Dark Fleet: The Secret Nazi Space Program and the Battle for the Solar System
Len Kasten | Bear & Co. | March 2020 | 240 pages | ISBN: 9781591433446 | $16.00
I hate to say it, but I think that the great cultural pause created by the COVID-19 lockdown has finally ground much of the fake history industry to a halt. Sure, there are social media posts from people claiming that random rocks are world-changing artifacts, and somehow the History Channel is broadcasting, but otherwise we don’t have much left. I can’t get into The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch. I just don’t have the patience to sit through an hour of people who admit to not knowing anything wandering about to deliver about 30 seconds worth of information, most of which will be disproved the next week anyway. So what does that leave us with? I am barely able to tolerate Rob Riggle: Global Investigator despite its subject matter’s tangential relevance to my interests, and only because it’s like watching a train wreck of bad choices. The Science Channel’s resurrected Forbidden History (formerly of the Travel Channel, formerly of AHC) has been a disappointment. (Apparently, even though it is not part of my cable package, I still have online access.) The first episode involved a failed hunt for a World War II load of Japanese gold. The second revisited the Shroud of Turin just in time for Easter. It’s all so … boring.
Even Inner Traditions/Bear &Co. doesn’t have any new fake history books to review, except one by Len Kasten so stupid—but decidedly not boring—that I wasn’t sure I could bring myself to read it. Called Dark Fleet, it claims that the Nazis partnered with the Reptilians to run a shuttle program between Antarctica and Mars. It was Inner Traditions’ last crazy-quilt of a book released before the lockdown began. Having some time, I forced myself to attempt to read it. And it was … pages between covers. That’s a book. Right?
Kasten is a longtime writer on space alien conspiracies, and Kasten advocates basically every fake UFO and paranormal “mystery” you can imagine, from the Reptilian-Illuminati alliance to the Montauk Experiment to the Zeta Reticuli exchange program on (the non-existent) Planet Serpo. I reviewed his previous book, Alien World Order, back in 2016. If you’ve read a conspiracy theory on the internet, Kasten has attempted to monetize it in one of his books.
But he isn’t very good at it.
Nothing screams quality like admitting in your acknowledgements that much of the book is based on YouTube videos you watched and that the results are not particularly convincing. In the acknowledgements he literally explains that his research for Dark Fleet consisted of watching online videos. Kasten isn’t even terribly keen on his own work: “I will readily admit that much of this material is not especially scholarly, but is rather based upon intuitive judgments derived from my observations,” Kasten writes in his own book. If he recognizes that his work lacks credibility, why does he expect the reader to join him in his delusions?
I tried to read this book. I really did. But I just couldn’t do it. I ended up skimming most of it because I couldn’t force myself to try to force the book to conform to basic rules of logic. Every sentence was so chock-a-block with nonsense that the words stopped making sense. One almost needs a Ph.D. in online conspiracy theories to even begin to make sense of the layers upon layers of claims piled on each other. Consider just the first paragraph of the book:
It has now, in 2019, become abundantly clear from the investigations and writings of several well-known and highly respected researchers that the human race is being controlled and “managed” by a race of alien beings that co-inhabit this planet. We have all believed from birth that we, the human race alone, possess the Earth all to ourselves. But now it appears that we really share it with a powerful and hostile race that can be called “intraterrestrials” because they live far below the surface of the planet, but have the technology to come and go as they please and to travel throughout the galaxy. They are known as Reptilians. In my previous book, Alien World Order, I explained that the Reptilians are ancient and powerful beings who settled here long before we human earthlings arrived, and who therefore believe that this is really their planet. But while they would like us to believe that, that is not the case because another race of humans, our cousins, were the first to settle in this solar system on Mars and on the gigantic planet Maldek then existing between Mars and Jupiter. So, this is really a human solar system. And those first humans were refugees from Lyra, a distant star system that, eons ago, was attacked by the Reptilians who slaughtered fifty million humans and destroyed three planets.
If that weren’t enough, the next couple of paragraphs introduce Atlantis and Lemuria, claim humans came from a planet called Lyra by way of the Pleiades and that Atlantean human-aliens battled Reptilian aliens until the “Atlans” killed all the dinosaurs and a Star Trek-style Federation of planets became involved. Kasten then follows Raelian teaching and asserts that God was really an alien race called the Elohim, and he mixes in many of Corey Goode’s and David Wilcock’s most ridiculous conspiracies about alliances, confederations, and other alien teams battling for total world domination. Modern humans, he said, were a compromise made near Göbekli Tepe, when a Reptilian and Mammalian brain were put together so humans could be manipulated from the Fourth Dimension. Joke’s on him, of course, since we know that real aliens live in the Fifth Dimension, The Twilight Zone.
And that’s just the first few pages. It goes on like that for chapter after chapter. I will give Kasten credit for this: Most ancient astronaut writers eventually decide that white Teutonic types are the master race, but Kasten rejects this. He alleges that evil aliens declared Germanic people the “chosen” race, but that they were uniquely chosen for evil because they were so much less spiritually advanced than other peoples. His evidence is that Germanic peoples trashed the Roman Empire, so they must be trash people. He declares Teutonic white folk to be “proto-human” inferiors, underdeveloped and beholden to satanic powers of alien evil. This is in contrast to his earlier book, where the white guys were the ancestral heroes and original supermen.
Therefore, Kasten sees the Germans (and white folk in general) as puppets used to control the human population through media-induced violence. (Clearly, they aren’t very good at it since the population has exploded 7.8 billion.) However, Kasten’s identification of Germans with evil isn’t quite what it seems. It’s simply a diabolizing of old Victorian stereotypes of Prussian militarism and efficiency: “Choosing the Germans to attain these Reptilian goals was logical and tactical. More than any other racial group, the Germans were amazingly disciplined and able to achieve remarkable accomplishments by rapidly organizing huge industrial structures along hierarchical lines and ensuring that the reporting discipline from one level to another was efficient and highly regimented.” A whole chapter is devoted racist descriptions of Germans that would have made Lord Kitchener’s propagandists blush. Apparently, the same aliens that could genetically engineer humans for fourth-dimensional puppetry also had to wait for just the right race of efficiency experts to emerge. There is some nonsense about Queen Victoria seeding Europe with Reptilian blood, and Kasten envisions Hitler’s birth as a satanic miracle, planned centuries in advance and heralded with Reptilian retainers. He was, Kasten said, part of an entire generation of Germans bred by space aliens to be inhumanly cruel monsters. Kasten seems unaware that Hitler was born in Austria-Hungary, not in the German Empire.
Much of the middle of the book is a long history of the German Empire’s various colonial outrages, which Kasten sees as an alien-planned setup for Hitler. He seems unaware that other colonial powers did the same, or worse. Leopold II’s Congo Free State was among the worst of the offenders, and it was decidedly not German. Kasten follows an outdated historiography that sees Kaiser Wilhelm II as all-powerful, and therefore he fundamentally misunderstands World War I as Wilhelm’s attempt to conquer all of Europe.
For some bizarre reason, the plot of “The Screwfly Solution” shows up in the middle of a chapter as a description of how aliens convince men to commit violence against women.
By the middle of the book, we get a long conspiracy theory about how all of human history was designed to lead to Hitler, which seems to give Hitler far too much credit for being the fulcrum around which all of infinity revolves. Following claims first made by Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier in Morning of the Magicians (though Kasten certainly doesn’t know that), he alleges that Hitler was involved with black magic, met aliens through magical rituals, and became possessed by one such entity. He imagines Hitler as omnipotent, possessed of immense supernatural power, and also possessed of a secret Antarctic base, which he used as a spaceport. There is some offensive material about the Nazis using the Holocaust to obtain slave labor for the Reptilians, and it’s rather clear that Kasten isn’t able to process the idea that humans can be inhumanly cruel on their own, so he can only deal with the enormity of World War II by imagining that demonic aliens used a partially non-human hybrid German race to carry out evil. This, therefore, absolves the “real” humanity of responsibility for cruelty and violence.
After the halfway point, Kasten moves into more familiar conspiracy theories popular on Ancient Aliens and promoted by Ancient Aliens stars or star-adjacent figures like Michael Salla and Corey Goode, both of whom are his explicit sources. He talks about the end of the war and the U.S. important Nazi scientists. He imagines a clandestine Nazi takeover of America and the development of a (fictitious) secret space program and the use of a former Nazi moon base to hold galactic meetings of various alien races. Any conspiracy theory you’ve heard, it’s in this book. The discussion is pathetic in its credulity, accepting obvious hoaxes as true and repeating all of Corey Goode’s fantastical testimony as fact. At some point, he goes full Iron Sky and alleges that the Nazis control whole cities on the Moon and Mars, such that “Mars has now become a completely German planet and the home of the Fourth Reich.” Like David Wilcock (also cited as an explicit source), Kasten believes movies reveal this secret reality, so for him Total Recall is a secret expose of the real Martian Nazi society.
Oh, and Mars is full of velociraptors that battle Nazis. I don’t know why. Don’t ask.
Anyway, I can only scratch the surface of the hundreds upon hundreds of extreme conspiracy claims jammed into this book. Just listing them would take thousands of words. As the book wore on, I found that I could only skim because the ranting language, lack of anything resembling documentations, and ill-defined chapters turned every page into a mind-numbing acid bath in the fetid waters of the internet’s worst message boards and memes. The entire book has just eight end notes and an approximately one-page bibliography of 22 sources, most of which are books by David Icke and Michael Salla. He does not list the YouTube videos he viewed.
The book ends with Kasten expressing hope that the United States will save the universe from space Nazis and end the Nazis’ domination of our galaxy. The conclusion is so disconnected from anything resembling reality, where the height of fascist aspiration is currently to convince the elderly to sacrifice themselves for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, that this bizarre indulgence into Hitler-themed titillation could only provoke my laughter. But then I felt a little sad that people actually believe these ideas because it makes them feel better than trying to handle actual reality.
I would have given the book zero stars, but the breathtaking audacity of its effort to condense the entirety of internet conspiracy culture into 240 pages deserves half a star.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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