Towards Freedom: Bush Moves Towards Martial Law
In a stealth maneuver, President Bush has signed into law a provision which, according to Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), will actually encourage the President to declare federal martial law (1). It does so by revising 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.
Public Law 109-364, or the “John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007″ (H.R.5122) (2), which was signed by the commander in chief on October 17th, 2006, in a private Oval Office ceremony, allows the President to declare a “public emergency” and station troops anywhere in America and take control of state-based National Guard units without the consent of the governor or local authorities, in order to “suppress public disorder”
And from Truthout which has covered this story:
Congress changed the Insurrection Act to list “natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident” as conditions under which the president can deploy U.S. armed forces and federalize state Guard troops if he determines that “authorities of the state or possession are incapable of maintaining public order.”
Roger Brent, molecular biologist and director of the nonprofit Molecular Sciences Institute in Berkeley, California, has advised the U.S. Government for the past several years about this issue and the ever-increasing biosecurity risks that have grown out of the revolution in biological sciences. In a paper ominously titled “In the Valley of the Shadow of Death,” Brent summarizes a timeline of risk related to the biological revolution and proposes actions we should be engaged in now to prevent a biological catastrophe in the future.
Of course, it would be good if Bush did actually make some of the required public health improvements necessary to minimize the effects of a public health emergency. But, at least he’ll be able to lock up all the sick people and prevent any pictures of them from getting on the news. At least for the little while that he stays in power after a serious bioterror attack…