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.