Joe Miller's Thugs Were Active Duty Military

It now looks like the security team working for Alaska GOP Senate candidate Joe Miller that handcuffed one journalist and threatened others over the weekend were active duty military.

Here’s Glenn Greenwald:

If it’s not completely intolerable to have active-duty soldiers handcuffing American journalists on U.S. soil while acting as private “guards” for Senate candidates, what would be?  This is the sort of thing that the U.S. State Department would readily condemn if it happened in Egypt or Iran or Venezuela or Cuba:  active-duty soldiers detaining journalists while they’re paid by politician candidates?

Greenwald's updates suggest that active duty military personnel working for a partisan political campaign violates DOD regulations. If it isn't off limits, it should be. It isn't difficult to see the problems that would come with active soldiers working private detail for politicians.

Miller should have apologized, fired his security, and acknowledged that the handcuffing and threats were out of line. Instead he's defending the actions of his security and making excuses that aren't true. 

Hmm. Inflated sense of privilege. Inability to admit a mistake. Doubling down as it becomes increasingly clear he screwed up. Miller's looking more and more like a U.S. Senator by the hour.

Disturbing. But also probably to be expected of a guy who thinks the U.S. should adopt an East German model of border control.

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  • Libertarian||

    But... I'm pretty sure he'd vote for lower taxes for billionaires. Approved!

  • Suck my Radley||

    Radical Butthole and anybody else who'd cite a known lying Dhimmi Sockpuppet and traitor like that Greenwald fool deserve no consideration, nor does anyone who compares enforcing immigration laws to East Germany's enforcement of its emigration laws. Up yours, Radical Butthole.

  • ||

    From the link...

    “East Germany was very, very able to reduce the flow,” Miller said at a town hall event Sunday, as recorded by an Anchorage-based blogger.

    “Now, obviously, other things there were involved,” Miller added. “We have the capacity, as a great nation, obviously, to secure our border. If East Germany could, we could.”

    So you argue that Joe Miller deserves no consideration?

  • zoltan||

    "If the Soviet Union could do it...!"

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Cool story, Suck my Radley!

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Libertarian,

    *I* would vote for reducing the tax rate for billionaires . . . to zero.

    The same for everybody else. I don't understand what's the problem, other than taking away the bureaucrats' meal ticket.

  • Monocled Monopolist||


  • Jeffersonian||

    I thought this looked pretty bad from Balko's description and Greewald's breathless spin, but reading the article it seems that Miller called up a rent-a-cop outfit and they sent over guys who happened to be active-duty soldiers who were moonlighting and out of uniform. Not exactly Hugo Chavez territory here, Radley. And from the accounts I've read, the blogger initiated the rough stuff.

    Weak tea.

  • Tony||

    Why bother being so ideologically rigid if you're going to be such a sycophant for anyone with an (R) or (teabag) after his name? He is running for U.S. Senate and had a journalist arrested by a private non-accredited security team made up of active-duty soldiers. NOT COOL.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Believe it or not, Chony, freedom of the press does not include the liberty to assault people at will, even for such exalted folk as port-siders.

  • ||

    Let's just admit it Jeff, we're Starboard Apologists. (Starboard Apologists, great band name? discuss. better than psuedoarguing with chony.)

  • Mr. FIFY||

    I think Tony and his ilk are just angry that their political candidates can't get away with what Miller did.

    And, no, I wouldn't vote for him, Tony.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    "Why bother being so ideologically rigid if you're going to be such a sycophant for anyone with an (R) or (teabag) after his name?"

    ...says the ideologically-rigid sycophant for anyone with a (D) after his name...

  • MNG||

    "And from the accounts I've read, the blogger initiated the rough stuff."

    WTF? The Miller Personal Army says he did is what you meant to say, the blogger denies that. At this point we don't know. If it comes out tomorrow that Miller's contingent did this without jutification will it still be "weak tea" to you?

  • Jim Treacher||

    The blogger admitted he shoved somebody. Because he "felt threatened."

  • Suki||

    You just love trouble making Marxists, don't you Choney?

  • hmm||

    I think I read the blogger admitted he was the first to start shoving because he felt they were closing in on him.

    Seems like a situation where there's enough stupid to go around for all.

  • ||

    Is "closing in on" someone a crime or a tort? I'm struggling to understand how the initiation of physical violence was justified.

  • Pope Urban||

    It's assault sans battery.

    Let's say I walk up to you, balling my fists, then punch you in the nose.

    Let's also posit that as I approach you recognize that I'm about to hit you and are lifting your arms to protect your face before my first fist flies.

    At the point you feel a need to raise your arms defensively because harm is imminent, I have assaulted you.

    Only when I make contact with you do we add battery to to my list of crimes.

    Some jurisdictions don't recognize standalone assault as a crime and prosecute battery as "Assault & Battery". However those are the definitions.

  • tarran||

    Stupid joke handle...

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    It's assault sans battery.

    Beat me to it.

    If the person reasonably felt threatened with imminent unconsented physical contact, it's assault. A bunch of "security" thugs closing in in a menacing manner, with their actions and words making it clear that they are about to lay their hands on you - wrongly - is assault. And it's a crime in many, if not most, jurisdictions, and also the basis for a civil action in tort. If they make physical contact, it's battery.

    I have not read all the various accounts of this "incident", but it is entirely possible the journo acted reasonably in pushing the goons back.

    Any video of the incident out there?

  • Mr. FIFY||

    So... why didn't this "assault" definition apply to the Black Panthers hanging outside the polling place last election year?

  • ||

    Because the people currently in charge of "protecting civil rights" believe that means protecting minorities from white people. That's the advanced, educated, PC view, you old-fashioned person you.

  • ||

    When Miller came out against federal pork, Miller became a threat to the establishment.

    Both the blogger and the newspaper reporting on the event are actively (The Anchorage Daily News) supporting Miller's big government opponent Lisa Murkowski. They are practically an arm of the Murkowski campaign. They have been running a smear campaign covering every tiny detail of Miller's family and personal life. I have never seen anything like this in a local race.

    Recently, Miller announced that he wouldn't answer inappropiate questions - which is his right.

    So far so good...

    When Tony Hopfinger, the political activist (who is also a blogger) began harassing people at Miller's campaign event, he was the one infringing on Miller's right to express himself. When Hopfinger further began initiating force by shoving people, and staying after being asked to leave a private event, it was Hopfinger who was using force. If Miller's security had infringed on Hopfinger's rights, they would have been charged by city police. (Yes, my undestanding is that Hopfinger tried going after Miller legally, but couldn't.)

    The fact is that reporters, and political activists representign themselves as reporters, don't have special rights. Tresspass is still tresspass. Assault is still assault.

    BTW, although Miller isn't registered as a Libertarian, he is pretty close on mmany issues. He actually scores a bit better than David Haase (the nominal Libertarian candidate for senate) on a few issue.

    Miller's opponents are terrible...

  • Thomas Ellers||

    I think Glenn Greenwald deserves a Pulitzer for his work here!

  • Wilson||

    I like the way Ellers thinks!

    Did you know that Glenn Greenwald worked for a prestigious law firm as a constitutional lawyer, had a top-ranked blog after only a few months of blogging, and had entries from his blog read in Senate committee hearings?

  • Masturbatin' Pete||

    I don't know why reminding everyone of Glenn "Brazilian Cabana Boy" Greenwald's sockpuppetry never gets old, but it just doesn't.

    I suppose I would stop posting as Ellensburg, Ellers, Wilson, Ryan, etc. if GG would just own up to his obvious bloggy autofellatio, but there's no sign that this will ever happen. Pathetic.

  • Colin||

    Miller's looking more and more like a U.S. Senator by the hour.

    Senator? He's looking like presidential material.

  • ||

    In 1996 the late Senator Stevens had his Democratic opponent (Teresa Obermeyer) arrested, transported over 2000 miles to a federal prison, and held for 29 days.

    Why? Because Obermeyer heckled Stevens during a speach.

    Greenwald, Balko, and Reason didn't care.

  • Yonemoto||

    Dude, I think at the time balko was still in middle school.

  • ||

    He never left it.

  • Fitzroy||

    If you want to see how fondly reasonoids thought of Stevens, you should check out the thread at the date of his death. Not exactly tearful goodbyes.

  • ||

    Yes, they didn't like him. However, their critique actually misses the mark. The legal charges against him were actually pretty weak. Remember the conviction was thrown out because the prosecution withheld exculpatory evidence. He also wasn't that interested in personal gain.

    The problem with Stevens was that he had too much power for far too long. Over time he used that power to enrich friends and supporters, and gain further power. Often those supporters were "colonial" interests outside Alaska. (e.g. Trident Seafoods)

    Reason's writers have never covered Alaska properly, because they don't bother to do basic research or fact checking. There are really some strong pro-liertarian lessons that could be gained. (Maybe federal spending doesn't really help people or promote development?)

  • ||

    why am I reading this? why would I bother after reading this. Nope, I am done

  • ||

    Methinks gary doesn't understand sarcasm. How surprising.

  • Mad Max||

    There are two possible reasons for these soldiers handcuffing a civilian (journalist or not) to a chair within the United States during a political event: (a) The soldiers are executing the laws, or (b) They're *not* executing the laws. If they're *not* executing the laws, explain, please, how handcuffing a civilian to a chair for offending a political candidate is legal.

    If these soldiers *are* executing the laws, then pray tell, what do you make of the following federal statute:

    '18 USC § 1385. Use of Army and Air Force as posse comitatus

    'Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus *or otherwise to execute the laws* shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.'

    There are some exceptions to this ban, but none of these exceptions, that I know of, involve providing security to Senatorial candidates at political events.

    What am I missing here?

  • Mad Max||

    Is it that these guys are off-duty?

  • Mad Max||

    Yeah, it must be that these guys are off-duty, so they have the same rights as citizens to detain suspected law-violators and wait for the police to arrive.

    It's just like an off-duty soldier coming across a robbery and stopping the robber, holding him until the police arrive. *That* wouldn't violate the Posse Comitatus Act, would it? Certainly not! So obviously, this political candidate was simply hiring private citizens who came across a crime and helped repress it, just like any civilian would have! The fact that they were hired as security guards by a political candidate is just a coincidence - this candidate wasn't actually using *soldiers* to enforce the law - that would violate an Act of Congress!

  • Mad Max||

    I forgot my sarcasm tags again. Here they are: ؟ ؟ ؟

  • ||

    I would say something, but I don't want to interrupt this lively conversation you're having with yourself.

  • Mad Max||

    *You* try having an intelligent conversation on H&R.

  • ||

    *You* try having an intelligent conversation on H&R.

    Sadly Balko posted no photos of women, farm animals or cartoons I may or may not wish to sleep with.

  • ||

    Yes, it is because they are off duty, rather than acting under color of law (and more particularly of the armed forces).

    I'm not sure what part of your next follow-up was sarcasm, unless it was the implication that off-duty military would not normally "have the same rights as citizens". Maybe the sarcasm was the (moronic) suggestion that hired security staff just randomly happen to notice illegal acts while they are on the job?

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    If they are not acting with police or military authority, I'm not clear on how handcuffing someone would not be wrongful imprisonment, unless the person was, say, in the act of committing a felony.

  • Masturbatin' Pete||

    "Wrongful/unjust imprisonment" is the name of a common-law tort that may be committed by private individuals.

  • Sidd Finch||

    Wilson has a way of bringing out the Infowars in Balko.

  • The Thinking Man's NASCAR||

    Eh, I've breathed in too many chemtrails to get outraged.

  • hmm||

    Thread jack:

    Bob Guccione goes to the big porn shoot in the sky.

  • hmm||

  • Suki||

    If it’s not completely intolerable to have active-duty soldiers handcuffing American journalists on U.S. soil while acting as private “guards” for Senate candidates, what would be?

    Since most MSM journos should be summarily shot, I really don't see the problem with this asshole being cuffed by anybody.

  • Tony||

    Spoken like a libertarian?

  • ||


    It's hilarious that someone would think JohnSukiBot is a libertarian.

  • hmm||

    Were they regulars or NG? That would actually be a pretty significant difference.

  • Sidd Finch||

    If they're active duty, it doesn't matter if they're regular, reserve, or guard.

    TFA says they're "assigned" to Ft. Richardson FWIW.

  • Episiarch||

    Watch my pussy video!

  • Tman||

    Do "active duty personnel" relinquish their constitutional rights when they are trying to earn a living being a security guard?

    No, they do not. Settle down Greenwald/Balko.

    I'm kinda disappointed that Balko would even argue this.

  • hmm||

    You are restricted in action as a civil servant and active duty member of the US armed forces. I'm not sure about the military and political actions, but I can tell you that municipal civil servants are often not allowed to contribute or work for local politicians.

    So people really do relinquish rights under some circumstances.

  • hmm||

    Actually I'm positive the military is restricted, but the line may be blurred since this was employment as well as political.

  • Mark||

    Speaking as a former member of our US Armed Forces I can tell you with certainty that there most certainly ARE restrictions to what you can and cannot do off duty -- employment by an otherwise legal political campaign isn't one of them.

    Military members are prohibited from attending political functions in uniform, on or off duty. Military members are prohibited from involvement with ANY organizations -- political or otherwise -- that advocate the violent overthrow of the US government. And that pretty much sums up the total of restrictions on military members' political activities.

    Obviously there are caveats: You can't badmouth your commander-in-chief in the press -- especially if you command a large force currently engaged in combat operations overseas. If the press published such remarks from even a junior member of the service I suspect there would be some consequences. This, to me, seems common sense, but I speak from the viewpoint of a military veteran.

    There are restrictions on civilian employment, but they are based on how that employment may impact one's ability to perform military duties. For example, working as a bouncer at a bar that closes at 3am is incompatible with a military member whose duty day begins at 6am. That too seems common sense.

    BTW, active vs guard really makes no difference. Military units all follow basic regulations. Units are allowed to add further restrictions to the basic rules, but they are not allowed to relax them.

    From a purely practical standpoint, I can't think of better people to hire as personal security than members of the military. They're typically fit, alert, trained in self-defense and the use of firearms and not very well paid.

  • ||

    They weren't working for his campaign. They worked for a security company hired by his campaign. This is weak. And, no, you do NOT relinquish your rights to free speech, etc. That only applies to when you're in uniform on duty. I can still go and vote.

  • hmm||

    jesus knit pickin' christ

    So you don't relenquish rights except when blah blah blah

    Which means at some point you voluntarily relinquish your fucking constitutional rights. Just like I said, "under some circumstances."

    Fuck me, reading comprehension is a dying art.

  • hmm||

    For the record rules for military would most likely fall under title 10.

  • ||

    Shouldn't the question for us be "should members of the military have their constitutional rights forfeited at any time?" To use the right of free speech example, I can understand being required as a condition of employment to keep your damn mouth shut while on duty, but even if you do speak, discharge of some kind seems reasonable and perhaps appropriate, but you should NOT be arrested, tried, and convicted for the "crime" of speaking. It shouldn't be *that* kind of law.

  • hmm||


    The UCMJ title 10, 18 and 2(I think) exist for a reason. I don't agree with all of them, but if I sign on the line I'm agreeing to play by the rules set forth. The punishments are laid out along side the conditions and rules. If you don't agree with them then I don't sign.

    It really is that simple. I don't agree with DODT, but I have a hard time reconciling how someone could sign up serve and then half way through service decide they don't want to play by that rule. It's stupid to fire them, but they knew the conditions when entering.

    Like I said above, there's enough stupid to go around for all here.

  • ||

    Worth noting is that the entire event looks like it may have been planned by Hopfinger as staged provocation. Also worth noting is that Miller had already left when the entire thing happened .

    I would suggest taking a look at Thom Lamb's post:

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Considering the little incident with Sean Bielat being heckled by Barney Frank's boyfriend after their debate, this isn't completely out of the realm of possibility.

    As others have noted, any video should clear things up.

  • ||

    10 bucks says Weigel did not describe this incident as a hug.

    But yeah if they handcuffed and held a journalist against his will that is kidnapping...if Joe Miller ordered that action he is an accomplice.

    By the way here is the article and video:


    Where was the outrage to Etheridge's assault?

  • ||

    the video is of the Hug not about the handcuff thing.

    anyway i think both incidences are great for a compare and contrast of the reactions for the left wing media....

    And their general hackeyness when it comes to shit like this.

  • ||

    speaking of hacks here is Weigel being a hack:

    The conservative movement basically has Miller's back on this story, buying his take that the Dispatch's blogger was fully responsible for the scuffle and handcuffing. And this is part of a... well, I hate to say "trend," but it's part of the way the new Republican candidates approach the press.

    Weigel must have been going against the trend when a Democrat representative hugged a reporter.

  • prolefeed||

    Hmmm, normally Radley is on top of the details, but here ...

    Is Radley suggesting that it is illegal for people in the military to moonlight as security guards for a private outfit?

    Is Radley suggesting that politicians are not allowed to hire private security guards?

    Is Radley suggesting that under no circumstances can a private citizen, such as a private security guard, make a citizen's arrest and wait for the police to arrive and sort things out?

    Has Radley made an attempt to find out whether or not the journalist did or did not do something that was an initiation of force that would justify a citizen's arrest?

    Has the security guard who made a citizen's arrest been charged with an crime? Because if they acted wrongly, wouldn't the police who arrived on the scene take a dim view of false arrest of an innocent citizen, and uncuff the journalist, and cuff the security guard who made the false arrest?

    I'm guessing that maybe a journalism fail might have occurred here, or at least a knee-jerk reaction by Radley to authority without trying to ascertain if the newspaper article was running a biased political hit piece.

  • ||

    I am reading lots of stuff here about citizen's arrests and Han Solo the journalist shot first...where is a link to that story?

  • Sidd Finch||

    You must not read his blog. He's generally awesome here but often goes full retard there, especially for Wilson's tinfoil outrages.

  • Fluffy||

    Actually, I do in fact have a problem with the concept of a "citizen's arrest".

    In my book, if you handcuff me and detain me, and the police show up and DO NOT ARREST ME, you've committed the crime of kidnapping.

    If you're going to lay a single finger on me and detain me for even a millisecond, you better be absofuckinglutely sure I've actually committed a crime. Because if I haven't, I should be allowed to resist your action with deadly force, and if I can't resist it you should go to prison as a kidnapper.

  • ||

    So if you assault me, assault isn't a crime unless the cops decide to charge you? It's initiation of force either way. Come on, you've read enough about corrupt, dumb, lazy, or ignorant of the law cops and evil DA's to know they don't always follow the letter of the law. If I detain you for assaulting me and the cops are friends of yours, that doesn't mean I kidnapped you. It means I was quite calm and restrained since I could have just beat the shit out of you or worse since you were dumb enough to hit me.

  • ||

    This post would have been a lot funnier if it was prefaced with "As a karate expert...".

  • Tman||

    So people really do relinquish rights under some circumstanceS

    True, but what happened in this instance had nothing to do with the rights that said civil servants relinquish when they become part of our volunteer civil defense agency, otherwise known as the Most Powerful Military In the History Of the Earth.

    But, the jager and I digress...

  • prolefeed||

    But yeah if they handcuffed and held a journalist against his will that is kidnapping...if Joe Miller ordered that action he is an accomplice.

    It is either kidnapping, or a citizen's arrest of someone who committed a crime. Depends on what, if anything, the journalist did or did not do to violate the rights of others.

    If someone was robbing your house, and you caught them in the act, and confronted them with a shotgun and handcuffed them and then called the police ... is that kidnapping?

  • ||

    i have no idea what the rules of citizens arrests are.

    If you know tell me about it.

    If you have a story about the Journalist breaking any law that might justify a citizens arrest then link to it.

  • Sidd Finch||

    Are you being purposely obtuse?

  • ||

    no i have not really followed this story.

  • prolefeed||

    From Wikipedia: Each state, with the exception of North Carolina, permits citizen arrests if the commission of a felony is witnessed by the arresting citizen, or when a citizen is asked to assist in the apprehension of a suspect by police. The application of state laws varies widely with respect to misdemeanors, breaches of the peace, and felonies not witnessed by the arresting party. American citizens do not carry the authority or enjoy the legal protections held by police officers, and are held to the principle of strict liability before the courts of civil- and criminal law including, but not limited to, any infringement of another's rights.[32] Nonetheless many citizens' arrests are popular news stories and criminal prosecutions in clearly justifiable cases are rare.[33]

    Though North Carolina General Statutes have no provision for citizens' arrests, detention by private persons is permitted and applies to both private citizens and police officers outside their jurisdiction.[34] Detention is permitted where probable cause exists that one has committed a felony, breach of peace, physical injury to another person, or theft or destruction of property.[35] Detention is different from an arrest in that in a detention the detainee may not be transported without consent.

    Reading the article linked above by Robert in AK:

    It is not clear to me whether or not the journalist in question crossed the line between aggressive but legal reporting, and assault: how much of a shove did he give the security guards? What is the law in AK? Why were the security guards not charged with a crime if they, as some have alleged above, engaged in kidnapping?

    The journalist appears to have initiated force with a shove. Whether that justified a citizen's arrest is not clear, but Radley Balko's automatic assumption that the security guards were in the wrong seems a bit like a rush to judgment.

    Now, if the journalist had not shoved anyone first, and had gotten cuffed for saying stuff, then yeah, the security guards would have been out of line. But that isn't what happened.

  • prolefeed||

    Shorter answer: Detention is permitted where probable cause exists that one has committed a felony, breach of peace, physical injury to another person, or theft or destruction of property.

    Was the shove a felony under Alaska law, or did it cause "physical injury to another person"? That's what Radley Balko should have tried to ascertain here before automatically assuming the people with the badges were the aggressors.

  • ||

    Was the shove a felony under Alaska law

    Trespassing looks like the main concern.

    In Washington state there are two degrees of trespass both are not felonies. No idea about Alaska.

    The guards would have been better off getting the guys name, removing him from the premises, then filing a police report.

    That is what a bouncer in a bar would do.

    If I ever run for office I am hiring Patrick Swayze

  • ||

    I'm sure his mouldering corpse will frighten away many journalists.

  • Sidd Finch||

    "Radley Balko's automatic assumption that the security guards were in the wrong seems a bit like a rush to judgment."

    If by in the wrong, you mean

    "This is the sort of thing that the U.S. State Department would readily condemn if it happened in Egypt or Iran or Venezuela or Cuba: active-duty soldiers detaining journalists while they’re paid by politician candidates?"

    then sure, it's just a simple rush to judgment.

  • ||

    According to local radio coverage (from KENI 650) today: The police showed up after the fact. Nobody actually went to jail. The security guard may or may not have dropped the charges. (The blogger didn't drop drop his charges but wasn't having any luck either criminal or civil.)

    According to Alaskan law (unless it has changed), handcuffing and restraining someone without cause is potentially classified as kidnapping, not just assault. The security guard put himself in pretty serious legal peril, if there was any possibility that what he did was out of line.

  • hmm||

    If they held him until police arrived they can claim arrest. It'd be sketchy, but you could make an argument for it.

  • deet||

    If what happened was an assault, then the detention of said blogger by the security firm wouldn't be much different than "Shopkeeper's Privilege"; which allows for the detention of a violent troublemaker by a store owner, until the police arrive to take custody of said troublemaker.

    The only issue at hand are what the local laws have to say about it.

  • Max||

    If you right-wing fucks ever managed to pivatize everything and totally destroy the public sphere, victims of private thugs wouldn't have any recourse. The good news is that you right-wing fucks are so stupid you couldn't find your fat right-wing asses with a flashlight.

  • Amakudari||

    you right-wing fucks are so stupid you couldn't find your fat right-wing asses with a flashlight
    find your fat right-wing asses with a flashlight

    How would a flashlight help anyone?

  • Old Mexican||

    Max. H&R's pet yorkie.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    I think he meant "Fleshlight", the male sex toy. His mom's got one in the dishwasher as we speak, most likely.

  • Max||


  • cristin||

  • DRM||

    According to the Balko-linked article, Hopfinger himself admits to an action (shoving) that was unquestionably the tort of battery, and depending on the specifics (which we don't have) could well have also been the crime of battery. At which point, a security guard working for a private firm hired by the campaign, on his own initiative, made a private person's arrest under Alaskan law, detaining the tortfeasor and alleged criminal until the arrival of the police to resolve the situation.

    This, Greenwald and Balko characterize as a politician using soldiers as personal thugs to detain a journalist.

    The rest of us, living in reality, see nothing particularly ominous about someone who admits he used physical violence in the presence of security guards getting detained by said guards long enough for the police to arrive.

  • ||

    The things that bothers me most about this is Radley's credibility. I think he's usually great but this is pretty shoddy work on his part.

  • Masturbatin' Pete||

    Radley and "Thomas Ellers" are hyper-vigilant about abuses of government power. That's great, except when, as in this circumstance, there's no government power to be abused.

    I will concede, for the sake of argument, that the guards protecting Miller acted wrongly. So what? The guards weren't acting as agents of the U.S. military, nor did they use the trappings, symbols, or resources of the U.S. military to commit these acts. They were not acting on behalf of or at the direction of a superior officer.

    Should we prohibit members of the military from moonlighting? Maybe. But the fact that we don't does not mean that a moonlighting solider is always an agent of the government.

  • Yonemoto||

    Regulations aside, I don't see what the problem is, ideologically, with having active duty military doing this as a moonlighting operation, as long as they are doing it while on leave and are not doing this 1) under the orders of a superior officer or 2) doing this while in uniform or otherwise advertising their status as agents of the government.

    Folks in the military are citizens too, and if cops, or teachers, or city hall bureaucrats, are allowed to moonlight in rent-a-cop roles and work for political candidates, why not individuals military?

    However, handcuffing a journo. That's unacceptable.

  • Abdul||

    Since when do journalists get immunity to shove people? that belongs to diplomats and Naomi Campbell.

  • ||

    Yeah, what the hell? What makes this guy allowed to assault and/or batter people? His press pass? Fuck that.

    I agree that members of the military should be allowed to hold a second job in any field of their own free will sans uniform just like I as a guy working a regular job can join the reserves or NG and still be a regular citizen out of uniform. I don't see much difference.

  • Yonemoto||

    I didn't read that the Journo had shoved first. Now that I understand that's what happened first, fuck him.

  • ||

    MAD MAX 10.20.10 1056pm

    "off duty"
    An active duty member is ALWAYS UNDER the UCMJ.

  • ||

    What some of us are questioning is, should they be "always under the UCMJ?" Why or why not?

  • ||

    By the way, when one signs that infamous "dotted line" you GIVE UP many rights of the citizen. One becomes "property" of the UNITED STATES and faces continual double jeopardy under the UCMJ.

    by the way, I did my 11 years worth of "fruitloops" in the Navy Honorably.

  • George Washington||

    We do not put away the citizen when we put on the soldier.

  • ||

    However, everyone must defend themselves. So, in civil court, it will be the side that "proves" it.

  • ||

    Sorry folks, just one more thought;

    There WILL BE different "spanks" for different ranks.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    This just seems poorly thought out and implemented from the headline on down.

  • TheOtherSomeGuy||

    What would be the purpose of hiring security guards if they couldn't detain/prevent the people who become physically aggressive from reaching the client?

    And just because this moron writes for an internet website does NOT make him a journalist.

    I write for an internet website, but they wouldn't let me into the WH Press Corp... Give me a break.

    Some psycho with a website tries to shove his way through security and gets pissed off when he gets stopped... That's the reason you hire security in the first place.

    If this had been the Secret Service, and the speaker had been President Obama, the guy could've been shot dead for this. This private security detail could've tasered him, or given him a full can of bear mace to the face like you see on Dog the Bounty Hunter on national TV. He's lucky that all he got was handcuffed.

  • ||

    It sounds like the only person to act inappropriately was the guy who initiated force. The security guard detained someone who assaulted him, waited for police, reserved his right to press charges (may or may not have), the initiator seems to be getting no where legally or civilly with his charges...I don't see the problem other than Balko's assumption that members of the military aren't citizens capable of holding a part time job.

  • Xenocles||

    As others have written, military members are permitted to moonlight, subject to restrictions of both regulation and command instruction.

    Greenwald's article (and by extention Balko's) implies that the guards were acting under the orders of higher authority while playing security guard. As a more careful reading shows, this is a lie. The worst case here seems to be that these individual soldiers violated regulations regarding outside employment. Since they were essentially subcontractors here it's a little less clear. Even if they were wrong, there's still a difference between individual soldiers and "the military."
    If a soldier murders his wife, we don't assume that he was representing the government. If the guards' action was illegal in any way, why are we assuming it here?

  • Fluffy||

    Greenwald's article (and by extention Balko's) implies that the guards were acting under the orders of higher authority while playing security guard. As a more careful reading shows, this is a lie.

    Does either article directly say that the soldiers were acting under the orders of higher authority?

    If they don't, news flash: you can't lie by implication. The articles make specific statements, and we should discuss those specific statements.

    People who add content to statements and then declare the original speaker a liar based on that added content are...cunts.

  • ||

    "If they don't, news flash: you can't lie by implication"

    Bullshit you can't. Greenwald has made an entire career of lying by implication. If the point isn't to lie by implying that they were acting on higher orders, why is it relevent that they are military? Would it somehow be okay to have handcuffed the guy if they had been off duty plumbers? The only reason Greenwald is cumming all over his keyboard over this is because they were military. Why does that matter or in anyway an outrage unless it involves some kind of shadowy military involvement in politics?

    I really don't get your man crush on Greenwald. The guy is a total dishonest hack.

  • MNG||

    I think a presumption that government actors are in the wrong is a good thing and one of the most valuable things that libertarians often bring to the table actually. It's a good thing to hold those who claim the "legitimate right to use force" in a society in some automatic suspicion.

    It's funny to see so many people here point to the fact that Millers Personal Army was not charged for anything by the police as an implication of vindication, especially since as of yet the blogger has not been charged either.

  • ||

    They were out of uniform and employed by a private security company. They could have been protecting a celebrity but instead were protecting a politician, one who happens to not hold any current office so cannot be construed as using his power to control members of the military. He's currently a private citizen SEEKING office but not yet holding it.

    I think one of the most valuable things libertarians bring to the table is the ability to not overreact and try to learn the truth and think about the nuances before forming an opinion. How often do we criticize everyone else for their knee-jerk reactions? A lot.

  • Xenocles||

    I don't disagree with the idea of a presumption that government actors are wrong, but these soldiers were not government actors in the scenario. They were acting for their other employer, the security firm, with no government agency implied. Had they worked the gig in their Army uniforms or otherwise acted under the color of government agency, it would have been an obvious problem. So obvious, in fact, that they would certainly have been disciplined because they would have breached rules already in place to prevent just that sort of behavior.
    The government does enough bad things willfully; it's frankly a waste of our time and outrage to ascribe to the government the bad actions of its employees who go off the reservation.

  • Fluffy||

    What's the point?

    Are you fucking dense?

    If nothing else, this has had the salutary effect of making me aware that active-duty personnel are able to hire themselves out as enforcers for private politicians, if they just hire themselves out to intermediary security companies.

    Before today, I was not aware of that. So I have now been educated on it.

    I think it's a disgraceful practice and should be banned. Active duty military personnel should have no security jobs while serving, in my opinion. Frankly, I don't think they should have ANY other wage employment.

    Why not just have shell company XYZ hire the entire military, and send them out on the streets in their "spare time"? If that's all it takes to evade the intent of the various posse comitatus laws, those laws aren't worth the paper they're printed on.

  • ||

    Either these guys acted properly or they didn't. The fact that they are military makes no difference. And if you hired the military to "out in the streets", so what? They would be subject to the same laws anyone else would be. You act like they would be able to drive their tanks over people or something. They wouldn't be any more or less likly to create mischeif than anyone else. You are grasping at straws here Fluffy.

  • ||

    John is right. Pay them to be out on the streets? Fine by me. They are expected to abide by every law you and I are expected to abide by, no more, no less. They are citizens, most of them, and those who are not are legal US residents. They don't have special powers.

    By the way, what profit could Company XYZ expect to make from this massive civilian presence in the streets not doing anything? Who is paying them? Why? The hypothetical doesn't seem to make much sense.

  • Masturbatin' Pete||

    Active duty military personnel should have no security jobs while serving, in my opinion. Frankly, I don't think they should have ANY other wage employment.

    That's a fair position for you to take. But when a government employee is clearly acting only as a private citizen, there's no abuse of government power.

    Why not just have shell company XYZ hire the entire military, and send them out on the streets in their "spare time"? If that's all it takes to evade the intent of the various posse comitatus laws, those laws aren't worth the paper they're printed on.

    Because private security guards do not have the powers and immunities that the police have. Their authority would be the same as any other private citizen. And you, as a private citizen, cannot execute a warrant or search a car when you determine that there's probable cause.

  • Xenocles||

    "If they don't, news flash: you can't lie by implication."

    Fluffy, you ignorant slut. Have you ever watched a political ad in your life? That's all the evidence you should need to know what you said is completely untrue.

  • Fluffy||

    By the way, the quoted Greenwald assertion, read literally, is ABSOLUTELY UNDENIABLE:

    If a bunch of members of the Iranian military or intelligence services showed up at a political event, seized some blogger, shoved her around and handcuffed her, the resident GOP apologists would go ABSOLUTELY BALLISTIC.

    And if those Iranians said:

    "Hey, we were just moonlighting as private security!"

    "Hey, we were working for a subcontractor hired for this event, and we're not really directly involved in the politics of it!"

    "Hey, it was a citizen's arrest! There was no higher authority involved!"

    - not ONE of you fuckwads would say, "Oh, gee. Guess it's OK then."

    Every last one of you would say, "Look! Look look look! The Iranian military is oppressing journalists!"

    And spare me your self-serving and specious denials, because I'll ignore them all.

    So the central point of the article[s] stand[s]: If this event happened in one of the countries listed, we would be told it was incontrovertible evidence of the regime's corruption and injustice.

  • TheOtherSomeGuy||

    I'd be ok with it. I'm all for privatizing the police.

  • Abdul||

    There's a huge difference between the tradition of rule of law here and in Iran. Ever since Khomeni's revolution, the Iranian ruling class used Basji militias as enforcers. We simply don't have that tradition here. We do have a tradition of hiring security contractors that are made up of off-duty law enforcement or military to work at all kinds of events, from rock concerts to political rallies.

    No one would be shocked if an off-duty military guy working security shoved a Gene Simmons groupie to the ground and handcuffed her. Well, Gene might be shocked, but the rest of us wouldn't.

  • ||

    Well no shit fluffy. If this happened in Iran, it would be different. But we are not Iran. And our military is not used as an armed force to impose a totalitarian government in the United States. You are committing a first class act of sophistry. On the surface your argument sounds plausible. They are both military. But the two situations are not even close to being comparable.

  • MNG||

    We are the good guys and they are the Axis of Evil fluffy, come on!

  • ||

    An off duty military person working in his spare time as security for a Senate candidate in the US is a lot different than what happens in Iran. You can't compare one to the other. To say otherwise is to say that there can never be degrees of anything, which is not true. But to understand that requires an honest assesment. And honest argument is something that consistently elludes you.

  • MNG||

    fluffy's point is that hyper-nationalists and war-mongerers such as yourself would not care or take the time to delve into the specific facts of the case were it to be about Iran (or Venezula or Cuba or the other half dozen nations you guys want to invade). You would just start the two minute hate.

  • Fluffy||

    Differences in degree are not differences in kind.

  • ||

    At some point a difference in degree becomes a difference in kind. A mole hill is not a mountain even though they are both rises in the earth. You will never give an inch on this because you are nuts when it comes to this stuff. That, and you are apparently in love with Glenn Greenwald. He really brings out the worst in you.

  • ||

    Did the Iranian blogger assault one of the security guards at Ahmadenijad's rally? Because by accounts in this situation, that's what happened. If the Alaskan journalist in this story had not assaulted the security guard and the guard still handcuffed him everyone here, I think including John, would be all over that guy for exceeding his authority and probably kidnapping in the legal sense. But, we're actually examining facts here and NOT jumping to conclusions just because the guy is active military like Greenwald and Balko are doing.

  • Jim Treacher||

    If a bunch of members of the Iranian military or intelligence services showed up at a political event, seized some blogger, shoved her around and handcuffed her, the resident GOP apologists would go ABSOLUTELY BALLISTIC.

    You really think they would defend her for shoving people and being detained for it until the cops got there. To you, that's "undeniable."

    Did the person who got shoved by this Hopfinger guy have any rights?

  • Masturbatin' Pete||

    There's a pretty huge analogy fail here.

    In order to make this work, you'd have to find an Iranian candidate in the position of Miller: a non-incumbent candidate from the opposition party, i.e., the party that does not control the legislature, and whose rival is the commander-in-chief.

  • DanLiberty||

    Miller should have known who these security guys were . . . now he is in a sticky wicket, and it's his fault. You don't pull this kind of crap until you are elected to Congress! Then, post-election, you can get away with just about anything.

  • rhea||

    People always defining and redefining self and changing, sexuality is not what one does but who they are. Military let people be who they are or internal combustion occurs and detonation of mini explosions of soldiers loss of dignity and self and that borders on taking their inalienable rights away.

    We help Americans move to Asia for jobs and prosperity. Learn more at

  • ||

    The guy shoved one of the security guards.

    If you shove a security guard, I am sorry, but you are asking for it. Period.

  • Les||

    Yes, when a security guard pushes you for no good reason, cowering and supplication is the only appropriate response.

  • Jim Treacher||

    He was pushed first? Where is this new information coming from?

  • Les||

    It's a "he said/he said" thing. I don't know with 100% certainty who pushed who first, but let's look at our choices. Either the reporter pushed the security guard for in a way completely uncharacteristic of reporters, or the security guard pushed the reporter in a way completely in character for a security guard. Still, that no one was arrested or charged makes it more difficult to know exactly what happened.

  • Xenocles||

    IOW, you have arrived at a working conclusion based on nothing but your prejudices about two groups of people.

  • mike||

    I have absolutely no problem with an East German model for border security and have long advocated we find any guards who are still alive and put them on the dole as consultants.

    I fail to see what is wrong with properly defending our national borders. The issue of whether we should extend more work visa or allow more immigration, etc is completely separate from the defense of the border.

    And considering how many die trying to cross the border illegally it might be doing a good service to establish once and for all that we will shoot to kill if you try to cross the border. Take out 1 or 200 illegals and I think you will send a strong message that deters rather than encourages the rest, ultimately saving far more lives.

  • ||

    Were you upset the Berlin wall came down?

  • mike||

    no not at all. I was not advocating for shooting people *leaving* the country - only those trying to get in. As I recall, not many people were trying to get INTO E. Germany.

  • Les||

    Either way, you're advocating for shooting people who are looking for the freedom to work for those who would hire them. That makes you no different from the East Germans who advocated shooting people who were looking for freedom to work and live outside of East Germany.

  • ||

    ""I was not advocating for shooting people *leaving* the country - only those trying to get in."

    ""I have absolutely no problem with an East German model for border security and have long advocated we find any guards who are still alive and put them on the dole as consultants.""

    Shooting people trying to leave was part of the East German model. You have "absolutely no problem" with the system that shot people on the way out, and you would like to give the people that did so a job.

  • JackC||

    Newsflash: The Berlin wall was designed to keep people in.

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    So was the journalist/blogger guy trespassing or not? If no I'm on his side. If yes I'm on the meat-head's side.

  • ||

    I'm thinking this is basically a set-up, similar to the George Allen "macaca" thing: provoke a candidate in public repeatedly, and then when they respond scream "Help, I'm being oppressed!" or "Racism!" or whatever.

  • دردشه عراقية||



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