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  1. The Proletariat: How is it that our Leader cannot see us starving? Why do we continue to toil in vain? Is not revolution in the hearts and minds of the people? If political power grows out of the barrel of a gun, perhaps we are harvesting the wrong crops.

    Body: Bush moves toward martial law
    By Frank Morales

    Oct. 29- In a stealth maneuver, President Bush has signed into law a provision which, according to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), will actually encourage the president to declare federal martial law. It does so by revising the Insurrection Act, a set of laws that limits the president’s ability to deploy troops within the United States. The Insurrection Act (10 USC331 -335) has historically, along with the Posse Comitatus Act (18 USC1385), helped to enforce strict prohibitions on military involvement in domestic law enforcement. With one cloaked swipe of his pen, Bush is seeking to undo those prohibitions.

    Public Law 109-364, or the “John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007” (HR5122), which was signed by the commander in chief on Oct. 17, 2006, in a private Oval Office ceremony, allows the president to declare a “public emergency” and station troops anywhere in the US and take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities, in order to “suppress public disorder.”

    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 the US.

    Section 1076 of the massive Authorization Act, which grants the Pentagon another $500-plus-billion, 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 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 bio-terror event.

    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. Under the cover of a trumped-up “immigration emergency” and the frenzied militarization of the southern border, detention camps are being constructed.

    An article on “recent contract awards” in a recent issue of the 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 contract to support US 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 US Army Corps of Engineers… for establishing temporary detention and processing capabilities to augment existing ICE Detention and Removal Operations — in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the US, or to support the rapid development of new programs.” The report points out that “KBR is the engineering and construction subsidiary of Halliburton.” In addition to authorizing another $532.8 billion for the Pentagon, including a $70-billion “supplemental provision” which covers the cost of the ongoing, 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.

    The de-facto repeal of the Posse Comitatus Act is an ominous assault on US 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 US criminal statute that outlaws military operations directed against US citizens under the cover of “law enforcement.”

    Despite the unprecedented and shocking nature of this act, there has been no outcry in the US media and little reaction from elected officials in Congress. On Sept. 19, a lone Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) 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.”

    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 Sept. 29, 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, these proposals.”

    In a telling bit of understatement, Leahy 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 want it.”
    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 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 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 era.

    Source: Global Research

  2. I agree the repeal of these provision are a little unsettling; and I will grant you that if Bush indeed were to seize control of the country through martial law and never relinquish it, then he is absolutely all that is evil.

    Can we also agree that if President Bush hasn’t randomly utilized these powers to seize control of the country by the end of his term, that he really believed that this was a good ability for a President to have for National Security Purposes?

    Do you feel that this is any less fear-mongering on the part of Leahy, than the other side of the aisle telling us that if we vote Democrat that the terrorists are going to come hunt us down and kill us?

  3. What was the purpose of the repeals if it wasn’t to show toughness and to posture? The only other purpose must be to actually do the things that you argue he hasn’t done. I would argue the fact that we are having this discussion is a disturbing turn for America.

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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