Saturday, March 14, 2009

How to deal with conspiracy theorists and those who "surround" us...

... talk substantively and truthfully about their claims and concerns.

For example: the FEMA concentration camp myth, to which our own Delaware gadfly liz allen subscribes, along with good ol' Glenn Beck:

Continuing his assigned role as corporate media siren of the apocalypse, Glenn Beck interrupted a discussion on Russia and Iran last night on Fox & Friends to mention a heretofore no-no for national television — FEMA camps. At two minutes into the video below, Beck declares he attempted to “debunk these FEMAS camps” because he is “tired of hearing about them,” but was unable to do so. “We now for several days have done research on them… I can’t debunk them.” Beck follows this with a declaration that the United States may be headed for totalitarianism.

Here's the gist of the FEMA concentration camp myth permeating the righter wings of the internet:

I never thought the day would come where I would write about such a horrible subject but the fact is our government, under a program called REX 84 (Readiness Exercise 84) runs over 800 detention camps nationwide. They are all fully operational and ready to receive prisoners should the US government institute martial law.

I put this page together so YOU would seek to know more about these issues and do your OWN research. I make no claims as to the infallibility of this information and my opinions are represented in much of the content of this page.

The Rex 84 Program was initially established by the United States Federal government to test their ability to detain large numbers of American citizens. Exercises similar to Rex 84 happen periodically. From 1967 to 1971 the FBI kept a list of persons to be rounded up as subversive, dubbed the "ADEX" list. The program is also to be used to deal with a mass exodus of illegal aliens crossing the Mexican/US border, they would be quickly rounded up and detained in detention centers by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). Rex 84 allowed many military bases to be closed down and to be turned into prisons. These facilities are constructed to detain people not just to house them. When barbed razor wire topped fences are facing inward, that is meant to keep someone from going over the top of the fencing and to keep them INSIDE an area!

Operation Cable Splicer and Garden Plot are the two sub programs which will be implemented once the Rex 84 program is initiated for its true purpose. Garden Plot is the program to control the population. Cable Splicer is the program for an orderly takeover of the state and local governments by the federal government. FEMA is the executive arm of the coming police state and thus will head up all operations. The Presidential Executive Orders already listed on the Federal Register also are part of the legal framework for this operation.

The camps all have railroad facilities as well as highways and roads leading to and from the detention facilities. Many also have an airport nearby. The majority of the camps can house a population of 20,000 prisoners. Currently, the largest of these facilities is just outside of Fairbanks, Alaska. The Alaskan facility is a massive mental health facility and can hold approximately 2 million people. The camps are constructed to detain people not house them. Scroll to the bottom for
a comprehensive list by state of most of the camp locations.

Friends of Liberty publishes what purports to be an extensive list of FEMA concentration camps around the country [and this list can be found many other places].

Gee, Delaware doesn't rate a FEMA camp, but here's the entry for Virginia:

Ft. A.P. Hill (Fredericksburg) - Rex 84 / FEMA facility. Estimated capacity 45,000.
Petersburg - Federal satellite prison camp, south of Richmond.

Fort A. P. Hill, Virginia, eh?

This one interests me. You see, I spent the better part of two decades running around Fort A. P. Hill as a member of the Virginia Army National Guard. I have traversed the Hill by helicopter, by vehicle, and on foot for days and weeks at a time. There may be a square foot of the place I have not visited, but I doubt it. My ambulance platoon's boast used to be that you could drop one of us in the middle of the night without a map or a flashlight at any spot on the Hill, and that we'd know withing ten minutes exactly where we were.

Once A. P. Hill was turned over to the Virginia Army National Guard during base shut-downs, and there have been some changes. There is a SEAL training area and a small penitentiary along the fringes of the post. I have re-visited the Hill on multiple occasions since my retirement in 2001 (most days the post is open to traffic with any ID; the other days my retired military ID gets me in). I have conducted extensive satellite recons on Google. [A couple of significant road changes allow me to date the satellite photos Google is using to 2005/2006.]

For the purposes of this little intellectual exercise I have consulted with people still active in the Guard for any construction updates or areas of the post besides the penitentiary that have been declared off-limits. [There are a few areas, like the ammunition storage bunkers, that are high security, but I have been inside them as well, and that's what they are: ammunition bunkers.]

This is what I can tell you: Neither the buildings nor the logistic infrastructure exists, under the remotest of possibilities, to hold 45,000 people there. Hell, the annual Boy Scout Jamboree with 3-4,000 people camping out for a few days strains the existing support systems. Putting 4-5,000 troops in the field for training exercises of less than two weeks' duration usually overloads the capacity of Wilcox Camp (the major such area on the base) for supporting them.

Yes, FEMA teams and the VaRNG's Emergency Operations Center have operated out of Fort A. P. Hill from time to time during emergencies. You can even read one of the fairly recent (and completely banal) After-Action Reports of such an exercise here. I actually know several of the people who were involved in this particular exercise; the report is both boring and legit.

But the information on the conspiracy-fed internet is even out of date with respect to that. If you want to look for the current Va EOC, look for a different base in the Old Dominion, named after a different Civil War general.

Point being: any idiot can put a name on a list. Let's see somebody show some evidence of the massive, 45,000-person detention-camp facility that's supposed to be there.

Let's see some photographs of the buildings, the stockades, the areas that are off-limits to visitors.

Let's see some narratives of people who claim to have seen such facilities, or to have helped build them.

Let's see some documents that suggest Memoranda of Understanding between the State of Virginia and FEMA for the use of the facilities.

You won't find them, because the primary heavy-duty uses of Fort A. P. Hill are brigade-level training on its several dozen ranges and many wooded training areas; and mobilization preparation for reservists and guardsmen going overseas.

Literally tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of active-duty soldiers, National Guard troops, Boy Scouts, politicians, and civilians have passed through Fort A. P. Hill over the past ten years, and I defy you to find me a credible narrative from any of them to back up the idea of a 45,000 prisoner detention camp, even in embryo.

The antidote to conspiracies is to ask yourself: What would I have to believe in order for this to be true?

In order to believe that Fort A. P. Hill has been prepared for occupation as a FEMA detention camp, you'd have to believe in a conspiracy involving all of those thousands of people.

Now, why is this important?

I have just debunked one of the major FEMA concentration camps claimed by the conspiracy theorists.

Moreover, I have done so through direct personal knowledge, not government documents or net-discovered rambling fantasies.

So, if the people maintaining these lists have a shred of intellectual integrity, they will take Fort A. P. Hill off their lists, and admit they were wrong to have it there in the first place--or they will come up with the evidence to the contrary.

But that's not what they'll do. Instead, if they respond at all we'll be treated to:

1) Me as a government plant or dupe--which is pretty good for a Libertarian, huh?

2) The old "they didn't let you into the really secret areas" tripe without any evidence

3) The old "just because there may be a few mistakes on the list doesn't invalidate our overall contention"

Well, liz?

There are real government detention centers. I was around the edges of one in 1989 at Fort Chaffee AR, where the last of the Marielistas were still being kept. You know what? You could find it on maps. You could access photos and reports. It couldn't be hidden because--go with me here, conspiracies theorists--in the modern world it is damn difficult to hide such facilities.

'scuze me, got to go cash my FEMA disinformation agent check, now.


susan said...

OK just stopped into your site to read your excellent take on the Afghanistan/pipeline issue. Very helpful.

Well, just before I was going to leave I checked out your post on debunking the FEMA camp issue. Above is a bill currently in committee in Congress about funding more FEMA camps on unused military facilities.

It nicely fits in with a 2005 or 2006 bill that allowed the military to use civilian prison labor "at no cost to the military" to work on and be housed on military facilities in the US...has something to do with the BRAC 2011 plan.

Also, there was Congressional funding for up-grading existing facilities by KBR a few years ago. I would have to re-google that for a .gov website. I did read that the original amount was doubled later to $800,000...

Anyway, beats me about all the crazy wing monkey posts...but I watch what Congress actually funds and have been reading Presidential signing statements and Executive orders for years.

Anyhow, gotta go but if you want to read the HR645 bill and/or google the other KBR funding for FEMA camps you just may be less dismissive of "all" such claims.

Ciao! And thanks for the read!

(not a libertarian but I like a lot of what Ron paul has to say about Fiat money)

susan said...

Here is the initial KBR announcement of their contract...I haven't found the .gov site for Congressional funding.

BTW Both refer to the uses of these camps in very ambiguous terms. I do believe that Gen Petraeus has referred to them in comments about the Northcom mission.

Steve Newton said...

The camp conspirators claim that there are 800 such camps already up and running, staff, fenced off, and covered with barbed wire.

There are FEMA installations, there are detention camps in this country, and you can find legitimate information on them.

But while I thank you for stopping by, I notice that you did not have, nor have you heard anything which would contradict what I said about Fort AP Hill.

Doesn't that make you the least bit suspicious of the rest of the claimed 800 camps--including the one in Alaska ready to hold 2 million (!) people?

inDglass said...

The list of camps that has been viral around the internet appears to be the original Rex 84 list. It is doubtful that many of these facilities are part of martial law plans any longer. I have seen enough evidence to indicate plans to put large numbers of Americans into internment camps. And a basic knowledge of American history tells us that it wouldn't be the first time.

This isn't a conspiracy fantasy, but much like the case with the MIAC issue recently discussed here, many of the articles circulating the internet about this issue are inaccurate. It is sad that many activists and alternative media are not taking the time to get their facts straight before they publish pieces about such important issues.

inDglass said...

Here are a couple articles about this issue that are more reliable than the Rex 84 lists and other stuff I commonly see going around:

The Last Roundup (Radar Magazine)

Rule by Fear or Rule by Law? (San Fransisco Chronicle, co-written by a former Congressman)

Steve Newton said...

I have seen enough evidence to indicate plans to put large numbers of Americans into internment camps. And a basic knowledge of American history tells us that it wouldn't be the first time.

Really, Douglas? What evidence?

What, precisely, do you mean by large numbers? The net conspiracies speak of dozens if not hundreds of camps capable of averaging 20,000 internees each. So would I be forward in presuming that by "large numbers" you mean at least several tens of thousands?

And other than the Japanese internment, please use that basic knowledge of American history to provide me with a single incident in which tens of thousands of Americans have been so interred.

I'll be right here when you come up with an example.

Steve Newton said...

The Radar magazine story documents the existence of government lists of suspicious persons and illegal compilations of data and wire-tapping. No shit. There is only one specific reference to concentration camps:

Ten years later, a new round of government martial law plans came to light. A report in the Miami Herald contended that Reagan loyalist and Iran-Contra conspirator Colonel Oliver North had spearheaded the development of a “secret contingency plan,”—code-named REX 84—which called “for suspension of the Constitution, turning control of the United States over to FEMA, [and the] appointment of military commanders to run state and local governments.” The North plan also reportedly called for the detention of upwards of 400,000 illegal aliens and an undisclosed number of American citizens in at least 10 military facilities maintained as potential holding camps.

This is based on allegations about a report nobody has yet seen, and anticipates the detention of at least half a million people--that would be 50,000 each at ten military facilities.

Do you have any idea how difficult to damn near impossible it would be to hide that level of detention facility?

There are only a few dozen military bases on this continent large enough to house 50,000 prisoners without turning the entire base into a prison.

Nor could you construct the infrastructure necessary to house, water, and feed 50,000 people at any of these bases without attracting massive local attention.

So where are they?

Steve Newton said...

Your second article is equally short on specifics about detention facilities.

I completely agree that the government has gone big-time into the "enemies' list" game, but the article provides little more than innuendo and assertion on the existence of detention camps:

Beginning in 1999, the government has entered into a series of single-bid contracts with Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR) to build detention camps at undisclosed locations within the United States. The government has also contracted with several companies to build thousands of railcars, some reportedly equipped with shackles, ostensibly to transport detainees.

Note that here the detention camp menace goes back into the Clinton administration. The two sentences here are assertions without evidence.

How many companies in the US actually manufacture boxcars? Which companies did the work? Who made the reports?

I don't doubt that the government has the intent, even under Obama, to round up people in awkward times, and I have posted about the illegality and civil liberties aspects of that many times, as well as the redeployment of the 3rd Infantry Division into CONUS.

But show me the camps. Show me the rail sidings leading into the camps. Show me where the thousands of boxcars are stockpiled.

It is not half so easy for a government as incompetent as ours to pull off such a scheme with virtually nobody talking about it as most people seem to think.

The two articles you have cited make major allegations about the existence of such a system, but fail to provide a single piece of actual evidence.

Kn@ppster said...


Ah! I see that you've been past the Fort Chaffee facility too! I mention it in a comment on another post I made.

The first time I saw it, my guess was that it had been a WWII POW camp (they kept some German prisoners in Arkansas, I think). Hell, they could have filmed "Hogan's Heroes" there from the looks of it.

After asking around, I learned that it had been used for Mariel boatlift and Vietnamese refugees.

I'm not so trusting of the federal government that I believe they'd never round up us troublemakers and put us behind barbed wire. But like you, I wish those asserting that it's coming could/would prove their factual claims. As we've been discussing, making even small stuff up is a good way to be discredited, even if the larger message is true.