Bush threatened martial law

Naomi Wolf has accused the Bush administration of orchestrating a coup d’etat. She relies on evidence for which I have no other explanation. First, in what appears to be a clip from C-Span video of the floor of the House of Representatives, Representative Brad Sherman (Democrat–California, 27th District) complained that some members of Congress were threatened with huge drops in the Dow Jones (which appear to be happening anyway) and with martial law if they did not vote for the pork-laden $700 billion bailout for the financial industry and concentration of new powers for the Secretary of the Treasury. Second, the Army Times has reported that for “the first time an active unit [the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team] 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.”

According to the Army Times, the unit “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.” But Army Col. Michael Boatner, USNORTHCOM future operations division chief partly denied this, saying, “This response force will not be called upon to help with law enforcement, civil disturbance or crowd control, but will be used to support lead agencies involved in saving lives, relieving suffering and meeting the needs of communities affected by weapons of mass destruction attacks, accidents or even natural disasters.”

This posting comes late in hurricane season. The troops are only beginning training. According to the Army Times,

Training for homeland scenarios has already begun at Fort Stewart and includes specialty tasks such as knowing how to use the “jaws of life” to extract a person from a mangled vehicle; extra medical training for a CBRNE incident; and working with U.S. Forestry Service experts on how to go in with chainsaws and cut and clear trees to clear a road or area.

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.

The package is for use only in war-zone operations, not for any domestic purpose.

This is clearly contradictory information. If the first brigade to be specifically assigned to U.S. territory is not to be used for law enforcement, then why in the wake of brutal police suppression of protests at the Republican National Convention, are they being trained to use this “nonlethal package?”

Another possible explanation is that due to the Arctic ice melt, “the Pentagon is eyeing the expanding navigable waters as possible entry points for security threats that must be monitored more closely.” However, this would seem to dictate a posting in Alaska rather than in Fort Stewart in Georgia. Moreover, the Arctic patrols appear to be largely an Air Force mission.

Given the Bush administration’s threats of martial law, Naomi Wolf argues that a coup has effectively occurred. This is a time when the least charitable explanations of developments have proven closer to the truth.

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