Friday, August 12, 2005

Pentagon devising scenarios for martial law in US

Patrick Martin, on 9 August 2005, relates that the Pentagon is devising scenarios for martial law in the US.

The Washington Post, on 8 August 2005, reported that the Pentagon has developed its first ever war plans for operations within the continental United States, in which terrorist attacks would be used as the justification for imposing martial law on cities, regions or the entire country.

The Washinton Post's sources reportedly work at the headquarters of the military’s Northern Command (Northcom), located in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

According to the Washington post, “officers who drafted the plans” gave details to Post reporter Bradley Graham, who was recently given a tour of Northcom headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base.

According to Patrick Martin at WSWS, the article appears to be a deliberate leak which has the aim of accustoming the American population to the prospect of military rule.

According to Graham in the Washington Post, “the new plans provide for what several senior officers acknowledged is the likelihood that the military will have to take charge in some situations, especially when dealing with mass-casualty attacks that could quickly overwhelm civilian resources.”

The Post states, “The war plans represent a historic shift for the Pentagon, which has been reluctant to become involved in domestic operations and is legally constrained from engaging in law enforcement.”

15 scenarios are outlined, ranging from “low-end,” which Graham describes as “relatively modest crowd-control missions,” to “high-end,” after as many as three simultaneous catastrophic mass-casualty events, such as a nuclear, biological or chemical weapons attack.

The Post quotes Admiral Timothy J. Keating, head of Northcom who stated: “In my estimation, (in the event of) a biological, a chemical or nuclear attack in any of the 50 states, the Department of Defense is best positioned—of the various eight federal agencies that would be involved—to take the lead.”

The Washington Post explains that a document called CONPLAN 2002 is about “prevention and deterrence actions aimed at intercepting threats before they reach the United States.”

CONPLAN 0500, details the 15 scenarios mentioned above. It is still undergoing final drafting” at Northcom headquarters.

Northcom was set up only in October 2002.

About 1,400 National Guard troops formed a dozen regional response units. Smaller quick-reaction forces have been set up in each of the 50 states. Northcom can mobilize four active-duty Army battalions, as well as Navy and Coast Guard ships and air defense fighter jets.

Congress prohibits the use of the military for domestic policing. But the National Guard is allowed to round people up.

Patrick Martin writes:

"The reality is that the military brass is intensely interested in monitoring political dissent because its domestic operations will be directed not against a relative handful of Islamic fundamentalist terrorists—who have not carried out a single operation inside the United States since September 11, 2001—but against the democratic rights of the American people...

"The United States... is a society increasingly polarized between the fabulously wealthy elite at the top, and the vast majority of working people who face an increasingly difficult struggle to survive. The nightmare of the American ruling class is the emergence of a mass movement from below that challenges its political and economic domination.

"As long ago as 1984... the Reagan administration was drawing up similar contingency plans for military rule.

"A Marine Corps officer detailed to the National Security Council drafted plans for Operation Rex ’84, a headquarters exercise that simulated rounding up ... likely political opponents of a US invasion of Nicaragua or El Salvador and jailing them at mothballed military bases.

"This officer later became well known to the public: Lt. Colonel Oliver North, the organizer of the illegal network to arm the “contra” terrorists in Nicaragua and a principal figure in the Iran-Contra scandal."

WSWS points out that "the Bush administration and the congressional Republican leadership recently rammed through a measure loosening restrictions on exports of radioactive substances...

"The anti-terrorism scare has a propaganda purpose: to manipulate the American people and induce the public to accept drastic inroads against democratic rights. As the Pentagon planning suggests, the American working class faces the danger of some form of military-police dictatorship in the United States."


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