||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||BUSH SIGNS LAW GIVING HIMSELF DICTATORIAL POWERS UNDER MARTIAL LAW
[As noted here before, there is no constitutional grounds for the
president to declare martial law. This flagrantly dictatorial move would
strip Americans of one of their most important defenses against fascism:
the sovereign power of the states to have their own independent militias
- i.e. the state national guard. The stunning silence of the media on
this story is a prime example of how this media is failing America in
the midst of its most serious internal crisis since the Civil War]
FRANK MORALES, URUKNET - In a stealth maneuver, President Bush has
signed into law a provision which, according to Senator Patrick Leahy
(D-Vermont), 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 has historically, along with the Posse
Comitatus Act, 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.
[The bill], which was signed by the commander in chief on October 17th,
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 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 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 . . . 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.
Make no mistake about it: the de-facto repeal of the Posse Comitatus Act
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. . .
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.".
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."
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.
SEC. 1076. USE OF THE ARMED FORCES IN MAJOR PUBLIC EMERGENCIES.
(a) Use of the Armed Forces Authorized-
(1) IN GENERAL- Section 333 of title 10, United States Code, is amended
to read as follows:
`Sec. 333. Major public emergencies; interference with State and Federal
`(a) Use of Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies- (1) The President
may employ the armed forces, including the National Guard in Federal
`(A) 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
`(i) domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the
constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of
maintaining public order; and
`(ii) such violence results in a condition described in paragraph (2);
`(B) suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful
combination, or conspiracy if such insurrection, violation, combination,
or conspiracy results in a condition described in paragraph (2).
`(2) A condition described in this paragraph is a condition that--
`(A) so hinders the execution of the laws of a State or possession, as
applicable, and of the United States within that State or possession,
that any part or class of its people is deprived of a right, privilege,
immunity, or protection named in the Constitution and secured by law,
and the constituted authorities of that State or possession are unable,
fail, or refuse to protect that right, privilege, or immunity, or to
give that protection; or
`(B) opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws of the United States
or impedes the course of justice under those laws.
`(3) In any situation covered by paragraph (1)(B), the State shall be
considered to have denied the equal protection of the laws secured by
`(b) Notice to Congress- The President shall notify Congress of the
determination to exercise the authority in subsection (a)(1)(A) as soon
as practicable after the determination and every 14 days thereafter
during the duration of the exercise of that authority.'.