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Coronavirus: What Newsweek Failed to Mention About “Continuity of Government”
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Though often discussed in relation to nuclear war or a similarly chaotic scenario, “continuity of government” plans can be triggered even by popular, nonviolent opposition to an unpopular war abroad. It exists solely to keep the current system in place, regardless of the cost.

WASHINGTON DC (The Last American Vagabond) — Last week, Newsweek published a report entitled “Inside The Military’s Top Secret Plans If Coronavirus Cripples the Government,” which offers vague descriptions of different military plans that could be put into effect if the civilian government were to be largely incapacitated, with a focus on the potential of the current novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to result in such a scenario.

The article’s author, William Arkin, largely frames these plans as new, though — buried deep within the article — he eventually mentions that such contingency plans can be traced back to the Eisenhower administration (though they were in place before) and have since been developed and updated by most subsequent administrations, largely through the issuance of executive orders. Arkin also points out that some of these “Continuity of Government”, or COG, plans include the “devolution” of leadership and Constitutional authority, which he notes “could circumvent the normal Constitutional provisions for government succession, and military commanders could be placed in control around America.”

Yet, there are key aspects of COG and its development that Arkin leaves out. For instance, in his timeline on how such plans have developed in the post-World War II era, he conveniently fails to mention any of the Reagan administration’s major changes to COG, including the Reagan-era Executive Order on which all current COG programs are based. Indeed, many of the “extra-Constitutional” aspects of COG that Arkin mentions began during the Reagan administration, when these plans were redrafted to largely exclude members of Congress, including the Speaker of the House, from succession plans and even moved to essentially eliminate Congress in the event of COG being implemented, with near total power instead being given to the executive branch and the military. It was also during this time that the “devolution” aspect of COG was hammered out, as it created three president-cabinet “teams” to be stationed in different parts of the country outside of the nation’s capital. Arkin’s decision to not mention how COG was a major focus of the Reagan administration is striking given that that administration poured hundreds of millions of dollars annually into COG planning and development and also conducted COG drills on a regular basis.

Furthermore, the Miami Herald revealed in 1987, that the COG programs of that era were deeply connected to what the Herald termed “a virtual parallel government outside the traditional cabinet departments and agencies” that began operating “almost from the day Reagan took office” and included military and intelligence operatives as well as many of Reagan’s closest advisers, including then-CIA Director William Casey. The Herald further claimed that this “parallel government” had been responsible for the Iran-Contra scandal (i.e. “involved in arming the Nicaraguan rebels”) as well as “the drafting of martial law plans for national emergencies,” i.e. COG, as well as “the monitoring of U.S. citizens considered potential security risks.” This “parallel government” planned to use COG to install itself as the ruling power of the country and to detain potential opponents of a U.S. war with Nicaragua in the event that the Reagan administration moved to invade the country.

Other key players in those Reagan-era COG developments, such as former Vice President Dick Cheney, former CIA Director James Woosley and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, are also left unmentioned in Arkin’s article. Not mentioning Cheney and Rumsfeld are particularly glaring omissions given that they were involved in the implementation of aspects of those COG plans that went live in the wake of the September 11 attacks, when both men were serving in key posts in the George W. Bush administration.

While Arkin’s omission of the role of the Reagan administration and leading neoconservatives in the development and use of COG is significant, arguably more significant is his failure to mention one of COG’s major components, one that has gone essentially unmentioned by well-known media outlets for well over a decade – Main Core.

The government’s database of “potential troublemakers”

When Reagan issued Executive Order 12656, he created COG plans that could be implemented during “any national security emergency,” which the E.O. loosely defines as “any occurrence, including natural disaster, military attack, technological emergency, or other emergency, that seriously degrades or seriously threatens the national security of the United States.” E.O. 12656 also put the National Security Council (NSC) in charge of developing and administering COG policies. The NSC official placed in charge of this “secret” COG program was Oliver North, whose name would later become infamous for the key role he played in the Iran-Contra Scandal. During the Iran-Contra hearings in the late 1980s, then-Representative Jack Brooks (D-TX) attempted to ask the following question to North: “Colonel North, in your work at the NSC, were you not assigned at one time to work on plans for the continuity of government in the event of a major disaster?” Brooks, however was immediately cut off by Senator Daniel Inouye (D-HI), who stated ” I believe that question touches upon a highly sensitive and classified area, so may I request that you not touch upon that, sir.” Brooks protested, but North was ultimately not required to give an answer.

As the de facto leader of COG development and planning during the Reagan administration, North oversaw the creation of a controversial database that later became known simply as “Main Core.” The Main Core database, first built using the stolen PROMIS software (more information on PROMIS here and here), was essentially a list of American dissidents and “potential troublemakers.” A senior government official with a high-ranking security clearance and service in five presidential administrations described the database to journalist Chris Ketcham in 2008 as follows:

A database of Americans, who, often for the slightest and most trivial reason, are considered unfriendly, and who, in a time of panic might be incarcerated. The database can identify and locate perceived ‘enemies of the state’ almost instantaneously.”

In 1993, Wired magazine stated that:

Using PROMIS, sources point out, North could have drawn up lists of anyone ever arrested for a political protest, for example, or anyone who had ever refused to pay their taxes. Compared to PROMIS, Richard Nixon’s enemies list or Sen. Joe McCarthy’s blacklist look downright crude.”

Main Core is the aspect of COG that is most often ignored in reporting on these types of plans, with Arkin’s article being just a more recent example. While most of the rare mentions of COG in the mainstream touch on how those plans would result in the implementation of martial law and the suspension of the Constitution, they even more rarely — if ever — mention Main Core. Indeed, the last “mainstream” reports on Main Core were written over a decade ago — all in 2008 — by Chris Ketcham in Radar, by Scott Horton in Harper’s and by Tim Shorrock in Salon.

Given that COG is now creeping back into mainstream reporting, revisiting Main Core is essential as the database still exists and has grown considerably since Oliver North first oversaw its creation in the early 1980s. In Ketcham’s 2008 article on the subject, he quotes then-senior government officials who said that, at the time, the number of “unfriendly” Americans on that database was approximately 8 million. Ketcham further notes that, in the event COG is implemented, these individuals could be subject to anything ranging from “heightened surveillance and tracking to direct questioning and possibly even detention.”

Tim Shorrock, in his coverage of Main Core, noted that the database was seen in use at the White House following the September 11 attacks and there is strong evidence pointing to it having been used by the George W. Bush administration to guide its domestic surveillance activities in the post-9/11 era. A government official who had told a reporter about having seen the database operational at the White House following September 11th “turned white as a sheet” when the reporter mentioned the name “Main Core” specifically. Shorrock’s reporting also details how Main Core includes vast amounts of information on those “unfriendly” Americans, including the fruits of the vast domestic surveillance programs of the NSA and other U.S. federal agencies that continue today and are now set to be expanded due to the current coronavirus crisis.

In a report written last year on the involvement of U.S. and Israeli intelligence and their private sector allies in pushing for new, troubling pre-crime programs, I noted that Main Core is not only available to U.S. intelligence but also Israel’s intelligence apparatus and that Israeli intelligence was involved in the creation and expansion of Main Core. That report also detailed how Main Core was used by members of Reagan’s NSC to blackmail members of Congress, a practice that is likely to have continued under subsequent administrations. It also noted how Main Core today likely involves the same software now used by every U.S. intelligence agency and numerous other federal agencies that is marketed by Palantir, a company created and owned by Trump ally Peter Thiel. Palantir’s software boasts “predictive policing” capabilities and tracks a category of person using the label “subversive,” very much in keeping with the spirit of Main Core.

Main Core and Bill Barr’s Power Grab

Though Main Core was reportedly in use after September 11 to target “unfriendly” individuals for increased domestic surveillance, concern that COG plans in the age of coronavirus could take a more drastic turn and involve the detention of Americans included in that database now seems more plausible than ever. On Saturday, Politico reported that the Department of Justice has demanded new “emergency powers” during the current pandemic and these powers include being able to indefinitely detain Americans without trial. Politico also noted that the DOJ’s controversial new requests “span several stages of the legal process, from initial arrest to how cases are processed and investigated.” Per the DOJ’s requests, indefinite detention would emerge through a new ability whereby the Attorney General or a judge could pause court proceedings whenever courts are “fully or partially closed by virtue of any natural disaster, civil disobedience, or other emergency situation.”

What Politico did not include in its report is that current Attorney General William Barr has spent the past several months fine-tuning and implementing a “pre-crime” program. Officially known as the “National Disruption and Early Engagement Program” (DEEP), it aims to “identify, assess and engage” potentially violent individuals “before they strike.” Barr first announced this program last October in an official memorandum and therein stated that the program was to be implemented sometime over the course of 2020 and would involve “an efficient, effective and programmatic strategy to disrupt individuals who are mobilizing towards violence, by all lawful means.”

A training conference for that program took place this past December and involved members of the Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation and “private sector partners.” One recent DOJ statement regarding an arrest made last year in Nevada, claimed that that specific case was part of the DOJ’s “National Disruption and Early Engagement Program,” suggesting that this program is already in use — at least in some parts of the country.

In his memorandum, Barr further notes that the program’s “early engagement tactics” were “born of the posture we adopted with respect to terrorist threats” following the September 11 attacks, essentially stating that this pre-crime program will utilize methods from the “War on Terror” domestically and on a massive scale.

Given the context of the current coronavirus crisis, the DOJ’s recent request for sweeping new powers and the role of Main Core in COG plans, one part of Barr’s pre-crime memorandum stands out. In the part of the document where Barr outlines what actions will be taken once an individual is deemed potentially violent or threatening, he writes that those individuals will be subject to detention, court-ordered mental health treatment and electronic monitoring, among other measures.

The possibility of pre-crime detention was also present in the DOJ’s recent request for new “emergency powers” in light of the coronavirus crisis, as it specifically asks that those new powers apply to “any statutes or rules of procedure otherwise affecting pre-arrest, post-arrest, pre-trial, trial, and post-trial procedures in criminal and juvenile proceedings and all civil process and proceedings.” Norman L. Reimer, executive director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, told Politico that the inclusion of the term “pre-arrest” likely means that “you could be arrested and never brought before a judge until they decide that the emergency or the civil disobedience is over. I find it absolutely terrifying.”

Thus, if DOJ is granted these new powers it has requested, the William Barr-led Department of Justice will not only be authorized to indefinitely detain Americans without trial, it will be able to detain them without any proof of those detainees having committed a crime or even having plans or the intent to commit a crime. Instead, the DOJ only needs to argue that the individual was “mobilizing towards violence,” an extremely vague phrase that could potentially be used against anyone who expresses discontent with the government or government policy.

Furthermore, with the FBI having recently flagged “conspiracy theorists” (and by extension those who distrust or question government narratives of both past and present) as a “domestic terror threat,” the DOJ could even make the case that failure to blindly trust government narratives presents a threat to the public order. Given that the Main Core database in its current form contains bulk surveillance gathered from social media, phone conversations/messaging apps and even financial information (i.e. purchasing history, etc.) on Americans deemed unfriendly “often for the slightest and most trivial reason,” this unprecedented power grab by the DOJ has an authoritarian and Orwellian potential to target legitimate dissent like never before.

With the specter of COG now snaking its way into mainstream discourse during the coronavirus crisis, it is essential that Americans stay vigilant, as these Orwellian and dystopian “solutions” to allegedly protect us from the current pandemic have been in place long before COVID-19 made its appearance on the world stage or landed on U.S. shores.

It is also essential to remember that COG, Main Core and the DOJ’s pre-crime program were all created and are currently controlled by extremely corrupt and fundamentally untrustworthy individuals who have not only been involved in innumerable scandals over the years, but have also installed and supported some of the most authoritarian, savage and horrific dictators the world has ever seen. To trust them with such unprecedented and dangerous powers in a period of national confusion and panic is tantamount to beckoning the horrors of those dictatorships — past and present — to come home to roost.

(Republished from MintPress News by permission of author or representative)
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  1. anonymous[245] • Disclaimer says:

    Wait a sec … you mean Mr. Barr is no longer busy working with that straight-arrow fed from Connecticut to lower the boom on the seditious Deep Staters who tried to soft coup President Trump?

    • Replies: @Realist
  2. anonymous[245] • Disclaimer says:

    “ .. these plans were redrafted to largely exclude members of Congress, including the Speaker of the House, from succession plans and even moved to essentially eliminate Congress in the event of COG being implemented, with near total power instead being given to the executive branch and the military.”

    And there aren’t more than a handful of people in Congress who have any problem with this, either. Most are corrupt, clueless, and/or invertebrate.

    • Replies: @Realist
  3. AaronInMVD says: • Website

    Makes sense gotta win the war on Germany/Russia/SoutheastAsia/SouthwestAsia, etc.

    Blame Lincoln for setting the precedent.

  4. A123 says:

    E.O. 12656 also put the National Security Council (NSC) in charge of developing and administering COG policies. The NSC official placed in charge of this “secret” COG program was Oliver North,

    What about Barack Hussein’s massive expansion of the NSC (a.k.a. Blackmail HQ) to over 400 anti-Constitutional haters?

    How about Trump’s substantial cuts to the NSC? Open traitor Alex Vindman and his seditious little bother Eugene Vindman, were both axed over their betrayal of the Constitution.

    No one will be first in line to defend Ollie North. However, all fair & objective analysts acknowledge that the despicable acts of Barack Hussein’s bloated & aggressive NSC were thousands of times more criminal and degenerate than anything that occurred during the Reagan years.

    Trump has begun the work to fix the NSC by turning out 100+ corrupt Barack Hussein traitors. That leaves him another 200+ Hussein Holdovers to discharge during his now inevitable 2nd term.

    Bill Barr is infinitely better than Jeff “Surprise Recusal” Sessions, but there is significant talk that he is *not* truly part of Trump’s inner circle.

    Outsider Mick Mulveny was recently promoted to a position in Ireland. If Barr crosses Trump, he could be promoted to Special Representative for Inner Mongolian development projects.

    PEACE 😷

    • Replies: @sarz
    , @Meena
  5. Realist says:

    Wait a sec … you mean Mr. Barr is no longer busy working with that straight-arrow fed from Connecticut to lower the boom on the seditious Deep Staters who tried to soft coup President Trump?

    As your comment implies…you knew it was a ruse. And I agree…the charade must go on…the Deep State demands it.

  6. Realist says:

    Most are corrupt, clueless, and/or invertebrate.

    No, that is a description of all people in government…that is the way the Deep State likes it.

  7. sarz says:

    Kevin Barrett has something interesting to say about Barr:

    Trump’s Attorney General nominee Barr a drug dealing assassin?

    It looks to me like Barr had Epstein murdered for Trump. I would be inclined to ignore talk about Barr not being part of Trump’s inner circle.

    • Replies: @3lli3
  8. Meena says:

    1987, that the COG programs of that era were deeply connected to what the Herald termed “a virtual parallel government outside the traditional cabinet departments and agencies” that began operating “almost from the day Reagan took office” “

    This occurred while Reagan was calling Soviet administration the evil empire and was seeking peace peace abroad.

    But this makes sense Kirprcatic was at least differentiating between bad and bad ie dictatorships vs dictatorship , depending on if bad were congruent with American values.

  9. Meena says:

    Now we know why a Jewish guy wanted to kill Obama and tried to provoke his subscribers to do it .

  10. This is a crucial article. As Ms. Webb writes, Rumsfeld invoked COG when he went to DEFCON 3 after 9/11 – and ever since your constitution has been set aside for emergency rule by secret decree. Your rulers are already picked out. A lot of COG involves procedures for establishing the CIA bona fides of isolated or disconnected rulers: “Oh, you, You’re not dead? Stand by, you’re next in line to rule!” OPSEC – fake government – is ingrained in the regime because it’s more “robust” and “survivable” if nobody, including you domestic human livestock, knows what’s really going on.

    The Chinese are telling you this is an undeclared war of aggression. CIA’s COG regime is telling you it’s a “hazard.” One of DCI Bush’s innovations in the Reagan regency was moving to an “all-hazards” footing, which lets them take over to combat anything and everything, especially you if you exercise your rights. CIA’s at war, all right, but the real enemy is you. The civil disorder exercises include protesters carrying signs saying “We want our rights!” Remember in the 80s when Dirty Harry tortured that weaselly kidnapper who screeched, “I have rights!” in a fade to black? That’s you.

    CIA counts on keeping China and Russia at bay with their nukes, and if not, they will have dispersed to the major population centers, using you poor shnooks as human shields, where they run Vietnam-style Phoenix centers out of “fusion center” annexes. They’re training the cops to be secret police. This will devolve into ‘Nam: CIA stripping assets while police under Phoenix center control kill and torture dissidents. Fun fact: one of the most pitched battles of the Vietnam War was between Coke and Pepsi, as warring distributors sicced Phung Hoang secret police on their competitors.

    Fuck voting. Fuck writing to your bribed and blackmailed congress puppets. Your government is CIA. You got a beef, you’ve got to go there and have a word with them. Remember the climactic election that dissolved the DDR? No? That’s right! Germans stormed the Stasi. You’ll get nowhere till you storm your Langley Stasi and their Phoenix centers.

  11. This is the template for CIA’s secret-police fusion centers.

    They don’t consider themselves state police anymore, they think they’re junior spy cadets, currying favor by spying on your emails and your posts.

    What CIA did to Vietnam they did in Afghanistan too. It’s what they always do. Since the WTC fell down CIA has been doing it in America. If you want to know what CIA is setting up, read this:

    The Phoenix-fusion centers are invariant CIA SOP. They’re fanning out to take over overtly. The only continuity is continuity of CIA rule.

  12. anonymous[400] • Disclaimer says:

    All this engineered paranoia over a nasty flu variant is just a dry run to see how well it all works. They’ve probably got other things up their sleeve. Notice the constant ratcheting up of rhetoric against Russia/China/Iran these past years and the hate campaign against Putin as another Hitler. Conflict may be in the planning stages as they prep the public in various ways. Makes for good politics as various politicians strike heroic poses as they fight the killer virus. One more turn of the Homeland Security screw.

  13. 3lli3 says: • Website

    Just putting this out there: Barr’s father was the headmaster of the private school that hired Epstein as a math teacher in the early 1970s. He also fired Epstein after only one term (8 months) due to unspecified issues with Epstein’s behavior.

    That factoid, reported by NYT, doesn’t implicate the father or the son, of course.

  14. Economic “hardship” and “downturn.” DHS Nazis have appointed themselves as the goons who crack down when bank parasites take advantage of CIA’s germ-warfare epidemic to steal \$6 trillion, and you don’t like it.

    “(U) DHS encourages recipients of this document to report information concerning suspicious or criminal activity to DHS and the FBI. The DHS National Operations Center (NOC) can be reached by telephone at
    202-282-9685 or by e-mail at [email protected]. For information affecting the private sector and critical infrastructure, contact the National Infrastructure Coordinating Center (NICC), a sub-element of the
    NOC. The NICC can be reached by telephone at 202-282-9201 or by e-mail at [email protected]. The FBI regional phone numbers can be found online at When available, each report submitted should include the date, time, location, type of activity, number of people and type of equipment used for the activity, the name of the submitting company or organization, and a designatedpoint of contact.”

  15. anon[175] • Disclaimer says:

    Reading Webb’s fascinating history of US COG, should remind us of how the CIA helped draw up lists of opponents to the 1966 CIA coup in Indonesia. Obama’s step father is alleged to have helped circulate these lists. Up to a million Indonesians died in the ensuing bloodbath. Interestingly, a new Official History was drawn up, which has taught the entire generation of today’s Indonesians, that the CIA coup was instigated by “Communists”.

    In other words, the preparations that Whitney observes in this excellent article are nothing new to many of our Anglo-Zionist Empire’s outer fringe of lesser colored nations.

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