In 2002, when I found out about Patriot Act II, which called for indefinite detention of US citizens without due process, that was the galvanizing moment that got me out in the streets, marching against the Iraq War. I thought, if Ashcroft, Cheney and Bush are crazy enough to start an illegal war based on flimsy WMD evidence, then maybe they are crazy enough to implement martial law and go after dissidents who disagreed with their theocratic worldview for the US.
The Internet was ripe with 9-11 conspiracy theories and all the brainwashing and bad intelligence that went into making the case for Iraq along with the brand new and ominous sounding Department of Homeland Security made me desperately afraid of what the Bush Administration would do in the wake of another terrorist attack.
Now we have an equal amount of paranoia coming from the right toward Barack Obama. Yet, instead of the paranoia being based on evidence or on actual policy decisions, the paranoia seems driven by racism, an unfounded fear of creeping socialism, and the fear-mongering and hate-speech being driven by talk radio and Fox News. I think a lot of that is embodied in a recent article on one of Alex Jones’ Web Sites where he spins lots of conspiracy theories.
Jones argues that the detention provision in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) along with contingency and continuity planning in a recent FEMA RFP are connected dots in an ominous New World Order conspiracy. As much as I detest the detention provision in the NDAA, I also understand that it and FEMA continuity plans may have more benign purposes. For example, a suitcase nuke planted by a terrorist could necessitate the need to detain a US citizen who is helping coordinate either a domestic or foreign-based attack. FEMA contractors involved in continuity plans following such a nuclear strike, would need to coordinate with DOD and intelligence officials. Natural disasters also pose legitimate contingency planning for continuity.
The possibility of an economic collapse is real, but if you think that collapse is a Bilderberg-led, controlled demolition aided and abetted by the Fed, or if you believe Obama is a really a Kenyan Communist Manchurian Candidate, or even just illegitimate, then you have reason to fear being targeted, tagged and rounded up and put into a FEMA jail. The same way I feared being rounded up by John Ashcroft or Dick Cheney.
But, if you don’t fear those things, and instead see a real threat of armed, domestic militias inspired by Ron Paul and Rick “Secessionist” Perry, targeting an “illegal” Communist President and his corrupt government, then perhaps some of the NDAA provisions and FEMA docs just make sense and aren’t so scary after all.
Another issue I have with this is that on the Flickr site where Alex Jones has posted the FEMA Scope of Work, his comment reads,”Where the government talks about continuity of government and distinguishing the US citizens as the enemy.” I read all the docs he posted and nowhere does the it talk about “distinguishing US citizens as the enemy.” Alex Jones is a wing nut and should not be taken seriously.
But that does not mean we should not take the detention provisions in the 2012 NDAA seriously. Glenn Greenwald has done fantastic reporting on this vital issue on Salon.com. Maybe the detention provisions are more a symptom of our crony capitalist system and a need to reform the presidency than anything in an Alex Jones conspiracy theory.