Preparing for Civil Unrest in
Legislation to Establish Internment
Camps on US Military Bases
by Michel Chossudovsky
The Economic and Social Crisis
The financial meltdown has unleashed a
latent and emergent social crisis across the United States.
What is at stake is the fraudulent confiscation
of lifelong savings and pension funds, the appropriation of tax
revenues to finance the trillion dollar "bank bailouts",
which ultimately serve to line the pockets of the richest people
This economic crisis is in large part
the result of financial manipulation and outright fraud to the
detriment of entire populations, to a renewed wave of corporate
bankruptcies, mass unemployment and poverty.
The criminalization of the global financial
system, characterized by a "Shadow Banking" network
has resulted in the centralization of bank power and an unprecedented
concentration of private wealth.
Obama's "economic stimulus"
package and budget proposals contribute to a further process of
concentration and centralization of bank power, the cumulative
effects of which will eventually resul in large scale corporate,
bankruptcies, a new wave of foreclosures not to mention fiscal
collapse and the downfall of State social programs. (For further
details see Michel Chossudovsky, America's Fiscal Collapse, Global
Research, March 2, 2009).
The cumulative decline of real economic
activity backlashes on employment and wages, which in turn leads
to a collapse in purchaisng power. The proposed "solution"
under the Obama administration contributes to exacerbating rather
than alleviating social inequalities and the process of wealth
The Protest Movement
When people across America, whose lives
have been shattered and destroyed, come to realize the true face
of the global "free market" system, the legitimacy of
the Wall Street, the Federal Reserve and the US administration
will be challenged.
A latent protest movement directed against
the seat of economic and political power is unfolding.
How this process will occur is hard to
predict. All sectors of American society are potentially affected:
wage earners, small, medium and even large businesses, farmers,
professionals, federal, State and municipal employees, students,
teachers, health workers, and unemployed. Protests will initially
emerge from these various sectors. There is, however, at this
stage, no organized national resistance movement directed against
the administration's economic and financial agenda.
Obama's populist rhetoric conceals the
true nature of macro-economic policy. Acting on behalf of Wall
Street, the administration's economic package, which includes
close to a trillion dollar "aid" package for the financial
services industry, coupled with massive austerity measures, contributes
to precipitating America into a bottomless crisis.
"Orwellian Solution" to the
Great Depression: Curbing Civil Unrest
At this particular juncture, there is
no economic recovery program in sight. The Washington-Wall Street
consensus prevails. There are no policies, no alternatives formulated
from within the political and economic system. .
What is the way out? How will the US government
face an impending social catastrophe?
The solution is to curb social unrest.
The chosen avenue, inherited from the outgoing Bush administration
is the reinforcement of the Homeland Security apparatus and the
militarization of civilian State institutions.
The outgoing administration has laid the
groundwork. Various pieces of "anti-terrorist" legislation
(including the Patriot Acts) and presidential directives have
been put in place since 2001, largely using the pretext of the
"Global War on Terrorism."
Homeland Security's Internment Camps
Directly related to the issue of curbing
social unrest, cohesive system of detention camps is also envisaged,
under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security
and the Pentagon.
A bill entitled the National Emergency
Centers Establishment Act (HR 645) was introduced in the US Congress
in January. It calls for the establishment of six national emergency
centers in major regions in the US to be located on existing military
The stated purpose of the "national
emergency centers" is to provide "temporary housing,
medical, and humanitarian assistance to individuals and families
dislocated due to an emergency or major disaster." In actuality,
what we are dealing with are FEMA internment camps. HR 645 states
that the camps can be used to "meet other appropriate needs,
as determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security."
There has been virtually no press coverage
of HR 645.
These "civilian facilities"
on US military bases are to be established in cooperation with
the US Military. Modeled on Guantanamo, what we are dealing with
is the militarization of FEMA internment facilities.
Once a person is arrested and interned
in a FEMA camp located on a military base, that person would in
all likelihood, under a national emergency, fall under the de
facto jurisdiction of the Military: civilian justice and law enforcement
including habeas corpus would no longer apply.
HR 645 bears a direct relationship to
the economic crisis and the likelihood of mass protests across
America. It constitutes a further move to militarize civilian
law enforcement, repealing the Posse Comitatus Act.
In the words of Rep. Ron Paul:
"...the fusion centers, militarized
police, surveillance cameras and a domestic military command is
not enough... Even though we know that detention facilities are
already in place, they now want to legalize the construction of
FEMA camps on military installations using the ever popular excuse
that the facilities are for the purposes of a national emergency.
With the phony debt-based economy getting worse and worse by the
day, the possibility of civil unrest is becoming a greater threat
to the establishment. One need only look at Iceland, Greece and
other nations for what might happen in the United States next."
(Daily Paul, September 2008, emphasis added)
The proposed internment camps should be
seen in relation to the broader process of militarization of civilian
institutions. The construction of internment camps predates the
introduction of HR 645 (Establishment of Emergency Centers) in
January 2009. There are, according to various (unconfirmed) reports,
some 800 FEMA prison camps in different regions of the U.S. Moreover,
since the 1980s, the US military has developed "tactics,
techniques and procedures" to suppress civilian dissent,
to be used in the eventuality of mass protests (United States
Army Field Manual 19-15 under Operation Garden Plot, entitled
"Civil Disturbances" was issued in 1985) __In early
2006, tax revenues were allocated to building modern internment
camp facilities. In January 2006, Kellogg Brown and Roots, which
at the time was a subsidiary of Halliburton, received a $385
million contract from the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration
and Customs Enforcement (ICE):
"The contract, which is effective
immediately [January 2006], provides for establishing temporary
detention and processing capabilities to augment existing ICE
Detention and Removal Operations (DRO) Program facilities in the
event of an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to
support the rapid development of new programs...
The contract may also provide migrant
detention support to other U.S. Government organizations in the
event of an immigration emergency, as well as the development
of a plan to react to a national emergency, such as a natural
disaster. (KBR, 24 January 2006, emphasis added)
The stated objectives of U.S. Immigration
and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are to:
"protect national security and uphold
public safety by targeting criminal networks and terrorist organizations
that seek to exploit vulnerabilities in our immigration system,
in our financial networks, along our border, at federal facilities
and elsewhere in order to do harm to the United States. The end
result is a safer, more secure America" (ICE homepage)
The US media is mum on the issue of the
internment camps on US soil. While casually acknowledging the
multimillion dollar contract granted to Halliburton's subsidiary,
the news reports largely focused their attention on possible "cost
overruns" (similar to those which occurred with KBR in Iraq).
What is the political intent and purpose
of these camps? The potential use of these internment facilities
to detain American citizens under a martial law situation are
not an object of media debate or discussion.
Combat Units Assigned to the Homeland
In the last months of the Bush administration,
prior to the November 2008 presidential elections, the Department
of Defense ordered the recall of the 3rd Infantry's 1st Brigade
Combat Team from Iraq. The relocation of a combat unit from the
war theater to domestic front is an integral part of the Homeland
Security agenda. The BCT was assigned to assist in law enforcement
activities within the US.
The BCT combat unit was attached to US
Army North, the Army's component of US Northern Command (USNORTHCOM).
The 1st BCT and other combat units would be called upon to perform
specific military functions in the case of civil unrest:
The 1st BCT's soldiers also will learn
how to use "the first ever nonlethal package that the Army
has fielded," 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said,
referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal
weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without
(See Gina Cavallaro, Brigade homeland
tours start Oct. 1, Army Times, September 8, 2008).
Under the proposed withdrawal of US forces
from Iraq under the Obama administration, one expects that other
combat units will be brought home from the war theater and reassigned
in the United States.
The evolving national security scenario
is characterized by a mesh of civilian and military institutions:
-Army combat units working with civilian
law enforcement, with the stated mission to curb "social
- the establishment of new internment
camps under civilian jurisdiction located on US military facilities.
The FEMA internment camps are part of
the Continuity of Government (COG), which would be put in place
in the case of martial law.
The internment camps are intended to "protect
the government" against its citizens, by locking up protesters
as well as political activists who might challenge the legitimacy
of the Administration's national security, economic or military
Spying on Americans: The Big Brother Data
Related to the issue of internment and
mass protests, how will data on American citizens be collected?
How will individuals across America be
What are the criteria of the Department
of Homeland Security?
In a 2004 report of the Homeland Security
Council entitled Planning Scenarios, pertaining to the defense
of the Homeland, the following categories of potential "conspirators"
"foreign [Islamic] terrorists"
"domestic radical groups", [antiwar
and civil rights groups]
"state sponsored adversaries"
["rogue states", "unstable nations"]
"disgruntled employees" [labor
and union activists].
In June of last year, the Bush administration
issued a National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD 59- HSPD
24) entitled Biometrics for Identification and Screening to Enhance
National Security (For Further details see Michel Chossudovsky,
"Big Brother" Presidential Directive: "Biometrics
for Identification and Screening to Enhance National Security",
Global Research, June 2008)
Adopted without public debate or Congressional
approval, its relevant procedures are far-reaching. They are
related to the issue of civil unrest. They are also part of the
logic behind the establishment of FEMA internment camps under
HR 645. . NSPD 59 (Biometrics for Identification and Screening
to Enhance National Security) goes far beyond the narrow issue
of biometric identification, it recommends the collection and
storage of "associated biographic" information, meaning
information on the private lives of US citizens, in minute detail,
all of which will be "accomplished within the law":
"The contextual data that accompanies
biometric data includes information on date and place of birth,
citizenship, current address and address history, current employment
and employment history, current phone numbers and phone number
history, use of government services and tax filings. Other contextual
data may include bank account and credit card histories, plus
criminal database records on a local, state and federal level.
The database also could include legal judgments or other public
records documenting involvement in legal disputes, child custody
records and marriage or divorce records."(See Jerome Corsi,
The directive uses 9/11 and the "Global
War on Terrorism" as an all encompassing justification to
wage a witch hunt against dissenting citizens, establishing at
the same time an atmosphere of fear and intimidation across the
land. It also calls for the integration of various data banks
as well as inter-agency cooperation in the sharing of information,
with a view to eventually centralizing the information on American
citizens. In a carefully worded text, NSPD 59 "establishes
a framework" to enable the Federal government and its various
police and intelligence agencies to:
"use mutually compatible methods
and procedures in the collection, storage, use, analysis, and
sharing of biometric and associated biographic and contextual
information of individuals in a lawful and appropriate manner,
while respecting their information privacy and other legal rights
under United States law."
The NSPD 59 Directive recommends: "actions
and associated timelines for enhancing the existing terrorist-oriented
identification and screening processes by expanding the use of
The procedures under NSPD 59 are consistent
with an earlier June 2005 decision which consisted increating
a "domestic spy service", under the auspices of the
FBI. (For further details see Michel Chossudovsky, Bush Administration
creates "Secret State Police", June 30, 2005)
Working hand in glove with Homeland Security
(DHS), the proposed "domestic intelligence department"
would combine FBI counterterrorism, intelligence and espionage
operations into a single service.
The new department operating under the
auspices of the FBI would have the authority to "seize the
property of people deemed to be helping the spread of WMD":
They would be able to "spy on people in America suspected
of terrorism or having critical intelligence information, even
if they are not suspected of committing a crime." (NBC Tonight,
29 June 2005).
Civil Liberties watch