Thursday, May 31, 2007

Detention and dictatorship

What is up with Jerome Corsi and World Net Daily? I'd rather eat shoe leather than make this admission, but the old swiftboater has been doing some good reporting lately. His latest concerns the detention facilities built by KBR to hold large numbers of people in case of an "immigration emergency."

Excuse me? Lots of people don't like America's immigration policies, but the problem has been what it is since before most of you were born. What sort of "emergency" could justify massive detention centers?

These centers will also be used in case of natural disaster, and can provide housing for suspected terrorists. The potential for mischief should be obvious.

Corsi -- in a robustly paranoid-progressive fashion -- ties in these detention centers with the National Security directive signed last May 9 giving George W. Bush very broad powers in case of a "national emergency." (See below.) And who determines what constitutes an emergency? George W. Bush.
The new directive concentrates an unprecedented amount of emergency authority in the office of the president, specifying that the president now has the authority to direct "National Essential Functions" of all federal state, local, territorial and tribal governments, as well as private sector organizations in the event of a national emergency.

The directive loosely defines "catastrophic emergency" as "any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions." The KBR contingency contract appears to give ICE the ability to have detention facilities constructed under the president's direction in response to a national emergency as declared under NSPD-51/HSPD-20.
This directive supercedes Presidential Decision Directive 67 signed by Bill Clinton on October 21, 1998, which has never been released. You can find a summary (of sorts) here. You can find Bush's new directive here.
(e) "Enduring Constitutional Government," or "ECG," means a cooperative effort among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Federal Government, coordinated by the President, as a matter of comity with respect to the legislative and judicial branches and with proper respect for the constitutional separation of powers among the branches, to preserve the constitutional framework under which the Nation is governed and the capability of all three branches of government to execute constitutional responsibilities and provide for orderly succession, appropriate transition of leadership, and interoperability and support of the National Essential Functions during a catastrophic emergency;
So there would still be a legislative branch. I wonder -- would it function as the Roman Senate functioned during the reign of Caligula?


Perry Logan said...

How nice. This ensures that the next Democratic President(s) will have dictatorial powers.

Anonymous said...

The article fails to mention that this contract only covers facilities housing 10,000 or fewer people, according to the nytimes article from Feb 4, 2006. Not exactly a staggering number of beds.

I Googled the whole thing a little, and my head is still reeling from that trip into full-blown paranoid schizoland. There is a nice video of a "death camp" -- just type fema camp into Google video and it's the first result. Odd that they'd leave a "death camp" completely unguarded. The wacko who posted this claimed that the manufacturer of the gas cylinder manufactures "mostly asphyxiation type gases." Hmm. Like oxygen? And welding supplies?

People are nuts.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the most significant phrase in that directive is this: "regardless of location."
Why include it? I'll tell you. It isn't to make sure we include Maine and Alaska. It's to include England, China, Pakistan, Russia, Mexico, etc.

In other words, if any disaster anywhere in the world, manmade or otherwise, has a dire impact on the "economy" of the US, Bush puts us under martial law.

What I don't understand is how a "National Security Directive" can have constitutional force. How can the executive branch arrogate the right to define the separation of powers? It seems absurd. What if Congress decided that it had the authority to define the role of the executive branch and the Supreme Court, and passed such a law? Does anyone have standing to dispute one of these directives before SCOTUS? Have they ever been legally challenged?

And can they be? What happens if the Congress refuses to go along with the martial law? Will the dissenters be arrested?

Anonymous said...

My guess is that the detention camps tie in with global warming. Having decided not to do anything about climate change, the Cheneys of this world have resigned themselves to the fact that as Bangladesh is swallowed by the ocean and Africa by the desert, hordes of displaced black and brown people -- rather than meekly accepting that they chose the wrong places to live and suffering their inevitable fate -- will swarm over the remaining inhabitable territories and attempt to seize them away from their rightful owners.

What happens next is a lot less apparent -- but I'm sure they'd come up with something.

Anonymous said...

The Senate lived on for a while after the fall of the Republic, technically maintaining its old powers, but the Emperor had the support of the military, and the Senate's powers were ultimately doomed. As soon as the Senate bowed to the Emperor Augustus, it was a downhill trend. The Roman Senate became a pathetic rubber-stamp body. When it tried to oppose some of the emperors, the emperors often relied on intimidation and brute force to get their way. In one famous incident, soldiers were ominously marched into the senate; they did nothing, but the terrified Senators backed away from challenging the emperor's dictates. At other times, there were active purges and slaughters of the Senatorial families, and the senate was stacked with nobility reliant on the Emperor for their positions and support.

The Roman Senate

Anonymous said...

Joe, don't you mean "would it continue to function…?

ViViDVeW said...

I not sure why but everyone seems to be ignoring or overlooking what I think is the most important part of NSD 51; the planning for this “event” has been moved out of FEMA and into the White House. Why take the PLANNING away from the wonks and give it to a purely political entity? The only reasons I can come up with are all very Orwellian.

Anonymous said...

just a question: what if some reliable reporter or news agency, if there is such a thing, had real proof of this camp thing and could show a verifiable White House memo that confirmed plans for a dictatorship and such things: I wonder if there would be any one who would do some thing about it? I mean it looks like to me that the simple things they could do some thing about they (congress) aren't. So even if it were true about like camps and such would the powers who could do a thing about it, do any thing about it?

It almost seems like maybe it isn't a matter of what is legal or not any more with this Bush person, but more like what whim is twirling around in his head today?