While caught up in exposing Fawn Hall’s hairstyle, Ollie North’s heroic gap-toothed smile, and the soap opera ambience of the Congressional Contragate hearings, most of America’s media ignored the chilling constitutional issue of Oliver North’s secret plan to declare martial law.
But Alfonso Chardy, of THE MIAMI HERALD, was not deluded by North’s charisma nor frightened by North’s earlier warning to him not to investigate the National Security Council’s (NSC) connection to the Nicaraguan resistance.
Unfortunately, Chardy’s extraordinary disclosures about North went unexplored and unreported by other major media.
On July 5, 1987, Chardy reported over the KNT News Wire that Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North helped draft a plan in 1984 to impose martial law in the United States in event of an emergency.
According to Chardy, the secret plan called for suspension of the Constitution, turning control of the government over to the little-known Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), appointment of military commanders to run state and local governments, and the declaration of martial law in the event of such a crisis as nuclear war, violent and widespread internal dissent or national opposition to a U.S. military invasion abroad.
North helped draft the plan to impose martial law while serving as the NSC’s liaison to FEMA. Chardy reported that an administration official said the contingency plan was written as part of an executive order or legislative package that Reagan would sign and hold within NSC until such time as a severe crisis arose. “It is not known whether Reagan signed the plan,” Chardy added.
The plan was extraordinary enough to even frighten then-Attorney General William French Smith into protesting to Robert McFarlane, North’s NSC boss at the time, that FEMA was establishing itself as an “emergency czar” and “exceeding its proper function as a coordinating agency for emergency preparedness.”
This secret plan to declare martial law in the event of internal dissent or national opposition to a U.S. military invasion abroad took on an added dimension as citizens gathered to protest the nation’s intervention in Honduras in March, 1988.
KNT NENS WIRE, 7/5/87, “North linked to plan for martial law,” by Alfonso Chardy, p Al, SAN RAFAEL (CA) INDEPENDENT JOURNAL; THE NATION, 8/1/87, “Minority Report,” by Christopher Hitchens, p 80.