Tuesday, October 31, 2006

New Law Paves the Way for Martial Law and Detention Camps in US

The newly signed John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007, greatly expanded the President's power to control the US National Guard in times of natural disasters, protests or unruly citizen action in general. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) was disappointed that the National Guard Empowerment Act was dropped in Conference and stated:
It also should concern us all that the conference agreement includes language that subvert 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. There is good reason for the constructive friction in existing law when it comes to martial law declarations.
And there you have it - yet another step closer to Tyranny.

What's the background, you ask? Sen. Leahy clarifies:
Further, since September 11, torturous debate has developed in the Pentagon whenever the National Guard is needed for a large-scale operation at home, such as during Hurricane Katrina. We have learned that the Guard works optimally at home when it serves under the command-and-control of the Nation's Governors, with Federal reimbursement, under title 21 of the Federal Code.

This title 32 status ensures that locally elected officials remain in control of military forces operating at home. Because the National Guard comes directly out of these local communities, posse comitatus statutes do not apply. This title 32 arrangement has been used most recently to increase security at the border, but it has previously been used effectively to have the Guard provide added security at the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, the G8 Summit, the Nation's airports, and around the Capitol Building in Washington.

There seems to be some kind of reflexive reaction within the Department of Defense against having the Guard and the Governors remain in control of operations at home. In fact, a sizeable contingent exists within the Pentagon to have the active duty military control the National Guard and other military personnel and assets. So every time there is a natural disaster or other emergency, the Pentagon engages in a lengthy debate back-and-forth about control of the Guard. To date, these debates have led to sensible outcomes. But it should not be so difficult and uncertain.
Ah, so the regular armed forces are unhappy that control rests with local officials and not the Pentagon. It starts making sense...

Sen. Leahy futher illuminates just what this bill's changes to Federal law entail:
Not only does this conference report unfortunately drop the Empowerment amendment entirely, it adopts some incredible changes to the Insurrection Act, which would give the President more authority to declare martial law.

Let me repeat: The National Guard Empowerment Act, which is designed to make it more likely for the National Guard to remain in State control, is dropped from this conference report in favor of provisions making it easier to usurp the Governors control and making it more likely that the President will take control of the Guard and the active military operating in the States.

The changes to the Insurrection Act will allow the President to use the military, including the National Guard, to carry out law enforcement activities without the consent of a governor. When the Insurrection Act is invoked posse comitatus does not apply. Using the military for law enforcement goes against one of the founding tenets of our democracy, and it is for that reason that the Insurrection Act has only been invoked on three--three--in recent history.

The implications of changing the act are enormous, but this change was just slipped in the defense bill as a rider with little study. Other congressional committees with jurisdiction over these matters had no chance to comment, let alone hold hearings on, these proposals. {Ed. Note: This is typical shenannigans of Congress for things that would be horrifying to the public if we knew about them, and would most certainly be voted against in the sunshine of daylight}

While the Conference made hasty changes to the Insurrection Act, the Guard empowerment bill was kicked over for study to the Commission on the National Guard and Reserve, which was established only a year ago and whose recommendations have no real force of law. I would have never supported the creation of this panel--and I suspect my colleagues would agree with me--if I thought we would have to wait for the panel to finish its work before we passed new laws on the Guard and Reserve.

In fact, we would get nothing done in Congress if we were to wait for every commission, study group, and research panel to finish its work. I have been around here over 30 years, and almost every Senator here knows the National Guard as well as any commission member. We don't need to wait, and we don't need to study the question of enhancing the Guard further. This is a terrible blow against rational defense policy- making and against the fabric of our democracy.

So, how does this fit in with the Detention Camps? Well, we all know that Halliburton gets the choicest no-bid contracts, little-to-no oversight, not even so much as a slap on the wrist for bilking the US out of millions, right? Well, this is a slightly old article, but Halliburton's subsidiary KBR received a $385 million contract to build "detention facilities" for -get this- "an emergency influx of immigrants." As if that is a real threat of actually happening - if anything, Americans will be crawling over each other to leave as it becomes increasingly clear that Martial Law is coming.

And what does this have to do with Martial Law and the Insurrection Act?
Then in response to Hurricane Katrina in Sept. 2005, according to the Washington Post, White House senior adviser Karl Rove told the governor of Louisiana, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, that she should explore legal options to impose martial law "or as close as we can get." The White House tried vigorously, but ultimately failed, to compel Gov. Blanco to yield control of the state National Guard.

So - this Defense Authorization Act accomplished what Rove and the WH could not during the aftermath of Katrina - assume total control over the Citizen's Militia - the National Guard.

Let's talk about those nifty Detention Camps, shall we?
To date, some newspapers have worried that open-ended provisions in the contract could lead to cost overruns, such as have occurred with KBR in Iraq. A Homeland Security spokesperson has responded that this is a "contingency contract" and that conceivably no centers might be built. But almost no paper so far has discussed the possibility that detention centers could be used to detain American citizens if the Bush administration were to declare martial law.

For those who follow covert government operations abroad and at home, the contract evoked ominous memories of Oliver North's controversial Rex-84 "readiness exercise" in 1984. This called for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to round up and detain 400,000 imaginary "refugees," in the context of "uncontrolled population movements" over the Mexican border into the United States. North's activities raised civil liberties concerns in both Congress and the Justice Department. The concerns persist.

"Almost certainly this is preparation for a roundup after the next 9/11 for Mid-Easterners, Muslims and possibly dissenters," says Daniel Ellsberg, a former military analyst who in 1971 released the Pentagon Papers, the U.S. military's account of its activities in Vietnam. "They've already done this on a smaller scale, with the 'special registration' detentions of immigrant men from Muslim countries, and with Guantanamo."

There are many, many resources online that discuss Detention Camps for American citizens. Many resources are suspect, i.e., hysterical rantings of religious paranoids, however, as the saying goes, "Just because you're paraniod doesn't mean they aren't out to get you." One of Alex Jones's many pieces states:
The existence and development of internment camps are solely intended to be used to round up en masse and imprison 'political dissidents' (anyone who isn't prepared to lick government boots) after a simulated tactical nuke or biological attack on a major US or European city.
These are scary times, indeed, and it seems that the timetable is moving forward rapidly.

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