Sunday, January 25, 2009

That Mysterious Fleet of Buses

Is the Government Still Gearing up for a Police State?

Here's an interesting story from Ellen Hodgson Brown, writing at Global
On a recent visit to Tucson, Arizona, where I was invited to give a presentation on monetary reform, I was disturbed by a story of strange goings on in the desert. A little over a year ago, it seems, a new industrial facility sprang up on the edge of town. It was in a remote industrial zone and appeared to be a bus depot. The new enterprise was surrounded by an imposing security fence and bore no outward signs identifying its services. However, it soon became apparent that the compound was in the business of outfitting a fleet of prison buses. Thirty or so secondhand city buses were being reconfigured with prison bars in the windows and a coat of fresh paint bearing the “Wackenhut G4S” logo on the side.

The new Wackenhut operation is shrouded in mystery. It has been running its fleet of empty prison buses night and day, apparently logging miles on a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) contract. Multiple buses can be seen driving all over town and even on remote desert back roads. Oddly, except for the driver and one escort guard seated in front, these buses are always empty.

Wackenhut Services was founded by George Wackenhut in 1954 to provide prison guard services to state and federal governments. Wackenhut Services is now owned by the Danish corporation G4S.

Observers originally thought that the purpose of the new Wackenhut operation was to outfit prison buses to be distributed in other parts of the country. But it soon became apparent that none of the buses was leaving the Tucson depot. Recently, a passerby observed what appeared to be a training operation there. In what seemed to be strange activity for 10:30 PM on a Saturday night, the depot yard was fully illuminated, the entire fleet of buses was up and running, and drivers and guards were scrambling around the yard. The question is, what were they training for?
First off I should tell you that Ellen Brown does a fair bit of economics blogging, and has written a book Web of Debt on the "shocking truth about our money system" as it stands. Private interests like the Federal Reserve control the issuance of US currency, and don't think they are doing it out of the goodness of their heart. But I'm just saying that to give you a bit of background on the source of the story. Ellen also has a Web of Debt Blog, which I recommend. She is not an economist, which ironically gives her an edge when discussing how the economy really works. I first blogged about her last October, in a post that discussed The Working Group on Financial Markets, also known as the Plunge Protection Team. Set up by the Reagan administration in 1988 the PPT was established to stabilize the financial markets, but like all things Republican it a) operates without any real oversight and b) has a great potential for corruption.

To segue back to the buses story, one could see this as just a continuation of the corruption and waste that has prevailed through the Bush administration. The DHS is after all still largely in the same hands as it was on Jan. 19. It will undoubtedly take the new President months if not years to weed out the Repugnicant operatives that have been embedded in DHS and other agencies of government; in fact many of them are in supposedly non-political civil service positions, protected by law, the proverbial headless nails.

Some time ago I pondered how taking over the government from Bush would be like taking the controls of the Hindenburg after it had burst into flames. I never considered that a mutinous crew would also be part of the disastrous equation. And you can rest assured that as long as it is in their power these same Republican hirees will be handing out as many no-bid contracts to as many cronies as they possibly can. And maybe these buses are just part of that.

In fact, one should fervently hope that it's as simple as that. As Ms. Brown explains:
Fraud and waste aside, this mysterious activity has sinister implications. Why the obvious secrecy? Since the World Trade Center disaster in 2001, the Department of Homeland Security has grown to monster proportions, claiming a projected $50 billion of the federal budget in 2009. DHS includes the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which earned notoriety in 2005 for its gross mishandling of the Katrina disaster in New Orleans. Al Martin, a retired naval intelligence officer and former contributor to the Presidential Council of Economic Advisors, has linked the remilitarization of FEMA to the civil unrest anticipated along with economic collapse. He wrote in a November 2005 newsletter called “Behind the Scenes in the Beltway”:

“FEMA is being upgraded as a federal agency, and upon passage of PATRIOT Act III, which contains the amendment to overturn posse comitatus, FEMA will be re-militarized, which will give the agency military police powers. . . . Why is all of this being done? Why is the regime moving to a militarized police state and to a dictatorship? It is because of what Comptroller General David Walker said, that after 2009, the ability of the United States to continue to service its debt becomes questionable. Although the average citizen may not understand what that means, when the United States can no longer service its debt it collapses as an economic entity. We would be an economically collapsed state. The only way government can function and can maintain control in an economically collapsed state is through a military dictatorship.”

All of this is quite ominous. It is also a good argument for considering radical funding alternatives. There are other ways to deal with the federal debt besides relying on the waning appetites of the Chinese and the Japanese for U.S. securities. Some innovative alternatives for funding both the federal debt and President Obama’s new economic stimulus package will be the subject of followup articles. Stay tuned.
So, the obvious pertinent questions to ask here are,

1) Can Barack Obama pull off a miracle and forestall economic collapse in spite of eight years of Republican policy?

2) If he can't, would he contemplate becoming America's Stalin, ruling with an iron fist to maintain some civil control?

The latter question is undoubtedly an imponderable. We may get some indications of the former in the upcoming week, when several important economic indicators will be released. To put it simply, the country is about to get the official report card on how the economy did in the last 3 months of 2008.

From CNN Money: Earnings, economy - here comes 'terrible'

From MarketWatch: Economy in free fall in fourth quarter

If there's one thing that seems to be more obvious every day, it's that the infamous Bush 'bailout' and its continuance into the Obama presidency seems geared not to actual economic recovery but to further insulation of the plutocracy from accountability. Nothing would suit the corporate feudalists more than to see the Cheney wet dream of a police state implemented by their political rivals. And I for one wouldn't put such a Machiavellian plan past them. Barack Obama would be well advised to remember the Bay of Pigs fiasco handed to Democratic President John F. Kennedy by a largely Republican intelligence community. Sometimes these guys play dirty.

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