Wednesday, December 14, 2011

THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS 'FEMA CAMPS', RIGHT?

Fellowship of the Minds

If you’re like me, you probably roll your eyes whenever you hear or read some conspiracy theorist going on about the federal government setting up FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency ) camps across the United States.
But I don’t do that any more.
I only just found out a few days ago that more than two years ago (!) on May 21, 2009, in a speech at the National Archives, ironically flanked by copies of the U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights and Declaration of Independence, Obama declared the need for “a legal basis” to be created for the preventive detention, without trial, of Americans who might commit crimes in the future.
Don’t believe me? Just hear and see for yourself, beginning around the 1:30 mark:


Two weeks ago, on December 1, 2011, the U.S. Senate obligingly provided that very “legal basis” when, by an overwhelming majority bipartisan vote of 93:7, our elected representatives passed a bill that gives the President of the United States the authority to have the military arrest and detain U.S. citizens without charge or trial.
The bill is S. 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2012. Section 1031 of S. 1867 says:
“Congress affirms that the authority of the President [...] includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons [...] any person [...] who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored those responsible for those attacks [...] who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces. [...] The disposition of a person under the law of war [...] may include [...] Detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities [...]“
Note that nowhere in Section 1031 are U.S. citizens excluded from the category of “covered persons.” In fact, Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif) — like Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and Mark Udall (D-Colo)– had tried to get an amendment into S. 1867 that would “limit the authority of the Armed Forces to detain citizens of the United States under section 1031″, but her proposal was rejected by the Senate 45Y – 55N.
Now that a “legal basis” for the detention without trial of American citizens has been created, the next question is:
Where will they put all those people?
This is where KBR, a top US federal contractor, comes in.
KBR, Inc., formerly called Kellogg Brown & Root, is an engineering, construction and private military contracting company, and the largest non-union construction company in the United States. Formerly a subsidiary of Halliburton, KBR is headquartered in Houston. KBR and its predecessors have won many contracts with the U.S. military, including during World War II, Vietnam War and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Recently, a 4-page KBR document has surfaced (leaked?) online, which provides the first solid piece of evidence that there really are FEMA camps. The document carries the bland title of “Project Overview and Anticipated Project Requirements.” [To read the document in pdf, click here.]
So what’s the project?
This is how KBR describes the project:
“KBR is establishing a National Quick Response Team for our current Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) work, and for anticipated future contracts. Upon completion of evaluation, certain subcontractors may be invited to establish a Master Services Agreement (MSA) with pre-established lease rates and terms and conditions.”
The KBR document is a solicitation for bids from subcontractors to provide services and supplies for FEMA camps, including:
  • Catering Services
  • Temporary Fencing and Barricades
  • Hand Washing Stations
  • Laundry Services
  • Medical Services
  • Office Trailers / Administration Area
  • Potable Water
  • Power Generation, Fuel Delivery / Supply & Electrical Distribution
  • Refuse Collection
  • Shower and Toilet Units
  • Tentage, Flooring, Electrical & HVAC/ECU
  • Waste Water Removal
The document says “services will be required in each State within each of the five regions of the continental United States.” Each camp is estimated to “range in size from 301 to 2,000 persons for up to 30 days in length.”
Here’s a screen-shot of the map of the five regions (go to the pdf KBR document to see a better image of the map):

One thing I learnt when I was professionally active in military-strategic matters is that it’s capabilities that matter, not intentions.
That is, when it comes to a potential enemy of the United States, e.g., China, any increase in the quality and quantity of its military hardware and capabilities should be of concern to us, no matter the rhetoric of its government. For today, the regime may have no hostile intent towards us, but that can all change with the wind. When its intent turns malicious, our opponent’s enhanced military capabilities can be used against us.
That is why America’s defense policy must always heed other countries’ capabilities, instead of their intentions.
The same principle applies at home, in our relations with government.
The KBR document lodges its solicitation for subcontractors to provide “services” to FEMA camps in the context of “emergency responses” – whatever that means:
“Establish services listed below within 72 hours for initial set-up and respond within 24 hours for incremental services. This is a CONTINGENCY PROJECT and it should be stressed that lead times will be short with critical requirements due to the nature of emergency responses. Subcontractors must be flexible and able to handle multiple, shifting priorities in an emergency environment. Supply lines needed must be short but not necessarily pre-positioned.”
But once the FEMA camps are in place, as the KBR document describes, “in each State within each of the five regions of the continental United States,” who’s to say the deployment of those same FEMA camps will only be confined to “emergency responses”?
Now we know what Obama meant by those “shovel-ready” projects….
H/t Joseph, Tina, & Steve.