Transcript: Operation Falcon, Nov 03 2006
Yesterday, Alberto Gonzales announced that 11,000 fugitives were arrested in one week-long sweep. It was called Operation Falcon III; hundred murder suspects, thousand sex offenders who were unregistered. So why did the government, why did Alberto Gonzales have the government find these people over a period of many months and then put the public at risk, assuming that these were actually criminals who should have been arrested, put the public at risk by leaving them free for weeks or months so that they could be arrested all on one day?
Thom Hartmann on Operation Falcon III, 03 November 2006
Story number 2: Yesterday, Alberto Gonzales announced that 11,000 fugitives were arrested in one week-long sweep. It was called Operation Falcon III; hundred murder suspects, thousand sex offenders who were unregistered, blah de blah de blah. 11,000 people.
Now, here's the question. I can think only of only two reasons why the government would want to arrest 11,000 people on one day or over a period of just one or two or three days.
One reason would be that you want to shut them all up, or you're concerned that they're engaged in a conspiracy; you don't want them to be able to talk to each other. That's not the case here. These were all unrelated criminals.
So why did the government, why did Alberto Gonzales have the government find these people over a period of many months and then put the public at risk, assuming that these were actually criminals who should have been arrested, put the public at risk by leaving them free for weeks or months so that they could be arrested all on one day?
a) a publicity stunt timed to the election, to make it look like the Bush administration's getting tough on crime, even though they did away with the 100,000 extra cops that Clinton put on the streets, or is it
b) a practice run?
This is the third time they've done this, this is called Operation Falcon III - a practice run for the single day national roundup of thousands of people when a button gets pushed in Alberto Gonzales's office and he says, "OK, it looks like the people are rising up about, for example, stolen elections. We've identified the five thousand or ten thousand potential leaders around the country; all the people who have been leading the peace protests and speaking out and been on talk radio and what not; take them out. Take them out right now. Take them out fast." Could it be that that's really what it's all about? Could it be that it's practice?
Now back to this question. Here we have, I'm not positioning myself as any sort of expert on law enforcement. I mean, I did, I wrote four, well four and a half - one's half done - four and a half novels about a private detective and this was back 10, 15 years ago. And I was very curious, you know, you want to do the research, right? I was curious about that world, as it were, and I'd always enjoyed reading those kinds of books. And so I thought, I'll take a shot at writing some. And so I wrote a series about this character who was a private detective and I hooked up with a PI down in Atlanta, Georgia - we were living in Atlanta at the time - a guy by the name of Dewitt Wannamaker who ran a private detective agency. And it was the year that Atlanta hosted the Olympics. And Atlanta didn't have enough police officers to offer security for the Olympics and so for the first time in its 130 some odd year history, the Georgia Police Academy decided to open their doors to a training program for private detectives to give them basic Secret Service training on security so that people could get licensed, essentially, to work for the Olympics, to do security for the Olympics.
And so, I went through that program. Dewitt called me up and he said, "Hey, you want to go through the Georgia Police Academy's program? It's a shortened version of what they offer to police departments on how to train a law enforcement officer." And I said, "Sure, it sounds like fun!" And so we went down there for a couple of weeks and we went through this program and I'd say probably three quarters of the people on the program with me were police officers from small towns round Georgia, you know, who were looking to make some extra money during the Olympics. And, I mean, everything from hand to hand combat to how to turn a car around without blowing tires out. It was a hoot. And a lot of legal stuff.
And so, you know, I've had some small amount of insight into that world and into the really quite, very real and significant subculture of law enforcement. But I don't pretend to be any kind of, and what came out of that was that I got licensed as a private detective in the state of Georgia; had a badge and a license and a license to carry a concealed weapon if I wanted; I never did. For the better part of four years throughout the last couple of years we lived in Georgia.
But you know, again, I'm not any kind of expert on law enforcement but I do have some common sense. And I can only come up with, and if anyone in law enforcement, Bill our retired police detective up in Chicago, if you're listening, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. You call into the program fairly regularly.
Why would a federal agency, in this case, you know, the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, Alberto Gonzales, why would they identify over 11,000 criminals, fugitives, over a period of months, presumably this took, you know, 3, 6, 9 months, why would they identify them and not sweep them up? Why, you know, you identify a guy who's, over a hundred people who are suspects for murder. A hundred people wanted for murder and they didn't arrest them when they found them. They instead waited until yesterday. Why?
If they were doing it as a publicity stunt to try to look strong for the elections, first of all, I think it probably fell flat on its face, but who knows? I mean, maybe it'll get some legs. It did make the news cycle last night. You know, it did make the evening news and most of the networks. But I think it subjects them to criticism. I mean, you found a murderer 4 months ago? And you didn't arrest him? Or an alleged murderer.
So, they could be doing it as a publicity stunt, or is this a dry run? Am I being paranoid here?
I'm looking at the fact that the Bush administration got written into the last Defense Appropriations Bill a little codicil, a little clause that said "By the way, for all practical purposes we're doing away with the Posse Comitatus Act". Now, oddly enough, you know who's talking about this stuff? Right wing; far right wing talk radio. I'm talking about, like, the short wave stations out of Denver, you know, that are listened to by the white supremacists and what not all across America. They're talking; they're flipped out about this. The mainstream media not going near I, but frankly, those folks who think that they may be the victims of a government sweep; the ones who are saying, "OK, they're keeping records on us".
I mean, we now know, for example, that the Department of Homeland Security had infiltrated, and was keeping records on, a Quaker group, the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker group of pacifists who were holding non-violent anti-Iraq War rallies and protests. We know that they're doing this all over the country.
So, is this practice for the day when Alberto Gonzales says, "OK, the people are rising up, stop, stop them now"? And a button gets pushed or a phone call gets made and all across the country, five, ten, fifteen thousand people, I mean this was 11,000 people last week got arrested all "bang!", just like that, over a period of just a couple of days. And all across the country, 11,000 people, 15,000 people, 20,000 people who just happen to be the leaders of protest movements on the right and the left just vanish. Just vanish.
And you think that that's crazy. It is actually something that the main stream right has actually made jokes about.
[Audio]: "So, all those clowns over at the liberal radio network, we could incarcerate them immediately. Will you have that done, please? Send over the FBI and just put them in chains." Thank you, Mr. O'Reilly, for making my point.
So, you know, unless I'm missing something here, I can come up with nothing more than two reasons why they would do this. But they've done it three times now. You could argue this third one was a publicity stunt, but what about the other two? What's the deal? Why is the federal government practicing mass nationwide sweeps, preempting local law enforcement, or co-opting local law enforcement, massive nationwide sweeps, why?
1 866 440 8466 our telephone number. Jude in Seattle. Hey Jude, your thoughts?
[Jude]: Well, Thom, I don't think you're paranoid, cause when I heard the information last night, I immediately stopped in my steps. And the article that we received said that between April, in the Seattle Times, between April 2005 and April 2006 that there were over 20,000, so the figure is around 37,700.
[Thom]: This is in all three Operation Falcons.
[Jude]: Correct. Yeah.
[Thom]: Where they've been practicing how to do a nationwide roundup of people at the drop of a dime.
[Jude]: Exactly. And how does one find out information about these individuals that have been picked up? That's a horrendous amount. And then Thom, I have to take you back to that lady that called from the diner yesterday? That was the most chilling piece of interchange that I've heard and my mind is almost blown away now with what's going on. But to think that she can stand in that secure area of Medina, where Gates lives, on a corner in a running outfit and maybe, you know, one shouldn't flip someone off, but we still have the First Amendment, and for someone, I'm a retired hospice nurse, I would never think of doing anything derogatory, but I have moments that I'm so outraged by what's gong on, and I fight for my grandkids, that I don't know if that might happen. But to have them roll a window down and point assault rifles at her?
[Thom]: Right. Yeah.
[Jude]: If I did that, pulled an assault rifle, I'd be picked up in a second.
[Thom]: Yes, it's a crime to point a loaded weapon at people in the United States, unless apparently you're the security detail for George W. Bush.
[Jude]: So, you're not paranoid, and thank you very much, Thom, for making me feel like I'm not some kind of nut out there. I truly believe something's going on. People really need to pay attention. So bless your heart, thanks for everything, Thom.
[Thom]: Thank you. Thank you, Jude. Cindy in Pittsburgh. Hey, Cindy, what's up?
[Cindy]: Hey, Thom. I'm in the bread store, but I had to call you real quick when I heard this. REX 84. Remember Oliver North hatched this plan to suspend the constitution and to round people up?
[Thom]: That's right. That was during the Iran Contra thing.
[Cindy]: That's right. So people need to look into that. And I'm going to hurry to get back in the car so I can finish listening to the show. Thanks a lot.
[Thom]: OK, Thanks Cindy. Good to hear from you. REX 84. David, Google that thing so we can talk about it after the break. We're tracking that thing down. I remember that vaguely but I'm not quite the Ollie North expert that for example Randi Rhodes is. So Lana in Index, Washington. Hey Lana, we just have a few seconds before I have to take a break. Is it a quickie?
[Lana]: It is. You know, I just want to thank you for bringing this up because I have been thinking the same thing, that this is so weird. What are they doing?
[Thom]: So, I'm not crazy?
[Lana]: You know, if they knew they were there, why didn't they get them sooner?
[Thom]: Yeah. Well, it's either a publicity stunt or it's practice for something. And if it's a practice for something, I can't think what it could be other than what I put out and, you know, I hope I'm wrong. I really hope I'm wrong, because that's a scenario that I don't think any of us want to contemplate. Lana, thanks for the call.
[Thom]: Great to hear from you. Forty five minutes past the hour. It's the radio support group of, by and for we the people of the United States of America. Are we sliding toward fascism or are we simply getting a little too reich?
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Rex 84, short for Readiness Exercise 1984, was a plan by the United States federal government to test their ability to detain large numbers of American citizens in case of massive civil unrest or national emergency. Exercises similar to Rex 84 happen periodically… From 1967 to 1971 the FBI kept a list of persons to be rounded up as subversive, dubbed the "ADEX" list". That's from Wikipedia.
From October Surprise, Barbara Honegger's book; this is the epilogue. Barbara Honegger, her picture on the back of the book with Ronald Reagan shaking one of her hands and George Herbert Walker Bush shaking the other. She worked in the Reagan White House, part of the transition team, left the White House to blow the whistle on Reagan and Bush cutting a deal, with the whole October Surprise thing, cutting a deal to hold the hostages. Her epilogue opens:
"President Reagan signed intelligence authorizations in 1984 and 1985 which were considered licenses to kill according to top government officials. As we have seen, Oliver North and Amiram Nir's U.S.-Israeli covert operations were authorized by a still secret accord, never revealed to Congressional intelligence committees as required by law, which may have also authorized political assassinations in the name of counter-terrorism. Author Seymour Hersh has charged Oliver North with being President Reagan's assassination planner. We have reviewed reports in this book that North boasted that anyone who leaked or threatened to reveal the administration's secret Iran initiative would be killed and that some of the North-Secord-Hakim team were reportedly involved in political assassinations under the umbrella of counter-terrorism."
She says, "Given this context it is instructive to note what happened to many of the individuals who were reportedly involved in or knew about secret negotiations between Iran and the 1980 Reagan-Bush campaign and/or other secret U.S. arms deliveries to the Khomeini regime in the early nineteen eighties."
And then she goes through a list of all the people, you know. Dead - William Casey. Dead - Amiram Nir. Dead - Cyrus Hashemi. Dead - the Ayatollah Beheshti. Dead - ?. Dead - William Buckley. Dead - Arnold Raf? " and gives the circumstances of the death of each one of them and it just goes on for page after page after page.
[Thom]: Bill, our friend in Chicago; the retired police detective. Hey Bill, you know a whole lot more about policing than I do. Am I off base on this thing?
[Bill]: Well, first of all let me say, I missed the news cycle yesterday, so I'm not really up on the specifics of this.
[Thom]: Well here, I'll just read you the first paragraph. " Nearly 11,000 fugitives, including 1,659 sex offenders and over 100 murder suspects, were swept up in what Attorney General Alberto Gonzales described Thursday as a record-breaking law enforcement operation targeting some of the nation's "worst" felons. Focused in 24 states east of the Mississippi, the week-long "Operation Falcon III" roundup…" and then they go, you know, blah de blah de blah.
[Bill]: Yeah, yeah. Well you know, I mean, obviously I was on the Chicago police department and Chicago is a very political city, so we tend to be familiar with the politics of it. And I would say generally speaking this is probably the 'tough on law enforcement', 'we can get the immigrants', you know, that type.
[Thom]: You think it's a PR stunt.
[Bill]: Right, they're trying to put out. The thing here is, I'd say that you'd really have to look at those statistics. First of all, you know, the biggest majority of murderers are arrested by state and local police, so I don't know why the federal government is picking up murderers. I mean there are some murder federal crimes, obviously, on a federal reservation and stuff.
[Thom]: Well, apparently this is some sort of federal, state, local cooperation.
[Bill]: Right, you know what I'd say? I'd say you probably really have to look at those statistics and I'm guessing what they've done is they've taken the regular activities of thousands of local, county and state police plus the Federal government across a period of time and lumped them together into a nice little news item to put out, you know.
[Thom]: Mmm, yes. Except that this is…
[Bill]: I'm not saying they couldn't, and what frightens me generally about this administration is that the two safeguards to Americans from their own government has always been, obviously, judicial review.
[Thom]: Right, the fourth amendment.
[Bill]: You know, a judiciary having a review of the actions of the police or the Executive Branch. And the other thing is the general bumbling and incompetence of the government and their agencies.
[Thom]: Right. But, and also there's Posse Comitatus too, as well, you know.
[Thom]: And all three of those, you know, the bumbling incompetence, you know, I don't know about that but the Fourth Amendment has been eviscerated and Posse Comitatus just got knocked down; these are the things to protect us.
[Bill]: Oh, right, right. That's what scares me, because without the judicial review, without that ability for somebody to come in and take a look at what they're doing, and you publicly to demand, you know, an address of a grievance like that, that's what frightens me. And of course we have to realize in the past, you know, you only had the Palmer Raids during the what, the 1920s, or whatever, like then, to get all the reds and all this stuff, so.
[Thom]: That's right. Yeah, Woodrow Wilson actually, you know, was behind part, the Democratic president, was encouraging his justice department to do that; you're right. And people were arrested for simply what they said.
[Bill]: Right. Right. Yes. And again, those people were denied, and awful lot of them were denied any kind of judicial review. They were stuck on boats and shipped out of the country, you know, without a chance to go in front of a court and stuff. So that's what really scares me. But I'll bet you if you took a look at that statistic from their news release, I'll bet you a lot of that is just the normal activity. The Federal government is great at that. They take bank robberies and take credit for them when, you know, the local police or some citizens stopped a bank robbery.
[Thom]: Oh yeah, J. Edgar Hoover turned that into an art form with car thefts, yeah, yeah. OK Bill, thanks a lot for the call and for the heads up, I appreciate it.
[Bill]: Sure. I always enjoy listening, Thom.
[Thom]: Well, thank you. Thanks for calling in.
[Bill]: OK, bye now.
[Thom]: 56 minutes past the hour. It's the Thom Hartmann radio program. We'll continue with this topic and more; there's a lot of other stuff in the news as well, with your calls right after the news at the top of the hour.
So let me just tell you two quick stories from long ago and far away that highlight all of this for me and that will perhaps give you an understanding of where I'm coming from in this, to the extent that I may sound like I'm being paranoid or whatever, you know, it's… By the way, welcome back to the programme. Thom Hartmann here with you. Six minutes past the hour.
In 19, in the late 1960s I was living out in East Lansing, Michigan and going to college and was part of, shall we say, loosely affiliated with, there was, to the best of my knowledge, not an official membership roster, but 'Students for a Democratic Society'; SDS. And at the meetings that we would have, sometimes public and sometimes private, and I wasn't, you know, I'm not putting myself out as some kind of big shot or even a major participant, frankly, with SDS at that time in East Lansing. But I was there.
And at the meetings there was this guy who was, he was kind of an odd duck because most of us had, you know, most of us had long hair and looked rather scruffy. And this guy was kind of clean cut. But he knew the right rhetoric and he sure, you know, he knew all the details of all the crimes that LBJ had committed in Vietnam and, you know, blah de blah de blah. But he was the one who was always saying, you know, "We've got to bust a few windows when we do this march", or this kind of stuff. I mean, he was the kind of guy who was always trying to push us, or to push the people around him, to violence.
And years later, I mean, this is, there's an old friend of mine in East Lansing who every year has a party at his house and a lot of us show up and last couple years I've seen my old friend Mike Price. Mike was way up in SDS and, you know, a major leader of SDS at Michigan State University. He's now actually speaking before campus groups in East Lansing about what SDS was like in the sixties and the early seventies. And so anyhow, ten years ago or so, so we're now like, it's twenty years later, some of the folks who were involved in this decided to sue - well, actually it was longer ago than that, it must have been 20 years ago - decided to sue the Michigan State police and sue the FBI and do FOIA, you know, requests and all that kind of stuff; get their files.
And the guy in the back of the room who was always yelling for violence, turns out he was he was, I don't remember if he was with the state police or with the FBI, he was basically on the other side. He was trying to incite violence. Now this was, I mean, this is no surprise to anybody; this happened all across United States and there's hundreds of cases of it. But I was there.
A decade later in the nineteen seventies, this was probably around 1975, I was, a partner of mine and I had a business in Michigan, an ad agency, and in the mornings I was doing news at a radio station in Lansing, WITL; country and western station. You know, I'd go in at 5a.m., 6a.m., do the police rounds and go into the radio station, you know, with the audio for the day and slice it up. And then, you know, I was the news anchor during morning drive and, you know, get everything together for the afternoon crew, and then I'd be out of there by 10 or 11 o'clock in the morning and, you know, go run my business.
And one morning I was there and there were a couple of us there who worked in the news room and, you know, a couple of others, local; the DJ and, you know, half a dozen people around. And these two guys show up with the skinny black ties and the highly polished black shoes and flash their ID at us and one of them, as I recall, one of them was from the IRS and the other was from the FBI. And then there was a county Sheriff or a state cop, I forget what - local, local law enforcement with them.
And they said, you know, we'd like to talk to you and, you know, they kind of got us all together in the newsroom. I can see this as if it happened yesterday; this is one of those, you know, shocking moments, startling moments. "So, we'd like to talk to you guys". And one of these guys was like 'Mr. Big Shot' and the other guy was 'Mr. Friendly'. And Mr. Big Shot says, "I want to see everybody's driver's license; before we go any farther I got to know who I'm talking to". So we're all pulling out our driver's licenses and he takes them and he's writing down our driver's license numbers. And then he hands them back to us.
And then the other guy, Mr. Friendly, says, "Just wanted you to know that later this afternoon we're going to be doing a raid on some tax protesters here in central Michigan". There's a lot of tax protesters in central Michigan. Central Michigan is kind of a hotbed of John Birch Society kind of stuff, you know, out in the rural areas. And he says, "You know, we're going to be doing a raid; we're going to be arresting a couple of dozen people who are refusing to pay their federal taxes and we would appreciate if you did not publicize it; if you did not report on it."
And Mr. Tough Guy is standing there with his piece of paper with our driver's license numbers on it, looking at us like this is more than 'we would appreciate it'. These guys leave. It's been made very clear to us, although it was never said overtly, 'consider yourself threatened'.
And I remember we had a big discussion about it in, the 2 or 3 of us, 4 of us, I forget how many who were directly involved. I think there was only three of us in the newsroom involved with the news at that time, then there was the DJ and the program director. Should we report the story? And it was sort of, 'do you wanna take on the feds?' 'No, I don't think so'. 'Do you wanna take on the feds?' 'But, but it's news. But is it really all that important?' And it was like, but the bottom line is, frankly, I mean, you know, here I am. I was, what in '74, I would have been 23 years old. We were, you know, and all of us, I mean, the news director was probably only five years older than I was. And I'll tell you the truth: it scared the hell out of all of us and we did not report the story.
So, you know, I've seen this and it concerns me. And then I read this story about there's been these 3 now; Operation Falcon I, Operation Falcon II and Operation Falcon III. Here's the Vermont version, this from the Rutland Herald.
"A weeklong fugitive sweep of the eastern and central United States has led to almost 11,000 wanted criminals taken into custody, including 83 from Vermont…" Now, Vermont is a little state. I mean, there's fewer people in the state of Vermont than there are in the city of Portland, Oregon where I live now. "… including 83 from Vermont and eight from Rutland County. " This is from the Rutland Herald, the Rutland county of Vermont. "In Vermont, the roundup was led by the U.S. Marshals Service and included several local and law enforcement agencies around the state. The sting was codenamed 'Operation FALCON III.' National figures on fugitives captured were released Thursday in Washington, D.C, while the numbers from the Vermont operation were announced at a press conference in Burlington attended by federal, state and local law enforcement officials.
Vermont U.S. Marshal John Edwards said in a written statement released Thursday, 'When we share information and pool our resources toward a common goal, the results are safer communities for our children and a more secure homeland'. "
Vermont U.S. Marshal John Edwards said in a written statement released Thursday, 'When we share information and pool our resources toward a common goal, the results are safer communities for our children and a more secure homeland'. "
Now, first of all, whenever people talking about 'homeland', it gives me the creeps. It reminds me of when Rudolf Hess in 1934 stood up and for the first time used the word 'Heimat': "Heimat zu sein." 'Heimat', the German word for 'homeland'. [Audio clip]: "Dank ihrer Führung wird Deutschland sein Ziel erreichen, Heimat zu sein; Heimat zu sein für alle Deutschen der Welt. Heil Hitler! Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil! Sieg Heil!." - "Thanks to your leadership Germany is now the homeland, homeland for all the Germans in the world." That was 1934, November 1934 when the word 'homeland' was introduced into the German lexicon. "Vermont U.S. Marshal John Edwards said in a written statement released Thursday, 'When we share information and pool our resources toward a common goal, the results are safer communities for our children and a more secure homeland'. In total, the operation in Vermont led to the capture of 83 people and cleared 110 arrest warrants for various offenses, ranging from failing to register as a sex offender to drug offenses, Bill Gerke of the U.S. Marshals Service in Vermont said after the press conference."
Well, I hope that this is a good thing. You know, I want law enforcement to do their job. We pay our taxes; we want our police to protect us, right? I'll take your calls after this.
This from Consortium News, printed over at alternet.org, one of those notorious left wing web sites, by Nat Perry, posted on February 23 2006. "Not that George W. Bush needs much encouragement, but Sen. Lindsey Graham suggested to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales a new target for the administration's domestic operations -- Fifth Columnists, supposedly disloyal Americans who sympathize and collaborate with the enemy.
"Graham, R-S.C., told Gonzales during Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on Feb. 6, 'The administration has not only the right, but the duty, in my opinion, to pursue Fifth Column movements. I stand by this president's ability, inherent to being commander in chief, to find out about Fifth Column movements, and I don't think you need a warrant to do that,' Graham added, volunteering to work with the administration to draft guidelines for how best to neutralize this alleged threat. " 'Senator,' a smiling Gonzales responded, 'the president already said we'd be happy to listen to your ideas.' "In less paranoid times, Graham's comments might be viewed by many Americans as a Republican trying to have it both ways -- ingratiating himself to an administration of his own party while seeking some credit from Washington centrists for suggesting Congress should have at least a tiny say in how Bush runs the War on Terror. "But recent developments suggest that the Bush administration may already be contemplating what to do with Americans who are deemed insufficiently loyal or who disseminate information that may be considered helpful to the enemy. Top U.S. officials have cited the need to challenge news that undercuts Bush's actions as a key front in defeating the terrorists, who are aided by 'news informers,' in the words of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. "Plus, there was that curious development in January when the Army Corps of Engineers awarded Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root a $385 million contract to construct detention centers somewhere in the United States, to deal with, "Later, the New York Times reported that 'KBR would build the centers for the Homeland Security Department for an unexpected influx of immigrants, to house people in the event of a natural disaster or for new programs that require additional detention space.' " New programs? When asked about it, "Jamie Zuieback, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, declined to elaborate on what these 'new programs" might be.' " Peter Dale Scott "speculated that the 'detention centers could be used to detain American citizens if the Bush administration were to declare martial law.' He recalled that during the Reagan administration, National Security Council aide Oliver North organized Rex-84 'readiness exercise,' which contemplated the Federal Emergency Management Agency rounding up and detaining 400,000 'refugees,' in the event of 'uncontrolled population movements' over the Mexican border into the United States…" "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.' "
"Graham, R-S.C., told Gonzales during Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on Feb. 6, 'The administration has not only the right, but the duty, in my opinion, to pursue Fifth Column movements. I stand by this president's ability, inherent to being commander in chief, to find out about Fifth Column movements, and I don't think you need a warrant to do that,' Graham added, volunteering to work with the administration to draft guidelines for how best to neutralize this alleged threat.
" 'Senator,' a smiling Gonzales responded, 'the president already said we'd be happy to listen to your ideas.'
"In less paranoid times, Graham's comments might be viewed by many Americans as a Republican trying to have it both ways -- ingratiating himself to an administration of his own party while seeking some credit from Washington centrists for suggesting Congress should have at least a tiny say in how Bush runs the War on Terror.
"But recent developments suggest that the Bush administration may already be contemplating what to do with Americans who are deemed insufficiently loyal or who disseminate information that may be considered helpful to the enemy. Top U.S. officials have cited the need to challenge news that undercuts Bush's actions as a key front in defeating the terrorists, who are aided by 'news informers,' in the words of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
"Plus, there was that curious development in January when the Army Corps of Engineers awarded Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root a $385 million contract to construct detention centers somewhere in the United States, to deal with," and this is from a Kellogg Brown & Root press release, " 'an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs'…
"Later, the New York Times reported that 'KBR would build the centers for the Homeland Security Department for an unexpected influx of immigrants, to house people in the event of a natural disaster or for new programs that require additional detention space.' " New programs? When asked about it, "Jamie Zuieback, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, declined to elaborate on what these 'new programs" might be.' " Peter Dale Scott "speculated that the 'detention centers could be used to detain American citizens if the Bush administration were to declare martial law.' He recalled that during the Reagan administration, National Security Council aide Oliver North organized Rex-84 'readiness exercise,' which contemplated the Federal Emergency Management Agency rounding up and detaining 400,000 'refugees,' in the event of 'uncontrolled population movements' over the Mexican border into the United States…" "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.' "
You'll remember, you know, right after 9/11, the Bush administration rounded up over 1,000 people inside the United States. Many of them disappeared. We still have no idea where they are.
So, anyhow, what's up with this? This, "a school safety drill that included police,", this is from the Associated Press, "that included police officers in riot gear with weapons has caused concern among some parents who say it was too realistic and frightened some students." This was in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area. " 'Some of these kids were so scared, they just about wet their pants,' said Marge Bradshaw, a parent with four children in Godfrey-Lee Schools. 'I think it's pure wrong that the students and parents were not informed of this.' Officers wore protective gear, including vests and helmets, and carried rifles." Whoa!