I've been very concerned about this for some time. I became more concerned when I read reports that Dutch Intelligence had withdrawn their operatives in Iran because they had received information that led them to believe the United States intended to strike Iran in the very near future.
Some months ago I read an article indicating that President Bush had arranged things so he would have the power to declare an emergency and suspend the upcoming election in November.
Betsy Hatmann, in an article titled "The Election That Might Not Happen," spells out the specifics:
"On May 4 last year, the White House issued the National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive, key parts of which remain classified and hence shrouded from public view. The directive outlines procedures to respond to a 'catastrophic emergency,' defined broadly as 'any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions.' ... [T]he Bush directive transfers power from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to the White House, where the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism is assigned the job of 'National Continuity Coordinator.'
"The unclassified part of the directive reveals little about who would have the authority to invoke emergency powers during a catastrophe. Nor does it refer to existing laws, such as the National Emergencies Act, that establish congressional checks on the executive's power to impose martial law or other extraordinary measures. Its wording is ambiguous - the directive shall be implemented 'consistent with applicable law,' without making clear which laws are 'applicable.' 'The Bush legal team has pushed a controversial theory that the Constitution gives the president an unwritten power to disobey laws at his own discretion to protect national security,' writes Charlie Savage in the Boston Globe. He quotes legal specialists who describe the vagueness of the new directive as 'troubling.'"
What, asks Ms. Hartmann, might be the "trigger to declare a state of emergency"?
"War with Iran - unfortunately, not so far-fetched. ... The assassination of a presidential candidate. ... A terrorist strike, on the scale of 9/11 or worse. ...
"With the right spin, any of these events might be construed as a 'catastrophic emergency.'"
There was a time when I would have blown all this off as ridiculous speculation. No longer. I've seen the Bush team at work.
Could the Bushites be planning a November "surprise?" Maybe that's why Bush and Cheney were not at the Republican National Convention. They weren't worried. The plan to stay in office no matter what.
Hopefully, this is still mere speculation and November 4 will come and go and we'll have elected Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
Still, as Ms. Hartmann reminds us, "The price of liberty is eternal vigilance. It could be the price of elections, too. Let's not count our spring flowers before they bloom."
You can read all of Ms. Harmann's article here. Newsweek has a related article here. And another scenario here. Still more here.