There have been numerous troubling signs that George W. Bush desires to use force, military force, within the country and a new publicly available legal memo outlines the justification for such action. Some fetid right wingers have always wanted to repeal Posse Comitatus, the law which says the government cannot use military force within the nation. This Act is one of th epillars of our free society and means the Army cannot set up check points and demand your ID papers whenever they please, seize your home or other assets for their use, and rule by force.
Bush has mentioned several times his interest in repealing this restriction and has actually set up a domestic, North American military command structure. The 2007 DoD authorization bill allows Bush to suspend the constitution and declare martial law in the case of an emergency like 9/11. He has continuously eroded our constitutional civil rights and this newly released memo simply shreds what remains of the Fourth Amendment.
Be scared, by this, very scared. These actions go so far beyond what any other Administration or President has tried to do in terms of acquiring and wielding unprecedented power in the White House. This is on a scale never before seen in this country.
This memo was written on October 23, 2001 by the Office of Legal Counsel and said the military could seize your house, someone specifically prohibited by the Fourth Amendment, in the case of "further large-scale terrorist activities." Of course it's up to George W. Bush to define that term. The Washington Post notes:
The Fourth Amendment assertion is one of several far-reaching legal arguments revealed by the disclosure Tuesday of a 2003 Justice Department memo that authorized harsh military interrogations. In its footnotes, asides and central text, that 81-page memo asserted nearly unlimited presidential powers during a time of war, although the Justice Department later said the military should not rely on its reasoning.
The document disclosed, for example, that the administration's top lawyers had declared that the president has unfettered power to seize oceangoing ships as commander in chief; that Congress has no ability to pass legislation governing the interrogations of enemy combatants; and that federal laws prohibiting assault and other crimes did not apply to military interrogators who questioned al-Qaeda captives.
One section discussed to what extent the president might be allowed to legally maim a prisoner, such as through the use of a "scalding, corrosive, or caustic substance." A footnote argued that Fifth Amendment guarantees of due-process rights "do not address actions the Executive takes in conducting a military campaign against the Nation's enemies."
These are not actions allowed or condoned in a free and open society. The Fourth Amendment requires that the government honor your home and property unless they convince a judge, with probable cause, that a warrant is needed to do so. Bush has completely shattered this basis of law with the consent of Congress through the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act and memos by lawyers such as this. These have been the basis for extralegal searches via wiretap, national security letters and the sort of banking surveillance which caught New York Governor Elliott Spitzer. Bush has claimed these new powers would only be used for national security investigations and only used to prevent terrorism but I doubt Gov. Spitzer would agree they've honored those claims. These unconstitutional searches are being used politically.