Posts Tagged ‘Constitution Crisis’

Information that would reveal a violation of the law may be properly classified as long as it is not deliberately classified for the purpose of concealing the violation, a federal judge indicated this week.

That view, in a ruling (pdf) against the ACLU by DC District Judge Royce C. Lamberth, all but nullifies one of the principal limitations on national security secrecy contained in the executive order on classification policy.

In section 1.7 of executive order 12958, as amended, on “classification limitations and prohibitions,” the President directed that “In no case shall information be classified in order to … conceal violations of law….”

The ACLU cited this provision in a recent FOIA lawsuit to argue that transcripts of detainee tribunal hearings could not be properly classified under the executive order if they revealed evidence of prisoner abuse or other illegal conduct.  The court rejected that argument.

“Plaintiffs [ACLU] claim that some material was improperly classified because it may contain evidence that the government has violated the law,” Judge Lamberth wrote in an October 29 ruling.  “But plaintiffs misapprehend the Executive Order,” he wrote  (at page 6). “Executive Order 12958 prohibits classifying information ‘in order to … conceal violations of the law.’  However, there is no indication that these materials were classified ‘in order to’ conceal violations of the law….”

In other words, according to Judge Lambert, classifiers actually may conceal violations of the law as long as such concealment is not the specific purpose of the classification.

This narrow understanding of the executive order converts an important guarantee of the integrity of the classification process into an empty rhetorical gesture.

Under Judge Lamberth’s interpretation, the executive order provision limiting classification of violations of the law is not a limitation on the types of information that may be classified at all, but rather an unverifiable limitation on the classifier’s intention.  The provision is not concerned with the consequences of classification (i.e., the fact that criminal activity will be concealed from public knowledge) but instead focuses on the mental state of the classifier.  Did he or she specifically intend to conceal violations of the law?  If not, the classification may proceed, even if concealment is the inevitable result.  And since the classifier’s mental state is unknowable by others or may itself be concealed, the executive order’s limitation is deprived is of significant meaning.

In the past, the limitation on classification of violations of the law was construed more broadly as a public assurance that classification would not be used to conceal criminal activity by the government.  (It was never understood to require publication of information about third-party crimes collected through classified intelligence or law enforcement methods.)

In 2004, the Federation of American Scientists cited the provision in a complaint (pdf) filed with the Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO), contending that the Taguba report (pdf, classified SECRET) that found evidence of criminal abuses at Abu Ghraib prison was improperly classified.  ISOO, led by then-director J. William Leonard, undertook an investigation into the propriety of the report’s classification and reported some noteworthy results (pdf).  Not only was the Taguba report released in declassified form, but the Pentagon undertook a Department-wide initiative to improve classification training, management and oversight. The “motivation” in the mind of the classifier never came up.

The Secretary of Defense himself also issued a Department-wide memorandum (pdf) to remind classifiers of their responsibility to exercise classification authority properly, and he specifically cited the prohibition on classifying criminal activity.  In his September 16, 2004 memo, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld paraphrased the executive order limitation as follows:  “It is important to state that classifiers shall not… use classification to conceal violations of law….”

Interestingly, Secretary Rumsfeld did not use the phrase “in order to” which Judge Lamberth singled out to justify his interpretation of the order as a prohibition only on deliberate concealment.  The Rumsfeld paraphrase seems to reflect the prior understanding that classification should not be used “so as to” conceal violations of the law, regardless of the intentions of the classifier.

But if violations of the law may in fact be classified, then it is important for Americans to know that. If Judge Lamberth has made it easier for classifiers to conceal violations of the law, he also put the public on notice that this is how the national security classification system now functions.

ars technica:

Longtime Ars readers know that I’ve had my own problems in the “Constitution-free zone” that exists in US airports, but an aggressive new ACLU campaign highlights a fact of which I was previously unaware: the Constitution-free zone that exists a US borders and airports actually extends 100 air miles inland and encompasses two-thirds of the country’s population. The US Border Patrol can set up checkpoints anywhere in this region and question citizens.

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution contains a border-related exception to unreasonable search and seizure laws, permitting searches at border checkpoints that wouldn’t be permitted elsewhere. But federal statute 8 CFR 287.1 (a)(1-3) defines the border zone for enforcement purposes as encompassing an area within 100 miles of the actual border, with the possibility of extending it further under certain circumstances. This means that the US Border Patrol could conceivably set up random checkpoints asking travelers for a passport in places like Columbus, Ohio; Houston; or anywhere in the state of Florida. And, in fact, it appears that it has been doing exactly this.

Papers, please

In 2003, the Seattle Times reported on random “spot checks” of cars and luggage that border patrol agents were performing on US citizens who were taking the ferry between Washington State and the San Juan islands. Because most of the passengers on these ferries had not actually crossed an international border, the ACLU advised them at the time not to answer any questions asked of them by federal agents.

In the intervening years, the ACLU has been collecting other reports of such inland “border” checkpoints, and has built its new “Constitution-Free Zone” campaign around them. Unfortunately for the ACLU, few of the folks who have been subject to search at such checkpoints have actually come forward with complaints, but the ones who did speak up have compelling and troubling stories.

Take the story of Vince Peppard from San Diego, who crossed the border to buy tiles at a discount store in Mexico. Upon crossing back into the US, he was subject to the usual check at the border, but on driving further inland he was stopped a second checkpoint, where agents asked to search his car.

Peppard, a member of the ACLU, refused the search, at which point he was questioned repeatedly, and eventually escorted from his car while the agents searched it. Segments of Peppard’s account of the incident, which the ACLU has posted in video form on their site, would almost be funny if the issue weren’t so serious.

“He starts looking at the passport and the driver’s license,” says Peppard, “and he goes to my wife, ‘Where were you born?’ because she has an accent, but she’s a US citizen. And so she says, ‘I was born in Syria,’ and he goes, ‘Ah! A Syrian!’ like he’d hit the jackpot or something.”

Peppard then goes a little overboard in expressing worry that he may be stopped and asked for his passport at Home Depot or in other random locations, but he finishes off the clip with a concern that may not be so far-fetched. Specifically, Peppard worries that, because he has talked to the ACLU and has filed a complaint with the Border Patrol, he may be singled out for further harassment at border checkpoints.

Ultimately, one wonders just how far the Feds will push this internal checkpoint idea in a non-emergency situation; given the likely reaction to citizens being asked to show papers on a mass scale, it seems unlikely that the government will truly install checkpoints north of Columbus and begin screening in large numbers. But vigilance, as the saying goes, is the price of freedom, which is why the ACLU and its allies intend to challenge the practice before we have a chance to find out.

======

ACLU:

Using data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, the ACLU has determined that nearly 2/3 of the entire US population (197.4 million people) live within 100 miles of the US land and coastal borders.

The government is assuming extraordinary powers to stop and search individuals within this zone. This is not just about the border: This ” Constitution-Free Zone” includes most of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas.

We urge you to call on Congress to hold hearings on and pass legislation to end these egregious violations of Americans’ civil rights.

LEARN MORE
> Fact Sheet on Border “Constitution-free Zone”
> Border Security Technologies
> Remarks of Craig Johnson
> Constitution-Free Zone: The Numbers

In the News

“Homeland Security Assuming Broad Powers, Turning Vast Swaths of U.S. into “Constitution-Free Zone”,” ACLU Blog of Rights, October 22, 2008.  Online>

“ACLU Assails 100-Mile Border Zone as ‘Constitution-Free’,” Wired (Blog,) October 22, 2008. Online>

“Expanded Powers to Search Travelers at Border Detailed,” The Washington Post, September 23, 2008.  Online>

“Citizens’ Border Crossings Tracked, Data From Checkpoints to be Kept for 15 years,” The Washington Post, August 20, 2008. Online>

“Ferry worker denounces Anacortes patrol agent,” Associated Press, June 19, 2008. Online>

“Checkpoint Sticks In Forks’ Craw,” The Seattle Times, March 21, 2007. Online>

CNN:

Canada has CSIS — the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

Now Congress is asking: Should the U.S. have its own domestic intelligence agency?

On Monday, at the request of Congress, the RAND Corporation outlined the pros and cons of establishing a domestic intelligence agency. It also discussed different ways to organize a new entity, either as part of an existing department or as a new agency.

But there’s one thing you won’t find in the report — a recommendation on what to do.

“We were not asked to make a recommendation, and this assessment does not do so,” the report says.

Instead, says RAND’s Gregory Treverton, the report provides a “framework” for policymakers to use when deciding whether and how to reorganize counter-intelligence efforts at home.

RAND is a nonprofit think tank seeking to help improve policy and decision making through objective research and analysis.

Collecting intelligence domestically always has been a sensitive issue, at least partially because of episodic abuses by the government, notably against civil rights leaders, unions, antiwar organizations or even communists and hate groups.

But the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks renewed calls for increased domestic intelligence to prevent future attacks. Critics said that in the lead-up to the attacks, the FBI devalued counterterrorism agents and failed to heed signs that an attack was imminent.

“If you didn’t carry a gun, you didn’t count so much,” Treverton said.

After the attacks, the FBI moved to transform its primary mission from law enforcement to counterterrorism intelligence and prevention. It now focuses on terrorism through its National Security Branch and the National Counterterrorism Center.

The RAND report focuses on two options to the current system.

In one, a new agency would be created using intelligence agencies from the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and intelligence community. A second option is to create an “agency within an agency” in the FBI or DHS.

The first option would result in an organization with a clear, unambiguous mission, and might be able to draw on a more diverse recruitment pool, such as linguists and historians who are not normally attracted to law enforcement. On the flip side, such massive reorganizations typically involve political compromises that could affect its performance.

The second option — an “agency within an agency” — could involve less short-term disruption, but could be hindered by a “lack of clarity of a single mission,” the report says.

RAND also suggests a range of actions short of reorganization that could improve domestic intelligence gathering, such as increasing resources, improving leadership and changing bureaucratic cultures.

The report does not assess the FBI’s performance since 9/11, Treverton said, but he believes Congress should seek an independent assessment.

A panel of experts that RAND convened guessed that the probability of a terrorist attack had decreased about one-third since the September 11, 2001. But “they were not enthusiastic about alternatives” to current counterterrorism organizations.

In a cautionary note, the report says that while public acceptance of domestic intelligence activities is imperative, public attitudes about what is considered acceptable “can both be fragile and shift significantly over time.”

“Public demand for domestic intelligence is driven by the perceived threat, and those perceptions can change much more rapidly than the threat itself,” the report says. For instance, immediately after the 9/11 attacks, 49 percent of people surveyed were worried “a great deal” about more attacks. Two years later, that had dropped to 25 percent.

by Tom Burghardt
Global Research

Antifascist Calling…

Several months before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld approved an updated version of the U.S. Army’s secret operational Continuity of Government (COG) plans.

A draft document published by the whistleblowing website Wikileaks entitled, “Army Regulation 500-3, Emergency Employment of Army and Other Resources. Army Continuity of Operations (COOP) Program,” dated 19 January 2001, spells out changes in Army doctrine.

Issued by Headquarters, Department of the Army and signed off by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and the Secretary of the Army, the document is affixed with a warning: “Destruction Notice: Destroy by any method that will prevent disclosure of contents or reconstruction of the document.” The restricted document as published by Wikileaks states:

History. This regulation is a revision of the original regulation that was effective on 10 July 1989. Since that time, no changes have been published to amend the original.

Summary. This regulation on the Army Continuity of Operations (COOP) Program has been revised to update Army COOP policy and extend the requirement for all-hazards COOP planning to all Army organizations. Classified information contained in the 1989 version of this AR has been removed and placed in a classified HQDA Operations Plan (OPLAN).

Applicability. This regulation applies to the Active Army, the U.S. Army Reserve (USAR), and when federalized to the Army National Guard (ARNG). In the event of conflict between this regulation and approved OSD or JCS publications, the provisions of the latter will apply. (“Army Regulation 500-3, Emergency Employment of Army and Other Resources. Army Continuity of Operations (COOP) Program,” 19 January 2001, p. 3) [emphasis added]

“All-hazards COOP planning” is described as the means by which “the Army remains capable of continuing mission-essential operations during any situation, including military attack, terrorist activities, and natural or man-made disasters.” While the Army stresses the updates described in AR 500-3 relate to chemical, biological, nuclear attacks, “natural disasters” and “technical or man-made disasters or accidents,” current Army doctrine is also heavily weighted towards contingency planning for “civil disturbances.”

Two national “civil disturbance” plans, Garden Plot and Cable Splicer have been operational since the 1960s. Researcher Frank Morales has detailed how,

Under the heading of “civil disturbance planning,” the U.S. military is training troops and police to suppress democratic opposition in America. The master plan, Department of Defense Civil Disturbance Plan 55-2, is code-named, “Operation Garden Plot”. Originated in 1968, the “operational plan” has been updated over the last three decades, most recently in 1991, and was activated during the Los Angeles “riots” of 1992, and more than likely during the recent anti-WTO “Battle in Seattle.” …

Equipped with flexible “military operations in urban terrain” and “operations other than war” doctrine, lethal and “less-than-lethal” high-tech weaponry, US “armed forces” and “elite” militarized police units are being trained to eradicate “disorder”, “disturbance” and “civil disobedience” in America. Further, it may very well be that police/military “civil disturbance” planning is the animating force and the overarching logic behind the incredible nationwide growth of police paramilitary units, a growth which coincidentally mirrors rising levels of police violence directed at the American people, particularly “non-white” poor and working people. (Frank Morales, “U.S. Military Civil Disturbance Planning: The War at Home,” in Police State America, ed. Tom Burghardt, Toronto/Montreal: Arm The Spirit/Solidarity, 2002, P. 59)

AR 500-3 should be viewed in this context. Plans for Continuity of Government have been in place since the 1950s. Originally conceived during the Cold War when fears of a nuclear strike envisaged by atomic war-gamers at the RAND Corporation, believed that an immobilization of government functions and a breakdown of civilian rule would follow a nuclear attack. But from their inception, COG planning has been shrouded in secrecy.

In addition to constructing nuclear-proof underground facilities where the civilian leadership could escape a decapitation strike, other COG provisions included a series of executive orders designating which officials would assume Cabinet-level posts and other Executive Branch positions. Officials so designated would constitute a “shadow government” should office holders be killed in an attack “or otherwise incapacitated.”

However, when these and other Pentagon “civil disturbance” plans surfaced in the 1980s during the Iran-Contra hearings, they were roundly criticized by members of Congress, civil liberties groups and the media before disappearing once again, down Orwell’s “memory hole.” The inherent dangers implicit in such plans are that unelected Executive Branch officers could assume the Presidency and other appointed offices subject neither to congressional scrutiny nor judicial oversight.

Exercising sweeping emergency powers buried within Presidential Decision Directives (PDDs), unelected officials could suspend the Constitution, declare martial law and create an Executive Branch dictatorship that rests solely on the power of the U.S. military.

Most troubling, Executive Branch officials under secret rules of a COG regime could suppress and usurp the lawful powers of Congress and the Judicial Branch (by force of arms if deemed necessary) as a means of ensuring “cooperation” under a “unitary executive.”

As we have seen, the “unitary executive” theory has been a salient feature of Bushist rule since the December 2000 judicial coup d’état, when the Supreme Court’s Bush v. Gore decision handed a contested election to George W. Bush by stopping the vote count in Florida.

Since assuming office, the administration has ruthlessly wielded executive power in order to achieve their antidemocratic agenda: from the looting of the economy through “deregulation,” massive deficit spending and tax cuts for their corporate “clients,” to waging a preemptive war of conquest in Iraq, the “unitary executive” has systematically shredded America’s constitutional system of checks and balances.

The Bush administration put COG plans into operation for the first time in U.S. history in the hours directly following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. They have never been rescinded.

Their implementation involves a rotating staff of 75-150 senior government officials and others from every Cabinet department in two “secure, undisclosed locations” on the East Coast. However, key congressional representatives have been kept out of the loop and House and Senate leaders have said they were not informed the “shadow government” had “gone live.”

So secretive are Bush administration plans that Peter DeFazio (D-OR), a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, was denied access in 2007 to the classified version of the COG plans contained in top secret Presidential Decision Directive annexes. This too, is unprecedented.

While the Bush administration admitted that COG was activated in 2001, their disclosure came only after The Washington Post broke the story based on confidential administration sources troubled by the scope of the program and its secretive implementation.

Since the late 1980s, Rumsfeld was a habitué of COG exercises along with Vice President Dick Cheney. Indeed early COG drills had been organized by the right-wing Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). As investigative journalist Andrew Cockburn revealed in his definitive political biography of the former Defense Secretary:

This highly secret program was known as Project 908, and among the individuals earmarked to take power when disaster struck was Donald Rumsfeld. … There, for several days, he would be immured in artificial caverns, staring at electronic displays streaming data of disaster and confusion, sleeping on cots and subsisting on the most austere rations. …

Insofar as the COG games gave the illusion of reality, they taught Rumsfeld and his fellow players some dangerous lessons, particularly when the fall of the Soviet Union induced some changes in the usual scenarios. Although the exercises continued, still budgeted at over $200 million in the Clinton era, the vanished Soviets were now customarily replaced by terrorists. The terrorism envisaged however, was almost always state-sponsored. …

There were other changes, too. In earlier times the specialists selected to run the “shadow government” had been drawn from across the political spectrum, Democrats and Republicans alike. But now, down in the bunkers, Rumsfeld found himself in politically congenial company, the players’ roster being filled almost exclusively with Republican hawks. (Andrew Cockburn, Rumsfeld: His Rise, Fall, and Catastrophic Legacy, New York: Scribner, 2007, pp. 85-86, 88)

As researcher Peter Dale Scott revealed, in early 2006 the Department of Homeland Security awarded a $385 million contract to a Halliburton subsidiary, KBR, to provide “temporary detention and processing facilities.” Scott wrote,

The contract–announced Jan. 24 by the engineering and construction firm KBR–calls for preparing for “an emergency influx of immigrants, or to support the rapid development of new programs” in the event of other emergencies, such as “a natural disaster.” The release offered no details about where Halliburton was to build these facilities, or when. …

After 9/11, new martial law plans began to surface similar to those of FEMA in the 1980s. In January 2002 the Pentagon submitted a proposal for deploying troops on American streets. One month later John Brinkerhoff, the author of the 1982 FEMA memo, published an article arguing for the legality of using U.S. troops for purposes of domestic security. (Peter Dale Scott, “Homeland Security Contracts for Vast New Detention Camps,” Pacific News Service, February 8, 2006)

The DHS contract to KBR had been preceded by the April 2002 creation of the Pentagon’s Northern Command (NORTHCOM), specifically empowered by the Bush administration for domestic U.S. military operations in direct violation of Posse Comitatus prohibitions forbidding the use of the military for domestic law enforcement. At the time, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld called NORTHCOM’s launch “the most sweeping set of changes since the unified command system was set up in 1946.”

Sweeping indeed! Last month Army Times reported that the Army’s “3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team [BCT] has spent 35 of the last 60 months in Iraq patrolling in full battle rattle, helping restore essential services and escorting supply convoys. Now they’re training for the same mission–with a twist–at home.” According to Army Times,

Beginning Oct. 1 for 12 months, the 1st BCT will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command, as an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks. …

But this new mission marks the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to NorthCom, a joint command established in 2002 to provide command and control for federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities. …

They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack. …

The 1st BCT’s soldiers also will learn how to use “the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded,” 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said, referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them.

“It’s a new modular package of nonlethal capabilities that they’re fielding. They’ve been using pieces of it in Iraq, but this is the first time that these modules were consolidated and this package fielded, and because of this mission we’re undertaking we were the first to get it.”

The package includes equipment to stand up a hasty road block; spike strips for slowing, stopping or controlling traffic; shields and batons; and, beanbag bullets. (Gina Cavallaro, “Brigade Homeland Tours Start Oct. 1,” Army Times, September 8, 2008)

While senior Pentagon brass have downplayed the significance of deploying a BCT that has taken part in aggressive occupation duties to suppress the Iraqi people’s resistance, Col. Lou Vogler, NORTHCOM’s chief of future operations said in an interview that the military “will integrate with law enforcement to understand the situation and make sure we’re aware of any threats.” An article published by the Army News Service disclosed,

During the exercise, commanders and staff of the force will train, rehearse and exercise–from academic classes to making decisions and executing orders–all to help prepare them for the mission they will assume on Oct. 1, said Vogler.

“It’s an opportunity for network building in an unprecedented assignment of forces,” said [Marine Corps Lt. Col.] Shores. “DOD always had allocated contingency sourced forces–but this is precedent-setting network building with the forces that we ultimately will go out and execute with. It’s an opportunity to get to know our forces, to see them in execution, to mission-orient them and be that much better–to be that much more responsive.”

One goal of the exercise is to exercise with partners from the civilian agencies they would support. To that end, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other interagency representatives are participating to ensure integration with civilian consequence managers who would lead a response, said Vogler.

“The overall federal response builds on the local and state response in accordance with the incident command system and existing plans and processes that are out there,” said Vogler. “The response force would supplement local efforts.” (“Consequence Management Response Force to join Army Northern Command,” Army News Service, September 15, 2008)

Vogler and Shores were discussing an exercise code-named Vibrant Response, that took place September 8-19 at Fort Stewart in Georgia. Three brigades form the core of NORTHCOM’s Consequence Management Response Force: the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Army Division; the 1st Medical Brigade, Fort Hood, Texas, and the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. All three units participated in Vibrant Response.

As researcher and analyst Michel Chossudovsky comments:

The BCT is an army combat unit designed to confront an enemy within a war theater.

With US forces overstretched in Iraq, why would the Pentagon decide to undertake this redeployment within the USA, barely one month before the presidential elections?

The new mission of the 1st Brigade on US soil is to participate in “defense” efforts as well as provide “support to civilian authorities”.

What is significant in this redeployment of a US infantry unit is the presumption that North America could, in the case of a national emergency, constitute a “war theater” thereby justifying the deployment of combat units.

The new skills to be imparted consist in training 1st BCT in repressing civil unrest, a task normally assumed by civilian law enforcement.

What we are dealing with is a militarization of civilian police activities in derogation of the Posse Comitatus Act. (“Pre-election Militarization of the North American Homeland. US Combat Troops in Iraq repatriated to ‘help with civil unrest’,” Global Research, September 26, 2008)

One scenario envisaged by Chossudovsky is that “civil unrest resulting from from the financial meltdown is a distinct possibility, given the broad impacts of financial collapse on lifelong savings, pension funds, homeownership, etc.”

One might reasonably inquire, what “precedent-setting network” does the Army have in mind that would “ensure integration” with “civilian agencies” such as FEMA (a branch of Homeland Security)? As the World Socialist Web Site reports:

It is noteworthy that the deployment of US combat troops “as an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters”–in the words of the Army Times–coincides with the eruption of the greatest economic emergency and financial disaster since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Justified as a response to terrorist threats, the real source of the growing preparations for the use of US military force within America’s borders lies not in the events of September 11, 2001 or the danger that they will be repeated. Rather, the domestic mobilization of the armed forces is a response by the US ruling establishment to the growing threat to political stability. (Bill Van Auken, “Army deploys combat unit in U.S. for possible civil unrest,” World Socialist Web Site, 25 September 2008)

As the 2001 COOP planning document describes, a host of on-going Army plans and exercises have been revised by the Bush administration. In addition to Vibrant Response discussed above, they include: Plan EXCALIBUR, a COG Army training exercise; ADOBE, described by investigative journalist William M. Arkin as a “FEMA continuity of government special access program designation.” Arkin describes special access programs or SAPs as,

Classified research and development, acquisition program, operation, intelligence activity, or plan that is so sensitive or critical that the value of the information warrants enhanced protection beyond that normally provided for access to Confidential, Secret, or Top Secret information. (William M. Arkin, Code Names: Deciphering U.S. Military Plans, Programs, and Operations in the 9/11 World, Hanover, NH: Steerforth Press, 2005, p. 598)

The impetus for revising Army COOP was, according to AR 500-3 primarily because,

The end of the Cold War and the breakup of the former Soviet Union significantly reduced the probability of a major nuclear attack on CONUS but the probability of other threats has increased. Army organizations must be prepared for any contingency with a potential for interruption of normal operations. To emphasize that Army continuity of operations planning is now focused on the full all-hazards threat spectrum, the name “ASRRS” has been replaced by the more generic title “Continuity of Operations (COOP) Program.” (p. 13)

Towards this end, the Rumsfeld-era document states that the Army’s new “mission-critical” functions will be restructured so that, “Army COOP plans must ensure that the Army remains capable of continuing mission-essential operations during any situation, including military attack, terrorist activities, and natural or man-made disasters.” (p. 13) The Army, following various contingencies analyzed in the document will “coordinate with mission-essential external organizations and agencies.” (p. 14)

So sensitive are the political ramifications of these plans that under the heading, 3-12 Operational Security (OPSEC), the Army avers,

a. The success of COOP planning relies on denying access by unauthorized parties to information on COOP plans, procedures, capabilities and facilities.

b. Overhead imagery, signals intelligence, human sources, and exploitation of open literature during peacetime are threat capabilities used to gain knowledge of Army emergency plans, command and control systems, and facilities.

c. See Appendix B, Security Classification Guide, for guidance on the level of classification of COOP-related information. (COOP, op. cit., p. 20)

Appendix A of AR 500-3 lists relevant references for changes included in the COOP planning document. These include:

Section I

Required Publications


HQDA Operations Plan EXCALIBUR, 30 April 1999 (Being Revised)

HQDA Continuity of Operations Plan (cited in para 1-4.f)


Section II

Related Publications a related publication is merely a source of additional information. The user does not have to read it to understand this publication.

Executive Order 12656

National Security Emergency Preparedness (NSEP), 18 November 1988

DoD Directive (Dodd) 2000.12

DoD Antiterrorism/Force Protection (AT/FP) Program, 13 April 1999

CJCSM 3410.01

Continuity of Operations Plan for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (COOP-CJCS), 1 March 1999


Executive Order 12787

Prescribing the Order of Succession of Officers to Act as Secretary of Defense, 31 December 1991


DoDD 3020.26

Continuity of Operations (COOP) Policy and Planning, 26 May 1995


DoD 3020.26P

Continuity of Operations Plan, 21 June 2000 (Classified SECRET)


DoDD 3020.36

Assignment of National Security Emergency Preparedness (NSEP) Responsibilities to DoD Components, 2 November 1988

DoDD 3025.15

Military Support to Civil Authorities (MSCA), 18 February 1997

The Federal Response Plan, April 1999

Presidential Decision Directive (PDD) 67, (Top Secret) Enduring Constitutional Government (ECG) and Continuity of Government (COG) Operations, Oct 21, 1998

Federal Preparedness Circular 65, Federal Executive Branch Continuity of Operations, (COOP), July 26, 1999

As Peter Dale Scott reported in CounterPunch, apparently members of Congress are considered “unauthorized parties” to be denied access “to information on COOP plans, procedures, capabilities and facilities.” Congressman DeFazio had been denied access to the classified annexes of National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive (NSPD 51/HSPD 20) Scott wrote,

NSPD 51 contains “classified Continuity Annexes” which shall “be protected from unauthorized disclosure.” Congressman DeFazio twice requested to see these Annexes, the second time in a letter cosigned by House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson and Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Christopher Carney. It was these requests that the White House denied. …

DeFazio’s inability to get access to the NSPD Annexes is less than reassuring. If members of the Homeland Security Committee cannot enforce their right to read secret plans of the Executive Branch, then the systems of checks and balances established by the U.S. Constitution would seem to be failing.

To put it another way, if the White House is successful in frustrating DeFazio, then Continuity of Government planning has arguably already superseded the Constitution as a higher authority. (Peter Dale Scott, “The Showdown,” CounterPunch, March 31, 2008)

With the stunning revelations published by Wikileaks, it is abundantly clear that top Bush administration officials were busily revising Continuity of Government plans, including “civil disturbance” contingencies for suspending the Constitution and imposing martial law, long before the 9/11 attacks.

Since that fatal and tragic day seven long years ago, we have been told repeatedly by the government and their media sycophants that 9/11 was the day “when everything changed.”

We now know thanks to Wikileaks, that as with the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the unprecedented and lawless surveillance of Americans, the illegal detention and torture of prisoners of war, that Bush administration assertions are no more than a pack of murderous lies.

One fact is abundantly clear from the mass of conflicting evidence and assertions made by proponents of various theories surrounding the 9/11 events: AR 500-3 demonstrates that from the very first moments after being installed in office, the Bush regime was involved in a “controlled demolition” of the U.S. Constitution.

Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly, Love & Rage and Antifa Forum, he is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military “Civil Disturbance” Planning, distributed by AK Press.

Dandelion Salad

by Tom Burghardt
Global Research, October 18, 2008
Antifascist Calling…

ACLU Files New FOIA Requests for NSA Spying Documents. EFF Charges Telecom Amnesty Unconstitutional

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed new Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests demanding that the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) and the National Security Agency (NSA) disclose “any policies and procedures” that protect Americans’ privacy rights when the ultra-spooky agency “collects, stores and disseminates private U.S. communications.”

The FOIA brief opens a new front in an on-going campaign by the civil liberties’ group to pry information from unaccountable Bush administration spy agencies and their “up-armored” lawyers in the Justice Department.

According to Melissa Goodman, a staff attorney with the ACLU’s National Security Project, “the American public needs to know whether the NSA’s procedures are sufficiently protective of our privacy rights. Unfortunately, there is often no meaningful court oversight of the NSA’s surveillance activities and the NSA is left to police itself,” Goodman said in a press release on Wednesday.

Coming on the heels of last week’s report by ABC News that provided new details of the Agency’s illegal spying on hundreds of aid workers, journalists and soldiers stationed in Iraq, the ACLU is charging that the NSA spied on personal phone calls that “were not in any way related to national security.” Indeed, intimate phone calls intercepted by Army communications specialists were routinely shared and swapped like salacious trophies amongst NSA personnel for their amusement.

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The Alex Jones Channel
You Tube
October 1, 2008

12-21-2007
www.roguegovernment.com
Lee Rogers

The United States government is now actively directing the attention of the U.S. military towards the American people. Using the phony war on terror, the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) are creating a militarized control grid specifically to enslave the American people. One thing is clear, neither of these agencies abide by the Constitution. In fact, both agencies by themselves are unconstitutional and should be abolished. Despite this, it is expected that they would at least try to follow the supreme law of the land which is the Constitution regardless of the unconstitutionality of the institutions themselves. Amazingly, NORTHCOM is now openly admitting that they do not follow the Constitution. NORTHCOM recently issued a press release talking about how they handle intelligence oversight and they stated that their goal in conducting intelligence oversight includes ensuring that presidential directives and executive orders are abided by during intelligence gathering operations. Of course, they don’t specifically mention anything about abiding by the Constitution. This is disturbing considering the hundreds of unconstitutional executive orders issued by George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and others. In fact some even argue that executive orders by themselves aren’t constitutional. If NORTHCOM is saying that the oversight of their intelligence gathering operations consist of ensuring these executive orders and directives are followed, than they are not concerned with following the Constitution.

The following is taken from NORTHCOM’s press release on a recent intelligence oversight conference.

Safeguarding the privacy rights of U.S. persons is critical to the Department of Defense agencies that conduct intelligence activities in support of the nation’s homeland defense and homeland security.

To ensure the rights of all U.S. persons are protected, DoD established an Intelligence Oversight program to ensure that all military intelligence, counterintelligence, and intelligence related activities are conducted in accordance with applicable laws, presidential executive orders and DoD directives and regulations.

In its continuing effort to ensure compliance with the DoD IO program, North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command sponsored the 1st Annual World-Wide Intelligence Oversight Conference Dec. 4-6 at Joint Task Force North Headquarters on Fort Bliss, Texas.

They admit that intelligence operations will be conducted in accordance with applicable laws, presidential executive orders and DoD directives and regulations. There are countless unconstitutional executive orders, so this admission means that they are not concerned with following the Constitution. If applicable laws include the Constitution, than how can they follow the Constitution and the many executive orders that are unconstitutional and unapplicable as it applies to the supreme law of the land?

NORTHCOM has already admitted that their goal is to form a militarized police state by the year by 2020 that will likely be used to control the domestic population of people within the United States, Canada and Mexico. They describe an apparent martial law apparatus for the coming North American Union superstate. NORTHCOM has also already conducted various martial law type exercises in preperation for a potential domestic insurrection. NORTHCOM has also stated that these exercises will continue and that they will become more sophisticated.

As reported by Blackanthem Military News, NORTHCOM is already starting to integrate their operations with various U.S. and Canadian federal agencies including with the Department of Homeland Security.

U.S. Northern Command is cementing a vast network of relationships critical to protecting the homeland against attacks or natural disasters and providing a unified response should one occur, its commander said today.

Since it was established a year after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Northern Command has formed critical partnerships with the Department of Homeland Security, about 60 other U.S. and Canadian federal agencies and the states, Air Force Gen. Victor E. “Gene” Renuart Jr. said.

This is all very bad news for the American people who simply want the government to follow the Constitution. Not only is NORTHCOM admitting that they do not follow the Constitution but they are working to destroy the sovereignty of all three North American countries by integrating and forming partnerships with institutions within the different countries. Combined this with the fact that the Department of Homeland Security is attempting to implement a multi-billion dollar domestic spy satellite system along with all sorts of other unconstitutional surveillance programs and there is little doubt that a militarized control grid is being built around the American people.

NORTHCOM and the Department of Homeland Security should be abolished immediately. These institutions themselves are unconstitutional, they perform unconstitutional activities and NORTHCOM now has admitted that they don’t follow the Constitution. These institutions will no doubt be used to further descend this country into absolute tyranny.