Bush Directive for a "Catastrophic Emergency" in America:
Thu Jul 19, 2007 16:09
 

 
Bush Directive for a "Catastrophic Emergency" in America: Building a Justification for Waging War on Iran?

by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky

Global Research, June 24, 2007
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"Another [9/11 type terrorist] attack could create both a justification and an opportunity that is lacking today to retaliate against some known targets" (Statement by Pentagon official, leaked to the Washington Post, 23 April 2006)


The US media consensus is that "the United States faces its greatest threat of a terrorist assault since the September 11 attacks" (USA Today, 12 February 2006) The American Homeland is threatened by " Islamic terrorists", allegedly supported by Tehran and Damascus.

America is under attack" by an illusive "outside enemy".

Concepts are turned upside down. War becomes Peace. "Offense" becomes a legitimate means of "self-defense". In the words of President Bush:

"Against this kind of enemy, there is only one effective response: We must go on the offense, stay on the offense, and take the fight to them." (President George W. Bush, CENTCOM Coalition Conference, May 1, 2007)

The intent is to seek a pretext to wage a preemptive war.

A "terrorist attack on America" could be used to justify, in the eyes of an increasingly credulous public opinion, on "humanitarian grounds", the launching of a major theater war directed against Iran and Syria.

Allegedly supported by Iran, the terrorists are said to possess nuclear capabilities. They are supposedly planning to explode "radiological dispersion devices" (RDD) or "dirty bombs" in densely populated urban areas in the US. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell had already forewarned in 2003 that, "It would be easy for terrorists to cook up radioactive ‘dirty’ bombs to explode inside the U.S. … How likely it is, I can't say..." (10 February 2003).

The sheer absurdity that Al Qaeda might have advanced capabilities to wage a nuclear attack on America is, nonetheless, pervasive in US media reports. Moreover, numerous drills and exercises, simulating a terrorist attack using nuclear devices, have been conducted in recent years, creating the illusion that "the threat is real":

"What we do know is that our enemies want to inflict massive casualties and that terrorists have the expertise to invent a wide range of attacks, including those involving the use of chemical, biological, radiological and even nuclear weapons. ... [E]xploding a small nuclear weapon in a major city could do incalculable harm to hundreds of thousands of people, as well as to businesses and the economy,...(US Congress, House Financial Services Committee, June 21, 2007).

History

Consistently since 911, the Bush administration has reminded Americans of the danger of a "Second 9/11":

"The near-term attacks ... will either rival or exceed the 9/11 attacks... And it's pretty clear that the nation's capital and New York city would be on any list..." (Former DHS Secretary Tom Ridge, December 2003)

"You ask, 'Is it serious?' Yes, you bet your life. People don't do that unless it's a serious situation." (Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, December 2003)

"... Credible reporting indicates that Al Qaeda is moving forward with its plans to carry out a large-scale attack in the United States in an effort to disrupt our democratic process... (Former DHS Secretary Tom Ridge, 8 July 2004)

"The enemy that struck on 9/11 is weakened and fractured yet it is still lethal and planning to hit us again." (Vice President Dick Cheney, 7 January 2006)

"We are still a nation at risk. Part of our strategy, of course, is to stay on the offense against terrorists who would do us harm. In other words, it is important to defeat them overseas so we never have to face them here. Nevertheless, we recognize that we've got to be fully prepared here at the homeland." (President George W. Bush February 8, 2006)

"Our main enemy is al Qaeda and its affiliates. Their allies choose their victims indiscriminately. They murder the innocent to advance a focused and clear ideology. They seek to establish a radical Islamic caliphate, so they can impose a brutal new order on unwilling people, much as Nazis and communists sought to do in the last century. This enemy will accept no compromise with the civilized world.... (President George W. Bush, CENTCOM Coalition Conference, May 1, 2007)

We're fighting a war on terror because the enemy attacked us first, and hit us hard. ... Al Qaeda's leadership has said they have the right to "kill four million Americans,... For nearly six years now, the United States has been able to defeat their attempts to attack us here at home. Nobody can guarantee that we won't be hit again. ... (Vice President Dick Cheney, United States Military Academy Commencement, West Point, New York, May 26, 2007)

In the immediate wake of the invasion of Iraq (April 2003), various national security procedures were put in place which focused on the eventuality of a "Second 911". These initiatives in the area of Homeland Security outlined the precise circumstances under which martial law could be declared in the case of a second major terrorist attack on America.

Under martial law, the military would take over several functions of civilian government including justice and law enforcement.

A terrorist attack on American soil of the size and nature of September 11, would lead ---according to former CENTCOM Commander, General Tommy Franks-- to the downfall of democracy in America. In an interview in December 2003, which was barely mentioned in the US media, General Franks outlined a scenario, which would result in the suspension of the Constitution and the installation of military rule in America:

"[A] terrorist, massive, casualty-producing event [will occur] somewhere in the Western world - it may be in the United States of America - that causes our population to question our own Constitution and to begin to militarize our country in order to avoid a repeat of another mass, casualty-producing event." (General Tommy Franks Interview, Cigar Aficionado, December 2003)

Franks was obliquely alluding to a "Second 9/11" terrorist attack, which could be used to galvanize US public opinion in support of a military government and police state.

The "terrorist massive casualty-producing event" was presented by General Franks as a crucial political turning point. The resulting crisis and social turmoil resulting from the civilian casualties, are intended to facilitate a major shift in US political, social and institutional structures, leading to the suspension of constitutional government.

It is important to understand that General Franks was not giving a personal opinion on the role of a "massive casuality producing event". This concept is part of the tools of US intelligence, implemented through covert operations. Franks' statement very much reflects the dominant viewpoint both in the Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security, on the concept and application of a "massive casualty producing event" as well as onhow events might unfold in the case of a "Catastrophic Emergency".

The statement comes from a man who has been actively involved in military and intelligence planning at the highest levels. In other words, the "militarisation of our country" is an ongoing operational assumption. It is part of the broader "Washington consensus". It identifies the Bush administration's "roadmap" of war and Homeland defense.

The "Global War on Terrorism" which constitutes the cornerstone of Bush’s National Security doctrine, provides the required justification for repealing the Rule of Law, ultimately with a view to "preserving civil liberties."

US Northern Command

The Administration's "Catastrophic Emergency" procedures are intimately related to military planning at the level of the Pentagon. In this regard, the formation of US Northern Command (NORTHCOM) in April 2002 (based at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado) constitutes an important landmark in the evolving relationship between the Military and Homeland Security.

US Northern Command was created as a new command structure with the explicit mandate to defend the Homeland against foreign terrorists.

This mandate is defined in the Pentagon's "Joint Doctrine for Homeland Security (JP-26)". Even in the case where the "outside enemy" is fabricated (and this is known at the highest levels of the military-intelligence apparatus), a military coup d'Etat characterized by detailed command military/ security provisions, would become operational almost immediately.

NORTHCOM's "Command Mission" encompasses a number of "non-military functions" including "crisis management" and "domestic civil support". Under Northcom jurisdiction, the latter imply a process of "military support to federal, state and local authorities in the event of a terror attack."

NORTHCOM has a mandate to "defend the homeland" against an illusive "outside enemy" (Al Qaeda), which is said to be threatening the security of America. According to Frank Morales, "the scenario of a military take-over of America is unfolding." And Northern Command is the core military entity in this takeover and militarization of civilian institutions.

Dick Cheney's "Contingency Plan"

Following the creation of NORTHCOM in 2002, "Defense of the Homeland" functions -including domestic counter-terrorism and national emergency procedures-- have become increasingly integrated into the broader process of military planning by the Pentagon .

This integration should be understood as part of the Pentagon's preemptive war doctrine, where a presumed or planned attack on the Homeland by "Islamic terrorists" becomes a justification for waging an "offensive" (defined as defensive) war in the Middle East.

The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks were used to wage war on Afghanistan, using the pretext (without a shred of evidence) that the Afghan Taliban government was a "State sponsor" of the 9/11 attacks.
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In August 2005, Vice President Dick Cheney is reported to have instructed USSTRATCOM, based at the Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, to draw up a "Contingency Plan", "to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States". (Philip Giraldi, Attack on Iran: Pre-emptive Nuclear War, The American Conservative, 2 August 2005)

Dick Cheney's "Contingency Plan" was predicated on the preemptive war doctrine. Implied in the "Contingency Plan" was the presumption that Iran would be behind the attacks.

The Vice president's instructions were given to USSTRATCOM, which is in charge of the central planning and coordination of major overseas theater wars, rather than to NORTHCOM, whose mandate consists in defending the North American Homeland against terrorist attacks. .

Cheney's "Contingency Plan" under USSTRATCOM jurisdiction, would draw on the possibility of a "Second 9/11" attack to prepare for a major military operation directed against Iran, while pressure would also be exerted in the corridors of the United Nations on Tehran, in relation to its (non-existent) nuclear weapons program.

What is diabolical in this 2005 decision by the US Vice President is that the justification to wage war on Iran rests on Iran's alleged involvement in a hypothetical terrorist attack on America, which has not yet occurred.

The plan to attack Iran is based on the principle of self defense. It "includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons." (Philip Giraldi, Attack on Iran: Pre-emptive Nuclear War, The American Conservative, 2 August 2005)

"Several senior Air Force officers involved in the planning are reportedly appalled at the implications of what they are doing—that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack—but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objections. (Ibid)

The Pentagon's "Second 9/11"

In early 2006, (former) Secretary Don Rumsfeld approved a far-reaching military campaign plan to fight terrorism around the World, with a view to retaliating in the case of a second major terrorist attack on America. This Pentagon plan was, in essence, an extension of the Second 911 "Contingency Plan" agenda announced by Dick Cheney in 2005.

The Pentagon's anti-terrorist plan was outlined in three secret documents, of which excerpts were leaked to the Washington Post.

These three documents consist of an overall "campaign plan" plus two "subordinate plans". The second "subordinate plan" explicitly focuses on the possibility of "Second 9/11" and how a second major attack on American soil might provide "an opportunity" to extend the US led war in the Middle East into new frontiers:

"[It] sets out how the military can both disrupt and respond to another major terrorist strike on the United States. It includes lengthy annexes that offer a menu of options for the military to retaliate quickly against specific terrorist groups, individuals or state sponsors depending on who is believed to be behind an attack. Another attack could create both a justification and an opportunity that is lacking today to retaliate against some known targets, according to current and former defense officials familiar with the plan. (Washington Post, 23 April 2006, emphasis added)

The presumption of this military document, is that a Second 911 attack "which is lacking today" would usefully create both a "justification and an opportunity" to wage war on "some known targets [Iran and Syria]".

National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive, NSPD-51/ HSPD 20

In May 2007, a major presidential National Security Directive is issued, (National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive NSPD 51/HSPD 20),

NSPD 51 / HSPD 20 is a combined National Security Directive emanating from the White House and Homeland Security. It is tailor-made to fit the premises of both the Pentagon's 2006 "Anti-terrorist Plan" as well Vice President Cheney's 2005 "Contingency Plan".

The directive establishes procedures for "Continuity of Government" (COG) in the case of a "Catastrophic Emergency". The latter is defined in NSPD 51/HSPD 20 (henceforth referred to as NSPD 51), as "any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions."

"Continuity of Government," or "COG," is defined in NSPD 51 as "a coordinated effort within the Federal Government's executive branch to ensure that National Essential Functions continue to be performed during a Catastrophic Emergency."

NSPD 51 has barely been reported by the mainstream media. There was no press briefing by the White House or by DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff, which would be the normal practice, given the significance and implications of NSPD 51. The text of NSPD /51 HSPD 20, announced by the White House is not even mentioned on the DHS's website.

This Combined Directive NSPD /51 HSPD 20 grants unprecedented powers to the Presidency and the Department of Homeland Security, overriding the foundations of Constitutional government. NSPD 51 allows the sitting president to declare a “national emergency” without Congressional approval The adoption of NSPD 51 would lead to the de facto closing down of the Legislature and the militarization of justice and law enforcement:

The President shall lead the activities of the Federal Government for ensuring constitutional government. In order to advise and assist the President in that function, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counter terrorism (APHS/CT) is hereby designated as the National Continuity Coordinator. The National Continuity Coordinator, in coordination with the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (APNSA), without exercising directive authority, s

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