Accuracy in Media

When Congressman Don Young of Alaska tried to stop the practice of putting U.N. labels on our national and state parks, then-Congressman Bill Richardson joked that Smokey the Bear had been seen riding a black helicopter. The term “black helicopters” has been used to discredit those who criticize the United Nations. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, a former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., has also used the term “black helicopters” in referring to critics of the world body. She says a belief in black helicopters is tantamount to believing that the U.N. is a threat to U.S. sovereignty.

But the existence of black helicopters has now been confirmed. On February 16, the New York Times ran an Associated Press story about some military exercises in Texas that referred to low-flying “black helicopters” dropping soldiers into the downtown area of Kingsville, Texas, where they staged mock hostage rescue and attack raids on several abandoned buildings. Most residents were caught by surprise, and some were scared out of their wits.

These helicopters have nothing to do with the United Nations. The U.S. military has been conducting military exercises like this in different cities. They involve Special Operations forces. In the Texas case, it appears that a special unit called the Nightstalkers were involved. You can see photographs of their black helicopters on the web site specialoperations dot com.

Sensational but misleading reports about the Texas exercises have appeared on the Internet site, WorldNetDaily dot com, where it was reported that one official in Kingsville had claimed that the maneuvers had something to do with a secret presidential directive on U.S. involvement in U.N. peacekeeping operations, and that the directive permits the military to violate a U.S. law prohibiting military involvement in domestic law enforcement.

WorldNetDaily is usually a good source of information, but we talked to this official, who denies making such statements. It was a shock to us, since the directive is classified. That official, a military veteran, told us he had not seen any secret directive. His only criticism of the operation was the failure to notify the public at large, causing some people to panic. He was not one of the small group of local officials, including law enforcement authorities, who had been notified in advance. The public is typically not told in advance so that residents don?t show up, get in the way of soldiers practicing their maneuvers, and get hurt.

WorldNetDaily also ran a story implicitly criticizing Texas Governor George W. Bush for not getting involved in the controversy. But the governor doesn?t have a role. It?s a matter between the military and local authorities. If local officials object, the exercises usually take place in another city or on a military base. Black helicopters are here to stay, and we should have nothing to fear from soldiers conducting military maneuvers. If there?s a fear that these soldiers will be used against American citizens, that?s a problem people have with the Commander-in-Chief, President Bill Clinton, and his policies.

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