In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, 15,000 federal troops patrolled the streets of New Orleans. We were told that they were there to stop the looting and perform humanitarian duties. Of course, the widespread looting was brought under control, but under that control, many law-abiding citizens lost their rights as well. Soldiers as well as armed Blackwater contractors went house to house, detaining citizens and confiscating their firearms…Martial law had come to New Orleans.
The worst scene I can remember from those terrible days was of a patrol of U.S. soldiers arriving at the home of an elderly woman. The soldiers forced their way into the woman´s home, wrestled her to her kitchen floor, handcuffed her, and confiscated her revolver (her only protection against the violent criminals in that city). The woman cried and pleaded with the soldiers to allow her to protect herself.
Despite her loud protests, the soldiers then picked up the woman and placed her onto the back of their truck. Though she wanted to stay in her home, these soldiers took her away against her own will.
I don´t know what happened to that poor woman, but I remember thinking…MY God! If that can happen there, it can happen in any American city!
Unfortunately, it would appear that the groundwork for martial law in this country has been laid and may be soon implemented. It could be declared in the event of another terrorist attack, a natural disaster, or even a worsening financial crisis.
On October 13, President Euro Pacific Capital Peter Schiff appeared on the Glenn Beck Show. Their most troubling exchange follows:
SCHIFF: You know, what`s going to happen, of course, is as inflation starts running out of control and prices start going through the roof, the government again is going to focus on the symptoms and not the disease.And they are going to impose price controls on energy, on food, on a lot of other things that are vital, which means shortages, which means long lines, black markets, civil unrest. All this stuff is coming if we don`t stop. [...]
BECK: Peter, let`s talk a little bit about martial law. Why would that even be a consideration?
SCHIFF: Well, I don`t think it was a threat if they had rejected the bailout Bill, but I think it is a possibility a few years down the line. We just spoke a little bit about price controls and the effect that they are going to have.
If we have shortages of food, if we have rolling blackouts. And people are upset, and they are hungry, and they are cold, there could be civil unrest. There could be looting, rioting, and that might be the impetus for the government to declare martial law.
BECK: You know, I don`t think you`re a couple of years away from something like that. I mean, honestly, Peter, I mean, look at what`s happening. In a half hour, I`ve got a congressman on about — about the racism cries. I mean, there are people that are right now so disenfranchised, and I think being encouraged to be disenfranchised on both sides, that at any time this damn thing could break apart.
SCHIFF: Yes. And we`re giving the government so much power. And you know, you give up a lot more civil liberties. When you have martial law and you`ve got the military policing our streets, when you`ve got suspension of habeas corpus, you`ve got curfews, you can`t be out of your house after dark, and they can just pick you up and put you in prison and keep you there indefinitely without charges, and there`s nothing you can do about it?
I mean, we`re giving up one liberty after another, all to protect ourselves from this economic crisis, which needs to happen anyway, but it doesn`t need to be nearly this bad.
BECK: Peter, this is — I mean, we`re in Crazytown, USA. But my gut tells me that, two years down the road — let`s just use that number — this country is not going to look anything like it does today. Our world has changed; it just hasn`t caught up.
On October 17, 2006, President Bush signed into law the John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007. The new law allows the President to declare a “public emergency” at his own discretion, and place federal troops anywhere throughout the United States. Under this law, the President also now has the authority to federalize National Guard troops without the consent of Governors, in order to restore “public order.” The President can now deploy federal troops to U.S. cities, which eliminates the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act. In short, Bush can now declare Martial Law anytime he pleases.
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An Excerpt from the John Warner Defense Authorization Act follows:
Use of the Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies.” Section 333, “Major public emergencies; interference with State and Federal law” states that “the President may employ the armed forces, including the National Guard in Federal service, to restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition in any State or possession of the United States, the President determines that domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of (“refuse” or “fail” in) maintaining public order, “in order to suppress, in any State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy.
On October 1, the U.S. Army´s 1st Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division began their stateside mission under U.S. Northern Command. It is the first time that an active duty Army unit has been assigned this type of mission. They are known as the CBRNE Consequence Management Response Force. They will be responsible for responding to terrorist attacks, and restoring order in case of civil unrest.
Among supposed humanitarian duties, their specific job is to provide crowd and traffic control and to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them.
In addition to their standard weapons, the 1st Brigade has been equipped with mobile road blocks, spike strips for stopping vehicles, shields and batons, beanbag bullets, and taser guns.
Last month, Col. Roger Cloutier told the Army Times: “It´s a new modular package of nonlethal capabilities that they´re fielding. They´ve been using pieces of it in Iraq, but this is the first time that these modules were consolidated and this package fielded, and because of this mission we´re undertaking we were the first to get it.”
The soldiers of the Third Infantry Divison are battle-hardened combat veterans and have done three tours of duty in Iraq, they hardly seem suited to “crowd control” duties.
Ordinarily, such use of the military on U.S. soil would violate the law. However, with Bush´s order to suspend Posse Comitatus, the military is now free to patrol the streets of our cities and arrest American citizens.
Recently, the Congress approved the $850 billion bailout of Wall Street, but not before the public overwhelmingly objected, which prompted the House of Representatives to initially reject the bill. Despite our objections, many Congressmen who only days earlier were adamantly opposed to any such measure, returned and voted to approve the bailout and even added $150 billion to the original bill. Why would lawmakers only a month away from an election make such a vastly unpopular move?
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) seems to have answered this question, though the press has largely ignored the stunning information he divulged.
Congressman Sherman on the House floor told his colleagues and the C-SPAN cameras alike: “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, another couple thousand points the second day, and a few members were even told that there would be martial law in America if we voted no.”
A very troubling report came out in August 2007, when KSLA-12 in Shreveport, Louisiana reported that members of the clergy have been enrolled in a federal education program, which teaches them how to “quell dissent” amongst their congregations. So-called Clergy Response Teams are being trained by FEMA to convince people to follow government orders, in the event of martial law.
The evidence that we the people are at risk of being placed under martial law, and losing all of our rights as guaranteed by the Constitution is overwhelming.
Thirty years ago, we enjoyed the benefits of a press which took their responsibility to the public very seriously. Any signs pointing to the implementation of martial law would have drawn the attention of our journalists. However, in the age of “imbedded reporters,” our press has a much-too cozy relationship with those in government. A complicit press is making it easy for our government to erode civil liberties.
As the old Chinese curse states…These are “interesting times” indeed.