called the Joint Land Use Study (JLUS).

JLUSs are, according to the US DOD's Office of Economic Adjustment, tools that "assist installation commanders and local community leaders" in collaborating "in an effort to ensure local civilian development is compatible with ongoing military activities," according to Patrick O'Brien, director of the Office of Economic Adjustment, as per the November 2006 Joint Land Use Study Program Guidance Manual.

...

If HB 2341 becomes law, it would force local governments to incorporate the military's plans into their own regulations.

Again, to put it country simple: this "militarization of eminent domain" means, in effect, a short end-run around local governments, which must plan in accordance with the diktats of the Empire. My high octane speculation here is that may be a response to the Bundy ranch affair, and that the "simple solution" was simply to militarize the process of eminent domain and land confiscation. This means, in effect, that a major blow has been struck against private property. Add a corrupt government, asset forfeiture laws, the "national security" excuse, mix, stir, knead, allow to rise, and voila, one has a perfect vehicle for all sorts of mischief.And as more and more land is grabbed by the Empire, less and less is available for actual productivity. Oh, and let's add one last "incentive":

Milner is also concerned about the fact that the military wants counties and cities to incorporate the military's JLUSs into their growth management, but require counties and cities to adopt their JLUSs in order to be eligible to submit requests for government funding for projects.

"So, if their highway needs repairs, or the municipality needs help or funding, if they don't adopt the JLUS, they won't get any funds," Milner said. "So, if you don't do what the military wants, you don't get any funding for your needs."

It seems to me that I remember a contretemps a couple of centuries ago having to do with something about quartering of troops...

See you on the flip side...