This article questions the legality of a Navy SEAL training exercise that essentially grants the teams access to the entire Washington state coastline, whether on public or private land. According to the sources there are many civilians and authorities in the training area who are upset about not being notified or given a chance to disapprove. They should worry less about how the training was coordinated, and instead focus on why it is taking place – to properly train the men who are protecting their country.
By Kevin Gosztola | Shadowproof
Dahr Jamail: “through a source—actually within the Navy—I came across a couple of the Navy’s own documents, and these were documents that they’re not classified but the Navy had effectively hidden them from public accessibility by calling them something else. They basically made up their own designation for these documents in such a way as to make it to where they would not be available. If someone wanted to file a Freedom of Information Act request to try to get this kind of information, they basically made it so these documents would not come up in those searches but that they would not be breaking the law by hiding them in the way that they did.
And so, the source that I had was able to provide these documents to me, which essentially outlined an ongoing Navy SEALs training regime that was slated to start right now literally—yesterday to be specific, January 14—and be ongoing for the next two years, where they would essentially have access to basically the entirety coastline of Washington state, including most of the Puget Sound area, the coast going out the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the west coast that is right there on the Pacific Ocean.
They would have access to coastlines, state parks, private areas, to where Navy SEALs would be launched onto the beach areas carrying “simulated weapons” in areas that include 68 beach and state park areas in everywhere that I just mentioned, and they would be able to access the beach areas, residential areas, private lands, state parks, and go anytime, day or night, for exercises starting yesterday for the next two years without any public notification whatsoever. They hadn’t any of the relevant state, federal, or local government officials—So, things like police departments, things like U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, etc. Nobody had been notified. Even the governor’s office in Washington state had not been notified.
Needless to say, when we published these documents on Monday, it has basically created outrage across the better part of Washington state. And it has fortunately forced most of the local media outlets, including a lot of the bigger TV and newspaper outlets in Seattle and the surrounding area, to start covering the story. So, people are really, really upset about this and rightly so.”
KHALEK: So many aspects of this story are really stunning, but one thing in particular was the fact that this wasn’t even cleared with the federal government agencies, the federal government land that would be used for this. It violated all kinds of federal laws and state laws. It’s like nobody has any control over what Navy SEALs can train and do. The federal government doesn’t have control. That’s so bizarre to me.
JAMAIL: That’s exactly right. One example is the Washington State Historic Preservation Officer. This person on the state level wasn’t even consulted. The Navy used a really slimy method of excluding contact with these people that by law, by federal law, they were supposed to be in contact with to consult with, to do environmental impact statements, and then have public notifications and public comment periods, etc. The Navy bypassed doing any of this, and one of the ways, one of the chief means they used of doing it was they used an exemption process called a categorical exclusion. CATEX is their acronym.
They used it as a way to sidestep federal regulations that could have actually been preventative of them doing these type of Navy SEAL war gaming along the coast of Washington. And so, by using these categorical exclusions, they basically use this as a way to not have to do an environmental assessment or an environmental impact statement, which would be required on these types of exercises. I have emails that documented this, where the Navy literally not just tried to not do these environmental impact statements and the things they are regulated by federal law to do but literally actively sought this way to bypass regulations by using CATEXes and other things like this.
It’s really, really troubling. Not only are they just disregarding the federal law. They basically are actively finding ways to completely subvert it, and then that would allow them to do what they were poised to do, which is conduct what they call realistic military trainings where—And this is why I say in the title of the piece the Navy uses U.S. citizens as pawns in domestic war games.
I mean that quite literally because by the Navy’s own documents that we published—and they’re online right now for folks to check out—they talk about using U.S. citizens as a way of training their soldiers to say, hey, these could be terrorists. We don’t know the people you might run into during these war game exercises. So, they’re literally using U.S. citizens as pawns to train their soldiers how to react in certain ways.
They’re not carrying weapons with live ammunition in them, but nevertheless, this is a very, very disconcerting step, where they are actively using U.S. citizens in their war games without our consent, without even our knowledge, and certainly without any advanced notification of what they are going to be doing. And then this sets up a situation, where literally you will have Navy SEALs swimming in teams through marinas where people are living on boats. They’re not going to know what’s happening. They’re not going to know who these people are.
You’re going to have Navy SEALs going through residential neighborhoods potentially in the middle of the night with simulated weapons, going through state park and hiking trails at night during the day with simulated weapons, some time even carrying out active war gaming exercises. Needless to say, you don’t have to use a lot of imagination to see the potential for disaster, for someone being shot, for someone else getting afraid and pulling a gun on these people, since we live in such a heavily weaponized country that the potential for accidents is very high—not even to speak of just basic civil rights and civil liberties that are going to be infringed upon by these exercises.