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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Nov > Nov 26

Re: Melvin Brown And The MPs

From: Greg Sandow <greg.nul>
Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2007 10:32:36 -0500
Archived: Mon, 26 Nov 2007 12:07:45 -0500
Subject: Re: Melvin Brown And The MPs

>From: Bruce Hutchinson <bhutch.nul>
>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates.nul>
>Date: Sun, 25 Nov 2007 23:09:07 -0500
>Subject: Re: Melvin Brown And The MPs

>The question is not why a cook would be on guard duty; it is why
>a cook, who claimed he was pressed into guard duty, would be
>allowed such extraordinary access to the bodies and the ship's

>In a time of emergency, if his unit is stretched thin, Easley
>would indeed have had the authority to "requisition" additional
>personnel from other units on the base to back up his troops.
>Under those circumstances, however, these non-security soldiers
>would have been assigned to low priority posts, to allow the
>regular security personnel to be sent to the where the "action"
>was. The idea that a fill-in troop would have been sent to guard
>_the_ most sensitive building in the nation at that time is
>ludicrous at best. That would be a post where Easley would have
>sent only his experienced, regular security forces.

>Security troops/MPs are well trained to know exactly the limits
>of their authority. Under the right circumstances, a private can
>deny a 4-star general access to the building he is guarding, and
>he would know exactly how to handle such a situation. A soldier
>(an engine mechanic, say...) who might pull guard duty 2-3 times
>a year would not be able to properly secure such an enormously
>sensitive post in times of extraordinary circumstances.

>Easley, if he was a competent commander, would have _only_ his
>highly trained security troops or MPs guarding such a sensitive
>building. Had he done otherwise, like posting Brown, Blanchard
>would have had his head on a stick!

This is very well reasoned, but here, and also in Jan Aldrich's
post, one key premise is that the military normally - or at
least in sensitive situations - follows its procedures.

I've never served in the military. But I thought the military
was famous for irrational procedures, whether planned
irrationally, or just executed badly. Hence the book "Catch 22,"
and the word "snafu," which started as a joking military acronym
from World War II, "situation normal, all fracked up" (to use
the swear word in "Battlestar Galactica").

And in general, in life, it's not useful to assume that
procedures always make sense, or are always followed. One
ghastly example, which I'm sure we all know about, is the way
 the police and firefighters' radios didn't use the same
frequencies, during 9/11, so that police and firefighters
couldn't talk during the emergency. That led to loss of lives.
But I'm sure the official New York City emergency guidelines
didn't specify anything like that.

Bruce's example of a private knowing how to refuse access to a
four-star general sounds like wishful thinking to me. Yes, the
private is *supposed* to know how to do this, but being supposed
to know and actually knowing - and actually being able to act on
the knowledge, should the situation ever arise -are very
different things. Here's an example from aviation, which I heard
about on an NPR radio show about flight safety. One plane crash
occurred because the plane ran out of fuel. The co-pilot
noticed, but was afraid to tell the pilot, who somehow hadn't
noticed. So the plane went to its doom. If that's possible - and
it was considered, by aviation authorities, a situation that
could very likely recur - why should we assume that a private
could stand up to a general?

Here are two stories, illustrating the impossible things that
can happen in real life.

During the US invasion of Grenada, an American officer needed
artillery support from Navy ships offshore. He was supposed to
radio them to ask for this. But he discovered that (shades of
NYC during 9/11) that his radio didn't work on the Navy's
frequency. He was resourceful, though. He found a phone booth -
 in the midst of combat! - used his credit card to telephone his
base back home in the US, and asked the base to contact the
Pentagon, to ask them to contact the Navy ships in the water
near Granada, to ask for artillery support.

And, during the height of the Cold War, and even during the
Cuban Missile Crisis, the Soviet embassy in Washington didn't
have direct communications with the Kremlin. If they wanted to
send an urgent message, they'd call Western Union and arrange to
send a telegram. Western Union would dispatch a messenger, who'd
come to the Embassy, pick up the message, and then bring it back
to the Western Union office for transmission to Russia. Of
course the CIA read all these messages, and there was another
unintended consequence, too. The Russians got worried that the
messengers would stop off for a drink, and not deliver the
message quickly to Western Union. So they'd follow the
messengers, to make sure this didn't happen.

The first story comes from "Blank Check: The Pentagon's Black
Budget," by Tim Weiner, a veteran Washington Post and NY Times
reporter. The second story comes from "Nikita Khrushchev and the
Creation of a Superpower," by Khrushchev's son Sergei, now a
university professor living in the US.

Greg Sandow

Listen to 'Strange Days... Indeed' - The PodCast



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