Posse Comitatus Act under attack

As George Orwell imagined, the Army may become our local police if the Posse Comitatus Act is repealed.

Many people have never heard of Posse Comitatus. No, it is not an exotic tropical disease. It is a long-standing law dating back to Civil War times, which bars the use of U.S. military forces for domestic law enforcement. In other words, the army must be invited as members of a posse by local authorities (specifically the sheriff) to act in a local jurisdiction—each and every time.

San Francisco Gate columnist Mark Morford put it this way: “…the Posse Comitatus Act means the Army can’t march in and arrest you for, say, growing medical pot in your basement; Marines can’t be sent in to crack skulls at a WTO protest; the president can’t call in clandestine patrols of masked Green Berets to shove burning tires around the bodies of liberal hecklers at a GOP/Exxon pep rally, among other limitations.”

Now the Posse Comitatus Act is being eyed by administration officials as a route to the new order with “King” George at the helm.

Very recently, Tom Ridge, security chief of the new Homeland Security Department, revealed “terrorism” may force the government to consider using the military for just such a purpose.

“We need to be talking about military assets, in anticipation of a crisis event,” Ridge told Fox News. “And clearly, if you’re talking about using the military, then you should have a discussion about posse comitatus.”

The military was used at the Salt Lake City Olympics, but permission was granted by the state. If part of the act is weakened, the whole act becomes ineffective.

Two senators, Carl Levin, D-Mich. and Joe Biden, D-Delaware, agree with President Bush and Ridge that the law ought to be reviewed, but they don’t favor a general involvement of the military in law enforcement.

The push for this idea in the Congress seems to be coming from Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., chairman of the Governmental Affairs Committee. It would be part of Bush’s Department of Homeland Security that involves a very broad reorganization of the government. Lieberman’s version of things would enhance the new department’s ability to gather and analyze intelligence from the FBI, CIA and the proposed new citizen spy network, Operation TIPS (Terrorism Information Prevention System).

This sounds less like a means of fighting terrorism and more and more like a way to control and restrict you and me. Consider what Mr. Bush wants to bring about.

The aforementioned plan would combine 22 federal police and emergency agencies into the Department of Homeland Security. He wants to create standardized travel documents (national ID card). Another objective is to develop “screening tools to predict human behavior, such as ‘hostile intent.’”

Here’s a good one: Bush wants to allow

federal police to search and seize at will. That will take care of the 4th Amendment very nicely. Said police would be empowered to jail and indefinitely hold suspects without warrants and without legal recourse on the part of those detained. Ditto for the 5th Amendment.

Another goal is creation of a national driver’s license to go along with the travel documents. He also wants to have the power to unilaterally grab tax dollars without any input or action by Congress. That wipes out the entire United States Constitution!

And his very favorite—allow the federal government to act in secret. No more Freedom of Information Act. Finally, he is setting up the informant program whereby millions of Americans are encouraged and urged to spy on their neighbors—TIPS.

If this isn’t a top ten list for totalitarianism, then what is? When Hitler ascended to power in Germany in the 1930s, churches, pastors and conservatives aided in creation of his oppressive and inhuman regime. The same thing is taking place in this country right now.

Since Sept. 11th, more than 2,000 people, many of them U.S. citizens, have been jailed by the FBI and police in the name of combatting terrorism. Only two have been charged with a crime linked to 9-11. Many claim they have been denied food and sleep, any contact with an attorney, and some say they have been beaten. The government has even considered torture of such suspects.

A high-level government official has warned that if another terrorist attack takes place in this country, all of the above-mentioned repressive machinery and more will be put into immediate effect. America is no longer the land of the free.

This huge department will be a bureaucratic nightmare that will be very difficult to get any straight answers out of because everything will be under the “national security” rug.

The Department of Homeland Security has passed the House of Representatives. Our Congressman Don Manzullo voted for it. Call him and let him know what you think of that, 394-1231.

Manzullo also voted for the USA Patriots Act. He says he’s a constititutionalist. We don’t think so. He is enabling a police state.

Call and write your Senators: tell them you don’t want the Homeland Security Department to pass the Senate. Act or be acted upon.

Sen. Dick Durbin

U.S. Senate

364 Russell Senate Office Bldg.

Washington, D.C. 20510

(202) 224-2152

Sen. Peter Fitzgerald

U.S. Senate

B40-5 Dirksen Senate Ofc. Bldg.

Washington, D.C. 20510

(202) 224-2854

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