I'm not a conspiracy theorist. I've spent countless posts on my blog laughing at "believers" and pointing out flaws in the arguments of those who are deeply involved in the notion of shadow governments, cover-ups, and general issues of seemingly unexplainable events. But I do love to get in my car and drive to weird places, so when I heard about the plethora of potential internment/concentration camps within Los Angeles county, I decided I would go scope them out to see if any of the claims made by theorists were valid.
A little background information: According to a website called Freedom Files (URL), "There are over 600 prison camps in the United States, all fully operational and ready to receive prisoners. They are all staffed and surrounded by full-time guards, but they are all empty. These camps are operated by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) should Martial Law need to be implemented in the United States." Apparently these camps are part of a plan called Rex 84 (short for Readiness Exercise 1984), under which the government's ability to detain large numbers of American citizens can be tested. According to Wikipedia, "The exercise anticipated civil disturbances, major demonstrations and strikes that would affect continuity of government and/or resource mobilization. To fight subversive activities, there was authorization for the military to implement government ordered movements of civilian populations at state and regional levels, the arrest of certain unidentified segments of the population, and the imposition of martial law." In other words, if a disaster were to strike, or massive rioting, or an huge and sudden influx of illegal aliens, FEMA has the capacity and the ability to detain up to hundreds of thousands of individuals at a time and hold them indefinitely without trial.
So, I figured...why not see if these places even exist! Most conspiracy theory websites, I imagine, operate under the premise that people reading conspiracy theory/shadow government websites are lazy pieces of shit who won't actually get up off their asses and check the validity of what they're reading. Sure, that's a gross stereotype I'm making about the types of people I think buy into such theories, but as a born skeptic I felt it was my duty to get out of the apartment and see firsthand just what these "internment camps" looked like.
My day began close to my home base (Los Angeles), in Glendale. According to the Freedom Files website, one of the camp sites is located in the middle of Brand Park, a 31-acre stretch of earth with many hiking trails, picnic areas, a library, and some really nice lush green landscapes. Upon entering the park -- which was being monitored by a patrol officer, but that was the only sign of law enforcement encountered at the park -- simply drive into the park using the Mountain Ave. entrance (the main entrance) and park near the library. You will see signs for The Doctor's House (.JPG). It's pretty hard to miss. If you start there and begin to walk uphill, you will quickly realize that you are walking along the perimeter of the alleged internment camp. The first oddity you will notice will be the barbed wire fencing. This can not-so-clearly be seen in the photograph wrapped along the right-hand side of this paragraph. Whereas a normal facility attempting to keep out intruders will feature fences with the barbed wire facing outwards (as if to say, don't you dare try to climb into here!), the fences surrounding this place have the barbs pointed inward (as if to say, don't you dare try to climb out of here!). The "new" barbed wire fencing (.JPG) is one of the main arguments put forth by believers as to why these places are considered to be potential internment camps. Some visitors have claimed seeing M-16 wielding guards patrolling the area. As previously stated, on this particular trip no armed guards were spotted anywhere in the park. In fact, the place was nearly empty. There was a girl sitting near the Doctor's House reading in the shade, and some workmen driving around in trucks.
As you continue walking along the perimeter of the dry reservoir (.JPG), you will reach an area that is inaccessible by car. Following a brief, short incline, you come to an area that overlooks (.JPG) the entire reservoir/detention center (.JPG). Here, there appears to be a building that has been constructed underground. It is heavily gated (.JPG), and fresh razor wire (.JPG) has been installed.
It's hard to say for certain what the hell this place inside of Brand Park actually is. It could just be what it is, a dry reservoir with a water treatment facility overlooking it. The presence of water department personnel would hint at that being the case, but the fencing really is a bit confounding. The area absolutely gives the impression of "stay in" as opposed to "stay out," but in order for this to be considered a truly potential detainment center there would have to be many more visible signs of its true intentions. There were no guard towers in the area to oversee potential populations, no structures built inside the fences to house detainees or military/guards...it's just a dry, empty pit that looks kind of pathetic from the outside. In order to quickly turn it into an operational facility a lot of work would have to be done, and fast. How would those being detained be loaded in? What the hell would they do there? Where would they stay? Where would the armed guards stay? I'm highly suspect of this place as an internment camp, but plenty of other folks with the ability to post their opinions on the Internet disagree with me.
One of the most highly suspect areas in Los Angeles county is located in the unincorporated city of Pearblossom, California, way out in Antelope Valley. Most websites refer to the area as Palmdale, but that would be a lie. To get to the site commonly referred to as a soon-to-be prison camp, leave Los Angeles on I-5 North, and take CA-14N towards Lancaster/Palmdale, inevitably using Highway 138 (Pearblossom Highway) to reach the city. Take the highway to East 116th Street and turn left. The place is right there, on the right-hand side of the road.
Antelope Valley, it should be mentioned, is a really weird and amazing place. It's hard to think that such an area could possibly be part of Los Angeles county, but it is. Total desolate desert landscape, huge swirling winds, no signs of life for miles on end...it's one of those places in America I love to spend hours exploring. I should also mention that Devil's Punchbowl National Park (URL) is also located in Pearblossom, and I demand that you visit the beautiful and geologically surreal location should you ever find yourself in the area. Mountain lions, rattlesnakes, insane strata formed over countless years by the San Andreas Fault...it's got some breathtaking views, too.
As for the internment camp in Pearblossom, it looks way more legitimate than the one in Glendale. The facility -- also currently operating as part of a water facility...funny how all of the sites mentioned in the article I read on the Freedom Files website are "doubling" as water facilities -- is absolutely massive. If you drive down East 116th Street you start to get an idea of how huge it is. There are several entrances, most of which are blocked by concrete dividers (.JPG), or feature security checkpoints (.JPG). It measures almost a mile in length, and its width along the 138 Highway is not too shabby, either. This place definitely gave a strong impression of a sensitive area. Signs warning that the premises are under constant video surveillance (.JPG) hindered my ability to get out of the car and explore for more than a few minutes. What I was able to see definitely raised some questions.
Right across the street on East 116th Street is the California Aqueduct (.JPG). The gates surrounding the water are peppered with signs warning people against swimming in the aqueduct. All of the fences surrounding the water are covered in barbed wire. The barbs are pointed outward. If you turn around and look at the prison camp, the barbed wire fences point inward (.JPG). Again, this is an utterly confusing sight. Why on earth would a facility want to give the impression that they are trying to keep people inside if there wasn't some thought involved in its implementation?
Furthermore, there are dry moats and dirt banks that obscure much of what is inside the place. There are several loading docks visible inside the gates. In combination with the nearby railroad tracks, even the staunchest of skeptics begins to get the impression that maybe there is some truth to these prison camp rumors. There's enough space in there to hold tens if not hundreds of thousands of people. There are buildings and loading docks set up already to help along the process. That alone gave me much more to think about than the "camp" in Glendale. Although others claim to have been followed by patrol cars when scouting the area, I noticed nary a soul watching the site. If I had some balls I would have driven up to the guarded entrance and asked what was going on, but I didn't want to call any unnecessary attention to myself, nor did I want to feed the mounting questions that were formulating in my head. If the water facility in Pearblossom is indeed no more than a disguised prison camp, the powers that be are doing a pretty good job of keeping investigators like myself guessing.
Maybe it's like that episode of South Park where they make fun of the 9/11 Truth movement. One of the characters says at the climax of the show, "For a government to have power, they must appear to have complete control. What better way to make people fear them than to convince them they are capable of the most elaborate plan on earth?" That's what I'm currently feeling about these places. If there are 600 "fully operational" prison camps in the United States at the moment, ready to receive up to several hundred thousand detainees at a time, I'd be really impressed. But I'm not so sure I believe it to be true.
That said, if you really want to visit a true American Concentration Camp, drive 225 miles Northeast of Los Angeles to Manzanar, which was one of 11 prisons where Japanese Americans were actually held during World War II. It has been preserved, and you can visit what is now a national historic site. You are free to walk the grounds and see what a real prison camp looks like. Manzanar is far different from Pearblossom and Glendale, or that other water facility in the San Ferndando Valley. 110,000 prisoners were held in Manzanar -- really held there, not just potentially held there -- in what was a very dark era for our country. More so than a dry reservoir in a park or a water station, Manzanar is proof of the frightening powers a government can assert over its citizens. The book Farewell To Manzanar provides readers with memories of life at an American prison camp, the humiliations endured there, and a sobering reality check for those who think that interning hundreds of thousands of Americans could never happen again. Then, if you have some free time, drive to Glendale and Pearblossom and tell me what you think. I'll be here, waiting, compulsively checking the blog to see if anyone has left a comment.
Whew! That was a long one (that's what she said!). Sorry for my verbose tome, I'll be back in two weeks, maybe with something more lighthearted and vulgar...