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Oliver North and the Rebirth of the American Gulag

The Webster Retort
By Stephen Webster
Investigative Reporter
Publication date: March 17, 2006

Oliver North and the rebirth of the American Gulag

It seems as though Oliver North is America-Right’s favorite traitorous scum. During the dark days of the Regan Revolution, when Regan was considering invading Nicaragua, he issued an executive order giving the Federal Emergency Management Agency (F.E.M.A.) a broad range of powers in the event of a “crisis” specifically defined as “violent and widespread internal dissent or national opposition against a U.S. military invasion abroad.” From 1982-84, Colonel Oliver North, as the Assistant Deputy Director for Political-Military Affairs, assisted F.E.M.A.’s efforts in drafting “civil defense” plans based on Regan’s orders. In 1987, during the Iran-Contra scandal, the ugly truth about the program, officially titled “REX-84,” came pouring out. Ultimately, North was convicted of a kid crime: perjury. He now hosts a right-wing radio talk show, but his legacy lives on.

Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfield have been associates for many years. Some of their greatest hits compilations come straight out of North’s heyday. In the early 80’s, Cheney, then a Wyoming congressman, and Rumsfield, fresh off his position as Ford’s Secretary of Defense, drafted plans for the suspension of the Constitution. The idea was that the basis of our nation could be removed not just after a nuclear attack, but for any “national security emergency.” These conditions were defined under 1988 Executive Order number 12656 as: “Any occurrence, including natural disaster, military attack, technological or other emergency that seriously degrades or seriously threatens the national security of the United States.”

In the wake of such an event, Cheney and Rumsfield set in place a plan for the “Continuity of Government” (COG). According to the Washington Post, if C.O.G. were fully implemented, martial law would be declared in the United States and a network of 100 civilian managers operating outside of Washington would assume governing functions. The plans literally establish a shadow government to take over in case our sitting officials are sacked. Under martial law, F.E.M.A. was to establish a network of civilian and immigrant detention camps to control unrestrained population movements and suppress violent resistance from citizens. Questions about the program persisted to the point where even Regan’s Attorney General, William French Smith, began to raise objections.

Talk of such things emerged again during the 9/11 Commission hearings.

When Bush was appointed to the presidency in 2000, Cheney was reunited with F.E.M.A. According to the 9/11 Commission report, on 9/11 the president ordered the first ever activation of a “top secret” program that would implement further “continuity of government measures.” Oliver North’s plan for suspension of the constitution and the mass detention of civilians became a central part of Rumsfield and Cheney’s C.O.G program. In the 80’s, the three men represented a small faction of this nation’s leadership. Today, they are the nation’s leadership.

On January 24, 2006, Halliburton, the company that Cheney was C.E.O. of for so long, announced it had just received a $385 million contract from the Department of Homeland Security. The contract, awarded to Halliburton subsidiary KBR (formerly Brown & Root), requires the private firm to provide the government “temporary detention and processing capabilities” in America. The Department of Homeland Security, under current director Michael Chertoff, supposedly wishes to prepare for “an emergency influx of immigrants.” Or, perhaps more frightening, these concentration camps would “support the rapid development of new programs” in the event of “other emergencies.” Nice and vague, right?

This contract, awarded by a “bid process” in which KBR was the only bidder, smacks of North’s REX-84 program. North called for F.E.M.A. to round up 400,000 imaginary “refugees” after “uncontrolled population movements.” This latest move by DHS and KBR falls under the same pretenses. Rumsfield, by establishing the U.S. Northern Command in 2002, effectively made the American homeland a “theatre of war.” This sets the stage for the replacement of our government with a military command structure not unlike what is in place in Iraq.

According to The New York Times, Clayton Church, spokesperson for the Army Corps of Engineers, said the centers would be established at unused military and government facilities or “temporary structures” that could hold as many as 5,000 people. DHS is mum on when and where these camps will be constructed.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Karl Rove, Bush’s closest advisor, tried to convince Kathleen Blanco, the Governor of Louisiana, to declare martial law, “or as close as we can get.” Weeks later, Bush argued on live television that Posse Comitatus should be overturned, as it prevents the military from operating without civilian control in the homeland. Given our recent history, and the fact that Halliburton has been charged with the construction of a network of concentration camps in our back yard, it should be very obvious that the Bush administration is seriously considering martial law in America.

For my city, my state and my nation, I pray that this hellish nightmare never becomes a reality. In this nation’s history, only twice have our leaders condoned such injustice. Adolf Hitler often said he admired General George Washington’s Indian camps, modeling many of his own after ours. Again, during World War II, we ignored our principals and detained Americans of Japanese descent.

Maybe I’m just paranoid, but I cannot forsake the prevailing theme of our history: It Can Always Happen Here. In this modern day, let it not be said this American Patriot failed to speak up before axe fell once again.


A note to my North Texas readers -

The following paragraph was removed from the print version of my column for this week for the sole concern of heresay, which it most certainly is. Nevertheless, it is a concern that I wish to raise. The Elm Fork Water Treatment plant in Carrolton, Texas bears mentioning when writing of this subject. I have done no research into the plant's funding, and I have no idea if my worries are hollow paranoia or legitimate cause for alarm. Nevertheless ...

After absorbing all of this sobering news, I find myself asking one question in particular: why does the Elm Fork water treatment facility in Carrolton, Texas have fences with barbed wire that points inward? I do not know, nor have I done any additional research into this particular location. I do have a series of photos taken from the surrounding streets (see below). Perhaps an enterprising muckraker with a less-busy schedule will look into this? In the mean time, I'm off to write about rich, white people that nobody votes for. Wish me luck.

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