The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency has numerous detention camps throughout the United States. Some camps have been recently built or renovated and are complete. The existence of the camps coupled with Presidential Executive Orders giving the President and Department of Homeland Security (now part of FEMA) National control essential functions in case of “catastrophic emergency” have raised concerns that the camps will be used to detain American citizens forcefully.
FEMA was created on 1 April 1979, under President Jimmy Carter’s Executive Order 12127. It merged the Federal Insurance Administration, National Fire Prevention and Control Administration, the National Weather Service Community Preparedness Program, the preparation and the Federal Agency Federal Disaster Assistance Administration activities formerly carried out by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. He also took over Civil Defense Department of Defense, who was in charge of preparing citizens for military attack.
In 1993, Bill Clinton is the direction of FEMA into a Cabinet post. In 2003, FEMA is part of the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Response Branch.
The stated purpose of FEMA is to “reduce the loss of lives and property and protect the nation from all hazards, including natural disasters, acts of terrorism and other man-made disasters, by leading and supporting the nation in a risk-based, a complete system of emergency management preparedness, protection, response, recovery and mitigation. ”
FEMA operation most notable large scale in recent years has been following Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, which took place along the north-central Gulf Coast, especially in relation to New Orleans , Louisiana. FEMA’s response to the disaster has been widely criticized for a slow and inadequate response, blocking external aid private and public individuals and groups, including the Red Cross, the prohibition of photos death and confiscation of equipment and journalist firearms registered by the owner.
The 2006 report of the Congress on FEMA’s handling of Hurricane Katrina said he was “… a national failure, an abdication of the most solemn obligation to provide for the common good ”
Some have criticized FEMA’s failure as due to the emphasis is on the “civil defense” continuity of government programs and intervention against terrorism at the expense of its disaster preparedness response. It is also alleged that Hurricane Katrina was used to verify the continuity of government program, allowing FEMA to repeat the borough by moving a large number of people in camps, suspending their constitutional rights and to militarize the region with the help of private military contractors (mercenaries). Black Water USA, a private security company, has been used in the aftermath of Katrina.
Readiness Exercise 1984 REX-84 program is an emergency involving the implementation of martial law, the movement of civilians and the arrest and detainment of segments of the population. A repetition of the program was conducted April 5 to 13, 1984. It was led by FEMA and the Department of Defense and participate in the coordination of 34 federal departments and agencies. REX-84 was mentioned during the Iran-Contra hearings and publicly exposed by the Miami Herald, Sunday, July 5th, 1987.
Similar large-scale emergency preparedness drills have been held regularly since then. The most recently announced, organized by NORTHCOM, are scheduled for October 15-20. Some say that the exercises continue to include the preparation of the suspension of the Constitution and the implementation of martial law.
Operation Garden Plot is a U.S. Army and National Guard program under the control of U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM) to provide Federal military support during domestic civil disturbances. An example of implementation of the program was during the 1992 riots in Los Angeles where the U.S. Army and Marine forces were used in conjunction with the California National Guard.  In Los Angeles, a decree was made to allow the use of the federal army to respect national laws in accordance with the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, which imposes restrictions on the domestic use of the army law enforcement purposes.
Recently, however, section 1076 of Public Law 109-364, or the “John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007” (HR5122) has amended Posse Comitatus and the Insurrection Act (which also imposes limits on domestic military deployment) to allow the federal government to unilaterally take control of state National Guard and the position of federal troops in the country during a “public emergency”.
During the 1960s many presidential decrees were issued authorizing Federal agencies to take over essential functions in the event of a declared emergency. The powers include, among others, the federal government’s authority to take over transportation infrastructure, including roads and ports (10,990), food resources and farms (10,998) and mobilize citizens into work brigades under government supervision (11000).
On May 9, 2007, President George Bush has reaffirmed the role of the federal government during a declared emergency by issuing a decree NSPD 51 / HSPD-20. The decree stipulates that in case of a “catastrophic emergency” all “national essential functions’ may be supported by the executive branch of government and the Department of Homeland Security (including FEMA).
In August 2002, then Attorney General John Ashcroft called for American citizens who are deemed “enemy combatants” being held indefinitely without charge and regardless of the judiciary. This legal situation has been confirmed in the case of a U.S. citizen detained abroad by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in January 2003 ruling.
In October 2006, the Military Commissions Act was passed by Congress. The law applies to non-US citizens and permits individuals labeled as “enemy combatants” being held indefinitely and without charges. It also denies non-military tribunal judicial review of detention does not take into account international treaties like the Geneva Convention, and declares that the President who defines what constitutes torture.
In January 2007, the American Civil Liberties Union released a report based on documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act suit showing that the Pentagon had taken at least “186 anti-military protests in the United States and collected more than 2,800 reports involving Americans in a database of anti-terrorist threats. ”
Recently, FEMA has been renovating and constructing new detention camps throughout the country. In Haliburton subsidiary KBR in January 2006 announced it had received an “indefinite delivery / indefinite quantity to build detention facilities for the Department of Homeland Security for a maximum of 385 million over five years.
Citizens who are concerned about the purpose and potential use of detention in the camps have documented and, if possible, filmed the detention facilities. A current estimate of the number of detention camps is located on 800 in all regions of the United States with varying maximum capacities. If one includes government buildings being used for purposes other number is much greater.