"Use of the Armed Forces"
in America under a National Emergency
Unrestricted & Arbitrary Powers
conferred to the President & Vice President
by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, June 27, 2007
In October 2006, Bush signed into law
the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal
Year 2007, (also known under the title Department of Defense Authorization
Act for Fiscal Year 2007) [The John Warner NDAA 07 was adopted
on 17 October 2006]
NDAA 07 includes specific provisions
which allow the military to take control of normal policy and
law enforcement functions at the Federal and State levels.
Sec. 1076 of the NDAA 07 overturns the
Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which prevents the military from
intervening in the conduct of civilian government activities,
including the conduct of Justice and Law Enforcement. Posse Comitatus
has been central to the functioning of constitutional government.
(It should be noted that other previous pieces of legislation
have already invalidated the substance of Posse Comitatus).
What is significant in these specific
provisions of NDAA 07 (Sec. 1076) is that they dovetail the provisions
of Bush's National Security Presidential and Homeland Directive
(NSPD 51, HSPD 20) enacted on May 9, 2007. __NSPD 51 would essentially
scrap Constitutional government in the case of a so-called "Catastrophic
If an emergency situation were to be called
by the President, NSPD 51 would instate martial law under the
authority of the White House and the Department of Homeland Security.
It would suspend constitutional government under the provisions
of Continuity in Government (COG). It would establish extraordinary
powers for the president and vice-president.
The provisions of NSPD 51 are consistent
with an existing body of legislation and regulations pertaining
to alleged terrorist attacks on the Homeland and the declaration
of martial law. Sec. 1076 of NDAA 07 (DDAA 07), however, goes
much further in defining the role of the Military in the case
of a "Catastrophic Emergency."
Sec 1076 essentially defines the discretionary
powers which would be conferred to the president and the vice
president if NSPD 51 were to be applied.
Sec. 1076 of the NDAA 07, which was apparently
slipped in at the last minute at the request of the White House
as an amendment of Sec. 333, pertains to the "Use of the
Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies." __Sec 1076 is
extremely explicit; it virtually creates a Pinochet style environment
for the mass arrest of political dissidents without trial, the
storming of public rallies, etc.
It provides specific details regarding
the powers conferred to the President and Vice President in the
case of a "Catastrophic Emergency" as envisaged under
The president "may employ the armed
forces ... to restore public order and enforce the laws of the
Unrestricted powers are granted to the
White House. The President would have the authority to suspend
civilian law enforcement at the federal and state levels and
call in the Military, which would be in charge of suppressing
"domestic violence" "insurrection"( e.g. public
rallies), or "conspiracy", meaning anybody who might
express dissent, indignation or opposition to the Bush Administration
for having scrapped the Constitution. __The emphasis of Sec. 1076
is in relation to actions directed against "domestic enemies"
rather than bona fide "defense" in relation to attacks
by foreign forces, which is part of the Military's mandate.
Taken together, NSPD 51 and Sec 1076 of
the NDAA 07 define the contours of a "democratic dictatorship"
in America under the authority of the White House. __We are not
dealing, however, with "Military Rule" or "Military
Government" as normally understood, because the authority
to govern under the provisions of NSPD 51 is vested in the President
and the Vice President. What is at stake is the unrestricted
and arbitrary "Use" of the Military by the President
/Vice President in the conduct of police and law enforcement functions,
while bypassing the US Congress and the Judiciary.
Below is the full text of Sec 1076 of
NDAA 07 which amends Sec 333. __[Please note a correction was
brought to this article on June 28, 2007. What was initially reproduced
in Annex was Sec.1042 of the initial bill DDAA 07 which amends
Sec. 333. In substance Sec 1072 of NDAA 07 with some minor changes
in emphasis is similar to Sec 1042 of DDAA 07. Both amend Sec
333. Below is the relevant excerpt (Sec 1076) of the John Warner
NDAA 07 signed into law by President Bush in October 2006. ]
SEC. 1076. USE OF THE ARMED FORCES IN
MAJOR PUBLIC EMERGENCIES.
0. (a) Use of the Armed Forces Authorized-
0. (1) IN GENERAL- Section 333 of title
10, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:
`Sec. 333. Major public emergencies; interference
with State and Federal law
0. `(a) Use of Armed Forces in Major Public
Emergencies- (1) The President may employ the armed forces, including
the National Guard in Federal service, to--
0. `(A) 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--
0. `(i) domestic violence has occurred
to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State
or possession are incapable of maintaining public order; and
0. `(ii) such violence results in a condition
described in paragraph (2); or
0. `(B) suppress, in a State, any insurrection,
domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy if such
insurrection, violation, combination, or conspiracy results in
a condition described in paragraph (2).
0. `(2) A condition described in this
paragraph is a condition that--
0. `(A) so hinders the execution of the
laws of a State or possession, as applicable, and of the United
States within that State or possession, that any part or class
of its people is deprived of a right, privilege, immunity, or
protection named in the Constitution and secured by law, and the
constituted authorities of that State or possession are unable,
fail, or refuse to protect that right, privilege, or immunity,
or to give that protection; or
0. `(B) opposes or obstructs the execution
of the laws of the United States or impedes the course of justice
under those laws.
0. `(3) In any situation covered by paragraph
(1)(B), the State shall be considered to have denied the equal
protection of the laws secured by the Constitution.
0. `(b) Notice to Congress- The President
shall notify Congress of the determination to exercise the authority
in subsection (a)(1)(A) as soon as practicable after the determination
and every 14 days thereafter during the duration of the exercise
of that authority.'.
0. (2) PROCLAMATION TO DISPERSE- Section
334 of such title is amended by inserting `or those obstructing
the enforcement of the laws' after `insurgents'.
(3) HEADING AMENDMENT- The heading of
chapter 15 of such title is amended to read as follows:...