Archive for March, 2010

SPLC and “Gunderson’s Guillotines”

March 29, 2010

As part of its ongoing crusade to Keep America Safe From Conservatives, the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center has been making the media rounds lately, flooding the ether with baseless claims of “militia” conspiracies and “patriot” plots. As usual, there are a lot of unsubstantiated allegations and vague “guilt-by-association” associations. One such spurious “report” has been circulating since August of 2009, including a news article posted as recently March 29, 2010, by the Ashland Daily Tidings, of Mobile, Alabama.

The story, “Shrinking View of Government“, by Chris Honoré, repeats a line from the SPLC’s Public Relations department that reads: “At a meeting in Pensacola, Fla., a retired FBI agent, Ted Gunderson, tells a gathering of anti-government ‘Patriots’ that the federal government has set up 1,000 internment camps across the country and is storing 30,000 guillotines and a half-million caskets in Atlanta”.

Thirty thousand guillotines? Sacre bleu!! No wonder the SPLC is so upset. The line is lifted verbatim from a fear-mongering fund raising “report” put out by Larry Keller: The Second Wave: Growing Evidence of Far-Right Militia Resurgence. If you Google the terms “Gunderson” and “Guillotines” together, you’ll find dozens of identical quotes, word for word, in the Blogosphere. This is how SPLC “facts” become factual.

What The Second Wave fails to mention, however, is when and where the alleged meeting took place, and how many evil “Patriots” comprise a “gathering”.

A search of the LexisNexis news archives brings up no reports of any “patriot gatherings” in Pensacola in the past two years. If anyone knows when and where it happened, please let us know.

LexisNexis only returned one hit of a legitimate news organization reporting on the guillotines. Steven Thomma of the McClatchy news service lifted the SPLC line, word for word, in his article, “Secret Camps and Guillotines“, published on August 28, 2009. Mr. Thomma goes one better by adding:

“Why guillotines? “Because,” he wrote in a report obtained by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups, “beheading is the most efficient means of harvesting body parts.”

Oddly enough, there is absolutely no mention of the organ harvesting report on the SPLC’s website, or anywhere else online. One would think that if they had a damning document like that in hand that they would make it available for all to see.

Or, maybe they just invented the story. It’s not like anyone, (besides us…), is ever going to ask to actually SEE the evidence. An e-mail to Mr. Thomma asking if he had seen the document, or had any particulars on the “gathering” has gone unanswered as of this writing.

Since the second-hand parties were not forthcoming with any documentation, we decided to go right to the source. Ted Gunderson, who is now in his 80s, has his own website: (NOTE: Mr. Gunderson’s original website was taken down shortly after his death in 2011. Here is an archived link to the site courtesy of the Internet Archive. It may take a few seconds to load. [WTW Jan. 22, 2013])

Oddly enough, despite dire warnings about the Illuminati, the assassination of Sonny Bono and the D.C. prostitutes who know the real story behind the 9/11 attacks, not one word about guillotines or organ harvesting was found on the website.To be fair, not every link was checked, so if anyone out there can provide the link, Watching the Watchdogs will recant immediately.

So, what do we have at the end of the day? A claim made by the SPLC about “guillotines” that was slickly polished and packaged and sent into the world by their PR guru, Mark Potok’s highly efficient press release service.

The “report” is picked up by the Blogosphere and the mainstream media, none of which performed even the most rudimentary fact checks, and is dutifully regurgitated and repeated until it “becomes truth”.

Even the octogenarian ex-FBI agent, who apparently has never met a conspiracy theory he didn’t like, makes no mention of the guillotines, the organ harvests or the “patriot gathering” on his own website. LexisNexis has no  record of the events and nothing turned up on YouTube or Google Video.

Once again, the SPLC cooks up a steaming plate of fund-raising tripe, and once again, the Media and other left-wing “advocates” lap it up without bothering to ask what’s in it.

Although the SPLC’s “report” is entirely undocumented, as usual, you can find a link to their donation center at the bottom of the web page, as usual.

SPLC Media Manipulation: “NPR: ‘Patriots’ Are Dangerous to Our Government”

March 21, 2010

An excellent analysis of how the Southern Poverty Law Center’s fund-raising propaganda is mindlessly regurgitated by the Media without being subjected to even the most rudimentary fact checking.

The SPLC has spent decades and millions of donor dollars creating a “brand name” designed to bypass all rational scrutiny. Editors receive carefully crafted public relations press releases, like the one cited below, they see the SPLC brand stamped on it and conclude, “If the SPLC says so, it MUST be true!”

Some editors perpetuate the SPLC’s propaganda out of convenience, as they have so much blank newsprint/web page/air time to fill everyday. The editors at NPR, on the other hand, know better. They dish up steaming plates of this tripe because they WANT it to be true. Contact NPR’s Ombudsman and let her know that you can find better use for your donor dollars.

It’s little wonder that the SPLC compensates its PR Guru, Mark Potok, with more than $143,000 donor dollars a year. Considering the hundreds of millions of donor dollars Mr. Potok’s spurious “reports” have funneled into the SPLC’s coffers, ($189 MILLION in cash on hand as of October, 2009), they probably don’t pay him nearly enough.

My sincere thanks to Warner Todd Huston for generously allowing me to reprint his superb article here.

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NPR: ‘Patriots’ Are Dangerous to Our Government

-By Warner Todd Huston

Public supported National Public Radio (NPR) posted a report on March 17 during its “All Things Considered” radio show that warns its listeners that “patriot groups” are dangerous and are apparently increasingly prone to attacking government officials and facilities. Oddly the two examples it uses to prove its case have no ties whatsoever to any “patriot groups.”

Headlined, “Hostility Against Federal Workers Troubles Officials,” NPR blames “patriot groups” on these attacks and worries that “anti-government hate groups” are on the “upsurge.” And what does NPR use to prove its case? Nothing but the say so the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center and a misconstruction of two recent attacks on government facilities by disturbed individuals.

NPR ominously begins its report with this:

Three attacks on U.S. government employees this year, along with an upsurge in anti-government hate groups, have officials in Washington concerned about the safety of federal workers.

The piece goes on to report that this sort of violence is a “troubling trend” and lays it all at the feet of “patriot and militia groups.”

NPR then tries to prove its case by discussing the two most recent sensational attackers on government facilities; Joe Stack and John Patrick Bedell.

Joe Stack, a disturbed man who crashed his small plane into an IRS building in Austin, Texas back in February, was not known to have any ties to any tea party group, any “patriot” group, or other right-wing groups. His manifesto reads like a confused communist rant with hate for the U.S. government and George W. Bush liberally sprinkled throughout. But NPR lumps this nut in with the right with claims that they are all dangerous to government officials and facilities.

NPR similarly uses as proof of these dangerous patriots the disturbed actions of John Patrick Bedell who opened fire on officers near the Pentagon on March 4. Bedell was an anti-war protestor, heavy marijuana user, and exhibited paranoia for which he refused to seek medical help. Bedell also has no known ties to tea party groups, any political organizations, or NPR’s frightening “patriot groups.”

Yet NPR put forth both of these sick-minded men as examples of “patriots” that have become dangerous and unstable. If NPR wasn’t saying so why include them in this report?

Naturally for its “expert” on dangerous patriots NPR turns to Mark Potok, the director of the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center. As always, Potok cites claims of a “huge growth in the so-called patriot movement that includes militias out there.” Not that NPR offers any actual proof other than Potok’s say so, of course.

“We’ve seen in particular a huge growth in the so-called patriot movement that includes militias out there,” Potok says. “And I think that some of the violence that we’ve seen, such as the Pentagon shooter and the IRS, are at least in some way a reflection of that rage.”

Potok says there are now more than 500 patriot and militia groups active in the U.S., more than triple the number in 2008.

Again, NPR trots out Potok to warn of those evil, evil right-wing patriots and tries to back his claims up with two crazy people that have no ties at all to those same right-wing patriot groups that are being blamed for this “upsurge” in violence.

What NPR doesn’t tell you is the sort of people that work wt. the SPLC. Chip Berlet, for instance, is one of those people. Berlet has all sorts of extremist, left-wing associates (like anti-American billionaire financier George Soros) and is a member of other far left organizations such as the Socialist Workers Party. Here is an entry on Berlet in discoverthenetwork.org nestled in a page about the left-wing Tides Foundation:

Berlet is a senior analyst for Political Research Associates, and has had affiliations with the American Civil Liberties Union, the American Friends Service Committee, the Christic Institute, the Socialist Workers Party, the National Lawyers Guild, and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

To show how unbiased SLPC’s Chip Berlet is, he once wrote that, “right-wing foundations and think tanks support efforts to make bigoted and discredited ideas respectable.” Not too biased there, eh?

Discoverthenetwork.org also has a page on the SPLC itself.

So, for its expert on those monstrous patriot groups, NPR turns to a group that has ties to the Socialist Workers Party, George Soros, and the anti-Christian ACLU and then expects us to think such an organization should be accepted as an unbiased news source! Apparently NPR does expect us all to accept as gospel its left-biased report on how dangerous those “patriots” are, but I hope America is more skeptical than that.

Remember folks, our tax dollars support NPR.
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“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer, has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and is featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com, RightWingNews.com, CanadaFreePress.com, StoptheACLU.com, TheRealityCheck.org, Human Events Magazine, AmericanDailyReview.com, and the New Media Journal, among many, many others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on talk-radio programs to discuss his opinion editorials and current events and is currently the co-host of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Conservatism” heard on BlogTalkRadio. Warner is also the editor of the Cook County Page for RedCounty.com.

He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the new book “Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture” which can be purchased on amazon.com. He is also the owner and operator of PubliusForum.com. Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Warner Todd Huston

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