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A PLAN THAT “DR. EVIL” WOULD BE PROUD OF:
Continuity of Government: Coup d'Etat Authority in America
Much of what George W. Bush and Dick Cheney did remains in effect. Draw your own conclusions.
Wednesday, 1 September 2010
The Continuity Of Government Plan is open-ended, in violation of the Constitution's Separation of Powers—the document George Bush called "just a goddamn piece of paper," and governed accordingly throughout his tenure—a practice Obama continues.
This article reviews the historical roots and America's current Continuity of Government authority, initially planned and developed by Ronald Reagan. More on that below.
On March 1, 2002, Washington Post writers Barton Gellman and Susan Schmidt headlined, "Shadow Government Is at Work in Secret," saying:
Shortly after 9/11, a classified "Continuity of Operations Plan" (aka "continuity of government") was implemented. Legal documents were then drafted, creating a shadow government in case of a catastrophe, George Bush saying:
In other words, the plan, like the "war on terror," is open-ended, in violation of the Constitution's Separation of Powers, the document George Bush called "just a goddamn piece of paper," and governed accordingly throughout his tenure, a practice Obama continues. More on that below.
On April 4, 2007, the Bush administration issued a combined White House/Department of Homeland Security (DHS) National Security/Homeland Security Presidential Directive NSPD 51/HSPD 20, extending for one year the 9/11 emergency for the sixth time, and establishing Continuity of Government (COG) procedures under Catastrophic Emergency conditions, defined as:
COG is then defined as:
The combined directive gave the president and DHS unprecedented police state powers to declare martial law without congressional approval, and be able to rule extrajudicially, free from constitutional constrains. It also let the vice-president assume dictatorial powers, George Bush left a figurehead by clever wording, saying:
NSPD 51 "shall be implemented in a manner that is consistent with, and facilitates effective implementation of, provisions of the Constitution concerning succession to the Presidency or the exercise of its powers, and the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 (3 U.S.C. 19), with consultation of the Vice President and, as appropriate, others involved. Heads of executive departments and agencies shall ensure that appropriate support is available to the Vice President and others involved as necessary to be prepared at all times to implement those provisions."
Related to this was Dick Cheney's 2005 "Contingency Plan" in case of another 9/11 type attack, authorizing preemptive measures, including war, against suspected terrorists, individuals and/or sponsor states, depending on who's designated.
COG authority is renewed annually. Thus, on September 10, 2009, the White House extended the Bush administration's 9/11 national emergency, a press release saying:
On September 14, 1982, Ronald Reagan's (secret) National Security Decision Directive/NSDD 55 established a National Program Office (NPO), tasked with ensuring the federal government's survive in case of a national emergency, specifically a nuclear attack.
Reporting to Vice President Bush, NPO developed and coordinated secret plans with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), CIA, and Departments of State and Defense to maintain large underground bunkers, high-tech software, and procedures to let government function under emergency conditions - originally in case of nuclear attack, now terrorist ones or any "emergency," including natural disasters.
In 1988, Reagan's Executive Order 12656 authorized a COG response, including full-scale militarization in case of a "national security emergency," defined as:
The policy remained largely in place under GHW Bush's April 1990 National Security Directive (NSD) 37, June 1992 NSD 69 (both titled Enduring Constitutional Government), and Bill Clinton's October 1998 Presidential Decision Directive/National Security Council (PDD/NSC) 67, titled Enduring Constitutional Government and Continuity of Government Operations, stating:
The earlier notion of "enduring" or "continuity" of government became changing it extrajudicially under George Bush, ideas secretly plotted in the 1980s and 1990s by Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and other neocon extremists (so-called Project 908), implemented on 9/11.
According to the 9/11 Commission, it was without elaboration, but consider what followed - an array of police state actions by Executive Orders (EOs), National and Homeland Security Presidential Directives, legislation, and other disturbing measures, targeting designated domestic and foreign adversaries, dissent, civil liberties, human rights, and other democratic freedoms, including an assault on the Bill of Rights. What followed included:
Historical Roots of COG Authority
COG roots go back to the June 1947 National Security Act (as amended) that merged the Departments of War and Navy into the National Military Establishment (NME), including a separate Department of the Air Force headed by a Secretary of Defense - in August 1949, NME renamed the Department of Defense.
NSA also established the CIA, National Security Resources Board (NSRB), and National Security Council (NSC) to advise the president on domestic, foreign, and military policies at the onset of the Cold War.
In the early 1950s, Truman approved construction of a massive 200,000 square foot underground facility along the Maryland - Pennsylvania border, 65 miles north of Washington. Officially called the Alternate Joint Communications Center (Site-R at Raven Rock), it was one of 96 Federal Relocation Centers (or Federal Relocation Arc) around the nation's capital for government and Pentagon use in case of nuclear war.
Later, they became the "backbone" for COG operations, where Cheney and other top officials went after (or perhaps hours before) 9/11.
On December 1, 1950, Truman's EO 10186 established the Federal Civil Defense Administration (FCDA) within the Office of Emergency Management (OEM), to oversee federal emergency planning.
On December 16, 1950, EO 10193 created the Office of Defense Mobilization (ODM), to mobilize civilians, industries, and government agencies to defend the nation in an emergency. Other measures followed to establish procedures under emergency conditions if the country was attacked.
On April 17, 1952, Truman's EO 10346 ordered the FCDA to coordinate "continuity" plans within the federal government in case of nuclear war.
On July 1, 1958, Reorganization Plan No. 1 merged the FCDA and ODM into the Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization (OCDM), to ensure continuation of essential government and industry functions under national emergency conditions.
On October 28, 1969, Nixon's EO 11490 directed government officials to ensure the continuation of "essential functions" in case of an emergency. It also directed department heads to develop succession of office plans, overseen by the Office of Emergency Preparedness (OEP) - called a thin line between government and dictatorship, according to some.
In 1970, future Reagan administration FEMA head, Louis O. Giuffrida, advocated martial law in case of mass civil unrest, specifically recommending placing millions of "American negroes" in "assembly centers or relocation camps."
On May 5, 1972, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) became the Defense Civil Preparedness Agency (DCPA) to "provide preparedness assistance planning in all areas of civil defense and natural disasters."
In March 1976, The Progressive published an article about Mount Weather, a secret underground facility, 50 miles north of Washington, to house a parallel executive branch ready to take over government under emergency conditions.
On April 1, 1979, FEMA was established to oversee federal planning for natural disasters, including nuclear and terrorist attacks. Purportedly to help victims, it, in fact, serves federal authorities, including administering continuity measures if needed. Its Office of National Continuity Programs (NCP) is the "Lead Agent for the Federal Executive Branch on matters concerning continuity of national operations under the gravest of conditions."
Measures in the 1980s and 1990s were reviewed above. On May 8, 2001 (four months before 9/11), George Bush established the Office of National Preparedness under FEMA - empowering Dick Cheney to oversee a "coordinated national effort" to integrate Washington's response to a chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear attack.
On 9/11, from 9:45 - 9:56AM EDT, NSC counterterrorism adviser Richard A. Clarke activated COG, ordering all federal agencies "to activate an alternative command post, an alternative headquarters outside of Washington, DC, and to staff it as soon as possible."
In addition, key officials went to secure locations, including Dick Cheney, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, and other Republican and Democrat leaders, after which a "shadow government" was formed, perhaps still in ready to be reactivated under emergency conditions.
On July 27, 2009, The New York Times reported that its activation remained intact under Obama, saying:
A Final Comment
Under the 1947 Presidential Succession Act, the Vice President becomes Chief Executive if a President dies, followed by the House Speaker, Senate President Pro Tempore, Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Defense, Attorney General, and 11 other cabinet officers in line of succession according to when their office was established, Secretary of Homeland Security the newest in 2001.
Key is who's empowered, not inaugurated - authority given Dick Cheney under George Bush's NSPD 51 as explained above. Most worrisome is if COG subverts constitutional protections, ends democratic freedoms, and makes America another banana republic ruled by wealthy, unelected, despotic, corrupted elites - a status largely descriptive of present day conditions.
Listen to Lendman's cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
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