The suspension of both habeas corpus and posse comitatus has provided for detention without a trial and for a federal police force, allegedly in the name of fighting terrorism. Martial law in the U.S. is closely tied
with the Writ of habeas corpus (scroll down to “United States of America” … ).
Many have expressed concern over this, including Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), who in March of 2003 gave a House speech
expressing “grave concerns
” that the foundations for martial law were in place.
But the suspension of habeas corpus and posse comitatus are not the only developments forshadowing martial law. What are these “detention centers” being built all over the country? The proclaimed reason
for these facilities is to deal with an “influx of immigrants
” Wow – that’s alot of immigrants. It’s beside the point but still interesting to note that the Army Corps of Engineers awarded a Halliburton subsidiary, Kellogg Brown & Root,
the $385 million contract to build these facilities. Another no bidder, no doubt. In an article
(Feb, 2006) by Peter Dale Scott, Scott sites Pentagon insider Daniel Ellsberg (Vietnam whistleblower
), who stated the detention centers are likely “preparation for a roundup after the next 9/11 for Mid-Easterners, Muslims and possibly dissenters.”
What have such facilities have been used for in recent past? How about the Katrina refugees being held against their will at various detention centers around the US ? Why is it that they are not allowed to leave these facilities ? Why would it be necessary to have barbed wire, armed soldiers and “enough armed police officers to invade Grenada“
in such places ? Perhaps this is why; Fox News reported
that half of Katrina refugees have criminal records. Wow ! Half ? It would be interesting to know how many of these refugees end up filling a pair of combat boots, with the military being strapped for soldiers and all, which is likely to get worse given the admitted “no end in sight
” prognosis for the so-called “war on terror
Another possible use of these new, vast detention centers would be for a national emergency such as a natural disaster or disease outbreak (mad cow, bird flu, SARS ?). Still another possible use would be for dissent against the North American Union
. Although it was “announced
” over a year ago, few are even aware of what The North American Union
is, nor have Congress and the Supreme Court addressed it
. (scroll down to criticism
…) As Patrick Wood of The August Review points out
“Because international treaties supercede national law, Fast Track has allowed an enormous restructuring of U.S. law without resorting to a Constitutional convention.” … “As a result, national sovereignty of the United States has been severely compromised – even if some Congressmen and Senators are aware of this, the general public is still generally ignorant.”
It’s certainly conceivable that detention centers could be needed if our borders with Mexico and Canada came down. It’s also conceivable that this could necessitate martial law. Remember too that on Oct. 19, 2008, in Seattle, Joe Biden gave us further reason to be scared by guaranteeing us a “generated crisis”
inside six months of Obama’s presidency which will test Obama’s “mettle”.
But what is concerning is not what anyone has speculated, but what has already happened. More specifically, recent legislation has set the stage for martial law by the power of the President alone. The President alone now has the power to declare martial law on unprecedented broad, sweeping, terms. New asset forteiture laws give the President the power to seize assets of anyone he considers a “significant risk”, a risk assessed by him alone, naturally. New laws give the President the power to detain anyone he alone considers to be an “enemy combatant” – no oversight – no trial – indefinite detainment.
The bailout legislation was very similar. In September of 2008, “congressional martial law” was declared, eliminating the normal time allowed for review of the bailout bill’s provisions. Members of Congress didn’t even know what they were voting on. Further, talk of a stock market collapse and the possibility of real martial law was also discussed. This was reminiscent of the infamous WMD fearmongering at the United Nations (Feb. 5, 2003) which, as you may recall, was administered by the “nicest” guy in the administration, Colin Powell, a tactic which proved to be quite effective in applying the necessary pressure. It appears there are a variety of ways that pressure may be applied. Needless to say, the bailout bill was passed.
The trend is clear. Increasingly, are witnessing the eradication of checks and balances – the striking of the separation of powers – the elimination of congressional and judicial oversight and the consolidation of power to the Executive branch. We are going backwards. What is probably the most concerning is that the people seem to be searching for reasons to accept the actions of their government, or simply willing to turn a blind eye altogether.
The Setting of the Stage
The Patriot Act was signed into law on October 26, 2001. The acronym stands for “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001” The Act was passed by wide margins in both houses of Congress and was supported by members of both the Republican and Democratic parties. Many of the act’s provisions were to sunset beginning December 31, 2005, approximately 4 years after its passage. In the months preceding the sunset date, supporters of the act pushed to make its sunsetting provisions permanent. Though this was criticized by Senators from both the Republican and Democratic parties for ignoring civil liberty concerns, the bill passed Congress on March 2, 2006 and was signed into law by President George W. Bush on March 9, 2006.
The Military Commissions Act became law in 2006, giving the president the dictatorial power to detain anyone, simply via deeming them an”enemy combatant”, denying them legal protection and a fair trial, with no congressional oversight. This has been described as “otherworldly” by George Washington Professor of Constitutional Law, Jonathan Turley. (9) It also, as noted by Professor of Law (Columbia University School of Law) Michael Dorf, “immunizes government officials for past war crimes; it cuts the United States off from its obligations under the Geneva Conventions.” (9a)
The Defense Authorization Act became law in 2007, giving the president the dictatorial power, with no judiciary or congressional oversight, to declare martial law and invoke the military to deal with “domestic insurrection” and “rebellion”, as well as natural disasters, health/disease related concerns, or even something as vague as “other conditions”. (10) ( The Insurrection Act of 1807 restricted the executive power to use the military inside US borders, and the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 strengthened the Insurrection Act with strict congressional oversight.)
Executive Order 13438 (July, 2007) gives the president the dictatorial power to seize the assets (bank accounts, homes, etc … ) of anyone he deems a “significant risk” to US foreign policy. Bruce Fein, constitutional lawyer and former Reagan Depty. Atty. General. comments (13) – calling this, among other things, a “financial death penalty”.
All of this made the unconscionable fearmongering of the bailout legislation in September of 2008 and Joe Biden’s “guaranteed crisis” seem par for the course. Last but not least, remember that as of Oct. 1, 2008, we have active troops inside the United States.
The 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team has spent 35 of the last 60 months in Iraq, but now the unit will serve in domestic operations.
Jonathan Turley, George Washington University Professor of Constitutional Law, reviews FISA Changes 8/3/07 –