This is a new term to me, but as soon as I heard it, it fell neatly into place amidst my other concerns about increasing pre-election tensions, economic beneficiaries of the bail-out, and Bush/Cheney's reluctance to follow the rule of law. Are we looking at the possibility of the Bush Administration declaring martial law and refusing to allow the peaceful and legal transfer of power if Barack Obama wins the presidential election? It seems absurd to even raise this question, but it doesn't hurt to 'look around corners' as Obama said last night, and be prepared for any eventuality.
According to Wikipedia:
The Posse Comitatus Act is a United States federal law (18 U.S.C. § 1385) passed on June 16, 1878 after the end of Reconstruction. The Act prohibits most members of the federal uniformed services (the Army, Air Force, and State National Guard forces when such are called into federal service) from exercising nominally state law enforcement police or peace officer powers that maintain "law and order" on non-federal property (states, their counties and municipal divisions) in the former Confederate states.
The statute generally prohibits federal military personnel and units of the United States National Guard under federal authority from acting in a law enforcement capacity within the United States, except where expressly authorized by the Constitution or Congress. The Coast Guard is exempt from the Posse Comitatus Act.
The Posse Comitatus Act and the Insurrection Act substantially limit the powers of the federal government to use the military for law enforcement.
Naomi Wolf, writing for AlterNet, and Amy Goodman of Democracy Now have both been highlighting the presence of the First Brigade of the Third Infantry Division, three to four thousand soldiers, which has been deployed in the United States as of October 1. On her show, a transcript of which was featured on AlterNet, Goodman interviewed Army Colonel Michael Boatner along with progressive journalist Matthew Rothschild. Colonel Boatner stated the military position that "The primary purpose of this force is to provide help to people in need in the aftermath of a WMD-like event in the homeland." Rothschild talked about the role the unit played in the political conventions, and concluded that, "this granting of the Pentagon a special unit to be involved in U.S. patrol is something that should alarm all of us."
In her article "Thousands of Troops Are Deployed on U.S. Streets Ready to Carry Out "Crowd Control," Naomi Wolf quotes California Representative Brad Sherman about discussions with members of Congress who were told that if the Bailout did not pass Congress, martial law might be declared. Wolf writes, "If this is true and Rep. Sherman is not delusional, I ask you to consider that if they are willing to threaten martial law now, it is foolish to assume they will never use that threat again. It is also foolish to trust in an orderly election process to resolve this threat. And why deploy the First Brigade? One thing the deployment accomplishes is to put teeth into such a threat."
Here is the video of Rep. Sherman speaking:
There are 518 comments to this video posted on Youtube. Here are some of the most interesting:
bigmommalurka There is such damage done to our civil liberties that it will take decades of a coalition of progressive & libertarian populism to begin to stop the bleeding and put the country back into the citizens hands.
Jcolinsol Violent resistance will prove ineffectual. Anyone who does will be labeled "terrorist" and put down. There are two ways to revolt effectively.1. Live independently, support local, indie business, and produce as much of your own food and energy as possible.2. Tell the truth to as many people as possible.The last way, is to be willing to die for your freedom. Expose them as the enemies of peace and liberty. Gandhi style.