President Signing Statements Terrorism Government Secrecy Socialism United States Democracy

The most efficient way to enslave a nation is through the legal system. Passing laws that slowly remove citizens rights, history has proven, will suffocate any democratic state and make the people vulnerable to the whims of the leader. The objective is to make it appear these laws are being passed for the safety and security of the population. These laws are passed with the justification of an arbitrary threat (i.e. terrorism) – but what these laws really do is remove the power from the people and put it in the hands of the government. This is happening in America today.

There is very little transparency in our government any more, laws are being made and signed in secret, bills being passed using threats and fear is being used to manipulate the public. In American history, the government has perpetrated numerous harmful agendas under false pretenses, but never to the degree that is being done today.

“A disturbing recent phenomenon in Washington is that laws that strike to the heart of American democracy have been passed in the dead of the night Beyond actual insurrection, the president may now use military troops as a domestic police force in response to a national disaster, a disease outbreak, terrorist attack or any “other condition.” remarks an editorial in the New York Times about the amendment made to the Insurrection Act of 1807. The revision (now referred to as the John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007 (HR 5122)gave the president the power to decide what he felt was a threat – and to disregard the provisions of the Posse Comitatus Act and allow the Army to police the people.

Although parts of HR 5122 were repealed due to its conflicts with the Constitution, President George W. Bush attached a signing statement to the bill saying he did not feel bound by the repeal. Two years after signing the bill, 4,000 soldiers were deployed to the US to patrol citizens.

In April of 1984, President Reagan signed Presidential Director Number 54, also known as REX 84. REX 84 is an exercise that FEMA would carry out in the case of a national emergency. REX 84 was testing FEMA’s ability to assume military authority. In order to successfully carry out the exercise, REX 84 required the 1) suspension of the Constitution of the United States, 2) turn control of the government to FEMA, 3) appoint military commanders to run state and local governments and 4) a Declaration of Martial Law.

Recently on the internet there has been a lot of buzz about impending Martial Law, much of this originates from Representative Brad Sherman’s comment when he spoke to congress about the $700 billion bailout bill that would save banks from completely failing.

“The only way they can pass this bill is by creating and sustaining a panic atmosphere. That atmosphere is not justified. Many of us were told in private conversation that if we voted against this bill on Monday, that the sky would fall, the Market would drop two or three thousand points the first day – another couple thousand the second day and a few members were even told that there would be Martial Law in America if we voted no. That’s what I call fearmongering. Unjustified.”

Shortly after this statement was given, many people began to speculate about a $385 million contract that was given to a subsidiary of Halliburton, Kellogg Brown & Root,in 2006 that was for the construction of detention centers ‘somewhere’ in the United States. At the time, KBR stated that the detention centers were being built to deal with “an emergency influx of immigrants into the US, or to support the rapid development of new programs.” (Emphasis mine.)

Kellogg Brown & Root built over 600 of these detention centers through out the country, right now these detention centers are fully operational, fully staffed, and completely empty. Each detention center can hold up to 5,000 people. At capacity all the detention centers will hold in excess of 400,000 people. Four known locations of these empty detention centers in Michigan are in Camp Grayling, Bay City, Berrien County and Lansing.

The contract with KBR, combined with HR 5122 and NSPD – 51 / HSPD – 20, (also known as the National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive), not to mention knowledge of REX 84 got many people uneasy. NSPD – 51 is a Directive, passed in secret, that would give the President complete power in the case of a national emergency, of his declaration. As an article in Tennessee’s Chattanooga from May 24 explains;

“President Bush, without so much as issuing a press statement, on May 9 signed a directive that granted near dictatorial powers to the office of the president in the event of a national emergency declared by the president.”

In the event of a national (or ‘catastrophic’) emergency, the president would, under this bill, be granted powers unforeseen in this country. The article in the Chatanooga continues;

“The directive loosely defines “catastrophic emergency” as “any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the US population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions.

“NSPD-51 / HSPD-20 also makes no reference whatsoever to Congress. The language of the May 9 directive appears to negate any requirement that the President submit to Congress a determination that a national emergency exists, suggesting instead that the powers of the executive order can be implemented without any congressional approval or oversight.”

Suddenly Sherman’s short speech before Congress seems more plausible. In short, an economic failure equals justification for Martial Law. The President has given himself the power to declare almost any crisis a ‘national emergency’. With the 2007 National Defense Authorization Act, the presidents ability to “federalize” the Guard during a national emergency such as terrorist attacks, natural disasters, pandemics and “other emergencies” was greatly expanded in that he’d no longer have to consult with state Governors to do so.

Due to the haste in passing the $700 billion bailout bill (formally known as the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act), there wasn’t much time for Congress to add certain regulations for the money, as far as what the banks receiving the aid could do with it. Recent reports indicate that the banks do not intend on using the money for its intended purpose, instead some banks want to buy other banks, pay dividends, give employees raises and executive bonus’s, or in some cases, some banks want to just “sit on” the money given to them. It doesn’t appear that the money will be used to help the homeowners, pressed for money, keep their homes from being foreclosed.

If these banks use this money in the ways they suggest they will, it will only worsen the current economic problems already present in America. The haste in passing this bill could very well make the economy far worse than it is, truly turning an economic crisis into a “catastrophic emergency.”

On Labor Day, the first day of the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, a crowd of two hundred people who were gathered in the Harriet Island Regional Park were surrounded by police and all of them were arrested, indiscriminately, without probably cause. Not one of these citizens were read their Miranda Rights, but because they were in proximity of 600 protesters who were arrested, they were also arrested.

The entire situation that happened in Minnesota seems puzzling. As Americans we are given the right to “Peaceably Assemble”, the right to “Freedom of Speech” and the right to “Petition the Government for a redress of grievances” in the first Amendment of the Bill of Rights. Not to mention the fourth amendments right that every citizen has, in which probable cause must be ascertained before any arrest is made.

If, yet another bill that was passed in the House by 404 of our elected representatives, were to become law, mass arrests like what happened in Minnesota could become normal. The Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 (HR 1955), dubbed the “Thought Crime Prevention Bill” would make any “extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideological based violence in advance political, religious, or social change” illegal.

The bill is directed at the American people and its aim is to silence any dissent among the people against the government that the government deems harmful. The definitions of “violent radicalization” and “homegrown terrorism” are so vague that anything from a large group of protesters to a small group of anarchists could be deemed a threat to the US government – simply because their views or beliefs differ from that of the US government.

HR 1955 would no longer require that an actual crime be committed for the government to take action against a group. Outrage at the government could, if this bill is passed, be perceived as a threat and the government can put the individual or group in prison because of it. As the bill defines homegrown terrorism;

“(3) HOMEGROWN TERRORISM – The term ‘homegrown terrorism’ means the use, planned use, or threatened use of force or violence by a group or individual born, raised, or based and operating primarily within the United States or any possession of the United States to intimidate or coerce the United States government, the civilian population or the United States, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.”

The Bill of Rights does not give any parameters to freedom of speech – only that one individual’s rights ends when they infringe on another individuals rights. This election year, our rights as American’s may just hang in the balance.

On October 1 of this year, the First Brigade of the Third Infantry Division, which is nearly 4,000 soldiers, were deployed in the United States. Their mission is crowd control to subdue “unruly individuals” and manage a national emergency. The soldiers will have access to both lethal and non lethal crowd control technologies and tanks. They will be called the chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-explosive Consequence Management Response Force (CCMRF, pronounced “sea-smurf”). They have been deployed for twelve months.

What is unraveling in America really fast is a complete undercutting of democracy as we know it. How all this will play out is still unknown, but noting what has already taken place, we can only speculate that things will get worse long before they get better. Both presidential candidates John McCain and Barrack Obama have already been briefed at the White House by the FBI about a terrorist threat that could take place within the first 250 days either candidate takes office.

The bills being signed in the White House, then later implemented will continue to happen – despite, unfortunately, who becomes the next President. The President has given himself (and possibly successors) a lot of power, power that was taken from American citizens.
How did this happen? Perhaps it was when we, as a nation, stopped questioning our government and instead decided to stand still.

As E. E. Cummings once said, “America makes prodigious mistakes, America has colossal faults, but one thing cannot be denied: America is always on the move. She may be going to Hell, of course, but at least she isn’t standing still.”