OMINOUS LEGISLATION PASSES CONGRESS WITH LITTLE PROTEST
November 4, 2006
By James P. Tucker Jr.
Alittle-noted provision of the recently passed Defense Authorization Act allows President Bush to send in the military to police any trouble spot in this country regardless of the wishes of state governors.
On Oct. 17, President Bush signed the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007.
The act grants the military the authority to seek from Congress $462.8 billion. In addition, Senate and House conferees added another $70 billion in supplemental defense spending bringing the overall total of the act to an unprecedented $532.8 billion. The supplemental funding provides billions of dollars to help “reset” Army and Marine Corps equipment, which is wearing out faster than planned because of the war in Afghanistan and the occupation of Iraq.
A highly controversial and little-known aspect of the act “contains a widely opposed provision to allow the president more control over the National Guard [by adopting] changes to the Insurrection Act, which will make it easier for this or any future president to use the military to restore order without the consent of the nation’s governors,” Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Ver.) said.
Americans “certainly do not need to make it easier for presidents to declare martial law,” Leahy said. “Invoking the Insurrection Act and using the military for law enforcement activities goes against some of the central tenets of our democracy. One can easily envision governors and mayors in charge of an emergency having to constantly look over their shoulders while someone who has never visited their communities gives the orders.”
The act “subverts solid, long-standing Posse Comitatus statutes that limit the military’s involvement in law enforcement, thereby making it easier for the president to declare martial law,” Leahy said. This had been “slipped in as a rider with little study” while “other congressional committees with jurisdiction over these matters had no chance to comment, let alone hold hearings on these proposals.”
There is good reason, Leahy said, “for the constructive friction in existing law when it comes to martial law declarations. Using the military for law enforcement goes against one of the founding tenets of our democracy. We fail our Constitution, neglecting the rights of the states, when we make it easier for the president to declare martial law and trample on local and state sovereignty.”
The law allows the president to “employ the armed forces, including the National Guard in federal service, to restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition in any state or possession of the United States, that the president determines that domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the state or possession are incapable of maintaining public order to suppress in any state, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination or conspiracy.”
“Or other condition” is a critical line in the new law, skeptics say. The president can send the National Guard into any community for any—even frivolous—reasons, they argue.
SPECIAL OPERATIONS PREPARED FOR DOMESTIC MISSIONS
Jun 21, 2007
William M. Arkin on National and Homeland Security
The U.S. Northern Command, the military command responsible for "homeland defense," has asked the Pentagon if it can establish its own special operations command for domestic missions. The request, reported in the Washington Examiner, would establish a permanent sub-command for responses to incidents of domestic terrorism as well as other occasions where special operators may be necessary on American soil.
The establishment of a domestic special operations mission, and the preparation of contingency plans to employ commandos in the United States, would upend decades of tradition. Military actions within the United States are the responsibility of state militias (the National Guard), and federal law enforcement is a function of the FBI.
Employing special operations for domestic missions sounds very ominous, and NORTHCOM's request earlier this year should receive the closest possible Pentagon and congressional scrutiny. There's only one problem: NORTHCOM is already doing what it has requested permission to do.
When NORTHCOM was established after 9/11 to be the military counterpart to the Department of Homeland Security, within its headquarters staff it established a Compartmented Planning and Operations Cell (CPOC) responsible for planning and directing a set of "compartmented" and "sensitive" operations on U.S., Canadian and Mexican soil. In other words, these are the very special operations that NORTHCOM is now formally asking the Pentagon to beef up into a public and acknowledged sub-command.
NORTHCOM's compartmented and sensitive operations fall under the Joint Chiefs of Staff "Focal Point" program, a separate communications and planning network used to hide special operations undertaken by the Joint Special Operations Command, headquartered in North Carolina, and by CIA and other domestic compartmented activities.
Since 2003, the CPOC has had a small core of permanent members drawn from the operations, intelligence and planning directorates. In an emergency, the staff can be expanded. According to NORTHCOM documents, CPOC is involved in planning for a number of domestic missions, including:
-- Non-conventional assisted recovery
-- Integrated survey programs
-- Information operations/"special technical operations"
-- "Special activities"
What are all of these programs? CPOC's basic missions include responding to incidents of weapons of mass destruction, support for continuity of government, protection of the president, response to domestic terrorism and insurrection and (presumably) domestic intelligence collection. ("Special activities" is a euphemism for covert operations.)
A number of operations plans have been associated with these domestic operations:
-- CONPLAN 0300 is the basic contingency plan for combating domestic terrorism (and may have been folded into newer such plans now under the control of U.S. Special Operations Command).
-- "Power Geyser" is the contingency plan for incidents of weapons of mass destruction in the Washington area. This includes both recovery of a stolen nuclear weapon or disabling of an improvised weapon or dirty bomb.
-- USNORTHCOM Antiterrorism Operations Order 05-01 deals with domestic counterterrorism and domestic intelligence against groups intent on attacking military interests.
With all this going on, for NORTHCOM to ask permission now seems beside the point. Still, it's always better to ask. Isn't it?
LOCAL TROOPS TO DEPLOY TO NATION'S CAPITOL
WESH Channel 2
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Members of the 1st Battalion 265 Air Defense Artillery have mobilized and are on a plane headed first to Ft. Bliss, then for federal active duty in the capital region.
The troops will be deployed for a year. The 265th is part of Operation Noble Eagle. They are ordered by the president to the nation's capital, where they will operate high-tech weapons systems against any potential air threat.
Though the solders are staying in the states, they are on serious business. Staff Sgt. James Todd said duty at home is just as important as the mission overseas.
FYI: Operation Noble Eagle
Operation Noble Eagle is the U.S. military operational designator to the military's efforts in the War on Terrorism that were carried out on US soil. The operation began September 14, 2001, in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks, and continues to the time of this writing. Operation Noble Eagle comprises, among other things, air interceptor patrols over and around cities and the mobilization of thousands of National Guard and Reserve troops to perform security missions on military installations, airports and other potential targets such as bridges. This operation also marks the first combat mission of the F-22 Raptor.
Conducted under the Garden Plot contingency plan.
Operation Garden Plot is a general U.S. Army and National Guard plan to respond to major domestic civil disturbances within the United States. The plan was developed in response to the civil disorders of the 1960s and is now under the control of the U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM). It provides Federal military and law enforcement assistance to local governments during times of major civil disturbances.
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.
Under Homeland Security restructuring, it has been suggested that similar models be followed.
"Oversight of these homeland security missions should be provided by the National Guard Bureau based on the long-standing Garden Plot model in which National Guard units are trained and equipped to support civil authorities in crowd control and civil disturbance missions." Testimony of Major General Richard C. Alexander, ANGUS (Ret.), Executive Director, National Guard Association of the United States, Senate Appropriations Committee Hearing on Homeland Defense, April 11, 2002
Saturday, July 21, 2007
George Washington's Blog
Saturday July 21, 2007
Someone I know attended a talk which Homeland Security Head Michael Chertoff gave today at the University of Southern California on port and supply-chain security and public infrastructure protection.
My contact reported to me today by email that Chertoff spoke about more "gut feelings" that he (Chertoff) has about a simultaneous Los Angeles / San Francisco dirty bomb attack that "our enemy is surely planning".
I've had a hunch for a long time that the next false flag attack will be on the West Coast, so that it seems that the whole country is under attack, and not just the East Coast.
Friday, July 20, 2007
Friday, July 20, 2007
WASHINGTON -- Oregonians called Peter DeFazio's office, worried there was a conspiracy buried in the classified portion of a White House plan for operating the government after a terrorist attack.
As a member of the U.S. House on the Homeland Security Committee, DeFazio, D-Ore., is permitted to enter a secure "bubbleroom" in the Capitol and examine classified material. So he asked the White House to see the secret documents.
On Wednesday, DeFazio got his answer: DENIED.
"I just can't believe they're going to deny a member of Congress the right of reviewing how they plan to conduct the government of the United States after a significant terrorist attack," DeFazio says.
Homeland Security Committee staffers told his office that the White House initially approved his request, but it was later quashed. DeFazio doesn't know who did it or why.
"We're talking about the continuity of the government of the United States of America," DeFazio says. "I would think that would be relevant to any member of Congress, let alone a member of the Homeland Security Committee."
Bush administration spokesman Trey Bohn declined to say why DeFazio was denied access: "We do not comment through the press on the process that this access entails. It is important to keep in mind that much of the information related to the continuity of government is highly sensitive."
Norm Ornstein, a legal scholar who studies government continuity at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, said he "cannot think of one good reason" to deny access to a member of Congress who serves on the Homeland Security Committee.
"I find it inexplicable and probably reflective of the usual, knee-jerk overextension of executive power that we see from this White House," Ornstein said.
This is the first time DeFazio has been denied access to documents. DeFazio has asked Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., to help him access the documents.
"Maybe the people who think there's a conspiracy out there are right," DeFazio said.
By Paul Craig Roberts
Online Journal Guest Writer
Jul 20, 2007, 01:02
This is a wake-up call that we are about to experience another 9/11-WMD experience.
The wake-up call is unlikely to be effective, because the American attitude toward government changed fundamentally 70-odd years ago. Prior to the 1930s, Americans were suspicious of government, but with the arrival of the Great Depression, Tojo, and Hitler, President Franklin D. Roosevelt convinced Americans that government existed to protect them from rapacious private interests and foreign threats. Today, Americans are more likely to give the benefit of the doubt to government than they are to family members, friends, and those who would warn them about the government’s protection.
Intelligent observers are puzzled that President Bush is persisting in a futile and unpopular war at the obvious expense of his party’s electoral chances in 2008.
In the July 18 Los Angeles Times (“Bush the Albatross”), Ronald Brownstein reminds us that Bush’s behavior is disastrous for his political party. Unpopular presidents “have consistently undercut their party in the next election.” Brownstein reports that “88 percent of voters who disapproved of the retiring president’s job performance voted against his party’s nominee in past elections. . . . On average, 80 percent of voters who disapproved of a president’s performance have voted against his party’s candidates even in House races since 1986.”
Brownstein notes that with Bush’s dismal approval rating, this implies a total wipeout of the Republicans in 2008.
A number of pundits have concluded that the reason the Democrats have not brought a halt to Bush’s follies is that they expect Bush’s unpopular policies to provide them with a landslide victory next year.
There is a problem with this reasoning. It assumes that Cheney, Rove, and the Republicans are ignorant of these facts or are content for the Republican Party to be destroyed after Bush has his warmonger-police state fling. “After me, the deluge.”
Isn’t it more likely that Cheney and Rove have in mind events that will, once again, rally the people behind President Bush and the Republican Party, that is fighting the “war on terror” that the Democrats “want to lose”?
Such events could take a number of forms. As even diehard Republican Patrick J. Buchanan observed on July 17, with three US aircraft carrier battle groups in congested waters off Iran, another Tonkin Gulf incident could easily be engineered to set us at war with Iran.
If Bush’s intentions were merely to bomb a nuclear reactor, he would not need three carrier strike forces.
Lately, the administration has switched to blaming Iran for the war in Iraq. The US Senate has already lined up behind the latest lie with a 97-0 vote to condemn Iran.
Alternatively, false flag “terrorist” strikes could be orchestrated in the US. The Bush administration has already infiltrated some dissident groups and encouraged them to participate in terrorist talk, for which they were arrested. It is possible that the administration could provoke some groups to actual acts of violence.
Many Americans dismiss suspicion of their government as treasonous, and most believe conspiracy to be impossible “because someone would talk.”
There is no basis in any known fact for this opinion.
According to polls, 36 percent of the American people disbelieve the 9/11 Commission Report. Despite this lack of confidence, and despite the numerous omissions and errors in the report, it has proven impossible to have an independent investigation of 9/11 or to examine the official explanation in public debate. Even experts and people with a lifetime of distinguished public service are dismissed as “conspiracy theorists,” “kooks,” and “traitors” if they question the official explanation of 9/11. This despite the fact that war in the Middle East, a long-planned goal of Bush’s neoconservative administration, could not have been initiated without a “new Pearl Harbor.”
That powerfully constructed steel buildings could suddenly turn to dust because they were struck by two flimsy aluminum airliners and experienced small fires on a few floors that burned for a short time appears unexceptionable to a majority of Americans.
Moreover, people have talked. Hundreds of them. Firefighters, police, janitors, and others report hearing and experiencing a series of explosions in upper floors and massive explosions in the underground basements. This eyewitness testimony was kept under wraps for three or more years until the official explanation had taken root. The oral histories were finally forced loose by Freedom Of Information Act suits. The eyewitness reports of explosion after explosion had no effect.
Larry Silverstein, who received billions of dollars in insurance payments for the destroyed buildings, talked. He said on public television that the order was given “to pull” building 7. His stunning admission had no effect.
The Bush administration is preparing us for more terrorist attacks. The latest intelligence report says that Al Qaeda has regrouped, rebuilt, and has the ability to come after us again. "Al Qaeda will intensify its efforts to put operatives here," says the report.
Security operatives, such as Michael Chertoff, and various instruments of administration propaganda have warned that we will be attacked before next year’s election. Chertoff is not a person who wants to be known as Chicken Little for telling us that the sky is falling.
Bush has the Republican Party in such a mess that it cannot survive without another 9/11. Whether authentic or orchestrated, an attack will activate Bush’s new executive orders, which create a dictatorial police state in event of “national emergency.” [See here.]
The UK government is hand-in-glove with the Bush administration and will provide cover or verification for whatever claim the Bush administration advances. So will the right-wing governments in Canada and Australia. That takes care of the English-speaking world from which contrary explanations might reach the American people.
It is possible that Bush is now too weak, that suspicion is too great, and that there is too much internal resistance in the federal bureaucracy and military for any such scenario. If so, then my prediction prior to the invasion that the US invasion of Iraq will destroy Bush, the Republican Party, and the conservative movement will be proven true. The Democrats’ strategy of doing nothing except making sure Bush gets his way will produce the landslide that they expect.
However, this assumes that Cheney, Rove, and their neoconservative allies have lost their cunning and their manipulative skills. It is difficult to imagine a more dangerous assumption for Democrats and the American people to make.
Once the US experiences new attacks, Bush will be vindicated. His voice will be confident as he speaks to the nation:
“My administration knew that there would be more attacks from these terrorists who hate us and our way of life and are determined to destroy every one of us. If only more of you had believed me and supported my war on terror these new attacks would not have happened. Our security efforts were impaired by the Democrats’ determined attempts to surrender to the terrorists by forcing our withdrawal from Iraq and by civil libertarian assaults on our necessary security measures. If only more Americans had trusted their government, this would not have happened.”
And so on. Anyone should be able to write the script.
NOTE: Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration. He is the author of Supply-Side Revolution : An Insider's Account of Policymaking in Washington; Alienation and the Soviet Economy and Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy, and is the co-author with Lawrence M. Stratton of The Tyranny of Good Intentions : How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice.
Pray for your nation.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
July 18, 2007
by Elliot D. Cohen, Ph.D.
The unfolding of events over the past 7 years and the recent emergence of certain key facts point to the prospect of an ominous conclusion: before the summer is up, America will be brought under martial law with George W. Bush and Dick Cheney at the helm.
In May 2007, Bush posted a national continuity policy to the White House Web site that bypasses Congress and puts him in charge of all three branches of the federal government if there is a "catastrophic emergency" -- vaguely defined to include anything from a destructive hurricane to a terrorist attack. This leaves democracy in America dangling on a thin thread of chance that such a "catastrophe" doesn't happen.
On Wednesday, Michael Chertoff, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said he has a "gut" feeling that Al Qaeda will launch another terrorist attack on the U.S. mainland sometime this summer. Chertoff's "gut feeling" comes on the heels of the latest National Intelligence Estimate, which maintains that in the past year, Al Qaeda has reconstituted its core structure and has grown stronger along the Pakistan/Afghanistan border.
This information is disconcerting in itself. But it becomes even more so when considered in the context of the Bush administration's unrelenting quest for power. Consider these facts, for example: The September 11 attacks were foreshadowed by the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) in its report on Rebuilding American Defenses (2000) when it stated, "the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor . . ." This would not be significant were it not for the fact that the Vice President, among other key members of the Bush Administration, were founding members of PNAC.
This neoconservative organization also prescribed forced regime change in Iraq and buildup of a permanent U.S. military presence there. The primary goal for invading Iraq was not to quell tensions or stop the threat of terrorism posed by the Hussein regime but instead to advance U.S. interests in the region through military force. The 2000 report stated, "while the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein." Regime change was therefore pretense for the invasion.
Clearly, the invasion of Iraq was never conceived as a means of stopping Saddam Hussein from instigating terrorism. This was made plain in the official British documents known as the Downing Street memos, which said that Bush was attempting to make the facts "fit" the policy in order to justify invading Iraq -- since Hussein's WMD capability was in fact "less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran." The redeployment of U.S. troops and special forces to Iraq was done in spite of the fact that the hub of Al Qaeda was in Pakistan and Afghanistan. So the Bush administration permitted Al Qaeda to regroup and strengthen in Pakistan and Afghanistan to pursue its ideology of global dominance in Iraq.
Add to these facts that the Bush administration has displayed consistent disregard for the rule of law by canceling habeas corpus, disregarding the Geneva Conventions in the torture of prisoners of war, using signing statements to override congressional lawmaking authority, eavesdropping on Americans without court warrants, summarily refusing to comply with Congressional subpoenas, firing federal prosecutors for political reasons, outing a covert CIA agent, threatening to jail journalists for disclosing leaked government documents, censoring mainstream media and infusing it with government propaganda ("prepackaged news" staged by PR firms working for the government), placing "gatekeepers" in all federal agencies who report directly to the White House, eliminating legal protections for government whistle blowers, arresting peaceful protestors, manipulating the terror alert system to instill fear in Americans, and stacking the Supreme Court.
In a press conference on Thursday regarding the war in Iraq, Bush indicated that he will not be discouraged by what the American people believe. He said that, while he preferred to be loved, he had to do the right thing.
Do what is right by whose standards? Not those of the generals; and certainly not those of the majority of Americans. While the mainstream media brought out its analysts to comment on Bush's press conference, none drew the obvious conclusion. In a democracy, it is the will of the people, not that of a single man, that is paramount. But, according to Bush, respecting the will of the American people would be nice if it happened to accord with his own will, but not in the least essential to shaping U.S. policy, even if that policy happened to affect the lives and limbs (and tax dollars) of the American people. This is dictatorship (or "decidership") at its core, not democracy.
All of these facts, among others, point to the willingness of this administration to stop at little or nothing to advance its ideology. It has proven its resolve to lie to the American people, violate their civil liberties, and discount their will. It has shown little respect for the rule of law or the U.S. Constitution.
So, this summer (or sometime before the 2008 presidential elections), will America officially become a totalitarian state brought under martial law by a ruthless dictator? If Chertoff's gut is right, just add the current national continuity policy and the conclusion follows.
Like a game of chess drawing to a close, there is a chilling aura that the final checkmate is imminent. In the least, democracy in America is in grave danger and at best dependent on chance.
NOTE: Elliot D. Cohen, Ph.D.