The Rise and Fall of Oliver North
[Oliver] North managed to network himself into the highest levels of
the CIA and power centers around the world. There he lied and
boastfully ignored the constitutional process, Bradlee writes.
Yet more terrifying is the plan hatched by North and other Reagan
people in the Federal Emergency Manpower Agency (FEMA): A blueprint
for the military takeover of the United States. The plan called for
FEMA to become ``emergency czar'' in the event of a national emergency
such as nuclear war or an American invasion of a foreign nation. FEMA
would also be a buffer between the president and his cabinet and other
civilian agencies, and would have broad powers to appoint military
commanders and run state and local governments. Finally, it would
have the authority to order suspect aliens into concentration camps
and seize their property.
When then-Attorney General William French Smith got wind of the plan,
he killed it. After Smith left the administration, North and his FEMA
cronies came up with the Defense Resource Act, designed to suspendend
the First Amendment by imposing censorship and banning strikes.
Where was it all heading? The book's answer: ``REX-84 Bravo, a
National Security Decision Directive 52 that would become operative
with the president's declaration of a state of national emergency
concurrent with a mythical U.S. military invasion of an unspecified
Central American country, presumably Nicaragua.''
Bradlee writes that the Rex exercise was designed to test FEMA's
readiness to assume authority over the Department of Defense, the
National Guard in all 50 states, and ``a number of state defense
forces to be established by state legislatures.'' The military would
then be ``deputized,'' thus making an end run around federal law
forbidding military involvement in domestic law enforcement.
Rex, which ran concurrently with the first annual U.S. show of force
in Honduras in April 1984, was also designed to test FEMA's ability to
round up 400,000 undocumented Central American aliens in the United
States and its ability to distribute hundreds of tons of small arms to
``state defense forces.''
Incredibly, REX 84 was similar to a plan secretly adopted by Reagan
while governor of California. His two top henchmen then were Edwin
Meese, who recently resigned as U.S. attorney general, and Louis
Guiffrida, the FEMA director in 1984.
If the review makes you nervous, you should read the book!
--Chip Berlet ** End of text from cdp:mideast.forum **
[PeaceNet forward from AML (ACTIV-L) -- see bottom for more info]
This is the front-page article of the Jan. 16 issue of "The
Guardian," which describes some of the U.S. government's planning
for martial law in the event of the Gulf war. This is truly a
scary scenario that should concern all civil libertarians and
WILL GULF WAR LEAD TO REPRESSION AT HOME?
by Paul DeRienzo and Bill Weinberg
On August 2, 1990, as Saddam Hussein's army was consolidating control
over Kuwait, President George Bush responded by signing two executive
orders that were the first step toward martial law in the United
States and suspending the Constitution.
On the surface, Executive Orders 12722 and 12723, declaring a
"national emergency," merely invoked laws that allowed Bush to freeze
Iraqi assets in the United States.
The International Emergency Executive Powers Act permits the president
to freeze foreign assets after declaring a "national emergency," a
move that has been made three times before -- against Panama in 1987,
Nicaragua in 1985 and Iran in 1979.
According to Professor Diana Reynolds, of the Fletcher School of
Diplomacy at Boston's Tufts University, when Bush declared a national
emergency he "activated one part of a contingency national security
emergency plan." That plan is made up of a series of laws passed since
the presidency of Richard Nixon, which Reynolds says give the
president "boundless" powers.
According to Reynolds, such laws as the Defense Industrial
Revitalization and Disaster Relief Acts of 1983 "would permit the
president to do anything from seizing the means of production, to
conscripting a labor force, to relocating groups of citizens."
Reynolds says the net effect of invoking these laws would be the
suspension of the Constitution.
She adds that national emergency powers "permit the stationing of the
military in cities and towns, closing off the U.S. borders, freezing
all imports and exports, allocating all resources on a national
security priority, monitoring and censoring the press, and warrantless
searches and seizures."
The measures would allow military authorities to proclaim martial law
in the United States, asserts Reynolds. She defines martial law as the
"federal authority taking over for local authority when they are
unable to maintain law and order or to assure a republican form of
A report called "Post Attack Recovery Strategies," about rebuilding
the country after a nuclear war, prepared by the right-wing Hudson
Institute in 1980, defines martial law as dealing "with the control of
civilians by their own military forces in time of emergency."
The federal agency with the authority to organize and command the
government's response to a national emergency is the Federal Emergency
Management Agency (FEMA). This super-secret and elite agency was
formed in 1979 under congressional measures that merged all federal
powers dealing with civilian and military emergencies under one
FEMA has its roots in the World War I partnership between government
and corporate leaders who helped mobilize the nation's industries to
support the war effort. The idea of a central national response to
large-scale emergencies was reintroduced in the early 1970s by Louis
Giuffrida, a close associate of then-California Gov. Ronald Reagan and
his chief aide Edwin Meese.
Reagan appointed Giuffrida head of the California National Guard in
1969. With Meese, Giuffrida organized "war-games" to prepare for
"statewide martial law" in the event that Black nationalists and
anti-war protesters "challenged the authority of the state." In 1981,
Reagan as president moved Giuffrida up to the big leagues, appointing
him director of FEMA.
According to Reynolds, however, it was the actions of George Bush in
1976, while he was the director of the Central Intelligence Agency
(CIA), that provided the stimulus for centralization of vast powers in
Bush assembled a group of hawkish outsiders, called Team B, that
released a report claiming the CIA ("Team A") had underestimated the
dangers of Soviet nuclear attack. The report advised the development
of elaborate plans for "civil defense" and post-nuclear government.
Three years later, in 1979, FEMA was given ultimate responsibility for
developing these plans.
Aware of the bad publicity FEMA was getting because of its role in
organizing for a post-nuclear world, Reagan's FEMA chief Giuffrida
publicly argued that the 1865 Posse Comitatus Act prohibited the
military from arresting civilians.
However, Reynolds says that Congress eroded the act by giving the
military reserves an exemption from Posse Comitatus and allowing them
to arrest civilians. The National Guard, under the control of state
governors in peace time, is also exempt from the act and can arrest
FEMA Inspector General John Brinkerhoff has written a memo contending
that the government doesn't need to suspend the Constitution to use
the full range of powers Congress has given the agency. FEMA has
prepared legislation to be introduced in Congress in the event of a
national emergency that would give the agency sweeping powers. The
right to "deputize" National Guard and police forces is included in
the package. But Reynolds believes that actual martial law need not be
Giuffrida has written that "Martial Rule comes into existence upon a
determination (not a declaration) by the senior military commander
that the civil government must be replaced because it is no longer
functioning anyway." He adds that "Martial Rule is limited only by the
principle of necessary force."
According to Reynolds, it is possible for the president to make
declarations concerning a national emergency secretly in the form of a
Natioanl Security Decision Directive. Most such directives are
classified as so secret that Reynolds says "researchers don't even
know how many are enacted."
Throughout the 1980s, FEMA was prohibited from engaging in
intelligence gathering. But on July 6, 1989, Bush signed Executive
Order 12681, pronouncing that FEMA's National Preparedness Directorate
would "have as a primary function intelligence, counterintelligence,
investigative, or national security work." Recent events indicate that
domestic spying in response to the looming Middle East war is now
Reynolds reports that "the CIA is going to various campuses asking for
information on Middle Eastern students. I'm sure that there are
intelligence organizations monitoring peace demonstrations."
According to the University of Connecticut student paper, the Daily
Campus, CIA officials have recently met there to discuss talking with
Middle Eastern students.
The New York Times reports that the FBI has ordered its agents around
the country to question Arab-American leaders and business people in
search of information on potential Iraqi "terrorist" attacks in
response to a Gulf war.
A 1986 Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) document entitled
"Alien Terrorists and Other Undesirables: A Contingency Plan" outlines
the potential round-up and incarceration in mass detainment camps of
U.S. residents who are citizens of "terrorist" countries, chiefly in
the Middle East. This plan echoed a 1984 FEMA nationwide "readiness
exercise code-named REX-84 ALPHA, which included the rehearsal of
joint operations with the INS to round up 40,000 Central American
refugees in the event of a U.S. invasion of the region. One of the 10
military bases established as detainment camps by REX-84 ALPHA, Camp
Krome, Fla., was designated a joint FEMA-Immigration service
Recently, FEMA has been criticized in the media for inadequate
response to the October, 1989 San Francisco earthquake. What the
mainstream press has failed to cover is the agency's planned role in
repressing domestic dissent in the event of an invasion abroad.
Source: The Guardian, Jan 16 1991
The Guardian is an independent radical news weekly. Subscriptions are
available at $33.50 per year from The Guardian, 33 West 17th St., New
York, NY 10011
DATE OF UPLOAD: November 17, 1989
ORIGIN OF UPLOAD: Omni Magazine
CONTRIBUTED BY: Donald Goldberg
PARANET INFORMATION SERVICE BBS
Although this article does not deal directly with UFOs,
ParaNet felt it important as an offering to our readers who
depend so much upon communications as a way to stay informed.
This article raises some interesting implications for the future
THE NATIONAL GUARDS
(C) 1987 OMNI MAGAZINE MAY 1987
(Reprinted with permission and license to ParaNet Information
Service and its affiliates.)
By Donald Goldberg
The mountains bend as the fjord and the sea beyond stretch
out before the viewer's eyes. First over the water, then a sharp
left turn, then a bank to the right between the peaks, and the
secret naval base unfolds upon the screen.
The scene is of a Soviet military installation on the Kola
Peninsula in the icy Barents Sea, a place usually off-limits to
the gaze of the Western world. It was captured by a small French
satellite called SPOT Image, orbiting at an altitude of 517 miles
above the hidden Russian outpost. On each of several passes --
made over a two-week period last fall -- the satellite's high-
resolution lens took its pictures at a different angle; the
images were then blended into a three-dimensional, computer-
generated video. Buildings, docks, vessels, and details of the
Artic landscape are all clearly visible.
Half a world away and thousands of feet under the sea,
sparkling-clear images are being made of the ocean floor. Using
the latest bathymetric technology and state-of-the-art systems
known as Seam Beam and Hydrochart, researchers are for the first
time assembling detailed underwater maps of the continental
shelves and the depths of the world's oceans. These scenes of
the sea are as sophisticated as the photographs taken from the
From the three-dimensional images taken far above the earth
to the charts of the bottom of the oceans, these photographic
systems have three things in common: They both rely on the
latest technology to create accurate pictures never dreamed of
even 25 years ago; they are being made widely available by
commerical, nongovernmental enterprises; and the Pentagon is
trying desperately to keep them from the general public.
In 1985 the Navy classified the underwater charts, making
them available only to approved researchers whose needs are
evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Under a 1984 law the military
has been given a say in what cameras can be licensed to be used
on American satellites; and officials have already announced they
plan to limit the quality and resolution of photos made
available. The National Security Agency (NSA) -- the secret arm
of the Pentagon in charge of gathering electronic intelligence as
well as protecting sensitive U.S. communications -- has defeated
a move to keep it away from civilian and commercial computers and
That attitude has outraged those concerned with the
military's increasing efforts to keep information not only from
the public but from industry experts, scientists, and even other
government officials as well. "That's like classifying a road
map for fear of invasion," says Paul Wolff, assistant
administrator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration, of the attempted restrictions.
These attempts to keep unclassified data out of the hands of
scientists, researchers, the news media, and the public at large
are a part of an alarming trend that has seen the military take
an ever-increasing role in controlling the flow of information
and communications through American society, a role traditionally
-- and almost exclusively -- left to civilians. Under the
approving gaze of the Reagan administration, Department of
Defense (DoD) officials have quietly implemented a number of
policies, decisions, and orders that give the military
unprecedented control over both the content and public use of
data and communications. For example:
**The Pentagon has created a new category of "sensitive" but
unclassified information that allows it to keep from public
access huge quantities of data that were once widely accessible.
**Defense Department officials have attempted to rewrite key laws
that spell out when the president can and cannot appropriate
private communications facilities.
**The Pentagon has installed a system that enables it to seize
control of the nation's entire communications network -- the
phone system, data transmissions, and satellite transmissions of
all kinds -- in the event of what it deems a "national
emergency." As yet there is no single, universally agreed-upon
definition of what constitutes such a state. Usually such an
emergency is restricted to times of natural disaster, war, or
when national security is specifically threatened. Now the
military has attempted to redefine emergency.
The point man in the Pentagon's onslaught on communications
is Assistant Defense Secretary Donald C. Latham, a former NSA
deputy chief. Latham now heads up an interagency committee in
charge of writing and implementing many of the policies that have
put the military in charge of the flow of civilian information
and communication. He is also the architect of National Security
Decision Directive 145 (NSDD 145), signed by Defense Secretary
Caspar Weinberger in 1984, which sets out the national policy on
telecommunications and computer-systems security.
First NSDD 145 set up a steering group of top-level
administration officials. Their job is to recommend ways to
protect information that is unclassified but has been designated
sensitive. Such information is held not only by government
agencies but by private companies as well. And last October the
steering group issued a memorandum that defined sensitive
information and gave federal agencies broad new powers to keep it
from the public.
According to Latham, this new category includes such data as
all medical records on government databases -- from the files of
the National Cancer Institute to information on every veteran who
has ever applied for medical aid from the Veterans Administration
-- and all the information on corporate and personal taxpayers in
the Internal Revenue Service's computers. Even agricultural
statistics, he argues, can be used by a foreign power against the
In his oversize yet Spartan Pentagon office, Latham cuts
anything but an intimidating figure. Articulate and friendly, he
could pass for a network anchorman or a television game show
host. When asked how the government's new definition of
sensitive information will be used, he defends the necessity for
it and tries to put to rest concerns about a new restrictiveness.
"The debate that somehow the DoD and NSA are going to
monitor or get into private databases isn't the case at all,"
Latham insists. "The definition is just a guideline, just an
advisory. It does not give the DoD the right to go into private
Yet the Defense Department invoked the NSDD 145 guidelines
when it told the information industry it intends to restrict the
sale of data that are now unclassified and publicly available
from privately owned computer systems. The excuse if offered was
that these data often include technical information that might be
valuable to a foreign adversary like the Soviet Union.
Mead Data Central -- which runs some of the nation's largest
computer databases, such as Lexis and Nexis, and has nearly
200,000 users -- says it has already been approached by a team of
agents from the Air Force and officials from the CIA and the FBI
who asked for the names of subscribers and inquired what Mead
officials might do if information restrictions were imposed. In
response to government pressure, Mead Data Central in effect
censured itself. It purged all unclassified government-supplied
technical data from its system and completely dropped the
National Technical Information System from its database rather
than risk a confrontation.
Representative Jack Brooks, a Texas Democrat who chairs the
House Government Operations Committee, is an outspoken critic of
the NSA's role in restricting civilian information. He notes
that in 1985 the NSA -- under the authority granted by NSDD 145
-- investigated a computer program that was widely used in both
local and federal elections in 1984. The computer system was
used to count more than one third of all votes cast in the United
States. While probing the system's vulnerability to outside
manipulation, the NSA obtained a detailed knowledge of that
computer program. "In my view," Brooks says, "this is an
unprecedented and ill-advised expansion of the military's
influence in our society."
There are other NSA critics. "The computer systems used by
counties to collect and process votes have nothing to do with
national security, and I'm really concerned about the NSA's
involvement," says Democratic congressman Dan Glickman of Kansas,
chairman of the House science and technology subcommittee
concerned with computer security.
Also, under NSDD 145 the Pentagon has issued an order,
virtually unknown to all but a few industry executives, that
affects commercial communications satellites. The policy was
made official by Defense Secretary Weinberger in June of 1985 and
requires that all commercial satellite operators that carry such
unclassified government data traffic as routine Pentagon supply
information and payroll data (and that compete for lucrative
government contracts) install costly protective systems on all
satellites launched after 1990. The policy does not directly
affect the data over satellite channels, but it does make the NSA
privy to vital information about the essential signals needed to
operate a satellite. With this information it could take control
of any satellite it chooses.
Latham insists this, too, is a voluntary policy and that
only companies that wish to install protection will have their
systems evaluated by the NSA. He also says industry officials
are wholly behind the move, and argues that the protective
systems are necessary. With just a few thousand dollars' worth
of equipment, a disgruntled employee could interfere with a
satellite's control signals and disable or even wipe out a
hundred-million-dollar satellite carrying government information.
At best, his comments are misleading. First, the policy is
not voluntary. The NSA can cut off lucrative government
contracts to companies that do not comply with the plan. The
Pentagon alone spent more than a billion dollars leasing
commercial satellite channels last year; that's a powerful
incentive for business to cooperate.
Second, the industry's support is anything but total.
According to the minutes of one closed-door meeting between NSA
officials -- along with representatives of other federal agencies
-- and executives from AT&T, Comsat, GTE Sprint, and MCI, the
executives neither supported the move nor believed it was
necessary. The NSA defended the policy by arguing that a
satellite could be held for ransom if the command and control
links weren't protected. But experts at the meeting were
"Why is the threat limited to accessing the satellite rather
than destroying it with lasers or high-powered signals?" one
industry executive wanted to know.
Most of the officials present objected to the high cost of
protecting the satellites. According to a 1983 study made at the
request of the Pentagon, the protection demanded by the NSA could
add as much as $3 million to the price of a satellite and $1
million more to annual operating costs. Costs like these, they
argue, could cripple a company competing against less expensive
Americans get much of their information through forms of
electronic communications, from the telephone, television and
radio, and information printed in many newspapers. Banks send
important financial data, businesses their spreadsheets, and
stockbrokers their investment portfolios, all over the same
channels, from satellite signals to computer hookups carried on
long distance telephone lines. To make sure that the federal
government helped to promote and protect the efficient use of
this advancing technology, Congress passed the massive
Communications Act of of 1934. It outlined the role and laws of
the communications structure in the United States.
The powers of the president are set out in Section 606 of
that law; basically it states that he has the authority to take
control of any communications facilities that he believes
"essential to the national defense." In the language of the
trade this is known as a 606 emergency.
There have been a number of attempts in recent years by
Defense Department officials to redefine what qualifies as a 606
emergency and make it easier for the military to take over
In 1981 the Senate considered amendments to the 1934 act
that would allow the president, on Defense Department
recommendation, to require any communications company to provide
services, facilities, or equipment "to promote the national
defense and security or the emergency preparedness of the
nation," even in peacetime and without a declared state of
emergency. The general language had been drafted by Defense
Department officials. (The bill failed to pass the House for
"I think it is quite clear that they have snuck in there
some powers that are dangerous for us as a company and for the
public at large," said MCI vice president Kenneth Cox before the
Since President Reagan took office, the Pentagon has stepped
up its efforts to rewrite the definition of national emergency
and give the military expanded powers in the United States. "The
declaration of 'emergency' has always been vague," says one
former administration official who left the government in 1982
after ten years in top policy posts. "Different presidents have
invoked it differently. This administration would declare a
convenient 'emergency.'" In other words, what is a nuisance to
one administration might qualify as a burgeoning crisis to
another. For example, the Reagan administration might decide
that a series of protests on or near military bases constituted a
Should the Pentagon ever be given the green light, its base
for taking over the nation's communications system would be a
nondescript yellow brick building within the maze of high rises,
government buildings, and apartment complexes that make up the
Washington suburb of Arlington, Virginia. Headquartered in a
dusty and aging structure surrounded by a barbed-wire fence is an
obscure branch of the military known as the Defense
Communications Agency (DCA). It does not have the spit and
polish of the National Security Agency or the dozens of other
government facilities that make up the nation's capital. But its
lack of shine belies its critical mission: to make sure all of
America's far-flung military units can communicate with one
another. It is in certain ways the nerve center of our nation's
On the second floor of the DCA's four-story headquarters is
a new addition called the National Coordinating Center (NCC).
Operated by the Pentagon, it is virtually unknown outside of a
handful of industry and government officials. The NCC is staffed
around the clock by representatives of a dozen of the nation's
largest commercial communications companies -- the so-called
"common carriers" -- including AT&T, MCI, GTE, Comsat, and ITT.
Also on hand are officials from the State Department, the CIA,
the Federal Aviation Administration, and a number of other
federal agencies. During a 606 emergency the Pentagon can order
the companies that make up the National Coordinating Center to
turn over their satellite, fiberoptic, and land-line facilities
to the government.
On a long corridor in the front of the building is a series
of offices, each outfitted with a private phone, a telex machine,
and a combination safe. It's known as "logo row" because each
office is occupied by an employee from one of the companies that
staff the NCC and because their corporate logos hand on the wall
outside. Each employee is on permanent standby, ready to
activate his company's system should the Pentagon require it.
The National Coordinating Center's mission is as grand as
its title is obscure: to make available to the Defense
Department all the facilities of the civilian communications
network in this country -- the phone lines, the long-distance
satellite hookups, the data transmission lines -- in times of
national emergency. If war breaks out and communications to a
key military base are cut, the Pentagon wants to make sure that
an alternate link can be set up as fast as possible. Company
employees assigned to the center are on call 24 hours a day; they
wear beepers outside the office, and when on vacation they must
be replaced by qualified colleagues.
The center formally opened on New Year's Day, 1984, the same
day Ma Bell's monopoly over the telephone network of the entire
United States was finally broken. The timing was no coincidence.
Pentagon officials had argued for years along with AT&T against
the divestiture of Ma Bell, on grounds of national security.
Defense Secretary Weinberger personally urged the attorney
general to block the lawsuit that resulted in the breakup, as had
his predecessor, Harold Brown. The reason was that rather than
construct its own communications network, the Pentagon had come
to rely extensively on the phone company. After the breakup the
dependence continued. The Pentagon still used commercial
companies to carry more than 90 percent of its communications
within the continental United States.
The 1984 divestiture put an end to AT&T's monopoly over the
nation's telephone service and increased the Pentagon's obsession
with having its own nerve center. Now the brass had to contend
with several competing companies to acquire phone lines, and
communications was more than a matter of running a line from one
telephone to another. Satellites, microwave towers, fiberoptics,
and other technological breakthroughs never dreamed of by
Alexander Graham Bell were in extensive use, and not just for
phone conversations. Digital data streams for computers flowed
on the same networks.
These facts were not lost on the Defense Department or the
White House. According to documents obtained by Omni, beginning
on December 14, 1982, a number of secret meetings were held
between high-level administration officials and executives of the
commercial communications companies whose employees would later
staff the National Coordinating Center. The meetings, which
continued over the next three years, were held at the White
House, the State Department, the Strategic Air Command (SAC)
headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, and at the
North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) in Colorado
The industry officials attending constituted the National
Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee -- called NSTAC
(pronounced N-stack) -- set up by President Reagan to address
those same problems that worried the Pentagon. It was at these
secret meetings, according to the minutes, that the idea of a
communications watch center for national emergencies -- the NCC
-- was born. Along with it came a whole set of plans that would
allow the military to take over commercial communications
"assets" -- everything from ground stations and satellite dishes
to fiberoptic cables -- across the country.
At a 1983 Federal Communications Commission meeting, a
ranking Defense Department official offered the following
explanation for the founding of the National Coordinating Center:
"We are looking at trying to make communications endurable for a
protracted conflict." The phrase protracted conflict is a
military euphemism for nuclear war.
But could the NCC survive even the first volley in such a
Not likely. It's located within a mile of the Pentagon,
itself an obvious early target of a Soviet nuclear barrage (or a
conventional strike, for that matter). And the Kremlin
undoubtedly knows its location and importance, and presumably has
included it on its priority target list. In sum, according to
one Pentagon official, "The NCC itself is not viewed as a
Furthermore, the NCC's "Implementation Plan," obtained by
Omni, lists four phases of emergencies and how the center should
respond to each. The first, Phase 0, is Peacetime, for which
there would be little to do outside of a handful of routine tasks
and exercises. Phase 1 is Pre Attack, in which alternate NCC
sites are alerted. Phase 2 is Post Attack, in which other NCC
locations are instructed to take over the center's functions.
Phase 3 is known as Last Ditch, and in this phase whatever
facility survives becomes the de facto NCC.
So far there is no alternate National Coordinating Center to
which NCC officials could retreat to survive an attack.
According to NCC deputy director William Belford, no physical
sites have yet been chosen for a substitute NCC, and even whether
the NCC itself will survive a nuclear attack is still under
Of what use is a communications center that is not expected
to outlast even the first shots of a war and has no backup?
The answer appears to be that because of the Pentagon's
concerns about the AT&T divestiture and the disruptive effects it
might have on national security, the NCC was to serve as the
military's peacetime communications center.
The center is a powerful and unprecedented tool to assume
control over the nation's vast communications and information
network. For years the Pentagon has been studying how to take
over the common carriers' facilities. That research was prepared
by NSTAC at the DoD's request and is contained in a series of
internal Pentagon documents obtained by Omni. Collectively this
series is known as the Satellite Survivability Report. Completed
in 1984, it is the only detailed analysis to date of the
vulnerabilities of the commercial satellite network. It was
begun as a way of examining how to protect the network of
communications facilities from attack and how to keep it intact
for the DoD.
A major part of the report also contains an analysis of how
to make commercial satellites "interoperable" with Defense
Department systems. While the report notes that current
technical differences such as varying frequencies make it
difficult for the Pentagon to use commercial satellites, it
recommends ways to resolve those problems. Much of the report is
a veritable blueprint for the government on how to take over
satellites in orbit above the United States. This information,
plus NSDD 145's demand that satellite operators tell the NSA how
their satellites are controlled, guarantees the military ample
knowledge about operating commercial satellites.
The Pentagon now has an unprecedented access to the civilian
communications network: commercial databases, computer networks,
electronic links, telephone lines. All it needs is the legal
authority to use them. Then it could totally dominate the flow
of all information in the United States. As one high-ranking
White House communications official put it: "Whoever controls
communications, controls the country." His remark was made after
our State Department could not communicate directly with our
embassy in Manila during the anti-Marcos revolution last year.
To get through, the State Department had to relay all its
messages through the Philippine government.
Government officials have offered all kinds of scenarios to
justify the National Coordinating Center, the Satellite
Survivability Report, new domains of authority for the Pentagon
and the NSA, and the creation of top-level government steering
groups to think of even more policies for the military. Most can
be reduced to the rationale that inspired NSDD 145: that our
enemies (presumably the Soviets) have to be prevented from
getting too much information from unclassified sources. And the
only way to do that is to step in and take control of those
Remarkably, the communications industry as a whole has not
been concerned about the overall scope of the Pentagon's threat
to its freedom of operation. Most protests have been to
individual government actions. For example, a media coalition
that includes the Radio-Television Society of Newspaper Editors,
and the Turner Broadcasting System has been lobbying that before
the government can restrict the use of satellites, it must
demonstrate why such restrictions protect against a "threat to
distinct and compelling national security and foreign policy
interests." But the whole policy of restrictiveness has not been
examined. That may change sometime this year, when the Office of
Technology Assessment issues a report on how the Pentagon's
policy will affect communications in the United States. In the
meantime the military keeps trying to encroach on national
While it may seem unlikely that the Pentagon will ever get
total control of our information and communications systems, the
truth is that it can happen all too easily. The official
mechanisms are already in place; and few barriers remain to
guarantee that what we hear, see, and read will come to us
courtesy of our being members of a free and open society and not
courtesy of the Pentagon.
Psi-Tech and alien brain-wave research -- Whats going on at Los Alamos?