by Roland C. Eyears
Editor's Notes: It has been
several years since this column was penned, however with the recent events
in New York and Washington, we felt compelled to share this information with
our readers. Chalk it up as something to think about.
I already know that this message doesn't
'exactly' fall within MILCOM's instructions, but the Federal Emergency
Management Agency (FEMA) is, in reality, a paramilitary organization
that arrives when there is a disaster, regardless of cause.
For those interested in monitoring FEMA, I
wanted simply to provide some background on this federal agency which
just so happens to have their southeastern regional headquarters next to
my building. Being an amateur (KE4UQZ) I found another federal employee
who is also an amateur! When I was on active duty with the Army (16
years total) I found out much of what went on within FEMA. Scary stuff
in terms of our Constitution and Bill of Rights! Especially many of
their operation and contingency plans of which are highly classified.
Many of their plans are 'Code-Word
I won't go into further details on what this type of information is.
Suffice it to say that it is information that is limited only to a very,
very few within FEMA. The classifications of their plans are:
Confidential, Secret, and Top Secret. I have a real problem with an
agency such as FEMA having and generating information at those
As an example, why does a flood area need
clean-up plan that is classified Secret? I use to see it time after
time. The below information is a function statement only to give you a
better idea of what this agency's mission is all about, and generally
how they go about conducting these missions. I already know I'm going to
get 'Hate-Mail' over this message and I would appreciate you saving
these types of messages for another day.
All intelligence is good intelligence.
Last year (1966), America was treated to the
heavily hyped, blockbuster hit movie 'Independence Day,' which was no more
than a third-rate, feel-good production in which an alien invasion was
repelled by a president of questionable ability as a trusting populace
watched and hoped.
The disaster theme has been carried even further by several widely promoted
offerings such as 'Twister,' 'Volcano,' and the TV miniseries 'Earthquake,'
based on experiences in California. In February of this year, the television
miniseries 'Asteroid' was shown on NBC, following a months-long barrage of
In the first few minutes of this four-hour drama, a primary hero was
He was the one man who had the power to marshal
the resources needed to save the Earth. He was the Director of FEMA,
the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
How do you spell
In 1984, Davenport, Iowa, suffered a '100-year flood' with the downtown area
under several feet of water.
The people had chosen not to build protection
against the Mississippi River, citing $20 million cost and concerns that a
flood wall would block a scenic view of the river. Underlying their decision
may have been a hope that if losses were massive enough, a benevolent
federal government would rescue them. And so it came to pass, they begged
part of a $10 billion bailout package. FEMA got the credit.
Emergencies and disasters, major and minor, occur every day. So shouldn't a
caring federal parent protect and rebuild? On the surface, that seemed to be
the thinking of President Richard M. Nixon when his administration conceived
the beginnings of FEMA.
For a generation, the government and the people had
been concerned with invasion, and then nuclear attack.
As those threats ebbed and the Cold War era
passed, the violent demonstrations attendant to the Vietnam War caused Nixon
to refocus emergency powers inward. Domestic unrest was the target; the
American people were thereafter to be seen as a greater threat.
Those who thought a president's power to be closely limited received a shock
when, in the early 1970s, Nixon froze all wages and prices in a doomed
attempt to break an inflationary spiral. Ironically, the agency which
preferred to remain low profile had its 'outing' with Florida's Hurricane
Andrew in 1992. It did not show itself to be very responsive, partly due to
the waiting period for local and state governments to appropriate their 25
percent share of funds. Three days after the hurricane, Dade County 'still
had not received adequate aid.'
Some critics called FEMA inept and useless and
suggested that disaster aid be handled by the military.
The 'Doomsday Establishment' dates back to the day in 1949 when the Soviets
detonated an atomic device. By the following year, the concept of
'Continuity of Government' (COG) had taken hold, based on the logical
premise that an enemy must know that a nuclear strike would leave our
government sufficiently intact to retaliate and to continue to govern.
To enable the highly classified 'COG' program, a
number of agencies such as the federal Emergency Broadcast System were
formed, later to be consolidated into FEMA.
The day came when great concern was expressed
over the layers of FEMA operations personnel which had been inserted between
the president and, without exception, all other federal agencies.
It was in that postwar era that construction began on the top-secret luxury
bunker beneath the Greenbriar Resort in West Virginia. Hollowed out of the
Blue Ridge Mountains was the giant underworld at Mount Weather, built to
house the president, his cabinet and the Supreme Court justices.
Long gone is the day when President Eisenhower's
motorcade, speeding towards this Strangelovian bunker, was stalled by a pig
farmer's truck on a country road in Virginia. Mount Weather was barely the
beginning. In fact, it is currently undergoing massive expansion. That and
over 50 more subterranean installations are today under the cloak of FEMA.
In his comprehensive book, 'Underground Bases and Tunnels,' published in
1995, Dr. Richard Sauder detailed the
existence of hundreds of subterranean installations, some vast in scope.
Quite a number of official publications, such as the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers' 'Utilization of Nuclear Power Plants in Underground
Installations' were found which confirm the existence of such systems.
A 1985 report, 'Literature
Survey of Underground Construction Methods for Application to Hardened
Facilities,' produced by the Corps of Engineers,
concluded that the technology to construct such bases has been in place for
some time. The only problem has been financial. In view of the substantial
increases in military budgets during the Reagan and Bush years, funding
shortages ended in the 1980s.
Rand Corp., a major defense contractor, has been a major player since
its founding in 1948. For years, this firm studied prospective sites for
underground facilities and coordinated the efforts of government and private
industry to effect construction.
A three-volume report issued by the Corps in 1964, 'Feasibility of
Constructing Large Underground Cavities,' identified 12 recommended sites
around the country. It was, however, pointed out that there is no area in
which massive underground centers cannot be built.
Not to be left out, the U.S. Navy operates its own 'undergrounds,' as they
are often called. One is reportedly located at Sugar Grove, W. Va., from
where it allegedly eavesdrops on microwave communications.
U.S. News & World Report stated in a 1989 article that FEMA and the
Pentagon control some 50 underground command posts designated as possible
refuges for the president in time of national emergency. Specifically
mentioned were the giant facility at
Mount Weather, near Bluemont, W.V., and its alternative at Raven
Rock, also known as the Ritchie Facility, near the Pennsylvania-Maryland
border. Many of these facilities are equipped to independently support
hundreds of persons for months.
Some evidence exists that the White House sits on a complex underground
installation, constructed in secret over many years. One reliable source
relates being escorted to the '17th level' to deliver documents. It was his
strong impression at the time that he had not reached the bottom.
Dr. Sauder has written of federal officials who stated that from the
1970s a resident, parallel government was in place in the Mount Weather
facility. These officials stated that all major federal departments and
agencies were represented. The senior officials held cabinet-level rank and
were addressed by subordinates as 'Mr. Secretary.'
Perhaps more disturbing is the claim that these
mirror-image leaders were not bound by conventional terms of office and
overlapped administrations under COG.
Supplementing Mount Weather are said to be 96 satellite relocation centers
within the so-called 'Federal Arc,' that is, within 300 miles of D.C.
Jack Anderson wrote in The Washington
Post in 1991 of the,
'$5 billion network of bunkers filled with
high-tech communications equipment at secret locations around the
At Mount Pony, Culpepper, Va., is the
140,000-square-foot underground bunker of the Federal Reserve System.
Constructed in the late 1960s, it is entirely self-sufficient, including
cold storage for the deceased. Reportedly, the Fed stores $5 billion in
greenbacks there against the need to reissue.
A Time magazine cover story in August of 1992 alleged that Mount Pony was
being phased out due to 'obsolescence of mission.' This has been described
as government disinformation.
Dr. Sauder has uncovered authorities who seriously propose bunkers of
impressive depth and size. Both the Defense Nuclear Agency and Los Alamos
National Laboratory have discussed facilities to 6,000 feet underground.
A 1984 front-page article in the New York Times
featured a plan to build a massive tunnel housing a missile system,
presumably in the western states, which would run 400 miles at a depth of
2,500 to 3,500 feet. A joint report published in 1988 by the U.S. Committee
on Rock Mechanics and the U.S. National Commit-tee on Tunneling Technology
proposed a missile system housed at depths of 3,000 to 8,000 feet.
A 1981 report by the U.S. National Committee on Tunneling Technology
projected as much as 20 million cubic meters of earth and rock to be removed
between 1985 and 1995, exclusive of routine civil construction involving the
Corps of Engineers.
A point to dwell on is that those underground facilities with which FEMA is
not today directly involved will fall under its control the moment a
national emergency is declared.
Several years ago at a cost of $20 million, a Texas
oil baron built a residential complex complete with a 60-bed underground
hospital at Georgetown, near Austin. When he became financially insolvent,
the complex was lost to a savings and loan which was subsequently taken over
by unidentified interests. Today, that institution's door is guarded by
armed security. Several months ago, FEMA bought the property at auction with
our tax dollars.
Questions keep arising concerning the agency's 'bunker mentality.'
Who is to be protected? And from whom?
Certainly, it cannot be the people who would be
sheltered. That leaves top government officials and the owners of our
country. A full scale nuclear attack has become highly improbable, and a
conventional invasion is out of the question.
That leaves but one possibility: FEMA's
underworld has been created to keep
elite safe from the people.
Quiet speculation has built over time regarding the true purposes and
practices of FEMA, but there have been scant glimpses at the agency's black
ops. In June 1983, Senate investigators became aware of a series of C-130
and C-140 flights destined for Texas. Flight times for these aircraft,
together with the installation of troop carrier seats, suggested the secret
transport of soldiers into Central America. When answers were demanded, FEMA
invoked 'continuity of government' and refused comment. The agency had
placed itself above Congress, and not even the Senate Intelligence Committee
could determine what was happening.
One attempt at an internal audit revealed that FEMA had spent a large,
unspecified amount of money on electrical installations in the Golden
Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco.
Beyond a mention of COG, the agency established
to assist in time of floods and earthquakes would explain nothing.
The Birth of FEMA
If FEMA has a predecessor document,
it must be
Executive Order 11490 signed by Richard M. Nixon on Oct. 28,
1969. In consolidating emergency functions, this massive 40-page fiat dealt
with 21 executive orders and two Defense Mobilization Orders.
The document describes, in part, proposals to 'develop plans and procedures
for the provision of logistical support to members of foreign forces, their
employees and dependents as may be present in the United States under terms
of bilateral or multilateral agreements which authorize such support in the
event of a national emergency... Further declarations found in Nixon's 11490
cover labor conscription and control of the money supply.
In evidence is Department of the Army Memorandum marked 1994 ATKO-KM, dated
July 1994 and issued out of Fort Monroe, Va.: 'SUBJECT: Draft Army
Regulation on Civilian Inmate Labor Program.'
It specifically calls for comments on procedures
'to establish civilian prison camps on installations.' Obviously, some
people do not believe the Posse Comitatus Act (delegating authority
to county governments in the late 1800s) carries any weight or will be
around much longer.
Those who think it can't happen here should restudy recent American history.
During World War II, tens of thousands of our citizens, primarily
Japanese-Americans, were interned in deplorable conditions while their
property was legally stolen from them.
Based on Executive Order 3066 signed in December
1941, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, concentration camps were hastily
built in the western deserts as these people, most native-born, were herded
together. Japanese-Americans not on the West Coast were relatively
untouched. Yet during the entire war, there occurred not a single documented
instance of spying or sabotage by Americans of Japanese ancestry.
It is interesting that Executive Order 11490 was not issued as a White House
press release, nor was it printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential
Documents. Due to reasons of workability, a cloak of secrecy was not
feasible. However, this was not a document which was supposed to be readily
Zbigniew Brzezinski, cofounder of the
Trilateral Commission and National
Security Council Advisor to President Jimmy Carter in the late 1970s, wrote
the master plan together with NSC staffer Samuel Huntington. Four years
earlier in Kyoto, Japan, Huntington had delivered a disturbing paper
advocating the end to democracy and its replacement with a 'crisis
management' form of government.
Executive Order 12148, dated July 20, 1979, retroactively
made effective July 15, gave FEMA life. That fiat revoked 13 previously
issued Executive Orders, amended 19 others, and cited as authority 13
It should be noted that the great bulk of executive orders deal with matters
outside the operations of the executive branch. These presidential edicts
become law when published in the Federal Register. It has been the style of
some presidents to cite specific legislation as their authority to issue
certain executive orders. As de facto legislation without debate and
oversight, they are quite unconstitutional. Yet, they stand completely
unchallenged by Congress and the high court, the two supposedly
countervailing branches of government.
Moreover, much of the enabling legislation is plainly unconstitutional and
should have no force of law. The reality is that the most marvelous legal
document ever to spring from the mind of man, our U.S. Constitution, has
been rendered nearly inoperative. Fully realizing that a legitimate bill to
establish FEMA would never survive the legislative process "given agency
turf battles and serious concerns of a handful of congressmen" Carter
created the monster with a stroke of his pen.
During the 1980s when FEMA was assembling the cumbersome regulations for
which bureaucrats are famous, a standard complaint was that 'FEMA doesn't
After an unsuccessful appeal of a costly
restriction, Janet Queen of the Home Builders Association of Central Arizona
'A lot of technical data has been given.
There's been no answer as to why that information has been discredited.
They have only stated it was not accepted.'
A consensus was building that the only thing
FEMA was not much good was at focusing on its primary mandate.
had improved by 1993 when FEMA dealt with flooding across the Midwest. The
agency was lauded for moving swiftly, without waiting for guidance from the
state or Washington.
The reason cited:
the director, James Lee Witt, native
of Wildcat Hollow and 14 years the Director for Emergency Services for the
State of Arkansas, was the sole political appointee.
FEMA's duties and responsibilities have expanded geometrically over the
The agency's name is now found on numerous mortgage documents,
especially if land on a flood plain is involved. Flood insurance is a field
which has been taken over by the agency. In 1992 FEMA funded the New England
States Earthquake Consortium together with insurance industry groups. In
many instances where people were unable to qualify for low-interest loans or
reconstruction assistance, free grants of public money were made by the
How better to build gratitude while providing
disincentives to prepare? In the Midwest, FEMA launched a prototype
Geographic Information System to mix commercial and custom software designed
to map and analyze data.
FEMA is no stranger to the art and science of relocating people, whether or
not they want to go. In 1983, a chemical compound thought to cause cancer,
dioxin, was found in soil in and around the community of Times Beach, Mo.
FEMA engineered a federal buyout and removal of the town's 2,400 residents.
But what is the true nature of this seemingly all-purpose agency, which has
been given responsibility to save us from quakes, refugee situations, toxic
spills, excess rain, home heating emergencies, forest fires, urban riots and
the like? This parallel government, as some have termed it, makes no public
disclosures and operates largely off budget.
Executive Order 12148 authorizes a president or his designate, the director
of FEMA, to assume virtually unlimited powers in the event of a civil
emergency, defined as 'any accidental, natural, man-caused, or wartime
emergency or threat thereof, which causes or may cause substantial injury or
harm to the population or substantial damage to or loss of property.
Translated, it means FEMA can intervene 'at will.'
Although the director of FEMA was originally subject to oversight by the
secretary of defense and the National Security Council, such was not the
case for long. One day in the early 1980s, a colleague of this writer
attended a joint meeting on the bottom of a five-level deep FEMA
installation near Battle Creek, Mich. As the regional director lectured, a
USAF colonel half-dozed. But when the speaker explained that in the event of
a major civil emergency, the Joint Chiefs of Staff would report to the
director of FEMA, the full bird instantly came to life. Eyes shining like
those of an eagle, he nearly came out of his chair.
By January 1994, when a major quake hit California, the agency had undergone
a sweeping reorganization for greater efficiency. After the 750-bed Jewish
Home for the Aging of Greater Los Angeles was destroyed (total injuries: one
broken hip), FEMA supplied 70 percent of rebuilding costs. At $8 billion the
disaster relief package was the largest in history.
In San Francisco, the American Conservatory
Theater was in shambles; FEMA contributed $9.3 million of the $21.5 million
needed to rebuild. The agency then pledged 90 percent of repair costs to
communities damaged by the Northridge Earthquake, plus another $44 million
to rebuild the state's Palo Alto campus in Northern California.
Media lapdogs attributed these successes to the sensitivity of FEMA Director
James Lee Witt. In February 1996, Bill Clinton elevated the director's
position to cabinet status.
The genie had emerged from the smoked-glass
Budgets & Guesses
Between 1982 and 1992 Congress visibly appropriated to FEMA $243 million for
disaster relief and $2.9 billion for 'other purposes.' Informed sources
place black operations spending at 12 times the published disaster relief
figures. Earlier estimates put FEMA's annual appropriation at something
above $3 billion, however amounts are buried in Department of Defense 'black
operations' requests for funds which are submitted without explanation.
'Seeking Help of Federal Government' was the title of a widely circulated
news article which purported to prove that the commercial market was not up
to the task of providing adequate loss coverage.
In mid-1995, FEMA made the news by requesting a
$184 million federal loan while promising a three-year payback. It is a
well-settled point of law that the notes and obligations of one federal
entity to another carry no legal weight. This could only have been a clever
attempt to portray the agency as not excessively funded, mimic more
conventional agencies, and appear to be an essential service of a caring
Such amounts fail to meet the lowest level of plausible deniability, even
allowing for spin-off of a small number of operations to the Department of
Defense as recommended by the National Academy of Public Administration's
1993 review. The academy further estimated that 27 percent of the previous
year's allocations had gone into a dark hole.
It has been reported that FEMA distributed $3.4 billion in aid in 1994,
while the states dispensed $625 million.
On Feb. 10, 1997, the FEMA news desk released the agency's Fiscal 1998
Request to Congress covering Oct. 1, 1997, to Sept. 30, 1998. The total
request for $3.3 billion covered a projected 9.7 million man-hours, and
includes operating accounts of $374 million. Of the $2.8 billion earmarked
for the Disaster Relief Fund, almost $2.4 billion was to address real and
estimated requirements for 1997 and prior years. Additionally, a contingency
fund of $5.8 billion was re-quested to cover variety of anticipated
disasters without specific targeting.
The operating accounts contain an allocation of $6.2 million to address
certain aspects of the president's counterterrorism initiatives related to
1997. While other monies might later be shifted into this function, the
request provides basic notice and justification. FEMA heralds the fact that
its request for operating accounts represents a net decrease of $15.2
million from an earlier estimate.
In its fiscal 1998 request, FEMA offered what could most politely be termed
a gratuitous statement, to wit:
'Over the past 25 to 30 years, the nation's
exposure to losses from natural hazards has increased dramatically...'
This is apparently meant to loosen purse strings and prevent criticism of
agency overreach. However, it prompts two questions. One, has our building
technology regressed so as to make our infrastructure more damage prone?
Two, are we being told that vis-a-vis all recorded history, the last quarter
century in America has sustained most of the bad weather?
If the '12 factor' relating to black ops is applied, one might see true FEMA
budget topping $33 billion. Who knows?
Fourteen congressional committees have claimed limited oversight. However,
it is generally admitted that such reviews are rubber-stamp exercises. Can
FEMA's real focus be on natural calamities? The congressional watchdog unit
known as the General Accounting Office conducted as close a study as
possible in early 1992. The finding was that less than 10 percent of FEMA's
staff was assigned to deal with major storms, hurricanes and the like.
Until media pressure forced the agency to disclose the existence of its
Mobile Emergency Response Support fleet, not a single MERS had ever been
employed in a disaster. These 300 awesome power unit/communications command
vehicles capable of self-sustainment for over a month had been deemed far
too important to use in the agency's stated mission - that of helping
No rational person would deny the need of a society for a government.
Watchdogging it, however, is a different matter. Congress has done a
particularly poor job of oversight. Even if members of Congress do try to
become informed about a program, they may be denied. At his discretion, the
Secretary of Defense may waive his obligation to brief all but eight senior
members of Congress about a secret program.
A responsibility that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
takes most seriously is insuring the survivability of the federal government
in the event of nuclear attack. The seven-level deep facility at Mount
Weather near Berryville, Va., built during the Cold War years, has been
expanded and is lavishly maintained by and for FEMA executives and national
officials. One source reports that the agency has spent approximately 94
percent of its budget not on disasters, but on this and dozens of other
mostly secret under-ground installations.
The cloak of national security enables bureaucrats, buffoons, and plunderers
to conjure up all manner of schemes and bury all kinds of mistakes and
crimes. For example, a dozen years ago military thinkers were told to list
priceless Pentagon treasures which should be relocated prior to attack.
Selections included portraits of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Some forms of irreverence never change.
One snow-stormy day in the capital during the
late 1980s, a bureaucrat assigned minor functions at Mount Weather decided
to conduct her own exercise in prestige. From her purse she unsheathed a
"priority ID card" which instructed all persons to expedite her journey.
Expecting to jump to the head of the line, she flashed this credential at a
He laughed at her and pointed to the end of the
queue. "Oh well," she probably thought, "I'm sure everyone would show me
more respect if a real nuclear war were raging."
In the words of Dr. Henry Kliemann, political scientist at Boston
"Those words enunciated by President Gerald
Executive Order 11921, were understood by FEMA to mean that one
day they would be in charge of the country.
As these bureaucrats saw it, FEMA's real mission was to wait, prepare and then take over when some
'situation' seemed serious enough to turn the United States into a
A closer look at one of FEMA's most influential directors might be
In 1981, President Ronald Reagan appointed as FEMA director
Louis O. Giuffrida, a security-obsessed general in the California National Guard, and veteran of World War II and the resultant
Cold War-divided Berlin.
While attending the Army War College in 1970, Giuffrida authored a paper advocating the declaration of Martial Law in the
event of widespread uprisings by black militants, together with the roundup
and incarceration of at least 21 million "American Negroes" into "assembly
centers or relocation camps."
Deeply disturbed by widespread protests of the Vietnam War, Reagan did not
view the participants as young citizens taking to the streets to petition
their government, but as dangerous elements of civil unrest. He established
the California Specialized Training Institute in 1971 and installed Giuffrida as its director. During his 10 years at CSTI, more than 27,000
police officials from every state in the union plus 25 foreign nations
"The General," as he insisted on being
addressed, personally taught the week-long, highly intense course in civil
disorder management. Among course topics were contemporary insurgency,
terrorism, control force intelligence and mass arrest procedures.
In the course manual, Giuffrida wrote of Martial
"It requires no proclamation, although one
is generally made... Martial rule comes into existence upon a
determination (not a declaration) by the senior military commander that
civil government must be replaced because it is no longer functioning
Out of CSTI came the modern Special Weapons and
Tactics (SWAT) team, admittedly an adaptation of long-range
search-and-destroy patrol techniques applied to urban America.
This is not to suggest that SWAT teams should
not exist within each and every major police department. Rather, it is to
illustrate the mindset of FEMA's director towards "combat patrols" versus
"The General" further wrote:
"Legitimate violence is integral to our form
of government. For it is from this source that we can continue to purge
Plainly, Giuffrida was not referring to foreign
In 1982 President Reagan issued
National Security Directive 58 (kin to an
Executive Order) which enabled Robert "Bud" McFarlane and Oliver
North to use the National Security Council to secretly redirect
FEMA from an inept, poorly conceived, obscure agency into its current mode.
By 1984, the biannual "REX exercises" had fallen under the auspices of FEMA.
President Reagan signed Presidential Directive
Number 54 specifically authorizing REX-84 as formulated by Lt. Colonel
Oliver North. Whereas REX-82 had been conducted in conjunction with a
Pentagon war game termed "Proud Saber," REX-84 was so highly classified that
special metal security doors were installed on the fifth floor of the
agency's Washington headquarters building. Even long-term officials of the
Civil Defense Office were barred.
The stated intention of
REX-84 was to test the readiness of FEMA and those
elements under its command to assume military control in the event of
widespread civil unrest concurrent with a significant U.S. military
incursion into Central America, specifically the invasion of Nicaragua
planned by North and his accomplices in the National Security Council.
An internal memo written by the Joint Chiefs of Staff the previous December
first described in considerable detail the steps involved in calling out the
troops in response to an undefined national emergency. Listed were
exceptions to the
Posse Comitatus Act, which prohibits the U.S. military
from law enforcement activities within our national boundaries.
Authority cited was,
"the inherent legal right of the United
States Government to ensure the preservation of public order... by force
if necessary," a murky and inaccurate assertion struck down by the U.S.
Supreme Court in 1952 when President Harry Truman seized the steel
REX-84 assumed a mass of some 400,000 refugees
streaming into the U.S. from across the Mexican border. Within a six-hour
period, FEMA and its subordinate agency, the Immigration and Naturalization
Service (INS), were to apprehend and detain such persons in 10 detention
centers established on active or former military bases scattered around the
Strategists have privately raised several troubling questions about this
Could that many people physically rush the
U.S.-Mexico border within the stated time frame?
Considering the rough,
foreboding terrain typical along the border and the extent to which refugees
could disperse, how logical is it to attempt to roundup 400,000 persons, who
have very little to lose, within six hours?
If such was the true intent of
the exercise, why would not the concentration camps sorry, the "detention
centers" be set up near the border?
"The Spotlight," a long-standing populist newspaper based in Washington,
D.C., exposed REX-84 that year in a series of investigative reports which
uncovered plans to stir into the mix the arrest of dissidents and "potential
Strenuously opposing Rex-84 was William French Smith, who had been serving
as U.S. attorney general since 1981. He was a long-time confidante of Ronald
Reagan, as well as his personal attorney and a member of the "kitchen
cabinet" that engineered Reagan's rise to the presidency. Smith criticized
stipulations for the declaration of martial law, turning control of all
governmental functions over to FEMA, suspension of the U.S. Constitution,
and the appointment of military commanders to run all state and local
Wallace Stickney, George Bush's FEMA director, has stated that he was not
given access to the agency's most sensitive plans. He relates an instance
wherein a congressional appropriations committee questioned his staff about
a particular expenditure.
"I was aware funding was being passed
through but didn't know where it was going nor did Congress, which
demanded to know."
Generally, when the "doomsday budget" was
questioned, says Stickney, national security was mentioned, and "it was
overlooked by gentlemen's agreement."
Miami Herald Exclusive
On July 5, 1987, the front page of the Miami Herald led with an extensively
researched article on what the lead counsel for the Senate Iran-Contra
Committee called "a secret government within a government."
It was the conclusion of many administration officials and congressional
investigators that from the first days of the Reagan administration, a
parallel government operated outside the established cabinet and department
lines of authority. Oliver North was found to be a key figure in the group,
which conducted activities through a network of colleagues who acted under
their directions, but did not officially report to them. From time to time,
cabinet members or top aides detected side channel operations.
However, their efforts to question such projects were ineffectual, partly
due to concerns that the president's wishes might be involved. Indeed, a
number of ranking sources confirmed Mr. Reagan's knowledge of and
participation in a number of these unofficial programs.
The Herald went on to name Attorney General Edwin Meese, CIA Director
William Casey and National Security Advisor William Clark, all close
friends and advisors to the president, as major players in "the secret
Operating out of the Old Executive Office Building most of the time, North
worked closely with FEMA to redraw national contingency plans dealing with
nearly everything from nuclear attack to civil insurrection. The martial-law
component was reflected in a June 30, 1982, memo written by John
Brinkerhoff, deputy to Director Guiffrida. The text was reminiscent of
Guiffrida's controversial paper written at the War College in Carlisle, Pa.,
FEMA's action plan included the declaration of martial law, suspension of
the Constitution and aggressive moves against dissenters. A trigger could be
"violent and widespread internal dissent."
This plan and its failure to clearly define a
national crisis caused Attorney General Smith to issue an official protest.
The Herald reported that on Aug. 2, 1984, Smith emphatically expressed to
National Security Advisor Robert "Bud" McFarlane his alarm over FEMA's,
"expansion of the definition of severe
emergency to encompass 'routine' domestic law enforcement emergencies."
Smith openly fumed that FEMA's,
"mobilization exercise scenarios continue to
assign FEMA the responsibility of representing the Department of Justice
and other cabinet agencies at meetings with the president and the
National Security Council during national security emergencies."
Understandably, Smith's resignation was accepted
in early 1984, although he agreed to remain until his successor, the more
flexible Edwin Meese, could gain Senate confirmation.
In the closing days of
his service, Smith wrote,
"This Department and others have repeatedly
raised serious policy and legal objections to the creation of an
'emergency czar' role for FEMA."
It is thought that the courage of Attorney
General Smith and the expose by The Spotlight helped cost Giuffrida his top
In its Oct.17, 1994, issue, The Spotlight published an article titled
"Dictatorial Powers for FEMA" based on Senate bill S. 1697, introduced in
November 1993 by Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.). The bill died without reaching
the Senate floor. But who needs actual legislation anymore? Bill Clinton
accomplished the purposes of the bill and more when he signed Executive
Order 12919 on June 3, 1994.
This executive order cited authority under the Defense Production Act of
1950 and one section of the U.S. Code. Thirteen executive orders were
revoked or amended, definitions were expanded, and more presidential powers
were delegated to the director of FEMA.
Of particular interest is Part VI of
Executive Order 12919.
The head of any FEMA department or agency is empowered to establish an expertise-based
National Defense Executive Reserve. Section 602 authorizes any head,
employ persons of outstanding experience and ability without compensation..."
This writer believes there is an impolite term for that.
Today FEMA commands a vast communications network, technical equipment of
near-Star Wars level, an extensive nationwide system of underground bunkers,
hundreds of refurbished military installations, and easily activated control
of a formidable military force both U.S. and foreign. The agency operates
widely dispersed, newly constructed detention facilities which might be
mistaken for hospitals.
How curious that such activity has become common
at closed military bases. Many include rail spurs in a time when there are
no legitimate commodities with the bulk and weight which would justify rail
hauling. In separate parts of the country, telephone-intercept vans
capturing signals have been traced to FEMA. With computers programmed to
lock in on certain words and phrases, recording devices are triggered.
People have observed mounted on 15- to 25-foot high towers or utility poles
near intersections what appear to weather sensors, ostensibly to provide
weather data enabling efficient helicopter operations. They will generally
include a wind velocity spinner, mirrors, precipitation detector, and
canister all unpainted metal.
These are Automatic Weather Observation
System (AWOS) terminals which transmit findings via cellular phones.
Just as interesting are the mobile AWOS terminals, typically mounted in
pick-up truck beds or on bumper/frames, standing 12 to 13 feet high so as to
clear bridges and overpasses. It is true that such a system could be used,
for example, to help evacuate disaster victims. Might it also assist in the
clandestine pick-up of dissident prisoners? A successful exercise in exactly
this type of operation took place in Columbus, Ohio, in the spring of 1994.
The excuse: drug busts.
If the AWOS devices are legitimate, why do the installers and the Scan
Corp., manufacturer of the system, refuse to comment?
Defense Resources Act, Section 1001, states in part: "Whenever the President
shall deem that the public safety demands it, he may cause to be censored
under such rules and regulations as he from time to time may establish,
communications by mail, cable, radio, television or other means of
transmission crossing the borders of the United States."
In that vein, FEMA "Plan D" is a 36-page document dealing with the direct
takeover of all telecommunications in the event of an "emergency."
Members of the Department of Energy, another federal agency which maintains
its own formidable police force, have been seen planting charges deep in the
natural fissures of Yellowstone National Park. One or more nuclear
explosions in these locations could alter magma levels, leading to violent
eruptions from long-dormant volcanoes. Under the right circumstances, such
seemingly natural emergencies could justify mobilization of FEMA.
Civil rights tensions ran high in the 1960s, based on generations-old
injustices and exacerbated by such special interests as the American
Communist Party. The Watts riots of 1965 in Los Angeles were duplicated on a
smaller scale in Detroit, New Orleans, Newark and many other American
cities. The national government was not ready to move, but the wake-up call
In April and May of 1992, Los Angeles was the home of the greatest civil
disturbances since the American Civil War. The Rodney King-related riots saw
more than 20,000 arrests, widespread looting as thousands upgraded their
sound systems, more than 100 killed, and thousands of businesses burned. It
is a matter of record that weeks earlier the Revolutionary Communist Party
had been distributing pamphlets predicting these riots. Further, as the
nation watched, the L.A. Police Department "stood down," according to their
Investigators with the L.A. Fire Department have confirmed that a
significant percentage of the city's thousands of fires were the result of
sophisticated incendiary devices well beyond the capability of the
Has there been a modern instance of martial law in the United States? Hours
after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Hawaii was placed under
According to law and long-standing court
decisions, martial law must be lifted as soon as the emergency has passed
and civil authorities are capable of functioning. Military minds and
possessors of unbridled power being what they are, martial law persisted
until 1944 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that its continuation long
after supporting conditions expired was an unconstitutional abuse of
Martial law was in effect for more than a week
in L.A. Had the Rodney King riots, which spread to 166 other cities,
continued to escalate, the possibility was strong that a national state of
emergency would have been declared, complete with suspension of habeas
corpus and the U.S. Constitution.
Apparently, the time was not ripe.