A Chicago-area official's comment calling on the United Nations to dispatch peacekeepers to help quell gun violence has been distorted to spark paranoia that feeds into a persistent and popular conspiracy theory about an alleged grand scheme to subvert the sovereignty of the United States.
On 14 December 2017 the Chicago Tribune quoted Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin saying he wanted UN Peacekeepers to help put an end to the "quiet genocide" of African-Americans in Chicago. Boykin flew to UN headquarters in New York to meet with UN officials about the issue. Per the Tribune he said:
The United Nations has a track record of protecting minority populations. There was tribal warfare between the Tutsis and the Hutus in Africa, and they deployed peacekeeping troops there to help save those populations and reduce the bloodshed. We have to do something — black people in Chicago make up 30 percent of the population but 80 percent of those who are killed by gun violence.
The story resulted in a flurry of blog posts on sites like Anti-Media, IlluminatiExposed.net and Anonymous-Feed.com reporting the possibility there could soon be UN boots on the ground in an American city. The United Nations is a key part of a broad, popular and anti-Semitic conspiracy theory known as the "New World Order." Subscribers of this conspiracy theory believe that a secretive cabal of super rich and powerful (usually Jewish) men are plotting a global take-over to establish a one-world autocratic government.
Conspiracy sites and networks like conspiratorial InfoWars have long promoted the idea that the UN is preparing to invade the United States, first by disarming Americans.
In a 19 December 2017 segment about Chicago, InfoWars host Alex Jones said:
Another thing we told you about decades ago that's happening -- I remember when I was a child hearing about the UN plan of Henry Kissinger to create so much crime in LA and Chicago that finally we would accept UN troops on the streets. ... Well guess what folks. Here it is. Here it is with all of them saying, we're gonna have UNESCO come in through the police departments with federal control, and use the federal authority to then order police departments that we've bullied and demonized and attacked to sign on to Strong Cities and go under Southern Poverty Law Center-ADL-UN control, just like the WikiLeaks said they want them in control of the Internet, and those are the same groups in control of Google, Facebook and Twitter censorship now. And they want to cover up what they're doing because they're directing the take-over.
InfoWars editor-at-large Paul Joseph Watson warned in a 19 December 2017 story:
The idea of deploying UN peacekeepers on U.S. soil is likely to rile many on the right who have warned about international forces conducting gun confiscation operations domestically for decades.
Despite the dire warnings, Watson's own reference to "decades" indicates how long these unsupported rumors have been around. University of California, Davis history professor Kathryn Olmstead, who specializes in studying conspiracy theories, told us:
Many conspiracy theories focus on threats to the integrity of the nation. In the 19th and 20th centuries, conservative Americans feared Communists, Jews, Catholics and Masons at least in part because those groups allegedly placed allegiance to an international movement or religion above their duty to their nation. Today, American nationalists worry that the United Nations wants to undermine American values or institutions in the pursuit of its internationalist agenda.
More specifically, RationalWiki points out that the UN is the mechanism conspiracy theorists believe will be used in subordinating the United States to the global order:
The New World Order conspiracy started as an extension of old John Birch Society conspiracy theories about the role of the United Nations. This theory claimed that the United Nations was merely a tool of the Communists, and that the end goal was the complete subjugation of the United States to the United Nations. This would then set up a world government in which all of the freedoms that Americans hold dear would be abolished. Usually, top American officials were claimed to be in on the conspiracy.
Patrick Oldendorf, spokesman for Boykin, said his staff was taken aback by the hostile backlash online to the commissioner's comments.
Oldendorf said the commissioner's comments were blown out of proportion. He never intended to have peacekeeper boots on the ground in Chicago. Instead Boykin was simply in search of ideas to stop an upsurge in homicides in the Windy City. Oldendorf told us:
The goal was to find successful strategies that they have implemented elsewhere, not guns and tanks but the work that they do that is effective in quelling violence.
Even if some of Chicago's local leaders did want UN Peacekeeper boots on the ground, an outsider simply making the request to the UN wouldn't result in an international blue helmet mission there. UN Peacekeeping missions are voted on by the Security Council which consists of five permanent member states (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and 10 countries elected to two-year terms. A UN Peacekeeper spokesman confirmed "there is no planning of any kind" to send a mission to Chicago.
Regardless, angry comments proliferated on Boykin's official Facebook page, in which he was accused of inviting UN troops onto U.S. soil for conspiratorial reasons. One man wrote:
What a moronic statement. First of all you do not have the power to invite the UN into our country. Secondly, this sounds like a job for the National Guard. Thirdly, the UN can take my guns for my cold dead hands. I dont think that they would get too far in my neighborhood. Too many AR15's on my street.
Perhaps in an effort to settle the issue, Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told the Tribune, in response to Boykin's comments, that UN Peacekeepers have no jurisdiction in Chicago.