Holy cow! What a mess!!! Here’s a breakdown of the latest “drama” in the world of preparedness. I will forewarn you though; I have gone into great detail on the matter of whether or not the whole “Federal Agents, Raid, Demand Customer List, LDS Cannery, Mormon Food Storage Facility” is true. Not only did I do some major “gum shoeing” on this story but I also share some baseline facts here that really should be considered before you make an opinion on this matter. Hopefully you’ll find this information helpful and by the end of it you can base your opinion and act in your best interests and that of your family’s preparedness efforts.
Puzzle piece #1: Oathkeepers.org posted an article in which they claimed that they had verifiable intel that two federal agents went into an LDS Cannery in Madison, TN demanding customer lists and financial transaction information. Their request was denied. They left, though reportedly a bit agitated.
Puzzle piece #2: On December 9, 2011, Alex Jones of Info Wars Nightly News broadcast an interview with the president and founder of Oathkeepers.org, Stewart Rhodes. (For those of you who don’t know, Stewart is a constitutional lawyer, with a degree from Yale, keenly interested in helping to prevent a police state, as well as a former clerk for the AZ Supreme Court, a member of Congressman Ron Paul’s D.C. staff, and retired Army veteran. He’s now focused primarily on promoting Oathkeepers.org.) The interview was simply a recap of the story posted by Oathkeepers, but with some updated bits of information confirming the story. Stewart specifically stated that Rand Cardwell, the Oathkeepers.org chapter president in TN, had verified the story by going to the cannery and speaking with the “management person.”
Puzzle piece #3: In addition to the story about the LDS Cannery, Alex Jones also addressed the developing story of persons in TN being questioned via “door to door preparedness checks.” This story was reported by the mainstream media, News Channel 5 in TN. I started getting e-mails and messages about THIS story beginning the first part of November from persons both in TN, including two who were subjected to the inquiry, as well as persons outside of TN whose family members experienced this. THIS is the story that was quite alarming to me for reasons I’ll address in a later post. As such, I posted the link of the Alex Jones interview on the Preparedness Pro Facebook page. (Just a reminder, that you “liking” Preparedness Pro on Facebook will get you up to the minute type of information that I simply can’t provide on the blog.) I did so with the statement that I had personally confirmed the story but it was the door to door interviews that I had confirmed due to NON-hearsay interviews, messages, etc.—NOT the LDS Cannery story. However, I didn’t have a problem posting the entire link from Alex Jones because I know that Alex Jones has a reputation that he can’t afford to sully, as does Oathkeepers.org, as does Lew Rockwell—who also posted the information, etc.
Puzzle Piece #4: Though I was more interested at the time in the door-to-door interview story, I felt that there was certainly a story that needed to be researched on the LDS Cannery issue because surely if such an incident did occur then that was very, very significant. I certainly wanted to get my own information/confirmation though.
One of the first things I do when I’m researching a topic is to trigger Google Alerts, setting up alerts for the phrase “LDS cannery” and “Mormon cannery” and a few other types of subjects. I do this so that I can try and find individuals that I can personally contact and actually speak with to confirm stories. Unfortunately though, all I was seeing was a reposting of the same Oathkeepers’ article. But after reading it several times there was a portion of the article that didn’t sit right—the most significant of which is the sentence that bloggers kept using. They kept saying that Rand Cardwell confirmed the story with “a fellow veteran who stores his own food at the facility in question.” This is an indicator that something isn’t right, because even though these facilities are frequently referred to as “the Bishop’s storehouse”, individuals do NOT store their food there. So no veteran friend of Rand’s, who “stores his own food at the facility”, could possibly exist. These facilities are run very much like any other grocery business with the exception that the majority of the work that’s done there is performed by volunteers, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. These members volunteer for a shift which can involve a myriad of tasks such as packaging the wheat into the #10 cans, or making applesauce and then packaging it, or cleaning all of the heavy equipment, etc. When a member of the church volunteers their time for a shift, they are usually given access to purchase some of the products that are available at the facility such as canned fruits, vegetables, and grains. Anyway, people package and remove food from there—not STORE their food there. So frankly, this little misstep initially led me to think that this might be a bunch of hooey…but not so fast.
Puzzle Piece #5: Within 24 hours I started hearing from a bunch of regular folks that the story was a “fabrication” from Oathkeepers and Alex Jones. However, if you really want to know the truth, you have to hold all stories up to a standard of verification. The “proof” that these folks were offering to "substantiate" that the story was false was nothing more than "he said that she said that he said" stuff. For example, some woman tried to call "the cannery" and was told that the story wasn’t accurate. Someone else talked to someone else, who called the LDS Church headquarters and was told that the story was fabricated. Good grief! That kind of stuff is SO not helpful because it is presented absent of so many other facts. You certainly wouldn’t rely on the accuracy of The Second Coming taking place with that kind of information would you? So why in the world would someone rely on rebutting a potentially significant story in the same manner? (I have to admit, I was very disappointed with how gullible some folks seemed to be in that respect. Being falsely led to believe that something didn’t happen is just as bad as being falsely led to believe that something did happen.)
Puzzle Piece #6: The Oathkeepers.org story has been pulled and Oathkeepers.org has even addressed the fact that the story was pulled and why—they were very blunt as to why, even in light of the embarrassment that came with pulling such a story. Frankly, that’s when I really started to wonder if there wasn’t some accuracy to the story. While there are those who would accuse them (Alex Jones and everyone else who posted this story) as being nothing more than liars, the original source of intel was reported to have withdrawn his assertions. That just didn’t sit right with me. These guys are already having to battle fiercely to keep and grow their audience and they’ve all invested huge sums of time, effort, and personal expense to get their message heard. Would they really risk it all just for the sake of one single story?
Puzzle Piece #7: Rand Cardwell personally communicated with me on this matter. He stated that after directly communicating with his initial source of information, the testimony was recanted. Do you really think that if YOU were friends with a tough guy, Desert Storm Veteran, retired Marine Sergeant, like Rand Cardwell that you’d recant on something so significant as this without some serious motivations to do so??!! Veterans watch out for each other, but Marine veterans have an even more animalistic, super-power loyalty to each other. (If you know a Marine, you know what I’m talking about.) His source of information was a fellow veteran. A recant of this story, which would ultimately embarrass Oathkeepers.org and anyone else who put stock in such a story, certainly would not happen willy nilly…
Puzzle Piece #8: The LDS Church is a great asset to the U.S. as it has provided hundreds of millions of dollars of aid to NON-members throughout the country over the years—aid which could never have been provided at the hands of the government. The LDS church is certainly not a political or humanitarian relationship to be underestimated. It would have been VERY, very foolish for federal agents from ANY arm of U.S. law enforcement to walk into an LDS church-owned private property and demand to see information on their customers. (All LDS church-owned properties are void of any liens on them.) It not only would have been an absolutely unprecedented move from a violation of privacy standpoint, but it also would have been an act of aggression against the LDS church.
Puzzle Piece #9: So IF a federal agent were so foolish to have done such a thing, I can assure you that when he reported back to his supervisor, he was most certainly put in his place with a colorful slew of obscenities and was demanded to back down from such an attack on such a powerful ally corporation and religious organization. (When I say “powerful” I’m talking in terms of organization, welfare capabilities, and influence—not any type of unrighteous dominion over others.) I mean really, can’t you just hear that conversation now? “You did WHAT?! Do you have any idea what you’ve just put into jeopardy?! Do you have any idea how big the Mormon church is?! Do you want Romney or Huntsman to win as the result of your stupid actions, garnering a sympathy vote because you went off half-cocked asking questions?!” Yeah…I can just picture such an event. In fact, I can assure you that IF such a ridiculous interrogation did take place, the federal agents involved have been put on desk duty for a while until things are smoothed over and the story is properly contained, denied, covered-up, etc.
Puzzle Piece #10: IF such an encounter took place, there’s no way in the world that the news of such would have been disseminated purposefully to the public from the LDS Church’s side of things, and I can assure you that IF a person at the cannery was asked for this information, his/her first call would have been to their Regional Authorities. There’s not a single Regional Authority that would have said “call the news media immediately and report this.” So IF such an instance took place, and was indiscreetly shared with Rand Caldwell of Oathkeepers.org, I can assure you that that person didn’t have a clue as to what kind of a high-speed viral panic it would have generated. Thus it’s perfectly reasonable that in the interest of not causing a panic—especially among LDS church members—and not causing strained communication between the LDS church and the White House, that IF such an instance took place, all persons were advised to keep it to themselves until the leadership of the LDS church could get to the bottom of it. They did in fact make a brief, to the point, statement about the incident.
Puzzle Piece #11: IF such an inquiry took place and IF it actually was sanctioned by a division of federal law enforcement, it could only have been done without a traditional warrant and proper notice to the cannery as a result of the treasonous Patriot Act, Section 215, which not only allows federal agents to search for whatever they want so long as they have a “significant purpose”, but it also puts a gag order on the person/entity at the subject of that search from speaking about the matter to ANYONE—even their own attorney! This week’s most recent “Justice Department law” S 3081 doesn’t help anything either. It attempts to allow the Justice Department to waive any requirements of Habeas Corpus for AMERICANS if they are merely suspected—not proven—to be a terrorist. What is an indicator that they MIGHT be a terrorist? Oh, you know, if they have more than 7 days of food. Attempting to refute the original story without being mindful of these two compelling injustices that are valid right now in our nation is very, very naïve.
Puzzle Piece #12: While it may smart a little bit, the fact is, I am a “nobody”, so to speak, in the eyes of national news and an organization as big as the LDS Church. If this did happen, it’s a very serious matter and if I were the leader of the LDS church, I would certainly want to contain the information A.S.A.P and handle this situation very delicately. I certainly would not be dishing out all of the info to every Tom, Dick, and Kellene that called to inquire. So, to think that "so and so" could just pick up the phone and call the LDS Church (which, by the way, the LDS members are asked NOT to do, rather they are supposed to speak with their local clergy first and run up the ladder from there) and get the facts on this kind of matter, is just plain ridiculous. Neither would I be able to just pick up the phone and call DHS or the Justice Department or the White House and get the straight scoop on this. Capiche? So, confirming OR denying this story all because of a couple of phone calls to the LDS church or government entity is foolhardy and obtuse.
Now don’t these bits of applied logic make sense? So, do I now have you totally confused? Is the story accurate or not? And if I’m a “nobody” then how can I confirm or deny the story? Well, I can tell you that it sure helps to have friends in all kinds of places including in all branches of law enforcement, most levels of banking, and at all kinds of levels and departments within the LDS Church. I am much more inclined to bank on a direct conversation with a personal friend at the FBI than I am some gal on YouTube merely saying that she called the Church Headquarters and the Cannery. Unfortunately though, such a conversation with an FBI friend would not be “for public consumption.” So here’s what I do feel comfortable sharing.
- As far as the U.S. government is concerned, there was no “drop in” by Federal agents and that’s the official story we will hear forever on this matter.
- As far as the LDS Church is concerned, this is a private matter of misunderstanding and in the interest of peaceful relations it will go no further. (see their official statement here)
- The “agent” who actually DID ask questions, was not acting in a sanctioned activity in the capacity as a federal agent at the time—it’s called “plausible deniability”, folks. As such, the official word on this matter will always be that there was no “raid.”
But on a positive note, you can bet that even the false creation and subsequent circulation of this story will result in a letter directed to each of the canneries that IF such a scenario were to play out in the future, the policy will be that NO LDS cannery will release this kind of personal information to anyone, regardless of how dark their sunglasses are, or how big their guns are; and that the proper procedure will be to communicate directly with the Area Authority. As such, in my opinion, purchasing from an LDS cannery is one of the most “safe” purchases a person can make with regard to privacy. (More on that later.)
Rand Cardwell himself simply cannot and will not confirm the story as accurate any longer. However, I do not believe that there is any possibility that Rand Cardwell or Stewart Rhodes invented this story—though I do believe that there were certainly some components (no one stores their food in an LDS cannery) that were lost in translation that would need to be clarified if the story were to ever move forward.
I do not believe for a moment that Alex Jones went forward with his story without doing his own homework on the manner and being satisfied that it was, indeed, accurate; nor do I believe Lew Rockwell would have sourced the story on his site without having a longstanding relationship of trust with both sources. None of these individuals are so desperate as to risk the attention and trust of their entire audience all because of one sensationalistic story.
Bottom line, claiming that the story is fabricated without doing all of the homework, serious homework, is irresponsible in my opinion; it’s just too easy and too convenient. All of the claims that the story is accurate have structure and foundation behind them creating too many substantial points of fact which I believe lend to the veracity of the story, in spite of the initial misgivings I had. On the other hand, there’s nothing but he-said/she-said to refute the story. (In fact, I would give a friendly warning that any persons attempting to color this story as a "lie" might open a person up to a liable lawsuit.) If something more substantive comes my way to refute the story, I’ll consider it, but there’s simply nothing of substance at this juncture.
Ultimately though, whether you believe this story is accurate or not, it simply does not matter, because it doesn’t alter our need for becoming more self-reliant—in peace, not panic. I think this whole hoopla strengthens our reasons for a more self-reliant life. I think it’s a significant warning that we need to appreciate that the pursuit of a self-reliant life isn’t going to get easier, but we can still certainly do it. In conclusion, I suggest that everyone go back to the 1st Principle of Preparedness, Spiritual Preparedness, and do a “gut check.” That’s your source of truth on this story and the only one you can ultimately rely on.
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