Detention Camps Now Exposed in Mainstream Media

Detention Camps Now Exposed in Mainstream Media

San Francisco Chronicle: RULE BY FEAR OR RULE BY LAW
This article appeared on page B - 7 of the San Francisco Chronicle

A commentary on this article:

Rule by fear or rule by law?
Lewis Seiler,Dan Hamburg

Monday, February 4, 2008

"The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating
any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of
his peers, is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all
totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist."
        - Winston Churchill, Nov. 21, 1943

Since 9/11, and seemingly without the notice of most Americans, the
federal government has assumed the authority to institute martial law,
arrest a wide swath of dissidents (citizen and noncitizen alike), and detain
people without legal or constitutional recourse in the event of "an
emergency influx of immigrants in the U.S., or to support the rapid
development of new programs."

Beginning in 1999, the government has entered into a series of single-bid
contracts with Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) to
build detention camps at undisclosed locations within the United States.
The government has also contracted with several companies to build
thousands of railcars, some reportedly equipped with shackles, ostensibly
to transport detainees.

According to diplomat and author Peter Dale Scott, the KBR contract is
part of a Homeland Security plan titled ENDGAME, which sets as its goal
the removal of "all removable aliens" and "potential terrorists."

Fraud-busters such as Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles, have
complained about these contracts, saying that more taxpayer dollars
should not go to taxpayer-gouging Halliburton. But the real question is:
What kind of "new programs" require the construction and refurbishment
of detention facilities in nearly every state of the union with the capacity to
house perhaps millions of people?

Sect. 1042 of the 2007 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), "Use of
the Armed Forces in Major Public Emergencies," gives the executive the
power to invoke martial law. For the first time in more than a century, the
president is now authorized to use the military in response to "a natural
disaster, a disease outbreak, a terrorist attack or any other condition in
which the President determines that domestic violence has occurred to the
extent that state officials cannot maintain public order."

The Military Commissions Act of 2006, rammed through Congress just
before the 2006 midterm elections, allows for the indefinite imprisonment
of anyone who donates money to a charity that turns up on a list of
"terrorist" organizations, or who speaks out against the government's
policies. The law calls for secret trials for citizens and noncitizens alike.

Also in 2007, the White House quietly issued National Security Presidential
Directive 51 (NSPD-51), to ensure "continuity of government" in the event
of what the document vaguely calls a "catastrophic emergency." Should
the president determine that such an emergency has occurred, he and he
alone is empowered to do whatever he deems necessary to ensure
"continuity of government." This could include everything from canceling
elections to suspending the Constitution to launching a nuclear attack.
Congress has yet to hold a single hearing on NSPD-51.

U.S. Rep. Jane Harman, D-Venice (Los Angeles County) has come up with a
new way to expand the domestic "war on terror." Her Violent Radicalization
and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007 (HR1955), which passed
the House by the lopsided vote of 404-6, would set up a commission to
"examine and report upon the facts and causes" of so-called violent
radicalism and extremist ideology, then make legislative recommendations
on combatting it.

According to commentary in the Baltimore Sun, Rep. Harman and her
colleagues from both sides of the aisle believe the country faces a native
brand of terrorism, and needs a commission with sweeping investigative
power to combat it.

A clue as to where Harman's commission might be aiming is the Animal
Enterprise Terrorism Act, a law that labels those who "engage in sit-ins,
civil disobedience, trespass, or any other crime in the name of animal
rights" as terrorists. Other groups in the crosshairs could be anti-abortion
protesters, anti-tax agitators, immigration activists, environmentalists,
peace demonstrators, Second Amendment rights supporters ... the list
goes on and on. According to author Naomi Wolf, the National
Counterterrorism Center holds the names of roughly 775,000 "terror
suspects" with the number increasing by 20,000 per month.

What could the government be contemplating that leads it to make
contingency plans to detain without recourse millions of its own citizens?

The Constitution does not allow the executive to have unchecked power
under any circumstances. The people must not allow the president to use
the war on terrorism to rule by fear instead of by law.

Lewis Seiler is the president of Voice of the Environment, Inc. Dan
Hamburg, a former congressman, is executive director.

This article appeared on page B - 7 of the San Francisco Chronicle
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