By Dave Lindorff

07/27/07 “ICH” — — The looming collapse of the US military in Iraq, of which a number of generals and former generals, including former Chief of Staff Colin Powell, have warned, is happening none too soon, as it my be the best hope for preventing military rule here at home.

From the looks of things, the Bush/Cheney regime has been working assiduously to pave the way for a declaration of military rule, such that at this point it really lacks only the pretext to trigger a suspension of Constitutional government. They have done this with the active support of Democrats in Congress, though most of the heavy lifting was done by the last, Republican-led Congress.

The first step, or course, was the first Authorization for Use of Military Force, passed in September 2001, which the president has subsequently used to claim-improperly, but so what? -that the whole world, including the US, is a battlefield in a so-called “War” on Terror, and that he has extra-Constitutional unitary executive powers to ignore laws passed by Congress. As constitutional scholar and former Reagan-era associate deputy attorney general Bruce Fein observes, that one claim, that the US is itself a battlefield, is enough to allow this or some future president to declare martial law, “since you can always declare martial law on a battlefield. All he’d need would be a pretext, like another terrorist attack inside the U.S.”

The 2001 AUMF was followed by the PATRIOT Act, passed in October 2001, which undermined much of the Bill of Rights. Around the same time, the president began a campaign of massive spying on Americans by the National Security Agency, conducted without any warrants or other judicial review. It was and remains a program that is clearly aimed at American dissidents and at the administration’s political opponents, since the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court would never have raised no objections to spying on potential terrorists. (And it, and other government spying programs, have resulted in the government’s having a list now of some 325,000 “suspected terrorists”!)

The other thing we saw early on was the establishment of an underground government-within-a-government, though the activation, following 9-11, of the so-called “Continuity of Government” protocol, which saw heads of federal agencies moved secretly to an underground bunker where, working under the direction of Vice President Dick Cheney, the “government” functioned out of sight of Congress and the public for critical months.

It was also during the first year following 9-11 that the Bush/Cheney regime began its programs of arrest and detention without charge-mostly of resident aliens, but also of American citizens-and of kidnapping and torture in a chain of gulag prisons overseas and at the Navy base at Guantanamo Bay.

The following year, Attorney General John Ashcroft began his program to develop a mass network of tens of millions of citizen spies-Operation TIPS. That program, which had considerable support from key Democrats (notably Sen. Joe Lieberman), was curtailed by Congress when key conservatives got wind of the scale of the thing, but the concept survives without a name, and is reportedly being expanded today.

Meanwhile, last October Bush and Cheney, with the help of a compliant Congress, put in place some key elements needed for a military putsch. There was the overturning of the venerable Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which barred the use of active duty military inside the United States for police-type functions, and the revision of the Insurrection Act, so as to empower the president to take control of National Guard units in the 50 states even over the objections of the governors of those states.

Put this together with the wholly secret construction now under way–courtesy of a $385-million grant by the US Army Corps of Engineers to Halliburton subsidiary KBR Inc–of detention camps reportedly capable of confining as many as 400,000 people, and a recent report that the Pentagon has a document, dated June 1, 2007, classified Top Secret, which declares there to be a developing “insurgency” within the U.S, and which lays out a whole martial law counterinsurgency campaign against legal dissent, and you have all the ingredients for a military takeover of the United States.

As we go about our daily lives–our shopping, our escapist movie watching, and even our protesting and political organizing-we need to be aware that there is a real risk that it could all blow up, and that we could find ourselves facing armed, uniformed troops at our doors.

Bruce Fein isn’t an alarmist. He says he doesn’t see martial law coming tomorrow. But he is also realistic. “Really, by declaring the US to be a battlefield, Bush already made it possible for himself to declare martial law, because you can always declare martial law on a battlefield,” he says. “All he would need would be a pretext, like another terrorist attack on the U.S.”

Indeed, the revised Insurrection Act (10. USC 331-335) approved by Congress and signed into law by Bush last October, specifically says that the president can federalize the National Guard to “suppress public disorder” in the event of “national disorder, epidemic, other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident.” That determination, the act states, is solely the president’s to make. Congress is not involved.

Fein says, “This is all sitting around like a loaded gun waiting to go off. I think the risk of martial law is trivial right now, but the minute there is a terrorist attack, then it is real. And it stays with us after Bush and Cheney are gone, because terrorism stays with us forever.” (It may be significant that Hillary Clinton, the leading Democratic candidate for president, has called for the revocation of the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force against Iraq, but not of the earlier 2001 AUMF which Bush claims makes him commander in chief of a borderless, endless war on terror.)

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has added an amendment to the upcoming Defense bill, restoring the Insurrection Act to its former version-a move that has the endorsement of all 50 governors–but Fein argues that would not solve the problem, since Bush still claims that the U.S. is a battlefield. Besides, a Leahy aide concedes that Bush could sign the next Defense Appropriations bill and then use a signing statement to invalidate the Insurrection Act rider.

Fein argues that the only real defense against the looming disaster of a martial law declaration would be for Congress to vote for a resolution determining that there is no “War” on terror. “But they are such cowards they will never do that,” he says.

That leaves us with the military.

If ordered to turn their guns and bayonets on their fellow Americans, would our “heroes” in uniform follow their consciences, and their oaths to “uphold and defend” the Constitution of the United States? Or would they follow the orders of their Commander in Chief?

It has to be a plus that National Guard and Reserve units are on their third and sometimes fourth deployments to Iraq, and are fuming at the abuse. It has to be a plus that active duty troops are refusing to re-enlist in droves-especially mid-level officers.

If we are headed for martial law, better that it be with a broken military. Maybe if it’s broken badly enough, the administration will be afraid to test the idea.

Dave Lindorff is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of CounterPunch columns titled “This Can’t be Happening!” is published by Common Courage Press. Lindorff’s newest book is “The Case for Impeachment”, co-authored by Barbara Olshansky.

He can be reached at: dlindorff@yahoo.com

Go to the bottom of the article – here – and read the comments.

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  2. I have been putting this out for over 4 years now, and have been called a NUT, TINFOIL HAT wearer, and much more. I wrote over at Daily Kos for 2 years and they finally ganged on me and ban my diaries. Then I came to WordPress, where there is no political agenda.

    This is a good diary, very factual. Keep it up and pray we are not too late although I think there is very little hope now. It is a shame that no one would listen until — Are they listening now?

    I will be sure to add you to my blog list.

  3. Michael Pugliese

    Googling two sentences from Lindorff’s “proof” (the Secret Pentagon Report) these are the hits I get.

    Sent the below to Dave Lindorff.
    http://tribes.tribe.net/thetruthaccordingtodave/thread/ee95f41a-e47b-4dd4-a53c-ffcbb515a317
    Hal Turner is a neo-fascist racist, strike one.
    http://downwithjugears.blogspot.com/2007/07/us-preparing-domestic-clampdown.html
    A Neo-Nazi blog. Strike Two.
    http://www.rense.com/general77/clamp.htm
    RENSE?!?! UFO Nuts who support Ernst Zundel?! And they take this
    from TBRNews, an outfit run by neo-fascist Willis Carto. See,
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/5/4/15748/99064
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/7/12/18359/8939
    Read, “Right Woos Left, ” by Chip Berlet, on the dangers of Leftists swallowing Right-Wing Disinfo, http://www.publiceye.org/rightwoo/Rwooz.html

  4. I agree with some of the points you are appearing to make – but you have to remember, Michael – “Disinformation” is 90% truth and 10% mis-information. Are you the one to decide which is which based simply on the source and others’ opinions? I think it’s important to look at the possibilities in this article – and I hope you’re right. The last thing in the world we want to do is say “I told you so!”

  5. And by the way – this is from David Lindorff’s bio at http://www.thiscantbehappening.net

    Award-winning investigative reporter Dave Lindorff has been working as a journalist for 34 years. A regular columnist for CounterPunch (www.counterpunch.org), he also writes frequently for Extra! (www.fair.org) and Salon magazine (www.salon.com), as well as for Businessweek, The Nation and Treasury&Risk Management Magazine. In the late 1970s, he ran the Daily News bureau covering Los Angeles County government, and in the mid-’90s, spent several years as a correspondent in Hong Kong and China for Businessweek. Over the years he has written for such publications as Rolling Stone, Mother Jones, Village Voice, Forbes, The London Observer and the Australian National Times.

    Co-author, along with Barbara Olshansky, of The Case for Impeachment: Legal Arguments for Removing President George W. Bush from Office (St. Martin’s Press, June 2006 and paperback 2007), he is also the author of three earlier books–This Can’t Be Happening! Resisting the Disintegration of American Democracy (Common Courage Press, 2004), Marketplace Medicine: The Rise of the For Profit Hospital Chains (Bantam, 1992), an investigative report on the for-profit hospital industry, and Killing Time: An Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal (Common Courage Press, 2003), the only independent examination of this important capital case.

    A two-time Fulbright Scholar (Shanghai, China and Kaohsiung, Taiwan), he is a 1975 graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and received a B.A. in Chinese in 1972 from Wesleyan University. In October 2004, he was awarded a coveted “Most Censored Story of 2003” award by Project Censored (for his Oct. 16, 2003 story in Salon about the Pentagon’s quiet efforts to gear up the machinery for a return to the draft). A founding member of the National Writers Union, and a member of the steering committee of the NWU Philadelphia local, for the past nine years, he has lived with his harpsichordist wife Joyce and son Jed just outside Philadelphia. His daughter Ariel is a highschool math teacher in Brooklyn, NY.

    In addition to writing, Lindorff is an accomplished folk musician (guitar, vocals and saw).

  6. THE PAKISTAN US ELECTION REHEARSAL by Frank Morales
    Public Law 109-364 [John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007 (H.R.5122)], which was signed by the commander in chief on 10/17/06 allows the President to declare a “public emergency” and station troops anywhere in America & 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. 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. “Enforcement of the laws to restore public order” means to commandeer guardsmen from any state (or mercenaries) over the objections of local governmental, military and local police entities; ship them off to another state; conscript them in a law enforcement mode; and set them loose against “disorderly” citizenry – protesters, possibly, or those who object to forced vaccinations and quarantines in the event of a bio-terror [invention]. The law also facilitates militarized police round-ups and detention of protesters, so called “illegal aliens,” “potential terrorists” and other “undesirables” for detention in facilities already contracted for and under construction by Halliburton. Under the cover of a trumped-up “immigration emergency” and the frenzied militarization of the southern border, detention camps are being constructed right under our noses, camps designed for anyone who resists the foreign and domestic agenda of the Bush administration.
    An article on “recent contract awards” in a recent issue of the insider “Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International” reported that “global engineering and technical services powerhouse KBR [Kellog, Brown & Root] announced in 1/06 that its Government and Infrastructure division was awarded an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract to support U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities in the event of an emergency.” “With a maximum total value of $385 million over a five year term,” the report notes, “the contract is to be executed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,” “for establishing temporary detention and processing capabilities to augment existing ICE Detention and Removal Operations (DRO) – in the event of an influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs.” The report points out that “KBR is the engineering and construction subsidiary of Halliburton.” So, in addition to authorizing another $532.8 billion for the Pentagon, including a $70-billion “supplemental provision” which covers the cost of the ongoing, mad military maneuvers in Iraq, Afghanistan, & other places, the new law, signed by the president in a private White House ceremony, further collapses the historic divide between the police and the military: a tell-tale sign of a rapidly consolidating police state in America, all accomplished amidst ongoing U.S. imperial pretensions of global domination, sold to an “emergency managed” and seemingly willfully gullible public as a “global war on terrorism.”
    The president dealt posse comitatus, along with American democracy, a fatal blow. Despite the unprecedented & shocking nature of this act, there has been no outcry in the American media & little reaction from our elected officials. On 9/19, 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.” 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.” 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. http://www.rinf.com/columnists/news/bush-moves-toward-martial-law




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