Waiting for the Gaoler:
C. L. Cook
February 26, 2006
Donald Rumsfeld's disdain for America's First Amendment is merely another piece jig-sawed from America's Constitution by the Bush (sic) administration of the nation. When placed beside other eviscerations of that seminal document, like security of the person, and the right to legal representation and public trial, the loss of freedom of the press seems almost benign; but dove-tailing as it does with recent announcements of a massive "detention center" contract (naturally doled out to Halliburton), ostensibly designed to "house" swarms of immigrants the White House expects to descend on the United States following a hypothetical natural disaster, Rumsfeld's pronouncement take on a decidedly more ominous meaning.
Worse than this paranoid scenario is the fact so few in the United States are aware of the program designed, ultimately, to accommodate millions. Barely reported in corporate media, last month's revelations of the concentration camp building boom has fallen into the familiar media memory hole, a factum forgotten before registering on the consciousness of the populace. The good folk continue to labour along mindless, while the hammers and saws are busy erecting a conspiracy theorist's worst nightmare, never asking: Who builds a network of prisons without prisoners to put into it?
Bush's bizarre cover story, and the obvious benefits for pet corporation, Halliburton aside, the multi-billion dollar project begins to make sense in the context of Secretary Rumsfeld's plan for "full spectrum media dominance." The first government to be faced with the independent information sources the internet represents, Rumsfeld's final solution to the pain in the neck bloggers, and the unfettered alternatives to the official line they represent, is the obvious anodyne.
Or, more popularly put: "Just build it, and they will come."
Of course, "they" won't be coming voluntarily; they must first be criminalized, rounded up, and carted away. Doubtless, another job for the ubiquitous Halliburton. Thus, Donald's hyperbolic condemnation of unembedded foreign media aiding and abetting "terrorists," along with their domestic accomplices in the blogosphere, is just another brick in the wall separating the people from the founding ideals of American society. Yet again, this is part of the larger pattern that has seen fundamental laws, laws many believed unassailable in a democracy, even sacrosanct, discarded without so much as a murmur from the fourth estate.
Mainly ignored too in the mainstream media is the rapid expansion of the role of the U.S. military within the country. The Posse Comitatus aside, as it has been tossed, provisions are being made for the military to take a larger role in law enforcement and prison management.
As Nat Parry writes at Consortiumnews.com:
"Vietnam-era whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg said, "Almost certainly this is preparation for a roundup after the next 9/11 for Mid-Easterners, Muslims and possibly dissenters. They’ve already done this on a smaller scale, with the ‘special registration’ detentions of immigrant men from Muslim countries, and with Guantanamo."
There also was another little-noticed item posted at the U.S. Army Web site, about the Pentagon’s Civilian Inmate Labor Program. This program "provides Army policy and guidance for establishing civilian inmate labor programs and civilian prison camps on Army installations."
On its face, the Army’s labor program refers to inmates housed in federal, state and local jails. The Army also cites various federal laws that govern the use of civilian labor and provide for the establishment of prison camps in the United States, including a federal statute that authorizes the Attorney General to "establish, equip, and maintain camps upon sites selected by him" and "make available … the services of United States prisoners" to various government departments, including the Department of Defense.
The White House also is moving to expand the power of the Pentagon’s Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA), created three years ago to consolidate counterintelligence operations. The White House proposal would transform CIFA into an office that has authority to investigate crimes such as treason, terrorist sabotage or economic espionage."
These moves should not surprise any who have watched the devolution of democracy in the U.S., and around the world these last sad years; it should shock. Will the people sit, transfixed by T.V. titillation until the knock comes on their, or their neighbour's door? And, what shall become of the expected millions of prisoners when even Halliburton can't build prisons fast enough to contain them all?
In the demented Fascist deja vu world we inhabit today, it's less ironic than fitting, the Hydra-like power-broker extraordinaire, Karl Rove would bring his heft to erect in America what his forbear, Karl Heinz Roverer brought to Hitler's Germany. Roverer's legacy, as partner and architect with Roverer Sud-Deutch Inginieurbro AG, was the infamous Birchenau concentration camp.
We, the people, can only hope the media will not wait for the next Birchenau to open its doors.
Chris Cook is a contributing editor to PEJ News and hosts Gorilla Radio, a weekly public affairs program, broad/webcast from the University of Victoria, Canada. You can check out the GR Blog here.
Stay informed. Subscribe and get the best of PEJ News by email. Free.