Sifting reality from alarmist rumors
William F. Jasper is senior editor of THE NEW AMERICAN and author of Global Tyranny ... Step by Step: The United Nations and the Emerging New World Order. He was assisted in this article with research and reporting from Stephen Thomas, P.Q. Brewer, Art Thompson. Philip Ahrendt, Mark Horton, Ken Hoover, and Thomas R. Eddlem.
In his contribution to The Permanent Revolution: The French Revolution and Its Legacy, a bicentennial anthology of homage to the worldwide radical transformations wrought by that seminal event, Professor George Steiner wrote: "The barest enumeration of the consequences of 1789 enforces the realization that the world as we know it today is the composite of reflexes, political assumptions and structures, rhetorical postulates, bred by the French Revolution .... The French Revolution is the pivotal historico-social date after the foundation of Christianity." Indeed and much more. Its leading adherents from 1789 to the present have, by word and deed, proven repeatedly their ferocious zeal utterly to obliterate Christianity and the entire moral-social-political order it has built.
"To make the people happy," said Jacobin leader Rabaud de Saint-Etienne, "their ideas must be reconstructed, laws must be changed, morals must be changed, men must be changed, things must be changed, yes everything must be destroyed, since everything must be remade."
From the general to the specific, every tortured tumbrel tread of the "Clinton Revolution" sounds like a loathsome scripted theme from the ongoing cacophony of terror and destruction unleashed in 1789. With fluid ease "Slick Willie" flits from one Jacobin guise to another: As Robespierre, he proclaims his love for "the people," while simultaneously devising the most hideous plans for depopulation; as Anacharsis Clootz he exults in the "sublime religion of Nature" and preaches the gospel of "internationalism"; and as the Marquis de Sade, he institutionalizes perversion and scandalously indulges his own libidinal excesses. Danton, of course, he reprises almost too perfectly. It was Danton, remember, who on the evening of August 28, 1792 announced to the Assembly the Commune's intention to search Paris house-to-house for arms and suspected traitors.
Study the Revolution
Is it merely a happy coincidence that almost exactly 200 years later Citizen Clinton has initiated his Dantonesque disarmament scheme? You may believe that if it gives you comfort, but his every word and action -- not to mention those as well of the Marats and Mirabeaus, the Babeufs, Heberts, Brissots, and Talleyrands with whom he has filled his retinue -- argue that he is as ardent and studious a disciple of the "Permanent Revolution" as was Lenin, who declared: "We, the Bolsheviks, are the Jacobins of the Twentieth Century." Which is why those who would oppose the Revolution today are themselves well advised to study the Revolution, particularly as presented in The French Revolution by Nesta Webster, Conspiracy Against God and Man by Reverend Clarence Kelly, and Proofs of a Conspiracy by Professor John Robison.
One of the most important lessons to be learned from the tragic experience of the French two centuries ago concerns the diabolical cunning and deception repeatedly employed by revolutionary leaders such as the Duc d'Orleans to manipulate the people with wild rumors calculated to cause panic. British historian Nesta Webster writes in The French Revolution:
Moreover, it was the anarchy of the first Terror that destroyed the stability of the old order and institutionalized the more systematic later Terror. Again, Webster:
Over and over again the people were buffeted and exploited by the fiendish rumor mills of the revolutionary thugs who intended to enslave them: Their wine and flour was poisoned, they were told; farmers and bakers were hoarding grain and bread to drive up prices, was the common charge. The result: Many people were tricked into destroying perfectly good food; bakeries and granaries were burned, their owners beaten or killed; farmers and merchants, fearing for their lives and property, did not go to market; and voila!, a famine -- exactly what the revolutionists wanted -was created.
The Rumor Mill
Do we face similar circumstances today? It is obvious that we do. The dominant Establishment media bombard the public with an incessant farrago of mythical "crises" -- crime, environmental catastrophe, overpopulation, resource depletion, poverty, famine, etc. -- designed to induce a perpetual state of manipulable near mass hysteria. But knowledgeable conservatives, Christians, and constitutionalists -- particularly those who are aware of the one-world agenda of the managed news media -- are immune to such manipulation, right? Or are they? Consider the following rumors, and the reality behind them:
• "Federal occupation in New Mexico." In August, intense national media coverage was focused on Catron County in rural southeastern New Mexico where a nonbinding county ordinance was passed requiring every household to keep a firearm of choice and ammunition. This was Catron County's response to passage of the Brady bill, the Clinton crime package, and other federal assaults on the Second Amendment. It was also an expression of the growing tension between the independent-minded citizens of Catron County and the federal bureaucrats (such as those at the EPA, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) whose policies and decisions threaten the very existence of rural communities. In the past several years, Catron County has played a lead role in sparking a revolt of counties in western states against unconstitutional and oppressive federal mandates.
However, recent reports on the intensifying conflict between the locals and the feds were transmogrified by rumor into alarming stories of a federal invasion and occupation of the county. Militia groups from throughout the country prepared to come to "rescue" Catron County citizens.
Gene Ballinger, editor of the Courier, a weekly newspaper published in Hatch, New Mexico, has attempted to defuse what could become a dangerously explosive situation if wild rumors are allowed to run unchecked. In a Courier editorial for September 15, 1994 entitled "There Is No Invasion of Catron County," Ballinger contrasted the known facts with the sensational hearsay and appealed for those concerned to exercise caution, reason, and responsibility:
Ballinger told THE NEW AMERICAN that he had received hundreds of calls from alarmed citizens in faraway states, many of whom had heard that hundreds of troops and federal agents together with military helicopters and convoys of vehicles had descended on Catron County. In reality, only two FBI agents, 12 National Guardsmen, one Luna County Sheriff's deputy, and one police officer from the city of Deming, New Mexico were involved in the search. And since they were searching a secluded area, most residents of the county did not even know they were there.
• "UN Troops encamped in Georgia." In May, reports flew around the country -- and particularly in the South -- that 3,000 United Nations combat troops were encamped near Tallulah Falls, a tiny rural hamlet in the mountains of northern Georgia. According to stories circulating in various militia groups, three locals out hunting stumbled across a secret UN training camp and were accosted by foreign nationals wearing UN combat uniforms. THE NEW AMERICAN journeyed to the area to contact "Sandy," one of the men who had seen the troops and who had "irrefutable evidence" of the 3,000 UN invaders. "Sandy," it turned out, had no "evidence" at all, "irrefutable" or otherwise, and didn't claim to have any. In fact, he was not even one of the three reported hunters. What had actually happened is this: "Sandy's" stepson and a couple friends had been out hunting and had seen a couple of National Guard trucks and several Guardsmen. Nothing unusual, nothing suspicious. But somehow that sighting evolved into a whopper of alarming proportions.
• "NWO Troops in Ohio." For several weeks in July and August, Internet and various computer bulletin boards were abuzz with stories running under the subject titles "FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] Troops in Ohio" and "NWO [New World Order] Troops in Ohio?" Here is one entry for July 31st:
THE NEW AMERICAN called the City Hall in Peebles, a rural town of around 1,500 residents about 80 miles east of Cincinnati. The mayor and the police chief were not in, but police dispatcher Barbara Stephenson said the supposed raid was news to her. Ms. Stephenson, who lives in Peebles, told THE NEW AMERICAN, "I didn't see or hear anything about it. I think I would have known if it had happened and so would all the rest of the people here -- but I don't know of anybody who's even heard of these rumors."
Not content with this "official" line, we checked with the Peebles Advertiser. Bonnie Woodall, the local weekly newspaper's office manager sounded more nonplussed than "scared to death"; how had her news organization missed the home-town scoop of the century?
But perhaps these locals were feigning ignorance due to intimidation. To compensate for that possible factor, we contacted the People's Defender in West Union, about 15 miles away. The editor, Herb Lax, was not in, but proofreader Debbie Hall assured THE NEW AMERICAN she had not heard word one about the supposed incident. And since news of something that big would travel rapidly in those parts, she doubted they could have missed it completely.
• "UN Belgian contingent in Montana." For at least a couple of years rumors have persisted that a large contingent of UN Belgian troops is encamped on the Yaak River in the remote northeast corner of Montana near the Idaho and Canadian borders. THE NEW AMERICAN trekked to the sparsely populated area and interviewed some of the residents who know that rugged terrain best. They were amused. The only time they ever hear about these "alarming" things is when outsiders come in and tell them about it. There is nothing there, plain and simple. No Belgian troops, and no UN camp or facility.
Unfortunately, the four incidents cited above are just the tip of a very big iceberg. Similar stories -- spread by radio talk shows, newsletters, fax networks, tabloids, computer bulletin boards, videos, traveling lecturers, and word of mouth -- flood in from every area of the country. Because of the considerable agitation generated by these rumors concerning supposed UN and Russian invasion forces, sightings of mysterious black helicopters, neighborhood raids by multi-jurisdictional task forces of police and military organizations in search of guns, concentration camps, and other related issues, THE NEW AMERICAN has spent hundreds of hours tracking down evidence and witnesses to sift the facts from the fiction.
Besides examining mountains of documents, we have contacted many officials of the government agencies involved; checked with scores of our own reliable sources in law enforcement, intelligence, and all branches of the military; worked with congressional offices and private patriotic organizations; and placed investigators in the field to obtain firsthand information. When we have been able to identify the source of a particular story in question, we have contacted that source to request documentation.
The stories we have investigated generally have been resolved to one of the following three status levels: 1) fraudulent; 2) exaggerated; 3) undetermined -- possibly credible/partially credible. Not all stories fit neatly; some rumors are more elaborate than others, of course, and may have elements fitting all three categories.
Fraud and Fancy
Like the first four incidents mentioned above, many of the alarming rumors we have examined have proven to be just that, empty rumors -- fanciful stories with no basis in fact. Some, to be perfectly blunt and uneuphemistic, would be better described as outright lies and fabrications. Are they the products of malevolent minds aiming to cause panic and to destabilize our society, or are they merely the demented work of pranksters? Or the fruit of giddy imaginations in the service of egos seeking attention through sensationalism? Those are questions that are difficult (or impossible) to answer even if one can trace the rumor to its original source (which is rare). However, once a rumor gets rolling all of those motivations come into play with various actors. As the gullible come on board the lie begins to gain size and momentum, and takes on a life of its own.
One persistent rumor that has appeared in many variations and in numerous fora asserts that there are hundreds of thousands of Russian and/or UN troops already secretly stationed in our country. According to a recent issue of Ben Frank's Almanac, a Florida-based monthly newsletter, for instance, "it is estimated that a half million United Nations troops are already in America." In this case, notice the weasel words "it is estimated." Estimated by whom and based upon what evidence? It doesn't say; we are left to wonder.
Another newsletter, Monetary and Economic Review, reported in March 1993 that "reports are coming in of railroad cars that are specially equipped with shackles built into the walls for prisoner transport. One railroad car in the Cut Bank, Montana area was loaded with handcuffs, shackles and guillotines. Sound bizarre?" Well, yes, now that you mention it, especially since no evidence is provided. Presumably these handcuffs, shackles, and guillotines are to be used by "FINCEN, which is the UN's next level of law enforcement. FINCEN is made up of foreign military and secret police that number about 300,000 in the U.S. at present." The newsletter cited as its source for that information one "Mark from Michigan," a lecturer whose video presentations have stirred anxiety among patriots nationwide about massive invading forces already within our borders.
The newsletter continued: "These FINCEN troops are ferried around by black helicopters that people have reported seeing all over the country, and were shown on TV in Waco. In November 1990, President Bush signed an executive order that transferred one third of our strategic reserve aircraft over to FINCEN at a cost of $12.8 billion to the U.S. taxpayer. They were painted black and have no markings, and are now used by FINCEN." (For more information on "FINCEN," see the "Black Helicopters" sidebar on page 29.) Like many other publications circulating this story, Monetary and Economic Review included a map marked with circles and Xs purporting to show the locations of "U.N. battle groups on U.S. soil."
Quoting "Mark from Michigan," the newsletter declared: "Located in the Sacramento area is a 34,000-man battle group." This was particularly interesting news to this writer, who lives in the Sacramento area and who has numerous reliable sources at the various military bases in the region -- all of whom laughed at the story. Ditto for the law enforcement officers who patrol the area and the private pilots who overtly the entire territory on a regular basis and who could reasonably be expected to notice such a large deployment, even if it were divided into several smaller groups.*
* This, of course, does not "prove" that there are not hundreds of thousands of Russian/foreign/UN troops dispersed and concealed throughout the country, since one can't prove a negative. Besides, one must grant that this is a big country with plenty of rural and urban areas where it would be possible to hide large numbers of men and equipment, and that the Soviets have proven themselves time and again to be masters of what they call Maskirovka -- camouflage or concealment. Nevertheless, the burden of proof rests with those who make the charges, and while reasonable minds may nibble at seemingly outlandish charges, they demand at least a modicum of substantiating evidence before swallowing the whole thing.
The same map, along with several others allegedly depicting the whereabouts of "MJTF" and "FINCEN" gestapo units, appears in Cheque Mate: The Game of Princes, a book on the new world order by Jeffrey Baker published in 1993. In this case the author is at least fairly open about the fact that he is passing on mere hearsay, even if at the same time he seems to be half vouching for its validity with the serious attention he gives it: "If these maps (and the information on them) are authentic, there are also United Nations Battle Groups whose entrance to the United States was passed under Presidential Executive Order signed 11 November 1990 by George Bush. There appear to be fifteen locations on this map."
What should be obvious apparently isn't to many people: If evidence is so completely lacking to substantiate a story, why bother to clutter a book (and readers' minds) with the tale? Why dignify and lend credibility to the rumors by relaying them to others? Unfortunately, far too many individuals, publications, and organizations have been doing just that, which is why the fables have flourished -- and grown ever more fabulous. Consider, for example, this undated fax transmission from the Las Vegas-based American Patriot Fax Network, a leading rumor purveyor:
What more need be said? Any normal, sensible person reading such tripe for the first time, and then seeing from the same source vague but dire warnings about dozens of divisions of Soviet (or UN) troops already occupying America's heartland, could hardly be blamed for adopting the Establishment media's standard caricature of the "radical right" as a "lunatic fringe" of paranoid misfits. Which may explain why the next time when you attempt rationally to explain to a fellow citizen the very real danger involved in this or that UN treaty he appears oblivious to the piles of documentation you present and fidgets nervously. He is anxiously awaiting (and praying for) your keeper to come with the butterfly nets and straight-jacket. And who can blame him?
Hyperbole and Humdingers
Following close on the heels of the bogus frightmares mentioned above are numerous reports that are nearly as far out, but may have at least a tenuous basis in fact. Take, for example, this excerpt of a widely circulated May 31st "Fax Alert" from the Militia Of Montana (MOM):
Yes, but how real? Senator Sam Nunn did indeed lead a delegation of seven U.S. senators to Russia in May and did invite a Russian military force to come to the United States "for peacekeeping purposes." This and many similar initiatives that we have reported in previous issues of THE NEW AMERICAN are indeed alarming and should stir a firestorm of patriotic opposition sufficient to upend these policies and rout the politicians who have sponsored and supported them. If this opposition is not mounted, one day soon we may very well have 100,000 Russian (or 500,000 Ukrainian, Uzbekan, Chinese, Korean, etc.) troops occupying our land. To some it may seem expedient to inflate the danger in order to spread the alarm, but such rigging of the truth ultimately backfires and destroys credibility. The truth is alarming enough and needs no sensationalism.
But of sensationalism there is plenty, and a prime trafficker in this is the Patriot Report, an Idaho-based newsletter. It usually features one or two pages of tantalizing tidbits under the heading "News Briefs and National Rumors." In the news/rumor section of its July 1994 issue (which ironically is entitled "We Need Truthsayers, Not Doomsayers"), the newsletter provides these morsels:
The first two "news-rumors" mentioned above would appear to fall into the category of pure fabrication, though we have not investigated them. The second two may have been constructed from a substratum of fact. Regular readers of this magazine will recall that THE NEW AMERICAN was the first publication to break the story of the "Combat Arms Survey" administered to Marines at Twentynine Palms, California (July 11th issue, page 10). The last item of that survey asked the Marines to register their agreement or disagreement with the statement, "I would fire upon U.S. citizens who refuse or resist confiscation of firearms banned by the U.S. government." We have been unable to determine whether or not there is a basis of truth to the FEMA-CAP story, but the most likely explanation is that some "patriot" has borrowed the Marine survey question, liberally stretched and padded it with more shocking words, and then applied it to FEMA, a favorite target of the rumor mills.
Fort Polk has also become a favorite target, and with some justification; it has been selected as one of the "premier" military installations for the training of troops (both U.S. and foreign, including Russian) for UN "peacekeeping" missions. But the 19,000 figure is vastly inflated. According to Dan Nance, Fort Polk's deputy public affairs spokesman, the base's total military population is around half that figure, about 10,000 -- "and they're all Americans." Ten times a year Polk's Joint Readiness Training Center holds exercises that may bring 2,000 to 4,000 additional light infantry soldiers -- airborne, air cavalry, special forces, etc. -- onto the base, but these are virtually all U.S. personnel. "We do sometimes have very small numbers of foreign troops involved, but not more than company strength -- 100 to 150 men," says Nance. That has included German and Canadian units as well as several from Latin America, he said, but, to his knowledge, none from Pakistan or Russia. Which squares fairly well with what THE NEW AMERICAN'S reliable military and civilian sources both on and near the base reported.
In its April 1994 issue, the Patriot Report revealed:
We checked with our contacts in Oregon: Not a trace of any UN troops, Yugoslav or otherwise. Small wonder; when we finally got through to the Patriot Report by telephone we learned that they had about the same amount of evidence as we did: zero. Mrs. Eaton, the wife of the newsletter's editor, George Eaton, told us that Mr. Snyder "never came through with the photos or documents he promised. We were scheduled to meet with him several times but he would never show; he always had some excuse. Looks like he was just telling stories."
We suspected as much all along; but it is possible that there might have been a sliver of truth in the mix. It should be noted that on any given day there may be several hundred to several thousand foreign nationals from dozens of countries in the U.S. receiving training at our various military institutions. Most of these come individually or in small groups to participate in our International Military Education Program, which has been underway for decades. They may be receiving combat training or training in the operation of equipment purchased from the United States. Most of these are not connected with the United Nations. However, those Americans who are already skittish after being exposed to the rumor mongers and who run into some foreign military personnel at the supermarket or while visiting the Army base will probably be certain that they have uncovered a Soviet/UN "battle group." Undoubtedly, this has been a factor in the spread of many of these stories.
Buildup on the Gulf
However, huge stimulus was added to the Russian invasion alarms when a very large assemblage of UN/Russian military vehicles was indeed found in Saucier, Mississippi, a small town 15 miles north of Gulfport. In late 1993, we began to receive photographs and reports about the facility. It became the talk of talk radio for weeks and months and the subject of many alarming reports in newsletters and tabloids. Well, it was alarming: Soviet tanks and chemical warfare weapons on American soil. Evidence, at last. However, investigators for THE NEW AMERICAN who visited the site reported seeing no tanks or other weapons, but lots of trucks.
We contacted the owner of the site, Airmar Resources, Inc., and talked with its president, Lieutenant Colonel A.R. Koval (USAF, ret.). According to Koval, his company had purchased 1,000 vehicles from the German government. These were Russian trucks that were left behind after Germany reunited. Airmar, a private company, had struck a deal with the UN, said Koval, to refurbish the trucks for civilian use. Seven hundred of the trucks had been brought to Saucier for that purpose and the remaining 300 were in England. The trucks at Airmar are behind a chain link fence and are clearly visible from Highway 49, which runs beside the enclosure. According to Koval, the trucks are mostly water trucks (with 750-gallon tanks) and radio trucks (with old equipment using vacuum tubes, much of it non-operational). Most of the trucks are relatively unused, with less than 1,000 miles, but Koval believes roughly 20 percent will have to be scrapped either because they sat too long exposed to the elements or were damaged in transit. The trucks, he says, are being repainted (white), repaired, provided with new batteries, and, in most cases, with new boxes. Many are being converted to dump trucks, garbage trucks, freight trucks, refrigeration trucks, or ambulances.
Koval offered to allow THE NEW AMERICAN to visit his facility, to examine any or all of the vehicles, and to take photos. Of course we took him up on it. We found the situation to be largely as he had said. The vehicles were being refurbished and would appear to present no military threat. The first 200 are scheduled to be finished and shipped back to Europe in November. They are, according to Airmar, to be purchased by the UN under a previous agreement.
At any rate, the observable facts conformed much closer to Airmar's account than to those that had appeared in the Spotlight and similar publications. The Spotlight's sensational account of June 27th interwove reports about the Airmar facility with other accounts of alleged sightings of Soviet armored vehicles in such a way that many readers believed (and reported to others) that Soviet tanks were parked in Saucier. The same Spotlight article declared:
There is no such road. Anyone visiting the Airmar site can easily see that there is no road of any kind leading from the truck depot to the NASA facility or any place other than Highway 49. Nor is there any evidence of which we are aware that the vehicles are being secretly transported to other parts of the country for deployment. We have found no evidence to suggest that the operation is other than what Airmar claims.
Which does not mean that we approve of the venture. Transporting the vehicles across the Atlantic and back again seems a wasteful and inefficient means of accomplishing the stated end. And since American taxpayers pick up 25 percent of the UN tab (31.5 percent for peacekeeping), we are probably providing Airmar with a hefty subsidy for this enterprise. However, bilking the taxpayers and aiding an enemy to invade our country are two different things.
With many eyes watching the Saucier depot it is not likely that any of the vehicles would be able to leave the facility without being seen. And we shall soon learn if Airmar begins shipping the rebuilt trucks back to Europe, as Colonel Koval has indicated.
There are many more rumors similar to those above that THE NEW AMERICAN has been investigating. Over the past several months those which appear to have elicited the greatest public anxiety involve photographs supposedly of Soviet tanks and armored vehicles in the United States. One photo that has received a great deal of attention shows an armored personnel carrier that is painted white and bears a large "UN" insignia. It is on a rail car along with other green APCs and was reportedly photographed in Montana. Other similar photos have been appearing. Many people consider these to be ironclad "proof' that the invasion forces are already here. But unless one knows the source of a photograph and can examine it (and the photographer) it is of dubious value.
Photos, of course, can be doctored. Hoaxers, con artists, and disinformation specialists do it all the time. With newer computer technologies making it much easier to create very sophisticated fake photos, publishers must exercise extreme caution and publish only those photographs that can be verified. Concerning many of the Soviet armor photos, we have been told repeatedly that we would be put in contact with this photographer or that but so far none has come through. We welcome any and all who have personally photographed any of these Russian armaments to contact us.
It bears mentioning that some Soviet military vehicles have been brought into the U.S. by our Defense Department for testing purposes and for training our own troops against the kinds of armaments they are likely to face in battle. This would seem to be a legitimate use of the vehicles and should draw no objection. It is probable that some of these have been seen in transit to military bases and have been mistakenly thought to be part of a "battle group."
The same may be true regarding "UN" vehicles that have been sighted. Earlier this year 800 Canadian "peacekeepers" trained at Camp Pendleton, California -- with their tanks, APCs, and transport vehicles. These were shipped down to California for the exercises by train and then sent back to Canada by train afterward. Very likely, many people who saw these trains thought they were carrying the UN occupation forces described by Linda Thompson, "Mark from Michigan," and others. Make no mistake, we are opposed to allowing foreign troops to train here for UN "peacekeeping," the same as we are opposed to having U.S. military forces train for, or participate in, UN military operations. However, misrepresenting the facts does not advance our cause.
Another area rife with rumor concerns secret concentration camps or "detention centers" which reportedly are being built -- or are already constructed -- throughout the country for the incarceration of American patriots. Usually these are said to be under the control of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Now, a police state is one big concentration camp or "gulag"; but, as in the Soviet Union, there were (and still are) gulags within the gulag. And if the police state toward which we are headed eventuates, America will have many Treblinkas, Vorkutas, Auschwitzes, and Kolymas. So it is entirely possible that the police statists who are leading us into the totalitarian vortex have indeed established and/or are building prisons, concentration camps, re-education camps, and detention facilities.
Some reliable sources have provided THE NEW AMERICAN with photographs of, and information on, what are reportedly secret prison facilities. We are investigating these through both official and unofficial channels. We take them seriously, as we do many of the issues mentioned throughout this article, even though the enormous number of fraudulent, fanciful, exaggerated, and speculative stories makes it more and more difficult to do so.
Another case in point: Several months ago Linda Thompson and Mark Koernke ("Mark from Michigan") pressed the panic buttons again with the announcement that they had discovered a massive "detention center" in Indianapolis. THE NEW AMERICAN sent an investigator. The so-called "detention facility" is actually the Amtrack Beech Grove Maintenance Shop. Yes, it is possible that the facility could be used as a "detention facility" -- as could thousands of other large structures: the New York Subway, the Cow Palace, Dodger Stadium, the Mall of America, dozens of deactivated military bases, government schools, etc. And we could see no reason for suspecting the Amtrack site more than any of those.
But not everything is so kooky. Recently we received photographs of new federal police patches for FEMA and the General Services Administration. The FEMA patch designates the agency as the "United States Police." Are they jumping the gun a little? FEMA initially denied that the patch was theirs, indicating that the patch was fraudulent. However, FEMA spokesman Steve Horwitz agreed to check with FEMA Director James Witt on the matter and get back to us. Several hours later he faxed us the following message: "There may be something to the patch -- as a patch worn by our security officers at our communications training center. I'm checking. But there is no connection to 'enforcement of the crime bill'" (emphasis in original). Perhaps.
Since the federal government has been operating under a perpetual state of emergency almost since the inauguration of the New Deal, and since during a declared emergency FEMA has sweeping authority over food, water, energy, transportation, health services, construction materials, and other areas of our lives, FEMA could indeed become a de facto national police force. That is a genuine danger deserving of concern and opposition from patriots.
Some Real Threats
Here are just a few of the many more concrete, certifiable, imminent threats to our nation and our liberty:
• In his press briefing on May 5, 1994 concerning UN peacekeeping, National Security Adviser Anthony Lake (CFR) noted that 69,000 Americans were serving in various UN operations around the world. Since that time, another 16,000 members of our armed forces have been deployed to Haiti. With the U.S. Army now down to roughly ten combat divisions (about 150,000 troops) from 18 only a few years ago, we can see that Congress has allowed the President to strip America of the equivalent of more than half of her Army combat troops, to be put into the service of the UN. Some of the UN troops serving as UN gendarmes, of course, are Marines and National Guardsmen. However, the Pentagon claims that it does not have figures available on a service-by-service breakdown of those serving in UN operations.
• In 1993 President Clinton tried to push through $10 million to establish a military staff command and control center for the UN in New York. He attempted to implement Presidential Decision Directive 13 (PDD-13) to place the U.S. military increasingly under the operational control of the UN. On May 3, 1994, he signed PDD-25, which remains secret and unavailable to members of Congress and the American public. (THE NEW AMERICAN, July 11, 1994.) The Administration admitted in its publicly released executive summary of PDD-25 that under some circumstances "the U.S. will agree to have a UN commander exercise overall operational control over U.S. forces."
• Freedom From War: The United States Program for General and Complete Disarmament in a Peaceful World summarizes the official U.S. plan for transfer of all U.S. military assets to the United Nations. This program, first made public in 1961, is moving forward at a frightening pace. (THE NEW AMERICAN, November 29, 1993 and September 19, 1994.)
• As noted earlier in this article, on May 10th, Marines at the Twentynine Palms Marine base in California were given a "Combat Arms Survey" which posed a number of alarming statements to which the Marines were to register their agreement or disagreement. The final statement, #46, posed the situation in which the federal government had banned the possession of all "nonsporting firearms" and had required all Americans to turn over their weapons to authorities. The Marines were asked if they would be willing to fire on Americas who resisted gun confiscation. When THE NEW AMERICAN first broke the story, the damage-control spinmeisters at the Department of Defense assured everyone that this was an isolated incident which only involved an officer gathering information for his master's degree thesis. Since then, however, another Marine has provided us with a copy of the same survey which was given at his base, Camp Pendleton, California. Coming in the wake of PDD-25, the flurry of anti-gun legislation in 1993-94, and the grisly carnage perpetrated in Waco due to the Administration's irrational zeal for gun confiscation, alarm is justified.
• A Marine has provided THE NEW AMERICAN with a recently issued pamphlet entitled Peace-Keeping Criminal Justice Standards for Military Police, U.S. Marine Corps. The inside page of the front cover bears the UN insignia and the title, "United Nations Criminal Justice Standards for Peace-Keeping Police." It was prepared by the Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Branch of the United Nations Office in Vienna.
• Reports that Fort Polk, Louisiana has been "turned over" to the UN and is occupied by thousands of foreign troops are gross exaggerations. However, the Clinton Administration is making it into the "premiere" U.S. training center for the New World Army. On the weekend of August 13th-14th, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright (CFR) and General John Shalikashvili, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, attended an exercise at the base's Joint Readiness Training Center, in which U.S. forces enacted a scenario of "peace enforcement." Albright praised the exercise and said that U.S. forces are learning "how to operate in an entirely new international situation." "The world is going to have an awful lot of these operations," Shalikashvili told the assembled U.S. soldiers. "This is not going to come to an end when Rwanda is over or Bosnia is over. We are going to run these operations for quite some time .... It's the business you're going to be in" (emphasis added). Training at the new $12 million Military Operations on Urban Terrain (MOUT) complex at Ft. Polk includes practice in disarming civilian "militias."
• A secret UN report published in August 1993, known as the "Farer Report," reveals that the Clinton Administration and the UN conspired to seize Radio Mogadishu, an instrument of the free press of Somalia, and that in the process of doing so UN troops fired on crowds of unarmed Somali civilians. It was these criminal acts which launched the escalation of violence. The Farer Report was used by the Administration and the UN as justification to "indict" General Aidid and to launch the illfated October 3rd raid in which 19 Americans were killed and 75 wounded. The Farer Report still remains secret, and the UN refuses to release it to Congress or the public. THE NEW AMERICAN is the only national publication to have obtained a copy of the report and published an article exposing it (September 5th issue).
• The Clinton Administration is enraptured with the Russians, as a report in the Washington Post for May 6, 1994 makes clear: "In two days of talks in Moscow, a high-level U.S. delegation of about 25 defense and security officials proposed a broad range of new security ventures with the Russians, including a combined exercise of Russian and U.S. peacekeeping troops in the U.S. next year .... [T]he U.S. officials said they bared their strategic souls to the Russians this week, presenting them with a briefing from the CIA on perceived threats ... and a presentation from an Air Force general who detailed the U.S. short-range missile defense program. The U.S. also offered to swap precise information with the Russians on the exact number of warheads and amounts of warhead-making material in the two powers' arsenals. 'We described to them our strategic exercises in great detail and code names and everything,' said Ashton Carter, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy, who led the team here."
• Under the Clinton "Partnership for Peace" program, the down-sized U.S. Armed Forces are developing links to the military services of the "formerly" communist nations of the Soviet Union. Meanwhile, under the "National Guard State Partnership" program, the National Guards in 14 states have established exchange programs with a corresponding number of "former" East Bloc countries.
• On July 4th of this year, President Clinton's FBI director, Louis Freeh, concluded a tour of Russia by signing a protocol in Moscow to establish intimate cooperation between U.S. and Russian law enforcement agencies. This means an increasing merger of American police with Boris Yeltsin's reconstituted KGB, which includes most of the same brutal, murderous elements of the "old" dread secret police.
• During the Waco Branch Davidian standoff, Janet Reno's FBI Counter Terrorism Center went to Russian psychological warfare expert Igor Smirnov of Moscow's Institute of Psycho-Correction. Smirnov provided advice on subliminal warfare measures to be used against the Davidians.
• While pushing frantically to disarm the American people, the federal government is aggressively arming its bureaucrats. The EPA, FDA, BLM, IRS, and just about every other agency are arming to the teeth. In Libby, Montana, already strained relations between citizens and Forest Service officials got decidedly worse when it was revealed recently that local Forest Service officials had purchased more than 30,000 rounds of .45 calibre ammunition.
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All of these items are facts -- not sensational rumors or lies. They speak for themselves and are easily verified. There is no need to fabricate or exaggerate; the truth is alarming enough and provides ample targets for our time, talents, energy, and resources. The hour is so late, and the need so very great, that we dare not -- must not -- distract ourselves and waste our time and resources chasing every foolish, windblown rumor that wafts our way.
Those Black Helicopters
In the rumor galaxy, "black helicopters" are the supernovas. If you have not heard hair-curling accounts of mysterious solid-black, unmarked helicopters hovering menacingly over your city or assaulting some patriot's house, you almost certainly have not been listening to many radio talk shows or reading conservative newsletters. If, however, you have been even a casual peruser of various "patriotic papers" and like-minded radio programs, you will know that these aircraft play a prominent role in much of the current hysteria.
Two notable patriot personages, Mark Koernke ("Mark from Michigan") and Linda Thompson, appear to have played the primary roles in popularizing this scare. Through their lecture tours, video programs, and radio talk-show appearances, they have stoked the fires of panic and paranoia. Ms. Thompson, who was the subject of a profile by Robert W. Lee in the September 19th issue of THE NEW AMERICAN, rose to prominence in the wake of the Waco tragedy. However, her ill-conceived call to insurrection and an armed march on Washington, and her self-appointed grandiose role as "Acting Adjutant General, Unorganized Militia of the United States of America," appear to have cost her much of her earlier support.
"Mark From Michigan"
The popularity of "Mark from Michigan," however, appears unabated. Identifying himself only as "a former military intelligence officer," he claims to be fighting to stop the onrushing new world order police state -- a praiseworthy objective, to be sure (and one that we share). But his message seems more inclined to produce paranoia, paralysis, and despair than robust and effective resistance. On his video, America in Peril, "Mark" tells his audience that vast numbers of black helicopters -- "more than you can count" -can be seen regularly filling the skies over Michigan. These, he claims, are the vehicles which will be (and are being) used by UN-FINCEN-FEMA-MJTF forces to invade our communities and to haul us off to concentration camps. He is entitled to his opinion, of course, and to his own pet "end-times" scenario, but he should realize that knowledgeable patriots will not automatically accept as gospel his every riveting word solely on the authority of his alleged past as an "intelligence" analyst.
Before venturing further, we must digress; we can almost sense the reaction of some readers (since we have already experienced it with telephone callers): "Are you trying to tell me that I didn't see that black helicopter that was only 40 feet above my house?" Not at all. We are not questioning the reality of these aircraft. We have received acknowledgment of their existence by responsible government officials and have many confirmed sightings of the choppers (parked on the ground and in flight) by extremely reliable witnesses. But the appearance in the skies of a single black UH-1 Huey or even a whole squadron of AH-64 Apaches does not validate "Mark's" frightening thesis. Not by a long shot. That much should be evident.
First of all, is there another reasonable explanation for these craft? There appear to be many. Although an all-black paint scheme is not the most common one for helicopters, it apparently is used by a number of city, state, and federal law enforcement agencies as well as by some military units. One of the many places our research led us to was Ft. Bragg, North Carolina, home to the U.S. Army Special Forces. Army spokesperson Carol Jones confirmed that all of the helicopters of the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment -- nicknamed the "Nightstalkers" and stationed at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky -- are indeed black. She explained that her office has handled a number of calls "on the East coast here where people think they are seeing some of our helicopters, but we check and they're not ours; they actually belong to local police departments or other law enforcement agencies."
Fort Rucker, Alabama is the Army's helicopter training center. Major Endicott, spokesman for the base, told THE NEW AMERICAN, "I've never seen any helicopters painted black," but noted that the Army paints many of its choppers in very dark shades of brown or olive green that often will look black unless you are very close and have very good light. Which comports with the testimony of many servicemen with whom we talked -- and with several of our witnesses who reported that at first sight they were positive the helicopters they had seen were solid black (like those described by "Mark"), but when they got within a few yards or a few feet of them they could see that they were indeed Army green or brown. Moreover, as many veterans told us, and as one can easily confirm for oneself, most helicopters will appear to be black to an observer on the ground looking up at a chopper silhouetted against the sky. And if it is a cloudy day, near dusk or after dark, many choppers will appear to be black even if they have another paint scheme.
Is the color scheme of helicopters that important and worth belaboring? Not in and of itself; but an understanding of it does help explain why so many alarmed citizens have reported seeing these "FINCEN" aircraft. Undoubtedly, many of these witnesses are seeing local police, medical, fire, news, or military choppers painted "FINCEN" black due to visibility factors and "Mark's" power of suggestion.
The central fact to keep in mind is that neither "Mark," nor Linda Thompson, nor any of the other alarmists we are aware of, has produced a shred of credible documentation to substantiate their shocking tales. They appear to be gambling that the legitimate outrage and apprehension caused by Waco and the accelerating police-state agenda of the Clinton Administration can be counted on to cause most Americans to suspend all exercise of discernment and the standard rules of evidence as long as the tale-bearer bashes Clinton, blasts the feds, brandishes the Constitution, and swears to "go down shooting."
FinCEN: A Real Danger
But what about this "FINCEN" business? Actually, the proper acronym is FinCEN, for Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, an organization launched by George Bush's Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady (CFR) under an Executive Order dated April 25, 1990 (No. 105-08). According to that order, "The mission of FinCEN is to provide a government-wide, multi-source intelligence and analytical network in support of the detection, investigation, and prosecution of domestic and international money laundering and other financial crimes by Federal, State, local, and foreign law enforcement agencies."
In its public relations brochure, FinCEN tells us:
Are fears that FinCEN is a nascent gestapo justified? Absolutely. Its sweeping powers, access to records of our most private financial affairs, and cross-jurisdictional mission strike at the core of our constitutional protection. Its constantly evolving definitions of "financial crimes" are leading toward the elimination of all financial privacy and the criminalization of perfectly legitimate transactions and economic arrangements. We have reported on the terrible injustices and dangers to liberty involved in the increasing use of "asset forfeiture" powers by law enforcement at all levels of government. (THE NEW AMERICAN, May 31, 1993.) FinCEN is a major catalyst in the promotion of these abuses. Moreover, it is a central player in the subversive scheme to corrupt and nationalize law enforcement: While the federal EPA, OSHA, EEOC, and other alphabet soup agencies pauperize municipal budgets with crushing mandates that leave police departments begging, FinCEN shows local law enforcement how to solve their funding problems by seizing the property of their citizens -- the classic good cop-bad cop routine. FinCEN should be abolished for all of these reasons and more, not because anonymous sources have conjured up (and presented as fact) terrifying chimeras that feature armadas of black choppers and fearsome troops in Darth Vaderesque attire swooping down on unsuspecting communities.
Unfortunately, because of the federal government's phony war on drugs there are more than enough instances that "Mark" and others can cite of neighborhood "sweeps" involving large inter-agency forces (often with helicopters -- some black, some not) that appear to authenticate their stories.
Louisiana Under Siege?
Over the past year, because Louisiana has been "host" to some of these operations, the rumor mills would have one believe that the whole state is under marshal law. On September 14th, for example, a raid on the Ledbetter Heights area of Shreveport elicited excited reports that thousands of troops with flotillas of black helos were taking over the Pelican State. The real story was alarming enough without hyperbolization. This is from an account by the Shreveport Times on September 20th of Operation Bottoms Up:
The raid involved members of the Shreveport police, Caddo County Sheriff's Department, state police, the FBI, and the U.S. Marshal's office. One Louisiana National Guard helicopter -- painted olive green, not black -- was employed, according to the Times and to eyewitnesses interviewed by THE NEW AMERICAN. The Times report continues:
Earlier in the year, similar raids were launched in other Louisiana locales. In January, a large "narcotics sweep" was made in Amite, a small town 50 miles north of New Orleans. The 140-man force included elements from the FBI, ATF, National Guard, Amite police, and the Tri-Parish Task Force. In the Port Allen area near Baton Rouge, Operation Gold Coast is an ongoing operation that has involved a number of drug raids. But according to officials there, it is a local operation involving police and sheriff's departments -- no federal agencies, and no black helicopters, reports to the contrary notwithstanding.
Claims that these Louisiana raids were used as cover to conduct warrantless house-to-house searches for guns also appear to be untrue. Percy Collins, a retired police officer from Beumont, Texas and a resident of Ledbetter Heights, watched the Shreveport raid from his front porch. He told THE NEW AMERICAN that the officers appeared to have warrants and were properly executing them at locations that were known centers of drug activity. He was not aware of any inappropriate or random searches. We have been unable to verify or disprove reports of illegal searches of homes in Amite for weapons. In Port Allen, reports of illegal weapons searches of residences appear to be false; Operation Gold Coast involves the so-called "Gold Coast" of U.S. Highway 190, a "sin district" of bars and go-go dance halls infamous for drug trafficking and prostitution.
Which isn't to say that these drug raids are not being used to prepare the way for gun raids. It is obvious from the anti-gun agenda of President Clinton, Janet Reno, Handgun Control, Inc., and most of the major media, that that is exactly what is in the works. That was made clear earlier this year when warrantless apartment-to-apartment firearms searches of federal housing projects in Chicago were ruled unconstitutional and stopped by court order. President Clinton's response was to try to skirt the constitutional protection by calling on "tenant associations to put clauses in their leases allowing searches when crime conditions make it necessary." In other words, extortion by the federal landlord: "Sign away your rights or you're out on the street."
Multi-Jurisdictional Task Forces
A regular feature of the black helicopter legends is "MJTF," which stands for Multi-Jurisdictional Task Force. According to the rumor circuits, this is an organization composed of hundreds of thousands of members of the military and federal, state, and local police operating under FinCEN and the United Nations. Multi-jurisdictional task forces are not new; local sheriffs and U.S. marshals have cooperated in tracking down bad guys since the days of the Old West and before. But using the "multi-jurisdictional task force" as a proper noun with capital letters and the MJTF acronym is deceptive. As far as we have been able to determine, there is no discrete entity known as MJTF, in the sense that there is an FBI, BATF, FinCEN, CIA, etc. Yet, that is what alarmists always imply and often explicitly state. They claim to have seen black helos and black-uniformed police with "MJTF" on them. None of the law enforcement officers we interviewed had ever seen any "MJTF" markings or had heard the term used other than in the standard generic sense. This included officers who had participated in multi-jurisdictional operations involving federal agencies (and who were not, it should be noted, at all sympathetic to federal encroachment).
Multi-jurisdictional task forces can serve a legitimate, constitutional law enforcement function. However, in recent years, such operations have been used as a cloak to federalize law enforcement. Most of the multi-jurisdictional operations underway can and should be carried out (if conducted at all) without federal involvement. If a local crime situation is out of control, the sheriff has the authority to deputize law-abiding citizens and to appeal to county officials to provide the funding necessary for more officers; there is no need to go hat in hand to Washington for funds that must come out of the pockets of local taxpayers anyway.
Militarizing Law Enforcement
Another ominous development with the explosion of federal multi-jurisdictional operations is the increasing involvement of the military. Our posse comitatus law provides that, "Whoever, except in cases under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both."
The courts have upheld the right of law enforcement agencies to receive "passive" military assistance -- the use of training facilities and equipment -- but the federal government has been pushing the limits of what the law will allow. Federal, state, and local law enforcement and regulatory agencies are sending personnel to military training facilities in growing numbers. Military planes, helicopters, and other assets are being tasked to police operations with increasing frequency.
In October 1993, National Guard units were deployed in Puerto Rico to perform law enforcement functions alongside the police. James Pate, writing in the May 1994 Soldier of Fortune, revealed that an Army Special Forces team from Joint Task Force Six (JTF-6) at Fort Bliss, Texas was involved in advising the ATF force that assaulted the Branch Davidian compound in Waco in April 1993. Texas National Guard helicopters were used in that deadly debacle. JTF-6 operates in conjunction with Operation Alliance, a creature of the Justice Department which provides military assistance to civilian law enforcement.
According to Pate, the JTF-6 handbook states that military personnel "are precluded by the Posse Comitatus Act from performing search, seizure, arrest or other similar law enforcement activities." However, notes Pate, the Operation Alliance/JTF-6 legal staffs are busy "finding legal loopholes to allow further military involvement in civilian law enforcement." This skirting of posse comitatus restrictions is seen as "innovative" at JTF-6. "Innovative approaches to providing new and more effective support to [law enforcement agencies] are constantly sought," the JTF-6 guidebook says, "and legal and policy barriers to the application of military capabilities are gradually being eliminated .... Pending legislative actions may soon alleviate some of these restrictions...." If these "innovations" are allowed to continue, we will soon have to worry not just about "black helicopters," but federal tanks and troops at our doorstep.