- Since September 11, 2001, the Bush Regime, the US Congress
and senior personnel in the U.S. military have been busy planning their
escape routes from Washington, D.C. and surrounding communities in the
event that the continental United States is attacked by another 19 global
insurgents possessing little more than wit, dedication, an unrepentant
animosity towards America, and an ample dose of radioactive material packed
inside an explosive-laden metallic suitcase. Corporate executives have
ensured that they too will find a place in the bunker along side their
effete government colleagues through organizations such as National Security
Telecommunications Advisory Committee (NSTAC). That group is composed of
"up to 30 industry chief executives representing the major communications
and network service providers and information technology, finance, and
aerospace companies the NSTAC provides industry-based advice and expertise
to the President on issues and problems related to implementing national
security and emergency preparedness " Defense contracting giants play
a prominent role on the NSTAC and include Lockheed Martin, SAIC, Oracle
(the company that volunteered to develop a post-911 national identification
database), Boeing, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and CSC. The chairman of
the NSTAC also conveniently serves as an ex-officio member of Homeland
Security czar Tom Ridge's President's Homeland Security Advisory Council.
- The U.S. government and its military and corporate officials
are fond of making the pitch to the American public that the U.S. Constitution
mandates that their survival, above all others, is absolutely necessary
to ensure that the government that emanates from that document survives
a debilitating attack. It is astonishing that the American public believes
such absurdities. But one has to admire the boldly craven and callous "doomsday"
planning of the Bush regime and its military centurions and corporate nabobs,
who take pleasure in gutting the environment, the workforce, the economy,
and the world in general. These are the same people who played hide-and-seek
with the American public in September 2001.
- We the People?
- On September 11, 2001, one of the commercial aircraft
commandeered by suspected Saudi and Yemeni insurgents made its final approach
to its destination, the Pentagon -- located roughly three miles across
the Potomac River from the U.S. Capitol and White House in Washington,
DC -- by following Columbia Pike, in Arlington, Virginia, to its target.
The Pentagon is located adjacent to the glitzy Pentagon City Mall in Arlington,
Virginia, not Washington, DC, as much of the media conveniently fudged
the geographic difference. Although not Manhattan, Arlington is a densely
packed and diverse community of close to 200,000 people. It hosts five
high schools and two notable colleges: Marymount University and George
Mason Law School. When the aircraft slammed into the Pentagon, residents
of Arlington--including many in office buildings, stores, and schools in
the "South Side" -- felt the thud of the explosion as the aircraft
incinerated a block of the Pentagon and killed 123 employees and contractors
on the ground and 64 on the Boeing 757.
- Arlington fire fighters, police and EMT units were on
the scene at the Pentagon -- as were their counterparts at the World Trade
Centers in New York City-- within seconds of the aircraft's explosion.
In Arlington's case, the rapidity of response was due to alert firefighters
and police officers who noticed the aircraft off-path as it flew dangerously
low over the heavily populated Columbia Pike corridor in Arlington that
leads directly to the Pentagon. They alerted their colleagues in the Arlington
Fire and Police Departments that something was terribly wrong. Someone
at the controls of the aircraft knew to pick up the visual of the "Pike"
as it is called by Arlingtonians, the same way other pilots pick up the
Potomac River on visual to land at Reagan National Airport.
- Local residents scrambled to get their youngsters out
of schools where the hallways were filled with the crying and unsettled.
Teachers, counselors, and coaches did all they could to calm student's
nerves. Local firefighters and police were busy trying to give relief to
the Pentagon structure and its mangled people. Local hospitals were alerted
to receive Pentagon injured. The same scene was played out in New York
- As mayhem broke loose in Arlington, Virginia, adjacent
Washington, and New York City, the response of those who are tasked with
national governance provides important clues as to who will live and die
during the next disaster. Prior to 911, the only insight into continuity-of-government
planning was provided by Stanley Kubrick's Doctor Strangelove, which through
its characters, portrayed dimwitted "leaders"--most un-elected
-- sheltering themselves ahead of their populations.
- 911 Hide and Seek
- Dick Cheney was hustled into a bunker and ultimately
ended up in a cave running the Shadow Government. U.S. Supreme Court-anointed
George Bush II and staff was whisked from an elementary school class--minus
the children, teachers and school staff --- to undisclosed locations scattered
across the land. Military installations barricade their gates. As F-16s
patrolled the skies, government officials lauded the protection they were
providing despite the fact that the fighters were there to shoot down commercial
passenger planes. Leaders of both parties in Congress, and, in fact, all
of Congress, were escorted from Washington, DC as if Gort from the Hollywood
classic "The Day the Earth Stood Still" had gone on a rampage.
- The Bush Regime's senior appointees and bureaucrats sprinted
off to hardened bunkers or were taken by helicopter, like their military
counterparts, to place like Site R in Pennsylvania to "monitor"
the situation. Many of the local corporate senior managers and local newsreaders
instructed the "public" to remain calm and not panic. A commonplace
refrain from this lot was to "keep busy, be productive". The
lone Superpower, with its arsenals and vaunted intelligence agencies convulsed
from the handiwork of 19 insurgents, became enfeebled. In effect, the nation
came under the rule of a tele-government. Undoubtedly, government and military
planners -- and their think tanks - have discussed attack scenarios that
include the institution of a Federal government tele-governing operation.
Members of the U.S. Congress, Supreme Court justices, and the President
and his cabinet could easily debate, vote, set policy, render legal decisions
via encrypted communications lines, from the comfort of their protective
bunkers, home shelters, and command posts on land, sea, and air. In the
eventuality of nationwide martial law, these individuals, based on their
cowardly performance on 911, would no doubt prefer the safe confines of
Hitleresque bunkers. Such was the case on September 11, when, from the
safety of a studio in a bunker and a phone line from a basement, the nation's
"leadership" sought to govern in an ersatz manner.
- The American public fell for this act from a "government"
whose inserted president and appointees are the wealthiest Americans ever
to oversee a US populace. And as the wealthiest and most corrupt person
ever to occupy the White House uttered his inanities, "average people"
were taking care of their post-attack communities in Arlington and New
York City. As they suffered, the so-called civilian and military "leaders"
ducked and covered in a classic CYA move. These are America's leaders who
-- through sheer arrogance and stunning stupidity -- ignored reports from
tireless FBI field agents that involved suspicious flight school activities
and similar reports from gutsy Drug Enforcement Administration agents about
the activities of Israeli "art student" spies who happened to
be living in the same Florida and Texas neighborhoods as the future hijackers.
The same "leaders" would stand by and watch the state of California
get raped by Enron -- the Bush family's fund raising Ponzi scheme contrivance.
- Where was the Senator or Representative, or Cabinet official
(save for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld) who said, "I'm staying
with the people" and showed up in the bucket line? Where was the General
or Admiral who said I'm staying with my people and worked with the body
bags? Where was the Corporate Executive who, instead, was busy turning
"patriotism" into profiteering to gain market share and recoup
profits? Where will they be during the next attack?
- As the U.S. military-industrial complex sells more and
more advanced weaponry to Israel, Indonesia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Colombia,
Pakistan, India, and Nepal and as more and more ethnic and religious minority
groups, poor villagers, nomads, urban laborers, and sustenance farmers
are massacred by national armies in the pay of ruling oligarchs and multinational
corporations, will America's leaders care? No, it's good for business.
After U.S. snubbing of the International Criminal Court (to protect war
criminals like Henry Kissinger), Conventions on child soldiers and land
mines, long-held international nuclear test-ban treaties, international
protocols involving HIV/AIDS and global warming, will America's leaders
care? No. When the Turkmens, Uzbeks, Afghans, Pakistanis, Azeris, Kurds,
Turks, and Georgians tire of the special treatment that US Special Forces
receive for guarding gas and oil pipelines -- and the young troops are
killed-- will America's leaders notice? No.
- Hand it to the CYA crowd, they now know that they can
successfully sell the American public a rotten barrel of apples (or oil)
and they will buy it gladly. Armed with that knowledge, the next attack
may trigger enactment of national martial law.
- Martial Law: Coming to a Neighborhood Near You?
- The U.S. government has used martial law on numerous
occasions, most often to quell domestic disturbances in specific locations
around the country. According to the United States Constitution Online,
during the War of 1812, Andrew Jackson imposed martial law in an area of
New Orleans. When a judge demanded Jackson produce, through the writ of
habeas corpus, a man arrested for sedition, Jackson ordered the arrest
of the judge. in 1892 at Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, rebellious mine workers
blew up a mill and shot at strike breaking workers. Mine owners requested
that the state's governor impose martial law and, to no surprise, he did.
In 1914, federal troops were ordered by Woodrow Wilson to end the Coal
Field Wars in Colorado. In 1934, dockworkers in San Francisco initiated
a strike and the governor declared the dockyards subject to martial law
empowering the National Guard to make arrests and try detainees. The Supreme
Court opined twice on matters involving martial law in Ex Parte Milligan
and Duncan v. Kahanamoku. In 1866, Milligan's Supreme Court writers proclaimed
that Abraham Lincoln's imposition of martial law had been unconstitutional:
- "Martial lawdestroys every guarantee of the Constitution
and effectually renders the military independent of an superior to the
civil power--the attempt to do which by the King of Great Britain was deemed
by our fathers such an offense that they assigned it to the world as one
of the causes which impelled them to declare their independence. Civil
liberty and this kind of martial law cannot endure together; the antagonism
is irreconcilable, and, in the conflict, one or the other must perish."
- In 1946, the Supreme Court ruled that the military arrest
of two civilians in Hawaii during World War II and their subsequent trial
by military tribunals was unconstitutional.
- In 2002, with the U.S. Supreme Court nothing more than
a useful machination of the Bush regime, it seems likely that if Americans
become subjected to a Bush declaration of martial law, any challenge to
it would fail miserably. With that thought in mind, its useful to note
that the Bush crowd has had plenty of experience with martial law and states-of-emergency.
In 1992, Bush the Elder issued Executive Order 12804 in response to the
Los Angeles riots. Hence, the US Army 7th Infantry Division and detachments
of US Marines were deployed to mop up Los Angeles. That order was only
issued after the city's poor had destroyed their neighborhoods. As an aside,
that event would expose the CIA's penchant for selling drugs to inner city
youth to raise funds for U.S. government covert operations in Central and
South America. Bush the Elder was the overseer of much of this activity
when he lorded over the Iran-contra scandal while Vice President under
Ronald Reagan. One of Bush's underlings at the time, Oliver North, came
up with a secret plan, along with the fascist-oriented Federal Emergency
Management Agency (the key-masters for the doors to the bunkers), to declare
martial law in the event of a "national crisis," including "violent
and widespread internal dissent or national opposition to a U.S. military
invasion abroad." Florida's provincial ruler Jeb Bush signed Executive
Order 01-262 on September 11, 2001 declaring a State of Emergency in Florida.
That was prior to similar declarations in New York and Virginia where the
action was. "Jebbie" (that's what Bill Clinton calls him) also
has the power to suspend elections for 30 days in a county under a State
- The Bush family has managed to involve the United States
in two wars; two invasions in Latin America, one that resulted in the fiery
deaths of thousands of poor Panamanian barrio residents and another that
resulted in the Bay of Pigs fiasco; aiding and abetting through murky financial
investments America's Teutonic enemy in the last world war; corrupting
the U.S. presidential election process; and making the wealthiest Americans
and U.S. corporations richer while at the same cutting federal health,
education, and welfare budgets and offloading those tasks to the overburdened
- As the economy sputters with real unemployment close
to 8 percent and as income disparity reaches astronomical proportions,
it seems that the Bush regime will begin another war. Will that war be
against Iraq, as Bush's neo-conservative hawks want? Or will the Seven
Days in May crowd spin the Axis of Evil roulette wheel? Will the arrow
point to Cuba? North Korea? Venezuela? The Bush family's record of death
and destruction prompted one elderly couple in Baltimore, Maryland (the
husband being a highly decorated WW II U.S. Army veteran) to say, "
The Bush family should be barred from ever holding political office. Look
what they've done to this nation!"
- And They Are Not Done Yet
- An invasion of Iraq or any of the "Axis of Evil"
or "Beyond Axis of Evil" nations is likely to result in a response
that means American citizens will die here in the U.S. One incident, one
aircraft hijacked, a "dirty nuke" set off in a small town, may
well prompt the Bush regime, let's say during the election campaign of
2003-2004, to suspend national elections for a year while his government
ensures stability. The precedent for such thinking is now enshrined in
GOP politics. Another egotistical politician, Rudolph Giuliani, suggested
that he should stay on as Mayor of New York a while longer past his term
to make sure "New Yorkers would get through this thing". Would
it be any surprise to hear Bush II say the same thing late in 2003 after
insurgents would have destroyed part of a city or a chemical weapons cloud
spreads over half of a small state?
- Many closed-door meetings have been held on these subjects
and the notices for these meetings have been closely monitored by the definitive
www.cryptome.org. In the event of martial law, the Posse Comitatus Act
of 1878, which has already been largely gutted by the USA Patriot Act and
other Bush II actions, would cease to exist. Posse Comitatus has, for over
100 years, served as an important criminal law safeguard proscribing the
use of the Army (later, the Air Force and Navy) to "execute the laws,"
except where expressly authorized by the Constitution or by Congress. With
the abrogation of Posse Comitatus and the imposition of martial law, the
military would, as it did during post-Civil War Reconstruction in the South,
be able to arrest and detain civilians for any flimsy reason. Civilian
detainees consigned to federal prisons would be under the control of the
Bureau of Prisons while those detained by the military would be subject
to the regulations imposed by military commanders. The writ of habeas corpus
would be suspended and the family members and legal representatives for
detainees would not have a right to see them. This situation has already
occurred with those detained in the wake of September 11 without a formal
imposition of martial law.
- Military tribunals could, as they did in Hawaii during
the war, try and convict U.S. civilians. If prisons could not hold all
the detainees, the government already has plans to create or reactivate
large prison camps in the South and West. Some of these were already used
to detain Cuban, Vietnamese, and Haitian "boat people."
- In the event of martial law, Draconian censorship laws
would be implemented. Even now, the Patriot Act grants authority to obtain
an order from the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) Court requiring
any person or business to produce any books, records, documents, or items."
That law would undoubtedly be extended to encompass the Internet as well.
It should be of little wonder why the Pentagon has brought Iran-contra
felon Admiral John Poindexter back from retirement to head the Office of
Information Awareness. Coupled with the Office of Information Exploitation,
Poindexter's office is seeking ways to identify, block, and determine the
sources of seditious material posted on the Internet. Blocked web sites,
confiscated computers and servers, and the arrest of non-conforming web
site managers would become the rule of the day.
- Not that it would need much in the way of pressure, but
the broadcast media would similarly be required to air only that which
has been approved by government censors. For example, U.S. Air Force scientists
are soon to meet with CNN to figure out how to gather and disseminate information.
During the war against Yugoslavia, CNN and National Public Radio hosted
as interns U.S. Army psychological warfare operatives who worked on news
stories concerning the war.
- Similar closed-door meetings for "Continuity of
Government" have taken place since September 11, 2001. Odd, it seems,
that no "regular U.S. citizen" and few first responders have
had any input into this process. Chalk that up to the fact that the entire
process is classified and a matter of "national security" - the
rubric that is used to justify the constant whittling away of the Constitution
and its Bill of Rights. If the general public knew that "Continuity"
actually means that the abilities of the Internal Revenue Service to continue
to collect taxes, the Customs Service to continue to collect duties, and
the Environmental Protection Agency to continue to collect fines actually
outweigh the health and safety of American citizens, they would be outraged.
Hence the secrecy surrounding the continuity plans.
- James Madison had in right in 1794 when he wisely warned
about "the old trick of turning every contingency into a resource
for accumulating force in the government." The United States was founded
by political sages like Madison, Jefferson, and Franklin. It will ultimately
see its demise as a democracy through the likes of Bush II, his father,
and the Trent Lotts and Dick Armeys that pervade the American body politic.
- John Stanton is an Arlington, VA-based writer and Wayne
Madsen is a Washington, DC journalist and commentator on national security
and intelligence affairs. They can be reached at: WMadsen777@aol.com
- First published May 14, 2002 http://www.counterpunch.org/m