Eyewitness Account of a “FEMA Detainment Camp” (Updated)

Reader Cafi posted a link to this item in a story comment, but I thought it merited a bit more attention, if only to have it, I hope, debunked. Have a look at I just got back from a FEMA Detainment Camp.

[See update below: whether this account was true or false, the camp is now “on standby status” and doesn’t actually have the 3,000 persons who were anticipated.]

I know nothing about the web site hosting this story, although a cursory look at the front page makes it look pretty seriously crazy. And I know nothing about the poster. So I am not going to take this on faith. (There is, though, a Baptist camp in Falls Creek, OK, and it is hosting Katrina victims. Although the Red Cross is helping FEMA so they are not operating alone.)

The troubling thing, though, is that given what we know about FEMA to date, can one confidently dismiss this account as a fraud without counter-evidence? It’s not as easy as I’d like (in other words, if it’s a fraud, it plays well to our fears). It is insufficiently implausible that FEMA is isolating and disempowering the victims of Katrina, subjecting them to a regime of no practical way to have contact with the outside world, no cooking, no gifts, two communal meals a day, and armed guards all around. And no leaving the camp, either. But not even allowing in itinerant preachers? In a camp owned by the Baptist church? That’s very hard to believe.

Could it really be that our government has in effect decided to enforce what amounts to the worst form of communism on the new lumpenproletariat?

I so much want to believe that our country is better than this. And I do. Just not quite as strongly as I’d like to.

Anyone live near Falls Creek, Oklahoma?

UPDATE: I am somewhat reassured by this news item in the Pryor Creek Daily Times:

Falls Creek operation put on standby status

OKLAHOMA CITY – After anticipating the arrival of 3,000 survivors from Hurricane Katrina for more than two days, volunteers and government agencies were given the word late Tuesday that the status of operations at Falls Creek was put on standby.

Major Mike Grime, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, announced to nearly 400 volunteers and state personnel that the decision had been made by the Governor and other state officials to scale back operations at Falls Creek.

“The good news is that it appears those who needed our help have been taken care of for now,” Grimes explained. “We will scale back to a skeleton crew for now, but none of our facilities will be compromised. There will be troopers present 24 hours a day at Falls Creek as we evaluate the need on a 12, 24, 36 and 48 hour basis. Falls Creek has been and will continue to be ready within a 10 to 12 hour window in the event that the conference facility is still needed.” While disappointment was evident on the faces of many, appreciation for the Falls Creek operation was recognized with a round of applause.

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10 Responses to Eyewitness Account of a “FEMA Detainment Camp” (Updated)

  1. cafl says:

    I can’t vouch for the accuracy, Gary Farber posted this on Obsidian Wings and his own web site.

  2. Tom Scudder says:

    If you follow the original thread to the end, apparently the refugees/evacuees/whatever actually have shown up there, after all.

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  5. Michael says:

    The most recent news I can find says the site is “on hold” and may be dismantled,

    Texomans have been doing what they can to help those who lost everything in the wake of Katrina, but thousands of volunteers at one Texoma conference center may not get to see their days of hard work put to use. KTEN’s Jocelyn Lockwood tells us why Falls Creek Conference Center may not see any evacuees after all.

    This weekend, around 15,000 volunteers poured into Falls Creek, but now the evacuation site has been put on hold and fewer than 100 volunteers remain.

    Tuesday, these cribs were ready for toddlers, a stuffed animal placed in each one. But today, they’re empty, the sheets and toys are bagged up and the cribs are abandoned.

    Since Sunday, hundreds of volunteers have been making beds, preparing food and sorting thousands of donations, but now there is a chance the estimated 3,000 evacuees will not come.

    “Well, there’s a lot of reasons for that and we don’t know all of those reasons,” said Sam Porter, Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief Director. “Some evacuees are at the Astrodome and they are still hoping against hope to go back home and maybe go back to their jobs, but truthfully, many of their homes and jobs are not there.”

    Officials here are waiting for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to give Falls Creek what they call a “mission” before any evacuees can come.

    The Oklahoma Highway Patrol had 10 percent of its entire force at Falls Creek, but now only a dozen remain.

    Still, Falls Creek will stand prepared.

    ”We’ll be ready if they call,” said Porter. “We’ll have everyone back in place so the whole camp and every agency that is involved, there’s about 7 agencies involved in this, we’ll be ready to go within a 6 to 10 hour window.”

    If the evacuees do not come to Falls Creek it will take up to a week to break down everything that has been set up.

    All of Texoma’s donations will be sent to where hurricane victims who need them most.

  6. Ereshkigal says:

    Although I live in the northeast portion of Oklahoma, I’ve spent a fair amount of time near Falls Creek. The description of the area and the pictures seem to be accurate.

    Closer to home, but still 60 miles from where I live (Tulsa), FEMA set up an evacuee camp at Camp Gruber. Initally, close to 2400 persons were processed through Gruber (as of Tuesday). Some of the these have already left to be reunited with family or friends elsewhere.

    I cannot attest to the restrictions on the evacuees (as described in the blog piece). I do know that we’ve had about 900 minors processed through Camp Gruber since early Saturday, and there aren’t enough schools in the area to begin to accommodate them.

    Some volunteer (that is, professionals volunteering services) support has come from Ft. Smith, Arkansas, some from Muskogee, but most is coming from Tulsa. All of the health (including mental health) care support is being run through Tulsa, and most of the legal support. It’s about an hour-and-a-half drive from point to point.

    FEMA currently requires volunteers to serve 12-hour shifts, which means leaving Tulsa at 4:30 a.m. and returning at 7:30 p.m. Unless they change this schedule, they’ll run out of help quickly.

    It’s easy to imagine, unfortunately, how distressing a prospect this isolation must be for the evacuees. I fear that the initial uptick in morale that has emerged among the Camp Gruber population will dissolve into despair as they become aware that their situation is more permanent than temporary.

    Too bad that there is no room at Crawford, Texas, for evacuees. I guess that there’s just too much uncleared brush.

  7. Nygdan says:

    A few comments:

    The person posting the information on our board is absolutely honest, highly intelligent, and completely forthright. They were going to their church cabin because they knew people in need were there. The account is completely and utterly true.

    Abovetopsecret.com is not a ‘crazy’ site, and merely because some of the topics are controversial hardly warrants its dismissal or even suspicion. The site considers conspiracies, along with the weird and paranormal, and also analyses global terrorism. It is not a conspiracy advocacy site, it is not a conspiracy debunking site. Its a discussion board. Our members there have been able to rationally and logically consider various ‘conspiracy theories’ from all the angles, rather than set out to ‘debunk it’, or like you have hear, merely hoped for someone else to come along and debunk it.

    There is nothing in the story that is implausible. Its a story of gross stupidity and incompetence. Its hardly unbeleivable.

  8. DrLaniac says:

    I was skeptical myself. Given that the site is thoroughly involved in REX 84 discussions and the person posting the article is appearantly one of the most prolific writers on the site, I think there’s good reason to be skeptical.

    The Wikipedia entry for REX 84 links to AboveTopSecret’s site. Today, the article is in disputed status, with links pointing to (among others) Chip Berlet’s discussion of the rightwing conspiracist history associated with the very real REX 84 program. But like always, they hyped it, going beyond the loony plan backed by Ollie North, as an immanent threat to US citizens. And if that’s not enough to give you pause before passing it on as fact, the person objecting to the recent edit and dispute status, links to a FreeRepublic thread to provide a defense of her position. The person’s handle there is quite similar to several found on ATS (including the FEMA article author), containing Delphic Oracle references.

    Now, these connections could in fact be coincidental, or right-wingers could in fact be factually correct about the conditions there, or whatever. But it sure does give me pause.

  9. Gary Gray says:

    Do not dismiss this story out of hand. Given the history of the neo-cons and the attitudes in Oklahoma (where I spent many years) this must be checked out. The photos are real; I’ve been there. The narrative is well-written without a trace of “carziness” to it. If I was there, I’d drive over and check it out myself. Someone needs to.

  10. JoJo says:

    I have been reading about this all over the internet today, and went to GOOGLE> I input Tulane first, then searched within results for “research”, etc. Long story short, there were some connections I found within the research community that led into OK- Norman OK, and Oklahoma City OK. They are both just up the road from this place Falls Creek. Hmmmm…………….


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