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Refugees from New Orleans behind barbed wire in Utah

by Don Nash, Unknown News

Update:

Interview about restrictions on
New Orleans detainees ends abruptly
Sept. 6, 2005 [Day 9]

Utah's Governor Jon Huntsman has taken in some of the New Orleans refugees, at Camp Williams. Replete with barbed wire, armed soldiers with weapons at ready, police and sheriff with weapons at ready, and hell, they must surely feel right at home. In America yet. What bullshit! I'm not done with this outrage, not by a long shot. I'm actually just getting started.

Unknown News needs to come up with some Press Credentials. I want access to Camp Williams and were I "media," they'd have to let me in and allow me to talk with the refugees? Wouldn't they?

Hell, they'd let me in, I'm certain. They might not let me back out but, they would let me in. Just a passing thought. Or then again, maybe it was passing wind. Or gas. I get that a lot. Gas, that is. I'm an old gas-bag deluxe.

Anyway, think about the press credentials thing. I am serious about that even thought I crack wise about it. I do want to get in there to talk with those poor folk.

*       *       *
The Hurricane Katrina insurgency from New Orleans is tucked safely away behind the 6-foot chain link fence with the accommodating barb wire atop chain links. The ONLY entry into Detention Camp Utah is through the highly secure military gates that are guarded by armed military guards twenty four seven.

The ONLY access to the New Orleans insurgency is granted to military, government officials, and MAINSTREAM media.

The armed military guards at the military gates will not take nor answer any questions regarding the New Orleans insurgency. The guards will however instruct one dissident radical pseudo-media personality to turn the car around and get gone post haste. Only officially cleared personnel can access the New Orleans insurgency.

Detention Camp Utah is located about 20 miles from downtown civilization. There is no transportation, public or otherwise, for the New Orleans insurgency. Supposedly, it has been reported by one local media concern that there will be twice-daily bus service available to "cleared" insurgents.

The armed military guards at the aforementioned closely guarded military gates would answer no questions regarding whether the New Orleans insurgency would be able to clear the gates to access the quickie mart, located down a rather steep hill about three miles from the Detention Camp Utah. Nor would the guards answer questions regarding whether they would allow the New Orleans insurgency to re-enter Detention Camp Utah if somehow they were able to gain an exit.

Detention Camp Utah is a windblown and barren military installation atop the foothills of what is known as the Oquirrh (pronounced ochre) Mountains. It is isolated and surely quiet.

What a pleasant spot for those that were relocated by the U.S. military and the New Orleans insurgency weren't even told where it was they were being shipped to. Not a one of the refugees/insurgents were told they were being sent to Utah. What a freaking shock that must have been.

That is all I was able to ascertain when I paid Detention Camp Utah a short visit on Labor Day. Due to the escalating hostility of the military guards at the armed military gates into Detention Camp Utah, I cut my visit short and also cut my questioning of the armed military guards short. The nice chap with the shiny Colt 45 and the three stripes on his sleeve was growing moderately curt and gave me one last instruction to get away while I still could.

That's the way it is, Labor Day 2005.


© by the author.

What do you think?
 
Some refugees unhappy with destination

by Kirsten Stewart,
Salt Lake Tribune

Sept. 5, 2005 [Day 8]

Jervis Bergeron lost his home to Hurricane Katrina. He lost his dignity looting for food and water. He lost track of his family in the chaos that ensued as rescuers evacuated New Orleans.

Now he has lost his bearings.

"I knew where Utah was, but nobody told me that's where we were going. Nothing personal. It's nice. But I don't know anybody here," said Bergeron, among the first batch of 152 evacuees to arrive at the Camp Williams Utah Army National Guard training site.

Like others who arrived in smaller military planes, Bergeron wasn't told where he was headed when he boarded the JetBlue airliner Saturday at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. In fact, great pains were taken to keep their destination secret.

National Guard officials asked a reporter and photographer aboard two separate military planes not to identify their news organizations or tell the refugees where the planes were going. They explained some refugees on earlier flights complained or refused evacuation when told where they were going.

Federal emergency officials said pilots had their passengers' safety in mind. Few evacuees are holding a grudge.

But some argue, as a matter of respect and simple courtesy, they should have been told where they were landing.

"I asked four or five people, but they said they didn't know," said Bergeron, 54. "It wasn't until the airplane doors were shut and the engines started that they told us, Utah."

Michael Widomski, spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), said keeping destinations a secret wasn't an official policy decision, but more likely a last-minute response to trying circumstances.

He doesn't know if the practice was unique to Utah-bound flights.

"This is not a relocation effort. It would be great to provide air service to wherever they want. But that's not logistically possible," said Widomski. He said 13 states currently are sheltering refugees. So far, Utah, Arizona and Colorado are the farthest West.

"It isn't good or bad policy," said Widomski. "The priority is getting people into a safe, clean environment as fast as we can."

Not everyone was dismayed to find themselves thousands of miles from home in foreign surroundings.

"I was just happy to get out of there," said Antoinette LaFrance. The flight was the 61-year-old's first time on a plane and first visit to Utah.

"People applauded when they heard it was Utah," said Adolph Dennis, who came on a Sunday morning flight. "We heard it was getting awful crowded in Houston. Everyone has been so hospitable here."

At least one volunteer at Camp Williams says the scattershot rescue will make reconnecting families tougher. Violating victims' civil rights also adds insult to injury and reinforces their feelings of helplessness, said Christine Hurst, a certified crisis counselor.

Hurst recounted the experience of a young evacuee who on Saturday told a family member in Texas that she was en route to Houston only to wind up in Utah.

"Now the Red Cross has to send her to Houston. That's where her family is. There's no family here. It's been quite a culture shock for her."

All Hurst can do, she says, is "validate their feelings and tell them they have the right to be angry."

As originally published


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There's much more than this at Unknown News.

 

Camp W.G. Williams occupies 25,000 acres in northcentral Utah, 26 miles south of Salt Lake City. It sits on the west slope of the Traverse Mountains.

The Traverse Mountains, though very small (17 miles maximum length and 5.5 miles maximum width) maintain an importance out of proportion with their size because they separate the Great Basin geologic and physiographic province from the Western Rocky Mountains province and because of their unusual east-west orientation. The Utah Lake drains into the Great Salt Lake through the Jordan River maintaining a wide flood plain over its entire course except along the narrow water gap called the Jordan Narrows where the river splits the Traverse Mountains into an eastern and western section.

Filed under:
Katrina: A criminal catastrophe




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