"State of emergency"

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Concept.png "State of emergency" Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Interest ofGiorgio Agamben
A widely codified exemption to laws used by national governments, in theory at least, only for a limited time.

A "State of emergency" (or national emergency when declared by a government) is a legal concept used to provide an exemption from generally applicable legal sanctions. Officially, it should only be used temporarily, in case of dire need such as major accidents or natural disasters. In practice, however, emergency legislation serves as a backdoor, giving the deep state de facto veto power over popular vote. For example, both the rise of Adolf Hitler, the European strategy of tension, 9-11 and COVID-19 used a state of emergency in order to prevent a more equal distribution of power and control. [1]

The sovereign is he who decides on the exception... For a legal order to make sense, a normal situation must exist, and he is sovereign who definitely decides whether this normal situation actually exists. (Carl Schmitt) 

Official narrative

For the greater good, governments may declare a state of emergency, which alerts citizens to the abrogation of their human rights. Advance codification of such a possibility allows this to be done as justly as possible — for example, limiting the length of time for which such an emergency can be declared, or define which laws can be suspended under what circumstances.


As George Carlin once said Rights aren't rights if someone can take them away, They're privileges.” [2]

20th Century

Although elements[Which?] of the UK government and military suspended normal rights during The Troubles in Northern Ireland, this was done unofficially (i.e. illegally) and so a state of emergency was not declared.[citation needed] Instead, especially after bombings in London, journalists repeated the idea that "we mustn't let terrorism change our way of life".[citation needed]

"Continuity of Government"

Full article: “Continuity of Government”

The "continuity of government" plans were made by a small group of US Deep state operatives, both in and out of government. Originally intended to preserve continuity of policy in the event of a "decapitation" of government by a nuclear strike on Washington DC, this condition was gradually relaxed, to provide ever less stringent circumstances for the operation's enactment.

1974 Canberra Coup

Full article: Canberra Coup

In 1974, the US Deep state and UK Deep states organised a clandestine coup against Gough Whitlam after judging that he was too independent in his governing of Australia. The method they chose was a constitutional crisis.

21st Century

September 11, 2001

Following the 9-11 event, various "emergencies" were declared. The FAA grounded all flights in US airspace, although making an exemption for those flying selected individuals out of the US.

On 9-11 the "Continuity of Government" plan was secretly activated, and Peter Dale Scott's research indicates that may still be in force to this day.

"War on Terror"

Full article: Rated 4/5 “War on Terror”

The "War on Terror" declared after 9-11 amounts to an unofficial permanent state of emergency — the ideology associated with its culture of fear have allowed innumerable civil liberties and human rights to be removed in the name of "counter terrorism".


Full article: COVID-19/Lockdown

The "War on the Virus" rolled out Lock Step type measures worldwide, a "firmer grip on power" by oligarchs. A culture of fear has allowed innumerable civil liberties and human rights to be removed, privacy, freedom of movement, meeting and mass surveillance namely.

Sunset clauses

A sunset clause is a priviso to limit a state of emergency, permitting renewal subject to external approval. The USA Patriot act, signed off on during the climate of fear promoted by the 2001 Anthrax attacks, contained a sunset clause which limits some of its more extreme provisions. Section 215 was renewed under Barack Obama in 2011 but expired on June 1, 2015.[3]


An example

Page nameDescription
Martial law


Related Quotations

Karl Lauterbach“We are now entering a phase where the state of emergency will be the normality. We will always be in a state of emergency from now on.”Karl Lauterbach2022
US/ConstitutionThe Constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace, and covers with the shield of its protection all classes of men, at all times and under all circumstances. No doctrine involving more pernicious consequences was ever invented by the wit of man than that any of its provisions can be suspended during any of the great exigencies of government.”Ex Parte Milligan1866


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Clarificationsessay17 March 2020Giorgio Agamben
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