Monday, February 06, 2006

On Scooping the Times

I should be proud that I scooped the New York Times re: the contract given to Halliburton subsidiary KBR to build detention centers for an “emergency influx of immigrants”—by a week—but instead, I’m just pissed (and a little bit distressed).

Now, truth be told, the Houston Chronicle (where I found the reference) also scooped the Times by a week, but, back then, I searched high and low for another reference, and I found none. . . no others. . . nada. It was not until this last Friday and Saturday that other big-ass news establishments started to pick up the story. . . which I just find ridiculous.

Not that this is the biggest story in the world—apparently there have been similar contracts issued in past years on a contingency basis—but seeing as, this time around, the contracts actually tie-in with pressing current events, you’d think th
e big boys would pay closer attention.

Those current events? Well, first off, is the ever-and-always-ongoing issue of the disproportionate amount of US dollars going to the company formerly run by Vice President Cankles. You know all about that, I know—it’s so outrageous, it ceases to be news. But there are other implications to think about, too. This is from the Saturday Times piece:

KBR would build the centers for the Homeland Security Department for an unexpected influx of immigrants, to house people in the event of a natural disaster or for new programs that require additional detention space. . . .

The last, first. Those new programs? We already know about administration promises to roundup, detain, and deport larger numbers of illegal immigrants; given the lack of respect for civil rights exhibited by the folks now in charge, that alone is reason to look closer. But, there are other possible reasons for mass detention that are, unfortunately, not that hard for me to imagine. (We have the mass registrations and deportations of men of Arab extraction that happened after the 9/11 attacks as a very real example of a sweeping mass detention.)

Natural disaster brings two other possibilities to my mind, and I can’t help but wonder if something similar has come up in the hallowed halls (do they have hallowed halls yet?) of DHS, too. First, and bear with me here, is bird flu. I know, I know, I really don’t want to get all black helicopter on you, but I remember when this was the “news item of the week” last year that Bush himself made some comment about preparing for the contingency that the free movement of populations might need to be constrained. (I’m going to have to leave that an unfinished thought until I can find the exact quote.)

The other obvious natural disaster is, specifically, some thing like a Katrina-sized event somewhere nearby, but, on a more general plane, could be many costal events caused by that pesky “theory” of global warming.

I know that the administration actively dismisses the threat of global warming publicly, but the extent of their zeal makes me think they have other thoughts on the matter privately.

So, you see, I can blog on, ad infinitum (sorry), from just a few words in a story I saw over a week ago. Is that the product of an overactive imagination, or just a healthy curiosity? I have to say, I think asking questions is healthy, so, I wonder, why can’t the guys and gals who get paid to ask questions ask a few—now?


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