Was Joe Biden given a demonstration of guillotines during a tour of REX 84 FEMA camps? No, that's not true: The photo purportedly depicting the former U.S. vice president with a guillotine is a digitally-doctored image using a photo of the "Chanel" guillotine created as a work of art. Also, "Rex84 FEMA camps" are creations by those who believe there is a "New World Order" conspiracy to round up American citizens under martial law.
The false meme first circulated on social media in 2013, and continues to be shared, including in a post (archived here) published on May 19, 2019 under the title "Obama and Bush through executive orders gave permission for US Citizens to be picked up and put into FEMA Camps under the guise of Disease outbreaks- without length of stay or reason for interment. Without notice to family of whereabouts... & this is what was in those Camps". It read (with mis-spelled words included):
Durring Bidens 4 day tour of Rex84 FEMA camps, Biden was givin demonstrations of fully modern and humane guillotines
This is what social media users saw:
The original image of the guillotine is not of a working model of the death machine. It is a photo of a work created by artist Tom Sachs in 1998, known as the "Chanel Guillotine." It was sold at auction by Sotheby's in London for 56,250 GBP (British pounds.) Read more about it in this article titled "The Chanel Guillotine by Tom Sachs Beheads People in Style." This is the original:
This is the altered image:
The meme was first shared in 2013, included in this tweet:
Joe Biden inspected Fema guillotine at Rex84 camps in Colorado. pic.twitter.com/9WJCG5HgOi-- Free Helicopter Rides (@RandallHessian) March 19, 2013
It was most recently combined with two other images and more text, which claims the Presidents Obama and Bush "through executive orders gave permission for US Citizens to be picked up and put into FEMA Camps under the guise of Disease outbreaks- without length of stay or reason for interment. Without notice to family of whereabouts... & this is what was in those Camps."
Obama and Bush through executive orders gave permission for US Citizens to be picked up and put into FEMA Camps under the guise of Disease outbreaks- without length of stay or reason for interment. Without notice to family of whereabouts...-- Don't Forget The Fallen (@SarShalomIs) May 19, 2019
& this is what was in those Camps👇👇👇 pic.twitter.com/I09CAJhzFA
While both Obama and Bush signed executive orders concerning operation of the federal government during national emergencies, none of those in the presidential archives equate the internment camps depicted in the memes -- or provide for the purchase of guillotines to execute anyone in FEMA camps. Some of the conspiracists point to legislation proposed by Florida Rep. Alcee Hastings in 2013 to create temporary housing on military bases for those displaced by disasters. Titled H.R.390 - National Emergency Centers Establishment Act, it never left a house committee. The summary on the House website reads:
National Emergency Centers Establishment Act - Directs the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) to establish at least six national emergency centers on military installations to use existing infrastructure to provide: (1) temporary housing, medical, and humanitarian assistance to individuals and families dislocated due to an emergency or major disaster; and (2) centralized locations for the training of first responders and the coordination of preparedness, response, and recovery efforts.
The REX 84 conspiracy dates back to 1984 and a plan drafted by President Ronald Reagan's national security team. The Readiness Exercise 1984 -- REX 84 -- reportedly included provisions to detain large numbers of people determined to be "national security threats." You can read more about this real plan in Ross Gelbspan's 1991 book Break-ins, death threats and the FBI: the covert war against the central America movement. The fate of the covert plan, which was partly drafted by Lt. Col. Oliver North of Iran-Contra infamy, has not been clearly explained, although it reportedly met heavy opposition within the Reagan White House.