Largest Civil Defense Exercise In American History Begins This Week
By Major William B. Fox | October 15, 2007
PORTLAND, Oregon — The largest civil defense exercise in American history — Operation TOPOFF — is scheduled to run Oct. 15-19 in three locations: Portland, Ore. Phoenix, Ariz., and the U.S. territory of Guam.
The multi-agency exercise encompasses over 15,000 individuals and, according to the Federal government, will feature a "surprise" scenario whereby a hypothetical "Radioactive Dispersal Device," or conventional explosive that disperses radiation, goes off unexpectedly in a metropolitan area. Federal officials say that the exercises will test their ability to react to simultaneous terrorist attacks to determine the impact on emergency resources.
At the same time, the U.S. military’s Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) is running its "Vigilent Shield 08" exercise, which, among other things, contemplates sending Federal troops into disaster zones to bolster local first responders.
Among the Federal agencies taking part in the national-level exercise are FEMA, the FBI, the CIA, the National Guard, USNORTHCOM, NORAD, the National Reconnaissance Office, and other elements of the Department of Defense. In all, more than 275 organizations are expected to be involved.
According to government sources, the Portland exercise may involve a "dirty bomb" being detonated on a steel bridge to disrupt traffic, along with perhaps attacks involving a network of suicide bombers to erupt in various areas.
Similar bogus attacks are anticipated in Phoenix, Guam, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere, as the scope of the national-level exercises are linked internationally.
While some residents of Portland and other "target" areas are concerned about elements of the exercise "going live," local law enforcement personnel are viewing the exercise as a learning opportunity.
Assistant Chief Brian Martianek, in charge of overall exercise operations for the Portland Police Bureau, told The Iconoclast that he is not concerned about a false flag event happening in Portland. He says that while his department tries to think about every issue it can imagine, it does not have a person tasked with focusing upon the possibility of high-level insider treason. He says he hopes to learn things from TOPOFF that will protect the community.
Senior Public Affairs Officer Kerry Dugan, Portland Office of Emergency Management, acknowledged awareness of 9-11-related theories being mentioned by the news media during the past 1½ months, but said that in his TOPOFF-related planning meetings no one has talked about 9-11 truth movement issues.
Dugan indicated that he could not answer whether his organization has a counterintelligence capability to deal with a potential false flag threat.
Likewise, Sgt. Brian Schmautz, Public Information Officer for the Portland Police Bureau, declined to comment on internal counterintelligence capabilities, but termed "conspiracy theories" inappropriately "political."
Public Information Officer for Portland Fire and Rescue Lt. Allen Oswalt said that he was not prepared to discuss the 9-11 truth movement, as he had never heard of it; but indicated that he views his interactions with the Department of Homeland Security and other federal personnel as a big positive to improve preparedness. He explained that it helps people at lower levels more rapidly draw upon the resources and expertise of people at the Federal level.
Webster Tarpley, author of 911 Synthetic Terror: Made in the U.S., said on a recent talk show (see link to transcript below)that most official government explanations of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon are nonsense and charged that the "original 9-11 was a war provocation coming out of the bowels of the CIA, the Pentagon, the NSA, and so forth."
Tarpley explained that rather than "prevent" terrorist events, military exercises tend to "coincide" with them. He has counted approximately 25 separate drills under way during the attacks of 9-11.
"The only way you can conduit or bootleg an illegal operation through much of the government is essentially to do it under the cover of a drill." He noted that three drills — TOPOFF 3 (U.S. term), Atlantic Blue (British term), and Triple Play (Canda’s version) — envisioned a 7-7-2005 scenario with a bomb in the London subway on the same day as an international conference in Britain. That scenario went live, killing 52 commuters and injuring 700.
For residents of Portland, one of the best places to learn about possible local false flag threats is at the Portland Indymedia web site
Lt. Jason Gates, Lieutenant of Operations for the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Department (includes most of the City of Portland), said that he has surfed Portland Indymedia and other web sites, but only with the desire to identify groups that openly threaten violence or have a track record of using illegal violence. These include certain earth liberation and animal liberation front groups.
While Gates says he does not believe in conspiracy theories, he is willing to keep an open mind and is not prejudiced against all Muslims or "anti-government" right-wingers.
Gates explained that his department does not have any real counterintelligence capability, with the exception of his own web surfing activities.
Gates noted that in recent years his department has received federal funding for chemical and biological protective gear that every policeman now carries in his car. Each policeman also receives eight hours of training a year to prepare for a terrorist weapon of mass destruction (WMD).
Sgt. David Thomson, Chief Information Officer of the Washington County Sheriff’s Department (west of Portland), told The Iconoclast that his department has no people on staff who look at counterintelligence issues. Regarding TOPOFF, his personnel have not been told anything about how it might get converted into a martial law scenario, he said.
Josh Thomas, Media Relations Manager, Marine and Industrial Development, Port of Portland, told The Iconoclast that his department recently received radiological devices that are fixed in place. They can measure radiation in cargoes being trucked out of the Marine terminals. However, he is not aware of portable detectors that can measure a possible nuke sitting inside containers on the docks.
Lt. Cmdr. Gary Ross, Public Affairs Officer for Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) located at Peterson AFB in Colorado Springs, Colo., said that he has not been exposed to the 9-11 truth movement. He explained that Vigilant Shield 08, running concurrently with TOPOFF, has an aspect that involves the introduction of Federal troops.
This, he said, is in support of civilian agencies for the purpose of saving lives.
This is not to be construed as part of some kind of "martial law" clamp down scenario, he said.
Ross also noted that the exercise ties in participants on all levels from cabinet members and governors all the way down to local police, emergency medical services, and firemen. The TOPOFF command umbrella run by the Department of Homeland Security includes NorthCom, NORAD, and other U.S. military activities. Everyone under the umbrella has been told to expect surprise "inserts," he explained.
Department of Homeland Security personnel, when questioned by The Iconoclast, were evasive, not returning phone calls or following up on questions asked by e-mail after the department suggested this method for obtaining answers to questions prior to newspaper deadline.
However, it has been confirmed that Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff will personally oversee the exercise in Portland and that top officials of the state and city will be involved.
Based on Internet chatter, many Oregon residents are uneasy about Chertoff’s presence because of National Security Presidental Directive #51 (NSPD-51) that President Bush wrote into law in May. It states that in the time of a National emergency, the president can declare himself a dictator and anything he or his administration decrees necessary or essential to national security will automatically become law, without Congressional approval.
Chertoff rapidly rose to power as an appointee of Presidents H.W. and G.W. Bush — first, as a U.S. attorney in New Jersey (1990-1994), then as assistant Attorney General at the Department of Justice criminal division heading up the investigation of 9-11 (2001-2003). He served as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals and as a federal prosecutor before taking over the Department of Homeland Security.
Chertoff also helped write many of the controversial portions of the PATRIOT Act and other laws that even conservative Republicans believe are unnecessary police state infringements of the Bill of Rights and Constitutional guarantees of U.S. citizens. Chertoff was consulted by the CIA about torture and the renditions of terror suspects to other countries for torture-related purposes.
Some Oregonians are worried that Chertoff’s presence might be an indication of a problem with the exercises, due to the nature of his previous governmental activities.
EDITOR’S NOTE: For a transcript of Webster Tarpley’s hard-hitting Oct. 3, 2007 interview with Jeff Farias, 1480 KPHX Phoenix, Ariz., click here.
William B. Fox is a former Marine Corps Major with experience in logistics, public affairs, and military intelligence. He is a second year honors graduate of the Harvard Business School and a Phi Beta Kappa graduate from the University of Southern California.