While readers of Sarah Palin’s Facebook page obsess over government-run health care, a much greater usurpation of power has been going on virtually unnoticed for nearly a decade.
On September 11, 2001, the government declared a state of emergency. That declared state of emergency (SOE) was formally put in writing on 9/14/2001:
“A national emergency exists by reason of the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, New York, New York, and the Pentagon, and the continuing and immediate threat of further attacks on the United States.”
The state of emergency has been re-enacted annually for the past eight years, most recently on August 28, 2008. On that date, in a notice published in the Federal Register and transmitted to Congress, President George W. Bush wrote that: “Because the terrorist threat continues, the national emergency declared on September 14, 2001, and the powers and authorities adopted to deal with that emergency, must continue in effect beyond September 14, 2008.”
What are these “powers and authorities” that have been assumed by the executive branch? According to diplomat and professor emeritus Peter Dale Scott, these “almost certainly include Continuity of Government (COG) rules.”
COG rules supersede the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and can be invoked to cover “any occurrence, including natural disaster, military attack, technological emergency, or other emergency, that seriously degrades or seriously threatens the national security of the United States.”
COG encompasses at least fourteen executive orders, which can, under the SOE, be enacted by the president with the stroke of a pen. These orders allow for a take over of all modes of transportation, fuel, food resources and farms, the allowance for government to mobilize civilians into work brigades, the allowance for government to take over all health, education and welfare functions, and direct the Federal Emergency Preparedness Agency (FEMA) “to establish control over the mechanisms of production and distribution, of energy sources, wages, salaries, credit, and the flow of money in U.S. financial institutions.”
In 1987, it was revealed that FEMA, under director Louis Giuffrida, had prepared plans for the suspension of the Constitution along with detailed arrangements for the declaration of martial law. Although details remain classified, it is indisputable that the steps from a declared state of emergency to COG to martial law are firmly in place.
Under the 1976 National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601-1651), a law enacted in the wake of extensive investigations by the Church Committee of executive branch abuses, Congress is required to review presidentially declared emergencies. Specifically, “not later than six months after a national emergency is declared, and not later than the end of each six-month period thereafter that such emergency continues, each House of Congress shall meet to consider a vote on a joint resolution to determine whether that emergency shall be terminated.”
This has not occurred in the eight years since the current declaration was put into effect.
Will President Obama continue the Bush policy of annual extensions of the national state of emergency declared in 2001? It may be up to us. Whether you are a liberal or a conservative, the question you need to ask is this: Do I want the executive branch of the government to retain dictatorial powers based on events that occurred eight years ago?
You might also demand that Congress follow the 1976 law cited above by reviewing the current declaration as required. Incredibly, even the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee has been denied access to “classified Continuity Annexes” that are “protected from unauthorized disclosure” by the executive.
As congressman and committee member Peter DeFazio concluded, “Maybe the people who think there’s a conspiracy out there are right.”
Now is the time for citizens, regardless of where they stand on the political spectrum, to transcend partisanship and defend the Constitution. Don’t allow the government to continue holding the threat of martial law over our heads!