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Some people believe that FEMA has secret concentration camps as part of a wider strategy to impose martial law. This is an example of a site promoting such a view and Infowars has an article claiming the same.

An example of a specific claim:

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.

Is this supported by any factual study?

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    I note Wikipedia defines the acronym as "Readiness Exercise 1984" This conspiracy has outlasted 4 US presidents. – Oddthinking Feb 2 '12 at 23:44
  • The acronym is defined in the quoted passage in the question... – Sonny Ordell Feb 3 '12 at 0:20
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    @Sonny, yes. I first interpretted "Readiness Exercise 84" as "the 84th Readiness Exercise". Then I read the Wikipedia page, and realised we are talking about 1984 - a 28-year-old conspiracy theory, which rather diminishes the reliability of its predictions, given they haven't come true in a quarter-of-a-century. It's like still claiming that Barak Obama is going to reveal himself as a Muslim and impose Sharia law now that he is President... any day now. – Oddthinking Feb 3 '12 at 0:59
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    @Oddthinking he has to wait until the concentration camps are fully in place. – Sonny Ordell Feb 3 '12 at 1:02
  • America gets up to some shady shit, but it's never been good at keeping it quiet. If they can't keep Snowden from yelling, I doubt they can hide 800 detention camps. – Owen C. Jones Feb 18 '14 at 10:31
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No, there is no evidence to support this ridiculous claim

There is more evidence of a conspiracy to make people think that the claim is true then there is evidence of the claim.

The pictures and videos that claimants rely on are for the most part deliberate lies. Train repair centers, North Korean labor camps and National Guard training centers are just some of the centers claimed as FEMA concentration camps.

There have been no studies done to debunk this claim and it is unlikely there will be, simply because of how ridiculous it is. Perhaps the next best thing is a detailed debunking from a reliable source.

James Meigs, editor-in-chief of Popular Mechanics appeared on Glenn Beck’s Fox News program to debunk this claim. Transcripts are here and here.

Selected excerpts:

BECK: OK. There is no sound? How come I'm hearing the sound here, Frank. OK. This is something where they're showing a so-called concentration camp. These are turnstiles. This is in a secure area, behind the fence. I don't know how they got this video when it was behind the fence, but they went in and got this video.

You recognized this or you searched for it, right? And what did you find?

MEIGS: Well, it is not very hard to find, like many of these things. The truth is actually fairly evident. This is an Amtrak repair facility in Beach Grove, Indiana. The woman who made this video initially claimed that it's some kind of American Auschwitz. And they have outfitted buildings with gas and they've got these strange turnstiles.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): In yet another fenced area, we see a large warehouse building at the end with the electronic turnstiles in front of it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BECK: OK. That they were putting gas heaters of some sort in there.

MEIGS: Right. And what we found out is — first of all, one of those buildings has been knocked down. The other ones were upgraded. Their heating system was obsolete. And more than 15 years ago, they upgraded them to gas heat so they could work on the trains.


MEIGS: Well, there is one detail that the conspiracy theorists leave out. Those are satellite images of a concentration camp in North Korea.


There is a more thorough debunking on the Popular Mechanics web page.

Of course all of that is meaningless since James Meigs is clearly a government shill. :-)

Even ignoring:

  • The evidence used by people making the claim is demonstrably false,
  • Not all of the ~800 alleged camps have been debunked,
  • If this were happening it would be covered up,
  • The difficulty of orchestrating something of this magnitude and keeping it secret,

no decent motive has been proposed and arguably there is a lack of means.

This claim should be given less credibility than reports of leprechauns until a reason exists to consider it seriously.

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    you forgot one: if this were true wouldn't all the conspiracy theorists be instantly "disappeared" and put in those very camps to prevent them from getting "the truth" out? :) – jwenting Feb 3 '12 at 7:17
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    -1 - Glenn Beck is clearly a government shill – user5341 Feb 4 '12 at 16:50
  • I think the final point is the most damning there -- either the claimants honestly didn't know those were pictures of a North Korean camp and they're just really damn stupid, or they knew and used them anyway, in which case they're blatant liars. Either way, it doesn't really encourage faith in the veracity of anything else they have to say... – Shadur Jan 21 '16 at 10:01
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The RFP at the Infowars link you provide states:

....lead times will be short...due to the nature of emergency responses....Personnel onsite...will depend on the size and scope of the recovery effort, but for estimating purposes the camp will range in size from 301 to 2001 persons for up to 30 days in length.

"Emergency responses," "recovery effort," and duration all support the thesis that such camps are intended for emergency support after a disaster and are not intended to be concentration camps.

  • and the wording indicates that the camps don't exist (except maybe during exercises), and are far from permanent. – jwenting Feb 3 '12 at 12:40
  • At a guess, part of the exercise involves "How fast can we set a camp like this up at the site of an emergency?" – Shadur Jan 21 '16 at 10:02

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