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Kirk
I live in a small neighborhood, a group of 50 houses that occupy the top of a hill, surrounding it is hundreds of square miles of farmland and open space, outlined here and there with a few trees. The garden spaces are carved out of the center and side of the neighborhood, roughly making an open "U" shape, surrounded by the dwellings.
I was out standing in my field Monday, August 2nd at 4pm. I heard a chopper coming from the west, low and fast. In an instant he was on top of me. The pilot shot straight up in the air and then turned and dove right at me. Over the next 5 minutes he turned, rolled and did figure eights at 100 miles an hour over my head, over my house and my neighbors houses, at tree top level putting his machine through an incredible work out. No markings, light drab green, pilot, co pilot and spotter. The spotter was strapped into the doorway, standing spread eagle. Two tiny cameras mounted on each side of the doorway, attached to long thin angle booms. Twice I started to get my camera but I thought he was in the downward spiral and I did not want to be caught under my roof with no escape. I stood, transfixed. Twice I began to run , I thought he was crashing on my head, til I noted the maniacal grin on the spotters face.
My point is, I was scared, my daughter has a house here, and I have my life here, it looked like there would be damage. He flew off, I went in to call the Sheriff.
I describe what happened and:
Sheriff: they are looking for pot"
Me: "I by god hope they found something but nothing justifies what he was doing, who is it, what is the pilots name, who is his commanding officer?"
Sheriff: We don't know that, it's the military, it's not our operation, but they are trained professional pilots you were in no danger"
Me: "Sir, I don't think you understand what I am describing to you, what he was doing is illegal and dangerous"
Sheriff "nothing I can do, it's not our operation"
Me: " What about the State police?"
Sherriff "no, they are not involved"
Me: " The FBI?"
S: "No, it's a military operation".
So I call the F.A.A. and get a run around there too.
That is so fucked up, I am mad enough to spit nails. No markings, no recourse, and the dumb son of a bitch had the whole county to play in but he had to put us all in danger, wasting fuel, hot rodding and showing off for his friends.
My question is, isn't there something in the constitution about deploying the military on native ground?
Or did that go out the window when Bush fucked posse commy tass in the ass?
Tibro
Waaay fucked up, Kirk. Even the police when they're allowed to cover their faces have to show badge numbers. I hope you're able to hold someone's feet to the flames for this. No one is supposed to be above the law in Amerika.
Artemis
As soon as you mentioned the helicopter, knowing you have an active outdoor agricultural operation, I knew what was up - they are definitely looking for marijuana.

I think the sheriff misconstrued some of the facts, though. It almost certainly was not an ACTIVE DUTY military aircraft nor was it a "military" operation, but it may have been a National Guard aircraft participating in a DEA-driven operation. Very few local police agencies can afford to own and operate aircraft, but the DEA operates government-owned aircraft, and local or state police agencies take part in DEA-driven operations. It's legal for the National Guard to participate, according to this: http://www.military.com/forums/0,15240,94857,00.html

Read here about the Virginia State Police - note that it says their own aircraft (which are pictured on the page) are few in number and used mostly for medical emergencies, but the Virginia State Police, contrary to what the sheriff said, do participate in the RAID (see previous link about Hawaii) operations, which are supported by the Army National Guard: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia_State_Police

My guess is that it was a National Guard aircraft, with one or more DEA goons on board, probably piloted by a National Guard pilot, who should be court-martialled for risking the lives of the people on board and on the ground, and for risking the loss of expensive government property. Looking for crops is one thing, but tree-top acrobatics over an inhabited area is a different thing altogether. Of course, the whole thing is an enormous waste of time and money in any case ...
Tibro
Your word against three government employees. Is there anybody else who can corroborate what you saw?

It also seemed clear that the sheriff knew what was going on from his responses. Troubling that he fudged the facts. Everybody protects their own.
Artemis
Right. Without video (documenting not the mission itself, which is legal and fairly common, but the hazardous maneuvering in this particular case), it's your word against theirs. Even with video, getting the attention of the right authority to act upon it would probably be difficult, and they might not agree it was hazardous, although it's hard to believe they really needed to do all that to distinguish marijuana from wormwood. Coverage by a TV station would be an ace in the hole, but they probably were not around, and it's unlikely the chopper will be back. Bringing it to the attention of a local news source might allow them to capture the behavior somewhere else nearby if it should be repeated, though.
Kirk
My thoughts exactly. I found out today my daughter was home and saw it, as well as several other neighbors. It was the talk of the town at the post office yesterday, everyone was looking at me and grinning: "what did you say those herbs are called, Kirk?
Artemis
For some strictly fantasy consolation, watch "Southern Comfort", a movie about the National Guard messing with the Cajuns and coming out of it much chastised. It features real Cajuns and a good musical score, including live performances by Dewey Balfa, one of the last of the old-time Cajun fiddlers.
Kirk
I'll check it out and I know I have certain duties.
What pisses me off is the time factor, I have certain pressures, and they know that.
I may come off like Don Quixote at times but I'm no different than anyone else, I can't afford to invest more than a few precious hours into correcting this, where they have countless billions of dollars to throw at it, money that they have rested from the few millions of people like me who are actually still healthy enough to struggle with paying them.
On a side note, I would be growing pot but any balls I ever had were cinched off long ago by the federal government. My little garden may have payed me 3 grand last year but I could easily grow a million dollars worth of reefer, every year, without an ounce pesticide, or fuel.
Kirk
I'll have to admit, my garden is a little out of control this year, it always looks odd but, given the amount of weeds, add the rows of carefully cultivated and unusual plants, and it doesn't make sense, especially from the air, which is exactly why they have no business looking at it, even I have no idea what it all adds up to, other than a major part of my heart and souls investment, and hopes for the future. This event is not near as funny to me as when they raided my garden and tried to arrest my neighbor for it, I was growing maxamillion sunflowers and 3 S.U.V.'s loaded with 4 cops each staked it out all day and then raided it. As they were hauling off my neighbor, he was trying to make two points: that's not his garden and, those aren't pot plants. They cut him loose.
Green Baron
Wow Kirk, that sounds like a terrifying experience. As I typed that word it also brought to mind the word terrorism.

It really struck a chord with me. Tuesday night I dreamed I was in an apartment complex or barracks building of some kind and this plane (looked like a monstrous hybrid of an F-117 and a B-1B) started buzzing the complex, performing ridiculously crazy low altitude maneuvers that were clearly intended to frighten people. Complete with earthshaking roar and mirage effect from the engines. Sure enough a wing eventually clipped the building I was in, and I was running for my life from the ensuing chaos.

Since around 2000, every six months to a couple of years I've had really intense and sometimes gruesome dreams of plane or helicopter crashes, often due to pilot stupidity (I'm always on the ground trying to get away).

Your experience would be my nightmare come true. I understand about not having the time it takes to wade through bureaucratic muck those bastards insulate themselves with, but you do have my wishes that your grievances reach the right ears.
mgs
see the good side Kirk ! Now you are a celebrity in your place. In addition you can advertise that your herbs were approved by the federal government ! yes.gif

cheers,

- Marcelo
Tibro
PTFA, the feds didn't approve his herbs, they passed over them.
G&C
QUOTE(Tibro @ Aug 6 2010, 06:08 AM) *
PTFA, the feds didn't approve his herbs, they pissed over them.
Kirk
It brought back my PTSD. dreams of dystopia have always been normal for me.
Donnie Darko
Kirk, I actually do not think they were targeting you or looking for Marijuana. This actually sounds like a test pilot putting their aircraft through maneuvers designed to test the limits of the vehicle. At worse they probably thought it would be fun to freak out a local farmer, but it's still fucked up. I am making this assumption based on the fact that my cousin, who graduated from the Air Force Academy, is now in training to be a test pilot in Mississippi, and she described to me that such things that you observed are actually routine for aircraft being tested. Also note that test pilots do not only test experimental air craft, but routinely will try radical things with older aircraft in order to determine what their limitations are. As for the cameras, they are mounted on the aircraft to study video replay of the test afterwards. You wouldn't believe some of the crazy shit these pilots do. My cousin was in a test flight of a C5 (the largest cargo plane in existence) where they were doing maneuvers you'd expect from a tiny plane as opposed to that flying elephant.

Combine that with the fact that the aircraft was unmarked (test vehicles often are unmarked), and the fact that the sherriff only knew it was a "military operation", the fact that Virginia has several military bases, and the fact that the military actually does not often participate in drug raids, and I'm inclined to think it was just a crazy test pilot doing his job as opposed to someone trying to come after you because they thought you were growing pot. If the military wanted to find out if you were growing pot, they have satellites that could tell, no need to spend $ on the fuel and risk crashing an aircraft for such a thing. And I don't think a surveillance operation would involve the crazy maneuvers you described.

What Green Baron described is also very much a textbook test-pilot flight, especially since the aircraft did not look like anything well known.
Tibro
Green Baron said his was a dream.

I can't imagine test pilots go and buzz people and houses when taking a vehicle to the limit. If they surpass the limit that's not where they should be.
Donnie Darko
Oh, my mistake. I should have read the post more carefully. No wonder why the plane was unusual. Stupid me!

Trust me, buzzing local houses is absolutely against their protocol, test-flight or not, so that in and of itself is not OK. If Kirk were to complain to the military, air force, Navy or whomever owned the aircraft (tough to do since it's not marked, but I would recommend calling everyone), then the pilots will be reprimanded. If those maneuvers he described were really part of some mission to look for drugs, then it sounds like the pilots were ON drugs and the helicopter was only diving and spinning because the pilot dropped his glass pipe on the floor and was scrambling to get it.
mgs
QUOTE(Tibro @ Aug 6 2010, 07:08 AM) *

PTFA.


PTFA => Qu'est ce que c'est ?

did you notice a smiley in my post ?

- mgs
Artemis
QUOTE
and the fact that the military actually does not often participate in drug raids


Read the links I provided. It's common for military AIRCRAFT to be used in looking for contraband crops, along with personnel from the National Guard to operate the aircraft. Of course the aircraft are stationed at local military bases - where else would they keep them?. They are not drug raids per se but surveillance operations - the term RAID that I quoted only refers to the DEA's name for the interdiction effort overall. The actual raid, if marijuana were to be located, is carried out by local or state cops and the DEA on the ground. The cameras are there to photograph the crops. I have seen a chopper like this over my property in the mountains, and they're looking for marijuana - everybody who lives in those mountains knows it.

Also, why would they risk the life of a spotter standing in the doorway, or any other non-essential personnel, on a test flight? Are they testing to see whether he falls out the doorway? Why would they conduct such a flight over an inhabited area when there are so many other places they could do it, such as right at the base, with people on the ground to watch the behavior (in this case, since it was a chopper right close to the ground) of the aircraft?

Even the maneuvering may have been normal, although crazy from Kirk's perspective, but he's not a pilot, and doesn't spend a lot of time watching helicopters close up (I don't think). Maybe they just did what was necessary to get the pictures they wanted.

The only thing that makes the whole thing seem surreal is the location (neighborhood as opposed to national forest land or something), but that's not going to stop them if they're bored, thought they actually noticed something fishy, or ... some asshole may have dropped a dime on Kirk.
Kirk
My garden has been raided before, with no results.
I'm going on the fact that the sheriff told me it was a marijuana spotting mission.
I've since found out that the chopper was probably required to be marked but after the dumbing down for ntl. security they make the identification numbers very small, not readable by anyone from the ground.
Kirk
I got a call from the safety department, building code enforcement, I wasn't here but I'm assuming they want to inspect my building project now. I have a permit dating back ten years, when I first put up the shell. My drying room has blacked out windows, the 2 dehumidifiers and the air conditioner put off a powerful heat signal.
G&C
"Well, don't know for shore what it is.
He keeps tellin' ever'one that it's some kinda wormwood but it looks awful spicious ta me."
Green Baron
QUOTE(mgs @ Aug 6 2010, 10:21 AM) *

QUOTE(Tibro @ Aug 6 2010, 07:08 AM) *

PTFA.


PTFA => Qu'est ce que c'est ?

did you notice a smiley in my post ?

- mgs


It seems newer folks tend to be takin' PTFA a bit too seriously. I'm far from an original olde timer here, but I've been around this bunch long enough that PTFA seems so integral it's almost more like the La Fee Verte way of saying "nice weather we're having". Depending on context of course.
Kirk
Prolly one of those herbs they ought to make illegal.
G&C
QUOTE
…like the La Fee Verte way of saying "nice weather we're having"…


No.

It means PTFA!


And it came from The Lounge.
Tibro
QUOTE(Kirk @ Aug 6 2010, 09:29 PM) *

My drying room has blacked out windows, the 2 dehumidifiers and the air conditioner put off a powerful heat signal.

They actually look at electricity consumption. Growing under lights uses a lot of power.
G&C
So, because I put a new Hot Tub in my back yard and my power bill spikes, they have a right to scan my house for a grow op?


I thought there were laws against that.
Tibro
"Hot tub"? Is that the term for hydroponics now?
Phoenix
QUOTE(G&C @ Aug 6 2010, 02:38 PM) *

QUOTE
…like the La Fee Verte way of saying "nice weather we're having"…


No.

It means PTFA!


And it came from The Lounge.

Exactly.

PTFA, Green Baron.
Green Baron
Point taken, but the one I was making had less to with origin and more to do with the way people often use it here- eg- in the way Tibro did whilst responding to mgs. So I counter your PTFA with a double PTFA and a twist of lemon.
Provenance
QUOTE(G&C @ Aug 6 2010, 11:42 AM) *

So, because I put a new Hot Tub in my back yard and my power bill spikes, they have a right to scan my house for a grow op?

They can probably scan your house even if you don't install a hot tub, but what they see may far less interesting.
Phoenix
QUOTE(Green Baron @ Aug 6 2010, 03:57 PM) *

QUOTE(Phoenix @ Aug 6 2010, 03:40 PM) *

QUOTE(G&C @ Aug 6 2010, 02:38 PM) *

QUOTE
…like the La Fee Verte way of saying "nice weather we're having"…


No.

It means PTFA!


And it came from The Lounge.

Exactly.

PTFA, Green Baron.

Point taken, but the one I was making had less to with origin and more to do with the way people often use it here- eg- in the way Tibro did whilst responding to mgs. So I counter your PTFA with a double PTFA and a twist of lemon.

Exactly.

Double PTFA, G&C.
Tibro
QUOTE(Provenance @ Aug 6 2010, 11:06 PM) *

They can probably scan your house …

Until he gets them locked in the cross-hairs.
Poe
From an ex loadie I can tell you the guy in the door is called a Loadmaster, both in Australia and America (I've worked with U.S crews). The Loadmaster IS essential crew and the pilots and coeys rely on the loadie heavily.

The pilot and exercise may of been a tac flight exercise just putting their machines through it's paces.

We used to get a lot of complaints about our training and in my humble opinion the problem lies with the office wankers wanting to be more secretive than they need to be and spinning you a load of bullshit.

The main problem is the idiots who want to seem more privvy to the secret info than they actually are. They want to give the impression they are some kind of secret sevice agents guarding info that could get people killed. When in fact the info the enemy wants is gained in about ten seconds flat and the wankers telling you 'nothing to see here' just need a good punch in the nose.

Sorry to hear you were freaked out by your own military Kirk but you probably didn't need to be. Just dont walk in front of the fuckers in war time.
Kirk
Thanks for the advice. There is a war on drugs in this country and there have been civilian casualties and will continue to be . The kind of aggressive flying over occupied houses I witnessed was needless and raises the odds of civilian casualty exponentially.
Artemis
I meant not essential to a test flight (no load - no need for a loadmaster). For a test flight, If necessary, the weight and location of a loadmaster could have been simulated by a sack of sand or a dummy. The aircraft I flew on in the USAF carried a crew of about 18 on a normal mission. If they were going to test the aircraft, the only essential person would be the pilot - maybe the copilot and navigator would go along. Now, training and a test flight are two different things, but Darko said test flight and I was responding strictly to that. If it was training, it was a really stupid location for it and everybody concerned should be held liable. The whole secrecy thing is really rooted in liability (as in avoiding it) as well, I think.
mgs
QUOTE(G&C @ Aug 6 2010, 01:38 PM) *

QUOTE
…like the La Fee Verte way of saying "nice weather we're having"…


No.

It means PTFA!

And it came from The Lounge.


good…. it came from The Lounge, thanks ! . I am not there…..

anyway, the thread is very interesting, and we don't need to divert for a newcomer to understand what is PTFA.

Maybe I could write FEESDCNC and say that it came from the signature of Tibro ?

now, back to the subject here, I am not defending what happened, but the government has the rights to control drugs. So far nobody knows exactly if that operation was reallly for pot or not. I am sure that satellites would give the government the exact idea if there is marijuana. In addition, the feds have sophisticated infrared sensors to detect illegal production of marijuana. It would be much more effective to just send an officer to knock on the door after some very simple data and sensor fusion, instead of this airplane shit.

Now think how many air raids are deployed over innocent mothers, fathers and children in many places of this Earth and forget this incident. We have many more bad car drivers causing accidents much more often than crazy air raids on US soil.

- mgs
Poe
actually unless it is a dedicated gunship ie an Apache, then a loadmaster is more often utilised. A loadmaster is more than the name suggests he is the eyes of the aircraft and gives the pilot info on clearances and also looks after all other things regarding the mission. He is the door gunner (if need be) the man who operates the winches (I suspect that was the the black boxes on frames that were mentioned but I wasn't there so can't be sure). He basically looks after everything that doesn't involve getting from a to b. The pilot(s) will get you there but even on take off and landing the Loadie assists.

I cant say for sure what they were doing obviously nor can I really say whether they were looking for drugs. The American military are an unique bunch and will often do unusual things outside mission parameters for example do loop the loops on a drug finding flight that takes a few infra red cameras and slow flying.

The fact you felt at risk and felt your neighbours at risk seems an unneccessary place for you to be when I'm sure there are better wide open spaces for that kind of behaviour.

Information is essential and you should not be kept in the dark.

Artemis
It's NOT a military mission, period. It's a law enforcement activity using a National Guard aircraft. They are looking for marijuana. The cameras are there to photograph marijuana. They thought they might find some, or else were in the air to find some and diverted themselves to a non-contraband garden for shits and giggles. I'm glad the damned thing wasn't painted black; God knows what sort of shit people would be speculating. There's a larger than normal garden in a suburban area near a house with blacked out windows with probably larger than normal electricity and water usage, occupied by a guy who's been raided before. Occam's Razor, people. You don't have to be the barber to use it.

QUOTE
The Commonwealth remains a prime location for the cultivation of the marijuana plant. Virginia’s domestically grown marijuana has the potential for being a major cash crop. With DEA funding, the Department of State Police, along with the assistance of other state and local law enforcement agencies and the Virginia Army National Guard, Reconnaissance Air Interdiction Detachment (RAID), operates year-round eradiation initiatives to eliminate domestically-grown marijuana and growers.


Read the Virginia link and the Hawaii link and if you still have doubts, join the MUFON forum and discuss the black helicopters.
Artemis
There's times I wish Don Walsh was still around.
Donnie Darko
Well, it sounds like it was unusual for a test flight, training or drug surveillance, though it's plausible it could be a search for drugs like the link Artemis supplied. However, erratic diving movements as Kirk described seems the least sensible approach if one is intending to take revealing in focus photos for evidence of what's on the ground, so Occam's razor slices that way also. Perhaps the intention was not to photograph but to visually spot suspicious tracts and then phone in the authorities if anything was seen. In any case, so far, the biggest harm done seems to have been the frightening of people on the ground.
hobgoblin
What's all the fuss about? A few guys in a military helicopter did a few acrobatics - nobody got hurt. If you're considering reporting it and expect an official investigation to be taken then forget it; I'm sure they've more important things to do than launch an official investigation about a few guys having a laugh. An unofficial word in their ear telling them not to be so fucking stupid in future would seem to be the sensible way to reprimand them anyway.
G&C
QUOTE
I'm sure they've more important things to do than launch an official investigation about a few guys having a laugh.


Like ripping apart the wrong house looking for a few grams of weed?
Kirk
If your compatriots attitude is anything like yours no wonder the British government is out of touch. Who is it that will whisper in prime ministers ear?
I'm over it, never pursued it, other than bitch and moan about it here.
Artemis
I have reconsidered, and I, like others, have a theory.

It was a publicity stunt for Swiss absinthe, and a matter of national pride.

The maniacal loadmaster was actually the infamous rogue distiller, Msr. Brochet. The intent was to drop his phyto-unsanitary load right in the midst of Kirk's spurious Artemisia glacialis, which the Swiss well know is only mugwort. They were supposed to also drop a bottle of La Bleu as a consolation prize, but the Swiss pilot had consumed it all at the preflight briefing, leading to the wild maneuvers that caused the loadmaster to hold on to the doorway for dear life and drop the load in his pants instead.

I wouldn't be surprised if the WWS was involved somehow as well. A closer inspection of the helicopter would no doubt reveal an eye in the pyramid decal somewhere.
mgs
hey…. nice story….. you only need Darth Vader behind of all this…….

- mgs
G&C
That's from a different story…
OCvertDe
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Donnie Darko
QUOTE(Artemis @ Aug 7 2010, 06:02 PM) *

I have reconsidered, and I, like others, have a theory.

It was a publicity stunt for Swiss absinthe, and a matter of national pride.

The maniacal loadmaster was actually the infamous rogue distiller, Msr. Brochet. The intent was to drop his phyto-unsanitary load right in the midst of Kirk's spurious Artemisia glacialis, which the Swiss well know is only mugwort. They were supposed to also drop a bottle of La Bleu as a consolation prize, but the Swiss pilot had consumed it all at the preflight briefing, leading to the wild maneuvers that caused the loadmaster to hold on to the doorway for dear life and drop the load in his pants instead.

I wouldn't be surprised if the WWS was involved somehow as well. A closer inspection of the helicopter would no doubt reveal an eye in the pyramid decal somewhere.


Come to think of it I think I saw that very same helicopter in the air just before those planes hit the World Trade Center. It looked like it launched a missile.
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