Glenn Greenwald does a great summary of a deployment of a U.S. military brigade and he closes with "There's no need to start manufacturing all sorts of scare scenarios about Bush canceling elections or the imminent declaration of martial law or anything of that sort." What's this about scare scenarios, martial law, etc? To understand we have to back up four years to On delaying the national elections (2004). During that election season some of the inside-the-beltway types were pondering what it would require to cancel the elections, you know, in case some of them terrorists were to do something evil just before the election. The idea they floated was supposedly inspired by a bombing in Madrid just before their election, and the election results were that the candidate who won immediately pulled Spain out of the War on Error (er.. Iraqi Freedom) and was a sea change in Spain's policies. I suspect the elite didn't like this and in their quest to control the outcome of every election they want the freedom to pull elections if they're going to occur in circumstances they cannot control.
Oh.. I should mention if it's not already obvious that in this blog posting I'm going to make some unprovable outrageous claims. I'm simply explaining the rationale which Glenn Greenwald is skipping over.
It is true that in 2004 some U.S. elite were floating the idea that they might need to cancel the elections. The method of floating the proposal indicates to me it's an agenda somewhere to do so in order to enable the elite to commit what is effectively a coup or overthrow of the U.S. government.
Eh? A bit over 10 yrs ago I had a book, Called to Serve, written by Bo Gritz (wikipedia), a former Army Ranger who claims to have been the inspiration for the Rambo character. The book was a very challenging read because its information was way outside the mainstream view of the world. And one thing he said is the elite were planning a coup/overthrow of the U.S. but rather than do it militarily they would do it in the open, it would be on national TV coverage, it would appear legal, etc. I scoffed a "yeah right" and while I still don't believe him, the events since Sept 11, 2001 have had my memory of his book in the back of my mind. One of the steps required to implement an overthrow of the type he recommends is the declaration of Martial Law.
That is, if the elite can create a situation which looks threatening enough to warrant Martial Law and they can establish Martial Law as a permanent condition it would effectively be the overthrow he suggested.
The event prompting this line of reasoning is an announcement that the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 3rd Infantry Division will be stationed inside the U.S. borders as their dedicated assignment. Clearly U.S. troops are resident within U.S. borders all across the country so it leaves me puzzling over what the distinction is. I expect the distinction is that the other troops have their assignment to other Army "Commands" all of which are world regions outside the U.S. borders. The Northern Command was established in 2002 and is a joint command established in 2002 to provide command and control for federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities.
Glenn Greenwald goes on to discuss the Defense Authorization Act of 2006 which contained a provision which alters the ability of a President to impose martial law. The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 is the law which prevents anyone from using the military within the U.S. without the express permission of Congress. However Section 1076 of the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 changed the details so that instead of being governed by the Insurrection Act it is governed by the "Enforcement of the Laws to Restore Public Order Act." This later law is very broad in terms of defining conditions under which Martial Law can be declared.
The above is about a relatively minor act of a troop deployment. As shocking as it is that a brigade is receiving this specific deployment, there is an interesting context within which it is happening. Over the last two weeks there has been a "financial meltdown" in which banks and financial institutions have been forced out of business and gutted and in some cases essentially nationalized. Yup, the Republicans are in control, advocates of Small Government, and here they are nationalizing businesses. And today the McCain campaign announced it would suspend campaign operations so that Sen. McCain can focus on the bailout negotations related to these now-nationalized financial institutions. Um, a Presidential Candidate who is suspending their campaign? Maybe I'm reading too much into this but it's a very weird step to take.
Why is this required? Why is the military being considered for 'crowd control' activities when there are already police forces who have training and equipment to deal with crowd control?
Further there is a deep question of scope, it is police forces whose scope are internal operations. It is the military whose scope is to deal with external threats. In an early episode of the modern Battlestar Galactica there is a statement by Admiral Adama which is hauntingly like this situation we're pondering. He was being asked to use his troops to "put down" a revolt and he made a statement which went like: There is a reason we separate police and military functions. The role and training of the military is to deal with external enemies to the state. When you use the military on the state, then it is the state who becomes the enemy.
To close I want to repeat what I said above. These thoughts are clearly stretching out quite a ways. But these are troubling times.