Monday, March 3, 2008

"Emergency influx of immigrants"? WTF?

Lewis Seiler and Dan Hamburg in the San Francisco Chronicle, 4 Feb:

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....

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.
Read the whole thing.

1 comment:

Paul Botts said...

That op-ed piece left me confused. For one thing, the writer doesn't make clear from where he is quoting about "an emergency influx of immigrants in the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs" -- is that language from one of the federal laws later mentioned? From the "diplomat and author" who is the source of the claim about a "Homeland Security plan"? From someplace else?

Also, the "Since 9/11" lede creates an incongruity with the "Since 1999" start of the next graf.

Also the graf about Sect. 1042 of the 2007 National Defense Authorization Act made me scratch my head. It claims that "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.' " written, isn't that exactly what Eisenhower did in Little Rock and Kennedy in Oxford, Mississippi and in several other examples during the 20th century? And how does phrase 'use the military' equate to 'declare martial law'?

And a bit lower down, how does Rep. Harmon's bill to establish yet another federal commission which would publish a fat report of recommendations to gather dust on the Congressional shelf amount to "a new way to expand the domestic war on terror?" And what "sweeping investigative power" would that commission have, are they saying it would have subpoena authority of some kind?