Black Helicopters Over America : Strikeforce for the New World Order
Illuminet Press, PO Box 2808, Lilburn Georgia 30226
US Trade Paperback
156 pages; $12.95
Reviewed by Rick Kleffel © 2001
Conspiracies come in all shapes and sizes, and books about them tend to reveal more about the state of the author than reality itself. In 'Black Helicopters Over America', you won't find a lot of verifiable facts, nor will you find many quotes from stable, reliable sources like 'The New York Times'. What you will find is a glimpse into the mindset of the midwestern militias, told not by an impartial reporter, but by a creator and proponent of the conspiracy theories to which they subscribe. It's a frightening world out there, and Jim Keith fills the darkness not with monsters and daemons, but black helicopters scouting the land for resistors before the UN takes over the world.
The book's most interesting sections are those in which the 'sightings' are reported, from sources such as 'The Patriot' and 'Intel of the Militia of Montana'. The sightings sift neatly into two sections. The first, from the early seventies to the mid-eighties, mostly covers sightings of helicopters associated with cattle mutilations. This poses something of a problem for Keith, who tells us not look for the alien under the bed when the government will make a perfectly fine culprit. He later insinuates that the cattle were killed not by gray aliens looking to bone up on earth organisms, but by experiments in racially-oriented biowarfare.
The second set of sightings starts in 1993 and covers up to the present, and mostly involves UN oriented 'black helicopters', as opposed to helicopters seen in the vicinity of a 'mutilated' cow. As one reads through encounter after encounter, it begins to sound less like 'helicopters' and more like 'UFOs'. In fact, more than anything, some of the sightings remind one of the 'airship' sightings of 1896, when across the United States, witnesses saw an 'airship' or dirigible which landed in several places and from which emerged perfectly ordinary people, who claimed that the whole world would soon be experiencing what they were experiencing. The airships have become helicopters and the polite Victorian gentlemen have become gun-toting foreigners.
But Keith doesn't want us drawn into the alien hypothesis 'trap', which he considers deliberate disinformation put out by the government. The 'alien hypothesis' is meant to lead us away from the discovery of huge UN and foreign troop movements in the US, concentration camps being built for those who refuse to give up their guns (and survive their forcible confiscation by urban gang members now being trained as the shock forces, first to come through your front door), the powers granted by FEMA, the National Police Force and other typical concerns of the far, far right wing. Interestingly enough, one of the few legitimate sources of information that Keith does quote, and often, is NPR, so often criticized by the right for its 'left-leaning' content.
Occasionally, Keith does apparently hit on an interesting piece of information that seems to ring true, and one wonders what the explanations in fact are behind some of the things he discovers. But everything in 'Black Helicopters Over America' is pre-formatted to fit the forgone notion that the UN is getting ready to take over the world, and turn it into a global version of the pre-glasnost USSR. Not, I'm not kidding. Despite of all the imagination that goes into Keith's theorizing, despite all those years gone by, it's still the Commies who are going turn the world into a socialist's paradise and the gun-toting capitalist's nightmare. This realization is something of a disappointment after all the surreal foreplay that precedes it. But then, it seems that the emperor always gets the same new set of clothes, years after year.