March 24, 2009
Peter Dale Scott and Dan Hamburg
On 9/11 the Bush administration declared a State of Emergency (SOE), which was formally proclaimed on September 14, 2001, and extended by Bush repeatedly thereafter, most recently on August 28, 2008.1 Under cover of this SOE, Bush secretly enacted many extreme measures, ranging from suspension of habeas corpus to preparations for martial law in America; all these were undertaken as part of secret so-called "Continuity of Government" (COG) procedures associated with the SOE, and first instituted on 9/11.2 and 3
The National Emergencies Act, one of the post-Watergate reforms so detested by Vice-President Cheney, requires specifically that
Not later than six months after a national emergency is declared, and not later than the end of each six-month period thereafter that such emergency continues, each House of Congress shall meet to consider a vote on a joint resolution to determine whether that emergency shall be terminated.
(50 U.S.C. 1622 (2002)4
Last fall one of us appealed on the Internet for the Democrats in Congress to take this statutorily required step, and also to learn what secret COG measures were being enacted under the SOE.5 There was no response.
In February 2009 we sent to officials in Washington the following appeal to consider terminating the State of Emergency. The appeal was sent to President Obama's staff in the White House, and to the staff of Nancy Pelosi, Peter DeFazio, and Dennis Kucinich in Congress. Almost two months have passed, and there has not yet been any response from the addressees.
We are now appealing to the readers of this post to contact their representatives in Congress, and demand that they consider the termination of the State of Emergency, as is required of them by law.
This is the letter sent February 10, 2009 by Peter Dale Scott and Dan Hamburg:
Will Obama and Congress End the State of Emergency?
On September 11, 2001, the government declared a state of emergency. That state of emergency was formally put in writing6 on 9/14/2001 consistent with Section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C.).
The state of emergency has continued in full force and effect from 9/11/01 to the present. It was most recently extended on August 28, 2008 for an additional year:
Notice: Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Certain Terrorist Attacks
Consistent with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C.), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency I declared on September 14, 2001, in Proclamation 7463, with respect to the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, New York, New York, the Pentagon, and aboard United Airlines flight 93, and the continuing and immediate threat of further attacks on the United States.
Because the terrorist threat continues, the national emergency declared on September 14, 2001, and the powers and authorities adopted to deal with that emergency, must continue in effect beyond September 14, 2008. Therefore, I am continuing in effect for an additional year the national emergency I declared on September 14, 2001, with respect to the terrorist threat.
This notice shall be published in the Federal Register and transmitted to the Congress.
GEORGE W. BUSH
THE WHITE HOUSE,
August 28, 2008.
Under a series of Presidential Decision Directives, the Bush administration enacted secret emergency powers, reportedly affecting the U.S. Constitution, which even the members of the House Homeland Security Committee have not been permitted to review.
Congress has a statutory obligation to address this situation. Section 1622(b) of the National Emergencies Act states that: "Not later than six months after a national emergency is declared, and not later than the end of each six-month period thereafter that such emergency continues, each House of Congress shall meet to consider a vote on a joint resolution to determine whether that emergency shall be terminated."
We now have a new President, supported by a new Congress, elected with a campaign promise of "Change." In this changed atmosphere, two questions need to be answered to satisfy the legitimate concerns of the American people:Will President Obama allow the state of national emergency, first declared by President George W. Bush on 9/14/01 and re-declared seven times, to remain in effect?
Will Congress meet their statutory responsibilities under Section 1622(b) of the National Emergencies Act, and meet to determine whether that emergency shall be terminated?
Dan Hamburg, former US Representative (CA-01)
Peter Dale Scott, Professor Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley
Our appeal to readers: Please contact your Representative and Senators (with a copy to the Homeland Security Committee Chairs (contact info below), utilizing this information and requesting a specific response to these two questions. You may also wish to follow up with a phone call to their offices, asking to speak with the staffer who can answer your questions about national emergencies. Submit responses you receive and/or answers to the questions you ask, to firstname.lastname@example.org for posting here. Please also post this appeal to your websites, and forward to your email lists.
Congressman Bennie Thompson, Chairman
House Committee on Homeland Security
176 Ford House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-5876
Fax: (202) 225-5898
Committee Membership Roster (Is your Rep on this Committee?)
Senator Joseph Lieberman, Chairman
Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs
340 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-4041
Fax: (202) 224-9750
Committee Membership Roster(Is your Senator on this Committee?)
1 Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Certain Terrorist Attacks, http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2008/08/20080828-7.html.
2 Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2007), 9-11, 183-87, 210-14, 233-42.
3 Investigation into Whether America is Still a Constitutional Government, www.constitutionally.blogspot.com
4 National Emergencies Act, (50 U.S.C. 1622 (2002)), http://uscode.house.gov/download/pls/50C34.txt
5Peter Dale Scott, "Bush Extends 9/11 National Emergency Yet Again," Global Research, September 4, 2008, http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=10065.
6 Declaration of National Emergency by Reason Of Certain Terrorist Attacks, http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2008/08/20080828-7.html.
More information on National Emergency Powers, from a Congressional Research Report last updated August 30, 2007, is available at OpenCRS.com. A related CRS Report, Martial Law and National Emergency, is available at www.fas.org