Saturday, June 15, 2013

Obama Preparing Martial Law?

Submitted by Bill Weinberg on Sat, 06/15/2013 - 02:38

Climate Destabilization Crisis of Capitalism

The Guardian on June 14 makes note changes to a regulation in the US Code titled "Defense Support of Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies" published last month in the Federal Register:

A Federal military commander's authority, in extraordinary emergency circumstances where prior authorization by the President is impossible and duly constituted local authorities are unable to control the situation, to engage temporarily in activities that are necessary to quell large-scale, unexpected civil disturbances...

The Guardian seems to have picked it up from Long Island Press of May 14. It has received virtually no other stateside coverage. The Guardian connects a few dots to provide context for the ominous passage:

In 2006, the US National Security Strategy warned that:

"Environmental destruction, whether caused by human behavior or cataclysmic mega-disasters such as floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, or tsunamis. Problems of this scope may overwhelm the capacity of local authorities to respond, and may even overtax national militaries, requiring a larger international response."

Two years later, the Department of Defense’s (DoD) Army Modernization Strategy described the arrival of a new "era of persistent conflict" due to competition for "depleting natural resources and overseas markets" fueling "future resource wars over water, food and energy." The report predicted a resurgence of:

"… anti-government and radical ideologies that potentially threaten government stability."

In the same year, a report by the US Army's Strategic Studies Institute warned that a series of domestic crises could provoke large-scale civil unrest. The path to "disruptive domestic shock" could include traditional threats such as deployment of WMDs, alongside "catastrophic natural and human disasters" or "pervasive public health emergencies" coinciding with "unforeseen economic collapse." Such crises could lead to "loss of functioning political and legal order" leading to “purposeful domestic resistance or insurgency…

That year, the Pentagon had begun developing a 20,000 strong troop force who would be on-hand to respond to "domestic catastrophes" and civil unrest—the program was reportedly based on a 2005 homeland security strategy which emphasized "preparing for multiple, simultaneous mass casualty incidents."

The following year, a US Army-funded RAND Corp study called for a US force presence specifically to deal with civil unrest.
Such fears were further solidified in a detailed 2010 study by the US Joint Forces Command—designed to inform "joint concept development and experimentation throughout the Department of Defense"—setting out the US military’s definitive vision for future trends and potential global threats. Climate change, the study said, would lead to increased risk of:

"… tsunamis, typhoons, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and other natural catastrophes… Furthermore, if such a catastrophe occurs within the United States itself—particularly when the nation's economy is in a fragile state or where US military bases or key civilian infrastructure are broadly affected—the damage to US security could be considerable."

The study also warned of a possible shortfall in global oil output by 2015:

"A severe energy crunch is inevitable without a massive expansion of production and refining capacity. While it is difficult to predict precisely what economic, political, and strategic effects such a shortfall might produce, it surely would reduce the prospects for growth in both the developing and developed worlds. Such an economic slowdown would exacerbate other unresolved tensions."

That year the DoD's Quadrennial Defense Review seconded such concerns, while recognizing that "climate change, energy security, and economic stability are inextricably linked."

Also in 2010, the Pentagon ran war games to explore the implications of "large scale economic breakdown" in the US impacting on food supplies and other essential services, as well as how to maintain "domestic order amid civil unrest."

Speaking about the group's conclusions at giant US defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton's conference facility in Virginia, Lt Col. Mark Elfendahl—then chief of the Joint and Army Concepts Division—highlighted homeland operations as a way to legitimize the US military budget:


"An increased focus on domestic activities might be a way of justifying whatever Army force structure the country can still afford."