Warehouse C
Fifth Columnists
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Is America Building Concentration Camps?

By James Donahue

Chilling testimony nearly two years ago between Senator Lindsey Graham and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales referred to a new target for the Bush Administration's domestic war on terror. The phrase used was "Fifth Columnists," a code name for disloyal Americans who sympathize and collaborate with the enemy.

At about that same time, the New York Times revealed that the Office of Homeland Security had awarded Kellogg Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton, a $385 million contract to construct detention centers somewhere in the United States to deal with "an emergency influx of immigrants" or "to support the rapid development of new programs that require additional detention space."

The Times story concentrated on concerns about Halliburton's links to the White House and its reputation for bilking the public coffers, and overlooked that odd phrase that hinted that something new in federal prisons may be in the works. The reporters in America have been slow in picking up on these "new programs that require additional detention space" and just what the reference to Fifth Columnists" means.

What is known as that each of the new detention centers will be large, with a capacity for up to 5,000 people. But other than illegal aliens, who mostly are transported back to their country of origin, just who is expected to be placed in these new detention facilities? If we are talking about "disloyal Americans who sympathize and collaborate with the enemy," someone in high places must think there are a lot of folks of that ilk wandering about on our soil.

Some alert and independent journalists like Peter Dale Scott have suggested a rather frightening scenario. In one article Scott speculated that the "detention centers could be used to detain American citizens if the Bush Administration were to declare martial law."

Yet another writer, Maureen Farrell, noted that the declaration of martial law might be a certainty if America undergoes another terrorist attack of the scale of 9-11. In fact, there was such a national reaction to that attack in 2001 that many Americans over-reacted in irrational ways. The sale of flags for bumper stickers and car antennas and front porches sky-rocketed. Young men lined up at local recruiting offices with plans to "go to war" even though the enemy was not clearly defined. A lot of innocent people were rounded up and questioned, many of them detained without due process for months if not years in federal prison settings. And our legislators blindly passed the Patriot Act that stripped us all of many of our Constitutional rights..

So what will we do when the next attack comes? Will we see those speaking out against government actions arrested and thrown in these new concentration camps? Will the skeptics born in a nation that has always allowed freedom of expression, be included among those deemed to be sympathizing with an invisible enemy?

There is a fearful sense here that America may be rushing into a fascist state . . . one in which the government no longer serves its people, but instead controls them through intimidation and force. This is not the America we have always known and loved. And if it happens, the terrorists will have won.

Hopefully we are reading the signals incorrectly. But if it exists, this kind of sick thinking needs to be exposed and run out of Washington before it is allowed to fester any longer.