The International Journal of INCLUSIVE DEMOCRACY, vol.3, no.4, (October 2007)
Interoperability: fine tuning the police state or US turning into a totalitarian state
The concentration of power
Freedoms, civil liberties, and rights demanded, struggled and died for against the state and then granted by the state can easily be suspended or removed altogether by the state. Today’s increasingly illiberal oligarchy which controls the US is in a showdown with the Constitution. This has been an incremental process that began in 1978 with Congress, in a fit of sensibility, passing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) which establishes procedures for granting warrants for electronic surveillance and physical searches of places and people thought to be involved in spying or terrorism for foreign nations. FISA was a fit, because it was established in order to prohibit domestic intelligence gathering which grew out of the FBI’s COINTELPRO and the illegal covert activities of the Nixon administration, particularly the Watergate scandal.
Interoperability and its designation in various pieces of legislation and Presidential directives over the past few years sets the President up as dictator in chief. Interoperability and its associated legislative coups and Presidential decrees present a withering of constitutional government. Bush stated, when signing into law on 7 December 2004 the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 (IRTPA), this bill, “continues the essential reorganization of our government” as establishing the superstructure of a national security state. FISA was amended through the repressive USA Patriot Act of 2001. Through it dissidents, library users, radicals, drug dealers and anyone whom is perceived as undesirable can be designated terrorists, and spying on US citizens which include telephone and email communication, medical, financial, library, and other records is authorized without warrant (remember the infamous NSL debacle). Indefinite detention of immigrants, law enforcement searches of homes or businesses without the owner’s or occupant’s permission or knowledge is appropriate, as Bush says, to protect America from killers who want to destroy our way of life. The Patriot Act had a sunset law taking effect in 2005. Unhesitatingly, Congress passed the “USA Patriot Improvement and Reauthorization Act 2005”. When Bush signed it on 9 March 2006, he stated, “The law allows our intelligence and law enforcement officials to continue to share information. It allows them to continue to use tools against terrorists that they used against drug dealers and other criminals… And the bill gives law enforcement new tools to combat threats to our citizens from international terrorists to local drug dealers.” Facilitating enhanced information-sharing and coordination between national securities, military and local law enforcement officials are the mainstay of interoperability.
Interoperability arrived in the mainstream with the passing in July 2006 of HR 5852 otherwise known as “21st Century Emergency Communications Act of 2006” as a procedure to enhance emergency communications. This bill provides for the facilitation and sharing of information and communication capabilities headed by Federal departments and agencies in acts of terrorism, natural disasters and other emergencies in order to communicate effectively and securely with state, county, city law enforcement departments and other first responders.
The Federal government under Bush seeks with this act deployment of coordinated interoperable emergency communications, equipment and support nationwide, in real time, for federal, military, state, county, and local governments. The legislation provides for the Secretary of Defense to work with appropriate state, county and local officials for training in and support of the rapid establishment of consistent, secure and effective interoperable emergency communication capabilities. In addition, this law implements a program described in IRTPA which states that in conducting the war on terrorism the federal government may need additional powers. To this end it created the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), who is charged with integrating America’s intelligence agencies to work together as a single unified entity. The DNI will have the authority to order the collection of new intelligence to ensure the sharing of information among agencies. Section 7403 establishes a warning system similar to AMBER Alert to issue public warnings regarding threats to the homeland. In his signing statement Bush proclaimed, “We face killers who hide in our own cities.” Given the fact that Bush sought regime change and invaded Iraq with all his repeated and pathetic lies, section 7115 informs us the real reason for his criminal invasion: the US is working toward creating a Middle East Free Trade Area by 2013. This is significant, since from the Inclusive Democracy perspective Takis Fotopoulos has repeatedly stated that this is the real motive for regime change not only in Iraq and Iran, and generally any unfriendly to the US regime in the Middle East ―and not just for oil.
In a paper prepared by the Department of Defense (DoD) in June 2005 entitled “Strategy for Homeland Defense and Civil Support” the DoD stressed that it will share expertise with federal, state, local and tribal authorities. This strategy and support plan focuses primarily on DoD’s activities in the US which “will transform US military forces to execute homeland defense missions…in the US homeland.” This new role, which fundamentally changes the military’s approach to homeland security is a dangerous expansion of its authority. DoD’s participation in this historic change, “in the interagency process improves planning and interoperability and will ensure that procedures for supporting civil authorities are consistent”… and “development of a coordinated training and exercise program is an essential step toward greater cooperation in executing homeland defense and civil support missions.” Included is a suggestion covering the possibility that the internet will be under military control, and we know from experience cell phones will be rendered useless.
In a recent article written for Global Research Frank Morales tells us that in the Defense Authorization Bill for FY 2007 Congress agreed to grant Bush (and of course his successors as well who are very uklikely to revoke this legislation) the authority to proclaim “any area under military law enforcement control.” I wonder how the pronouncement of martial law will go over with the populace.
Bush signed two pieces of exceedingly repressive legislation on 17 October 2006. One is the “John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007” which lets the Dictator in Chief, in Section 333, to declare a public emergency and station troops anywhere in the US by taking over National Guard units. Ordering the military onto the streets Bush will begin rounding up and detaining, without charge, protesters, immigrants and anyone else who resists the dictatorship. This is particularly so, since the other repressive legislation, the “Military Commissions Act of 2006,” in Section 7 denies habeas corpus to immigrants, and any US citizen can be detained as enemy combatants without charge as determined by the ‘decider’ and subjected to torture. Do not forget how American citizen Jose Padilla’s personality was “deconstructed and reformed.” Remember, also, detention camps are being built by Halliburton to hold detainees, since it was granted a no-bid contract for $385 million in January 2006.
On 9 May 2007 Bush promulgated a decree, National Security Presidential Directive 51 and Homeland Security Presidential Directive 20 in which he can declare in the case of a “catastrophic emergency”, in order to maintain continuity in governmental functions and operations, that he will coordinate the legislative and judicial branches of government to “provide for orderly succession, appropriate transition of leadership, and interoperability during a national emergency” That gives him the discretionary power to determine what a catastrophic emergency should look like and to dissolve accordingly the government, since he will coordinate the other two branches of government. No power sharing for him, because he will be in charge of coordinating the continuity of constitutional government by dismantling constitutional government. Checks and balances are over. The constitution is under siege by the present political elite and the economic elite behind it, as parts of the transnational elite, who are offering protection by using the US military as its strong arm, which forces decisions through the politics of fear. The US is rapidly turning into a kind of totalitarian state with the market economy and representative ‘democracy’ running roughshod over the country with its promise of endless war. The representatives (of political and economic elites) in Congress work together with Bush to give the President the tools necessary for his promises of protection.
Bush was a busy commandeer in May by deciding, along with his DNI czar Michael McConnell, to put into action the capability of military satellites to collect intelligence on citizens and to share that information with local law agencies. On 15 August the Wall Street Journal reported the domestic use of spy satellites.
The most powerful high-tech surveillance satellites will allow Homeland Security and law enforcement paramilitaries to see, “real-time, high resolution images and data…to see through cloud cover, forest canopies and homes.” With the posse comitatus act dissolved by the Defense Authorization Act of 2007, as specified by the use of the military on American soil, there are no impediments for the crushing of civil liberties, since the whole public is given over to domestic spying. In the memo of 25 May to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, McConnell ordered Chertoff to allow federal and local law enforcement agents to use spy satellites to gather intelligence on citizens as early as October 2007. Again we see interoperability with the military providing continuous communication to Homeland Security, state, county and local law enforcement authorities.
Now we get to Bush’s final piece of political and economic accumulation of power with Congress, as neither an unwilling Bush gang accomplice, nor any instrumentally conditioned or unconscious (idiot, corrupted, crazy, incompetent) rats manifesting good behavior, (i.e., giving Bush what it wants soon after he requests in writing a bill) he can sign. Make no mistake. Bush is CEO of the corporate state of America and Congress is his board of directors. The market economy and representative ‘democracy’ work hand in hand in concentrating economic and political power in the hands of elites. The real rewards are in dollars and cents not genuine democracy. The Iraq occupation is now costing US taxpayers an astounding $3 billion a week! The money is used to fund the corporate takeover of government. The US treasury is being depleted—moving from the public sphere to the private sphere—with tax cuts for the rich. The constitution, the social contract, is treated like a labor contract—despised and trampled. It is no accident that the American people are rejecting Congress as a legitimate representative of their needs. The market economy and its political component representative ‘democracy’ do not work for peoples’ needs. Together they reproduce the system of inequality, hierarchy, and social misery for the vast majority of people. The US is a consumer society, not a democratic society and people have been transformed from citizens to consumers, although neither the US nor any other modern society ever was a democratic society. In Paterson, the median household income in 2006 was $31,723 -- an $8,000 drop from the 1999 income levels shown in the 2000 census. In Paterson, those living in poverty jumped to 25.7 percent in 2006 from 22.2 percent in 2000. A family of four whose combined income did not exceed $20,000 in 2006 was considered to live in poverty. In 2000, the poverty threshold for that same family was $17,603, according to the census. Thus replacing Republicans with Democrats or vice versa will only continue the multidimensional crisis we face. It is obvious that we need to replace the system of the market economy and representative ‘democracy’ with an Inclusive Democracy as the self-institution of society.
Bush’s boring and tired rhetoric, “We’ve worked hard and in good faith with the Democrats to find a solution, but we are not going to put our national security at risk. Time is short”, is a worked over lie and most people are not fooled by it. Bush tells us he has to spy on us in order to protect us. Then he demands Congress agree to give him the expansion of power he calls for. All his cronies in the administration say the same thing. It is getting monotonous. They reassure us time and time again spying programs would not target Americans. But then we find out the government has been spying on us. They are not held accountable, and Bush says he does not assent to any laws. But when he is informed that he and his criminal partners have been breaking the law he goes back to his ace in the hole Congress to pass a bill he can sign, which makes it legal to spy, torture, gut habeas corpus, etc.
The most recent law Congress handed Bush to suspend the constitution and proclaim martial law, upon which he will join the ranks of his terrorist partner Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, is the amendment to FISA cited as the “Protect America Act of 2007”, “to provide additional procedures for authorizing certain acquisitions of foreign intelligence information and for other purposes.” Congress and Bush are casting out a wide surveillance net, with the aid of AT&T, Verizon, and other telecommunications companies, to gather information against US citizens without warrant using the fullest range of technological information gathering techniques. This amendment nullifies FISA by amending it. Section 105B states that the DNI and Attorney General may for periods of up to one year authorize the acquisition of foreign intelligence information concerning persons reasonably believed to be outside the US. This is subject to the review of the FISA court, but if it is secret who will know? “Reasonably believed” is vague enough to allow spying on US citizens on US soil, which following the Bush government’s past policies will occur.
The “Protect America Act 2007” has a sunset date of six months after Bush signed it on 5 August 2007. But again, past history has taught us that Congress will keep the electronic surveillance act intact. Laws for the terrorist Bush are unnecessary obstacles in his drive for as much economic and political power he can garner. He has stated that his job would be easier if he were a dictator, and he emphatically reiterates that he does not actually have to follow any law; so assurances by him or his criminal gang that they maintain their good faith is a subterfuge. To guarantee he received his expanded authority, both parties in the Senate agreed to require sixty (60) votes for passage, rather than the usual two-thirds (2/3) vote necessary to pass. The vote was not surprisingly 60-28. It went on to the House where it passed easily—an indication of the fact that this legislation is not just the child of a crazy father but a bipartisan policy expressing the elites’ wishes and aims. By the way, the telecommunications companies will receive immunity for their willing or forced cooperation.
In an interesting and significant testing of interoperability, for five days (7-11 August) northwest Iowa provided a training ground to implement all the laws and directives in place for suspension of the constitution and decreeing martial law. F-16’s comprised of the Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Nebraska Air National Guard flew surveillance and support for ground troops of the Iowa Army National Guard. Helicopters loaded and unloaded troops on specific missions or flying wounded to hospitals. AWACS jets gathered communications from above. This is the first field test of its kind on American soil. Remember, these air and army Guard units have spent tours of duty in Iraq and are now honing and focusing skills learned there on Americans. “In combat you do this all the time…we need to be more effective in exercising that in a very practical sense here at home,” says Lieutenant Colonel Greg Hapgood. It’s not likely al-Qaida will attack the corn country of northwest Iowa. In typical Orwellian doublespeak Hapgood utters, “It’s not war games, but a joint exercise that tests different skills used in combat”, like having F-16’s support a soldier on the ground in Iowa. This was a realistic test of interoperability.
For the past six years the government has not secured our rights but, instead, has become destructive of them. It is our right to abolish this rogue government and institute a new society based upon Inclusive Democracy, i.e., the equal distribution of political, social, and economic power. Today, the System of the market economy and representative ‘democracy’ reproduces inequality. This reflects the crisis in the mounting decline in meaningful jobs, quality of life, and increases in crime and murder rates. In a previous article in April I wrote about the presence on the streets of Paterson not only of the local police, but also County, State and Federal police, and 24 hrs. a day various SWAT teams on duty. Since June we have seen unmarked cars from Pennsylvania and New York patrolling the streets also. These new and other state patrols are troubling. After 9/11 state police were allowed to move across state borders if they were following a "suspect", but now it seems they can patrol our cities looking for "suspects".
What is more disconcerting is that now all these "first responders" can talk on the same communication frequency, thereby placing them in direct communication with each other. Before 9/11 these agencies did not cross county, city or state borders. They had to relinquish their authority at the border and the authorities of those areas would take over the chase. In other words they did not have interoperability. About a month ago Passaic County sheriffs were following a "drug suspect" into another county (Bergen) and into New York going across the George Washington Bridge following the suspect upstate and finally arresting him there. Bergen County sheriffs and New York State police also took part in the pursuit. We can see on the local level interoperability is not just for emergencies, but it seems it is used in non-emergencies and is now part of normal law enforcement.
What is even more frightful is that all these agencies are trained by the Pentagon and FBI (which before 9/11 they were not), and are effectively paramilitaries that can now do whatever they want and will come out in full force whenever Bush or his successor declares martial law. All these criminals need is the opportunity.
 In Paterson, NJ six of these warning systems have been placed throughout the city with the capacity to create a variety of debilitating sounds along with issuing verbal commands.
 Same as note 1.
 see T. Fotopoulos, “The Global ‘War’ of the Transnational Elite”, Democracy and Nature, vol. 8, no.2, July 2002. and T. Fotopoulos, “Iraq: The New Criminal ‘War’ of the Transnational Elite”, Democracy and Nature, vol. 9, no.2, July 2003.
 ibid. p. 10.
 ibid., p. 32.
 Alexander MacInnis, “Poverty rises in Passaic County, Paterson”, Herald News, 8/29/07.