Thursday, July 20, 2006

Internment Camps

Well, not only are many of the trailers provided by FEMA to displaced Louisiana resident empty, but those that are living there are certainly being treated more like prisoners than people in need of aid. Security guards? Calling the police because a resident of the trailers asked a reporter into her "home" and wanted to talk to him?

Aren't we supposed to support personal freedoms? Isn't that what the Boy King keeps telling us is the reason terrorists hate us? They "Hate our freedom", right?

What freedom?

From AP:
MORGAN CITY, La. — Residents of trailer parks set up by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to house hurricane victims in Louisiana aren't allowed to talk to the press without an official escort, The (Baton Rouge) Advocate reported.

In one instance, a security guard ordered an Advocate reporter out of a trailer during an interview in Morgan City. Similar FEMA rules were enforced in Davant, in Plaquemines Parish.

FEMA spokeswoman Rachel Rodi wouldn't say whether the security guards' actions complied with FEMA policy, saying the matter was being reviewed. But she confirmed that FEMA does not allow the news media to speak alone to residents in their trailers.
The guard apparently refused to allow the reporter to leave his business card, and cited rules by FEMA that residents don't actually have the right to free speech -- they are monitored, and prevented from talking to the media without a "handler".
If a resident invites the media to the trailer, they have to be escorted by a FEMA representative who sits in on the interview,” Rodi said. “That’s just a policy.”

Gregg Leslie, legal defense director for The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, said FEMA’s refusal to allow trailer park residents to invite media into their homes unescorted is unconstitutional.

“That’s a standard for a prison, not a relief park and a temporary shelter,” Leslie said “They cannot deny media access. It’s clearly unconstitutional … and definitely not legal.”. . .
When the same reporter stopped at the chain link fence to talk to another resident, the security guard saw this, too -- and responded by ordering the woman back "into her trailer".
“You are not allowed to talk to these people,” the guard yelled at Ardeneaux. “Return to your trailer now.”. . .
That sounds like a prison to me. But I gues FEMA has done such a smash-up job of handling things that they're afraid of a little realistic reporting. Can't talk to the refugees, you know. They might...say something. The administration must believe that if you don't let people say anything, then the problems don't exist.

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