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Pentagon Planning Deployment of Troops for Nationwide Vaccination

H1N1 Pandemic: Pentagon Planning Deployment of Troops in Support of Nationwide Vaccination

Militarization of public health in the case of emergency is now official

by Michel Chossudovsky

According to CNN, the Pentagon is “to establish regional teams of military personnel to assist civilian authorities in the event of a significant outbreak of the H1N1 virus this fall, according to Defense Department officials.”

The proposal is awaiting final approval from Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

The officials would not be identified because the proposal from U.S. Northern Command’s Gen. Victor Renuart has not been approved by the secretary.

The plan calls for military task forces to work in conjunction with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. There is no final decision on how the military effort would be manned, but one source said it would likely include personnel from all branches of the military.

It has yet to be determined how many troops would be needed and whether they would come from the active duty or the National Guard and Reserve forces.

Civilian authorities would lead any relief efforts in the event of a major outbreak, the official said. The military, as they would for a natural disaster or other significant emergency situation, could provide support and fulfill any tasks that civilian authorities could not, such as air transport or testing of large numbers of viral samples from infected patients.

As a first step, Gates is being asked to sign a so-called “execution order” that would authorize the military to begin to conduct the detailed planning to execute the proposed plan.

Orders to deploy actual forces would be reviewed later, depending on how much of a health threat the flu poses this fall, the officials said. (CNN, Military planning for possible H1N1 outbreak, July 2009, emphasis added)

The implications are far-reaching.

The decision points towards the militarization of civilian institutions, including law enforcement and public health.

A nationwide vaccination program is already planned for the Fall.

The pharmaceutical industry is slated to deliver 160 million vaccine doses by the Fall, enough doses to vaccinate more than half of America’s population.

The Pentagon is already planning on the number of troops to be deployed,. with a view to supporting a mass vaccinaiton program.

It is worth noting that this involvement of the military is not being decided by the President, but by the Secretary of Defense, which suggests that the Pentagon is, in a key issue of of national interest, overriding the President and Commander in Chief. The US Congress has not been consulted on the issue.

This decision to mobilise the Armed Forces in the vaccination campaign is taken in anticipation of a national emergency. Although no national emergency has been called, the presumption is that a national public health emergency will occur, using the WHO Level 6 Pandemic as a pretext and a justification.

Other countries, including Canada, the UK and France may follow suit, calling upon their Armed Forces to play a role in support of the H1N1 vaccination program.

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