Imposing martial law for dummies

TOPOFF 4 and Vigilant Shield 08: a view from the “feverish fringe”
By Warren Pease
Online Journal Contributing Writer

The rationales and blueprints for implementation of martial law are already on the books. Reasoning that the USAPATRIOT Act(s) and the Military Commissions Act weren’t quite repressive enough, on May 9, 2007, Bush issued a document entitled “National Security Presidential Directive/NSPD 51” and “Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-20.” This directive outlines the federal government’s plan for maintaining continuity in the face of a “catastrophic emergency.”

The document defines a “catastrophic emergency” as “any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government function.” Well, that certainly narrows things down.

If any of these events occurs, Bush grants himself the power to lead the entire federal government, not merely the executive branch. And, recognizing his veneration of constitutional law, he graciously gives himself sole responsibility “for ensuring constitutional government.”

Translated into our native tongue, NSPD 51/HSPD-20 would impose martial law under the authority of the White House and the DHS. It would suspend constitutional government under the provisions of Continuity in Government (COG).

Since 2003, following the invasion of Iraq, Homeland Security (DHS) has contemplated time and again the possibility of a so-called code red alert “scenario” — using a potential or possible Al Qaeda terrorist attack on American soil — as a pretext for implementing martial law.

And why would such extreme crowd control measures be necessary? Simply put, people have just about had it with the Bush administration. The outrages keep on coming. Impeachable offenses keep piling up. The economy’s nearly ruined, joblessness has hit the middle class and the dollar is worth about a third less than it was just seven years ago.

The latest figures report that our liberating presence in Iraq has murdered more than a million civilians and created about 5 million refugees. US troop fatalities in Iraq stand at 3,813 as of this writing, with tens of thousands more severely maimed and thrown into a new battlefield in the underfunded, overextended VA health care system.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, Iran is the next jewel in the PNAC’s crown, while Syria is in line for an oratorical upgrade in Bush’s demonization campaign. Domestic repression is edging its way toward the golden age of Stalinism. Given current levels of discontent among the populace and the potential to further inflame that discontent in a variety of ways, it would be weird indeed if the administration didn’t have a plan to deal with the millions of malcontents who would view a bombing campaign against Iran — possibly involving first-strike use of nuclear weapons — as the absolute last straw.

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