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Rep. Alcee L. Hastings, D-Fla., has introduced to the House of Representatives a new bill, H.R. 645, calling for the secretary of homeland security to establish no fewer than six national emergency centers for corralling civilians on military installations.
The proposed bill, which has received little mainstream media attention, appears designed to create the type of detention center that those concerned about use of the military in domestic affairs fear could be used as concentration camps for political dissidents, such as occurred in Nazi Germany
The bill also appears to expand the president’s emergency power, much as the executive order signed by President Bush on May 9, 2007, that, as WND reported, gave the president the authority to declare an emergency and take over the direction of all federal, state, local, territorial and tribal governments without even consulting Congress.
As WND also reported, DHS has awarded a $385 million contract to Houston-based KBR, Halliburton’s former engineering and construction subsidiary, to build temporary detention centers on an “as-needed” basis in national emergency situations.
According to the text of the proposed bill, the purpose of the National Emergency Centers is “to provide temporary housing, medical, and humanitarian assistance to individuals and families dislocated due to an emergency or major disaster.”
Three additional purposes are specified in the text of the proposed legislation:
- To provide centralized locations for the purposes of training and ensuring the coordination of federal, state and local first responders;
- To provide centralized locations to improve the coordination of preparedness, response and recovery efforts of government, private, not-for-profit entities and faith-based organizations;
- To meet other appropriate needs, as defined by the secretary of homeland security.
The broad specifications of the bill’s language, however, contribute to concern that the “national emergency” purpose could be utilized by the secretary of homeland security to include any kind of situation the government wants to contain or otherwise control.
Rep. Hastings created controversy during the 2008 presidential campaign with his provocative comments concerning Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
“If Sarah Palin isn’t enough of a reason for you to get over whatever your problem is with Barack Obama, then you damn well had better pay attention,” Hastings said, as reported by ABC News. “Anybody toting guns and stripping moose don’t care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks. So, you just think this through.”
H.R. 645, which seeks to allocate $360 million for developing the emergency centers, has been referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and to the Committee on Armed Services.