Now is the time for all good people to come to the
aid of their country and become unapologetically paranoid. Paranoia
should now be the normal state of mind for thinking people. Sneers
and dismissive remarks about "conspiracy theorists"
must be ignored. We don't want to end up like the proverbial frog
who boils to death because the heat was turned up slowly.
The Bush administration is becoming ever more brazen in its effort
to snoop on the American people. The Attorney General is making
the case that warrants aren't needed if the government wants to
spy on us. Unlimited government power is predictably effective.
Anyone not wire tapped, investigated or banned from airplanes
will be too intimidated to speak up or even to "Google."
The Bushmen are too smart to only go after political opponents.
Instead they are honing their tactics on everyone who does an
internet search, a majority of people in the nation. Under the
guise of investigating the extent of child pornography on the
internet, the ironically named Justice Department demanded that
the largest search engines in the country turn over the results
of millions of internet searches in the country. Yahoo, MSN and
AOL all gave up without a fight and handed big brother the results
of your inquiries on any and every issue or topic. Only Google
challenged the subpoena in court.
If internet snooping doesn't give
one pause, then Halliburton can always be counted on to frighten
anyone with half a brain. Vice President Dick Cheney's personal
cash cow is the lucky beneficiary of yet another government contract.
The Halliburton story of banana republic corruption is well known
to anyone not living under a rock. Because their crimes have gone
unpunished, news of Halliburton chicanery barely raises eyebrows
anymore. Halliburton's latest contract strikes close to home,
literally, and doesn't allow them to build barracks in Iraq or
clean up after hurricane Katrina.
What ought to shock and terrify every
American is that KBR, a Halliburton subsidiary, was awarded a
$385 million contract
to build "temporary detention facilities" in case of
an "immigration emergency":
"The contract may also
provide migrant detention support to other U.S. Government organizations
in the event of an immigration emergency, as well as the development
of a plan to react to a national emergency, such as a natural
disaster. In the event of a natural disaster, the contractor could
be tasked with providing housing for ICE (Immigration and Customs
Enforcement) personnel performing law enforcement functions in
support of relief efforts."
Anyone paying a little bit of attention will ask,
"What immigration emergency?" If there is an immigration
emergency looming on the horizon it is a big secret. Of course
immigrants will be the first ensnared in the net that big brother
Bush has in mind, but the net won't stop with them.
sort of national emergency requires detention centers? America
has plenty of prisons. More of our population is behind bars than
in any country on earth. There are detention centers for immigration
in existence already. As for helping in case of a natural disaster,
hurricane Katrina proved that saving American lives is not on
the Bush agenda.
When the word detention comes up, hairs should rise on the back
of every neck. Thanks to the Patriot Act and the creation of "enemy
combatants" these detention centers can be used to lock up
anyone for any reason for any length of time that Uncle Sam wishes.
In the best case scenario, this contract may be just the latest
hand out to the welfare queen of corporate America. It is a sad
day indeed when we must hope that good old fashioned greed, and
nothing more, is at work with this latest theft from the United
States treasury. Even if greed is the larger part of the equation,
the threat of taking our rights and subjecting us to fear cannot
be far from the minds of Dick Cheney and his ilk.
Bush has successfully used fear to stay in power
and quiet the ineffectual opposition. When questions arose about
the legality of warrantless wiretaps, suddenly Bush revealed a
three year old plot to crash a plane into a Los Angeles skyscraper.
This announcement was even news to the mayor of Los Angeles, leading
the cynical among us, the smart people, to ask if such a threat
existed in the first place.
What sort of national emergency will trigger the beginning of
detentions? Probably not Mexicans heading for the border. If Democrats
show uncharacteristic boldness and begin impeachment proceedings
against Bush, we will begin to see Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib on
The endless war on terror would no doubt be a pretext
for detentions of immigrants or Americans. Just ask Jose Padilla,
the American citizen accused of planning "dirty bomb"
attacks. Actually you can't ask Padilla anything. He hasn't seen
the outside of a jail in years. An entirely new category of criminals,
enemy combatants, was created to justify endless incarceration.
If our government is planning to create more Padillas, Halliburton
definitely needs a new contract.
You can look it up, if you dare. Searching for the words "Halliburton"
and "detention" may bring more than you bargained for.
Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears
weekly in BC. Ms. Kimberley is
a freelance writer living in New York City. She can be reached
via e-Mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can read more of Ms. Kimberley's writings at freedomrider.blogspot.com.