Wednesday, December 13

Constitutional Law Professor Turley Details Public's "Yawn" at Despotism, Police State

The US is one public emergency away from imposition of martial law, detention without habeas corpus or attorney access and torture short of "organ failure" of any American the Bush White House deems an enemy of the American corporate-friendly State.

Do you find that assessment of post-9/11 America... irresponsible? Overdramatic? Unbelievable? George Washington constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley suggests the most appropriate question for Americans is "Who cares?".

That's his assessment on George Bush's October 17 signing of the Military Commissions Act of 2006. In case you missed Professor Turley on MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann forewarning the politically observant to dispense with criticizing Bush and look straight head, be advised to watch it now (or here in Quicktime).

In a related report (Quicktime) following congress's passage of MCA in September, Olbermann concludes federal whistleblowers will be the first Americans subjected to the strictures of the new law. In other words, the federal whistleblower who revealed last spring that "scientific reports about global warming have been systematically changed and suppressed" and lead researchers gagged would now be eligible for indefinite detention at the White House's discretion.

(Can you recall any leaked memos or embarrassing revelations on neo-conic malfeasance since mid-October? Neither can I.)

As Olbermann concluded his interview with Turley, he half-jokingly announced "I'll see you at Gitmo."

Postscript: George Bush's signature on the Military Commissions Act 17 October 2006 was one in a disturbing series of fascist measures taken in 2006 by the Bush administration to impose martial law. Robert Parry, who broke many Iran-Contra stories in the early 1980s as an AP and Newsweek reporter, headlined his analysis of MCA with "History Should record October 17, 2oo6, as the Reverse of July 4, 1776."

"In effect, it creates a parallel 'star chamber' system of criminal justice for anyone, including an American citizen [emphasis added], who is suspected of engaging in, contributing to or acting in support of violent acts directed against the US government [read "corporate global wealth structure"] or its allies anywhere on earth," wrote Parry in his column on 18 October. ( renamed Parry's article "Shame on US All" and reissued here.)

Why did coverage of the MCA by the New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times (all three here) neglect to mention American citizens also can fall beneath the judicial wheels of MCA?

Details on additional preparations for martial law forthcoming.

14 December 2006 Update: John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007 Defines US as a Theater in the "War on Terror"

George Bush must have suffered writer’s cramp on October 17. In addition to signing the Military Commissions Act that day, he also inked into H.R.5122, the John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007.

“The act provides $462.8 billion in budget authority for the department. Senate and House conferees added the $70 billion defense supplemental budget request to the act, so overall, the act authorizes $532.8 billion for fiscal 2007,” explains Jim Garamone of the American Forces Press Service.

But according to Kurt Nimmo, the bill will cost Americans much more than a few billions dollars.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Bush demanded Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco yield to him the command over any National Guard troops sent to the area. “Bush wanted to invoke the Insurrection Act, which would have allowed him to take control over all armed forces deployed, including Louisiana’s National Guard troops. But under the terms of the act, he had to get the assent of the legislature or the governor of the state. The legislature was not in session and Blanco refused,” writes Deirdre Griswold. As of September 11, 2005, Griswold notes, citing the Los Angeles Times, “Bush has not yet invoked the Insurrection Act, but his administration is still discussing how to make it easier for the federal government to override local authorities in the future.”

So in the folds of the massive 2007 defense appropriations bill, John Warner and his GOP sidekicks sneaked in without much notice language that ensures King George II will never again be subjected to the indignities he endured in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Warner's bill effectively supersedes "the Insurrection Act, a set of laws that limits the President’s ability to deploy troops within the United States. The Insurrection Act (10 U.S.C.331 -335) has historically, along with the Posse Comitatus Act (18 U.S.C.1385), helped to enforce strict prohibitions on military involvement in domestic law enforcement. With one cloaked swipe of his pen, Bush is seeking to undo those prohibitions.”

“Section 1076…is entitled, 'Use of the Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies' explains Morales. “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.’”

Nimmo defers to an assessment of additional curious language in the bill by New York City Episcopal priest and antiwar activist Frank Morales.

For the current President, “enforcement of the laws to restore public order” means to commandeer guardsmen from any state, 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 event.

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. That’s right. 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.

Any questions? Oh, you haven't heard about Halliburton's $385 million contract this year to construct domestic detention centers? That's development in the American fascist state is next.

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