Did You Hear the One about U.S. Internment Camps?
A leaked Army document on mass detentions has extremists boiling over on both the right and the left.
As soon as you see the title, you know you’re in trouble — “Army Field Manual 3-39.40: Internment and Resettlement Operations.”
When you click on the link, as thousands already have, you get a 326-page PDF describing how the U.S. military would go about imprisoning and relocating massive populations — it’s a best-practice document for rounding up thousands of militants in a foreign country or in the event of a massive terrorist attack or natural disaster on U.S. soil.
Wait, what was that last part?
A handful of references to domestic applications — the prospective internment and resettlement of U.S. citizens — have fueled the spread of FM 3-39.40 like wildfire through the world of online political dissent, where it is being discussed by everyone from the Patriot movement on the right to Occupy on the left to Anonymous, anarchists, organized racists, survivalists, and plain old conspiracy theorists in between.
The document responsible for this perfect storm of radical chatter appears to have first leaked on the website PublicIntelligence.net, which is similar to WikiLeaks but has until now maintained a lower profile. From there, it was picked up by the conspiracy-oriented news site Prison Planet, and after that there was no stopping it.
FM 3-39.40 is an Army operations guide dated February 2010 with headings that include “Capture, Detention, and Initial Screening,” “Detainee Flow,” “Theater Internment Facility,” “Strategic Internment Facility,” “Detainee Rehabilitation Programs,” and much, much more.
The manual has been around in one form or another since 1978, when it was first written to assimilate lessons learned from the resettlement of tens of thousands of Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees to the United States after the Vietnam War. It has been substantially rewritten since then, most recently to include scenarios encountered in Iraq and Afghanistan.
FM 3-39.40 is, essentially, a how-to guide for taking control of thousands or tens of thousands of people in a specific area, sorting them out afterward, and controlling them while in detention or in the midst of a resettlement.
For domestic extremists and radicals in search of evidence to support their forgone conclusion that the government is on the verge of declaring a police state, the field manual is a rhetorical gold mine — even if it didn’t specifically discuss how to apply these techniques to American citizens on U.S. soil. – foreignpolicy.com
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