Conservatives push conspiracy theory that Obama recruiting for "internment camps" for U.S. citizens

››› ››› ERIC HANANOKI

Following the military's job listing for the position of "INTERNMENT / RESETTLEMENT SPECIALIST," conservatives have pushed the conspiracy theory that the Obama administration is planning to "round up American citizens" into "internment camps." However, the military under both President Bush and President Obama has regularly referred to "internment" and "resettlement" while discussing "detainees" and "enemy prisoners of war," and one prominent conservative blog has even debunked the theory, referring to the job listing as "completely innocuous."

From a job ad posted on NationalGuard.com:

Description

Internment / Resettlement Specialists in the Army are primarily responsible for day-to-day operations in a military confinement/correctional facility or detention/internment facility. Internment / Resettlement Specialists provide rehabilitative, health, welfare, and security to US military prisoners within a confinement or correctional facility; provide custody, control, supervision and security to internees within a detention/internment facility; conduct inspections; prepare written reports; coordinate activities of prisoners/internees and staff personnel.

Some of your duties as an Internment / Resettlement Specialist may include:

  • Assisting with supervision and management of confinement and detention operations
  • Providing internal or external security to confinement/corrections facilities or detention/internment facilities
  • Providing custody, control, supervision and escort to all security levels of U.S. military prisoners or internees/detainees
  • Counseling and guidance to individual prisoners within a rehabilitative program
  • Preparing or reviewing reports and records of prisoners/internees and programs

Conservatives peddle conspiracy theory that Obama may "round up American citizens" into "internment camps"

Savage says "internment camps being planned." From the August 10 edition of Talk Radio Network's The Savage Nation:

SAVAGE: You see, there are internment camps being planned. You may not understand it because you didn't see it on CBS News. But I direct you to an article that came out over the weekend that will scare you to death. It came out on WorldNetDaily. I put it up on MichaelSavage.com. Now, you say, "Well, they're making it up. They're just scaring you." No. It's an ad for National Guardsmen to run internment camps.

WOR's Malzberg: "Internment camps. It ain't going to be for Ara -- for Muslim terrorists." On the August 10 broadcast of his radio program on WOR in New York City, Steve Malzberg said of the internment/resettlement specialist ad:

MALZBERG: But what kind of administration is this? And I think lots of us fear we know the answer as to what kind of administration this is. Internment camps. Internment camps. It ain't going to be for Ara -- for Muslim terrorists, I can tell you that much. That we know. It's not going to be Muslim terrorists in these internment camps. What options does that leave left? Who does that leave? Who does that leave?

After noting stories about swine flu "worst case scenarios" and two governors' opposition to Defense Department emergency powers, Malzberg said:

MALZBERG: They're working on various levels simultaneously, ladies of gentlemen. God forbid this bird -- this swine flu gets out of hand. God forbid. Because they will separate families, they will intern, they will quarantine, they will -- there's all kinds of speculation as to what they might do.

But why is the Defense Department now intruding on states' emergencies? What's the deal with commercials for internment camp soldiers needed, police needed? What's going on in this country? The website to turn in your neighbor.

This is Barack Hussein Obama. Ah, uniter. Open, transparent. Yeah, right -- Marxist. Marxist. And does this not sound like a Marxist government ready to rock and roll? Ready to rock and roll.

WND's Porter: "Internment/confinement/correction camps for American civilians?" In an August 11 WorldNetDaily.com column, Janet Porter noted the Defense Department listing and wrote:

Internment/confinement/correction camps for American civilians? Maybe there's something to all those rumors of FEMA concentration camps. After all, those internment/resettlement specialists are going to have to report to work somewhere. If you're going to round up American citizens, you're going to need a place to put them.

Internment and confinement are for criminals ... for terrorists. And terrorists, according to DHS, are ... us.

[...]

We've gotten more than a glimpse of the agenda of the people to which we've handed the keys of power. It is unmistakably evil.

WND: Ad "generating concerns that there is some truth in those theories about domestic detention camps." In an August 7 article, WND news editor Bob Unruh wrote:

An ad campaign featured on a U.S. Army website seeking those who would be interested in being an "Internment/Resettlement" specialist is raising alarms across the country, generating concerns that there is some truth in those theories about domestic detention camps, a roundup of dissidents and a crackdown on "threatening" conservatives.

[...]

Officials at the state and federal National Guard levels told WND they were unaware of the program, although one officer speculated it could be intended for soldiers trained in the U.S. and dispatched overseas to "detention facilities." From the national level, WND was told, officials were unaware of any such "internment facilities" at which there could be jobs to be available.

Examiner.com's Dolen-Proffit: "[O]nce those 'Internment/Resettlement' positions have been filled, you better be quiet." In an August 10 post, Examiner.com's Sacramento Conservative Examiner Karole Dolen-Proffit noted the job listing and wrote:

So if you oppose firearms restrictions, are a returning veteran, reject the idea of big federal government, oppose abortion or lax immigration policies, or are currently unemployed, then you are now a target. Consider yourself warned, and once those "Internment/Resettlement" positions have been filled, you better be quiet and fall in line, or prepare for whatever the consequences may be for your "right-wing extremist" activities.

"Internment" language regularly used to refer to overseas facilities housing "detainees"

Defense Department: "Remembrance II theater internment facility on Camp Cropper in Baghdad." From a July 9 release: "Iraqi officials traveled to the Remembrance II theater internment facility on Camp Cropper in Baghdad on July 6 to pick up detainees transferring Iraqi government custody."

Defense Department: "theater internment facility's visitation center at Camp Bucca, Iraq." From a photo caption in a May 28 release: "An airman with 887th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron searches a detainee before a visit with his family at the theater internment facility's visitation center at Camp Bucca, Iraq, May 12, 2009."

Bush Defense Department: "Bagram Theater Internment Facility." From an August 2008 release: "In other Afghanistan news, three detainees being held at the Bagram Theater Internment Facility were released early to the Afghan government yesterday for Ramadan."

Bush Defense Department: "internment and correction system in Iraq." From an August 2004 "Background Briefing on Investigations on Abu Ghraib," which quoted a "Sen. Army Official" stating: "The assessment team consisted of military police, legal, medical and automation experts who conducted a comprehensive review of the internment and correction system in Iraq with a focus on internment facility management and transitioning internment operations from military control oversight to the CPA [Coalition Provisional Authority] and eventually to the Iraqi government."

"Internment" and "resettlement" language used by Bush and Obama administrations while discussing "detainees"

Defense Department: Iraqi task force "conducts internment and resettlement operations." From a May 20 roundtable with Col. Alan Metzler:

I have a security forces squadron at Camp Bucca that works for the Joint Task Force 134. Joint Task Force 134 is commanded by Brigadier General Dave Quantock. Now, what I wanted to do a little bit is give you the big picture and talk about how we fit into the overall missions of the Joint Task Force 134, because there is a lot of things that they do that we don't participate in, and I want to make sure that I can paint that picture for you.

Joint Task Force 134 conducts internment and resettlement operations. They assess, reconcile, transfer or release detainees in Iraq. They conduct intelligence gathering and they assist the government of Iraq in development of detention capabilities. In support of that very broad mission, there is an Army-led task force at Camp Bucca that operates a Theater Internment Facility. And we sometimes refer to that as a TIF, and you'll probably hear me call it a TIF today. And so when I say that, you'll understand what I'm talking about. Camp Bucca is a forward operating base near the port city of Umm Qasr in the Southeast corner of Iraq. At Camp Bucca there is a brigade commander who commands the task force -- the 42nd Military Police Brigade and they operate the TIF. The TIF is that facility that houses thousands of detainees who are identified as security risks to Multi-national Force - Iraq, the government of Iraq and the Iraqi people.

Defense Department: "705th Military Police Internment and Resettlement Battalion, the 40th MP I/R Battalion." From a May 1 release on Army.mil:

Command Sgt. Maj. Johnnie Jones III passed responsibility as the senior noncommissioned officer of the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks to Command Sgt. Maj. Jonathan Godwin at a ceremony April 24 on Main Parade.

After Jones passed an NCO saber to Godwin symbolizing the transfer of responsibility, Soldiers of the 705th Military Police Internment and Resettlement Battalion, the 40th MP I/R Battalion, and Headquarters and Headquarters Company, USDB, conducted a pass in review in honor of Jones.

[...]

"I'm excited about being here. Without a doubt, detainee operations is still the biggest game in town," Godwin said. "My job now is to take care of Soldiers, and I vow to the Soldiers on the field that's exactly what I'm going to do."

Bush Defense Department notes "internment/resettlement facilities" while discussing "detainees" overseas: From a February 2005 release:

The service also is redesigning some unit structures to more efficiently handle internment and resettlement operations and is looking closely at how soldiers are trained to handle detainees, the general [Maj. Gen. Donald J. Ryder] said.

The Army recognizes three theaters of detainee operations: Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, 32 internment/resettlement facilities were set up in Iraq. In early operations there, soldiers' job was further muddied by the fact that Iraq had no functioning police force or judiciary, Ryder said. In all, roughly 65,000 people have been screened for possible detention, and about 30,000 of those were entered "into the system," at least briefly, and assigned internment serial numbers.

Bush Defense Department: New MPs learning "internment and resettlement" for "war against terrorism." A March 2004 Defense Department release discussed military police officer training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, "to help wage the global war against terrorism" and stated: "Law and order, internment and resettlement, maneuver mobility support, area security and police intelligence are the five areas in which new MPs must have a fundamental knowledge, said Lt. Col. Randy Evans, the Reserve battalion's commander."

Bush Defense Department: "800th MP Brigade, which is our theater internment resettlement brigade responsible for the theater internment of" prisoners of war "on the battlefield." During an April 2003 teleconference, Army Col. John Della Jacono was introduced by "staff" as "from the newly built Theater Internment Facility at Umm Qasr," and he stated of internment resettlement:

Where I'm standing right now is the final internment area for all the enemy captured -- enemy prisoners of war in theater. So all those being captured today in Baghdad will be evacuated from Baghdad to this facility here. This is the end state. The EPWs will remain here until the end of hostilities, at which point a decision will be made on the procedures for repatriation to either an interim authority or a legitimate government in Iraq.

The men and women responsible for EPW handling are trained pretty much as a common soldier task. The infantryman is taught how to deal with EPWs on the battlefield, but this is primarily a Military Police operation. And so, here at this facility, you have the 800th MP Brigade, which is our theater internment resettlement brigade responsible for the theater internment of EPWs on the battlefield.

Army Reserve chief discusses "[i]nternment/Resettlement brigades" to handle prisoners of war. From May 9, 2001, prepared testimony (retrieved from the Nexis database) by Maj. Gen. Thomas J. Plewes before the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Defense Subcommittee:

PLEWES: Hundreds of Army Reserve Military Police soldiers from the 77th and 99th Regional Support Commands trained to handle enemy prisoners of war by setting up and operating two internment facilities and a corps level internment operation during Exercise PLATINUM SWORD 2000 at the Army Reserve installation at Fort Dix, N.J. Prior to conducting this hands-on exercise, the soldiers prepared with a simulation exercise hosted by the Battle Projection Group of the Army Reserve's 78th Training Support Division. All of the Army's Internment/Resettlement brigades are Army Reserve units. Army Reserve soldiers trained overseas, as well as in the United States.

ROTC recruitment material lists "[i]nternment and resettlement operations" as function of military police

Numerous ROTC websites list "[i]nternment and resettlement operations" as military police function. Numerous ROTC websites for universities such as Drake, Iowa State, John Carroll, and California State at Fresno list the following text under "military police corps."

Military Police Officers are utilized in direct combat and during peacetime to lead other Military Police Soldiers while they serve five main functions: 1) Maneuver and mobility support operations, 2) Area security operations, 3) Law and order operations, 4) Internment and resettlement operations, and 5) Police intelligence operations. [emphasis added]

The Cal State Fresno website states it was last updated on January 26, 2007.

Conservative blog even refutes conspiracy theory

On the conservative blog HotAir.com, Morrissey wrote that people advancing the internment camp theory "pay more attention to conspiracy theories than to facts." In an August 8 HotAir.com post, contributor Ed Morrissey wrote that "we have received an eruption of e-mail over a completely innocuous job listing from the National Guard which proves that a few people pay more attention to conspiracy theories than to facts." Morrissey wrote:

Why does the Guard need these positions filled? It may have escaped notice, but we sent a lot of National Guard units into combat areas of Iraq as we stretched to meet the personnel needs of occupation. They took both combat and support roles for regular Army and Marine units in Iraq, and part of that effort involved holding detainees captured by combat troops. The need for disciplined training in this particular specialty became painfully and publicly clear after Abu Ghraib (although that involved the 372nd Military Police Company of the Army). The need for relocation efforts comes from any war situation where civilians get displaced en masse, as well as peacekeeping efforts in post-war situations.

Whenever and wherever Guard units get deployed, some of them have to be trained in handling prisoners. That job requires specialists with specific training and discipline for the job. The Guard advertises for those positions presumably because they figure that training and experience could be attractive to people who want to be law-enforcement officers (just as MP service in the other branches is), or who perhaps already are in law enforcement and want to serve their country in the discipline they know.

It's not really a great mystery, nor is it a conspiracy to set up camps for political dissenters. It's a good job for people who want to serve the cause of liberty and freedom, and those who volunteer deserve our respect for choosing what's usually a pretty thankless job even without the paranoid overtones.

Transcripts

From the August 10 edition of Talk Radio Network's The Savage Nation:

SAVAGE: You see, there are internment camps being planned. You may not understand it because you didn't see it on CBS News. But I direct you to an article that came out over the weekend that will scare you to death. It came out on WorldNetDaily. I put it up on MichaelSavage.com. Now, you say, "Well, they're making it up. They're just scaring you." No. It's an ad for National Guardsmen to run internment camps.

From the August 10 edition of WOR's The Steve Malzberg Show:

MALZBERG: There's ad at the GoArmy.com website, as well as others on Monster.com: "Internment/resettlement specialists in the Army are primarily responsible for day-to-day operations in a military confinement/correctional facility or detention/internment facility. IR" -- as they're known "specialists provide rehabilitative, health, welfare, and security to U.S. military prisoners with a confinement or correctional facility; conduct inspections; prepare written reports; coordinate activities of prisoners/internees and staff personnel."

Now, there's also on the National Guard website, NationalGuard.com website, a front-page video describing the position thoroughly. Internment/resettlement specialist. Now, we're going to get you that -- could you just go make sure Vince is working on that, on the WorldNetDaily internment story? And we're going to get you that sound as soon as we can.

But this is very frightening in combination with the White House posting on their own website, ladies and gentlemen, a request that, you know, if you hear anything fishy about Barack Obama's health care proposal, if you think the information you're getting from an email or a friend is fishy, send them over our way. We want to know. Here's a special website we've established where you could tell us who's giving you that fishy information. Forward the email. Send the guy's name. Send your friend's email address. You know, we don't like fishy information out there. We don't want it to go unchecked.

So, when you combine that -- which is unprecedented. It's probably against the law, according to lawyers that I've heard speak, that if they accumulate and keep those names, it's against the law, and if they give those names out, it's against the law. So, either way, it's against the law.

But what kind of administration is this? And I think lots of us fear we know the answer as to what kind of administration this is. Internment camps. Internment camps. It ain't going to be for Ara -- for Muslim terrorists, I can tell you that much. That we know. It's not going to be Muslim terrorists in these internment camps. What options does that leave left? Who does that leave? Who does that leave?

Now, to tie that in a little bit more, on the Fox News website today, FoxNews.com, Katie Cobb says the "Swine Flu's Worst Case Scenario." Is it paranoia or preparedness? "An uncontrollable, deadly virus ravages America, shutting down civilian institutions, triggering martial law. Vaccinations are compulsory, and there are mass quarantines throughout the country. Is this the stuff Hollywood is made of?"

Well, there are rumors, as you know. There are all kinds of rumors. And we also have a story along with that -- see how everything stands together? All these little pieces start to fit in. "A bipartisan pair of governors is now opposing a new Defense Department proposal to handle natural and terror-related disasters, contending that a murky chain of command could lead to more problems than solutions."

[...]

MALZBERG: They're working on various levels simultaneously, ladies of gentlemen. God forbid this bird -- this swine flu gets out of hand. God forbid. Because they will separate families, they will intern, they will quarantine, they will -- there's all kinds of speculation as to what they might do.

But why is the Defense Department now intruding on states' emergencies? What's the deal with commercials for internment camp soldiers needed, police needed? What's going on in this country? The website to turn in your neighbor.

This is Barack Hussein Obama. Ah, uniter. Open, transparent. Yeah, right -- Marxist. Marxist. And does this not sound like a Marxist government ready to rock and roll? Ready to rock and roll.

Network/Outlet
WorldNetDaily
Person
Michael Savage, Steve Malzberg
Show/Publication
Examiner.com
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