For years, whispers have ebbed and flowed across the currents of cyberspace that the U.S. government had plans on the drawing board for the establishment of detention and relocation camps to heard massive swaths of the population into during times of declared national emergency.
Haughty sophisticates regularly dismissed such nuggets of information, claiming such warnings were the ravings of kooks and the paranoid. However, at last more mainstream news sources are willing to admit such holding pens of dubious constitutionality are in the works.
According to a FoxNews.com report titled “Critics Fear Emergency Centers Could Be Used For Immigration Round-Ups”, a contract has been granted to a subsidiary of Halliburton no less for the establishment of emergency relocation centers for use during a national disaster or immigration crisis. Though marketed as a way to house illegals as they are processed back to their countries of origin, the American people need to be warned this might not be the only purpose for such facilities.
For starters, as Representative Bennie Thompson of Mississippi points out in the FoxNews.com story, “An emergency is basically anything DHS (the Department of Homeland Security) deems an emergency.” Thus Americans could theoretically be herded into such facilities over reasons far less ominous than natural disasters and calamities.
This is especially dangerous in light of rulings such as the Kelo decision that imbue the rich and powerful with a nearly unimpeachable infallibility. What’s to stop some unscrupulous developers from getting their puppets in government from declaring an “aesthetic emergency” or something just as ridiculous in a less than picturesque area and cart the residents off to some holding area while their houses are torn down? Or since feigned concern over obesity is all the rage, what is to prevent the government from declaring a “nutritional emergency” and haul the chronically gluttonous off to mandatory fat camp?
Don’t laugh. When he was drug czar, Bill Bennett toyed with the idea of snatching kids from their parents in drug-plagued neighborhoods. And at this very moment, the United States is in the middle of any number of declared national emergencies.
Basically, most of the Executive Orders --- regulations promulgated by the President with dubious legality since they were not authorized by Congress --- are already on the books permitting authorities to seize your property, drop you in a camp, and force you to perform slave labor. All that has to be done is to set up facilities and for the President (or whoever might be running the show on that dark day for our country) to give the go-head.
Secondly, shouldn’t the American people be concerned that this so-called “civil defense” matter is being farmed out to the private sector. Many so-called Conservatives kneel so worshipfully at the altar of big business that they claim that protections such as the Bill of Rights and other legal niceties should not apply in a private sector context.
From the tone of the FoxNews.com article, one gets the impression that these proposed facilities will be administered along the lines of a for profit enterprise. As such, are there any guarantees that those corralled into these slaughterhouses will be guaranteed the fundamental liberties and protections we currently enjoy as Americans? Or will the first occupants, when they arrive, be told that they are no longer under the jurisdiction of the United States but rather under the authority of what amounts to the monster offspring of a prison and an out-of-control homeowners association.
Have a complaint about the food. Get back handed across the face. Object to the guards pawing at your buxom wife or teenage daughter, and you get a broom handle up your rectum.
“You’re out of your mind,” the mentally delicate will respond. Am I?
Such abuses already take place by rogue elements of law enforcement. Won’t such behaviors be even more widespread when that annoying Constitution and Bill of Rights are finally done away with once and for all?
Frankly, these kinds of places are hardly run properly when theoretically subject to public scrutiny. Americans would do well to follow the ongoing saga of Katrina recovery as it serves as a kind of experimental case study of the kind of future being planned for the vast majority of us.
According to a WorldNetDaily story titled “FEMA Lifts Reporter Ban”, it has been discovered that until exposed FEMA was forbidding those living in trailer parks set up by the government relief agency from talking with the press without having a Homeland Security handler present. FEMA goons kicked a reporter out of a trailer to which the reporter had been invited by the resident and ordered --- ordered mind you --- another resident back into her trailer that dared to speak to a reporter through a chainlink fence. The last time I checked, losing one’s home in a natural disaster did not make one a felon that had forfeited his rights.
Perhaps the most disheartening thing about the Fox News story bringing this neglected issue to the attention of a more generalized segment of the news-consuming public is that of all the sources researched are prominent names on the left side of the political spectrum such as AlterNet, The Progressive, and two Democratic members of Congress. Claiming to have a political philosophy taking into account the depravity of man unlike their progressivist counterparts given over more to utopian delusions, shouldn’t Conservatives be the ones warning of the dangers to human liberties posed by these detention facilities. For aren’t some of the most fearful words in the English language, “We’re from the government and we’re here to help”?
Conservatives backing these facilities because their guy is currently in office should be ashamed of themselves. Shouldn’t they realize that their man won’t always be in office. And even if the party of your choice held power now through the end of time, why does a proposal under consideration suddenly become immoral based upon which party backs the policy? Conservatives wouldn’t countenance plans openly plotting to establish civil detention camps under Clinton, then why accept such a measure under Bush?
Frederick Meekins is an independent theologian and social critic. Frederick holds a BS in Political Science/History, a MA in Apologetics/Christian Philosophy from Trinity Theological Seminary, and a PhD. in Christian Apologetics from Newburgh Theological Seminary.