From the March 2008 Idaho Observer:

Government of, by and for the people holds closed-door session

House Republicans and Democrats admit to secretly discussing continued spying on Americans; history indicates secret sessioners entertained other issues as well

By Don Harkins

President Bush threatened to veto the latest Democrat-sponsored House version of an update to foreign surveillance law because, he said, it would "make our country less safe." At the urging of Republicans who reportedly want to speak more openly about domestic terrorist threats and its history of spying on Americans in cooperation with the telecommunications industry, the U.S. House of Representatives held its first "secret session" since 1983—and only their sixth since 1825—on March 13, 2008.

Unlike the U.S. Senate, which can go into executive (closed door, secret) session at any time, the House seldom convenes behind closed doors after swearing itself to secrecy. Ironically, prior to convening in secret session, the room was closed and swept for bugs to make sure no one was listening

Members of Congress who participate in a secret session are sworn to secrecy but unnamed sources claim that a few angry and concerned U.S. reps have leaked reports that the discussion was much more expansive and entailed an imminent economic collapse, civil unrest, martial law, detainment of dissenters and continuity of government.

Though there is no way, at this time, to prove the topics above were secretly discussed by U.S. House members, the reported purpose of the secret session fits a pattern established by the five other secret sessions and their publicly stated purposes.

What all did Congress discuss off the record, behind closed doors and behind our backs at public expense?

Rumors abound that the March 13, 2008 secret session of Congress was called to talk about more than just whether or not the federal government should continue demanding that telecommunications companies cooperate in its efforts to conduct warrantless spying operations on Americans. Though there is no hard evidence at this time that Congress discussed economic collapse, martial law, detainment of dissidents and continuity of government, a review of the justifications of the previous five secret sessions since 1825 provides us with valuable insight.

Following are the five previous secret sessions of Congress since 1825 as reported by the office of House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MS) [our comments are bracketed in boldface]:

Dec. 27, 1825: To receive a confidential message from the president [James Monroe] regarding relations with Indian tribes [From about that point on, the U.S. Army began establishing outposts to protect settlers’ westward expansion per the Monroe Doctrine and to either weaken Indians with sugar, alcohol, coffee and white flour as gifts from the great white father in Washington (the precursor of USAID) or attack and subdue them militarily].

May 27, 1830: To receive a confidential message from the president [John Quincy Adams] on a bill regulating trade between the U.S. and Britain [The War of 1812 had been over for 15 years. The Second Bank of the U.S., with close ties to British bankers, was in control of U.S. money and financing agricultural trade with post-Napoleonic war-torn Europe].

June 20, 1979: Implementing legislation on the Panama Canal Act of 1979 [Built into the treaty, which allegedly protected U.S. national security and respected the sovereignty of Panama, was a 20-year sunset clause. In 1999, control of this extremely strategic U.S.-engineered, financed and constructed waterway and the U.S., military-controlled Canal Zone was turned over to Panama; Panama then turned the canal’s operation over to the Chinese].

Feb. 25, 1980: Involvement of Cuba and other Communist-bloc countries in Nicaragua [see next closed session].

July 19, 1983: U.S. support for anti-Communist "contras" in Nicaragua [One of the most illuminating chapters of contemporary U.S. government black operations resulted in a lengthy, highly public congressional investigation revealing U.S. sanctioned death squads, U.S. support of puppet despots, U.S conducting business with drug traffickers and arms dealers and the implication that U.S. foreign policy was a direct cause of the crack cocaine epidemic that destroyed inner city communities during the 80s].

In each secret session of Congress mentioned, the issues extant at the time and what became of them are much more complex and interesting than their publicly stated justifications.

And what do we have now? A government so paranoid that it has compiled a list of at least 900,000 potential dissenters, a world so angered by its aggressive foreign policies that it’s calling for regime change in the U.S., an economy on the verge of collapse and plans to enforce martial law, quell dissent, dispose of massive numbers of dead bodies and preserve the continuity of government—plans that are already on the books and may soon be implemented.

Time will tell. But, with history as our guide, we can educate our guess as to what Congress really discussed behind our backs March 13, 2008.