The “Use of the Armed Forces” in America under a National Emergency by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky

Dandelion Salad

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 Department of Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007.

DDAA 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. 1042 of the DDAA 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 DDAA 07 (Sec. 1042) 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 Emergency”. .

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. 1042 of DDAA 07, however, goes much further in defining the role of the Military in the case of a “Catastrophic Emergency.”

Sec 1042 essentially defines the discretionary powers which would be conferred to the president and the vice president if NSPD 51 were to be applied.

Sec. 1042 of the DDAA 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 1042 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 NSPD 51:

The president “may employ the armed forces … to restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States”

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 Sec1042 is in relaiton 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 1042 of the DDAA 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 1042 of DDAA07 which amends Sec 333.

Full text of DDAA 07: Department of Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007.


  • (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

    • `(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

      `(ii) such violence results in a condition described in paragraph (2); or

`(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–

`(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).

`(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

`(B) opposes or obstructs the execution of the laws of the United States or impedes the course of justice under those laws.

(2) PROCLAMATION TO DISPERSE- Section 334 of such title is amended by inserting `or those obstructing the enforcement of the laws’ after `insurgents’.

`(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–

`(2) A condition described in this paragraph is a condition that–

`(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.

`(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 the authority.’.

Full text of DDAA 07: Department of Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007

Related Global Research Article

Bush Directive for a “Catastrophic Emergency” in America by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky (Iran)– by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky – 2007-06-24

Michel Chossudovsky is the author of the international best America’s “War on Terrorism” Second Edition, Global Research, 2005. He is Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Center for Research on Globalization.

To order Chossudovsky’s book America’s “War on Terrorism”, click here

© Copyright Michel Chossudovsky , Global Research, 2007


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