Sex and Other

Drugs and
Rock 'n' Roll

Media and

Society (and

Politics and Other


Casual Fridays

Rantings and

In and Out:
Sex Advice from our Staff Dominatrix

Employee of the



Who We Are

Write for Us!

Invest in Anti-

Play Our Theme Song
by Simon Inns
(MP3 format; 1.5 MB download)

Donate to the Cause!

Truth is scarier than fiction


Inside the Shadow Government


by Ken Mondschein







Inside the Shadow Government
by Harry Helms
Feral House / 2003 / $12.95

One would think that a book titled Inside the Shadow Government, especially one coming from a publisher like Feral House, would be filled with black helicopters, UN takeovers of the United States' government, and references to alien autopsies in Area 54. Feral House (and, more specifically, its agent provocateur/guiding light Adam Parfrey) is known for its taste for the outré, putting up on stage the carnival sideshow that lies behind the façade of everyday reality—books that corporate publishing houses are too timid, or too concerned with making multi-million-dollar profits off the next Da Vinci Code, to bring to press. However, Feral House's catalogue, which Parfrey has admitted on more than one occasion is largely reflective of his own taste and interests, is Socrates in a carnie's clothing. For every necrophiliac and serial killer on display, there is a work that is shocking in a quieter, yet even more disturbing way.

So it is with Inside the Shadow Government. Harry Helms, an electronics expert who has published widely on both civilian and covert radio, comes across neither as a conspiracy theorist nor as a militia member holed up inside a Montana bunker, but as a serious thinker who has done his homework. This is a work of history, not wild speculation, for facts, after all, are more shocking, and frightening, than fiction. Helms carefully traces the history of the U.S. government's emergency backup plans: Their World War II inception, their growth during the Cold War, their procedures and facilities, and how they changed after September 11. Of the most concern is the government's plans for declaring martial law in case of widespread civil disturbance, taking over the media (more so, at least, than the corporations have already done), and arresting, or even killing, American civilians without due process (which has precedent with FDR's interment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, and which the recent protests in Miami have shown are all too likely to happen again). There are black helicopters and Area 54 references, all right—but Area 54 only serves to illustrate how the government can seize and control land at a whim, and the black helicopters' mission is to literally fly over the Fourth Amendment as they search for drugs.

All of this is publicly available information and reasonable reading between the lines—no Deep Throats here—but it is clearly laid out and organized into a coherent narrative, with both the possibilities and the balanced truths laid out. (For instance, military handbooks consider declaring martial law a very serious matter, and even during the L.A. Riots, when such a measure might have been justified, authororities were not swift to bring in the National Guard.) On the downside, though, Helms could have included a more comprehensive bibliography and list of sources—though the reprinting of key documents is a valuable addition.

It would have been easy to paint the concealed workings of power in our nation as some sinister, omnipotent force, but Helms avoids this trap. Rather, he shows it as the bumbling giant it is, with military patrols mistakenly shooting innocent civilians in their drug-interdiction sweeps and military units frightening inner-city neighborhoods, swooping in, guns blazing, in nighttime training exercises, the only forewarning the roar of low-flying helicopters. The questions Helms raises are as old as politics: Who will guard the guardians? And, in this age of with-us-or-against-us moral absolutes, how can we preserve our civil liberties?

In the end, Helms points out, the cloak-and-dagger methods of the Shadow Government were already in place on September 11, where they failed miserably. It was only the passengers of United Flight 93, who, informed of what their situation was, discussed matters amongst themselves and then decided to take action, who had any effect on the terrorists' plans. In a true democracy, the surest guarantee of security is an informed, activist population.

Click here to order Inside the Shadow Government from the Feral House Web site.



Informants write


Posted December 14, 2003 4:59 PM






Copyright 2001-2010
Powered by
Movable Type 3.33
Logo design by Molitorious