Debunking Web Myths About FEMA Camps

This is a rush transcript from "Glenn Beck," April 6, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GLENN BECK, HOST: A little over a month ago, I had a call. It was like the billionth call from a woman who asked me about FEMA prison camps. And I said to my producer, "Can we just please debunk this or prove it to be accurate?"

I kind of snapped on the lady because, honestly, I'm sick of seeing the e-mails about the FEMA camps. I got something from friends that was about Nancy Pelosi and it was completely bogus.

Look, let's just stick to the facts. There is enough truth out there that pisses people off. We don't need all the lies.

The basic idea is that FEMA setting up evil concentration camps to be used against U.S. citizens. Now, along with the 9/11 Truthers, this is one of the most pervasive conspiracy theories on the Internet because it comes with supposed video — there's the video proof, right there. That video now has well over a million views on YouTube.

Video: Watch Beck's interview

So we set out to get the truth. And quite honestly, I don't believe that there are FEMA concentration camps. I think that sounds kind of nuts. But if there are, I'll show them to you. If there aren't, I'll show that to you.

We set out to get the truth on it. And after our initial research, I came in and I said, "Wait a minute. Wait a minute. We can't debunk this?" Well, no, I thought we had done enough research to get the video. I wanted to line up video side-by-side. Apparently, there hadn't been any debunking done at all. And there was no video side by side.

Well, predictably, the media started claiming that somehow or another I believed in these conspiracy theories even though I said on the air a million times I don't and I've said that for years.

Not to mention the entire time they were running their mouths, we were working with an independent group to debunk them or to prove them. I also said that on the air over and over and over again. But who listens to context?

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The one guy that can actually set the record straight here is James Meigs. He's the editor-in-chief of that independent group I was talking about otherwise known as Popular Mechanics. They did an incredible job in the writing of the definitive debunking of the 9/11 conspiracy that everybody knows now is not true because of Popular Mechanics except for Rosie O'Donnell.

James is here now to do the same with the FEMA camps.

OK. Let's just start the easy stuff here. There are — I just want to collapse this as quickly as possible. There are things that, yes, FEMA has a right to have camps and they can do things to help people. And if you wanted to go down the crazy road of — "but they could be turned into..." — they actually could be, but there is like a million other steps that have to happen.

JAMES MEIGS, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, POPULAR MECHANICS: That's correct. And what we did was we looked into these claims. You know, you can't go and visit every one of the 600 sites that some of these conspiracy theorists claim.

BECK: Sure.

MEIGS: So we started looking at the ones that are most popular on the Internet.

BECK: OK. And let's show the video. First, show me the video that is on the Internet. This is one of the so-called concentration camps or this one is actually — go ahead and show it — I guess, a "death camp."

Do we have it? OK. We don't have it yet. I can't keep going, because this is kind of built around the video. That's the reason why we waited. There it is...


NARRATOR (voice-over): This small building is the only way into a particular fenced area. Inside this building we see more of the motion- activated detectors, electronic turnstiles —


BECK: OK. There is no sound? How come I'm hearing the sound here, Frank. OK. This is something where they're showing a so-called concentration camp. These are turnstiles. This is in a secure area, behind the fence. I don't know how they got this video when it was behind the fence, but they went in and got this video.

You recognized this or you searched for it, right? And what did you find?

MEIGS: Well, it is not very hard to find, like many of these things. The truth is actually fairly evident. This is an Amtrak repair facility in Beach Grove, Indiana. The woman who made this video initially claimed that it's some kind of American Auschwitz. And they have outfitted buildings with gas and they've got these strange turnstiles.

In fact, it is a repair facility. We sent a crew there the other day and we got...


BECK: Is this your video?

MEIGS: Yes. So initially, they had some old buildings that were boarded up that have since been knocked down. But we also went inside the other buildings, and sure enough, what did we find? They were repairing trains in there.

BECK: Well, trains, I believe — well, Auschwitz had trains. I'm just saying.

MEIGS: But once you go down that road, if somebody wants to be convinced of that, they can't really debunk that.

BECK: Do we have the video with audio? Because if we don't, I don't really care. The video with the audio about the boarded-up buildings with the gas chambers.

Do you have that?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): In yet another fenced area, we see a large warehouse building at the end with the electronic turnstiles in front of it.


BECK: OK. That they were putting gas heaters of some sort in there.

MEIGS: Right. And what we found out is — first of all, one of those buildings has been knocked down. The other ones were upgraded. Their heating system was obsolete. And more than 15 years ago, they upgraded them to gas heat so they could work on the trains.

BECK: These videos — they're not new. Everybody is saying, oh, this is an Obama thing. I thought this was a Bush thing because of Halliburton and everything else. But that's not even true.

MEIGS: No, this video actually dates from about 1995. But like so many of these conspiracy theories, it gets re-cut and re-edited and circulated around the Internet.

So some people who are looking at it have no idea what the original source was.

BECK: OK. So the turnstiles are there for — they were there. They're not there anymore?

MEIGS: Right. The turnstiles were just ordinary subway turnstiles, familiar to anybody who's ridden subways in New York. And they were used to clock in and out their employees. Now, they've replaced them with small kiosks that have time clocks.

BECK: Who is the woman voicing this?

MEIGS: Her name is Linda Thompson. And back in the '90s, she was one of the leaders of the so-called militia movement. And she made a number of videos...

BECK: Wait. This is the militia movement that — what's his name — Timothy McVeigh was involved with?

MEIGS: That's right.


MEIGS: And I am not necessarily tying her to that.

BECK: Yes.

MEIGS: And yet, at one point, even many of her fellow people in the militia movement started to move away from her a little bit when she recommended are that some of her followers should march on Washington and start executing senators.

BECK: So she was too extreme for militia members?

MEIGS: Apparently, yes.

BECK: Apparently. OK.

MEIGS: And yet, you'll see a video made by someone like that embraced by people all over the political spectrum without really knowing what the source is or without checking out if it is remotely accurate.

BECK: OK. One last question: I want to show you — take a look at this picture. Can you put this picture up, please? This is another one. And we're going to have you back tomorrow and — just answer yes or no. Is this — this is what they claim. This is a concentration camp?

MEIGS: Yes, it is.

BECK: It is. Are there atrocities going on in that camp?

MEIGS: There is every reason to believe there is.

BECK: Is this a government-run concentration camp where atrocities — every reason to believe atrocities are going on?


BECK: Now, tomorrow I will ask him the one question that the conspiracy people never want to ask. And I'll ask it and we will show you. Wait until you see this, tomorrow.

By the way, if you want to get all of the information and more on the FEMA camps, debunk information that we couldn't get into the segment, help silence the annoying conspiracy freak in your life. There is enough out there. We don't need to make stuff up.

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