By MARC McDONALD
"The truth is yes--—you do have these standby provisions, and the plans are here...whereby you could, in the name of stopping terrorism, evoke the military and arrest Americans and put them in detention camps."
---Late Democratic Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez
Does George W. Bush's illegal wiretap program have you worried these days? How about the NSA's massive effort to document all your phone calls?
If that doesn't send chills down your back, how about Bush's Orwellian "Patriot" Act, that gives Big Brother the right to sift through your medical, library and financial records? Or Bush's Justice Department, which could well be snooping on your online activities at this very moment?
Still not spooked?
OK, if the following doesn't give you the chills, nothing will: currently there are more than 600 prison camps in America, ready to receive occupants. The government is tight-lipped about the purpose of these prison camps. But one thing's clear. They most definitely exist. And although the camps are currently empty, they clearly exist for some purpose. But what?
Some analysts believe the camps are connected to Rex 84, a program launched by the Reagan administration in (appropriately enough) the year 1984. It was a plan by U.S. government officials to "test their ability to detain large numbers of American citizens in case of massive civil unrest or national emergency."
Additionally, in January 2006, Halliburton subsidiary KBR (formerly Kellogg, Brown and Root) received a $385 million contract from the Department of Homeland Security to build "temporary detention" centers in the U.S.
As the investigative journalist Ritt Goldstein has noted:
(When Reagan) "was considering invading Nicaragua, he issued a series of executive orders that provided the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with broad powers in the event of a "crisis" such as "violent and widespread internal dissent or national opposition against a US military invasion abroad". They were never used.
Fast-forward two decades and the situation we face today has gone from bad to worse. America is currently mired in an increasingly unpopular bloody quagmire in Iraq, thanks to Bush's lies. More and more Americans are speaking out against this senseless, illegal war. And Bush has cynically used 9/11 to systematically crack down on our civil liberties.
Considering his utter contempt for the U.S. Constitution, do you think Bush would hesitate to lock up his opponents in a massive crackdown on dissidents in America? Recall that this is the same administration that never hesitated to crush its opposition, whether it is slandering war heroes or treasonously outing CIA agents. This is an administration that already operates secret prisons in Eastern Europe and has embraced torture as an official instrument of U.S. policy.
The Bush/Cheney junta has never hesitated to do whatever it takes to consolidate its power and crush its opponents. I don't think these thugs would hesitate for a second to lock up dissidents in America, if they felt their power was threatened. It's easy to imagine what could trigger a state of martial law in this country (another 9/11-style attack, for example). And when the day comes when Bush cracks down on us dissidents, the prison camps are already prepared and ready to go.