By Sarah Foster
Florida under martial law?
Wed Sep 13, 2006 01:01

'Assassination' director deceived White House

Florida under martial law?
Rumors persist despite official denial from Jeb Bush administration

By Sarah Foster

WHO KNEW? Jeb Bush signed Florida TWO YEAR emergency order 4 days BEFORE ATTACK

Those words, as frightening as they are shocking, headlined one of several Internet articles that appeared in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks upon the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Published Sept. 24 on PsyOpNews, the article unequivocally proclaimed:

"Seems like everybody and his uncle knew about this attack in advance. Inside traders and governments and even good ol' Jeb Bush. He took over Florida four days before the attack. Bye, bye Florida. Hello, General Jeb." Then challenged, "Now, how many states does that leave us in the Union?"

In a similar vein, Jeff Rense on Sept. 23 ran a piece on his website,, headed "Jeb Declared Martial Law In FL On 9-7." Two days earlier, at readers were provided with details about "Martial Law in Florida."

"In case you haven't figured it out, Florida is under martial law and will remain so until this EO (executive order) is revoked," the author stated bluntly.

The articles sparked a flurry of e-mails to WorldNetDaily. Did we know that the governor "immediately" after the Trade Center's second tower fell had issued an executive order, with no termination date, declaring a state of emergency? Did we know that the governor had made the interim head of the Division of Emergency Management into a czar of anti-terrorist operations, giving him the power to seize land and personal property and order people evacuated from their homes? Were we aware that Bush had mobilized the National Guard just four days earlier?

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush

WorldNetDaily investigated. The articles provided links directly to the executive orders themselves, and these were exactly as described. Bush, through Executive Order 01-261, had activated units of the Florida National Guard on Sept. 7, four days before the kamikaze assault on the Trade Center. His second executive order, EO 01-262, did in fact delegate awesome powers to a non-elected official, the interim head of the Division of Emergency Management, the agency responsible for implementing Florida's Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan. Moreover, the governor issued it shortly after the attacks, strongly suggesting he had been apprised of events ahead of time and was ready to sign the order with a stroke of his pen as soon as he received an appropriate signal.

There was just one problem with the scenario: As of late September, there were no reports in either the press or on the Internet of properties being seized, of people being rousted from their beds and hauled away in the dead of night, or of soldiers patrolling the streets of Tallahassee, Tampa and other Florida cities. Although the Florida code acknowledges the implicit power of a governor to declare martial law, it wasn't clear from the information at hand whether he had actually done so by executive order. Officials in the Jeb Bush administration vehemently denied he had.

"Absolutely not," exclaimed Jim Loftus of the Division of Emergency Management, when asked if the state of Florida was under martial law.

"The governor [in EO 01-262] invoked Statute 252 [of Title XVII] in Florida law that grants him emergency powers and allowed him to issue an executive order declaring a state of emergency," Loftus said. "The statute gives the governor a broad array of power in Florida, basically because if Florida were to be threatened with another Hurricane Andrew or any kind of disaster, like fires, the governor has to be able to direct state resources as quickly as possible in order to protect the health and safety of Floridians. The legislature (in the early '90s) agreed with this and made a statute that gives him this power."

The governor's press office responded to WorldNetDaily queries by forwarding a letter that Daniel Woodring, Bush's assistant general counsel, had written to a concerned Floridian explaining the executive orders.

"While Governor Bush has taken appropriate steps to deal with this terror attack, he has not in any shape, form or fashion, instituted martial law in Florida," Woodring wrote. "Martial law is when military authorities control all civilian affairs, and military law, not civilian law, is followed. The civilian authorities in Florida are fully operational and fully in control."

Perhaps it was because of effective damage control as much as the lack of any reported abuses of power, but e-mails about martial law stopped as abruptly as they had begun. Almost overnight the matter seemed to have disappeared from the radarscope of public concerns. That is until last week, when WND editors were suddenly inundated with e-mails asking if there was any truth to reports that Florida was under military command. Attention was again directed to the executive orders and to the more recent deployment of National Guard units at airports. But as before, there were no corroborating accounts of military-police actions or other indications of martial law.

WorldNetDaily investigated further. Here is what was found.

The executive orders

On Sept. 7, Bush signed EO 01-261, delegating to the adjutant general "all necessary authority … to order members of the Florida National Guard into active service … for the purpose of training to support law-enforcement personnel and emergency-management personnel in the event of civil disturbances or natural disasters and to provide training support to law-enforcement personnel and community-based organizations relating to counter drug operations."

The order is set to expire June 30, 2003, unless revoked earlier. In his letter, Woodring described it as a "routine" training order that "allowed the activation of select members of the National Guard to assist the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in training for port security and protection." It was issued to place "select members on active duty, so that if they were injured during the training they would be eligible for health and medical benefits only available to members on active duty."

Woodring said the order did not give the Florida National Guard any authority over civilian matters.

EO 01-262 was signed Sept. 11 and reads in part: "The scale of the destruction and the coordination, orchestration, and timing evident in these acts of terrorism suggest that they may be part of a larger pattern of acts of terrorism; … I hereby declare that a state of emergency exists in the State of Florida."

Bush delegated to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement the "operational authority to coordinate and direct the law enforcement resources of any and all state, regional and local governmental agencies …" and placed all law enforcement resources under the operational authority of FDLE as long as the order is in effect, which by statute is limited to 60 days unless the governor extends it or the legislature revokes it. This means the EO will expire Nov. 11.

William "Craig" Fugate, head of Florida's Division of Emergency Management

William "Craig" Fugate, then-interim director, now director, of the Division of Emergency Management, an agency within the Department of Community Affairs, was designated state coordinating officer and delegated numerous powers to be exercised "as needed to meet this emergency." These include:

* "The authority to suspend the effect of any statute or rule governing the conduct of state business, and the further authority to suspend the effect of any order or rule of any governmental entity … any and all statutes and rules which affect … the conditions of employment and the compensation of employees. …

* "The authority to direct all state, regional and local governmental agencies, including law enforcement agencies, to identify personnel needed from those agencies to assist in meeting the needs created by this emergency, and to place all such personnel under the direct command of the State Coordinating Officer to meet this emergency; (emphasis added)

* "The authority to seize and utilize any and all real and personal property as needed to meet this emergency, subject always to the duty of the State to compensate the owner;

* "The authority to order the evacuation of any and all persons from any location in the State of Florida, and the authority to regulate the movement of any or all persons to or from any location in the State. …"

The adjutant general was ordered to "activate the Florida National Guard for the duration of this emergency," and the National Guard was placed under the direction of the state coordinating officer (Craig Fugate) for the duration of the emergency.

"… all statutes, rules and orders are hereby suspended … to the extent that literal compliance with [them] may be inconsistent with the timely performance of emergency response functions," the order states.

In reviewing the history of this EO, with its awesome grants of authority, what was noteworthy was not the speed with which Bush's aides were able to produce it for his signature, but the fact that similar executive orders – each declaring a state of emergency and with identical grants of authority – had been issued over half a dozen times in the past three years, with Florida residents apparently oblivious to the fact.

The powers delegated to Fugate, as director of the Emergency Management Division, were taken verbatim from Title XVII of the Florida Code and placed in a generic executive order to be issued whenever floods, extensive wildfires, a tropical storm or hurricane threaten the state. The relevant code sections were drafted following the devastation by Hurricane Andrew in 1992, which left 41 persons dead, 300,000 temporarily homeless and caused $25 billion in property damage, making Andrew Florida's most costly hurricane.

This year the governor declared three hurricane-related states of emergency, the first on Aug. 6 in the face of Hurricane Barry. Preparations for evacuations were made in several counties. Then, on Sept. 13, as Tropical Storm Gabrielle was heading towards Florida, he declared a state of emergency with EO 01-268, an order that is essentially a replica of the ones dealing with terrorism or Hurricane Barry. A state of emergency was also announced during wildfires in January and February.

In the year 2000, states of emergency were declared for Tropical Storm Helene (Sept. 21), Tropical Storm Gordon (Sept. 13), and rainfall and flooding in Miami-Dade Country (Oct. 4).

In 1999, Bush's first year in office, there were Tropical Storm Harvey (Sept. 20) and Hurricanes Floyd (Sept. 13) and Irene (Dec. 1).

All these events conjured forth the boilerplate EO designating the Division of Emergency Management as the lead agency of operations, ordering the adjutant general to activate the National Guard and placing the National Guard under the control of the state coordinating officer, the head of the Emergency Management Division.

Likewise, former-Gov. Lawton Chiles during his two terms in office had declared states of emergency for hurricanes and other threats. Though referring to the statutes, his executive orders did not explicitly spell out the powers granted to the state coordinating officer.

Guard has no arrest powers

Jon Myatt, public affairs officer with the Florida Department of Military Affairs, the National Guard's home agency, discussed with WorldNetDaily the role of the Guard and its relationship with other agencies during these recurrent states of emergency and whether the recent call-up constituted martial law. "The governors have the authority to use the Florida National Guard to augment their law enforcement, but that's not martial law," said Myatt emphatically.

In his words: "When the governor declares a state of emergency and calls out the National Guard, all that means is we're to guard our humanitarian and security roles. For guidance, instruction and direction, we fall under the lead agency within the state. In the case of an emergency, that's the Division of Emergency Management, and in the case of security, it's the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Because those agencies are run by civilians who are appointed by the governor, it is civilian control of the military. All we are is the labor for executing a part of law enforcement that already exists."

Myatt stressed that the National Guard is in a "support role" to local law enforcement, and has no powers to arrest and hold.

"We have the ability to detain, but not to arrest and charge," he explained. "To 'detain' is when there's an incident or someone threatens the life or safety or property of the facilities or area where our Guardsmen are assigned to protect or guard. We can stop and detain a person, but then civilian law enforcement has to come in to arrest and charge. 'Arrested' means you're brought to the station, 'charged' means that charges are lodged against you. We don't have any of that authority. We only have the authority to detain somebody until civilian law enforcement arrives. … We're only providing safety; so we can help to deconflict an incident to get it under control, but civilian law enforcement has to take it from there.

"Look to the root word: martial. That means the military would be the power in control, and that is simply not the case. We fall under civilian authority. But people will see a military person out there and they think it's martial law – but martial law is when the government has been taken over by the military and the military runs the law enforcement and security effort for a state or a country. That's not happened here."

Martial law in the classroom

WorldNetDaily contacted Rev. Chuck Baldwin, pastor of Crossroads Baptist Church in Pensacola, Fla., and host of the radio talk show "Chuck Baldwin Live." Baldwin is not one to dismiss allegations of martial law lightly. In April 1999, he denounced on the air a mock takeover of a nearby school by military troops.

"Does anyone remember the good old days when schools taught reading, writing and arithmetic?" he asked his radio audience at that time. "Nowadays, they teach political correctness, cultural Marxism and martial law. That's right, martial law.

"It seems that last week at the Hobbs Middle School in Milton, Fla., a mock military takeover was staged to demonstrate martial law. I am not making it up. Military personnel from the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard took part. The exercise began when these words thundered over the school intercom system: 'Military personnel, take your classrooms.' A Navy lieutenant who participated said, 'We're going for shock value.' The occupying force then proceeded to take over the teaching assignment for the day. Shock value? I guess so," declared the outraged minister.

Asked about the concerns regarding the governor's recent executive orders, Baldwin told WorldNetDaily he was frankly surprised when he heard about them from some of his listeners.

"Jeb Bush is the most truly conservative member of the entire Bush family," he said. "He comes across as very kindhearted, even humble."

Baldwin confirmed that apart from the wording of EO 01-262, which he views as very problematic, there have been no reports of military activity of the kind conducted by federal forces at Hobbs Middle School during the early days of Bush's administration and the final months of President Clinton's.

"I think we have a good man, and I do not think he would intentionally abuse the authority of his office," Baldwin remarked.

Chiles' EOs same powers as Bush's

Edward Fleming, a Pensacola, Fla., attorney and a Bush appointee to the Judicial Nomination Commission, concurred with Baldwin's opinion about the character of the governor and applauded his actions to date.

"I'd echo Chuck's view of the governor," sai

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