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“Garden Plot:” The Army’s Emergency Plan to Restore “Law and Order” to America

Operation Garden Plot refers to a general United States Army and National Guard plan designed to respond to major domestic civil disturbances within the U.S.

The Operation Garden Plot was developed in response to the civil disorders of the 1960s. The plan is under the control of the U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM). Main function of the plan is to provide federal military and law enforcement assistance to local governments during times of major civil disturbances. The acts include formulation of legitimizing doctrine, the training in the tactics and techniques of civil disturbance suppression, and the use of non-lethal weaponry.

Garden Plot was last activated (as Noble Eagle) to provide military assistance to civil authorities following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. The Pentagon also activated it to restore order during the 1992 Los Angeles Riots.

Rex 84, short for Readiness Exercise 1984, is a plan by the United States federal government to test their ability to detain large numbers of American citizens in case of civil unrest or national emergency.Here’s one that might make you dust off your tinfoil hat. It’s the US Army’s 1968 “Civil Disturbance Plan,” codenamed Garden Plot.

The plan –first posted by governmentattic.org— explains how the Army planned to “employ Federal forces to assist local authorities in the restoration and maintenance of law and order in the 50 states [and all other districts and territories].”

Also Read:Say Goodbye to the 50 States, Get Ready for FEMA Regions For the North American Union

Of course, for the “restoration of law and order” to be legal, the president must decree it. Planning ahead, the Army drafted Annex Five : a five-section executive order that authorized the Secretary of Defense to “take all appropriate steps” to quell the restive population… All the president needed to do to allow the military to operate domestically was sign the dotted line.

The Garden Plot plan –drafted after the Watts, Newark, and Detroit riots– captures the acrimonious times when the document was drawn up. The section outlining the Army’s perception of the “situation” in America certainly insinuates an establishment that was afraid the disenfranchised. The Plot warns against “racial unrest,” as well as “anti-draft” and “anti-Vietnam” elements. It deserves a read in full  (pgs. 36-37):

What the Army considered “indicators of potential violence (pg. 37)” are also telling (if jarring):

Garden Plot is a much larger and more broadly orchestrated operation than a governor “merely” calling in the Federal Guard (which happened 92 times from 1 July 1969-30 June 1970). And because historic Garden Plot activity was classified and current activity likely remains so, it is difficult to discern exactly how many times Garden Plot was evoked.

The Los Angeles Times reported that until 1971, there were two brigades (4,800 troops) on permanent standby to quell unrest. The Times also reported that Governor Ronald Reagan once addressed 500 soldiers drilling for Garden Plot; he joked that if his political enemies saw him they would accuse him of “planning a military takeover.”

Globalsecurity.org reports that Garden Plot deployments “were commonplace” in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Among other instances, deployments occurred after Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, in response to the US invasion of Cambodia in 1970, and the Republican and Democratic conventions of 1972. There is speculation that Garden Plot was evoked after the 1992 Rodney King Riots and the 1999 Seattle WTO riots. The 1968 plan lists 25 “high priority” cities (pg. 177).

Establishing a contingency plan for civil unrest may have been a prudent and constitutional action by the US military. But by cloaking Garden Plot in unnecessarily secrecy, the executive branch contributed to the erosion of the US public’s trust of its government.


Under the heading of “civil disturbance planning”, the U.S. military is training troops and police to suppress democratic opposition in America. The master plan, Department of Defense Civil Disturbance Plan 55-2, is code-named, “Operation Garden Plot”. Originated in 1968, the “operational plan” has been updated over the last three decades, most recently in 1991. The plan was activated during the Los Angeles “riots” of 1992, and more than likely during the recent anti-WTO “Battle in Seattle.”

Current U.S. military preparations for suppressing domestic civil disturbance, including the training of National Guard troops and police, are part of a long history of American “internal security” measures dating back to the first American Revolution. Generally, these measures have sought to thwart the aims of social justice movements, embodying the concept that within the civilian body politic lurks an enemy that one day the military might have to fight, or at least be ordered to fight.

Equipped with flexible “military operations in urban terrain” and “operations other than war” doctrine, lethal and “less-than-lethal” high-tech weaponry, US “armed forces” and “elite” militarized police units are being trained to eradicate “disorder”, “disturbance” and “civil disobedience” in America.

Further, it may very well be that police/military “civil disturbance” planning is the animating force and the overarching logic behind the incredible nationwide growth of police paramilitary units, a growth which coincidentally mirrors rising levels of police violence directed at the American people, particularly “non-white” poor and working people.

Military spokespeople, “judge advocates” (lawyers) and their congressional supporters aggressively take the position that legal obstacles to military involvement in domestic law enforcement civil disturbance operations, such as the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, have been nullified. Legislated “exceptions” and private commercialization of various aspects of U.S. military-law enforcement efforts have supposedly removed their activities from the legal reach of the “public domain”.

Possibly illegal, ostensible “training” scenarios like the recent “Operation Urban Warrior” no-notice “urban terrain” war games, which took place in dozens of American cities, are thinly disguised “civil disturbance suppression” exercises. Meanwhile, President Clinton recently appointed a “domestic military czar”, a sort of national chief of police. You can bet that he is well versed in Garden Plot requirements involved in “homeland defense”.

Also Read:State of Surveillance-Edward Snowden:Names 8 Million Americans Who Will Be Detained When Martial Law Is Imposed

Ominously, many assume that the training of military and police forces to suppress “outlawed” behavior of citizens, along with the creation of extensive and sophisticated “emergency” social response networks set to spring into action in the event of “civil unrest”, is prudent and acceptable in a democracy. And yet, does not this assumption beg the question as to what civil unrest is?

One could argue for example, that civil disturbance is nothing less than democracy in action, a message to the powers-that-be that the people want change. In this instance “disturbing behavior” may actually be the exercising of ones’ right to resist oppression. Unfortunately, the American corporate/military directorship, which has the power to enforce its’ definition of “disorder”, sees democracy as a threat and permanent counter-revolution as a “national security” requirement.

The elite military/corporate sponsors of Garden Plot have their reasons for civil disturbance contingency planning. Lets’ call it the paranoia of the thief. Their rationale is simple: self-preservation. Fostering severe and targeted “austerity”, massive inequality and unbridled greed, while shifting more and more billions to the generals and the rich, the de-regulated “entities of force” and their interlocking corporate directors know quite well what their policies are engendering, namely, a growing resistance.

Consequently, they are systematically organizing to protect their interests, their profits, and their criminal conspiracies. To this end, they are rapidly consolidating an infrastructure of repression designed to “suppress rebellion” against their “authority”. Or more conveniently put, to suppress “rebellion against the authority of the United States.” And so, as the Pentagon Incorporated increases its¹ imperialist violence around the world, the chickens have indeed come home to roost here in America in the form of a national security doctrine obsessed with domestic “insurgency” and the need to preemptively neutralize it. Its’ code-name: “Garden Plot”.

Pentagon spokesman Kenneth H. Bacon “acknowledged that the Air Force wrongfully started and financed a highly classified, still-secret project, known as a black program without informing Congress last year.” The costs and nature of these projects “are the most classified secrets in the Pentagon.”(1) Could it be that the current United States Air Force Civil Disturbance Plan 55-2 Garden Plot is one such program financed from this secret budget? We have a right to know. And following Seattle, we have the need to know.

As this and numerous other documents reveal, U.S. military training in civil disturbance “suppression”, which targets the American public, is in full operation today. The formulation of legitimizing doctrine, the training in the “tactics and techniques” of “civil disturbance suppression”, and the use of “non-lethal” weaponry, are ongoing, financed by tax dollars. The overall operation is called Garden Plot. And according to the bosses at the Pentagon, “US forces deployed to assist federal and local authorities during times if civil disturbance will follow use-of-force policy found in Department of Defense Civil Disturbance Plan-Garden Plot.” (Joint Chiefs of Staff, Standing Rules of Engagement, Appendix A, 1 October 1994.)

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