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Continuity of Government: Coup d'Etat Authority in America

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Continuity of Government: Coup d'Etat Authority in America - by Stephen Lendman

This article reviews the historical roots and America's current Continuity of Government authority, initially planned and developed by Ronald Reagan. More on that below.

On March 1, 2002, Washington Post writers Barton Gellman and Susan Schmidt headlined, "Shadow Government Is at Work in Secret," saying:

"President Bush has dispatched a shadow government of about 100 senior civilian managers to live and work secretly outside Washington, activating for the first time longstanding plans to ensure survival of federal rule after a catastrophic attack on the nation's capital."

Shortly after 9/11, a classified "Continuity of Operations Plan" (aka "continuity of government") was implemented. Legal documents were then drafted, creating a shadow government in case of a catastrophe, George Bush saying:

"We take the continuity of government issue seriously because our nation was under attack. Until this country has routed out terrorists wherever they hid, we're not safe."

In other words, the plan, like the "war on terror," is open-ended, in violation of the Constitution's Separation of Powers, the document George Bush called "just a goddamn piece of paper," and governed accordingly throughout his tenure, a practice Obama continues. More on that below.

On April 4, 2007, the Bush administration issued a combined White House/Department of Homeland Security (DHS) National Security/Homeland Security Presidential Directive NSPD 51/HSPD 20, extending for one year the 9/11 emergency for the sixth time, and establishing Continuity of Government (COG) procedures under Catastrophic Emergency conditions, defined as:

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"any incident (such as a terrorist attack), regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the US population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions."

COG is then defined as:

"a coordinated effort within the Federal Government's executive branch to ensure that National Essential Functions continue to be performed during a Catastrophic Emergency."

The combined directive gave the president and DHS unprecedented police state powers to declare martial law without congressional approval, and be able to rule extrajudicially, free from constitutional constrains. It also let the vice-president assume dictatorial powers, George Bush left a figurehead by clever wording, saying:

NSPD 51 "shall be implemented in a manner that is consistent with, and facilitates effective implementation of, provisions of the Constitution concerning succession to the Presidency or the exercise of its powers, and the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 (3 U.S.C. 19), with consultation of the Vice President and, as appropriate, others involved. Heads of executive departments and agencies shall ensure that appropriate support is available to the Vice President and others involved as necessary to be prepared at all times to implement those provisions."

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Related to this was Dick Cheney's 2005 "Contingency Plan" in case of another 9/11 type attack, authorizing preemptive measures, including war, against suspected terrorists, individuals and/or sponsor states, depending on who's designated.

COG authority is renewed annually. Thus, on September 10, 2009, the White House extended the Bush administration's 9/11 national emergency, a press release saying:

"CONTINUATION OF THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY WITH RESPECT TO CERTAIN TERRORIST ATTACKS

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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