American Prison Camps Are on the Way

Kellogg Brown & Root, a Halliburton subsidiary, is constructing a huge facility at an undisclosed location to hold tens of thousands of Bush's "unlawful enemy combatants." Americans are certain to be among them.

By Marjorie Cohn

10/13/06 "AlterNet" -- -- The Military Commissions Act of 2006 governing the treatment of detainees is the culmination of relentless fear-mongering by the Bush administration since the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Because the bill was adopted with lightning speed, barely anyone noticed that it empowers Bush to declare not just aliens, but also U.S. citizens, "unlawful enemy combatants."

Bush & Co. has portrayed the bill as a tough way to deal with aliens to protect us against terrorism. Frightened they might lose their majority in Congress in the November elections, the Republicans rammed the bill through Congress with little substantive debate.

Anyone who donates money to a charity that turns up on Bush's list of "terrorist" organizations, or who speaks out against the government's policies could be declared an "unlawful enemy combatant" and imprisoned indefinitely. That includes American citizens.

The bill also strips habeas corpus rights from detained aliens who have been declared enemy combatants. Congress has the constitutional power to suspend habeas corpus only in times of rebellion or invasion. The habeas-stripping provision in the new bill is unconstitutional and the Supreme Court will likely say so when the issue comes before it.

Although more insidious, this law follows in the footsteps of other unnecessarily repressive legislation. In times of war and national crisis, the government has targeted immigrants and dissidents.

In 1798, the Federalist-led Congress, capitalizing on the fear of war, passed the four Alien and Sedition Acts to stifle dissent against the Federalist Party's political agenda. The Naturalization Act extended the time necessary for immigrants to reside in the U.S. because most immigrants sympathized with the Republicans.

The Alien Enemies Act provided for the arrest, detention and deportation of male citizens of any foreign nation at war with the United States. Many of the 25,000 French citizens living in the U.S. could have been expelled had France and America gone to war, but this law was never used. The Alien Friends Act authorized the deportation of any non-citizen suspected of endangering the security of the U.S. government; the law lasted only two years and no one was deported under it.

The Sedition Act provided criminal penalties for any person who wrote, printed, published, or spoke anything "false, scandalous and malicious" with the intent to hold the government in "contempt or disrepute." The Federalists argued it was necessary to suppress criticism of the government in time of war. The Republicans objected that the Sedition Act violated the First Amendment, which had become part of the Constitution seven years earlier. Employed exclusively against Republicans, the Sedition Act was used to target congressmen and newspaper editors who criticized President John Adams.

Subsequent examples of laws passed and actions taken as a result of fear-mongering during periods of xenophobia are the Espionage Act of 1917, the Sedition Act of 1918, the Red Scare following World War I, the forcible internment of people of Japanese descent during World War II, and the Alien Registration Act of 1940 (the Smith Act).

During the McCarthy period of the 1950s, in an effort to eradicate the perceived threat of communism, the government engaged in widespread illegal surveillance to threaten and silence anyone who had an unorthodox political viewpoint. Many people were jailed, blacklisted and lost their jobs. Thousands of lives were shattered as the FBI engaged in "red-baiting." One month after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, United States Attorney General John Ashcroft rushed the U.S.A. Patriot Act through a timid Congress. The Patriot Act created a crime of domestic terrorism aimed at political activists who protest government policies, and set forth an ideological test for entry into the United States.

In 1944, the Supreme Court upheld the legality of the internment of Japanese and Japanese-American citizens in Korematsu v. United States. Justice Robert Jackson warned in his dissent that the ruling would "lie about like a loaded weapon ready for the hand of any authority that can bring forward a plausible claim of an urgent need."

That day has come with the Military Commissions Act of 2006. It provides the basis for the President to round-up both aliens and U.S. citizens he determines have given material support to terrorists. Kellogg Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Cheney's Halliburton, is constructing a huge facility at an undisclosed location to hold tens of thousands of undesirables.

In his 1928 dissent in Olmstead v. United States, Justice Louis Brandeis cautioned, "The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding." Seventy-three years later, former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, speaking for a zealous President, warned Americans "they need to watch what they say, watch what they do."

We can expect Bush to continue to exploit 9/11 to strip us of more of our liberties. Our constitutional right to dissent is in serious jeopardy. Benjamin Franklin's prescient warning should give us pause: "They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security."

original articile

Marjorie Cohn, a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, is president-elect of the National Lawyers Guild, and the U.S. representative to the executive committee of the American Association of Jurists. Her new book, "Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law," will be published in 2007 by PoliPointPress

I ain't afraid of no 4th reich

Bluff and bluster from a bunch of desperadoes. YAAAWWWWN. We have all the prisons we need for the perps, and they can make license plates to pay off the debts they incurred on their campaign of slaughter. Sorry, China, but you bought all those T-Bills from the federal reserve, see if Greenspan can help you cash them in somewhere. America soon will not be honoring any money containing masonic symbolism. Sorry, rules is rules!


Real Truther a.k.a. Verdadero Verdadero - Harvard Task Force


Let's no become overconfident, Real Truther...

these people are pure evil!

they are also alcoholics and terrible gamblers

Look, they HAVE LOST. They KNOW IT. This last hurrah is going to be a fizzled out footnote in the history of history. Let them start herding peopl einto camps. Let them come for me in the night for doing absolutely nothing. I will call the police on them for breaking and entering. None of this BS would ever stand up in court and they KNOW it. Raping Jose Padilla's civil rights did not intimidate the truth movement. Halliburton putting up barbed wire in some hicktown for $100 million a pop does not frighten us either. The locks on those "camps" are probably the kind you get out of gumball machines--and Halliburton charged $100 each. DOn't you see? It's all lies. It's all fake. And by believing it, you give them the power they want to have over you. I repeat--BRING IT ON!


Real Truther a.k.a. Verdadero Verdadero - Harvard Task Force


Today's the day

Tuesday, October 17, at 9:35 a.m., George W. Bush signed the Military Commissions Act and abolished some important rights.

Bush and his minions now have the power to arbitrarily decide that you may be a threat to this nation. They can then lock you up and throw away the key.

All this while we head towards a showdown with Iran and NK.

Could it all be bluff?

I somehow doubt that.

If we believe 9/11 was a false flag operation - then i do not see any other option for them. they are clearly headed towards being exposed - with critical mass in public being reached with crisis upon crisis mounting.

no. i think the danger right now is unparalled in USA history. something is going to have to give. i just cannot conceive of another 2 years of this presidency, with all this shadow boxing going on.

no. i think they are prepared to take us all to the next level of crisis. i smell it coming.

Nope, it's a bluff.

One false move on their part and a whole bunch of fence sitters are going to come down on the correct side. I do smell something, and it's neocon desperation.


Real Truther a.k.a. Verdadero Verdadero - Harvard Task Force


Gee, they better hurry up with those camps...

All the truth is coming out! Hurry up, little nazis... build your sick little camps.

No one's gonna take me alive...

the camps will be heaven for the S&M crowd

think about it--leashes, women's panties on your head, being smeared with feces, making nude pyramids--and that's when you DON'T cooperate with your interrogators!

And if you're really lucky they'll put you in a cell with the Loose Change guys, David Ray Griffin, Jim Fetzer, and Alex Jones! It will be like a 9/11 convention, with a bunch of innocent Arab Muslims thrown in for variety!


Real Truther a.k.a. Verdadero Verdadero - Harvard Task Force



Going to have to put a bullet in my head.

"It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it. The president saying ‘Go find me a way to do this."