By Harry V. Martin with research assistance from David Caul
Some people have referred to it as the "secret government"
of the United States. It is not an elected body, it does not involve itself
in public disclosures, and it even has a quasi-secret budget in the billions
of dollars. This government organization has more power than the President
of the United States or the Congress, it has the power to suspend laws,
move entire populations, arrest and detain citizens without a warrant and
hold them without trial, it can seize property, food supplies, transportation
systems, and can suspend the Constitution.
Not only is it the most powerful entity in the United States,
but it was not even created under Constitutional law by the Congress. It
was a product of a Presidential Executive Order. No, it is not the U.S.
military nor the Central Intelligence Agency, they are subject to Congress.
The organization is called FEMA, which stands for the Federal Emergency
Management Agency. Originally conceived in the Richard Nixon Administration,
it was refined by President Jimmy Carter and given teeth in the Ronald Reagan
and George Bush Administrations.
FEMA had one original concept when it was created, to assure
the survivability of the United States government in the event of a nuclear
attack on this nation. It was also provided with the task of being a federal
coordinating body during times of domestic disasters, such as earthquakes,
floods and hurricanes. Its awesome powers grow under the tutelage of people
like Lt. Col. Oliver North and General Richard Secord, the architects on
the Iran-Contra scandal and the looting of America's savings and loan institutions.
FEMA has even been given control of the State Defense Forces,
a rag-tag, often considered neo-Nazi, civilian army that will substitute
for the National Guard, if the Guard is called to duty overseas.
THE MOST POWERFUL ORGANIZATION IN THE UNITED STATES
Though it may be the most powerful organization in the United States, few
people know it even exists. But it has crept into our private lives. Even
mortgage papers contain FEMA's name in small print if the property in question
is near a flood plain. FEMA was deeply involved in the Los Angeles riots
and the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in the San Francisco Bay Area. Some
of the black helicopter traffic reported throughout the United States, but
mainly in the West, California, Washington, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and
Colorado, are flown by FEMA personnel. FEMA has been given responsibility
for many new disasters including urban forest fires, home heating emergencies,
refugee situations, urban riots, and emergency planning for nuclear and
toxic incidents. In the West, it works in conjunction with the Sixth Army.
FEMA was created in a series of Executive Orders. A Presidential
Executive Order, whether Constitutional or not, becomes law simply by its
publication in the Federal Registry. Congress is by-passed. Executive Order
Number 12148 created the Federal Emergency Management Agency that is to
interface with the Department of Defense for civil defense planning and
funding. An "emergency czar" was appointed. FEMA has only spent
about 6 percent of its budget on national emergencies, the bulk of their
funding has been used for the construction of secret underground facilities
to assure continuity of government in case of a major emergency, foreign
or domestic. Executive Order Number 12656 appointed the National Security
Council as the principal body that should consider emergency powers. This
allows the government to increase domestic intelligence and surveillance
of U.S. citizens and would restrict the freedom of movement within the United
States and grant the government the right to isolate large groups of civilians.
The National Guard could be federalized to seal all borders and take control
of U.S. air space and all ports of entry.
Here are just a few Executive Orders associated with FEMA
that would suspend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. These Executive
Orders have been on record for nearly 30 years and could be enacted by the
stroke of a Presidential pen:
* EXECUTIVE ORDER 10990 allows the government to take over
all modes of transportation and control of highways and seaports.
* EXECUTIVE ORDER 10995 allows the government to seize
and control the communication media.
* EXECUTIVE ORDER 10997 allows the government to take over
all electrical power, gas, petroleum, fuels and minerals.
* EXECUTIVE ORDER 10998 allows the government to take over
all food resources and farms.
* EXECUTIVE ORDER 11000 allows the government to mobilize
civilians into work brigades under government supervision.
* EXECUTIVE ORDER 11001 allows the government to take over
all health, education and welfare functions.
* EXECUTIVE ORDER 11002 designates the Postmaster General
to operate a national registration of all persons.
* EXECUTIVE ORDER 11003 allows the government to take over
all airports and aircraft, including commercial aircraft.
* EXECUTIVE ORDER 11004 allows the Housing and Finance
Authority to relocate communities, build new housing with public funds,
designate areas to be abandoned, and establish new locations for populations.
* EXECUTIVE ORDER 11005 allows the government to take over
railroads, inland waterways and public storage facilities.
* EXECUTIVE ORDER 11051 specifies the responsibility of
the Office of Emergency Planning and gives authorization to put all Executive
Orders into effect in times of increased international tensions and economic
or financial crisis.
* EXECUTIVE ORDER 11310 grants authority to the Department
of Justice to enforce the plans set out in Executive Orders, to institute
industrial support, to establish judicial and legislative liaison, to
control all aliens, to operate penal and correctional institutions, and
to advise and assist the President.
* EXECUTIVE ORDER 11049 assigns emergency preparedness
function to federal departments and agencies, consolidating 21 operative
Executive Orders issued over a fifteen year period.
* EXECUTIVE ORDER 11921 allows the Federal Emergency Preparedness
Agency to develop plans to establish control over the mechanisms of production
and distribution, of energy sources, wages, salaries, credit and the flow
of money in U.S. financial institution in any undefined national emergency.
It also provides that when a state of emergency is declared by the President,
Congress cannot review the action for six months.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has broad powers in
every aspect of the nation. General Frank Salzedo, chief of FEMA's Civil
Security Division stated in a 1983 conference that he saw FEMA's role as
a "new frontier in the protection of individual and governmental leaders
from assassination, and of civil and military installations from sabotage
and/or attack, as well as prevention of dissident groups from gaining access
to U.S. opinion, or a global audience in times of crisis."
FEMA's powers were consolidated by President Carter to incorporate:
* the National Security Act of 1947, which
allows for the strategic relocation of industries, services, government
and other essential economic activities, and to rationalize the requirements
for manpower, resources and production facilities;
* the 1950 Defense Production Act, which
gives the President sweeping powers over all aspects of the economy;
* the Act of August 29, 1916, which authorizes
the Secretary of the Army, in time of war, to take possession of any transportation
system for transporting troops, material, or any other purpose related
to the emergency; and
* the International Emergency Economic Powers Act,
which enables the President to seize the property of a foreign country
These powers were transferred to FEMA in a sweeping consolidation
HURRICANE ANDREW FOCUSED ATTENTION ON FEMA
FEMA's deceptive role really did not come to light with much of the public
until Hurricane Andrew smashed into the U.S. mainland. As Russell R. Dynes,
director of the Disaster Research Center of the University of Delaware,
wrote in The World and I, "...The eye of the political storm hovered
over the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA became a convenient target
for criticism." Because FEMA was accused of dropping the ball in Florida,
the media and Congress commenced to study this agency. What came out of
the critical look was that FEMA was spending 12 times more for "black
operations" than for disaster relief. It spent $1.3 billion building
secret bunkers throughout the United States in anticipation of government
disruption by foreign or domestic upheaval. Yet fewer than 20 members of
Congress , only members with top security clearance, know of the $1.3 billion
expenditure by FEMA for non-natural disaster situations. These few Congressional
leaders state that FEMA has a "black curtain" around its operations.
FEMA has worked on National Security programs since 1979, and its predecessor,
the Federal Emergency Preparedness Agency, has secretly spent millions of
dollars before being merged into FEMA by President Carter in 1979.
FEMA has developed 300 sophisticated mobile units that are
capable of sustaining themselves for a month. The vehicles are located in
five areas of the United States. They have tremendous communication systems
and each contains a generator that would provide power to 120 homes each,
but have never been used for disaster relief.
FEMA's enormous powers can be triggered easily. In any form
of domestic or foreign problem, perceived and not always actual, emergency
powers can be enacted. The President of the United States now has broader
powers to declare martial law, which activates FEMA's extraordinary powers.
Martial law can be declared during time of increased tension overseas, economic
problems within the United States, such as a depression, civil unrest, such
as demonstrations or scenes like the Los Angeles riots, and in a drug crisis.
These Presidential powers have increased with successive Crime Bills, particularly
the 1991 and 1993 Crime Bills, which increase the power to suspend the rights
guaranteed under the Constitution and to seize property of those suspected
of being drug dealers, to individuals who participate in a public protest
or demonstration. Under emergency plans already in existence, the power
exists to suspend the Constitution and turn over the reigns of government
to FEMA and appointing military commanders to run state and local governments.
FEMA then would have the right to order the detention of anyone whom there
is reasonable ground to believe...will engage in, or probably conspire with
others to engage in acts of espionage or sabotage. The plan also authorized
the establishment of concentration camps for detaining the accused, but
Three times since 1984, FEMA stood on the threshold of taking
control of the nation. Once under President Reagan in 1984, and twice under
President Bush in 1990 and 1992. But under those three scenarios, there
was not a sufficient crisis to warrant risking martial law. Most experts
on the subject of FEMA and Martial Law insisted that a crisis has to appear
dangerous enough for the people of the United States before they would tolerate
or accept complete government takeover. The typical crisis needed would
be threat of imminent nuclear war, rioting in several U.S. cites simultaneously,
a series of national disasters that affect widespread danger to the populous,
massive terrorist attacks, a depression in which tens of millions are unemployed
and without financial resources, or a major environmental disaster.
THREE TIMES FEMA STOOD BY READY FOR EMERGENCY
In April 1984, President Reagan signed Presidential Director Number 54 that
allowed FEMA to engage in a secret national "readiness exercise"
under the code name of REX 84. The exercise was to test
FEMA's readiness to assume military authority in the event of a "State
of Domestic National Emergency" concurrent with the launching of a
direct United States military operation in Central America. The plan called
for the deputation of U.S. military and National Guard units so that they
could legally be used for domestic law enforcement. These units would be
assigned to conduct sweeps and take into custody an estimated 400,000 undocumented
Central American immigrants in the United States. The immigrants would be
interned at 10 detention centers to be set up at military bases throughout
REX 84 was so highly guarded that special metal security doors
were placed on the fifth floor of the FEMA building in Washington, D.C.
Even long-standing employees of the Civil Defense of the Federal Executive
Department possessing the highest possible security clearances were not
being allowed through the newly installed metal security doors. Only personnel
wearing a special red Christian cross or crucifix lapel pin were
allowed into the premises. Lt. Col. Ollie North was responsible
for drawing up the emergency plan, which U.S. Attorney General William French
Smith opposed vehemently. The plan called for the suspension of the Constitution,
turning control of the government over to FEMA, appointment of military
commanders to run state and local governments and the declaration of Martial
Law. The Presidential Executive Orders to support such a plan were already
in place. The plan also advocated the rounding up and transfer to "assembly
centers or relocation camps" of a least 21 million American Negroes
in the event of massive rioting or disorder, not unlike the rounding up
of the Jews in Nazi Germany in the 1930s.
The second known time that FEMA stood by was in 1990 when
Desert Storm was enacted. Prior to President Bush's invasion of Iraq, FEMA
began to draft new legislation to increase its already formidable powers.
One of the elements incorporated into the plan was to set up operations
within any state or locality without the prior permission of local or state
authorities. Such prior permission has always been required in the past.
Much of the mechanism being set into place was in anticipation of the economic
collapse of the Western World. The war with Iraq may have been conceived
as a ploy to boost the bankrupt economy, but it only pushed the West into
The third scenario for FEMA came with the Los Angeles riots
after the Rodney King brutality verdict. Had the rioting spread to other
cities, FEMA would have been empowered to step in. As it was, major rioting
only occurred in the Los Angeles area, thus preventing a pretext for a FEMA
On July 5, 1987, the Miami Herald published reports on FEMA's
new goals. The goal was to suspend the Constitution in the event of a national
crisis, such as nuclear war, violent and widespread internal dissent, or
national opposition to a U.S. military invasion abroad. Lt. Col.
North was the architect. National Security Directive Number 52 issued in
August 1982, pertains to the "Use of National Guard Troops to Quell
The crux of the problem is that FEMA has the power to turn
the United States into a police state in time of a real crisisor
a manufactured crisis. Lt. Col. North virtually established the
apparatus for dictatorship. Only the criticism of the Attorney General prevented
the plans from being adopted. But intelligence reports indicate that FEMA
has a folder with 22 Executive Orders for the President to sign in case
of an emergency. It is believed those Executive Orders contain the framework
of North's concepts, delayed by criticism but never truly abandoned.
The crisis, as the government now see it, is civil unrest.
For generations, the government was concerned with nuclear war, but the
violent and disruptive demonstrations that surrounded the Vietnam War era
prompted President Nixon to change the direction of emergency powers from
war time to times of domestic unrest. Diana Raynolds, program director of
the Edward R. Murrow Center, summed up the dangers of FEMA today and the
public reaction to Martial Law in a drug crisis: "It was James Madison's
worst nightmare that a righteous faction would someday be strong enough
to sweep away the Constitutional restraints designed by the framers to prevent
the tyranny of centralized power, excessive privilege, an arbitrary governmental
authority over the individual. These restraints, the balancing and checking
of powers among branches and layers of government, and the civil guarantees,
would be the first casualties in a drug-induced national security state
with Reagan's Civil Emergency Preparedness unleashed. Nevertheless, there
would be those who would welcome NSC (National Security Council) into the
drug fray, believing that increasing state police powers to emergency levels
is the only way left to fight American's enemy within. In the short run,
a national security state would probably be a relief to those whose personal
security and quality of life has been diminished by drugs or drug related
crime. And, as the general public watches the progression of institutional
chaos and social decay, they too may be willing to pay the ultimate price,
one drug free America for 200 years of democracy."
The first targets in any FEMA emergency would be Hispanics
and Blacks, the FEMA orders call for them to be rounded up and detained.
Tax protesters, demonstrators against government military intervention outside
U.S. borders, and people who maintain weapons in their homes are also targets.Operation Trojan Horse is a program designed to learn the
identity of potential opponents to martial law. The program lures potential
protesters into public forums, conducted by a
"hero" of the people who advocates survival training. The
list of names gathered at such meetings and rallies are computerized and
then targeted in case of an emergency.
The most shining example of America to the world has been
its peaceful transition of government from one administration to another.
Despite crises of great magnitude, the United States has maintained its
freedom and liberty. This nation now stands on the threshold of rule by
non-elected people asserting non-Constitutional powers. Even Congress cannot
review a Martial Law action until six months after it has been declared.
For the first time in American history, the reigns of government would not
be transferred from one elected element to another, but the Constitution,
itself, can be suspended.
The scenarios established to trigger FEMA into action are
generally found in the society today, economic collapse, civil unrest, drug
problems, terrorist attacks, and protests against American intervention
in a foreign country. All these premises exist, it could only be a matter
of time in which one of these triggers the entire emergency necessary to
bring FEMA into action, and then it may be too late, because under
the FEMA plan, there is no contingency by which Constitutional power is
Copyright FreeAmerica and Harry V. Martin, 1995
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