Allison Kilkenny: Unreported

Bush Administration Memos Claimed Vast War Powers

Posted in Barack Obama, law, police state, politics by allisonkilkenny on March 3, 2009

International Herald Tribune

confidential-photo4The secret legal opinions issued by Bush administration lawyers after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks included assertions that the president could use the nation’s military within the United States to combat people deemed as terrorists and to conduct raids without obtaining a search warrant.

That opinion was among nine that were disclosed publicly for the first time Monday by the Justice Department, in what the Obama administration portrayed as a step toward greater transparency. The opinions showed a broad interpretation of presidential authority, asserting as well that the president could unilaterally abrogate foreign treaties, deal with detainees suspected of terrorism while rejecting input from Congress and conduct a warrantless eavesdropping program.

Some of the legal positions had previously become known from statements made by Bush administration officials in response to court challenges and congressional inquiries. But the opinions provided the clearest illustration to date of the broad definition of presidential power that was approved by government lawyers, including John Yoo and Jay Bybee, in the months following the Sept. 11 attacks.

In a memorandum dated Jan. 15, 2009, just before President George W. Bush left office, a top Justice Department official wrote that the earlier memorandums had not been relied on since 2003. But the official, Stephen Bradbury, who headed the Office of Legal Counsel, said it was important to acknowledge in writing “the doubtful nature of these propositions,” and he used the memo to formally repudiate the opinions.

Bradbury said that the earlier memorandums were the product of lawyers confronting “novel and complex questions in a time of great danger and under extraordinary time pressure.”

The opinion authorizing the military to operate on domestic territory was dated Oct. 23, 2001, and written by Yoo, at the time a deputy assistant attorney general, and Robert Delahunty, a special counsel. It was directed to Alberto Gonzales, then the White House counsel, who had asked whether Bush could use the military to combat terrorist activities inside the United States.

The law has recognized that force (including deadly force) may be legitimately used in self-defense,” Yoo and Delahunty wrote to Gonzales. Any objections based on the prohibition against unreasonable searches in the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution would vanish, he said, because any privacy offense that comes with such a search would be less than any injury from deadly force.

Yoo and Delahunty also said in the Oct. 23 memorandum that “First Amendment speech and press rights may also be subordinated to the overriding need to wage war successfully.” They added that the “current campaign against terrorism may require even broader exercises of federal power domestically.”

Yoo said the Posse Comitatus Act, a statute first enacted in 1878 and since renewed, would also not present an obstacle to the use of the armed forces. The Posse Comitatus Act generally forbids the use of military forces in domestic law enforcement.

Yoo and Delahunty asserted that the act’s prohibition against use of the military was only for law enforcement functions and that using soldiers against terrorist suspects would be a national security function.

Yoo, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, is widely known as the principal author of a 2002 memorandum that critics said authorized torture. The memorandum, signed by Bybee, was repudiated in 2004.

The memorandum issued by Bradbury in January appears to have been the Bush lawyers’ last effort to reconcile their views with the wide-scale rejection by legal scholars and some Supreme Court opinions of the sweeping assertions of presidential authority made earlier by the Justice Department.

Walter Dellinger, a former head of the Office of Legal Counsel during the Clinton administration who was also a law professor at Duke University, said that Bradbury’s memo “disclaiming the opinions of earlier Bush lawyers sets out in blunt detail how irresponsible those earlier opinions were.” He said it was important that it was now widely recognized that the earlier assertions “that Congress had absolutely no role in these national security issues was contrary to constitutional text, historical practice and judicial precedent.”

Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. said Monday morning before the release of the documents: “Too often over the past decade, the fight against terrorism has been viewed as a zero-sum battle with our civil liberties. Not only is that thought misguided, I fear that in actuality it does more harm than good.”

Holder said that the memorandums were being released in light of the legitimate and substantial public interest.

One of the opinions, issued in March 2002, suggests that Congress lacks any power to limit a president’s authority to transfer detainees to other countries. Other memorandums say that Congress has no authority to intervene in the president’s determination of the treatment of detainees, a proposition that has since been invalidated by the Supreme Court.

Bradbury’s memo repudiating these views said that it was “not sustainable” to argue that the president’s power as commander in chief “precludes Congress from enacting any legislation concerning the detention, interrogation, prosecution and transfer of enemy combatants.”

Report: Military May Have to Quell Domestic Violence from Economic Collapse

Posted in Economy, police state by allisonkilkenny on December 29, 2008

Nick Juliano (Raw Story)

policestate1Deepening economic strife in the US could lead to civil unrest and violence that would require military intervention, warns a new report from the US Army War College.

“Widespread civil violence inside the United States would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security,” writes Nathan Freier, a 20-year Army veteran and visiting professor at the college.

A copy of the 44-page report, “Known Unknowns: Unconventional ‘Strategic Shocks’ in Defense Strategy Development,”
 can be downloaded here. Freier notes that his report expresses only his own views and does not represent US policy, but it’s certain that his recommendations have come before at least some Defense Department officials. 

The author warns potential causes for such civil unrest could include another terrorist attack, “unforeseen economic collapse, loss of functioning political and legal order, purposeful domestic resistance or insurgency, pervasive public health emergencies, and catastrophic natural and human disasters.” The situation could deteriorate to the point where military intervention was required, he argues.

“Under these conditions and at their most violent extreme,” he concludes, “civilian authorities, on advice of the defense establishment, would need to rapidly determine the parameters defining the legitimate use of military force inside the United States.”

While the scenario presented is “likely not an immediate prospect,” Freier concedes, it deserves consideration. Prior to 9/11, no one in the defense establishment would have envisioned a plot to topple skyscrapers with airliners, and the military should not be caught so off-guard again, he says.

To the extent events like this involve organized violence against local, state, and national authorities and exceed the capacity of the former two to restore public order and protect vulnerable populations, DoD would be required to fill the gap,” he writes. “This is largely uncharted strategic territory.”

Freier’s report has merited some concern as it comes alongside revelations that the Defense Department has assigned a full-time Army unit to be on-call for domestic deployment.

An article in Monday’s El Paso Times notes that military and police officials in Texas are unaware of team-up efforts such as those suggested in the report.

Arizona authorities told the Phoenix Business Journal they are similarly unaware of any new plans, although the Phoenix Police Department made clear its officers “always train to prepare for any civil unrest issue.”

The Posse Comitatus Act restricts the military’s role in domestic law enforcement, but it does not completely preclude involvement in cases of emergency or when emergency law is declared. As of now, though, such scenarios seem unlikely.

The bulk of Freier’s report recommends refocusing Defense Department strategy toward thinking outside the box, in general, and the unlikely possibility of domestic deployments is just one longshot example he uses to illustrate a worst case scenario.

Military Mobilizes Troops for Inauguration

Posted in Barack Obama, police state by allisonkilkenny on December 20, 2008

MCM

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081217/pl_afp/uspoliticsinaugurationsecurity/print

policestate1The US military plans to mobilize thousands of troops to protect Washington against potential terrorist attack during the inauguration of president-elect Barack Obama, a senior US military commander said Wednesday.

They will fly combat air patrols and man air defenses, organize large scale medical support, and help local law enforcement provide security in the capital, said General Gene Renuart, head of the US Northern Command. “[It’s] not because we see a specific threat, but because for an event this visible, this important and this historic, we ought to be prepared to respond if something does happen,” he told reporters.

Renuart said some 7,500 active duty troops and 4,000 national guard troops will take part in the operations in support of the inauguration of the 44th US president on January 20.

* * * * *

Gen. Genuart has pledged “to address congressional concerns” about NorthCom’s
“new homeland emergency response task force,” which, he says, “is not meant to authorize the federal government to enforce martial law”:

Northcom Chief Vows to Address Worries About New Homeland Unit 17 Dec 2008 A senior military official pledged Wednesday to address congressional concerns about a new homeland emergency response task force that is designed to respond to a chemical, biological or nuclear attack. Air Force Gen. Victor E Renuart Jr., commander of U.S. Northern Command (Northcom), also told reporters that the new force, which will eventually total 20,000 personnel, will not require new funding right now and is not meant to authorize the federal government to enforce martial law. The new task force has come under fire from groups… Critics also say the move could violate the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which aims to prohibit the federal government from using the armed forces in a domestic law enforcement capacity without congressional approval.

* * * * *

Meanwhile, there have been reports for months, in local media outlets coast to coast, of
heavy preparations by police departments and local sheriffs, all newly fitted out with
riot gear provided by the Bush regime. Also nationwide, police have been abusing citizens
–white as well as black and brown–with what is certainly a new ferociy,
the incidents either reported casually or not at all. It’s as if they’ve been encouraged to
do anything they want to nearly anyone.

What’s clearly going on here is a grand revival of the bad old days of the Sixties/Seventies,
when local cops and federal agencies teamed up to surveil and harass politically suspicious
groups (almost all of them left-wing). Now, however, that authoritarian partnership
appears to have a more ambitious purpose, since the economy is melting down, and
those (still) at the helm in Washington are explicit fascists.

In that context, check out this new piece from the Phoenix Business Journal, reporting
on the US Army War College’s new report on dealing militarily with “civil unrest”–
and the response thereto by the Phoenix Police Department.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008, 11:36am MST | Modified: Wednesday, December 17, 2008, 12:05pm
Ariz. police say they are prepared as War College warns military must prep for unrest; IMF warns of economic riots

Phoenix Business Journal – by Mike Sunnucks
http://phoenix.bizjournals.com/phoenix/stories/2008/12/15/daily34.html

A new report by the U.S. Army War College talks about the possibility of Pentagon resources and troops being used should the economic crisis lead to civil unrest, such as protests against businesses and government or runs on beleaguered banks.
“Widespread civil violence inside the United States would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security,” said the War College report.

The study says economic collapse, terrorism and loss of legal order are among possible domestic shocks that might require military action within the U.S.
International Monetary Fund Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn warned Wednesday of economy-related riots and unrest in various global markets if the financial crisis is not addressed and lower-income households are hurt by credit constraints and rising unemployment.
U.S. Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., and U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., both said U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson brought up a worst-case scenario as he pushed for the Wall Street bailout in September. Paulson, former Goldman Sachs CEO, said that might even require a declaration of martial law, the two noted.

State and local police in Arizona say they have broad plans to deal with social unrest, including trouble resulting from economic distress. The security and police agencies declined to give specifics, but said they would employ existing and generalized emergency responses to civil unrest that arises for any reason.

“The Phoenix Police Department is not expecting any civil unrest at this time, but we always train to prepare for any civil unrest issue. We have a Tactical Response Unit that trains continually and has deployed on many occasions for any potential civil unrest issue,” said Phoenix Police spokesman Andy Hill.

“We have well established plans in place for such civil unrest,” said Scottsdale Police spokesman Mark Clark.
Clark, Hill and other local police officials said the region did plenty of planning and emergency management training for the Super Bowl in February in Glendale.

“We’re prepared,” said Maricopa County Sheriff Deputy Chief Dave Trombi citing his office’s past dealings with immigration marches and major events.

Super Bowl security efforts included personnel and resources from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. military’s Northern Command, which coordinated with Arizona officials. The Northern Command was created after 9/11 to have troops and Defense Department resources ready to respond to security problems, terrorism and natural disasters.

Northern Command spokesman Michael Kucharek and Arizona Army National Guard Major. Paul Aguirre said they are not aware of any new planning for domestic situations related to the economy.

Nick Dranias, director of constitutional government at the libertarian Goldwater Institute, said a declaration of marital law would be an extraordinary event and give military control over civilian authorities and institutions. Dranias said the Posse Comitatus Act restricts the U.S. military’s role in domestic law enforcement. But he points to a 1994 U.S. Defense Department Directive (DODD 3025) he says allows military commanders to take emergency actions in domestic situations to save lives, prevent suffering or mitigate great property damage.

Dranias said such an emergency declaration could worsen the economic situation and doubts extreme measures will been taken. “I don’t think it’s likely. But it’s not impossible,” he said.

The economy is in recession. Consumer spending is down, foreclosures are up and a host of businesses are laying off workers and struggling with tight credit and the troubled housing and financial markets. The U.S. Federal Reserve Bank and U.S. Treasury Department have pumped more than $8.5 trillion into the economy via equity purchases of bank stocks, liquidity infusions, Wall Street and bank bailouts and taxpayer rebates. U.S. automakers are seeking more than $14 billion in federal loans with fears they could fall into bankruptcy without a bailout. The U.S. housing and subprime lending-induced recession also has hit economies in Europe, Japan and China.

Gov. Janet Napolitano’s office declined comment on emergency planning and possible civil unrest. Napolitano is president-elect Barack Obama’s pick for secretary of Homeland Security, an agency that oversees airport security, disaster response, border security, customs and anti-terrorism efforts.

As governor, Napolitano sent National Guard troops to Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station in 2003 in response to terrorism threats.

Glendale Police spokesman Jim Toomey said the West Valley suburb developed new emergency plans with the approach of Y2K computer changeovers leading up to the year 2000 and police have updated those plans several times including after 9/11. Toomey said strategies to deal with public unrest usually involve deploying personnel and equipment to deal with specific incidents while still providing usual services.

All contents of this site © American City Business Journals Inc. All rights reserved.
Ken

Domestic Militarization Comes to San Bernardino County

Posted in Uncategorized by allisonkilkenny on December 15, 2008

 

Posted on 2008 December 14 by bbvm
http://bbvm.wordpress.com/2008/12/14/domestic-militarization-comes-to-san-bernardino-county/

califsanbernardinolgMarine Corps Air and Ground Combat Center (MCAGCC) Provost Marshal (head of a unit of military police) and the localCalifornia Highway Patrol office will begin working together 12/12 – and through the holiday season – in a joint effort to reduce accidents and drinking and driving. The combined mutual cooperation between the Marine Corps Military Policeand State enforcement officers will begin somewhere along Highway 62. The CHP will set up DUI roadblocks with the presence of Military Police. A violation of the Posse Comitatus Act.

Gary Daigneault discussed the ramifications of this joint effort today on his 107.7 F.M. Talk Back show. Mr. Daigneault and his callers seemed to be very concerned. On its face, one may think this is a good idea. But it’s not. I agree with Mr. Daigneault and his callers. Most of which seemed to think this is a very bad idea. Mr. Daigneault contacted aConstitutional Law expert, and the attorney informed him this is absolutely unconstitutional. It’s NOT permitted under the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, 8 U.S.C. § 1385. It’s my understanding that the Constitutional Law expert said CHP officers could be arrested out there working with the Military Police because it’s a “felony.”

Democracy depends upon abiding by the U.S. Constitution. Therefore, I challenge anyone to go out there and put a citizens arrest of the CHP officers, then call 9-1-1 and have a sheriff come out and take charge of your prisoner. Just kidding, of course, but a very brazen citizen legally could attempt to such a thing. But don’t even think about it.

Many of his callers vocalized that this joint effort or mutual cooperation between the military and the CHP is going to be very intimidating. They (as I) are very concerned the CHP is going through with this action. It’s not really clear what the specific role of the Military Police will beŠ To assist; to observe; to train; to make a strong military presence; to take charge of military offenders detained by the CHP? Nonetheless, whatever, it’s unconstitutional; it’s a felony. I contacted the Morongo CHP office.* The dispatcher said the program will be in effect tonight. When I asked here were it was going to be, she said call back tonight after 7:00 P.M. But I politely protested, these DUI check stops are public. She said I have to speak with CHP Public Affairs officer after seven.* A call to the CHP Public Affairs Officer’s number* after seven got a recorded message to call from 9-5 during business hours. Query: why wasn’t I told that?

By the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, 20 Stat. 152, 18 U.S.C. § 1385, it was provided that “it shall NOT (emphasis added) be lawful to employ any part of the Army of the United States, as a posse comitatus, or otherwise, for the purpose of executing the laws, except in such cases and under such circumstances as such employment of said force may be expressly authorized by the Constitution or by act of CongressŠ .” The effect of this prohibition, however, was largely nullified by a ruling of the Attorney General “that by Revised Statutes 5298 and 5300 [10 U.S.C. §§ 332, 334] the military forces, under the direction of the President, could be used to assist a marshal. 16 Ops. Atty. Gen. 162.” B. RICH, THE PRESIDENTS AND CIVIL DISORDER 196 n.21 (1941).

Okay, as far as I know the President has not given direction to the local CHP to deploy the USMC on public roads in order to setup a military presence during routine DUI check stops in the Basin. It’s not allowed. Whoever came up with plan in the CHP in my opinion is abusing their powers. Where is the public necessity or authority to do this? There is none – unless the Commander in Chief made the call. It’s also my opinion, the CHP has made a very bad choice in their joint venture with the Marine Corps. Though I have intrinsic belief that the CHP has the very best of intentions, however, good intentions does not override the U.S. Constitution.


I know the Marine Corps has the best of intentions too. But the best of intentions is not cause to trump the Constitution.
Late this afternoon, I spoke with the Provost Marshal office, Corporal Knuesn. He indicated this may happen. I then spoke with the MCAGCC Public Affairs Chief, Gunny Sgt. Chris Cox.** He was very cooperative and informative about the mutual efforts of the Military Police and the CHP: “They will be working closely over the month to cut down of traffic accidents,” he said, “the Military Police will observe DUI check points and watch for their own guys. The intent is to have Military Presence out there.”

Gunny Cox explains that Hwy. 62 is one of the most dangerous highways out here. No doubt it is.

The Public Affairs Chief also explained, “they will not participate [assist the CHP] because they are not concerned [lack of jurisdiction] with California law.” I must say, Gunny Sgt. Cox is one extremely nice guy. And his good intentions – to save his guys from injuries or worse – was certainly manifested. May good fortune be with this Marine.

It’s little encroachments like this that undermine the Constitution. Then one day you wake up, and it gone. [See Franklin quote, infra-]. I can see numerous scenarios during those DUI check stops. To name a few: The Military Police go to the aid of the CHP to take down a civilian bad guy. A drunken teen. Unruly tweakers. Will the Military Police be armed? Do they have any sort orders of engagements?

* ** The bottom line: I urge anyone and everyone who believes in the Constitution, United States Codes, and Posse Comitatus – to do something! What can you do? To begin with, I suggest you contact the local Joshua Tree CHP Public Affairs Officer, Officer McLoud, at: 760. 366.3707 and voice your concern. Further, you can contact the MCAGCC Public Affairs Chief on the base at: 760.830.5476 or 760. 830.6213. Moreover, contact the Provost Marshal office at:760.830.4215.

Voice your concerns. That’s just a start. Contact state officials and legislatures. Write letters to the editor.

Thank you, Branson Hunter

“What type of government,” a woman asks, “have you given us?” To which Benjamin Franklin replies: ” A democratic Republic, madam, if you can keep it.” – “Benjamin Franklin: An American Life. Walter Isaacson (2003)


Military to Deploy 20,000 Soldiers For Homeland Security

Posted in Uncategorized by allisonkilkenny on December 1, 2008

Washington Post

Defense Secretary Robert Gates

Defense Secretary Robert Gates

The U.S. military expects to have 20,000 uniformed troops inside the United States by 2011 trained to help state and local officials respond to a nuclear terrorist attack or other domestic catastrophe, according to Pentagon officials.

The long-planned shift in the Defense Department’s role in homeland security was recently backed with funding and troop commitments after years of prodding by Congress and outside experts, defense analysts said.

There are critics of the change, in the military and among civil liberties groups and libertarians who express concern that the new homeland emphasis threatens to strain the military and possibly undermine the Posse Comitatus Act, a 130-year-old federal law restricting the military’s role in domestic law enforcement.

But the Bush administration and some in Congress have pushed for a heightened homeland military role since the middle of this decade, saying the greatest domestic threat is terrorists exploiting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, dedicating 20,000 troops to domestic response — a nearly sevenfold increase in five years — “would have been extraordinary to the point of unbelievable,” Paul McHale, assistant defense secretary for homeland defense, said in remarks last month at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. But the realization that civilian authorities may be overwhelmed in a catastrophe prompted “a fundamental change in military culture,” he said.

The Pentagon’s plan calls for three rapid-reaction forces to be ready for emergency response by September 2011. The first 4,700-person unit, built around an active-duty combat brigade based at Fort Stewart, Ga., was available as of Oct. 1, said Gen. Victor E. Renuart Jr., commander of the U.S. Northern Command.

If funding continues, two additional teams will join nearly 80 smaller National Guard and reserve units made up of about 6,000 troops in supporting local and state officials nationwide. All would be trained to respond to a domestic chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or high-yield explosive attack, or CBRNE event, as the military calls it.

Military preparations for a domestic weapon-of-mass-destruction attack have been underway since at least 1996, when the Marine Corps activated a 350-member chemical and biological incident response force and later based it in Indian Head, Md., a Washington suburb. Such efforts accelerated after the Sept. 11 attacks, and at the time Iraq was invaded in 2003, a Pentagon joint task force drew on 3,000 civil support personnel across the United States.

In 2005, a new Pentagon homeland defense strategy emphasized “preparing for multiple, simultaneous mass casualty incidents.” National security threats were not limited to adversaries who seek to grind down U.S. combat forces abroad, McHale said, but also include those who “want to inflict such brutality on our society that we give up the fight,” such as by detonating a nuclear bomb in a U.S. city.

In late 2007, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England signed a directive approving more than $556 million over five years to set up the three response teams, known as CBRNE Consequence Management Response Forces. Planners assume an incident could lead to thousands of casualties, more than 1 million evacuees and contamination of as many as 3,000 square miles, about the scope of damage Hurricane Katrina caused in 2005.

Last month, McHale said, authorities agreed to begin a $1.8 million pilot project funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency through which civilian authorities in five states could tap military planners to develop disaster response plans. Hawaii, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Washington and West Virginia will each focus on a particular threat — pandemic flu, a terrorist attack, hurricane, earthquake and catastrophic chemical release, respectively — speeding up federal and state emergency planning begun in 2003.

Last Monday, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates ordered defense officials to review whether the military, Guard and reserves can respond adequately to domestic disasters.

Gates gave commanders 25 days to propose changes and cost estimates. He cited the work of a congressionally chartered commission, which concluded in January that the Guard and reserve forces are not ready and that they lack equipment and training.

(more…)

Breaking News and Commentary from Citizens For Legitimate Government

Posted in police state by allisonkilkenny on October 22, 2008

MCM

All items are here.

Police prepare for unrest on Election Day 21 Oct 2008 Police departments in cities across the country are beefing up their ranks for Election Day, preparing for possible civil unrest and riots after the historic presidential contest. Public safety officials said in interviews with The Hill that the election, which will end with either the nation’s first black president or its first female vice president, demanded a stronger police presence.

ACLU Demands Information On Military Deployment Within U.S. Borders –Deployment Erodes Longstanding Separation Between Civilian And Military Government (ACLU) 21 Oct 2008 The American Civil Liberties Union today demanded information from the government about reports that an active military unit has been deployed inside the U.S. to help with “civil unrest” and “crowd control” – matters traditionally handled by civilian authorities. This deployment jeopardizes the longstanding separation between civilian and military government, and the public has a right to know where and why the unit has been deployed, according to an ACLU Freedom of Information request filed today.

MoD scientists ‘deployed in UK’ 21 Oct 2008 Scientists from Porton Down have been deployed in the UK a “number of times this year”, the government’s head of counter-terrorism has told MPs. The lab mainly specialises in nuclear and biological warfare but the reason for the deployments is not known. Brigadier Chip Chapman told a committee of MPs he could not go into details for national security reasons. The Commons defence committee is probing the UK’s level of readiness for a terrorist attack or other emergency.

Thousands of Troops Are Deployed on U.S. Streets Ready to Carry Out “Crowd Control”

Posted in police state by allisonkilkenny on October 9, 2008

By Naomi Wolf:

Naomi Wolf will appear on our show, Drunken Politics, on October 19th @ 3PM!

Background: the First Brigade of the Third Infantry Division, three to four thousand soldiers, has been deployed in the United States as of October 1. Their stated mission is the form of crowd control they practiced in Iraq, subduing “unruly individuals,” and the management of a national emergency.

I am in Seattle and heard from the brother of one of the soldiers that they are engaged in exercises now. Amy Goodman reported that an Army spokesperson confirmed that they will have access to lethal and non lethal crowd control technologies and tanks.

George Bush struck down Posse Comitatus, thus making it legal for military to patrol the U.S. He has also legally established that in the “War on Terror,” the U.S. is at war around the globe and thus the whole world is a battlefield. Thus the U.S. is also a battlefield.

He also led change to the 1807 Insurrection Act to give him far broader powers in the event of a loosely defined “insurrection” or many other “conditions” he has the power to identify. The Constitution allows the suspension of habeas corpus — habeas corpus prevents us from being seized by the state and held without trial — in the event of an “insurrection.” With his own army force now, his power to call a group of protesters or angry voters “insurgents” staging an “insurrection” is strengthened.

U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman of California said to Congress, captured on C-Span and viewable on YouTube, that individual members of the House were threatened with martial law within a week if they did not pass the bailout bill:

“The only way they can pass this bill is by creating and sustaining a panic atmosphere. … Many of us were told in private conversations 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 and a couple of thousand on the second day, and a few members were even told that there would be martial law in America if we voted no.”

If this is true and Rep. Sherman is not delusional, I ask you to consider that if they are willing to threaten martial law now, it is foolish to assume they will never use that threat again. It is also foolish to trust in an orderly election process to resolve this threat. And why deploy the First Brigade? One thing the deployment accomplishes is to put teeth into such a threat.

I interviewed Vietnam veteran, retired U.S. Air Force Colonel and patriot David Antoon for clarification:

“If the President directed the First Brigade to arrest Congress, what could stop him?”

“Nothing. Their only recourse is to cut off funding. The Congress would be at the mercy of military leaders to go to them and ask them not to obey illegal orders.”

“But these orders are now legal?'”

“Correct.”

“If the President directs the First Brigade to arrest a bunch of voters, what would stop him?”

“Nothing. It would end up in courts but the action would have been taken.”

“If the President directs the First Brigade to kill civilians, what would stop him?”

“Nothing.”

“What would prevent him from sending the First Brigade to arrest the editor of the Washington Post?

“Nothing. He could do what he did in Iraq — send a tank down a street in Washington and fire a shell into the Washington Post as they did into Al Jazeera, and claim they were firing at something else.”

“What happens to members of the First Brigade who refuse to take up arms against U.S. citizens?”

“They’d probably be treated as deserters as in Iraq: arrested, detained and facing five years in prison. In Iraq a study by Ann Wright shows that deserters — reservists who refused to go back to Iraq — got longer sentences than war criminals.”

“Does Congress have any military of their own?”

“No. Congress has no direct control of any military units. The Governors have the National Guard but they report to the President in an emergency that he declares.”

“Who can arrest the President?”

“The Attorney General can arrest the President after he leaves or after impeachment.”

[Note: Prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi has asserted it is possible for District Attorneys around the country to charge President Bush with murder if they represent districts where one or more military members who have been killed in Iraq formerly resided.]

“Given the danger do you advocate impeachment?”

“Yes. President Bush struck down Posse Comitatus — which has prevented, with a penalty of two years in prison, U.S. leaders since after the Civil War from sending military force

s into our streets — with a ‘signing statement.’ He should be impeached immediately in a bipartisan process to prevent the use of military forces and mercenary forces against U.S. citizens”

“Should Americans call on senior leaders in the Military to break publicly with this action and call on their own men and women to disobey these orders?”

“Every senior military officer’s loyalty should ultimately be to the Constitution. Every officer should publicly break with any illegal order, even from the President.”

“But if these are now legal. If they say, ‘Don’t obey the Commander in Chief,’ what happens to the military?”

“Perhaps they would be arrested and prosecuted as those who refuse to participate in the current illegal war. That’s what would be considered a coup.”

“But it’s a coup already.”

“Yes.”

Naomi Wolf is the author of Give Me Liberty (Simon and Schuster, 2008), the sequel to the New York Times best-seller The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot (Chelsea Green, 2007).