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Martial Law: Chertoff to the Rescue
from Another Day in the Empire
Entered into the database on Thursday, August 11th, 2005 @ 16:51:19 MST


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Fear Not. Michael Chertoff, Ministry of Homeland Security head honcho and longtime member and activist in the Federalist Society (self-described as a “cabal against the libs” to push justices toward the reactionary far right), informs us that in the event there are (fake) terror attacks in America, he will be at the helm, not the neocon hired guns over at the Pentagon. I don’t know about you, but this sure the heck doesn’t make me feel any better. “The Department of Homeland Security has the responsibility under the president’s directives to coordinate the entirety of the response to a terrorist act here in the United States,” Chertoff said on CNN, according to the Baltimore Sun. Never mind that there will be no genuine terrorist attacks, only al-CIA-duh attacks when and if our neocon masters and their semi-moronic chieftain decide the time is right. Chertoff’s flaccid reassurance is of course predicated on “Defense” Department plans to declare martial law in response to “15 possible scenarios… such as the July 7 [false flag] bombings in London.”

Chertoff isn’t fooling us, though. His declaration not to allow the military to take over the country is simply a smoke screen for the fact such would be a direct and egregious violation of the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, forbidding the military to take on duties otherwise assigned to local and state police (although, as of late, considering the militarization of law enforcement around the country, there really will not be much difference). Posse Comitatus was enacted in response to jackbooted abuses perpetuated during the fifteen year military occupation by the US Army in the post-Civil War South. Over the years, however, Posse Comitatus has been weakened, most notably during the phony “war on drugs” (i.e., the CIA and the government imported drugs, created a crisis of addiction and misery, and then responded by chipping away at civil liberties and Posse Comitatus—a classic example of the Hegelian dialectic if ever there was one). 18 USC 831, for all intents and purposes, murdered the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878—it allows the Attorney General to request that the Secretary of Defense provide emergency assistance if civilian law enforcement is inadequate to address certain types of threat involving the release of nuclear materials, such as potential use of a nuclear or radiological weapon (and thus we will probably experience a radiological event in the near future).

Leave it up to the corporate media to make excuses. “Article 2 of the Constitution, which designates the president as commander-in-chief of the armed forces and charges him with protecting the nation, theoretically allows him to deploy troops inside the United States. Actions authorized by the Constitution do not fall under the Posse Comitatus Act,” speculates Nicole Gaouette for the Los Angeles Times (supposedly a “liberal” newspaper). “The use of military troops under civilian authority in times of emergency has a long history, such as in the aftermath of natural disasters. Security specialists outside the government said the plans did not appear to be a substantive break with past practice.”

In other words, according to the ink slingers at the Los Angeles Times, it is perfectly American for jackbooted SWAT-garbed thugs to break down your door, search your house for weapons or contraband, traumatize your kids, and “shoot-to-kill” you (as is logical under martial law) for insisting there (was once) something called the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution. Obviously, Ms. Gaouette has no knowledge of the maxim that declares ‘’every man’s house is his castle,” demonstrated by the Semayne’s Case, decided in 1603, or that our own revolution was based in good part upon the idea that “writs of assistance” (generalized warrants) were illegal and the King’s agents had no right to search and seize property without probable cause. ‘’The rights to be secured in their persons, their houses, their papers, and their other property, from all unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated by warrants issued without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, or not particularly describing the places to be searched, or the persons or things to be seized,” wrote James Madison. Under military dictatorship and martial law, no “oath or affirmation” is required.

“Obviously the Department of Defense has certain capabilities, including the ability to put a lot of hospitals and a lot of personnel in the field, which would be critical if we had a truly mass event,” Chertoff said on CNN’s The Situation Room. In fact, what Chertoff meant to say is the Department of Perpetual War has “certain capabilities” when it comes to rounding up dissidents, people who demand the Constitution be enforced, rabble-rousers who consider Bush a war criminal, and throwing them all in FEMA camps. If the government seriously cared about the welfare of the people, they would not have allowed nine eleven to happen (and the “intelligence failure” excuse is precisely that, an excuse) and if the Pentagon cared about the people they would not have planned Operation Northwoods, a series of terrorist events targeting the American people, who they consider chattel, or at best collateral damage.

“Throughout any homeland emergency, Homeland Security would play the role of quarterback, organizing and directing the response,” James A. Carafano, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation (i.e., the radical far right “think tank” that devised the very idea of creating the Ministry of Homeland Security) told the clueless Los Angeles Times. “The responsibility is at the local level, and the state and federal assets that come are in support. In 9/11 [New York Mayor Rudolph W.] Giuliani was the guy in charge.” Indeed, he was in charge of selling thousands of pounds of nine eleven debris (otherwise know as evidence) to India, Japan, South Korea, China, and Malaysia. Forbid an authoritarian presidential wanna-be like Giuliani is appointed to call the shots in my town on the day state-sponsored terrorists light off a nuke or two.

Michael Chertoff is no friend of the American people. “As the architect of the post-September 11th initiatives on the domestic war on terror, Chertoff supervised the round-up of 750 Arabs and other Muslims on suspicion of immigration violations,” notes Right Web. “Treated as suspected terrorist sympathizers or material witnesses, the ’suspects’ were held without bond for as long as three months, often in solitary confinement, despite having never been charged with any crime. Eventually, most were released or deported after secret tribunals.” As the author Steven Brill explains, Chertoff obstructed the access by the post-nine eleven detainees to lawyers, reasoning that they “could be questioned without lawyers present because they were not being charged with any crime.” In other words, Chertoff is the perfect “guy in charge” come the day Bush and his coterie of chickenhawk Straussian neocons declare martial law in the wake of a staged terror attack. It doesn’t matter if Chertoff sits in a DHS office or one in the Pentagon.