Monday, May 5
FBI Sanctions Corporate Lethal Force with Imposition of US Martial Law
In The Progressive's exclusive March 2008 cover story, Matthew Rothschild, the magazine's editor who eschews government "conspiracy theories," reported the civic concerns of an overwrought American businessman- turned-whistle blower who had heard of a disturbing secret government plan for "when--not if--martial law is declared" in the U.S.
The information emerged during the man's attendance at a regular meeting of InfraGard, a law enforcement-private business alliance chartered in 1996 now comprised of 23,000 business representatives and coordinated by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security.
According to Rothschild story "The FBI Deputizes Business" first reported online 7 February:
One business owner...tells me that InfraGard members are being advised on how to prepare for a martial law situation—and what their role might be....This business owner says he attended a small InfraGard meeting where agents of the FBI and Homeland Security discussed in astonishing detail what InfraGard members may be called upon to do.Read all of Rothschild's startling story on The Progressive website, which also is archived here.
The meeting started off innocuously enough, with the speakers talking about corporate espionage,” he says. “From there, it just progressed. All of a sudden we were knee deep in what was expected of us when martial law is declared. We were expected to share all our resources, but in return we’d be given specific benefits.” These included, he says, the ability to travel in restricted areas and to get people out.
But that’s not all.
“Then they said when—not if—martial law is declared, it was our responsibility to protect our portion of the infrastructure, and if we had to use deadly force to protect it, we couldn’t be prosecuted,” he says.
I was able to confirm that the meeting took place where he said it had, and that the FBI and Homeland Security did make presentations there. One InfraGard member who attended that meeting denies that the subject of lethal force came up. But the whistleblower is 100 percent certain of it. “I have nothing to gain by telling you this, and everything to lose,” he adds. “I’m so nervous about this, and I’m not someone who gets nervous.”
Then on 10 April the Mid-South news daily Memphis Commercial Appeal told readers of an impending weekend's "crime" and "terror" sweep, codenamed "Operation Sudden Impact, in which 50 law enforcement agencies effectively blurred all distinction between the two. Not surprisingly, no regional media account mentioned InfraGard, though the paper's account cited the Department of Homeland Security's concerns for business distribution infrastructure in an adjoining six-county area of the terror/crime sweep in Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas.
A week following Operation Sudden Impact--after the national media blackout of the training exercise that was characterized as of "unprecedented scope"--some observers believed more was afoot that weekend in Memphis than area news sources had led the public to believe.
"This is the first time a regional effort of this magnitude has ever been conducted," said Shelby County [Greater Memphis area] Sheriff Mark H. Luttrell Jr. said in a prepared statement. "We'll use this weekend's initiative as a starting point to begin a routine of sharing crime information among the various agencies."
Agencies involved include the FBI, the U.S. Coast Guard, area police and sheriff's departments, the U.S. Marshals, the Secret Service and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
"Many major industries are located in Shelby County," said Capt. Dale Lane, commander of the Sheriff's Office Homeland Security Bureau. "Our community is considered an international distribution center and is a possible target for terrorists. 'Operation Sudden Impact' will help us prepare for that possibility."
A Washington state peace and justice group characterized the enforcement effort as a "martial training" exercise boding ill winds for US civil liberties. According to Jim O. Madison, an online writer for United for Peace in Pierce County:
An extraordinary police operation combining local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies took place in Memphis, TN, on Sat., Apr. 12, but received no coverage in the national media. -- WREG News Channel 3 reported briefly on Mon., Apr. 14, on the unprecedented event. -- Dubbed "Operation Sudden Impact," the operation was "the first time a regional effort of this magnitude has ever been conducted," Shelby County Sheriff Mark H. Luttrell Jr. told the Memphis Commercial Appeal. -- "Agencies involved include the FBI, the U.S. Coast Guard, area police and sheriff's departments, the U.S. Marshals, the Secret Service, and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation." -- A Memphis TV station reported that the FBI seized computers from several local businesses. -- One AP report said the operation resulted in "the arrest of 71 people, including 31 fugitives," and another said "332 people were arrested, 142 of whom are were fugitives." -- A piece published in the Apr. 12 Commercial Appeal said the goal of the operation was "cooperation among agencies including the FBI, the Coast Guard, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and local police and sheriff's departments," adding: "All crime-related information will be forwarded to the State of Tennessee's Homeland Security Center in Nashville to see if there are possible ties to terrorism."In support of his claim, Madison cited "conspiracy web site" InfoWars.com, hosted by Texas TV and radio host Alex Jones; a reader "called in to the Alex Jones show yesterday [Thursday, 17 April] to alert us to the story and explain that he had gleaned the information from a his friend, a sheriff's deputy in Memphis, who had described the operation as 'training for martial law in America'."
InfoWars.com correspondent Stephen Watson further reported
that "after 9/11 the Justice Department advised the Bush administration that it was able to effectively suspend the Fourth Amendment where domestic counter terrorism operations are concerned...." We have seen how new provisions will effectively nullify the U.S. Constitution, and a recent spate of executive orders, in particular PDD 51, outline preparations for the implementation of open martial law in the event of a declared national emergency." -- (Watson was referring to National Security Presidential Directive NSPD-51/Homeland Security Presidential Directive HSPD-20, sometimes called simply "Executive Directive 51" for short, which was posted on the White House web site on May 9, 2007, without other public announcement, and which specifies the procedures for continuity of the federal government in the event of a "catastrophic emergency.")Yet another eerie news note to Operation Sudden Impact appeared 14 April (Monday) on a Nashville, Tennessee TV station's website demonstrating enforcement agencies' blurred distinction between crime and "terrorism," thus confirming the death of the Fourth Amendment prohibiting unreasonable searches and seizures.
Federal agencies raided several Memphis businesses in a coordinated effort to find information about possible terrorism ties...[and took] computers and paperwork....Hey, not to worry; it's just all a bad coincidence, right? We should be able to trust the Bush White House. There's nothing going on here...right?
One store owner said he was told the agents were looking for stolen electronics. While some business owners feel they are being targeted, law-enforcement officers said they are just trying to track down possible terrorists before something big happens. [emphasis added]
"What we have found traditionally is that terrorists are involved in a number of lesser known type crimes," said Mark Luttrell, Shelby County sheriff.
Related: Watch, read and hear Mathew Rothschild's 11 February Democracy Now! interview with Amy Goodman.
The May/June 2008 issue of Radar magazine features this tidbit:
The Last Roundup
For decades the federal government has been developing a highly classified plan that would override the Constitution in the event of a terrorist attack. Is it also compiling a secret enemies list of citizens who could face detention under martial law?
The Last Round Up By Christopher Ketcham 'One knowledgeable source claims that 8 million Americans are now listed in Main Core as potentially suspect.' According to a senior government official who served with high-level security clearances in five administrations, "There exists a database of Americans, who, often for the slightest and most trivial reason, are considered unfriendly, and who, in a time of panic, might be incarcerated. The database can identify and locate perceived 'enemies of the state' almost instantaneously." He and other sources tell Radar that the database is sometimes referred to by the code name Main Core... In the event of a national emergency, these people could be subject to everything from heightened surveillance and tracking to direct questioning and possibly even detention. Of course, federal law is somewhat vague as to what might constitute a "national emergency."
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