If men use their liberty in such a way as to surrender their liberty, are they thereafter any the less slaves? If people by a plebiscite elect a man despot over them, do they remain free because the despotism was of their own making? Herbert Spencer The New Toryism, 1884
In a revealing admission the Director of Resource Management for the U.S. Army confirmed the validity of a memorandum relating to the establishment of a civilian inmate labor program under development by the Department of the Army. The document states, "Enclosed for your review and comment is the draft Army regulation on civilian inmate labor utilization" and the procedure to "establish civilian prison camps on installations." Cherith Chronicle, June 1997.
Civilian internment camps or prison camps, more commonly known as concentration camps, have been the subject of much rumor and speculation during the past few years in America. Several publications have devoted space to the topic and many talk radio programs have dealt with the issue.
However, Congressman Henry Gonzales (D, Texas) clarified the question of the existence of civilian detention camps. In an interview the congressman stated, "the truth is yes - you do have these stand by 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."
HISTORY OF CIVILIAN INTERNMENT CAMPS
The concept of mass internment camps was implemented during the decade of the 1930's when the idea was either integrated into national security planning or put to actual use in the world's three socialistic experiments - the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany and the United States under Roosevelt.
On March 9, 1933, Adolph Hitler put his Dachau detention center into operation where thousands of his own countrymen were sent. (Source: Martin Gilber,The Holocaust). Stalin exterminated 7 to 10 million in his rural collectivization program from 1931-1933 and another 10 million in the purges of 1934-1939. It was this decade that the Soviet Gulag proved its worth. On August 24, 1939, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover met with FDR to develop a detention plan for the United States. Five months after this meeting, Hitler opened the Auschwitz detention center in Poland.
On August 3, 1948, J. Edgar Hoover met with Attorney General J. Howard McGrath to form a plan whereby President Truman could suspend constitutional liberties during a national emergency. The plan was code-named "Security Portfolio" and, when activated, it would authorize the FBI to summarily arrest up to 20,000 persons and place them in national security detention camps. Prisoners would not have the right to a court hearing or habeas corpus appeal. Meanwhile, "Security Portfolio" allowed the FBI to develop a watch list of those who would be detained, as well as detailed information on their physical appearance, family, place of work, etc. (David Burnham, Above the Law).
Two years later Congress approved the Internal Security Act of 1950 which contained a provision authorizing an emergency detention plan. Hoover was unhappy with this law because it did not suspend the constitution and it guaranteed the right to a court hearing (habeas corpus). "For two years, while the FBI continued to secretly establish the detention camps and work out detailed seizure plans for thousands of individuals, Hoover kept badgering...[Attorney General McGrath for] official permission to ignore the 1950 law and carry on with the more ferocious 1948 program. On November 25, 1952, the attorney general...caved in to Hoover." ibid.
Congress repealed the Emergency Detention Act of 1950 more than twenty years later in 1971. Seemingly the threat of civilian internment in the United States was over, but not in reality. The Senate held hearings in December, 1975, revealing the ongoing internment plan which had never been terminated. The report, entitled, "Intelligence Activities, Senate Resolution 21", disclosed the covert agenda. In a series of documents, memos and testimony by government informants, the picture emerged of the designs by the federal government to monitor, infiltrate, arrest and incarcerate a potentially large segment of American society.
The Senate report also revealed the existence of the Master Search Warrant (MSW) and the Master Arrest Warrant (MAW) which are currently in force. The MAW document, authorized by the United States Attorney General, directs the head of the FBI to: "Arrest persons whom I deem dangerous to the public peace and safety. These persons are to be detained and confined until further order." The MSW also instructs the FBI Director to "search certain premises where it is believed that there may be found contraband, prohibited articles, or other materials in violation of the Proclamation of the President of the United States." It includes such items as firearms, shortwave radio receiving sets, cameras, propaganda materials, printing presses, mimeograph machines, membership and financial records of organizations or groups that have been declared subversive, or may be hereafter declared subversive by the Attorney General."
Since the Senate hearings in 1975, the steady development of highly specialized surveillance capabilities, combined with the exploding computerized information technologies, have enabled a massive data base of personal information to be developed on millions of unsuspecting American citizens. It is all in place awaiting only a presidential declaration to be enforced by both military and civilian police.
In 1982, President Ronald Reagan issued National Security Directive 58 which empowered Robert McFarlane and Oliver North to use the National Security Council to secretly retrofit FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) to manage the country during a national crisis. The 1984 "REX exercises" simulated civil unrest culminating in a national emergency with a contingency plan for the imprisonment of 400,000 people. REX 84 was so secretive that special metal security doors were installed on the FEMA building's fifth floor, and even long-term officials of the Civil Defense Office were prohibited entry. The ostensible purpose of this exercise was to handle an influx of refugees created by a war in Central America, but a more realistic scenario was the detention of American citizens.
STATE OF EMERGENCY
Under "REX" the President could declare a state of emergency, empowering the head of FEMA to take control of the internal infrastructure of the United States and suspend the constitution. The President could invoke executive orders 11000 thru 11004 which would: 1- Draft all citizens into work forces under government supervision. 2- Empower the postmaster to register all men, women and children. 3- Seize all airports and aircraft. 4- Seize all housing and establish forced relocation of citizens.
FEMA, whose black budget comes from the Department of Defense, has worked closely with the Pentagon in an effort to avoid the legal restrictions of Posse Comitatus. While FEMA may not have been directly responsible for these precedent-setting cases, the principle of federal control was seen during the Los Angeles riots in 1992 with the federalization of the National Guard and during the siege at Waco, where Army tanks equipped with flame throwers were involved in the final conflagration.
GOVERNMENT VIOLENCE IS "LEGITIMATE"?
The Deputy Attorney General of California commented at a conference that anyone who attacks the State, even verbally, becomes a revolutionary and an enemy by definition. Louis Guiffreda, who was head of FEMA, stated that "legitimate violence is integral to our form of government, for it is from this source that we can continue to purge our weaknesses."
It is significant to note that the dictionary definition of terrorism - "the calculated use of violence" - corresponds precisely to the government's stated policy of "the use of legitimate violence." One might ask, who are the real terrorists? Guiffreda's remark gives a revealing insight into the thinking of those who have been charged with oversight of the welfare of the citizens in this country. If one's convictions or philosophy does not correspond with the government's agenda, that individual may find himself on the government's enemy list. This makes him a "target" to be "purged" by the use of "legitimate violence."
If one forgets the past, he will not be prepared for the future.
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