Fact Check: Government Documents Do NOT Prove The United States Is 'Currently Under Military Occupancy' -- They Discuss Other Things

Fact Check

  • by: Uliana Malashenko
Fact Check: Government Documents Do NOT Prove The United States Is 'Currently Under Military Occupancy' -- They Discuss Other Things Warps Contents

Is the United States "currently under a military occupancy" as of September 24, 2023, as proven by "bipartisan legislation"? No, that's not true: The claim cites unrelated materials that do not confirm the statement in question. The rumor appears to stem from a debunked QAnon conspiracy theory.

The story originated from a video published on Facebook on September 24, 2023, without a caption (archived here). At the 1:21 mark, a man who introduced himself as "Justin" said:

Current bipartisan legislation shows that we are currently under a military occupancy via the Law of War Manual and a continuity of operations plans which they call the "continuity of government" in old school terms... with a presidential policy directive called a PPD-40. Well, when that happens that means the military is in control via military occupancy.

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2023-09-29 at 11.26.40 AM.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Fri Sep 29 15:26:40 2023 UTC)

The claim, however, ignores the internationally accepted definition of military occupation.

Article 42 of the 1907 international treaty "Laws of War: Laws and Customs of War on Land" also known as Hague Regulations reads:

Territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army.

The occupation extends only to the territory where such authority has been established and can be exercised.

Had that been the case, the purported occupying forces would have made themselves known through words or actions, with or without making a formal announcement.

Furthermore, such an event occurring in the United States would have become a major news story across the globe. But a search for the phrase "military occupation of the United States" on Google News produces no relevant results (archived here). As of this writing, the newsfeed of the U.S. Department of Defense (archived here) did not mention any recent cases of active combat against a hostile army on U.S. soil, either.

The two unrelated government documents cited in the clip -- the Law of War Manual And PPD 40 -- were written for different purposes and do not contain any proof that the United States is currently under military occupation, control or "occupancy."

The Law of War Manual first created in 2015 and now available on the website of the U.S. Department of Defense in the updated 2023 version provides an overview of the application of international legal norms during armed conflicts, including the stage of the military -- or belligerent -- occupation. P.778 specifically says that this term is only applicable to the territories outside of the occupying state's borders:

...the law of belligerent occupation would not apply to the use of military forces to control a State's own territory, such as in cases of domestic emergency, insurrection, or non-international armed conflict.

"PPD," also mentioned in the video on Facebook, stands for Presidential Policy Directive. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services describes these documents as:

a specific form of Executive Order that state the Executive Branch's national security policy, and carry the force and effect of law, stating requirements for the Executive Branch.

The agency explains that while such directives have had different names under different White House administrations, their purpose remained the same: "Issued by the President with the advice and consent of the National Security Council," they address the federal strategy in case of various emergencies.

The FEMA website continues:

PPD-40, National Continuity Policy, sets forth the policy of the United States to maintain a comprehensive and effective continuity capability through Continuity of Operations (COOP), Continuity of Government (COG), and Enduring Constitutional Government (ECG) programs ensuring the preservation of government structure under the United States Constitution and continuing performance of NEFs [national essential functions -- L.S.] under all conditions.

It adds:

Together, PPD-40 and PPD-21, Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience, require the Federal Government to coordinate with state, local, territorial, and tribal governments and private sector owners and operators of critical infrastructure, as appropriate, to strengthen the Nation's resilience and sustain essential services during a catastrophic emergency.

The full text of presidential policy directives tends to remain classified for a prolonged period of time. PPD 40 is not available for the general public, either. However, its main points are described in the document called the Continuity Guidance Circular. Based on the available information, there is nothing indicating that it declared "military occupancy" of the United States.

Contrary to the claim, none of the two documents can be described as "bipartisan legislation" -- those bills are passed by Congress, state or city legislative bodies, not by the Pentagon or the President.

A military takeover is a recurring leitmotif in many conspiratorial claims debunked by Lead Stories.

The man speaking in this particular video is seen in the frame wearing the T-shirt with the inscription saying: "The storm." That is a visual reference to the name of a cataclysmic event in the QAnon conspiracy theory that was supposed to expose the secret deep state purportedly running the entire world. At the 4:19 mark, the speaker mentions QAnon verbally, too:

In order to clean the deep state and the swamp, you play a game of chess as Q calls it.

Lead Stories fact checks mentioning QAnon can be found here.

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  Uliana Malashenko

Uliana Malashenko is a New York-based freelance writer and fact checker.

Read more about or contact Uliana Malashenko

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