The state of New York is attempting to set an incredibly dangerous precedent. With a bill, A416, pre filed in the assembly for 2021 who's veiled language, if enacted into law, seems to establish a de facto dictatorship in New York and could result in the indefinite detention of anyone merely suspected of being a public health threat. Though many outlets have reported this, the fact is that the US has a history of such atrocities, and now, other governments are considering similar measures.
The bill states (bold added for emphasis):
"The public health law is amended by adding a new section 2120-a to read as follows:
3 § 2120-a. Removal and detention of cases, contacts and carriers who are or may be a danger to public health; other orders. 1. The provisions of this section shall be utilized in the event that the governor declares a state of health emergency due to an epidemic of any communicable disease.
2. Upon determining by clear and convincing evidence that the health of others is or may be endangered by a case, contact or carrier, or suspected case, contact or carrier of a contagious disease that, in the opinion of the governor, after consultation with the commissioner, may pose an imminent and significant threat to the public health resulting in severe morbidity or high mortality, the governor or his or her delegee, including, but not limited to the commissioner or the heads of local health departments, may order the removal and/or detention of such a person or of a group of such persons by issuing a single order, identifying such persons either by name or by a reasonably specific description of the individuals or group being detained. Such person or group of persons shall be detained in a medical facility or other appropriate facility or premises designated by the governor or his or her delegee and complying with subdivision five of this section."
I don't need to tell you precisely how draconian this is, it should be clear enough. And it is quite concerning. Though immediately following this section, the bill also outlines the provisions for a detainee's release, the overall tone is enough for anyone that's been paying attention to the wishy washy and overtly totalitarian response of government to this crisis to be weary. This is particularly worrisome give the United States abhorrent track record of purposefully endangering public health.
The wording of the legislation indicates the "indefinite" nature of ones detention is to be determined (depending on the judgment of the Governor and his Council), but it is the egregious violation of civil liberties that is at the forefront of concern. That any person, even suspected of carrying any communicable disease can, as per the language of this bill, be arrested and forcibly quarantined in an isolation facility before it is even fully determined whether or not they pose any major risk is a human rights nightmare. It is a response that students of history may recall being more akin to that of the Soviet Bloc, rather than the supposed "land of the free" United States of America.
But of course as we are talking about New York and pseudo-mafioso Andrew "Capo" Cuomo. The events of 2020 have already shown us that he is all too comfortable flirting with crossing these lines. Dancing on the border of potentially violating the Posse Comitatus Act, deploying the New York National Guard to perform a number of activities including seizing medical ventilators from upstate hospitals. As well as a number of other questionable policy moves, extensively covered by New York native and independent journalist Jason Bermas.
As elaborated by the former Libertarian Party vice presidential candidate Spike Cohen —
"Not only does A416 give Cuomo the ability to detain and remove people without trial, appeal or oversight, it would also grant that power to anyone he wishes. "Including, but not limited to" means pretty much whoever he wants.
This bill turns the Governor into an overlord who can appoint anyone he wishes to remove whomever they wish, as long as they decide that person is a "threat".
The reference to "clear and convincing evidence" is a smokescreen, because there's no due process here for them to have to prove it in court. Every person in New York can be ruled a "threat".
This isn't guilty until proven innocent. This is guilty with no chance to prove innocence.
Republicans in Albany will complain, watch it pass and then do nothing to get rid of it, just like every other bad law or regulation in NY."
Although reintroduced by Democratic Assemblyman Nick Perry this session, the bill was originally introduced in 2015 /16 in response to the Ebola epidemic. An article from Reason points out — "It's difficult to believe that the bill's reintroduction didn't come specifically in response to COVID-19. Though it's a serious virus, it is also no Ebola, which carries an average case fatality rate of 50 percent, with some outbreaks reaching as high as 90 percent.
"It's also difficult to believe that the bill in practice would not "take away, or violate any rights, or [sic] liberties that all Americans are entitled to under our constitution, either state or federal," as Perry claims. Though he presents his bill as a last-stop measure for a pandemic on par with Ebola, the vagueness of its approach gives the state a great deal of discretion in locking people up who might have some sort of unnamed illness, as well as people who merely interacted with someone who might have that illness."
The author continues on to call this notion "especially misguided" given how institutions such as prisons and jails have been a hotbed for infection.
However, this is not the first time that the creation of state-mandated isolation facilities has been proposed. Though it is the first time in recent memory they have taken the bold step to attempt legislating it into reality. In November of last year independent journalist and contributor at the Free Thought Project, Derrick Broze provided coverage of CDC documents detailing plans for pandemic response measures that include forced removal from homes, separating patients and children, and neighborhood and regional facilities to quarantine "high-risk individuals".
In September of last year I posted a piece I wrote on my page Break The Matrix covering news out of a Zero Hedge article that our neighbors to the north in Canada have already begun forcibly detaining citizens in secret facilities. An excerpt reads — "Authorities in Quebec City, Canada have announced they will isolate “uncooperative” citizens in a coronavirus facility, the location of which remains a secret. During a press conference, Dr. Jacques Girard, who heads the Quebec City public health authority, drew attention to a case where patrons at a bar were ordered to wait until their COVID-19 tests came back, but disregarded the command and left the premises before the results came back positive. This led to them being deemed “uncooperative” and forcibly interned in a quarantine facility."
(Since its posting, the video of the English translation of the press conference sourced in the article has been deleted by YouTube. But through some digging I was able to locate the specific excerpt of the original broadcast spoken in French — here)
What's more, unsettling as it is this sentiment has already been touted in other high places of government; as last April, World Health Organization Health Emergency Director, Dr. Michael J. Ryan, also publicly advocated for forcibly removing citizens from their homes and detaining them in approved isolation centers. In August it was reported that the country of New Zealand had already begun following through with this practice themselves.
Most recently, on January 17, it was reported by The Daily Mail that Germany will now repurpose refugee camps into detention centers to forcibly quarantine those who defy covid restrictions. Apparently in 2021, Germany rounding up enemies of the state and forcing them into camps doesn't set off any red flags.
Additionally, on January 20th it was reported that China has completed construction of a massive quarantine camp in Hebei province outside Beijing. Capable of holding over 4,000 detainees, reports confirm that it will not only house the infected but the close contacts of the infected as the regime carry out their contact tracing protocols.
This is particularly concerning given the Chinese government's track record of heavy-handed authoritarianism. There are also horrendous human rights abuses currently being carried out against the Uyghur Muslim population in Xinjiang, as they are racially persecuted and placed in "re-education" camps.
Needless to say, government quarantine camps certainly seem to be quite the concerning growing trend.
With this precedent having seemingly already been set, we have to ask ourselves: with the reintroduction of this bill in New York are we now seeing the creation of mandated relocation to government camps "for our health" becoming a part of America's "new normal"? And the rest of the world as well?
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For those that believe this notion to just be out-of-the-box fear mongering, allow me to elaborate with some historical context and declassified government documents to the contrary. Proving that the federal government has not only planned to put Americans in internment camps before, they've already done it in a limited capacity for decades.
So called "FEMA camps" and other such centers have been the topic of many a supposed "conspiracy theory" over the years, with information ranging from legitimate or plausible to the downright absurd and debunked. However regardless of any supposed "deeper agenda" behind it, the fact of the matter remains the United States government has in fact utilized detention camps for Americans on many occasions. Completely tearing civil liberties asunder and making the Constitution all but defunct.
The history of the establishment of this infrastructure is a vast one, with the state ever expanding their capabilities to forcibly relocate or indefinitely detain citizens without due process. One such example as covered here by Al Jazeera English explains — in the passage of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act signed by President Barack Obama, section 1021 is criticized as a "human rights tragedy" as it "enshrines into US law the concept of indefinite detention without charge or trial." This is a provision that has been included in every NDAA since and upheld with bipartisan majority, including from President Donald Trump. But it didn't just start there, America had been teetering on that edge for long before.
2009's House Resolution 645 enacts the National Emergency Centers Establishment Act, and uses veiled language that allows FEMA, under the direction of the Department of Homeland Security – during a declared emergency, to establish emergency civilian resettlement centers for a vast number of reasons, including the vaguely worded stipulation "for other reasons as may be deemed necessary". In other words, the ability to mandate the relocation of Americans to a state facility for any reason deemed necessary so long as they have the ability to declare a national emergency.
This, as well as a slew of other legislation and official military documents lay the framework for this infrastructure. Military documents such as the infamous FM3.39-40. Titled "Internment and Resettlement Operations" which is a formerly secret 300+ page Army field manual from 2010, largely focused on the relocation and internment of detainees by the military in operations abroad. This particular Field Manual however includes portions also relating to those same operations domestically, on US soil pertaining to civilians and/or political dissidents in the event of a national emergency.
Similarly, Army regulation 210-35 authorizes the establishment of prison centers on US Military facilities as well as creating the Civilian Inmate Labor Program. Should, for whatever reason, it become necessary. As if the grossly engorged prison-industrial complex wasn't already vast enough.
Other such preparations include the Rex84 program, otherwise known as Readiness Exercise 1984. Revealed originally by the Miami Herald in 1987 and the topic of much scrutiny during the Congressional hearings of the Iran-Contra scandal. Rex84 was yet another scenario contrived by the military involving rounding up and interning American citizens deemed to be a "national security threat" for their involvement with what the government considered to be "subversive activities".
Of course as we know, over the years it has been revealed that's the feds are not shy of keeping watch lists of American citizens and deeming them potential domestic enemies for any number of benign activities. Something as simple as being a supporter of former US Presidential candidate Ron Paul is enough now, in their eyes, to warrant being labeled a potential domestic terrorist. In 2020, the Director of National Intelligence for the Trump Administration released the National Counterintelligence Strategy for 2020-2022, which updates existing parameters to also include "hacktivists", "leaktivists", "public disclosure organizations" (like Wikileaks), and those who express support for them to be considered a national security threat on par with ISIS & Al-Qaeda.
However the government hasn't just put these scenarios for domestic resettlement camps to paper. Over the years there have been a number of operations and drills actively simulating them as well, with the military working in tandem with US law enforcement and federal agencies. Operation Urban Warrior in 1998, and Operation Jade-Helm 15 in 2015 are but two widely known notable examples out of a litany of various civil disturbance preparation operations.
Examples of these kinds of dystopian policies actually being put into real practice are numerous as well. Most notoriously during World War II, President Roosevelt authorized an executive order that declared certain ethnicities of American citizens as potential threats. This resulted in the military and police actively rounding up German, Italian, and Japanese Americans and placing them in federal internment facilities for the duration of the war.
In 1971 President Richard Nixon authorized Operation Garden Plot to combat one of the biggest antiwar protests in American history. On May 3rd of that year thousands of activists had shutdown Washington DC in an act of civil disobedience demanding an end to the Vietnam war. As a result of the President's authorization, the Posse Comitatus Act was suspended and US Marines and paratroopers were sent in with local police to disperse the crowds resulting in unrest. Ultimately the military established a makeshift detention camp in RFK Stadium to house over 7,000 Americans that had been arrested as a result.
2004 saw yet another notorious yet forgotten incident come to be known as "GITMO On The Hudson". As a result of ongoing protests outside the Republican National Convention in New York, more than 2000 citizens; including protesters, activists, observers, and journalists were all illegally apprehended and interned in a detention facility built into the Hudson River's Pier 57. At the time, these had been deemed unfit for occupancy due to various chemical health hazards. Ultimately over 90% of the charges were dropped, proving those arrested were needlessly treated as criminals and unnecessarily detained for an unknown amount of time. The NYPD was also heavily reprimanded for their actions.
In 2015, a report from The Guardian rocked the Chicago Police Department with scandal. It revealed Chicago PD had been "disappearing" American citizens to an off-the-books facility for years — brutally interrogating them and detaining them indefinitely from an abandoned warehouse. The repugnant repeated violations of civil liberties led to legal representatives stating it "was the domestic equivalent to a CIA black-site".
As a final recent example of the state's willingness to use these kind of facilities on American soil — I'm sure some of us remember once upon a time that "conspiracy theory" floating around the internet alleging that the government was secretly converting abandoned Walmart's into detention centers. I, as I would assume any rational thinking human being, didn't believe this. In fact I once called it complete nonsense. But of course I practiced my due diligence, did some research, and could find no tangible evidence to substantiate the claim.
Then, lo and behold, years later a story broke right here on The Free Thought Project proving its legitimacy. When various mainstream reports confirmed that ICE and DHS, in addition to their already inhumane immigrant detention facilities, were also running detention camps out of converted Walmart Supercenters to house immigrant children in confinement up to 23 hours a day. To be honest with you, I was flabbergasted — not necessarily from the fact that it ended up being true, but out of disgust for the sheer brazenness at the lengths they were willing to go to establish these kind of centers.
On the backdrop of this historical context, I have never seen something more antithetical to the notion of the "land of the free".
In reality, this recently proposed bill in New York it's just another mile marker on the long road that is the State's twisted infatuation of experimenting with unlawful indefinite detention. But given the recent incredible increases of authoritarian practices we've seen in the wake of this global health crisis, it's a scenario that we should keep a close eye on now more than ever.
With the past 12 months bringing about what I refer to as the "lockdown state" or "police state 2.0", what others have termed as "Covid-19(84)"; and in the wake of the assault on the US Capitol already being used as the catalyst to usher in a new domestic war on terror — we are witnessing a multi-pronged assault against Liberty on all fronts.
With these facets operating simultaneously, it is pragmatic wonder how far they would be willing to go. With ghastly covid restrictions still abounding, and the author of the USA Patriot Act about to assume the Office of the President already promising new sweeping legislation against "domestic terrorists"; I shudder to think it, but is it plausible that we could see the creation of a domestic Guantanamo Bay in the not-so-distant future?
About the author – Don Via Jr. is an independent researcher and journalist from central Virginia, who has dedicated the last ten years to studying history, political science, geopolitics, and covert operations, and raising awareness about government corruption and abuses. He is the founder of the independent media outlet Break The Matrix. More of his work can be found there as well as on associated social media on MeWe, Twitter, and Minds.