Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Oh, this is cute. Anyone else hear anything about this? "Bush Moves Toward Martial Law"

Got this via an email list. Uruknet isn't exactly mainstream Americana; but Patrick Leahy is a different story, isn't he.

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 (1). 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 U.S.C.331 -335) has historically, along with the Posse Comitatus Act (18 U.S.C.1385), 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" (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 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."

... 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, these proposals."

...[T]he 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 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, as one might expect, plays an even more direct role in martial law operations...

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.


***

I am assuming the official justification of this, if anyone (else) even bothers to question it, will be related to the massive fuckup the asshats made of Katrina. You know; if only they'd had more power, they could've done something more useful; it's all the fault of the local and state level. Everything can be fixed by giving Bush and his administration MORE POWER. They've been so hindered in their hard work, you know.

Move along; nothing to see here...

12 comments:

Howard said...

Wow, and people keep wondering why I think the scariest horror movie of 2006 is V For Vendetta. Why, it's almost November 5th!

Zan said...

*deep breath*

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrggggggggghhhhhhhhhh!!!

*exhale* *sigh*

Ok. I just want to say, these people are...what's the word? Seriously, I can't think of one strong enough. Sociopathic? Despotic? Trying to bring about the Apocolypse? In need of a serious impeaching?

And I'm getting sick and tired of them trying to blame Katrina on our government down here. Sure, they made some mistakes, but the biggests ones came from the frigging White House. Blanco asked for help at least one full day BEFORE the storm hit and they didn't get around to it until days AFTER New Orleans was under. Who set around and let our people drown for days while he went to fund raisers and played guitar with country musicians? Uh, that would be the Frat Boy.

No one could have stopped the hurricane, but that aftermath? That could have been dealt with a million times better. Grr.

And you know, none of this is going to make me shut up. It makes me want to speak more and louder and just pisses me off to no end.

(And yes, V was terrifying.)

midwesterntransport said...

oh my god oh my god oh my god.

ok, this is sort of my worst nightmare coming true. i've been talking to folks recently about how i'm beginning to question whether or not bush will actually leave office in a few years, or whether he'll declare martial law and put us all into biblio-land. nazi germany, anyone? handmaid's tale, anyone?

and now this article makes me even more afraid.

betmo said...

i have been researching the whole odious bunch and have reached the conclusion that we are indeed moving towards dictatorship. we have every aspect of our lives under surveillance- finances, phone, internet, gps, and on and on. we have homeland security from langley and centcom from the military monitoring blogs. we have the department of defense amassing a database to house information on every american. we have internment camps that refugees from katrina are still housed in and denied access to the press. these internment camps are supposed to be for a large influx of illegal hispanic immigrants but i see political dissidents spending time there. then- the military commissions act et al- on top of flagrantly flouting the fisa laws and using signing statements. add this to the arrogant way that bush and company are saying that they will win- and voila` you have martial law coming. i could go on and on but i won't.

belledame222 said...

I cannot for the life of me understand why Congress is so asleep at the wheel. Do they just not even pay attention? Never mind the fine print; do they even read, well, anything? I mean, they're all swanning about campaigning just like it's all business as usual, you know.

I'd like to get them all--all the Democrats, everyone who's ever given signs of being remotely sane-- into a room and just shake the living daylights out of each and every one of them. Wake UP, can't you? jesus fucking Christ, what does it take? what is WRONG with these people?

midwesterntransport said...

well, what do we do to stop it? i'm not fond of the idea of living under martial law.

do we write our senators? tell them to wake the fuck up? what do we DO?!

(serious question, please provide answers)

belledame222 said...

I have the same questions.

Well, first of all: breathe. Stay in the moment (as my therapist says); let's start by dealing with the facts of what -is,- before going off into speculations about what might or might not happen.

Writing Congresscritters doesn't seem like a bad idea, although the usual bland email form seems pretty pointless. Particularly this week; their heads are all full of points! polls! money! numbers, numbers! WIN! WIN! TEAM! TEAM!!

so, nu, whatever, they'll do their thing.

And then, come Tuesday, or rather Wednesday, we'll see what we see, won't we.

If some better people are actually swept into office--enough to make a difference--then, why, well and good; I'm sure they'll lend a sympathetic ear and will be eager to help stop this insanity. Particularly if they get a majority for one (i won't even hold out hope for both) house.

If not?

Well.

Whatever happens, I feel fairly confident that the results will be a disappointment compared to what they bloody well -should- be; that the people who represent the party of this administration may -not- lose, given -everything- that's happened, is pretty motherfucking pathetic all by itself. And while one can probably lay some blame at the feet of wily Machiavellians like Rove, fearmongers, hatemongers, and tricksy voting machines, fact of the matter is: hi, "opposition party;" they couldn't have done it without ya.

Then, I think, will be a good moment to lay it all on the line, as blisteringly and as clearly as we, as many of us who can and are willing, can.


I keep wanting to have something like an open manifesto, you know, i mean, like, 95 theses, printed in duplicate and nailed directly to the fucking door of every. single. motherfucker. who's been falling asleep on the job.

I also want this to become more of a talking point online: this, and habeas motherfucking corpus, the -real- bottom line problem here, all the way up to the "A-list"" bloggers, the ones who have the media's attention and Clinton's ear. the ones who keep yammering about polls and blue states and red states and so on: well, maybe that shit still matters and maybe it doesn't, but again: whatever: frankly, not much (as far as I'm concerned) is gonna make a difference these next few days.

But afterward? I don't want to hear another fucking WORD about sucking it up and taking it for the (Democratic) Team. Not. One. More. Word. Put your money where your mouth is. This shit has gotten serious; it's -way- past time, and while MoveOn and so forth is nice and i agreed with a lot of it at the time and still may do, it isn't enough.

It isn't enough; so let's figure out what, finally, WILL be.

It's time.

Way past.

belledame222 said...

and also, you know what: it's not just the left that can get on board with this one. not saying we need to make bedfellows with seriously strange people, but everyone from conservative libertarians to the wackiest of right-wing fringe paranoiac nutjobs know very goddam well what "Posse Comitatus" means. They need to know this, if nothing else. yeah, some of the "Freedom! Freeeedooommm!!" people will happily step right into that brown shirt and marching boots without even missing a beat (already have); but a lot more people, whatever one thinks of their other politics, truly do take -this- shit seriously. The prying guns from the cold dead hands folks, a number of them anyway; let's talk. It's time.

belledame222 said...

...I have an idea, just a small one. brb.

Thin Black Duke said...

I keep wanting to have something like an open manifesto, you know, i mean, like, 95 theses, printed in duplicate and nailed directly to the fucking door of every. single. motherfucker. who's been falling asleep on the job.

I also want this to become more of a talking point online: this, and habeas motherfucking corpus, the -real- bottom line problem here, all the way up to the "A-list"" bloggers, the ones who have the media's attention and Clinton's ear. the ones who keep yammering about polls and blue states and red states and so on: well, maybe that shit still matters and maybe it doesn't, but again: whatever: frankly, not much (as far as I'm concerned) is gonna make a difference these next few days.

But afterward? I don't want to hear another fucking WORD about sucking it up and taking it for the (Democratic) Team. Not. One. More. Word. Put your money where your mouth is. This shit has gotten serious; it's -way- past time, and while MoveOn and so forth is nice and i agreed with a lot of it at the time and still may do, it isn't enough.

It isn't enough; so let's figure out what, finally, WILL be.

It's time.

Way past.


Yes. Yes. And Yes.

emily said...

Oh, this is crazy. Home of the free eh. Nutters.

FoolishOwl said...

Wow. I hadn't heard about this.

In general, there seems to be a trend towards centralizing authority in the Presidency. There's the point that gets brought up every now and then, for instance, that the Constitution mandates that only Congress can declare war, and yet we're in war after war without Congress formally declaring it. I forget the name of the legislation in which Congress basically gave up that authority, but it was years ago. I'd thought that the point was that it left matters so that Congress could share in the credit for a war, but blame the President in isolation if they went badly. It's probably the same with martial law.

We did, after all, have martial law in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina -- which made things far worse, by the way. Or for that matter, the deployment of the Army to LA following the LA Revolt. So it's not like this is an alien concept to the US ruling class, even domestically.

I think the reason the Democrats didn't put up any resistance on this issue is that their wing of the ruling class isn't actually in disagreement. Most likely, the next POTUS will be a Democrat, and the Dems will be just as happy to do "legally" what Bush did "illegally" in New Orleans.