Martial Law, Detention Camps and Kangaroo Courts: Are We Recreating the Third Reich?

16 comments

Posted on 15th May 2014 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues

, ,

Guest Post by John Whitehead

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”Martin Niemoller

Despite what some may think, the Constitution is no magical incantation against government wrongdoing. Indeed, it’s only as effective as those who abide by it. However, without courts willing to uphold the Constitution’s provisions when government officials disregard it and a citizenry knowledgeable enough to be outraged when those provisions are undermined, it provides little to no protection against SWAT team raids, domestic surveillance, police shootings of unarmed citizens, indefinite detentions, and the like.

Unfortunately, the courts and the police have meshed in their thinking to such an extent that anything goes when it’s done in the name of national security, crime fighting and terrorism. Consequently, America no longer operates under a system of justice characterized by due process, an assumption of innocence, probable cause and clear prohibitions on government overreach and police abuse. Instead, our courts of justice have been transformed into courts of order, advocating for the government’s interests, rather than championing the rights of the citizenry, as enshrined in the Constitution.

Just recently, for example, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in U.S. v. Westhoven that driving too carefully, with a rigid posture, taking a scenic route, and having acne are sufficient reasons for a police officer to suspect you of doing something illegal, detain you, search your car, and arrest you—even if you’ve done nothing illegal to warrant the stop in the first place.

In that same vein, the U.S. Supreme Court declared in a 5-4 ruling in Navarette v. California that police officers can, under the guise of “reasonable suspicion,” stop cars and question drivers based solely on anonymous tips, no matter how dubious, and whether or not they themselves witnessed any troubling behavior.

And then you have the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear Hedges v. Obama, a legal challenge to the indefinite detention provision of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA), thereby affirming that the President and the U.S. military can arrest and indefinitely detain individuals, including American citizens, based on a suspicion that they might be associated with or aiding terrorist organizations.

All three cases reflect a mindset in which the rule of law, the U.S. Constitution, once the map by which we navigated sometimes hostile terrain, has been unceremoniously booted out of the runaway car that is our government, driven over and left for road kill on the side of the road. All that can be seen in the rear view mirror are the tire marks on its ragged frame.

What we are dealing with, as I document in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, is a run-away government hyped up on its own power, whose policies are dictated more by paranoia than need. Making matters worse, “we the people” have become so gullible, so easily distracted, and so out-of-touch that we are ignoring the warning signs all around us and failing to demand that government officials of all stripes—the White House, Congress, the courts, the military, law enforcement, the endless parade of bureaucrats, etc.—respect our rights and abide by the rule of law.

The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the NDAA indefinite detention case—which challenged whether the government can lawfully lock up American citizens who might be deemed extremists or terrorists (the government likes to use these words interchangeably) for criticizing the government—is one such warning sign that we would do well to heed.

The building blocks are already in place for such an eventuality: the surveillance networks, fusion centers and government contractors already monitor what is being said by whom; government databases track who poses a potential threat to the government’s power; the militarized police, working in conjunction with federal agencies, coordinate with the federal government when it’s time to round up the troublemakers; the courts sanction the government’s methods, no matter how unlawful; and the detention facilities, whether private prisons or FEMA internment camps, to lock up the troublemakers.

For those who can read the writing on the wall, it’s all starting to make sense: the military drills carried out in major American cities, the VIPR inspections at train depots and bus stations, the SWAT team raids on unsuspecting homeowners, the Black Hawk helicopters patrolling American skies, the massive ammunition purchases by various federal agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Education, the IRS and the Social Security Administration.

Viewed in conjunction with the government’s increasing use of involuntary commitment laws to declare individuals mentally ill and lock them up in psychiatric wards for extended periods of time, the NDAA’s provision allowing the military to arrest and indefinitely detain anyone, including American citizens, only codifies this unraveling of our constitutional framework.

Throw in the profit-driven corporate incentive to jail Americans in private prisons, as well as the criminalizing of such relatively innocent activities as holding Bible studies in one’s home or sharing unpasteurized goat cheese with members of one’s community, and it becomes clear that “we the people” have become enemies of the state. Thus, it’s no longer a question of whether the government will lock up Americans for First Amendment activity but when. (It’s particularly telling that the government’s lawyers, when pressed for an assurance that those exercising their First Amendment rights in order to criticize the government would not be targeted under the NDAA, refused to provide one.)

History shows that the U.S. government is not averse to locking up its own citizens for its own purposes. One need only go back to the 1940s, when the federal government proclaimed that Japanese-Americans, labeled potential dissidents, could be put in concentration (a.k.a. internment) camps based only upon their ethnic origin, to see the lengths the federal government will go to in order to maintain “order” in the homeland. The U.S. Supreme Court validated the detention program in Korematsu v. US (1944), concluding that the government’s need to ensure the safety of the country trumped personal liberties. That decision has never been overturned.

In fact, the creation of detention camps domestically has long been part of the government’s budget and operations, falling under the jurisdiction of FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA’s murky history dates back to the 1970s, when President Carter created it by way of an executive order merging many of the government’s disaster relief agencies into one large agency. During the 1980s, however, reports began to surface of secret military-type training exercises carried out by FEMA and the Department of Defense. Code named Rex-84, 34 federal agencies, including the CIA and the Secret Service, were trained on how to deal with domestic civil unrest.

FEMA’s role in creating top-secret American internment camps is well-documented. But be careful who you share this information with: it turns out that voicing concerns about the existence of FEMA detention camps is among the growing list of opinions and activities which may make a federal agent or government official think you’re an extremist (a.k.a. terrorist), or sympathetic to terrorist activities, and thus qualify you for indefinite detention under the NDAA. Also included in that list of “dangerous” viewpoints are advocating states’ rights, believing the state to be unnecessary or undesirable, “conspiracy theorizing,” concern about alleged FEMA camps, opposition to war, organizing for “economic justice,” frustration with “mainstream ideologies,” opposition to abortion, opposition to globalization, and ammunition stockpiling.

Now if you’re going to have internment camps on American soil, someone has to build them. Thus, in 2006, it was announced that Kellogg Brown and Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton, had been awarded a $385 million contract to build American detention facilities. Although the government and Halliburton were not forthcoming about where or when these domestic detention centers would be built, they rationalized the need for them in case of “an emergency influx of immigrants, or to support the rapid development of new programs” in the event of other emergencies such as “natural disasters.”

Of course, these detention camps will have to be used for anyone viewed as a threat to the government, and that includes political dissidents. So it’s no coincidence that the U.S. government has, since the 1980s, acquired and maintained, without warrant or court order, a database of names and information on Americans considered to be threats to the nation. As Salon reports, this database, reportedly dubbed “Main Core,” is to be used by the Army and FEMA in times of national emergency or under martial law to locate and round up Americans seen as threats to national security. As of 2008, there were some 8 million Americans in the Main Core database.

Fast forward to 2009, when the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released two reports, one on “Rightwing Extremism,” which broadly defines rightwing extremists as individuals and groups “that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely,” and one on “Leftwing Extremism,” which labeled environmental and animal rights activist groups as extremists. Both reports use the words terrorist and extremist interchangeably. That same year, the DHS launched Operation Vigilant Eagle, which calls for surveillance of military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, characterizing them as extremists and potential domestic terrorist threats because they may be “disgruntled, disillusioned or suffering from the psychological effects of war.”

These reports indicate that for the government, so-called extremism is not a partisan matter. Anyone seen as opposing the government—whether they’re Left, Right or somewhere in between—is a target, which brings us back, full circle, to where we started, with the NDAA’s indefinite detention provision, whose language is so broad and vague as to implicate anyone critical of the government.

Unfortunately, we seem to be coming full circle on many fronts. Consider that a decade ago we were debating whether non-citizens—for example, so-called enemy combatants being held at Guantanamo Bay and Muslim-Americans rounded up in the wake of 9/11—were entitled to protections under the Constitution, specifically as they relate to indefinite detention. Americans weren’t overly concerned about the rights of non-citizens then, and now we’re the ones in the unenviable position of being targeted for indefinite detention by our own government.

Similarly, most Americans weren’t unduly concerned when the U.S. Supreme Court gave Arizona police officers the green light to stop, search and question anyone—ostensibly those fitting a particular racial profile—they suspect might be an illegal immigrant. Two years later, the cops have carte blanche authority to stop any individual, citizen and non-citizen alike, they suspect might be doing something illegal (mind you, in this age of overcriminalization, that could be anything from feeding the birds to growing exotic orchids).

Likewise, you still have a sizeable portion of the population today unconcerned about the government’s practice of spying on Americans, having been brainwashed into believing that if you’re not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about. It will only be a matter of time before they learn the hard way that in a police state, it doesn’t matter who you are or how righteous you claim to be—eventually, you will be lumped in with everyone else and everything you do will be “wrong” and suspect.

Martin Niemoller learned that particular lesson the hard way. A German military officer turned theologian, Niemoller was an early supporter of Hitler’s rise to power. It was only when Hitler threatened to attack the churches that Niemoller openly opposed the regime. For his efforts, Neimoller was arrested, charged with activities against the government, fined, detained, and eventually interned in the Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps from 1938 to 1945.

As Niemoller reportedly replied when asked by his cellmate why he ever supported the Nazi party:

I find myself wondering about that too. I wonder about it as much as I regret it. Still, it is true that Hitler betrayed me… Hitler promised me on his word of honor, to protect the Church, and not to issue any anti-Church laws. He also agreed not to allow pogroms against the Jews… Hitler’s assurance satisfied me at the time…I am paying for that mistake now; and not me alone, but thousands of other persons like me.

16 Comments
  1. Hope@ZeroKelvin says:

    You have to be completely brain dead to not realize that Something Wicked This Way Comes.

    I have several thoughts about this.

    1) There is strength in numbers. People who stand up without some kind of support are going to be picked off one by one. If you’re going to speak out, make sure you are well connected with social media, etc, so you can’t be “disappeared”. I am seriously debating reliquishing my secret identity and making a stand, once I have a few things in order.

    2) Be prepared for retaliation, whether physical or economic. This includes laying down a deep larder, thinking critically how to defend your property and having a back up location ready. Learn how to live-stream from your phone (and have a spare) so your interactions with the State are out there in real time.

    3) Be bold but polite and reasonable. Don’t be goaded into rash action. If violence comes, let it first come from the other guys but never forget that self defense is a God given right and you’ve got to be prepared to go all the way.

    I’m sure you guys can expand on this, hurry up, time is growing short.

    15th May 2014 at 1:18 pm

  2. AWD says:

    Everything is all set up for dictatorship. The FEMA camps, NDAA, the arming of every government agency, the 400,000 DHS and TSA thugs. They’ve been practicing, and THEY are ready. THEY know what’s coming. But so do some enlightened Americans. Please support Operation American Spring, if only in your prayers. It’s tomorrow in D.C.,

    Operation American Spring to hit D.C. to oust Obama, Biden, Boehner, Holder

    By Cheryl K. Chumley

    The Washington Times Wednesday, May 14, 2014

    A group of self-described revolutionary-style patriots with a million mobilized militia members are heading to downtown Washington, D.C., this week to bring a simple message to political leadership, from President Obama to House Speaker John Boehner: Get out.

    They’re called the Operation American Spring — and they’re vowing to oust the likes of Mr. Obama, Mr. Boehner, Attorney General Eric Holder, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Sen. Mitch McConnell, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Raw Story reported.

    “We are calling for [their] removal … as a start toward constitutional restoration,” said retired Army Col. Harry Riley, the leader of the group, Raw Story reported. “They have all abandoned the U.S. Constitution, are unworthy to be retained in a position that calls for servant status.”

    The aim of the group, too, is to influence those politicos who aren’t targeted for ouster to “sponsor and pass very constitutionally crafted state legislation to dissolve the size, powers, scope and spending of the U.S. government by two-thirds,” the media outlet reported.

    The group expects between 10 million and 30 million similarly thinking Americans to meet them in the capital on Friday for a rally that’s being billed as a sort of “Arab Spring” for Americans.

    Meanwhile, the group is holding another event on the same day in Bunerkville, Nev., near cattle rancher Cliven Bundy’s property and in support of his stand-off with the Bureau of Land Management over grazing fees.

    The Friday event was promoted by Tea Party Nation.

    Col. Riley said he hopes the event will go forward peaceably, but that so far, peaceful protests haven’t brought citizens much luck. He also said that more than 1 million militia members have already mobilized for the event — and that projections of 10 million to attend aren’t pie in the sky.

    “For more than five years, ‘we the people’ have been writing, calling, faxing Congress, the media, screaming in town halls, marching, rallying, demonstrating, petitioning, all to no avail,” he said, Raw Story reported. “Every branch of government looks at ‘we the people’ whom they have taken an oath to serve, as ‘pests,’ interfering with their political agenda, cramping their self-serving, greedy agendas. We have no faith in the ballot box any longer, as many believe this sacred secret box has been compromised.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/may/14/operation-american-spring-hitting-dc-to-oust-obama/#ixzz31o39nktn

    15th May 2014 at 1:31 pm

  3. Das Arschloch says:

    The weapon feared by tyrannical governments and the free shitters of the world:
    suitcase.jpg

    15th May 2014 at 1:35 pm

  4. Persnickety says:

    Antique leather briefcases are our best weapon?

    Man, we’re fucked.

    15th May 2014 at 1:53 pm

  5. Zarathustra says:

    Murder by Copfuk video of the day: http://benswann.com/video-family-releases-video-of-man-being-killed-by-fort-bend-officer/

    Fort Bend County, TX is where I live and work.

    15th May 2014 at 3:18 pm

  6. Rise Up says:

    @Hope, good points but you don’t have any “secret identity”. We all know that every keystroke, website, phone call, text message, e-mail, etc., is all captured and identified by MAC address and IP address. Especially on forums like this, the NSA is capturing all comments and tracing them back to individuals. Our only hope to regain our anonymous identity is if an EMP causes the databases to become inaccessible–hopefully permanently (of course we’ll be back to the stone age if that happens).

    15th May 2014 at 3:37 pm

  7. joe says:

    Soon as I read “Fema Camp” I realized , whoever wrote this is a Paranoid Skitsafrenic.
    I bet you get bad headaches everyday

    15th May 2014 at 4:03 pm

  8. Stucky says:

    The level of mind numbingly depressing articles here lately is increasing exponentially.

    Let words from Bruce Lee cheer you up; “Boards don’t hit back.”
    watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=OMaHDtiTZEA

    The Greatest Powerfulest Military That Ever Existed could not, in 10 years, placate towel-heads with rusted rifles. Really.

    Yes, as the article says most Americans are still brain dead. But, they won’t always be. Let’s see how American Fascists handle the situation when a mere 5% of the population — 17 million — start to hit back.

    15th May 2014 at 4:10 pm

  9. Stucky says:

    Fuck wordpress to hell. Try it one more time.

    15th May 2014 at 4:12 pm

  10. joe says:

    The number showing up at operation spring is incorrect, 150 to 200 would be a better guess.
    Don’t forget to wear tinfoil in your hats, or they can read your minds. (don’t laugh so hard)
    I’ll be there to supply special anti-radar hats so the Drones can’t see you. I’ll bring a couple hundred to make sure there’s enough for the whole KLAN (no pun intended)

    15th May 2014 at 4:20 pm

  11. Stucky says:

    Don’t mean for this to become a Bruce Lee thread, … last one.

    I’ve never seen this vid before. Bruce plays against some pretty damn good ping pong players with Bruce using …………… numchucks!! Fucking awesomely amazing as hell.

    56 sec mark,

    15th May 2014 at 4:24 pm

  12. joe says:

    Is this a Real event, or a Saturday Night Live Skit?

    15th May 2014 at 4:34 pm

  13. efarmer says:

    Persnickety,

    I laughed so loud at your comment my dog came to peer in the window to see what was going on!

    Thanks,

    EF

    15th May 2014 at 5:09 pm

  14. joe says:

    Fema Camps? (backgroung music) are the Guard Human or Robots?

    15th May 2014 at 6:41 pm

  15. joe says:

    10 Million huh? Where did you get all those Patriot Costumes?

    15th May 2014 at 9:21 pm

  16. Persnickety says:

    Tell Joe Biden to stop posting dumb comments on TBP and get back to “work”.

    16th May 2014 at 9:22 am

Leave a comment

You can add images to your comment by clicking here.