Bush Moves Toward Martial Law
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Bush Moves Toward Martial Law
by Frank Morales
Oct. 28, 2006
Public Law 109-364, or the "John Warner Defense Authorization Act of
2007" (H.R.5122) (2), which was signed by the commander in chief on
October 17th, 2006, in a private Oval Office ceremony, allows the
President to declare a "public emergency" and station troops anywhere in
America and take control of state-based National Guard units without the
consent of the governor or local authorities, in order to "suppress
President Bush seized this unprecedented power on the very same day that
he signed the equally odious Military Commissions Act of 2006. In a
sense, the two laws complement one another. One allows for torture and
detention abroad, while the other seeks to enforce acquiescence at home,
preparing to order the military onto the streets of America. Remember,
the term for putting an area under military law enforcement control is
precise; the term is "martial law."
Section 1076 of the massive Authorization Act, which grants the Pentagon
another $500-plus-billion for its ill-advised adventures, is entitled,
"Use of the Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies." Section 333,
"Major public emergencies; interference with State and Federal law"
states that "the President may 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, the President determines that domestic violence has occurred to
such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or
possession are incapable of ("refuse" or "fail" in) maintaining public
order, "in order to suppress, in any State, any insurrection, domestic
violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy."
For the current President, "enforcement of the laws to restore public
order" means to commandeer guardsmen from any state, over the objections
of local governmental, military and local police entities; ship them off
to another state; conscript them in a law enforcement mode; and set them
loose against "disorderly" citizenry - protesters, possibly, or those
who object to forced vaccinations and quarantines in the event of a
The law also facilitates militarized police round-ups and detention of
protesters, so called "illegal aliens," "potential terrorists" and other
"undesirables" for detention in facilities already contracted for and
under construction by Halliburton. That's right. Under the cover of a
trumped-up "immigration emergency" and the frenzied militarization of
the southern border, detention camps are being constructed right under
our noses, camps designed for anyone who resists the foreign and
domestic agenda of the Bush administration.
An article on "recent contract awards" in a recent issue of the slick,
insider "Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International"
reported that "global engineering and technical services powerhouse KBR
[Kellog, Brown & Root] announced in January 2006 that its Government and
Infrastructure division was awarded an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite
Quantity (IDIQ) contract to support U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement (ICE) facilities in the event of an emergency." "With a
maximum total value of $385 million over a five year term," the report
notes, "the contract is to be executed by the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers," "for establishing temporary detention and processing
capabilities to augment existing ICE Detention and Removal Operations
(DRO) - in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S.,
or to support the rapid development of new programs." The report points
out that "KBR is the engineering and construction subsidiary of
Halliburton." (3) So, in addition to authorizing another $532.8 billion
for the Pentagon, including a $70-billion "supplemental provision" which
covers the cost of the ongoing, mad military maneuvers in Iraq,
Afghanistan, and other places, the new law, signed by the president in a
private White House ceremony, further collapses the historic divide
between the police and the military: a tell-tale sign of a rapidly
consolidating police state in America, all accomplished amidst ongoing
U.S. imperial pretensions of global domination, sold to an "emergency
managed" and seemingly willfully gullible public as a "global war on
Make no mistake about it: the de-facto repeal of the Posse Comitatus Act
(PCA) is an ominous assault on American democratic tradition and
jurisprudence. The 1878 Act, which reads, "Whoever, except in cases and
under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of
Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or 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," is the only U.S.
criminal statute that outlaws military operations directed against the
American people under the cover of 'law enforcement.' As such, it has
been the best protection we've had against the power-hungry intentions
of an unscrupulous and reckless executive, an executive intent on using
force to enforce its will.
Unfortunately, this past week, the president dealt posse comitatus,
along with American democracy, a near fatal blow. Consequently, it will
take an aroused citizenry to undo the damage wrought by this horrendous
act, part and parcel, as we have seen, of a long train of abuses and
outrages perpetrated by this authoritarian administration.
Despite the unprecedented and shocking nature of this act, there has
been no outcry in the American media, and little reaction from our
elected officials in Congress. On September 19th, a lone Senator Patrick
Leahy (D-Vermont) noted that 2007's Defense Authorization Act contained
a "widely opposed provision to allow the President more control over the
National Guard [adopting] changes to the Insurrection Act, which will
make it easier for this or any future President to use the military to
restore domestic order WITHOUT the consent of the nation's governors."
Senator Leahy went on to stress that, "we certainly do not need to make
it easier for Presidents to declare martial law. 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."
A few weeks later, on the 29th of September, Leahy entered into the
Congressional Record that he had "grave reservations about certain
provisions of the fiscal Year 2007 Defense Authorization Bill Conference
Report," the language of which, he said, "subverts solid, longstanding
posse comitatus statutes that limit the military's involvement in law
enforcement, thereby making it easier for the President to declare
martial law." This had been "slipped in," Leahy said, "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,
In a telling bit of understatement, the Senator from Vermont noted that
"the implications of changing the (Posse Comitatus) Act are enormous".
"There is good reason," he 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."
Senator Leahy's final ruminations: "Since hearing word a couple of weeks
ago that this outcome was likely, I have wondered how Congress could
have gotten to this point. It seems the changes to the Insurrection Act
have survived the Conference because the Pentagon and the White House
The historic and ominous re-writing of the Insurrection Act,
accomplished in the dead of night, which gives Bush the legal authority
to declare martial law, is now an accomplished fact.
The Pentagon, as one might expect, plays an even more direct role in
martial law operations. Title XIV of the new law, entitled, "Homeland
Defense Technology Transfer Legislative Provisions," authorizes "the
Secretary of Defense to create a Homeland Defense Technology Transfer
Consortium to improve the effectiveness of the Department of Defense
(DOD) processes for identifying and deploying relevant DOD technology to
federal, State, and local first responders."
In other words, the law facilitates the "transfer" of the newest in
so-called "crowd control" technology and other weaponry designed to
suppress dissent from the Pentagon to local militarized police units.
The new law builds on and further codifies earlier "technology transfer"
agreements, specifically the 1995 DOD-Justice Department memorandum of
agreement achieved back during the Clinton-Reno regime.(4)
It has become clear in recent months that a critical mass of the
American people have seen through the lies of the Bush administration;
with the president's polls at an historic low, growing resistance to the
war Iraq, and the Democrats likely to take back the Congress in mid-term
elections, the Bush administration is on the ropes. And so it is
particularly worrying that President Bush has seen fit, at this juncture
to, in effect, declare himself dictator.
(1) http://leahy.senate.gov/press/200609/091906a.html and
http://leahy.senate.gov/press/200609/092906b.html See also,
Congressional Research Service Report for Congress, "The Use of Federal
Troops for Disaster Assistance: Legal Issues," by Jennifer K. Elsea,
Legislative Attorney, August 14, 2006
(3) Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International,
"Recent Contract Awards", Summer 2006, Vol.12, No.2, pg.8; See also,
Peter Dale Scott, "Homeland Security Contracts for Vast New Detention
Camps," New American Media, January 31, 2006.
(4) "Technology Transfer from defense: Concealed Weapons Detection",
National Institute of Justice Journal, No 229, August, 1995, pp.42-43.
Turning the Corner Into Madness
Oct 31, 2006
By Robert Scheer
The dire predictions President Bush is making about "cutting and
running" from Iraq are almost identical to the horrifically inaccurate
ones Presidents Johnson and Nixon made about Vietnam.
Every time I hear President Bush railing against those who would "cut
and run" in Iraq instead of pursuing "victory," as he does almost daily,
I think back to similar claims being made for the Vietnam debacle when I
reported from Saigon in the mid-'60s. Back then, the U.S. troop presence
was lower and casualties fewer than now in Iraq, but the carnage, on all
sides, would escalate for the next decade, as we waited miserably for
the corner to be turned.
Then, as now, calls for setting a timetable for an orderly withdrawal
were rejected as emboldening our enemy to attack America. Instead of a
dignified withdrawal, we plunged ever deeper into the quagmire, leaving
59,000 U.S. troops and 3.4 million Indochinese dead as tribute to our
stupidity. Finally, there was nothing to do but "cut and run" in the
most ignominious fashion. With our U.S. personnel being lifted by
helicopter from roofs near our embassy, it seemed like a low point for
U.S. influence, and there were dire predictions of communism's global
dominance-just as there is today for the "Islamo-fascist" bogeyman the
president has seized upon.
Those predictions, however, proved dead wrong. Communism did not advance
as a worldwide force after our defeat in Vietnam. On the contrary, a
victorious communist-run Vietnam soon went to war with the China-backed
communists of Cambodia-overthrowing Pol Pot's evil Khmer Rouge-and with
communist China itself, in a bloody border war.
Today communist Vietnam is still battling communist China-but now it is
for shelf space in Wal-Mart and Costco. The United States, meanwhile,
spending itself silly under the haplessly irresponsible President Bush,
is now dependent on China both to carry its debt and contain communist
North Korea's nuclear threat.
So why accept the president's shrill insistence that a U.S. withdrawal
from Iraq would be a disaster? Surely our departure would compel Iraq's
neighbors in Iran, Syria and Jordan to get serious about quelling the
civil war that they have abetted and which, in the absence of the U.S.
occupation, would threaten to breach Iraq's borders. Why not assume, as
turned out to be the case with Vietnam, that the Iraqis are best
qualified to make their own history?
The astounding arrogance that underwrites Bush's smug determination to
keep killing and maiming tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands of people
is no different than that of Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard
Nixon. Both knew the war was a failure but determined to "stay the
course" for a decade out of a misguided belief in protecting an image of
American infallibility that was paired with shameful political motives.
Now, as in Vietnam, our arrogance has created disaster in Iraq. Our
soldiers continue to kill and die, at enormous cost to the U.S.
taxpayers and in international influence and moral standing, but the
cause is already lost, doomed by the ignorance, lies and bad faith that
Astonishingly, considering our history and the stakes, our leaders show
not the slightest interest in understanding the fierce nationalism and
deep religious divisions that have marked the Mideast since long before
the United States existed as a nation. And thus we have repeated the
decisive folly of Vietnam, where our "experts" ignored a thousand-year
history of Chinese occupation in assuming that the fierce nationalist Ho
Chi Minh was a puppet of masters in Red Beijing.
This time, we are led by a false warrior who insists on playing the
simpleton, ignoring his prestigious education at Andover and Yale in
favor of what he presumes are the prejudices of Middle America. Or is
this giving Bush, the son of a president, too much credit? After all, we
know from the various insider memoirs that Bush was unaware that Islam
is roughly divided into two rival sects, Sunni and Shiite, while just
last week he bizarrely announced that our Iraq policy had never been
"stay the course"-as if he was unaware of the invention of
video-recording equipment that had captured him saying just that
Whatever you call it, his approach is a sham and a disaster. It is long
past time to let pragmatic realpolitik find a patchwork solution that
the region and Iraqis can accept, peacefully. That is the expected
advice from Bush family consigliere and troubleshooter James Baker and
his Iraq Study Group, which is to report soon after the election. Truly
frightening on this Day of the Dead, though, is that Bush probably won't
listen to reason, unless the voters first soundly repudiate him in next
Copyright © 2006 Truthdig, L.L.C.
Analysis of political ads by Fiore
A report card for your representatives in Congress
If they voted against the rule of law (for the Military Commissions Act)
you will want to see that they are not elected again as they are no
friend of your freedoms.
Bush says they hate us for our freedoms.
Republican response: take away our freedoms.
Olbermann Addresses the Military Commissions Act in a Special Comment
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/101906L.shtml (video link)
"A government more dangerous to our liberty than is the enemy it claims
to protect us from," says Keith Olbermann. "We have accepted that the
only way to stop the terrorists is to let the government become...like
When you have no habeas corpus rights, the government can disappear you
This could be you or your daughter.
When your daughter becomes a detainee...
Bush owes troops the apology, not Kerry
Bush started and lost two illegal unnecessary wars in a failed "war on
War on Terror is doing more harm than good...
George Soros interview on Fox...(video links)
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